This will be our fourth Christmas without him. I’m quite practiced at this now. I’ve learned what to do and what not to do. I know I’ll cry when I see 5 stocking put out, but not as hard as I cried at 4 and when it felt like there was no hope of there ever even being 5, never mind 6.
I know that sometimes grief washes over me in a supermarket queue or at the tinkle of carols on an advert. I know I wince – and then I wince that the flinch can be managed now, that I’ve learned and that it is not a difficult as it was 3 years ago.
I know I’m planning gifts in my usual spreadsheet and that I’ve learned now that I can manage by hiding the 5th column, so that Bene doesn’t occupy it but it doesn’t stare emptily at me either. I learned to hide columns in excel more than anything so I could acknowledge, but ignore, the reality of the absence of my fifth child.
I know that when Bene goes mad with glee this Christmas it will mostly eclipse that Freddie is not exhausted because this was the year he couldn’t sleep with excitement about Father Christmas. I know I’ll remember later.
But learning to deal with it , as I began to learn to deal with it from the very last breath he took, takes its toll. Sometimes it creeps up.
Today it crept up when I went to edit a form and discovered I’ve already made the decision to edit him out previously. Made the sensible choice. Sometime in the past I was already pragmatic enough to know that however much the form hurt, getting PR approaches if I included him was going to hurt more.
Well. No one ever said it was going to be easy. It’s a minefield of not easy, this child loss business. Changes everything. Changes everything about you.
I’ve written a piece about being broken and changed and carrying on at Glow in the Woods this week. I’d be honoured if you visited. Something you might say there may make a difference to someone else. xxx