Your latest trick

Do you want to know what my brain’s latest trick is? Well today it’s particularly keen on throwing me random flashback happy memories out of nowhere and then, just as I’m almost smiling at the memory, dragging me back to the here and now and painfully reminding me, as if I needed reminding, that I’m never going to have any of that again. I am never going to see him again, talk to him, be hugged by him, feel safe and protected by him, curl up and sleep with him, and so much more, ever again. Thanks brain, great way to ruin a perfectly acceptable afternoon out with my youngest. Did you know sunglasses are a godsend? You can do a lot of crying behind them, with the odd judicious wipe of the face, without getting caught crying.

And it is amazing the things that can set your mind off. Watermelon. Camembert. Watch straps. I could go on but I’m not going to. Besides, they’re my memories, to hold on to, to keep and to treasure. They’re not for sharing, and they’re all I have now. They’re mine. No-one can take them away from me.

Coming home is always the hardest. Because I’m never coming home to him. He’s not waiting for me with a smile and hug, and plans for the rest of the day, even if my brain sometimes fools itself into thinking that. So it’s a dark road that leads to my house. Sometimes I think it would be better if I never left here at all. But life doesn’t work like that, because life has to go on and actually, for all that it hurts on return, I know that being out of the house is good for me. And I have to keep on living. Or at least trying to live, trying to fake it so that maybe I make it.

I miss him. So much. And you know what? I miss being happy, I really do. I used to be a happy person. A positive person. And now I’m not sure I even remember what happy feels like. It’s been so long… And I do try. If I focus really hard on the present and what I or we are doing, and play that mindfulness game, I can almost pretend that life’s approaching some sort of ok, and it’s like when it was just us three many years ago… But it isn’t. And it’s wrong to try and carry on like that, as if none of it happened. That’s not honouring his memory, that’s not bearing witness. He was, we were, and now he isn’t and we’re not. And that doesn’t just go away for all the trying in the world. Reality always comes back and hits home.

He may not be here. But he will always be with me. I’m still trying to figure out how to do this without him. I still don’t know how, and I still don’t know who I am now. But I’m still doing it. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what he’d want me to do. And I have people who want me to keep doing it, and I’ll ignore the ones who don’t. So I’m trying. And here we go, another day done, with another one to come. As ever, one day at a time, one hour at a time, sometimes one breath at a time…

PS: It’s ironic isn’t it? I have so many lyrics, so many songs, that I can use to say things, to express things. Yet I can’t listen to music. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. And now? It doesn’t really matter what it is, what it says, it just seems to rip my heart out every time. There will always be a lyric that triggers, a key change that pulls on the heart strings, a song that pops up that is full of memories and associations. I miss it, like I miss him. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think of him and smile and not cry. Maybe one day I’ll be able to play music, in the sunshine, in the car, with the wind blowing through the windows, and it’ll be ok. Maybe…

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