Hello. Don’t know about you, but this evening is beautiful here. Sunny and autumnal and interesting. I don’t usually like autumn – too deathly really. But this year feels different. Possibly because 2016 has been a strange old year. All things feel slightly tilted.
This week I’ve been reading lots about people’s perspectives on death. Deaths of their babies and deaths of older people. Sounds morbid, but it’s comforting. Really comforting.
Two things have been particularly helpful – the first is about how, when people talk about the death of their child or, equally, the early death of a parent, a really common sadness is about future weddings and how the person won’t be there.
Not being at Sylvie’s wedding was one of the things Rosie was most upset about. Planning Rosie’s funeral was the closest we could get to a wedding for her. Curious how that is a defining thing for people.
The second thing is talking about children. I know I fretted about this in the early days after Rosie died – how many children did I now have?
Our approach has always been that we have three children. But then, inevitably, when people ask about them, it sometimes feels quite callous to lead strangers into the bombshell of Rosie. And then they apologise and then you have to say it’s all ok. And they weren’t to know, etc, etc,etc. All the while wondering why there’s not a better way of dealing with this, and at the same time knowing that not to talk about her would be wrong.
So I’ve inverted the family order, so the youngest is first and then the middle – and that way I can talk proudly about them before breaking the news. Because apart from some brave or similarly afflicted people, it does tend to be a conversation closer. And I wonder if I look tragic when I speak about it? I don’t feel tragic – but who knows?
Anyway, one of the things I read was from a parent with a similar experience. And they were resolute about talking about their son to strangers because – and this is so obvious I’m annoyed I hadn’t thought about it before – they don’t not mention their grandparents in suitable conversation even though at their age most people’s grandparents are dead. They always had grandparents so there’s no question, no confusion, just acceptance. That’s so liberating.
Final random thing – I tried to call Cal last night. Twice he cancelled the call. Cancelled MY call. This is Calum. Eventually I got a furtive text – ‘I am watching a film Mum’. Or in other words, go away and leave me alone. I was so proud. 😀😀😀.