It’s one of those nights where everyone can sleep perfectly except for one person. I really could do with at least a few hours rest but it just won’t happen. Too many worries. When your tired the worries just keep circling around in your mind. Making you more tired but increasing the stress levels so you can’t sleep. So many worries circulating.

With the passing of his last grandparent this September this will be the first Christmas Day when it’s going to be just the two of us.. This is on top of this being the first Christmas since THAT SANTA CHAT.

Are we at the right school.

Is it time to consider sleep medication for our son. He’s got to sleep reasonably early tonight but that’s a rarity.

Which Dyslexia programme to pay for.

Should he return to school today even though his hand is still not right.

Son has not had a holiday in three years.

What happens to our son if something happens to me.

Do I replace the malfunctioning washing machine.

Can I get a couple more months out of the car tyres

Getting further behind the work schedule.

A few too many bills.

I’m not going to resolve any of these in my present mental state. I need to switch the brain off. So I’m going to try something completely left field. A hot milk (I don’t really like the stuff) and lights off then switch on. When our son was a baby he wouldn’t sleep. So we bought him a night light projector – he hated it. So tonight I’m switching on the baby projector. Lets see if the projected little blue and red stars can soothe this tired sole tonight.

Pets feel

Our pets give us so much entertainment and bring much needed smiles to this broken house. They have really helped get us through the last couple of years. Yes they can be terrors but humans can be oh so much worse….

But I think one pet needs a special mention. They big boy cat. He is such a softy. Even when the cats could venture outside he was not really an apex predator. Never worked out how to hunt. The girl cat would frequently bring him some live offerings. But the boy cat would carefully paw them, then roll over – I suspect he was hoping the vole would tickle his tummy. Strangely the vole would scurry off into the hedge counting it’s blessings. The boy cat would frequently get stuck in the tree requiring rescue. He was petrified of the cat flap so we had to cover it up. He had a favourite type of toy. He would only play with our son’s Dr Who Dalek plastic figures – nothing else. You would see him searching the toy box in a desperate attempt to find the elusive evil masterminds. He has worked out how to open door handles so he gets free run of the house.

But he was also inseparable from my partner. He would follow her about and he always seemed to be on her lap. When my partner went out the cat would sit at the front window and wait for hours until she came back. Sadly you can’t explain bereavement to a cat. I’ve got no idea what the boy cat is thinking. I can’t confirm that he is grieving like we are. But I know one thing for a fact. Every night he sleeps where our partner used to sleep and you frequently see him at the front window. I suspect he’s waiting for her to return.

Today

DEEP BREATHS – MOVE ON

Grief is a double edged sword. Yesterday felt like repeated thrusts to the heart. Focusing on what has been lost. That ‘why did it happen to me’ feeling. Everything reminded me of the loss. That video. Sad songs. Radio advertising – anything from where to go for your romantic Christmas meal to the perfect present for your loved one. Her favourite painting. Her favourite cat. That empty bed.

The walk, the wet walk did help a bit. It did help me get focused and ready for our son.

Today I’ve experienced the other side of the grief sword. The positive side. Now the focus is on how privileged I am. Even someone like me was able to experience 16 golden years. Romance. So many happy memories. A beautiful, perfect son. Grief is really everlasting love. That is something which can’t be lost.

One Million Minutes

For the first time in years I sat with my laptop doing some admin with breakfast TV on. I don’t know why, maybe the house just seemed too quiet. Then it all changed.

The TV programme showed an advert in support of a campaign to help lonely people in the U.K. – 1 Million Minutes. Within two minutes I was a flood of tears and a world of pain. I hadn’t realised the advert was about people who had lost love ones. Bearing in mind I cried watching an Indiana Jones movie. This took it it a whole new level. I’m still really shaky an hour later. Just thank god our son didn’t watch it. Not really sure why I’m sharing this or what I’m wittering on about. I think it probably shows the enduring power of love. Going to take the dog for a very long walk.

The video link is below.

http://youtu.be/AKLWE2bCYpQ

Mr Hawk

We have a top 50 list of animals in our house. It is a close battle for positions 3 to 50. But the top 2 are so far clear and both creatures have always been so close to our son’s heart.

Above is our son’s second favourite creature on the planet. I present to you the Harris Hawk. The smile on our son’s face when he got to hold the Hawk. I just wish his mum was there to see it. The handler started a pre handling safety checklist. The first question was to ask our son if he knew anything about the bird. Five minutes later. The handler said ‘remarkable’ and just handed the glove to our son and said “here’s the bird, you know more than I do, I’ll come back in 10 minutes.” For 10 minutes the bird of prey and our son just gazed into each other’s eyes. The bird never moved once.

We watched the next person handle the bird. The bird never stayed still flapping his wings and trying to peck. Completely different to his nature a few minutes ago. I just hope his dream of having a falconry comes true.

Mr Jones

After the world changed I was caught out on far too many occasions by TV and film producers incorporating ‘bereavement’ into their scripts. It seemed like everything our son watched reminded him of death, So I started a vetting process which helped reduce the upset. It has been working quite well….

Last night we watched the third Indiana Jones movie. It’s a wonderful bit of escapism and I’ve seen it a few times. From what I could remember it was a safe movie. But those viewings were quite a few years before our son lost his mum. Back then my take on life was oh so different and some bits of the movie obviously didn’t register.

One scene in particular. It lasts less than a minute. Indiana and his dad are talking about his childhood. Suddenly the line “she kept her illness from me” and it’s a brief discussion about his mum dying. It felt like a dagger to the heart for me even though I’m old and grizzled. Lord knows what it felt like to someone so young. Its at times like that you wish the ground would just open up and swallow you. How could I miss that.

That is oh so typical of parenting. It’s never too easy and when do you start taking things for granted it comes back to bite you on the bottom.

No dreams

11.30pm – Finally lights out in son’s bedroom. Normally that would induce a mad scramble for my bed. But tonight I just don’t feel sleepy. Very tired yes, but frustratingly sleepy no.

12.05am – Attempt to sleep

12.40am – No sleep, no dreams. Still so tired. Bed abandoned.

12.50am – In my tired state starting to fill up with sadness. Suddenly feel very lonely.

1.10am – Only going to get more depressed if I don’t do something. My eyes glance over to the DVDs. Decision made. It’s time to watch kiddies stuff.

1.15am – Peppa Pig. Please tell me I’m not turning into a Daddy Pig.

1.30am – Ben and Holly. Found a new game – try and identify the voice actors from Peppa Pig featuring in Ben and Holly.

1.50am – Teletubbies. Annoyingly their tummy tellies are bigger than our TV.

2.10am – In The Night Garden. Scarily I remembered every single character name. Decided I want to live there.

2.30am – Hectors House. Now this is a really old one. My favourite as a kid. I’m not sure a dog walking round with a gun shouting “it’s a hunting gun” would sit well with modern TV Executives.

3.00am – Banana Splits. Can’t believe I’m laughing my head off at a letter box which is refusing to let one of the gang have a letter. Also can’t believe I haven’t woke my son up when I shouted “size of an elephant” (that won’t make any sense to you if you have never watched this)

3.30am Inspector Gadget. Why is Inspector Gadget not one of the Avengers? Thankfully this is the cartoon and not the action movie – what were they thinking of.

4.00am Paddington Bear. Made myself a marmalade sandwich to enhance the viewing experience – decided marmalade doesn’t taste great at this time of day.

4.25am Clangers. In my zonked out state I unbelievably can understand Clangers Speak.

4.40 Now I’m completely and utterly gone. As they say in kiddies tv land – time for bed…

Moments

Everyday I find a quiet part of the house or garden and just sit and think. I think about the loved ones who are no longer with us. Just 10 minutes of reflection, but it is so important to me. Just trying to remember some of the key moments we shared. Trying to reconnect. They may not be here physically anymore but in my mind they are still here, still part of my life. Today I remembered a trip to Lauterbrunnen. Holding hands with my partner drinking in the alpine air and watching in awe at the spectacular Staubbach Falls

The reflections are uplifting but are tinged with sadness.

Such a happy memory but oh so brief. Little did we know how few opportunities we would get to visit this wonderful alpine setting together. Sometimes life is hard and painful but I am thankful that I have these memories. Thankful that I had that brief moment in time and also thankful that now, a 1000 miles away Lautterbrunnen is there. The falls are still crashing down given other couples the same opportunity to create their own brief moment in time. So today on this day, this somber day I am sad but oh so thankful.

Almost perfect

Yesterday was one of those almost perfect days. Everything went to plan. An early walk through autumnal parkland. Stunning colours. Early enough that we had the place to ourselves. No need for anxious glances at strangers. A wonderful wide ranging conversation with no distractions.

If you had one of the escaped Jurassic World dinosaurs, how would you disguise it when you took it for a walk?

Why is the Easter Bunny a rabbit and not a mole or lamb or donkey?

Why do footballers dive?

Can you hear explosions in space?

Who would win a battle between a 30ft T-Rex and a 30ft John Cena?

Is there anything in the world that Bear Grylls wouldn’t eat? Could it be Brussel Sprouts?

How would we cope if numbers had not been invented?

Then a day at home. No phone calls. No knocks at the door. No visitors in the neighbours gardens, A day filled with trampolines, playing ball with the dog, Top Trumps, Lego building, water pistol fights and an old ScoobyDoo movie.

A completely relaxed and contented son. No anxiety. No meltdowns. No worries about fitting in. Just happy and laughing.

I said it was almost perfect. Just two improvements.

I just wish his mum was here to join in. And…

It’s a privilege to spend such quality time with my son. I can’t think of anything else I would rather do. But I just wish one day that I can look out of the window and see our son having a similarly wonderful time …. playing regularly with someone his age. Not having to play with his boring old dad. With someone he can call his best friend. That would be the perfect day.

I want that hat

Halloween update.

Just finished watching ParaNorman. My son loves the film. It makes him cry but also laugh. I think the themes of being an outcast and loss resonate with him. It does the same to me.

Mr Trumper the Party Pumpkin has lost his hat. The puppy kept wagging his tail, going crazy and knocking the pumpkins party hat off. Eventually we gave up and tried the hat on the dog. Dog is currently trotting around the house like he is the bees knees. Got to find Trumper a new hat, don’t want him losing his temper. Not on Halloween.