The wonderful British summer. Not the day to leave your washing out to dry…..
Every day, every hour I think of my lost love. It’s the same for my son, he’s always remembering his mum.
Some people keep a jar which they fill with memories. It helps them keep memories alive. We just go through the old photographs. My partner would moan at the number of photos I would snap over our 18 years together. It’s the one thing I’m pleased I ignored her on.
Today we remember again Switzerland and the happy times before the world changed. I hope these memories keep flooding back.
I have always been a very social type of person, enjoying company, enjoying conversations. That was before the world changed.
Now I spend significant amounts of time on my own. It’s been one of the biggest adjustments I have had to make as a single parent. The opportunities to go out into our mad old world just don’t seem to exist now. It’s coming up to 11 months since my partner died, and in that time I have had two nights out. One was for a meal with a family from school and the other was a trip with my son to watch the wrestling. Living in a small village you just don’t see anyone after you return from school.
During the day the splendid isolation continues. You do the school run in the morning then it’s a combination of housework, shopping and trying to do part time work from home. Then it’s back to school on the pick up run. The only regular interaction you get is with other parents at the school gates and the poor postman (I’m sure he could do without this every day). Today I timed things and I had a 1 minute chat with the poor postie and 7 minutes with other parents. That’s on top of the 2 minutes I spent on the phone trying to tell a random caller that I didn’t want a new kitchen or windows. That’s why I treasure the time I get to spend with my son (even when it’s spent talking all things Pokémon). I am genuinely thankful to have the chance to spend time with my son.
I always kind of recognised how tough it was for single parents, I just didn’t appreciate the isolation which could go with the role. If I had known about the isolation straight after my partners death I think that it might have sent me over the edge. Thankfully I’ve been able to adjust to it over the months. Now everything revolves around my son and nothing else really matters. Living your life through your children. I listened to someone on the radio who had also lost their partner and they also talked about living their life through the child. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only person surviving splendid isolation in this way.
One of the most perplexing aspects of the single parenting role I’ve found so far is the decision making process. Over the weekend I’ve agonised over the following vexed problems:
- Can my young son have a sleep over?
- Do I get the puppy neutered?
- Do I get the exploding tumble dryer fixed or replaced?
- Can my young son watch Suicide Squad as all his friends have?
- Is it time to buy new bedding?
- Can my young son have a finger spinner as all his friends have them?
- Has the oven gone past the point of common deciency and require cleaning?
- Is it too soon after the world changed to go on holiday? Can we afford to go on holiday? Where to go on holiday? Should we take the puppy with us?
- Can my son have the new IPad game as all his friends have it?
- Can we survive the three remaining school weeks with two pairs of now under sized and very worn trousers?
- Do I save my sons birthday cards or bin them?
- Which Secondary School does my son go to next year?
- Has my son got just got a cold or does he need to visit the doctor?
- Can my son have a new lego figure to replace the one his dad may have accidentally hovered up?
And so it went on…
Before the world changed we would talk these questions through as a couple. In most cases my partners insight and common sense would guide us to something like a decent answer. Looking back it seemed so straightforward and rational.
Now it’s just me, its not straightforward and it’s certainly not rational. I anguish over every decision, with often no guide to help me. The biggest problem is that I try to second guess what my partner would have said and done. I still try to come to a joint decision with my deceased partner. Unfortunately I often would see the world differently to my partner. I just can’t seem to second guess her great insights and wisdom. I just can’t replicate her thought process. As a result decision tend to get delayed, or constantly changed. When decision are made they are often a compromise between my viewpoint and with my best guess of what my partners viewpoint would have been, The decisions are often not very good in practice. Something has to change.
So from now on I’m going to try and trust my own judgement more. I’m going to try and learn from the mistakes I will make. My hope is that my young son has inherited his mums insight and he will become my guiding light. And yes my son did get a replacement lego figure.
My son has gone to bed and old photos are bringing back memories again.
We started from the Gomergrat viewing platform (3089m) on a perfect Swiss summer morning.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the last holiday I had with my lost love. I wish that I could relive every single minute of our time in The Alps. But memories sometimes fade and too often you don’t realise how precious life is. You need to seize these happy times and truly immerse yourself in them.
Old photos help fill in some of the gaps.
Historically I was a prolific photo snapper, often being shouted at for taking too many pictures. The pictures would then just sit in albums or memory cards, and just gather dust. I would never find the time to enjoy them.
Since the world changed, my camera now tends to gather dust and the old photos are frequent sources of smiles and tears. A pathway back to happier times.
This week has been a school holiday. Before the world changed, the three of us would always use this week for a family trip away. What a difference a year makes. Since coming back from school on Friday, we haven’t left the house. We just didn’t feel like doing anything. The start of the holidays coincided with our departed love ones birthday. We tried to celebrate the birthday but we both just felt somber. The plan to release a birthday balloon failed as we couldn’t get the thing to fly more than 10 yards. Next year will be a bigger balloon and hope for some wind.
Just a few days of isolation does funny things to my mind. Part of me desperately wants a knock at the door or the phone to ring. A longing for any sort of outside contact. However as no contact materialises, I’m strangely relieved. It helps mask how out of synch I still feel with the outside world.
Today we took a decision to break out of our isolation and spend what’s left of the week going for day trips. First trip would be a walk in the hills. Forty minutes later we were stuck in the inevitable traffic jam. At least it provided my son with an excuse for showing me how to play the Pokémon card game. Thankfully the Pokémon session was interrupted quickly by moving cars again.
Almost at our destination we stopped off for refreshments. Junk food in hand I arrived at the cash till and struck up my first outside conversation of the week with the cashier. I was hoping for something more uplifting than being told that the credit card machine is beeping at me because it won’t accept a Pokémon playing card as a valid payment. Desperately trying to find my visa in a pocket full of Pokémon cards, my son pointed out to the cashier, “that’s my dad and he’s a muppet!”. At least one thing hasn’t changed.
What do you say when your son asks “do you send dead mums a birthday card, and if so where to?”
I had no answer. I must have missed the class on this one. It’s another one of those ‘I’m out of my depth here’. If only I could find a Dummies Guide.
Thankfully my son came up with a solution. So in a few weeks a birthday card will be attached to a balloon and set off into the skies. The wind will then do the rest.
Today I took our son to see wrestling. It’s one of his favourite things.
When we’ve gone in the past, his mum would stay at home, she hated wrestling. We would return home to a bright and warm house, with mum peaking through the curtains waiting for us to return.
That was before the world changed.
Tonight as I drove into our drive, I glimpsed the perfect metaphor for my changed life.
To the side of me was my excited son, still talking about today’s action. In front of me was a cold and dark house, with no lights and no one waiting at the window.
The lights have gone out in my world but I’m driven by the desire to give my son the best possible childhood.
I’m off to bed to try and recharge the batteries. Then I start again tomorrow trying to be a decent mum/dad.