Warning – Snake

It’s taken a year but we’ve started trying to visit places again. We started going on a couple of hill walks.  Very quiet and avoiding crowds.  It might sound bitter but I didn’t want to see happy families – it would just remind us of what we have lost.  I know my son struggled for months when he saw other children being with their mums.  

But time moves on and I’ve got to try and give our son the happiest childhood he can possibly have.  So as soon as he became more comfortable with seeing ‘happy families’, it was time to try and make new good memories.  He has started to enjoy visiting places again, where as I still spend too much time seeing reminders of the past.  But on each new visit I do try to spend more time living in the present.   Trying to keep the retrospective to when I’m alone, not when I’m with my son.  My son is now good at telling me when he wants to talk about his mum.

We ventured to Doncaster Wildlife Park.  It’s one of our favourite places, such a good family day out.  As we were walking towards the Polar Bear zone we stopped dead in our tracks.  In the middle of the path was a snake – a Grass Snake I think.  It was happily consuming a poor frog.  That’s the first wild snake I have ever seen in Britain.  All the years spent walking through the countryside and you end up seeing your first wild snake in a zoo.  We watched it for 10 minutes before it slid off into a grassy bank.
It’s a memory, a new memory, a good memory.  

Sunsetting

We sat watching the sun go down the other day.  My partner used to love watching the changing colours in the sky.  


It’s been almost a year since the world changed for my son and I.   Although so young, he appears to be coping reasonably well.  In many ways better than his dad.  He can focus on living for today, while I still drift too often into the past.  He does revisit the past but he prefers to do that in the form of celebrations to mark key dates.  So we fast approach the first anniversary of the world changing.  We have decided to mark the anniversary by visiting one of his mums favourite places.  I’m sure the visit will see tears but hopefully more smiles.  Trying to focus on how fortunate we were to be granted such happy times.

The sky changed to a deep purple and red (the camera didn’t do it justice).  It’s a new memory.  A nice memory that has occurred since the world changed.  It is so important that we keep creating memories.  My son is so right to focus on living today.  I must try to follow his teachings.

The Rose

The world continues around me at a frantic pace but for me time has slowed down since my beloved partner died last year.

Fourteen months ago I gave my partner a miniature rose as a present.  At that stage I had no idea that she would be gone in a matter of weeks.  Now the Rose has decided to flower after months of looking rather sad and bedraggled.  I’m not sure if it’s a sign that life goes on, a reminder of the cycles of life, or just that I got round to feeding it a few weeks ago. 

Two things I do know for certain:

1) It reminds me that although I feel time has slowed down, almost a year has now past since the world changed,

2) How much I still love her and that makes me smile.

School drop off

I would share the School drop off with my partner.  It was something I never really thought much about, just a task you try to complete as quick as possible.  Just try to make sure your son arrives on time, hasn’t forgotten anything and looks reasonably tidy.  When it was my responsibility things tended not to be that well organised and my poor son was often last to arrive just seconds before the start of school.  

The School pick up was always more sort after as you could then spend time with your kid.  

I never gave any thought to social aspect of the school transport process.  

That was before the world changed.

Now fast forward 10 months and I find myself in the long summer school break.  Suddenly I now appreciate how important the School drop and pickup has become.  Without the twice daily interactions with other parents the world has become a very isolating place.  Don’t get me wrong, spending days talking Pokémon and wrestling is rewarding, it’s time spent with the most important person in the world to me.  

But sometimes you yearn for contact with the outside world.  Even if it’s just a five minute moan about the great British summer. That’s where the School run comes in.  Since my partner died it has become my only consistent contact with the outside world.  Something I truly appreciate and look forward to.  Maybe that’s the reason my son is now often the first to arrive in the playground on a morning.  It buys me a couple more minutes in the real world.

Memories keep flooding back

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.

Splendid isolation 

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.

Perfect evening

We sat and watched the moon slowly rise above the Alps on a hot summers evening.  We had no idea that the world was about to change forever.  It would prove to be our last ever night on holiday together. But in blissful ignorance we had a perfect evening.  Thank you Switzerland.