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.

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.

Keith Moon

At the start of summer I took our son to his first ever concert. It was something he was desperate to do but it was a bit of a leap of faith. Quite a lot of the rock concert experience involves stuff which can really unsettle him.

  • The noise
  • The flashing lights
  • The crowd
  • The unpredictable nature

That leap of faith was taken. Quickly he found a way of dealing with the crowd and the unpredictability. He would go to his seat, cover his head with his hood and concentrate fully on playing some games on my phone. He was so pleased that no one seemed to focus on this. But as soon as the lights went out the hood came down and he just soaked up the noise, the lights, the experience. He loved it.

So far he has seen the Hollywood Vampires, the Darkness, the Damned, Killswitch Engage and Iron Maiden.

The bank manager is getting really annoyed at me as next year (so far) it will be Thunder, Ozzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Status Quo and Kiss.

The Hollywood Vampires focused on celebrating the rock stars who we have died. Our son really appreciated this as it showed him that it was ok to celebrate people who we have sadly lost. One of the lost was Keith Moon. Fast forward several months and we were watching a video of the Who playing live. At the end of the concert our son mentioned that he was convinced that the drummer Keith Moon was in the team. That’s his way of saying that someone is autistic. It had never crossed my mind. When we did a google search we came across Roger Daltrey talking about Keith.

“I think he was possibly autistic maybe even with a touch of aspergers”

Again this just reinforces the importance of rock to him. He said it shows that members of the team can do something (rock) brilliantly.

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.

Halloween

We have some odd pets. This time it’s the big boy cat. For some strange reason as soon as we light the candle, the boy cat has to sit next to the pumpkin. If we move the pumpkin, the cat follows. Last year he did the same. Bizarre.

Halloween can be an odd time for our son. Before the world changed he loved the whole Halloween experience. Making the scariest pumpkin possible. But after his mum died it took on a different meaning. In his eyes it became a transition date. The cross over between the time he associates with death and funerals to the period of happiness and life. Over the last two years the period running up to Halloween has brought 3 major deaths – probably 3 out of the 4 closest family members. The period after Halloween brings fireworks, Christmas and anniversary of welcoming the mad dog into the family.

Halloween has now evolved into a mix of reflection for what has gone and for a celebration of happier times. Hence the pumpkin has now moved from the scariest possible to a sort of party boy. This is no bad thing.

Maybe the cat is waiting for the party to start. Waiting for ‘Trumper’ to start the festivities. I didn’t ask my son why he called this years pumpkin, Mr Trumper. I assume it’s because of the trumpet like thing in his mouth – can’t possibly think of anything else that the pumpkin could be named after….

Human Nature

Listening to David Bowie on the car stereo while driving into the local city. One hour earlier a conversation with the school convinces me that the they are not going to do any work on his Dyslexia. So it’s a hastily arranged meeting with the university to find out what testing and support they can offer. ‘Heroes’ blasts out from the speakers. Then I drive past a house. Not any old house, it’s a house that the two of us looked at 18 years ago. Suddenly I’m taken back to a different world. One which is full of dreams and hopes. Hopes of starting a family, maybe 3 kids. Dreams of spending a life together with the my sole mate. The most honest, calming, reassuring person I had ever met. Someone whose intrinsic goodness was the perfect anchor for my turbulent life. A world which was both exciting and happy.

Then suddenly I’m back in the real world. A chap who looks at least 90 swings his motorised wheelchair off the path and into the road. I brake as does the bus on the other side of the road. As the old chap drives serenely across the road he majestically flicks a v-sign to me and a middle finger to the bus. And with one surprisingly quick flick of the hand my underlying faith in human nature is restored…

Pants

Son was at school and I was trying to get some work done at my desk. When the world changed for us, I couldn’t fit my career around the new single parenting regime. So the career was kicked into touch. I was lucky, I managed to find a new job which was a better fit for the new world. Not great money but it just about pays the bills and allows me to be with my son.

Anyway this morning I was trying to catch up with work when the postman knocked at the door. As he handed me a parcel he casually pointed out that “it looks like there are a pair underpants is in the middle of your lawn”. I wonder how many times he’s said that during his rounds this morning. Unfortunately the postman was correct.

In my defence the ‘pants on the grass’ incident is unlikely to be due to my rock and roll lifestyle. More likely the finger of blame should be pointed at one of our four legged friends. It’s not the first time a pair of my pants has got out into the village. Who can forget the time a young mad puppy ran down the street carrying a pair of my pants. He was only stopped and my pants retrieved, when he found a tree in front of the church which was too enticing to ignore.

So this time the pup was the prime suspect. However he seemed preoccupied with his new two pals. So maybe not guilty.

So the next suspect is the boy cat. He has had a record of pinching socks and relocating next doors plants to our garden. However he was happily snuggled up in a sock draw and had been there for some time. So maybe not guilty.

Then we come to the girl cat. She was awake but as soon as I came into the room, she covered her face. Was that to hide her shame. Guilty?

Another trip to the crematorium

My son’s last grandparent passed away a couple of weeks ago. Almost exactly two years since his mum died. Six weeks before his mums death his other granny had passed away. So much death for someone so young.

The service was at the same place his mum was cremated. I was really concerned about how he would cope. He actually did ok. Well on the outside he was ok. On the inside I’m sure he was completely not ok. He was really quiet and distant for much of the day. Then on the way home he became more talkative. He didn’t want to talk about the service, he wanted to think about other things. He spent the next four hours talking about top 3 lists. He frequently compiles these, it seems like it’s a place he can visit which is safe and which he can fully control.

Top 3 Dinosaurs

  1. Spinosaurus
  2. Velociraptor
  3. T-Rex

Top 3 Wrestlers

  1. Kane
  2. A J Styles
  3. Edge

Top 3 Bands/Stars

  1. David Bowie
  2. Alter Bridge
  3. Kiss

Top 3 Living Creatures

  1. Peregrin Falcon
  2. Polar Bear
  3. Wolves

Top 3 fears

  1. Giraffes
  2. Cows
  3. Crowds

Top 3 funny shows

  1. Simpsons
  2. Horrible Histories
  3. Gravity Falls

And the lists went on and on. With each passing list his mood continued to lift. Then he said it’s about time my dad featured on one of the lists. For a few nano seconds I pictured myself competing for top spot with the likes of George Clooney or Dwayne Johnson. But clearly from my son’s cheeky smile, I was looking at the wrong end of the gene pool.

Top 3 Idiots

  1. Homer Simpson
  2. Dad
  3. Patrick (from Spongebob)

Not sure how to take the last list. I suppose at least I’m behind Homer, but really, in front of Patrick.

Hole in my bucket list

This morning witnessed the usual pre school panic. We must have a ruler in this house somewhere. Every corner searched (even the dog basket). Nothing. But I did find a couple of handwritten old bucket lists we had made before our son was born. I am really pleased that my partner got round to ticking most of her items off.

SORRY – getting married – SORRY SORRY on that one. It’s my greatest regret, the one I really feel like I let down my partner on. I thought we had plenty of time…..

My bucket list is less well ‘ticked off’.

  • Become a father✅
  • Partners for life✅
  • See The Eiger✅

All the other items are yet to be accomplished. It’s strange, it really doesn’t bother me. I am happy to cross the remaining items off. The desire to do these things went with my partner. As if someone put a hole in my bucket list. A bit like the hole in the house which has swallowed every single ruler.

I personally wouldn’t make a new bucket list. I only have one burning desire left … that my son starts fulfilling his dreams, ticking off his list. Now off to the shops to purchase rulers.

Uplifting rain

Yesterday was a strange day. Started very warm, dry and still. Finished very wet, cold and stormy.

It was also one of those moods swing days. It started really well with my son in great form. Then one Family movie later it had suddenly swung to tears and dark hearts. Movies which clearly advertise bereavement in the description can be planned for or better still avoided. It’s the ones which suddenly drop these on you without warning which cause the trouble. From a happy family on a trip of a lifetime to suddenly a young family trying to cope with the sudden death of the mum. I can’t remember seeing that bit in the synopsis. It really hit me, lord knows what it did to my young boy. It makes you feel like a completely incompetent parent … why didn’t we opt for the Scooby Doo movie.

But yesterday we had an unlikely saviour, the rain. After two months of completely dry weather the heavens opened. Stood outside in the rain, being almost blown off our feet in the wind. It just felt great. Seeing my son getting drenched to the skin and loving it. Today I just love the uplifting rain.