We have reached that “time of year”.
I think it shall always be called that now, in hushed reverential tones with a knowing look. An unsettling time of remembering exactly what we were doing this time in November 2010.
Ushered in by the first falling of leaves to the explosions of fireworks on the fifth and building to a crescendo by Remembrance Sunday – how fitting.
Last year’s bonfire night was spent with friends in the garden. It was something we had done quite often over the years with various groups of people that will never be the norm again. Andrew wandering around the house beforehand cursing the fact he can’t find a torch that works then finally striding off in his big work coat, box of fireworks in one hand and loose matches jangling in his pocket where they had fallen free.
It’s strange what sticks in your head but I’ll always remember that rattle of matches. It makes me smile to think of all the fires he lit, the one that very nearly got out of hand and burnt the garden fence. It was my turn to tease him for a change!
This year we spent November 5th with the same group of friends as last year. Although there are some welcome new additions. Two more families have joined our group and Andrew would have enjoyed the banter and repartee after the fireworks.
It’s so good to laugh and take pleasure from the happy times together.
Now of course we are heading for another weekend and the first anniversary of Andrew’s death. Most of the time I am quite calm and philosophical about it. In some ways isn’t it just another day? I could never understand all this fuss about NOT making big decisions in the first year. The sharp intake of breath when I announced I had put the house on the market six months in. As it is we are still here – crisis averted. But I have had a few wobbles of late.
Last night I was talking to youngest son as I tucked him into bed. We’d had a minor falling out earlier in the evening. He wouldn’t do as he was told, I crumpled and the enormity of the task of bringing up two boys on my own hit hard made worse by lack of sleep and waking every morning at six since we changed the clocks.
By bedtime we were on a more even footing and I was trying to reason with him.
“Grandma and Grandad are coming on Friday.”
“Why do we have to have the bossy people staying?”
He has his dad’s way of seeing the world, being blunt and forthright, some might say rude. Although he loves his grandparents deeply they do tend to be stricter than me and won’t let him get away with so much, especially now when they know how tired and frustrated I can get. I am sure it probably should be the other way round. It takes a lot of energy to set boundaries and keep discipline going on your own.
“I need my Mum and Dad here to help me.”
His next comment cut to the core.
“That’s not fair. I don’t have a Dad anymore.”
What could I say?
He cried softly as he clung to me and I offered him my bed to sleep in beside me but he refused and finally, reluctanly let me go.
It is so unfair that my Dad is here and his is gone. I don’t know what I’ll do when one day I lose my own father. Our relationship has grown this year as I have become more reliant on him and lapsed back into being his little girl. A father’s love and comfort is irreplaceable.
Youngest son is still such a little boy and it makes me cry to think of all the things he will miss out on as he grows up.
This "time of year" is difficult for not just me but all of us. We have all lost so much and this is our time to remember.
Sometimes there are no words. If I can find none to say to my own son then maybe you can’t find them either.
I have to tell you that just knowing someone is out there and they care is all I need; I hope and pray that works for the boys too.
A smile, a hug, a knowing look could be enough to help us through this “time of year”.