It would be so easy for me just to share stories of the progress my son and I are making and to set out to inspire. But that is not why I started writing this blog. All I’m really interested in is the truth. I’d be cheating those suffering the pain of grief and belittling the bereaved if everything I shared was positive, upbeat and promising.
Many of my days, however, are happy. Not whole days but moments within them and these days I rarely feel a prolonged sense of despair. I find pleasure in my son, my friends and my families. We talk, we laugh and we talk some more. I try to look towards a positive future not because some self help guide tells me to and not because I read overly directional features about how you should deal with grief, but because that’s the person I’ve discovered I am.
But I don’t think it’s possible to be positive all the time. At least not without chemical intervention or the patience to train your brain to teach your mouth to pull a Stepford Wife perma-smile, which probably just hides the reality of what’s behind the eyes.
Sometimes we all get low. Sometimes that happens when we think we are at our highest points. Sometimes it happens because we’ve gone too high and because what goes up usually does come down. A bit like planes I suppose.
And that’s where Desreen was last night. On a plane. She was on her way to see Jackson at his grandma’s house on a plane.
“She’s not Jackson. Remember I told you she loves you but she can’t ever come back?”
“She IS, Daddy! She’s coming.”
I thought we’d got there. I thought he understood. For once my optimism got the better of me. He’s only two but I suppose I thought that because he could repeat my words he’d grasped what they meant.
Perhaps he has. Perhaps what he said was just a childish fantasy or the delightful drivel toddlers speak when they tell you that they had a Tyrannosaurus rex over for a tea party in his underpants last morning. But perhaps I’ve had it all wrong and he does expect to see her again.
God only knows how he’d behave if she showed up now. He couldn’t even look at her for the first two hours after we once went away without him for two days. I suspect he’d get over it quicker this time.
But sadly the truth is it’s never going to happen. And I don’t know what makes me sadder; the crushing reality of the situation or his empty optimism about what the future might hold.
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This is syndicated content from Life as a widower
Content reproduced with the kind permission of Benjamin Brooks-Dutton