For the year after Claire died I wrote so many blog posts and every one of those contained so much pain. In recent times the blog posts have been more positive and uplifting… But sometimes the pain returns.
It’s my youngest daughter’s 18th birthday today.
Claire and I had 4 kids, all close together, 4 under 4 years old at one point!
It was really tough with no time to think or do anything for ourselves… All there was were the kids.
About 10 years ago Claire started to count down the years, months and days to when she considered herself ‘free of parental responsibility’ when the youngest was 18.
Every time the kids kicked off, she’d smile at me and say through gritted teeth “7 years, 3 months and 2 days to go”. We laughed. Sometimes.
She told all of the kids (and me) that when she was free of parental responsibility that she was having a year sabbatical. No cooking, no washing, no cleaning, only doing things that she wanted to do.
When she died the countdown was at 3 years 11 months.
Today it’s at zero.
The one thing that I’ve discovered over this past four years is that whenever there is pain this can be helped by taking a ‘learning’ from the situation.
When we learn something it’s a positive, we can either learn something that we should do or learn something that we shouldn’t do… Either way we can improve our lives for the future.
So what have I learnt this time?
I’ve learned that:
- This pain will never go away, it’s part of me, it’s part of [my] life.
- What happened to us as a family will continue to impact us when we least want it to, birthdays and anniversaries are no exception.
- Putting life on hold isn’t worth it..
- Be clear about why we are delaying doing things we want to do and ask ourselves the question “What does this thing I want to do in the future get for me? And how can I have that, at least in part, now?”, That thing we are putting off may get us freedom, enjoyment, fulfilment, excitement or something else… Why delay those feelings, let’s look for other ways to enjoy them now, whilst we can.
Today is a day of very mixed emotions. I’m totally excited for my daughter, happy in so many ways and yet, at the same time so desperately sad that Claire never saw her day zero.
Or perhaps she did…