My dear boy,
All I can really say is that I miss you like crazy….
Since you left me there has been a wide hole that nothing has been able to fill. This is our first summer without you. It is so quiet that the silence of your absence in our lives is deafening. I knew you were a big character when you were here in my life and I am thankful to God that I never wasted any moment we shared. I have found myself wishing for many things but maybe she is right.
I met her, I told her all my feelings. She was neutral and her neutrality gave me a safety net to express my innermost and darkest pains. Many deep rooted feelings that clutched at my heart and filled it with grief. After I spoke with her, I felt lighter and the grief seemed to have vamoosed…
It was a feeling of relief, weightlessness. No longer did I bear the weight of the grief that I dragged around. I grew wings after I met her. I believed I could fly. So I began testing the wings I grew as a result of my encounter with her. No sooner had I planned and begun executing my first flight than I realised that my moves seemed to revolve back around my loss.
She drew my attention to it when we met again.
“Are you sure that you are not now filling the void with all these plans?”, she asked to my irritation.
“NO!!!!”, I screamed.
How could she even possibly feel that. It just felt like she was rubbishing the progress I felt that I was making.
“You are moving too fast, you are too decisive, perhaps you need to think things through a little bit more before you commit to it”, her scrawny voice said.
“OMG now she is sounding like my mother”, I thought.
Sometimes I wonder why she cannot just be happy for me. Why all these irritating comments. She was becoming so negative to occupy the position I placed her in my life.
I sat in silence and considered her words. Was she right? Could there be any sense in her words? She was after all on my side.
You know since I was a child, I always did everything very fast. I never took too much time to make decisions or reach conclusions. The only thing that ever moved slowly in my life was pregnancy. It was the only thing I could not rush or create shortcuts for. But perhaps decisions that had to be taken post- grief needed like she said to be considered carefully. It is always a bad idea to make decisions when under stress. Grief is a very stressful time.
My question today though is: How long is long enough? Will this ever be over? Will life ever be the same? The good news is that with my faith I know that I serve a good God who makes everything ok in the end.
When I got home, I shook off scary whispers. I did not want anything to hold me back. For the first time in ages, I felt like I could move on. It has been so hard these past few weeks since Otito my angelboy passed away but when I woke up I thought that it was finally time to confront the big question “what next?”. What was I going to do with the rest of my life.
Before becoming a parent carer, I had dreams of becoming a manager one day. A manager of businesses, people, data and all that. Bagging a degree in Economics from a prestigious university gave me a good start. Within a few years, I was climbing up the ladder. Life was good. It’s fair to say that I was living the dream.
Well all that changed when I moved to England. The career dream stalled a bit-the perks of relocation. In no time, I settled nicely into a humble role at the bottom of the organisational ladder in the company that I joined (to be fair bottom sounds a bit harsh, make that the start of the ladder). Happy days… a quick maternity break and hey presto! My luck changed forever. I did not plan to have a sick child but it happened anyway. Not long afterwards I assumed the role as parent carer to my bundle of joy.
I did find the obvious fact that I needed to dedicate all my time to this role very challenging for a long time. It demanded a bit more than just caring for any other child. In the end when my psychology had taken enough battering, I threw in the towel and embraced my new destiny. It was a role that I began to learn to love and enjoy. I poured my heart and soul into making everything right for my boy. I did my best to juggle his care with making our family work despite stresses. I even found some stability within the chaos.
Sincerely there were times when I longed for the good old life. I even tried to venture back at different times but that too was logistically impossible. My boy was too special for any mainstream child minder to accept him for more than an hour. That’s how I saw it and as you can imagine no employer would have me for just an hour. I too could not bear the thought of putting him in danger by allowing any untrained person close to his complex health needs. In no time it was astadavista baby to any job!
As soon as he passed away I felt lost.
Anyone would have thought that I would have smiled at the prospect of finally being able to go back to work. Well, that would have been the case if it was not death that had brought my previous role (as carer) to an end. Days turned into weeks, and still I did not yearn for work. But as you know life is callous. Even grieving mothers and not spared from the continuity of life. The earth kept spinning despite the joys and sorrows of life. It unfortunately had to go on.
So one day, I prepared my CV and sat in a room full of HR executive asking me the usual questions.
“Why do you want to work for us?”
“What relevant skills do you have?”
All those questions swept through my being like water over rocks by the seashore. I heard myself answering and watched as their eyes lit up at my performance. It was all an act. I was absolutely demotivated. But I needed to survive. And so there I was. As you can imagine I got offered a job.
The letter is sat right next to my writing pad on the table from which I am jotting down these thoughts to you. The only question on my mind now is why am I still telling you this and not signing on the dotted lines.
I will tell you why.
For the first time I am confronting the reality that signing these will be tantamount to signing away something important (I’m sure I will sign it anyway) but the weight of this realisation has crushed any excitement that should have come with finally getting a job.
The mix of events we face create experiences that we take with us into the rest of our lives. We can be made or marred by them. If there’s one thing I have learnt within the last four years, it’s that the things that create the most happiness seldom generate the largest revenue (at least initially).
I feel like I have come out of this sadness a different and more attentive person. The attentiveness is not deliberate so don’t bring out the praise drums just yet. It is just a by-product of my pain. I now acknowledge that I am no longer the same person I was before I became Otito’s mum- the parent carer. I am now more interested in taking what I have left of my life and making a difference which it. Perhaps by so doing, the ache in my bleeding heart will be dulled.
I am not sure that the ache will ever disappear. What I think is that if I play my cards right, perhaps it will become second nature. The ache I feel now is the result of my endless longing for my boy.
So let’s go back to the beginning again.
Unlike what she thinks, I know he is gone and I am not trying to replace him. I just think that if I look hard enough, I may find ways to recreate the joy I once experienced in his presence. I will know when I find the right job or activity to occupy what used to be my time with Otito. Otito’s care was my job. It was my pride. I wore the emblem of being his parent carer like the queen wears her most priced broaches. I finally found an existence within the trials. It’s had to find a new occupation that will be as fulfilling. I won’t stop searching. Good things come to those who wait. I will take this one for now to keep body and soul but I won’t stop searching.
So my darling boy, I am trying to fill up that little gape that you left behind when you left. Don’t worry too much about me. I will get there in the end…
Thank you for reading
Photo Credit Pixabay