It has now been 18 months since Claytie died, and it still doesn’t feel real! I know that he isn’t coming back, and I have accepted that – I know it, I feel it, I live it every day… but somehow I still go to talk to him or call him a hundred thousand times, and there is a shock to the system every time I realise it again. It is a surreal feeling like no other that I have ever had before… and there is no getting away from it ever.

I talk about him all the time. He is part of just about every story that I tell – and if I don’t mention him out loud, you can rest assured that I’m thinking about him, and his reactions to the story as I’m talking. I journal everyday, both as a way to clear my head before I try to sleep, and as a way of talking to him about everything that is happening. I don’t believe that I will ever stop doing this, or that I should. It feels like a healthy way to process my grief.

The thing that does feel weird, is getting up everyday and moving on! It feels almost as though I am somehow separate people living my life at the moment. It’s a kind of apathetic floating sensation that glances over the things that are happening to me and around me. None of it somehow feeling real.

There is the me that gets on with the day-to-day stuff.. bitching and moaning about having to clean the house, getting the groceries and going to work – the same kind of moaning that we all do! – I pray to the Lotto Fairy almost daily to get me out of this one, but I still hesitate to buy tickets because that was always Clayties thing to do. I can just hear him saying to me that if I were to win, I would divvy up the money all wrong and that he should be in charge of it! – an argument that he also had with my mum on more than one occasion!

There is the me that is trying to be there for the boys, to get them through the ups and downs that they face – and we’ve had some doozies in the last 18 months! I’m definitely not sure I’m getting it right, it is a constant worry that I have. That I’m not good enough, supportive enough, present enough for them. That the things that are going wrong are because I’m not enough, that Claytie was better…

There is the other me that just wants to curl up in a corner and cry forever about what we’re missing, the future that I should be living and the things that he will now never be a part of… all the plans that we had that now can’t happen. So many times I have to stop myself, my brain, from finishing a thought, because to go there just hurts too much.

And then there is the me that’s trying to get on with things and keep living. The new me. The me that goes to trivia and karaoke, that puts on big girl pants to meet new people. The one that paints a smile on her face and tries to believe it; that really wants to believe it, and sometimes/mostly does. This one is hard to do every day because while I don’t feel guilty – I have no choice but to keep going, there is a feeling of otherness in this new world.

It’s exhausting, and I am sure not exclusive to me. What I want to know and what I’m trying to work on, is putting all of these pieces back together. Trying to believe in the life I am now living and acknowledging it as mine rather than feeling like it belongs to someone else and I’ve just borrowed it for a while. It’s like an out of body experiences, but I want to come back in – I just don’t know how.

This new normal is a strange place to be. I don’t like it, but somehow I have to make it fit – I have no choice! I have to take all the parts- the things and the people that make me smile and feel happy (and they definitely do exist) and I need to own them and know that’s it’s ok… it’s a work in progress, baby steps that will hopefully bring me to a place of if not happiness than at least some kind of contentment. I guess I can only keep trying with it and we will see what happens next.

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