This weekend is another one of those milestone moments that we all have in life. My oldest son and his wife are hosting a baby shower to celebrate the baby that is due in December (hopefully this side of Christmas). I am super excited to be Granny, and I know the boys are looking forward to becoming Uncles… but the whole thing has also been tinged with a whole lot of anxiety. It is incredibly bittersweet. It is another one of those things that Claytie should be here for. He adored babies and would have been the most doting, fabulous Grandad. It is just another thing that highlights the all encompassing-ness of our grief, and the way it sneaks up on you in different ways.
I am anxious about the baby shower, and it has taken me a little while to work out that the anxiety I have been waking up with this week is for this reason. It is a big day, lots of people who love us will be there. It is a family event, everyone will have their people there and while the boys will all be there too, I will be on my own, missing Claytie. Its quite a conflicted feeling, because I am super excited about the baby coming and I can not wait to be Grandma, but he should be here for it! I am feeling absolutely the unfairness of what is missing, what that means and what it looks like… and I don’t like that picture! I can’t change it, I have to live with it and that is really, really hard.
In lots of ways my life now is kind of compartmentalised. There are a whole bunch of things that are happy and exciting and new, and then others are wishes for how it should still be – with Claytie. Its messy in my brain and I can go from one feeling to the other and back again in a flash. Sometimes I can have both in the same moment. It really feels like I am two different people in lots of ways! It is exhausting, and I don’t know how to do it differently… or if it is even possible?! It is also hard to explain. We had so many plans for how our life was going to look. Plans we had made for travel and our house, work and the boys… and none of those things can happen now – and even if they do they are never going to be the way we had planed because Claytie isn’t here anymore.
I was having a conversation at work about the boys and some of the things they have gotten up to over the years (I am currently in a department with a lot of different people, not just admin but also ward staff), and one of the guys that is in the same section was asking me all kinds of questions about it all – comparing things that he did at that age. I said something about being happy that Claytie was there for a lot of the more dramatic things that have happened (car accidents etc) and the poor fellow welled up and you could just about see the lightbulb moment for him when he realised that Claytie isn’t just gone, but that he is not here for the big future moments that we all take for granted. He got very, very quiet and then needed a tissue. In a weird way it was actually really nice to have that acknowledgement of what we are going through.
The grief bubble is something that I guess we are learning to live with – there is no other choice! Sometimes it moves to the side a bit and life feels a little more like it used to, and then other times you’re right back in the middle of it and can’t see past it. There is no predicting which way each day will go, or how much anxiety will come along with it. There are things that you know are coming that will hurt, and then other things are a complete surprise and you have no idea why they are sooo hard! I am trying to feel more of the happiness for the positive, joyful things that are happening but it is hard! It is all a work in progress and I guess that’s what this journey looks like.