I am strong. I am stronger now than I was two years ago. I am stronger but that strength is tempered with empathy for other people that I didn’t, perhaps, have in such quantity before! I was so tied up in my own life that I very rarely considered other people apart from my direct family and close friends. I would consider others if they put their problems bang, slap in front of me and asked me what to do……..but I didn’t ‘notice’ things like I do today.
I am trying not to dwell in the past because that takes away the pleasure of the present time and, although I never thought there would ever be fun times again, of course there are. They are different fun times admittedly; and I will never stop wishing that Rowan could be with us in the physical to enjoy these times too – but, nonetheless, fun times are possible without him. I am lucky in my belief that he enjoys these times with us from the other side and there are times when the thought of his slightly wonky smile and infectious laughter makes the situation even more enjoyable!
I have stopped feeling guilty when I laugh. I have stopped feeling guilty when I actually find that I am enjoying something. I have stopped criticising myself for the sad times and the mad times and the bad times that still crop up. They always will do that………..and……..I am not a sad drunk! I often wondered if I would collapse in a river of tears if I ever had too much to drink – I know that this can happen. I tried it and I won! May be a year ago it would have been a different story. After he died I stuck clear of alcohol for quite a few months because I had a suspicion that it would be an easy path to stumble along. There was an occasion some six months after he died when, fueled on wine, I tore into my long-suffering husband and ripped at him unmercifully. I have forgiven myself for that and I like to think he has forgiven me too! My mother, who passed over some four years ago now, will be proud of my progress!
Does strength come from knowledge? I was weighing this up as I was driving home today. Has this new-found strength of mine been a direct result of all the reading and discussion I have offered my soul over the last two years or is it something that would have come about anyway? I am inclined to think that the plethora of books I have read, and am still reading, have been my weights, my trunk curls and my protein powder; and I am hugely grateful to those people who have shared their experiences, beliefs and philosophies with the rest of us. The beauty of books is that there are always more being written. I will never, in my lifetime, ever be able to exhaust the mass of information and opinions that are out there for me to digest.
Christmas, as so many people seem to be reminding me, is just around the corner. I was sure that I would loathe this time of year for the rest of my life. Last year it was unbearable. We muddled our way through it. Maree managed a little normality on the day with her family. Chris, Francis and I just prayed it would come and go quickly so that we could get on with our lives. This year I am viewing it differently. I haven’t got that old familiar knot in the stomach when I think about it. I have even, quietly and unseen, been buying the odd wee gift for family. The decorations Rowan so expertly put up in 2012 won’t be going up again but the odd new acquisition might be seen, understated but dangling around the place!
It has a whole new perspective for us this time around. There will be tears I am sure on Christmas Day – and probably even more on Boxing Day. Maree and Janey have their own demons to face this year with the passing of their awesome father, John, taking place this winter. He will be with them on Christmas Day just like Rowan will be with us. We will set a place for Rowie at the table again.
Rowan will give me the strength I need to get through. He is always with me, encouraging, pushing, unrelenting in his desire for me to learn. He recognises that when I learn to trust my intuition I will gain a peace and serenity that he knows is waiting for me. I hear this message repeatedly and for the most part trust myself now but I don’t deny hitting the odd speed wobble now and again.
Chris, Francis, Maree and I will never forget Rowan. We love him with the same intensity now as we ever have. He will remain a very large part of our lives and I continue to chase shadows – one day I will catch up with him one way or another.
But until then life goes on.