It was Mother's Day on Sunday; a whole day dedicated to Mothers. It is a lovely idea, but, like everything else, it will never be what it should.
I love being a mother. I honestly do not know what I did with my time before I had children. How did I ever fill my days? This is the first year where we are all together (last year, I was in hospital with Florence for Mother's Day). I did not know how Mother's Day would 'feel' this year. This is the beginning of what all my Mother's Days will be like - Patrick always absent, no more other children.
I find that the emotion of grieving starts days before the actual event and then when the event rolls around, I am not sad or emotional. The grief blindsides me days before something important. Most of the time, I do not realise what is happening and then the penny drops and I re-live Patrick's absence all over again. So, on Friday, I was like a woman possessed. The poor husband. I was so emotional. The actual tears came from something completely unrelated and then ended with Patrick and his absence. I was bereft.
A whole day for mothers and where were my children? We are finally all together, this is what my family will look like forever, but we will never be complete. I always want it to be 'normal', to have a day like all the other mothers, but I cannot. I do try and not 'ruin' the day for the children though. I cannot be sad all the time on these days (Mother's Day, birthdays, Christmas...) when they are supposed to be happy days fill of laughter and celebration. I do not want the children to roll their eyes (they are far too young anyway) because Mum is crying again on their birthday, or on Christmas...
I am sure that they will understand at some point. I would like to reach the point where there can be a few tears and a chat about Patrick, and then the grief can be shelved, and we can go on to celebrate whatever there is to celebrate.
Whether this ideal is actually possible, or whether it will happen this way, I can only wait to find out.
"Patrick, what age will you be when we meet? Will you be a tiny baby and I will see you grow up before my eyes? Will you be a tiny baby? Will I be the same age I was when you died and we will age together? Or, will you be a grown man by the time we meet and I will instinctively know your life even though I did not see it?"
Patrick will be two next month, or should be two next month. I have met mothers over these two years who tell me that they can imagine what their baby looks like, that they imagine their baby to be the age that they should be. I cannot do this. I do not possess the ability to age Patrick. I do not know what he would look like. I cannot imagine him as a two year old boy.
Shay and Florence look so much alike, spitting images of each other, that surely Patrick would have looked different. What would he look like? Maybe he would have dark hair, where they both have light coloured hair. Maybe he would be a rake, where Shay and Florence have chunky wee thighs and tummys.
What would he look like compared to Shay? Would he be tall like Shay, or short? They are eighteen months apart in age. What would that look like in reality? I do not know.
Even though Florence is younger than Patrick, I think of her as older because Patrick was just a wee baby. I still call him, 'baby Patrick'. I cannot imagine him older. He is always listed last on cards because he is a wee baby to me. But, it will be his birthday next month. He will be two. I do not know how to celebrate his second birthday.
"Patrick, how old are you?" I wish I knew what you looked like. I wish I knew how to celebrate your birthday.
I am really feeling it at the moment; am more conscious of Patrick's absence on a second-by-second basis. The last few posts have been written with tears streaming. I do not know why I am having a particularly hard time at the moment.
I am coming up two years and I have empty-arms syndrome. I have such an unbearable desire to have Patrick fill my arms. I have been trying to figure out what I can hold, or hug, or sleep with, which will take away the ache in my arms. It is almost an itchiness.
I wish I had something to rock in my arms. This is what I really want to do. I almost feel like I need to at the moment. Call it a mother's urge, or instinct, or a physical yearning.
I wish I had something with his smell on it. I wish I had something that he wore. I wish I had something that evoked a memory of him. I wish I had anything, anything at all, that reminded me of him and made me feel close to him right now. But, I have nothing; nothing that will give me comfort.
Sometimes photos are not enough. Sometimes, just sometimes, memories are not enough to carry me through this.
It was Ash Wednesday this week and I went to the Mass service.
I have been fine these past few weeks. Although I think about Patrick numerous times in a day, I have not gotten upset like I used to. Sometimes I wonder if this is a 'good' thing, or if it is normal. I wonder if maybe I am not processing my grief enough. Surely, I should break down sometimes? Maybe I am busying myself so much with setting up work that I block out all the emotions which are there under the surface. Maybe I should not think about it too much or analyse it too much.
All this 'composure' went out the window on Wednesday night though. I have not been to Mass for a while so I thought nothing of going on Wednesday night. How stupid of me.
As soon as I step foot into a chapel I get so overwhelmed with everything, so sad about what has happened, and so utterly lost with how to carry this loneliness with me. The chapel reminds me of everything that we have been through. The chapel grounds is where Patrick is buried and where we go most weekends to 'see' him. I hate it. I hate having to go to a grave and stand in the rain. I find no comfort.
During the service I had to talk myself into staying calm; into staying composed. I went down to Patrick's grave at the end and all the calmness was overtaken by loneliness and grief. My poor boy. I would give anything to have him at home, warm, comforted... I will stop. There is not point in carrying on this chain of thought.
It is a mess, pure and simple.
I went up to Portadown on Monday night for a meeting with the Sands Northern Ireland Steering Committee. I have become a committee member and I am very happy about it.
We talked a lot about the coming year and what plans we had. The support in Fermanagh, and anywhere in the west, is very minimal and I want to improve this. I have a lot planned and have started to organise events. Mind you, this would be made a lot easier if organisations replied back to emails...but I will persevere with this.
My plans for Fermanagh are: a walk and balloon release, a Christmas carol service, and to create a memorial or garden. What else could I do to support families and to highlight the Sands charity? I would also like to connect with the Republic and build bridges with the neighbouring counties around me.
I left the meeting feeling very uplifted and very motivated. Excellent.