I was at a meeting last night and I must say, I did very well at acting 'normal'.
I believe that each person has different sides of themselves which they show in different situations and with different people. The person you are at work will probably differ from the person you are on the sports field. The person you are with your Granny will be different to the person you are with your friends. We have multiple personalities which come out at different times.
Since Patrick died, this has become more apparent. The person I am at home with the hubby is very different to the person I am in public, anywhere in public. As time goes on I feel like I have to differentiate between these two spheres even more. At home I feel safe. At home I feel like Patrick is protected, remembered, and is freely talked about. He is one of my children, my second son, my middle child. In the outside world with, what I call, 'normal people', Patrick is not any of these things. People brush over the fact that he is a person and do not discuss what has happened. Each time someone dismisses Patrick or acts like nothing has happened, a piece of me is hurt. Each time someone tells me how lucky I am to have two children when they know that I have three, I am so disappointed. I suppose as time goes on this will happen more.
I feel like I have to protect Patrick against these things. I know. I do not understand my thinking sometimes. When someone asks about Patrick I am elated. When someone mentions him I am filled with joy that he is remembered and considered a member of my family just like Shay and Florence are.
I put on a front when I go out. I can no longer comfortably do small talk - the disadvantages of being a recluse and then attempting to reintegrate with society - so I place myself as the tea server, the tidier upper, the 'I'll get the photocopying for you' person. I smile, I laugh on cue. I feel like a robot on autopilot. What my life has become. I put on a front as a fully functioning member of society. I have learnt that people do not want to talk about Patrick as I do. I have learnt that people do not think about Patrick as I do. He is always on my mind. So, as a form of protection I keep Patrick largely to myself in my home. I have so little of him anyway that I feel like I now need to keep him all to myself. If people will not discuss him, then I have learnt to keep him to myself. I am trying to view this as a positive...
My front is getting better. I was hugely surprised with myself last night, if I do say so myself. It is the small things, the changes, the personal victories. The only problem I see is that the more of a front I put on, the more people forget Patrick, the more I happily build my little wall with Patrick and I on one side and everyone else on the other.