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A punch in the stomach

A punch in the stomach

It’s so hard to explain how very unexcited you are about the one event in the year, where everyone gets excited, weeks before! It’s hard to smile through the gut wrenching fear that you may walk into a shop a shed a tear because of the song you hear (yes, this can happen at any time to be fair, but it’s more likely at Christmas and the emotional reaction is more likely because of the time of year…) In the early years it didn’t matter what the song was, just anything remotely related to Christmas hit me like a punch in the stomach. Describing the feeling of being utterly gutted is impossible. When you feel it so physically that it can stop you in your tracks. There are times I have walked out of a shop and times I have been rooted to the spot, fighting back the tears and pain. And yes, I have walked through the aisles, wiping away those tears, thinking what the hell, with no care for who could see. While searching for a gift, I would gravitate towards toys, and wonder, would he have liked that? Spotting the typical characters he was into, is one thing, but following his growth in my head, and having to question and fantasise, is quite another.

There’s no question that it gets easier but the anger is still there, simmering away; not being able to buy something for every one of your children, or at least not something they will touch and hold, appreciate and play with. Just something for the tree or his resting place doesn’t quite satisfy the need. Having that feeling of happiness that comes from watching your children’s eyes light up with the smallest of gifts taken away from you is just not fair. 

BUT, I have found that during the past few years, Christmas has got easier. We have other children of course, who also deserve the best time or at least family time, without their parents being so bereft that it becomes the main focus. I never wanted this for my children and so have always tried hard not to let my feelings bubble over and spoil special times. It’s such a difficult juggling act, that I may not have been successful in this hope, but I know I have tried, very, very hard.  And, finding it easier, does not mean, I love Harry any less and miss him any less, in fact as time goes on, it’s fair to say that I miss him more, but I have learnt to manage the pain and how to cope with it. 

As I’ve said before in my other blogs, grief is so unique, so different for everyone, but also changes over time, so what once was difficult, can become easier, but also what may have been more manageable, can become less so ! 

The other very annoying part about grief is that it cannot be controlled, so at any point, you can have a moment, a wobble, and really struggle, or you can have a moment, a wobble, but cope well with it and so it doesn’t linger. What I mean is that, right now, as I write this blog, I am pulling from experience of the past, and up to now, with the exception of the first walk into a ‘Christmas song punch in the stomach’, I have coped quite well this year. I’m feeling positive and even excited about this Christmas. The decorations are already up, we have a new tree and some new decorations, the presents are almost brought, yes!! And I feel good. What I don’t know is whether that will last, I don’t know whether I will breakdown or whether this positivity will continue, and that’s what’s so unpredictable about grief, and how it can affect you and your mental health. 

I consider myself lucky to have 3 other beautiful children who, without even knowing, allow me to survive the death of their brother, in particular at a time when everyone is celebrating being a family.

I truly hope you have a beautiful Christmas, and remember to spoil your children, family and friends with time and love not presents and stuff!

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