My Journey

Mothers Day

I’ve been dreading this day for ages. A happy occasion, dedicated to all the mothers and a celebration of all that they bring to their children. Much the same as every year I can remember.

Until now. This year is different, and it will be every time from now on. I wasn’t sure how the kids would be. The first, of many, Mothers Days without their Mum. No longer is it a celebration with Mum, now it is a remembrance for Mum. Memories and pictures. It’s all they have now.

On every special occasion, they would make cards. These are what we both would treasure. A simple gift they had made means so much more than a gift purchased from any shop. Although Lyanda would always have a box of Ferrero Rocher from the kids. A token gift, her favourite chocolates. I would usually have a chocolate orange. Of course, the chocolates weren’t ours. They would all stand next to us waiting for us to open the chocolates so they could have some too. Over the years it became a standing joke that we would have to buy 2 lots. One for us and one for the kids to share, it’s the only way we would get a look in.

The morning came and the kids were all excited to show me the cards they had made. The school let them decide what they wanted to do. They made a card for Mummy but also made a card for me. I wasn’t expecting that, it was a really nice surprise. Unknowing to them, I had bought some Ferrero Rocher too. I shared them out as normal, they seemed to appreciate it.

Their cards sit proudly on the unit dedicated to Mummy. Along with a card a friend found in the shape of a star that says “Mum, you’re the brightest star” on it.

In the afternoon, another friend took us out. We went to a lake and fed some swans, ducks and other birds flying around. Before we moved to Carmarthen, that is something we all used to enjoy doing. Something simple yet meaningful. It was very peaceful there and gave a lot of time to reflect and think. We all had ice cream too. Time ran on so we had some food there before coming home.

The day went better than expected. Luckily it was really quiet, no one to spoil the calm. I think we all needed that. Seeing the swans gliding along the lake, the ducks swimming and all the birds flying around all trying to get some food from us was an amazing sight. Therapeutic in a way.

Struggling with daily life

Depression and anxiety are really taking a hold of me now. I have over the past few months turned into a recluse, imprisoned in my own home. I only venture out if I really have to, and i block everyone and everything out just to cope with it. I don’t mean to be this way, but i don’t know of any way to stop it.

It all continues to get more difficult. Emotionally and physically. Worrying about everything. The stress of it all. Making sure, as best as I can, the kids are ok. Money worries. It is almost like a tank has run over me, and for good measure, reversed and done it again.

My existence at this moment in time is solely making sure the kids are ok. They are fed and have clean clothes. That’s about all I can muster. I have given up on myself. Not because I want to, but because in my eyes I don’t matter. As long as they are ok, that’s what’s important.

I have pushed people away too. Not what I intended to do, and not what I wanted to happen. But I understand it from their point of view. I am nothing like i was and I hate it. Why would anyone want to be around someone like me? I don’t want to be around me. The trouble is, I can’t escape.

Describing grief

Grief is an awkward and difficult subject. No one knows what to say, how to behave or how to act around people that are grieving. Especially when it comes to children.

I saw this video on the Winston’s Wish Facebook page. A really interesting way to describe how grief comes and goes in waves, which it does. Hopefully this will help our children, and hopefully others, understand grief a bit better.

And Christmas is over…

Christmas day went better than expected. The run up to it was a lot worse than the day itself. Lots of worrying, anxiety, stress and fear was difficult to manage. But Christmas happened for all the children, which is the important thing. Knowing Lyanda would want us to be happy on the day and that she would want the children to enjoy it helped.

It was tough, being the first Christmas without her. The children were missing her too, but we all pulled together and helped each other through. I had help from a few wonderful people throughout all of it. Without them I don’t know how i would have done it or got through it. Gifts were given to the children by people I don’t know, and a full Christmas meal was delivered to us to ease the hassle for myself. It turned out to be an OK day, instead of the nightmare I was expecting.

A couple of days after we went to my parents house. My brother and sister were there with their children too. A lot of anxiety going there, as that’s the village me and Lyanda first met and initially lived together. But the day went OK. Gifts were exchanged and everyone was helpful. All the kids were playing together and everyone helped to make sure it went as smooth as possible.

On new years eve we went to Lyanda’s parents. It was arranged for us to go there to have a second Christmas with them on new years day. Lyanda’s grandparents also joined us. We all got together to exchange presents, have Christmas Dinner together and enjoy each others company. It was really nice.

We hadn’t seen them since the funeral, so I was a bit hesitant at first not knowing what it would be like. As it happened, I needn’t have worried. It was a lovely visit, albeit weird without Lyanda. Lots of tears and memories. It is nice to realise I am still part of their family, not just the children.

Judging others

Seen this quote and it is unfortunately very true.

I see people staring and turning away. I see people talking and pointing, probably judging me or us in their own way. It almost becomes unbearable. It makes me not want to be out and about, amongst others who are simply getting on with their lives.

At the same time, we are all trying to carry on with our lives. Not in the way we imagined, or ever thought about. And not in a way we wanted. Sometimes I don’t want to carry on at all. But i know Lyanda would want the kids to become adults, as do I. And they need someone to help them along the way. Yes, mistakes will be made. Yes, arguments will be had. And yes, there will be bad times.

There will also be good times. And fun. And happiness. I have learnt that this is ok, and is also part of grieving. There are good times and there are bad times, there is no telling when these will be. Anything can trigger an emotion, good or bad. It is not something I can control, or describe.

It is a shame that some people for whatever reason will not approach me and talk. I am happy to talk, about anything. So are the kids. Please don’t pity us or look down to us. Sympathy is ok, so is affection. We are grieving. We are suffering a loss. We are trying our best. But we are human too.