There seems no way it can be six months since Elspeth died, but it's true.
Six months is such a very long time, but I don't really remember very much of it, and it seems more possible I miscounted. It's a very demoralising thought that six months has already passed, but today it seems more as if it was six days. It's so tiring, I'm so weary. It makes it hard to sugar-coat anything.
Some days are okay, and others are not. We all feel the lack of progress, the failure to have moved on, the loss of confidence, the loss of you.
There's a lot of anger now, and frustration and even confusion. A house full of people who are short-tempered and frustrated, and overly-sensitive, is a hard place to live in. Everyone walks on eggshells all the time, but still manages to offend everyone else. We spend half our time explaining throwaway comments and asides that have devastated someone unintentionally. But we need each other, so we move from anger to tears in rapid succession, and step back onto the eggshells to start over again.
The children are no longer deemed 'Children In Need'. Everyone's happy with their progress, and has been since the beginning. The little boys coping very well and performing well at school, and five nights on a sedative from the Doctor have brought our youngest back into a routine of sleeping through. The three teenagers all have exams. They have so much stress to handle and I lie awake at night wondering how they can do it. How can they go to school and achieve, how can they focus? We're so proud of them, we really are.
I rarely cook properly. It's so hard to go and stand in the kitchen alone and cook, when for so many years you'd bring your homework and sit with me while I did it. I'd listen to you read and explain unknown words, and sometimes we'd discuss stuff that you can only discuss when you're alone, but you don't need any of those things now. You'll never need them.
The relentlessness is what's so hard. It doesn't stop. There
is no getting off the treadmill, no break, no time off. We can never
escape the fact that you aren't here - it goes on forever.
We are still waiting for the twice-delayed inquest, which will not be
next month as someone is on holiday all month - lucky them. I hope they
enjoy their holiday while we sit at home under a cloud, waiting to move
on. I know emptiness follows the inquest, I've been told, but waiting for something that's going to be so painful adds another frustration. It gives us something else we have no control over.
We're doing it though, we are. And we will get there. I am the woman who jumped and landed, and I didn't stop walking because I knew I'd broken my leg. I had to keep going or I'd never make it to the van. That is where our lives are now. We can't stop, we can't pause, we can't smell any flowers, we just keep going. And one day we'll make it.
It was your 17th birthday 3 days ago, and that was a day everyone was dreading, and it went okay. Your
6 year old brother bought you flowers. He chose them very carefully. He
said that he didn't want to get you anything you couldn't use, so you
have purple and white flowers and a card saying Happy Birthday in fancy writing. You don't have driving lessons
and band t-shirts and art materials. You can't use them.
Your friends organised an amazing time. They got together as a huge group and went and spent the evening together on a hill overlooking our town - the same place where our oldest walked to on the day you died. It's a very fitting place, and they had an awesome time. They celebrated your life, and came together to talk about where they are now - all moving forward and nearly half way through their college courses already. I hope they all do fantastically in any exams they are sitting this year. They miss you.
We ended up mostly spending your
birthday together, talking and just being there, and when bedtime came
everyone breathed a sigh of relief that we'd got through that day. We will feel the same today, as we do many days. Wondering where the time went, but glad that it did.
I hope you can see us. I hope you can enjoy the smiles and join in with the laughs. I hope you see that they are increasing, and we will get there, wherever there is. But we aren't there yet.
Here are some smiles I've collected this month...
There aren't many, but I think that's mainly a reflection on how many photo's I've actually taken, the teenagers revising, and the last week being very hard. You can be proud of your brother though, he's been rewarded for writing a fabulous 4 page story about The Gingerbread Man - complete with alternate ending featuring an elephant!
We miss you x