I wish I could say that I had the confidence I found 3 months ago. My days are spent collecting the pieces of our lives and frantically trying to put them back together, carrying on in that way that I appear to manage so very well.
But it feels like a lie. I watch over my shoulder the whole time, I stuff random collections in bags, and grab what I can as quickly as possible before running away to hide again. The need to be under cover is so great when above our heads is the most huge of clouds. One of our children is not with us at the top of our mountain, cannot bear to start collecting up those pieces. And that tortures us all.
"Don't Cry Because It's Over, Smile Because It Happened."
Wise words indeed Dr Seuss, but so much easier said than done. Still we try. I collect the smiles each month as I have since the very first, to try to remind us all that while Elspeth is gone, the rest of our forevers are full of hope and possibility.
We talk of Elspeth, and we talk of her fondly. Sometimes we laugh and remember the good times, her wit and humour, her favourite cake. We joke that she'd be annoyed by scriptwriting on her favourite TV shows. We miss her, we will always miss her, but we have memories we can enjoy, and there can be smiles when we say her name.
I long for that message to be understood by our own young person. I want them to appreciate that however crap and hopeless life seems for them right now, you have 70 years left and you will see so much more than this. You will shout and you will lose, and you will have times when you cannot see the path ahead, but you will also win, you will love and you will laugh. You will always miss her, you will cry and when you least expect it that hole will get so big your heart will feel it is being torn in two. But the day will come that you will be able to remember her with a smile.
Even on the darkest of days, the smiles are always there if you look for them. I post ours each month as a reminder of where we are, and I can see in every one the reason why we carry on. My little boys feature heavily as ever. They smile, they play, they laugh. They accept what little they are told about their hospitalised sibling without question. It comforts and saddens me in equal measure that 2 years after losing their sister to suicide and with another sibling desperately ill, they are naively unaware that everyone else's life is not just the same as theirs...this is their normal.
Here are the smiles I have collected over the last month...you are welcome to share yours on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TBCSmiles - because they always make me smile too.
Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it. ~ John Berridge
Thanks to Hayley for sharing the goldfish. Origin unknown.