Thursday, 22 January 2015

A new kind of grief

This week, we published a post on The Adoption Social from a lady whose dad walked out on her mum very close to her starting introductions with her second child. It really resonated with me, not because my circumstances are similar - they're not, but it so happens that this week is the anniversary of my dad leaving.

11 years. That's how long it's been since I saw my father. But not because he walked out, because he died. Because he couldn't cope, and he took his own life.

I've been feeling especially sad about it this year, probably because we made the decision to not renew Dad's 'plot' at the crematorium - his memorial plant and plaque. I've been wondering whether it was the right decision; whether we should have scraped together the several hundred pounds to keep it. Common sense tells me it's the right time to walk away and stop visiting. My heart tells me I'm not quite ready to end my twice yearly visits to the peaceful gardens of remembrance and I feel conflicted.

This inner conflict has brought a new kind of grief with it too. No longer do I spend evenings sobbing hysterically in the arms of my husband. But instead I have gentle tears and lip quivering whenever I think of all that my Dad has missed. Now, as I write this, little plops of salty water are slowly, silently crawling down my cheeks and landing on the keyboard...

Dollop calls him her good ghost. She's really brave and never worries about naughty ghosts and witches and ghouls and baddies, because she knows her good ghost will scare them away. It comforts me to know that even though they never met, Dollop trusts her granddad to look out for her.

I'm trying really hard to focus on positive things at the moment, and although we will remember Dad on his 'Angel Day', I'll try also to remember with happiness, that it's also the anniversary of the day we met Mini, we have a litter of 3 day old guinea pigs to cuddle and enjoy, it's nearly the weekend, and we've reached 101 weeks of #WASO - so many things to celebrate, that's where I need to put my head.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Firsts

We drove up and down the main street of a quaint rural village - in the end, we had to stop at the little post office for directions...despite this, we still arrived early.
As we walked in the door, there was a strange feeling of trepidation mixed with excitement, nervousness and suspense. We walked past the kitchen, where Mini was just finishing a late lunch, but I daren't look too soon, not wanting to see him until I could take it all in properly.

We waited in the sitting room, and soon after, Mini's social worker unceremoniously plonked him on my lap - my first cuddle with him. That day, we had lots of firsts with Mini - the first book read together, the first play together and that week, even more - the first nappy change, the first bath, the first bottle, first trip to the park, and many, many more. They were our firsts though, not his.

Experiencing his firsts were important to me - we missed so many of Mini's in that first year of his life. I revelled in the ones that we experienced with him...lucky enough to have his first steps, first proper word, first wee in the toilet. And then later - first day at nursery, then school and so on. We took photos and mentally logged so many firsts, that in fact, we probably created unnecessary ones...so keen to establish ourselves as the keepers of the important moments.


First baby tooth to go...
As time as passed, we've experienced so many firsts that their importance has faded a little. Of course we still celebrate them with him, in fact recently he learnt to tie his shoelaces and there were congratulations a-plenty. But, there's not the desperate need to record them in the same way as we used to. I think that's down to me - I don't need those experiences to feel like his mum anymore; I just am.
So it seems that those first hundred firsts were the ones that helped me feel like Mini's mum. It gave me a connection to him, and strengthened my own feelings. Now, I can just enjoy them with him (although the recent first nose bleed was not necessarily cause to celebrate!) and look forward, like any other parent, to creating more opportunities for Mini to experience new things, fun times and memory-making events.

I'm linking up to #WASO on The Adoption Social, the theme this week is The First Hundred.