I remember exactly where I was on Friday, October 6, 2006. I could tell you everything about that day piece-by-piece. Painting my toenails Chanel ‘coral’. Reading a gossip magazine. My pink and white bikini strapped under my shoulders so I wouldn’t get strap marks. I remember it like it was yesterday. This picture was taken on that very same day. My 8 y o was just two-and-a-half in that photo. Look how happy he is. Look at that cheeky little smile. Look at the chocolate smeared all over his face. He is a typical toddler. Chubby little squishy arms, rounded cheeks and his too-long fringe tickling at his eyelashes. He is young, innocent and sweet. Just like a little boy should be. But he is also utterly oblivious to the world of horror unfolding thousands of kilometers away in Sydney’s Blue Mountains.
This week will mark the sixth anniversary since we tragically lost his Daddy and I will always get shivers through my spine when I look at this photo. For so many reasons, most of which that I wish I could protect him from a world of pain and sorrow but also I am glad that on the worst day of both of our lives…he is happy. He’s not in the ICU unit of the RPA hospital watching his Daddy hooked up to machines helping his heart to beat, his lungs to breathe. He is not surrounded by people we know and love all praying that his Daddy will come out of his coma. He doesn’t have to watch as his Mummy keeps a bedside vigil, hoping and praying with each passing hour that the broken man beside her will open his eyes. He won’t have to hear the screams and cries as the doctor’s tell her it’s just no good. He’s not coming back.
He was too young to remember that day. Not even old enough to go to school, or to ride a bike. And sure not old enough to understand that his Daddy was never coming home. Ever. It was my job to protect him from harm, from grief and from sadness. I left him behind with a friend when I flew to Sydney to be beside his Daddy as he lay dying. I’ll never regret that decision because that is what a mum is supposed to do. I couldn’t bring his Daddy back to life but I’d make damn sure I spent the rest of mine shielding him from the grief we would both have to live with.
As he gets older, he wants to know more. He wants to look at pictures of his Daddy, wear the same clothes as he did and even likes to listen to the same music. He is almost entirely made up of the genes of his Daddy and I see it more and more with each day. He wants desperately to be around anyone with any link to his Daddy, as if trying to keep his own faded memories alive. There will never be a time when I don’t look into his eyes, the exact same eyes of his Daddy’s, and wish I could change things. Wish I could bring his Daddy back. There’s never going to be a time that I don’t mourn for the Daddy he never got the chance to know. All I can do is be grateful I have my strong, courageous and cheeky 8 y o to remind me of the beautiful soul his Daddy left behind.
Oh but we are lucky. We are lucky that his Mummy has found the most incredible man to fill our lives with happiness again. A man who respects the shadow that is left behind, while doing a mighty fine job at standing in – for us both. While we may have seen great sorrow and sadness in our lives, we will never ever forget to be grateful for what we’ve got.
Hugs, Lady Mama G x