Saturday, 28 July 2012

Dear Alex, my life becoming ours...



28th July 2012

Dear Alex,

It’s like clock work, well it would be if I knew when it was going to hit. But randomly during the day I get the adrenalin, raging through my body, it sets in so suddenly, I don’t know where to put myself, what to do, nothing appeases it, I have to ride it out, sometimes for hours, sometimes just half an hour. I know now it won’t break me, the panic attacks that used to ensue were terrifying. I have that part under control. I’ll just be doing something, and a little reminder will reach up in me, sending the adrenalin spiralling in my body. The shakes, the dizziness, the intrusion of it all…

Despite this, today was a good visit. A friend and his wife came in. Nigel is a personal trainer, and does stretching and massaging exercises with you that are vital for regaining muscle and stimulating the muscles and firing the neurons in the right direction in your brain to find those new pathways. He’s genius in what he does, and you love his company, are so at ease and relaxed around him. His wife played some cricket with Monty and the girls, and the afternoon was spent plastic outdoor games, balls, bean bags, giant skittles flying. The kids came away happy today, saying they were happy with your progress. They weren’t sullen, or dispirited, rather full of chatter and enthusiasm for the new things they can do with you.

A success like this always makes me very emotional. I grieve for the times we took for granted like this before, and I am truly inspired and filled with pride at your interaction, their delight and the afternoon passed together playing.

But then we have to leave…this is the bit I always get stuck on…

You’ve had a very quiet week, you don’t seem low, just tired. Your head and posture slumps, and no amount of coercing gets you to be able to keep your head straight, not leaning heavily and drooping down to the right hand side.

But in the games played today, your left arm moves, at the shoulder and a bit at the elbow. This new thing makes me run over to you, embrace you and cry with pride.

I am overwhelmed by it at the moment, pride. For you, the kids, the people that come and help, want to be involved.

When, moving here, I knew I had to make friends, settle in for the kids sake, I wasn’t ready to make friends, to speak about me, open up. I was on full protective 'gather everyone in and close,' head down, and we’ll make it through. I didn’t want to forge a life separate from you, but life happens, you meet people, and you do make friends, and now, yes, I am very much OK with my situation, and open about it. Of the friends I have been making, several have come in to meet you, as I want you to be included, put a voice to the names you hear me talking about. It certainly seems to be encouraging you too, as you meet my friends, it gives you the confidence that I am OK, I haven’t become a total recluse, that we still move forward in our life…

Just three days left of seeing you, then away for nine whole days…the palpitations start at the acknowledgement of this…

But tonight I know I will still see you tomorrow, so I can cope with tonight…


Sleep peacefully my angel,


Me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dear Alex, time apart approaches...






July 25th 2012

Dear Alex,

Eight-year-old mud-stained capable boy hands delve deep into his Lego box. Creations made, an imagination I wish I could entrap and lose myself in too.

This evening I make another ‘getting back to normal’ step. I stagger kids’ bedtimes. This I have not often done since I have been without you. But tonight I have resolved something, thus tonight I shall achieve! Laying out her duvet on the floor, Esmie swims as I read to her, little legs, chubby bare arms diving into the unknown depths of swimming pool duvets. Mitzi chooses to read for her bedtime time with mummy. Spelling out sounds and learning, a new door opening, a universe of sounds becoming words, sentences, making sense. Hot and lounging all over me, I encourage the ‘ssss’ ‘th’ ‘at’ noises, and watch her little self, accomplishing new things. Lola throws herself into a French word search, we discover words hidden and what Madame rouge bought for her tea. Monty is lying, waiting playing on the sofa. Tummy squashed into the sofa, legs kicking in the air, his Lego creations have sound effects that only he can make! I try hard with my Lego creations, ‘Mum, that is good, but I think I’ll just use it in battle and well, it might be destroyed by a baddy ship, OK?’ He always looks at it encouraging me, but destroying it in battle, and creating something a trillion times better!

Bedtime passes, I strain to remember times with you, wanting to remember, to describe times with the kids, only I pause and swallow hard trying to get through the memories as I tell them…

Our holiday approaches. We are going to visit France, back to stay with friends where we used to live. Where we grew our own vegetables, where ducks quacked around the garden, floating in the pond or the paddling pool! Chickens, Blanchette, Brigite, Margot, Molly, Meg, and Marjorie attacked us at eating outdoor times. Where our garden was big, the rented House small, but snug and busy with life. The garage, bits of roof missing, bats flying wildly at dusk. Sundown and outside time, just you, just me, watching the sunset in each other’s arms. Enjoying the still, the life, how it seems like a life time ago…

As Wednesday draws near, it seems to be approaching fast, faster than I can say ‘hang on a minute, I need to prepare emotionally for this’. The thought of leaving here, going back, passing our old house where we, as a family, grew, prods at my shut out memories, taunts my ability to control the sadness. Absence from my routine and comforts, seeing you. How will I do it? How will I cope?

A friend said to me a while back now, as I debated going, that I was now responsible for building the kids’ memories. Not just around visiting you in the hospital, but of other, happy memories, of family fun, holidays. It destroys me daily that we can’t just go for a family dog walk, sit all together on the sofa watching a film…you’re here, still here, we still have the chance to make family memories, of a different kind one day. This day, in contrast, does not approach fast enough…

Thoughts of not seeing you thrust their sorrow to the surface of my ‘yes, it is lovely weather we are having, isn’t it?’ front…

At least I get this whole week to spend with you on my own, as the kids are at a play scheme all week, and various friends have stepped in to collect Esmie, who finishes at 1, to look after her till I collect the others later on in the afternoon.

Tonight, it’s still Wednesday, there’s still a week. May I give our kids a good holiday, one to remember, and may you be alright, as I am far away, missing you, craving you…


Me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Dear Alex, seeking advice...




24th July 2012,

Dear Alex,

“When is daddy coming back, mummy?” Big clear blue eyes, tired from a day in the sun and another late night, look into mine, tired too, for different reasons. With this question, the veil that drapes precariously on my emotions surrounding doing our life without you, is tested for it’s sturdiness, and once again does not withstand the test, my eyes fill with tears and I have to answer that although you will very much be home one day, we do not know when it will be. The questions persist ‘well, maybe at Christmas? Or when I’m bigger?’ The thought and the reality of  it not being either of these as she’ll be a lot bigger if the plan goes as we think for your rehabilitation, tears at me and I have to swallow deeply and cuddle her, my little Mitzi Joy, and tell her it’ll definitely be one day, just not that soon…

Being brought up at the moment by just me, I am plagued with anxieties on a daily basis. I see you need me to be with you, more than I am. I feel, honestly, if I could be there more, you’d progress better. But I can’t be because we have four very dependent children. I also have their need of me, their right to me spending time with them as their mum, and the only one available to bring them up.

The pressure of this sometimes gets overwhelming. Frightening. All I know is that I have to dig in as deep as possible, even if I feel I am still being dragged…

I rang my sister-in-law Jo for some advice today (she works in an area which makes her a font of knowledge on difficulties with kids). With all the complexities of children’s behaviours for numerous reasons, I turned to her for some advice. I am anxious that through, in particular Monty’s behaviour, I do not end up over compensating and excusing everything he does and all his behaviours that honestly I would not accept if you were here Alex. It’s an easy trap to fall into. These past few weeks he has been testing, his attitude has made me pay him lots of attention for the negative ways he is behaving. And as the girls do not play up in the same way, they are essentially missing out on attention as I spend much time chastising and lecturing Monty! But I knew I needed some help. Yes, he’s going through a horrendously tough time, yes, he’ll be acting in certain ways more so because of this, BUT what I do not want is to excuse it all on his situation. There’s a point where, I feel, no matter how you feel or why, or how justified you may feel you are in being the way you are, that you have to turn it around, take that responsibility and be reasonable. It may sound like I am asking a lot of an 8-year-old, I’m not asking him to understand all this, just that he is alright, he’s ok, feeling what he is feeling, it’s normal, BUT he also needs to take charge of HIMSELF, that acting out on these feelings is not always alright. I think his age is also a factor, it’s a normal boy of this age thing to do, so where do I step in, at what point do I stop overcompensating and letting him be as he is being, which is not how I want to bring him up?!

Jo suggested that I wrote out some things I expected of him and his behaviour, give him very clear boundaries, and then the consequences when he doesn’t do these. I feel half of me which just wants to scoop him all up, rock him in my arms, tell him he can do whatever he wants, I am here for him to take it all out on, but there’s also a part that strongly wants him to grow up balanced, responsible and taking control of his own behaviours, owning the fact he has a choice.

As I explain to him tonight that despite the fact you are not here to tell him the things I do, that not for one second does it mean you and I are not at one in our beliefs and values in bringing the kids up, and what my values are, are yours too. He breaks down at this point, hearing the fact you aren’t here to do it, I think in a way he’s been testing everything partly out of feeling lost and angry. Which it’s ok to feel, but not to act on all the time, there's a point at which we have to take responsibility.

I am going to take him in with me one morning hopefully this week to be with you and me alone. I think this will have a real impact on how he feels around coming in to see you. Maybe some mummy and daddy time will do him some good. Our little man, growing up too fast…

Well, you were exhausted today, therapies were nigh on impossible as you could do hardly a thing. I babble on inanely at you about the nutrition side of things which is my next project for you, after a friend suggested power shakes may be a perfect idea for you…watch this space…

I just hope tomorrow will see you more animated…I feel I have missed out on you  time when all you do is sleep when I am there.


See you in the morning,

Me xxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Dear Alex, home visit number ONE...!





July 20th 2012

Dear Alex,

Words cannot begin to touch this morning. Thankfully I have the pictures and the memories and the feelings to carry with me for the rest of my life…

I see the car pull up, nervous, as I don’t know if I’ll keep it together, I walk down to you, your home coming! Well, a brief few hours. And I don’t, I don’t keep it together at all, I lost it when I walked out of the door to bring you in. Tears of pride, love, wishes, hopes, and joy.

The OT and the physio are there with you to push you in, up the ramp, and into the lounge, transferring you onto the sofa. Our sofa! Home. Shoes off, helmet off, the biggest grin I have ever seen anyone grin, which not for a second does it leave your or my face.

A presence so strong, pure love. Intense, healing, powerful. I ask the Most High that this may bless you in a new way, move you on the next step. That the power of this morning may engulf you and strengthen you. Focus you and aid you in your physical and mental journey. It’s like falling in love all over again, it’s like freedom or flying must feel like. It’s like surfing on clouds, like warmth and fresh coffee and an almighty achievement, well deserved! The mightiest achievement.

We are left alone for half an hour, and we cuddle, talk and bask in each other’s presence. That we are here, that you have made it this far, that I am so hopelessly in love with you that I don’t know what to do with myself when I am without you…and we are on the sofa in each other’s arms, just us, just together, just in love.

I didn’t want it to end. I stayed so strong as you pulled away. I had a long ‘moment’ when you’d gone. But not despair, not desperation, just longing and a renewed hope, that you can visit. That one day you won’t be just visiting, you’ll be here again.

How I long, I yearn for that day…

Oliver (the dog) is beside himself with excitement as you come in, he doesn’t know what to do with himself! You say very clearly, laughing ‘he stinks!’ and flap your right hand in front of your nose! Your humour is being revived. The pulse of your character strengthening, firing to the fore…it’s all coming. Time.

Wow, baby, what a morning. I truly was in heaven…I am so lucky, so blessed we still have a life together, even though it may not be the one we planned for or would have chosen…we are still together. Thank you God.


Me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx