I’m having a week of mixed emotions.
I started my new job on Tuesday, totally amazing and I have fallen head over heels in love with it – which really is a great thing seeing as though I’ve come back to full time work for the first time in seven years.
Okay, I lied – we are lucky enough to work a half day on Friday, but I still have to get out of bed at 5.30am five days in a row!
By day, I am happy and excited and busy with my new job and learning whose who in the zoo, but as soon as I get in my car and start driving home with just me and an hour of silence – the emotions roll, the memories slide through my head, and my heart hurts.
There is always a trigger – it took me a long time to realise that but with grief that’s what happens. The trigger this week was my new work and people asking how many children I have. I smile and say three, but behind that smile is heartache and conflicting emotions of guilt because I didn’t tell them I have four. Sometimes it’s just not the right time or place to share the truth and sometimes I just don’t have it in me to tell our story.
Earlier in the week I was sitting with a colleague and I told her our story. As it has happened many times before, when I was telling her our story I watched as her eyes brimmed with tears – a total stranger in tears because of my loss. It gets me every time.
I got through our story like reciting facts from Wikipedia and that’s when it hit me. The last few times I’ve smiled my way through our story and haven’t shown emotion.
Why? Because the body is an amazing machine. The brain knows that every time I tell that story it hurts. So it is protecting itself, it is protecting me. It hasn’t shut her away it has just created a diversion, a coping mechanism to get me through that moment, that hour, that day, that week until a time when the tears can flow and I can shout her name from the rooftops.
Last night I confided in a friend how I was feeling and she told me how recently on a trip to Paris she lit a candle for Charlize at Notre Dame. I felt so blessed that my friend thought of my daughter on the other side of the world on her holiday and thinks to do something special for her. She told me to let my tears out as they are gifts from heaven to help us release our pain.
So I wept.
I wept for all the angels but especially mine. I wept for my living children too, because it doesn’t matter how hard we try, even if we wrap them in cotton wool, we cannot protect them from everything and this hurts a great deal.
We can try, but life is what it is. Sometimes it’s death, sometimes it’s pain, sometimes it’s friendships, sometimes it’s joy and often it is love.
Love is what gets me through, my friends, my family.
I’ll leave you with my new mantra.
Orlando is my sweetness;
Indiana is my crazy;
Charlize is my angel;
Lucia is my sunshine.