This year he understands. This year he gets it. My son sees the world in black and white and he will generally accept what he is told. If you believe in fate you might say that his autism helps him understand his loss, that his super intelligence will give him a greater chance of success. Maybe it’s the universe’s way of trying to make up for killing off his Dad before he got to know him, like one of those things people go “it’s a silver lining”. Who knows?
What I do know is this was the year I was making happy memories for the both of us, not just myself. A wonderful colleague of mine made him the most beautiful memory bracelet (visit her Facebook page here) and his childminder took him to Marsh Farm whilst I was working. After collecting him from preschool we went to a friend’s house, who is a fellow widowed parent, and spent the afternoon remembering; talking about their deaths and funerals, and asking each other questions we never get asked because people think it’s ‘awkward’, when in actual fact we are desperate to talk about it. It’s good for the kids too. Why should anyone’s loss be a taboo subject and kept hush-hush?
When we got home we had homemade pizzas, which his Dad and I had almost every Saturday night, when he was home. We left a message in a glass bottle for the angels to take to Daddy in the stars and the moons, and sat up late (for my son) looking at photographs and watching Thomas.
I had been dreading the day for months. I have felt sick, nervous and uncertain. With such a shit few months prior, I had all sorts of different expectations about how the day should or shouldn’t go, but I worried for nothing. It was difficult, of course, but it was also really fulfilling being able to share the day properly with my son, and I had some amazing people carrying me through not just the day, but the whole week.
I will try to hold onto this positive feeling for next year. And for what positive thinking can’t fix, there’s always wine.