Navigating Normality When Life Isn’t Normal
Hello…. Hannah the absent blogger here! Sorry for the hiatus from writing, sometimes I just need to take a break from delving deep and need a little distance, I guess this is all part of the evolution of the grieving process as more and more time passes by.
Well the title says it all for this one, learning to navigate normality during what are still very abnormal circumstances. I am still adjusting to my new life and things are very up and down but there certainly are more lighter moments making their way in now. We’re still going through that difficult first year, reaching those all important first milestones and learning to piece ourselves back together and somehow try to move forwards. It hasn’t been easy at all, some days are still completely overwhelming and I just want to lie in bed all day long, pull the duvet over my head and binge watch reality TV.
Some exciting news for you… I have found a new binge watch after exhausting The Real Housewives franchise to absolute death. I have discovered something equally as trashy with an insight into how the other half live; ‘Below Deck’ – HELLO! So that is keeping me occupied on the really rubbish days (and to be fair on some of the brighter ones too!). And now I really want to charter my own yacht through the Caribbean and regularly imagine what I would put on my ‘preference sheet’ (lots of sushi, chocolate and cocktails springs to mind!).
Anyway, I digress…. The truth is I do feel a little bit more normal and like the old me since I went back to work. I refused to believe the hoards of people who said that this was likely whilst I was working myself up into an almighty panic stricken state, setting myself on a trip into the dizzy heights over overthinking, what could have been, what should have been and worrying that I no longer had the ability to do my job and had forgotten how to even filter a spreadsheet. Alas, I hadn’t and I am still very much capable of working in my procurement role. Phew.
But life is still very much a paradox of what I should be doing and regular mind chatter of how different things should be now. I should be planning a huge first birthday party for my son right now; one that would rival even the shindigs the Kardashians pull off for their spoilt offspring. But I am not. Instead I planning how the hell to get through what is going to be an incredibly difficult week in August. The whole month of August is a total write off; I already know that. But I am trying to plan some nice things to do to keep us busy and stop us from descending into the dark depths of grieving for our son and the life he didn’t get to live; a life that we would have made so perfect for him.
We have reached most of the ‘firsts’ now; the first mothers day, fathers day, both of our birthdays, Christmas, Easter, even Halloween was a teary day when I indulged in a little self torture holding onto the tiny pumpkin baby grow I had bought for what would have been my two month old son. The last of the milestones will be what should have been his first birthday and is instead also the anniversary of his death.
My son has a birth and death certificate dated on the same day – 29 August 2018. The worst day of my whole life. A date that will sting like shit for the rest of my life. A day I have encountered endless flashbacks to, whilst in the depths of insomnia, reliving the moment my whole life changed forever. Those six words that will be forever etched into my brain for as long as I live; “I’m so sorry there’s no heartbeat”. Then the hysterical screaming that left my body, producing noises I didn’t even think were possible. And then the numbness and the shock set in and I went into survival mode. Get this baby out of me, get through the physical pain and we can deal with the emotional side later.
If I thought those days in hospital would be the hardest I was hugely mistaken. For the real tragedy began when we arrived home and had to deal with the enormity of what had actually happened. The surreal-ness began to wear off and reality set in. The first couple of weeks were literally impossible to bear. I hate how everyone now uses the word ‘literally’ in completely the wrong context, conveying instances that are anything but literal, but in this case, it was literally the hardest thing to make it through the whole day. You are forced to take things hour by hour in those early days; day-by-day is simply a bridge too far.
At that point you think you will never feel any sort of normality again, that you will never smile again, never laugh again and your life is forever ruined. I was 36 and that was it, I’d had all of the enjoyment I was ever going to get from life and now this darkness and sadness had taken over.
Thankfully, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. In a life that you want to leave, rocked by inexplicable tragedy you do thankfully have the self preservation to begin to piece yourself back together and try to enjoy life again. I was determined that we would still have fun and make the most of life, we had to bridge our two lives and merge ourselves back into one person, the old and the new us. Repair those shattered hearts somehow, hearts that will never be fully mended, hearts that will always have a searing crack running through them. But there is still some hope, some light and a life worth living. In the beginning I simply couldn’t see this, I thought life was over and there was no point. I wanted to be with my son and if that couldn’t be in this life, then I might as well be where ever he went.
I am glad I was wrong about this. Propped back up by my nearest and dearest, I have seen that there is so much to carry on for. Yes, my life has changed but I do still have so many blessings to count. I might not use the shamelessly self indulgent hashtag #feelingblessed all over my Insta posts but I am so grateful for what I do have and I am so grateful for the person that Billy has made me become.
Normality is still a long way off but dealing with normal routine and life is a huge step forwards in beginning the healing process and starting the next chapters. Going back to work was the final piece of that puzzle and it is helping me move forwards. Meeting up with friends, doing things with family, planning holidays, going out for meals with Mr P – these are all parts of my old life that I didn’t ever think I would want to do again when we first lost Billy but I am pleased to say that I do still enjoy all of these things and am allowing these parts of the old me to enter the life of the new me. It helps, little steps forwards help encourage positive patterns to help you navigate normality in what are very abnormal circumstances.
I hope you are having a gentle week.
Love Hannah x