One Year On – Friday June 19th 2015

Today marks one year since Oscar died. On the one hand we cannot believe we have survived without him for this long yet on the other hand it’s hard to imagine our old life and how simple that was.

It’s strange to say because I would not wish what we are going through on anybody, and we did not find our life boring before, but it has become much more interesting now. Before Oscar died we might bump into an old friend whom we had not seen in a couple of years and I would have been able to summarise what we’d been up to in 5 minutes maximum. Now, quite apart from the events surrounding losing Oscar, we have so much going on. [···]

Hatchlings – Monday 30th March 2015

We’ve had some interesting conversations with Holly over the past few days which are different to conversations that we’ve had before. The first one happened on Saturday afternoon. We’d put some Disney clips on the tele and one of them was from Dumbo. The clip that they were showing was of Dumbo and his mum being separated and the image was their trunks intertwined and then losing grip as the truck containing his mother drove away. Holly asked what was happening and David explained that Dumbo had been teased for being different and his mother had been protecting him. There had been a bit of a mix up and the two of them were being separated but that they got back together in the end. [···]

New beginnings – Sunday 8th March 2015

In the very first weeks after Oscar died David and I talked a lot about the impact of his death on Holly. I remember the feeling that went through my body as we were told the news by the doctors. It was literally like getting knocked down by a high speed train. And then seconds later we both got hit again as the realisation began to sink in. Oscar is gone….. how can we go on?….. and then… what on earth will become of Holly’s life? How can she survive this experience? We had never intended for her to be an only child. We always wanted her to have a sibling to share her childhood with but also as a friend for life. Holly and Oscar were only a couple of years apart, had developed a very close bond and made one another laugh more than anyone else. It was a very easy decision for David and I to see if it would be possible to have another child. Our point of view was that it would give Holly huge happiness as she already knew how amazing it felt to love someone. Later on in our thought processes we realised that it would also help us in our quest to carve out a new life for ourselves, one that is unrecognisable from the past. [···]

A Life Worth Living – Saturday February 28th

Eight months down the line I am thinking about how we survive. The first thing that I always cling onto is the hope that you cannot imagine your future. By which I mean for David and I our lives were completely different eleven years ago – we hadn’t met yet. They were unrecognisable from now five years ago as Holly was not born yet. And of course a year ago we were a very content complete foursome. My hope is that our lives are similarly entirely different in one year, five years and eleven years into the future. It’s not that we will have a new content complete because that is now impossible but if we work hard it could be something new. [···]

Our trip to Singapore – Monday 23rd February

On reflection our trip to Singapore to participate in the round the island ride that you may have read about was a positive one. We had spent some time together, just the three of us, during the first week. With a constant awareness of Oscar’s absence we were hit time and again with pangs of sadness and at times Holly looked very alone and deep in her own thoughts. She misses her playmate and that is painful for us to see. Fortunately after a couple of days another family arrived with a little girl of a similar age and the two had a lovely time together. We overheard Holly talking about Oscar to the little girl several times in the first afternoon and afterwards David asked her if she had told her friend that Oscar had died. Holly’s reply was no she hadn’t because she felt it wasn’t kind to tell someone that someone else had died. [···]

An Update on Oscar – Tuesday February 10th

We have learnt a lot about ourselves and about life since Oscar died. The latest lesson that we learned is that positivity only gets you so far. There is a range of emotions we are unaffected by. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. We don’t feel angry. We’re not particularly confused. We try really hard to take positive choices in our new life as not taking that approach makes us feel even worse and being positive sometimes helps. That was the thinking behind our Christmas campaign. We understand from our counselor that families in a situation like ours often dread Christmas and that when it arrives it is not so bad. We were the other way round. Our point of view was that Christmas could not be tougher than any other day. Why would be it worse not having him at breakfast on Christmas day than on any other day of the week? It turns out that Christmas was much, much harder. Perhaps it is the poignance of the occasion; that it is meant to be a magical time for children, that it is a family oriented time and that it is very easy to compare how you felt and what you were doing last year compared to this. Whatever the reason the Christmas and New Year period were pretty brutal and we probably haven’t quite bounced back yet. But we have learned something. So, for what would have been Oscar’s 2nd birthday on Friday February 6th we made sure we were better prepared. We had a plan of how to occupy our time in order to get through the day but this time we realised that however meaningful our plan was, to some extent all we had to do was to allow the day to pass by. The passage of time is something that we were not so aware of previously. A seemingly harmless ‘oh doesn’t time fly’ feels different now because, like it or not, day becomes night becomes day. It is like the beat of a drum and is so relentless you can almost hear it. And every single beat takes us further away from Oscar. [···]

The Passing of Time – Monday 10th November

Since Halloween several people have sent us wishes saying that they are thinking of us, especially as the run up to Christmas begins. It is always nice to receive messages like this, and to know that people are thinking of us all but it prompted David and I to discuss how we felt. It is true that not sharing Christmas this year with Oscar will be very difficult. It is another significant event which will be incomplete but actually for us there will be lots of distractions. Clearly we can’t cancel Christmas, Holly will be really excited and she will be having fun with her cousin, uncles, aunts and grandparents. We will get a lot of ‘happiness’ from watching her experiencing it all. [···]

Life in Layers – Thursday 2nd October

When people ask us how we are it’s a very big question to answer. I’ve learned to gauge what they are wanting or expecting to hear and then I have a little think about how I am going to answer. It’s not that I don’t feel that I can’t ask truthfully because I can if I want to. The thing is now we are living life in layers. For the past several months we’ve sheltered ourselves from the world. We’ve always seen folk, but usually within the village and almost always in small groups. We try to minimise putting ourselves into situations which could be unnecessarily difficult. So, for example, we wouldn’t go swimming together as a family anymore because we invariably bump into other intact families that we know at the pool and either David or I are self consciously redundant as we don’t have a second child to look after. Which would be fine if we had never had Oscar but which is not fine when you are used to being a family of four.


A conversation with Holly – Monday 21st July

Had an interesting conversation with Holly in the car today. It came, as usual, quite out of the blue:

“How old is Oscar now?”
“He’s 16 months.”
“Yes, but how old is he now?”
“He’s still 16 months, not quite one and a half years”
“so does that mean Oscar won’t grow up Mummy?”
“that’s right”
“so when I see him in heaven I will be much older than him?”
“yes, that’s right Hols”
“I will give him a cuddle in heaven. Where will we play?”
“I don’t know you’ll have to ask him when you see him.”
“..and where will we sleep?”
“I’m not sure. But Oscar will know how it all works so he’ll help you out.”
“Maybe we’ll sleep on a cloud!”

… happy conclusion to a perfectly content information gathering conversation

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