Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Getting over it...

I've posted about this before, but I thought I'd revisit this old chestnut of a saying. I have lost count of the number of times I've been asked if I've got over Nigel's death. I've reached the point in the journey that is widowhood that means I can just take such comments on the chin and get on with it. In the past I have smiled when someone has said it and muttered in my head about it, and then had a weep later.

I can honestly say, it is NEVER about getting over it. More about getting on with it. Life is nothing like I planned it, well, there are some aspects which are but not many. I fancied getting married in the year 2000, and managed that, marrying Nigel on July 29th that year. We had a fabulous wedding day, just how I dreamed it would be apart from the rain. But then we are in England, so the weather can never be guaranteed, now can it!

I also had it in my head that I wanted to have had my children by the time I was thirty. Married at the age of 24, to a man 10 years my senior, I knew that I wanted to have a family with Nigel as soon as possible. I still can't quite believe that we were so lucky to have both girls with relative ease. My pregnancy with Sophie went smoothly, with her birth being quite traumatic. She was a poorly baby, spending her first 24 hours in special care, and then having treatment for rhesus disease back on the ward in a side room with me. Alex's pregnancy was difficult, and she too was poorly initially, but soon was well enough for us to go home a week after her birth.

At this point, I was 28 and thought everything was panning out nicely. When Alex was 5 months old, we took her to Portugal for her first holiday abroad, just as we had done when Sophie was 5 months old too. Whilst on this holiday, we bought into our timeshare, bagging our family a lovely holiday every summer for the foreseeable future.

Fast forward to August 10th 2006, and there I was, 30 years old, mother to a four year old and a two year old, and in an instant I was a widow not a wife. I really can remember that moment when the paramedics told me Nigel had died like it was yesterday. I didn't speak Portuguese, but still I knew exactly what they were telling me.

Since then, I've tried to take things as they come. There have been massive challenges, highs, lows, good times, situations I could never have imagined even in my worst nightmares. I have clawed my way out of the deepest darkest places, and got on with living my life with my two girls. I am getting on with it, ignoring those people who thought I could never manage on my own instead of part of a two parent home. I know from my own experience as a teacher that my girls are considered 'at risk' because I am a lone parent who has gone through considerable trauma.

Here's my beautiful eldest daughter. She was only 4 when Nigel died. Now she is ten, and I am filled with pride at how she has grown up into such an amazing young lady. Scary times ahead, as she will be moving from the safety and comfortable environment of her primary school into the big wide world that is secondary school in September 2013. Together we will decide which school to apply for after the summer holidays. When I was last time choosing schools, I did it with Nigel, and we definitely made the right decision when choosing primary schools. I am sure Sophie would have been fine wherever we chose, but the school she has been at since September 2006 has definitely been good for her.

Alex was only 2 when Nigel died. Her memories of her daddy are limited, and there have been times when she has struggled immensely with that. Her grasp of numbers meant that she suffered a painful realisation that Sophie had 4 years with Nigel, whereas she only had two. It broke my heart to hear her sob when she worked that out for herself. How do you explain to a child that their daddy loved them just as much, but because they were the younger one he only knew them for half the time? At that time, Alex was suffering with painful ear problems, and it was not until after Nigel died that she got the surgery she needed, and turned from a night time screeching banshee into the gorgeous girl she is now. Like Sophie, she has blossomed too. I wish her daddy could see her now.

Where are we now? We are getting ON with life, a family of three. Happy, most of the time. Still feel sorrow that Nigel is not here, but it is not all consuming like it used to be. We will never get OVER it. I think we're doing a pretty good job of it. Not perfect, but then, what is perfect? Can anyone ever achieve that? Some people think they can, and so look down on those of us who are further from it than they think they are. I muddle on through, and the muddle is pretty impressive at the moment. Roll on 20th July, when school is out for summer. My full time contract ends, and I go on to 2.5 days a week from September 1st. So many parents dread the summer holidays, but for us it means actually having time to spend as a family. And that is GOOD.

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