I have a moment to sit here at last and start a post that I have been writing in my head for a few weeks. Our house has been a stop on a train line since Tom got home. An incredible amount of our friends and Tom’s work collegues have spent a great deal of time on the verander, drinking tea, sipping beer, flipping charts, strategizing……. The gate bell chimes and the phone rings constantly. It’s tiring but it’s so good to be surrounded by all these people. What has struck me the most and has squashed my biggest fear is that they all treat Tom as Tom. With some people I see apprehension when they first meet Tom after such a long time, I have no idea of their expectation, but the air is soon relaxed and the conversation flows. Some people dive right in and enquire about Tom’s situation, he replies very factually. It’s something we have spoken about and we feel that knowlege is the best way forward and it keeps everything honest and out there. There are some questions though, that I get asked, that are very personal and those ones I battle with. It’s a tough one for me to work through but Tom and I are still a couple, with 2 children and we have a life to live. It will be a very different life to the one we had 8 months ago but we still require an element of privacy, as does every one. I see how hard it is for those people who used to do something active with Tom, its kind of awkward. I see people avoid us because I imagine they just don’t know what to say or how to be. I see men kiss Tom, rub his head, squeeze his shoulder, hold his hand and I’m grateful for the body contact they give. I see tears held back and deep breaths taken. What I’ve learnt is that there is no right way to behave but just to be honest.
People enquire about how I am doing and I also reply truthfully. Sometimes I am ok, my day has been busy with work or kids or house chores. Sometimes I am so emotionally exhausted I can’t even think. Sometimes I am flat and numb and it feels like I am just existing. This is the time that frightens me the most as I wonder if this is how the future will be……… existing by just getting through the day. Then there are moments of pure amazement and realisation of the meaning of love and family. I caught Tom unawares the other night, alone, looking at the sparkling Christmas tree and I was overcome by a calmness that he was still with us and that my girls get to kiss their Daddy on Christmas morning. Is that what this is all about? At that moment is was the only thing. And then another day starts.
Every day I plan on writing a post that will be a list of thanks, but each day it gets bigger and bigger and I worry I will leave someone off. One day I will do it, I want to. But for now I’d like to blow a kiss to everyone this Christmas, wherever you may be. Be with someone you want to be with, if only for a moment and take a deep breath. Together.