Every Morning I wake and go turn off the star fish fairy lights I leave on in the window seat in your old room. I smile as I see all the new baby things piled on the bed waiting for your little nephew to be born and I blow a kiss to the photo of you in the frame on the window seat and look out to Carn Brae the stone monument sitting atop the hill just across the farmers fields, a view you looked out and saw a thousand times too. You loved the open views after the closed street of North London we lived on most of your life.
I have little rituals I do that help me get through the day. I come down stairs and kiss your ashes and draw a heart shape around your face on the photo that is next to the wood box, the box has your name etched on a little gold inlay on the top of it, sometimes I run my finger tip over the letters and trace your name Matthew John Seary, I say your name out loud. I put the feathers I find on the same shelf. There is a little metal robin me and dad brought for you and a blue angelite crystal I put there because you are our angel. The lights in the fairy light dome next to your ashes remain lit, they are never turned off. Keeping light next to you is an important part of my ritual . If anyone sends a card or letter about you I pop it next to your box for a while, then it goes with the rest of loving memories and tributes your friends and family have written and photos they have sent. Next I kiss little Snowdon’s scan photo and say good morning Snowdon, I put his scan back on the radiator shelf and pick up yours, the one taken where you are standing in front of the big pine trees in woodland outside the Barn on our holidays, when all the Seary clan would be together, all fifteen of us. I stand for a few quiet minutes and hug that frame, I say “morning hugs Matt”. I go into the kitchen and put the kettle on for a morning tea, I light two tea lights, one for you and one for your uncle Derek who we lost just a few months after you, they sit together on a grey slate tile with the two little river stones I painted, one for each of you with your names on, there is a little peace Buddha in the middle and a rose quartz crystal.
I write you every day about what we are all doing, your brothers, your sister, nieces and nephews, about your dad, their hopes, their dreams, their heartaches, their joys. I tell you the big things, the little things, just like I would if I was messaging you, which I am!.
It does not matter how much time goes past there can only ever be a before and after time, it does not mean we can never know a time where we will laugh once more, but behind any experience that may happen now there will always be a sadness that accompanies it, it can be no other way because our completeness, our wholeness of heart has been rent from us, it cannot be patched, nor should it be, it can not and will not be covered, we only learn to walk with it.
To walk with grief does take courage, some days you don’t want to walk, its hard some days to want anything at all other than to lay down and die, such is the pain that you carry.
Times I want to make you proud, times I do things knowing you would be so pleased like growing plants, cooking good food for the family, often when I’m making meals I see you still in your new London flat, making burger creations and such like and sending me your foodie photos on messenger, I think of you especially when I am making those gooey chocolate chip cookies you liked so much. There times too when I’m too tired, too weary to do anything except curl up on the bathroom floor and rock and cry.
It feels like shock has made much of this first year like a fog and I cant remember lots of it. And life is like learning a new way of navigation, and I rally against it saying “but I didn’t choose to learn this!.”
So much fell away that day, it crashed in chaos, in silent, screaming disbelief, in incomprehension, in denial. All that me and GD knew fell away. The days, become weeks, the weeks become months, in searing pain, in numbing blackness, waves swell and subside, swell and subside. Each day, we need to make new life choices because we are not the same people anymore, we are different people, two lives, the before and the after.
This is new territory, it has no road map, learning to live with Matthew in our heart, learning to function, learning that even though we will now live with a part of us in heaven and not on earth, we live none the less here. Matthew is still our cheerleader as he always was, and is forever with us, and on those days when we cant get up, for the love of Matthew we will find courage and strength to do just that .
Its almost a year. Matthew came down this time last year with his sisters family to surprise me for my sixtieth birthday. We only saw Matthew one more time after that in June for his dads birthday and Fathers day weekend. Matthew gave me lots of extra cuddles on my birthday weekend, which I’m so glad for. As I stand at the kitchen sink I remember saying to Matthew “whats all these extra cuddles for?” and I loved them, my tall lad tucking me in under his arms.
A year of firsts, all those times your absence, an aching, hurting, emptiness inside all of us. I’m told the fog of grief protects the grieving during the year of firsts. I’m so often very confused, so just one day at a time, one hour at a time.
“Never. We never lose our loved ones. They accompany us; they don’t disappear from our lives. We are merely in different rooms.” – Paulo Coelho