Four years

A lot has happened in the last four years. I’ve left five jobs and my hair’s gone grey. My travels have included Poland, Bruges and Lake Como. I live in the same flat but a new boiler means a decent shower. I’ve experienced great theatre & wonderful films. Danced it out in Manchester’s gay village, several times!

Lost a beloved dog and adopted two cats. Had a few unsuccessful dates and a couple of minor health scares. I still enjoy baking and am almost a vegetarian. I’ve helped both my children to move house, improve their cooking skills and provided interest free credit.

I relished a school reunion, revisited my Dad’s grave after 30 years and now have five tattoos. Bought and sold a car. Got a glimpse of Ant & Dec and regularly attend the annual Pride march. Hated a screen writing course but started to enjoy reading fiction.

And every day I miss my son, Conor. His cheeky smile, now comes only from treasured photographs, his words, from handmade cards and notes that I’ve kept. My sweet lord is my song for him and his face is on my bank card. He would approve of my tattoos and tell me ‘everything is going to be OK Mum’. I believe him.

My heart will always be broken but I am at peace, knowing Conor’s struggles are over, his short life had meaning and he was loved.

Then a date comes along, the anniversary and transports me back. The long journey (trains, a coach, ferries, a taxi and the metro) to see my sick boy who was unconscious and dying. A pink glowing serenity became a grey lifeless turmoil. Sobbing in anguish. Comforting my grieving son, Owen, who had lost his twin brother. A hotel room, in small-town Ireland. Being judged by insensitive locals on a Facebook page where news of Conor’s death was shared. The unbearable agony of the funeral directors. Desperate to be home but dreading what that entailed. Holding Owen so tight because I was afraid of losing all the pieces. Trying to find strength from despair, such a desperate feeling that I hope never to endure again.

That experience will never leave me but I choose to focus on treasured memories, all recorded in many photo albums. That sometimes sulky face, the bond between two brothers, gaming, family days out & big smiles at Christmas. Birthdays and their cake creations, City footie shirt to Heavy metal t-shirt and that skateboarding phase. These will eventually soothe the pain and I will be at peace once more.

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