I learnt a lot last week... My husband and I went on holiday for a week with good friends and their 2 year old daughter. She is the same age now that Matthew was when he died. It was a very difficult week for me.
I came to realise that I really, really need my own space, I need my dogs and their constant affection and I desperately need to be in control of my surroundings and my day. Add that all up and I become an unwelcome guest on what should have been a week full of fun. I found that I became extremely judgmental of my friends and how they relate to their daughter - who is a gorgeous little girl. I found fault with everything they did. And while I know that it is none of my business how they feed her, dress her, discipline her, play with her etc, etc, etc...I found myself underhandedly trying to "correct" them.
I found the little girl annoying. But she was just being a 2 year old. She is my God-daughter and I love her to bits. There are just too many conflicting emotions running through my system.
My defenses were shattered. I was unable to deal with any normal everyday stressors. I over-reacted to everything. And then, after avoiding looking at the tv for a long time, I looked up to see an image of a 2 year old child wrapped in bandages from head to toe - just like Matthew was when he died. That was my complete undoing. I went to bed and cried for hours.
They don't understand that navigating through a normal day is hard work for me. They don't know how much effort I need to put in in order to remain "normal". They made me feel angry because of their seemingly indifferent attitude towards their daughter. They seem to take her for-granted and sometimes seem to resent her presence. If they only knew how hard it is when that child is taken from you...
I know how hard it is to be a parent and I constantly have to remind myself that in ordinary everyday life a mother is allowed to be angry, upset, tired and to need time for herself. But now, as a bereaved mother, I would give anything to be back in the position where I craved time for me, but couldn't get it.. where I longed for a break from the relentless dependency that comes from a 2 year old.
There is no more normal. My normal is now just basic survival. I function - and I think I function well - but it takes enormous amounts of energy. I need to function as the new, broken me.