Today marks six months since Carlin entered this world and then left again. It’s a strange point in time, right in the middle of the raw initial grief and the one year anniversary that you’re told to focus on and confidently hurdle over. Or barge through. Whatever works. To ‘celebrate’ it doesn’t feel right, but I don’t want to be grieving it either. It needs to be acknowledged, but I don’t want to dwell on it. Where there is doubt, there is dumplings. Tonight we’ll go and eat for four.
Last night, with tear streaked cheeks, I asked Jason how he felt about today. Like me he found it hard to believe that six months had passed, but only as it felt like it had all happened so much more recently. For me it is quite different. The pregnancy, diagnosis, birth, and following months all feel like a dream. Not necessarily a bad one, just a dream. It’s foggy, unclear, vague around the edges. It’s like a story that has been retold too many times, merging fact and fiction, but also like a story that hasn’t been told enough, so details have now been forgotten. Like a dream, I awake with a vivid image and intense, consuming emotions, but they fade during the day. I find it difficult to remember what I had been thinking about, or how it had made me feel. If I concentrate and try to recall every detail of a day or a moment, I quickly doubt my own memory. Sometimes it is really distressing, sometimes it is a relief.
When memories are all you have, and they’re not shared with many, it can be really, really hard to let them go. There’s a lot of fear behind it. If it already feels like a dream and then I stop rehearsing every detail of the story, then what will I be left with? Just a name? Just some vague recollection of someone who once was? In that panic it is easy to forget that as memories are filed away, they make room for new ones. New beautiful memories of light and love and survival. Of strength and bravery and hope. Tonight we will sit and remember our little boy, but we will also make a new memory. I anticipate it to be one of laughter and love, and delicious dumplings.