Sunday, 25 April 2010

An Elephant in the Room...

That time of year is looming again and it seems I am filled with a nagging feeling of anticipation that goes hand in hand with a nausea that hangs around and a mood that is heavy and unforgiving.

I attended the annual Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance at Great Ormond Street Hospital yesterday.  I always come away from it with the carefully chosen words of the chaplain stored in my head.  This year he talked about the elephant in the room: you know, the one that is sometimes so big, it is hard to move around it, yet we do.  The one who all we want is for someone to mention its name.  The one who, if we actually mentioned the word death, then we could, maybe, talk about life.  A life that had the power to shape mine. He also read some words given to him by another bereaved parent.  The metaphor used this time was shoes and the fact that we are wearing them on a daily basis regardless of how much they hurt.  It's not as if we could take them off and have a break from them or let someone else wear them for us, just for a while.  They stay on our feet and we hope that one day, the hurt will become less and less noticeable.  I wear them and have become adept at hiding the pain of them.

It's only taken four short years for me to attend on my own.  That sounds really mean as I know there are two very good friends who would have come if they could.  No2 declined and so it was just me.  It was hard to sit there, on the end of a row (carefully chosen, so as I didn't have to sit between 2 people) watching families united in their grief.  I lit a candle for Tom and tried to sing the hymn that we sang at his funeral, with silent tears rolling down my face.

I stepped out of the chapel into the sunshine and walked back to St Pancras to catch my train home.  I didn't feel like talking to other people there this year.  The one person who I was hoping to meet up with wasn't there - maybe she was stranded abroad somewhere still...

I am going to go to the zoo again on Thursday.  It's good to have made a decision about what to do on Tom's anniversary as it takes the heartache of trying to think of something away.  I'm hoping No2 will want to come with me.  I'm not his favourite person at the moment - his Facebook status is ' I f***ing hate my mum' and it had 45 comments at the last count and not one of them in my defence.  I don't really know what exactly I've done to deserve it, but there you have it.  One not here and one who hates me enough to broadcast it.

I think I'll stop now.  My coffee is finished and I ought to get up.  I have a quilt to finish, plants to put in and seeds to sow.  Time to just hit the publish post button and roll with it.


  1. I remember your zoo visit last time! It certainly comes around quickly! No.2 doesn't hate you. He is probably trying hard to deal with his emotions and I would imagine that he finds this time of year upsetting too. I hope the sun shines for you at the zoo. I love the zoo as much as Kew! Thank you for the invitation to join you at Kew Gardens one day, it was very thoughtful of you. x

  2. I'm quite certain no. 2 doesn't hate you and you have done absolutely nothing to deserve that treatment. He's young and it's his way of dealing with things and he will come through it. Thinking of you. x

  3. I dont know what to say, so just a comment to let you know I popped by

  4. Sometimes, being a mother involves an awful lot of 'hanging in there'.

    Thinking of you and wishing you strength.

  5. I am new to your blog...and so sorry for your loss. I am commenting because of the words about No. 2. I can sympathize with the parenting struggle you now face, and can only assure you it will pass.

    I'll pop by again....should have commented before now and tell you how much I enjoy your garden pictures.

  6. Thinking of you. Simone is right, no.2 doesnt hate you, he is more likely finding it tough just like you.
    Have a lovely day at the zoo.

  7. I look back on my childhood with many regrets, for I too went through a "I hate my parents" stage, for many reasons many that were silly. It must be very hard and painful for you and my heart goes out to you, but I'm sure it's just a stage and one day soon it'll pass and your relationship with no2 will be restored.
    I hope the zoo day passes ok,
    thinking of you xx

  8. Oh Tracy - hugs. For all the things making you sad - it's a hell of a lot to cope with. Hard to believe another year has rolled round already.

    I'm sure No 2 doesn't hate you, and that it will pass. I went through an objectionable teenaged hating-my-parents stage, to my eternal shame. Now I can't even remember why.

  9. he doesn't hate're just the closest person to him, therefore easiest for him to take out any angst he is feeling.

    We've just passed an anniversary as well. It doesn't get any easier...up days and down days.

    Thinking of you x

  10. Oh Tracy, I'm feeling so choked up. It does seem hard to believe it's been a year since your last zoo visit. And if you'd like a companion for the zoo (or anywhere) you know I'm here. Thinking of you. K x

  11. Hi Tracy, Sending you hugs and strength. So sorry to hear it's a tough time. I hope the sun shines for your zoo visit. Like everyone else says, I'm sure No2 doesn't hate you - it's just his way of dealing with things, and of course boys like to copy each other, if one says something, they'll all follow suit. I expect underneath it all, this is a tough time for him too. You're both missing Tom. And it's very painful. Hang in there.


  12. Hi Tracy
    All I can say is big, huge, enormous hugs.
    ...and No2 doesn't hate you- it's hormones and guilt and heartache and being a teen.
    Have a lovely day at the zoo
    Thinking of you

  13. I'm just another passer by feeling your pain, if enough of us take a little of the load, you can make it.
    No2 loves you but it's just not cool to FB that!

  14. It's such hard work being a boy of a certain age - let alone one who has lived with such grief.

    It takes sons (and daughters) a very long time to realise that parents are human too, that they can hurt us.

    Be kind to yourself.

  15. There is so much that you have done and continue to do for people who feel a similar grief.

    Who knows who might be reading this blog anonymously to whom you bring precious comfort with your strength and honesty.

    And yet at this time it is truly OK to deal with things in your own way, being gentle with your grief and warm and loving in your remembering..

  16. What can I say? Except that I am sitting here with tears streaming down in anguish at what you have gone through.

    I agree with everyone else - No.2 doesn't hate you. And Sue has hit the nail on the head about him loving you but it not being cool to put that on facebook.

    Thinking of you and wishing you peace.

    Lucy xxx

  17. thinking of you Tracy, yet again I am astonished at how brave you are to talk to us, and how eloquent you still manage to be through your pain - take care xoxoxox

  18. Sending you hugs and prayers for strength. Enjoy the zoo and keep beleiving in yourself.

  19. Hi,
    I've been reading our blog for a while now and especially your writngs about your son. I work in a children's hospice and think you are very brave and strong and caring and reading your words has been very insightful.I feel very priveledged to be allowed into the lives of our families. Being on your on at GOS must have been so hard. I had to attend a celebratory service for one of my children on my own as my husband had left and althoughthe pain can in no way be compared to yours, sitting there on my own watching the other families was so sad.On a positive note,my youngest reacted in a similar way to No.2 saying she could not wait to leave home,staying out etc. We are now very close again-she is still feisty to say the least,but ithink she is glad i let her take her angerout on me but stuck around. It's not fair but he will get through. I hope this hasn;t been a patronising comment,i really don't mean it to be,and as everybody says" i've never done this before".
    THinking of you

  20. Dear Tracy, you write so beautifully and movingly about your grief - it's a priveledge to read and I hope it helps you a little to write about it and share it. What a difficult time you're going through with No 2 but to echo what everyone else has said it sounds like misdirected rage at the world and underneath the combatitive language he no doubt loves you. I hope the sun shines for you on Thursday, J x

  21. Dragonfly, I am sure your son does not hate you and that you have done nothing to deserve his wrath. You sound like a truely amazing mum and that is despite the elephant that lives with you all.

  22. I don't know you but I stopped by on a wander around the blogosphere via Alice's blog and just had to stop and say I don't know you but I'm thinking of you and sending those thoughts from Devon x

  23. Tracy! I havent been around for a while. This is such a sad, beautiful and moving post. You are so very very brave.

    As for No2. .. isn't it in the rules of being a teenager that you must hate your parents? In my day I would have (and did) scratch it on the furniture, much more permanent than facebook. Hopefully that's all been deleted now.

    Thinking of you and sending hugs.



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