On Saturday I was driving the twins to Chessington for the day and as I came up to the roundabout I looked and saw nothing coming so went to turn left.. very nearly hitting a car.
You see, I’d looked but I hadn’t “looked” and there was a car coming around the roundabout, I just didn’t see it.
We both slammed our breaks on and the woman in the car threw her hand up at me and was clearly (and quite rightly) very cross with me. I could only sit there saying sorry and then we both drove on.
I’d zoned out for a moment. It was a near miss, thank goodness. But I couldn’t get it out of my head for a good few days.
I’ve noticed I’ve done this abit lately when driving, completely zoned out. Not badly like the roundabout incident but driven the wrong way going somewhere, not turned when I should have, that kind of thing.
Sometimes I feel like driving is the only time where I can just sit and think without being disturbed. I put some music on and I think about everything, what’s going on in the world, what’s happening with us, I have conversations with people in my head and think about the people I have seen that day.
And, ofcourse I sometimes think about Toby.
On this particular Saturday when I nearly hit the lady at the roundabout I had passed the funeral directors we had used when Toby died and I spent the time from that road to the roundabout thinking about Toby’s feet in the coffin. I remembered going to see Toby at the funeral directors for the first time with his mum. We were really worried what he would look like. I kept remembering my grandfather not looking the same after he died.
I was 14 when he died and we were very close. I walked straight up to my grandfather in his coffin and was shocked at what I saw. It wasn’t him. I cried and went to sit by the window and never went back to look at him again.
So, I was apprehensive to see Toby. But I needn’t have been. We couldn’t believe just how well he looked!! Which sounds ridiculous, seeing as he was dead. But he looked just like Toby. Not an ill Toby but just Toby. His mum was crying and I was laughing and then we were both laughing. I was just so relieved that my last imagine of him would be a good one.
Toby had had neuropathy in his feet from the chemotherapy and always wore wide trainers as he couldn’t take his feet being in tight shoes. I’d chosen to dress him in what he had worn for the twins’ christening and his wedding shoes. I’d wondered if they’d get them on him and I think his mum had wondered the same, so the first thing we did was check his shoes!!
I sat with him for a long time on those days leading up to the funeral. I didn’t want the funeral to happen. I didn’t want to bury him. I wanted to bring him home and have him back where he belonged. I’d have happily done that too, kept him in a little room like at the funeral directors as morbid as it sounds.
So it was Toby’s feet I was thinking about when I got to the roundabout. I was picturing the room and his face and the lid of the coffin against the wall and the smell. It reminded me of cheap make up.
It was the hardest thing to say my last goodbye to you. Between the time you died and the day we buried you I saw you lots. I talked to you and left photos and letters with you. I kissed your head a thousand times and laid my head on your hard body. I said to myself it was ok that you were gone because I had all these kids to look after!! And I’ve told myself that every day since.
And it’s true. It’s ok. I’m doing quite well on a daily basis. I’m moving forward with life. A different life but a good life. I’m happy and excited for the future. I know I block lots out but I think that’s ok.
I don’t ever forget about you, though. I said to a friend over coffee last week that sometimes I don’t believe I had this life with you. I sit there and think, did it all happen? Because sometimes it all feels like a dream. Like I’m living this life from the outside looking in. And I sit and picture you talking, hear your voice and hear your laugh and laugh at the funny things we shared together.
You definitely happened.
Last night we were brushing our teeth and Willow asked where her daddy’s tooth brush was. I pointed it out (it’s still in the holder with ours) and Rocco picked it up and started brushing his teeth with it! I said “Don’t do that babe it’s probably yucky.” Which prompted Willow to ask why! I told her it had sat there for almost 3 years untouched so probably shouldn’t go in Rocco’s mouth. She replied “oh yes, because daddy’s in heaven in the clouds. I don’t know why he went to heaven. Maybe he didn’t like it here with us.” I tried to explain that daddy’s body stopped working and he couldn’t stay here with us anymore and that he had really wanted to. What do you say to a 3 year old when you don’t even know how to explain it to yourself? She seemed happy with my answer and that was that. We read books and they went to bed – still sleeping well and generally through the night, I might add! Hooray!!
As we hurtle towards the 3 year mark since you left me, I cry less but think of you often, every day in fact. I’m not angry at you anymore for leaving me and I’m generally not too sad.
Except for days like today. Today I received a lovely letter from one of your friends. It wasn’t the letter that made me sad but the thought that there are so many of us that that were close to you that were left sad and I felt sadness for your friend. Everyone had so much love for you.
It’s abit of a cliche but fuck me are you missed.
So today I have felt sad and today I have let myself cry and tomorrow I’ll be fine again.