Four weeks to the day after losing Brendan I received a message from a couple who are well known to us. Even so, we have barely seen them throughout Bren’s illness. The message explained that they were in the area and wanted to see the kids and I as much as they could while they were home. Because I had not heard from them since the service, where we spoke briefly — as they had flown in and out that day, I didn’t know when they were actually coming back until I got a message to say they were here.
The kids had already made plans with friends for the weekend, and when I replied saying we could try and catch up for a cuppa on Saturday or Sunday around Tyz and Bades plans, the return message was a little blunt expressing it might all be a bit hard. And that was the last I heard from them — which was OK.
I bring this up because I found the entire situation odd. And think it’s a good opportunity to talk about how sometimes we think we are doing what’s right, but if we are only having a one way conversation…it’s hard to know that for sure. If I had received a message within the two weeks prior to the visit I would have been able to explain that if the purpose to travel that distance was to see us, then I would ask that the trip be postponed to a time the kids and I were ready for visitors. At the moment we aren’t really.
In the days prior to these guys arriving I had received Bren’s death certificate in the mail and on seeing that was coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer married. I am now a widow. There has also been paperwork to sort through. They didn’t know I had gone into the bank and broke down in front of everyone there because I attempted to talk about taking Brendan’s name off our account, couldn’t bring myself to do it, and so will deal with that another day. It has been an overwhelming time.
I was also pleased that the kids felt ready to go out and catch up with their friends. They have been staying fairly close to home since losing their dad. More, I think, because they have been worried for me than anything. So when I told them they didn’t have to change their plans they decided not to. And that was OK with me too.
Mostly I am sharing this experience to let you know if you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s Ok to say No to people — even those who mean well. Sometimes it’s the kindest thing you can do for everyone, and will often be the hardest for you, but remember…you are not looking after everyone. In times of hardship, grief and devastation you are looking after you and those in your care. You may offend people. I have. But mostly your situation will be understood with love and compassion, which I can say ours has been 99.9% of the time.
I live in hope … knowing it is limitless.
PS: I know I will always be married in my heart if not on paper!