Easter is looming full of rebirth and new life, but I want time to stand still, I wanted time to stand still from December last year.
I'm not alone in this, a recent conversation with another woman also widowed prematurely in 2015 confirmed she felt the same as me. We both discussed how New Year's Eve had affected us, I wanted the year to go on forever because the chime of the bells at midnight meant that we were no longer in the year he had died, that it was already in the past, she felt the same, it was a relief to know I was not being irrational.
Already this year there have been significant milestones; Theo's 19th birthday, Xanthe's 17th, they are growing up, life is moving on and Andy is missing it. I'm having to make decisions about Daisy's care, go to appointments, deal with the seizures, the crises and their grief alone. I go to sleep on the side of the bed where Andy used to sleep, the indents he made are long gone but it gives me such comfort to sleep where he slept. I also don't want to sleep on my old side of the bed, I don't want to wake up and reach out to find he's not there.
I have been going through some of Andy's papers. A few years ago, in some super-organised flurry of efficiency I organised papers, photos and mementos for each family member into individual crates. It meant that when Andy was told his cancer was terminal I could find his box easily and he spent some time going through the pictures with friends and family who came to visit to say their goodbyes.
I found all of Andy's mementos from his acting career. From early reviews in the Basingstoke Gazette, to his letter accepting him onto the National Youth Theatre training scheme. The prospectus for Drama School and the publicity shots, programmes, cards, notes and letters that form part of a working actor's life.
|I love this publicity shot of Andy|
Andy would have been bursting with pride this weekend to see Jules follow in his footsteps. Attending drama classes at the local youth theatre has always been an important part of Jules' life, he clearly has inherited the acting gene and in the past year it's also been a constant that has helped him deal with the emotional trauma going on in the rest of his life.
Once again, Jules gave a brilliant performance in the end of term production, he was also given the Jack Petchey Award for Outstanding Achievement. The director had me in tears when he spoke about Jules' professionalism, talent and commitment, I just wish Andy could have been there to see it. Jules is only 13, he has had to deal with so much in his life, he was 2 when Daisy was born, 12 when his dad was diagnosed with cancer, so much for small shoulders to carry.
|Jules receiving his Jack Petchey Award from the Wimbledon Youth Theatre Directors|
I'm so proud of all of my children and how they are dealing with the days and weeks after Andy's passing. I am proud that Daisy makes sure that everyone knows that she is sad because Daddy is gone, it's important that she is able to communicate it. It's been so much for them all to bear, at such a young age. I wish time would stand still for all of us , just give us a break, but for better or worse life goes on, and as always we carry with us Andy's words, "It's not the cards you're dealt, it's how you play them".
We're trying hard to play our cards well.