What I wouldn’t give to be staying safe at home with you

To my darling Ben…

Well, we certainly could not have predicted coronavirus and the current need to stay safe at home – just like we could not have predicted your untimely death from bowel cancer in 2017, when you were just 39.

I was pregnant at the time with our youngest daughter.

To say things are strange is a huge understatement, we leave the house only to walk the dogs and very occasionally to post letters or to pick up something I missed from the online shop. To be honest I am not sure how I am doing it, but I am and mostly with a smile – only sometimes with tears falling down my cheeks.

I am trying to embrace this time with our girls and allowing myself to be present with them, which was often difficult when our busy schedule was in place. After you died I used business and the girls as an excuse not to feel, not to have to accept you were dead, not to have to feel my excruciating pain, acknowledge the gaping hole you had left in my heart, my life, our children’s lives, our future, our home, that of our families and friends, the list could go on.

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Every time I think about it another aspect of life without you is revealed. It is like an onion – you think you’re getting to the last layer, the last of the losses, but oh no, just underneath is another aspect of grief waiting to pounce when you are least expecting it.

This is what I live with day in and day out. The uncertainty of never knowing when the storm will rise and the waves will grow strong enough to knock me off my feet and threaten to drag me under. But it’s also taught me that this too will pass, the waves will settle and surface calm will return.

Even with a mostly positive attitude, this staying home, staying alert is challenging for us without you.

The girls push my buttons and each other’s daily. By 9am I have already lost count of the number of times I have heard ‘Mummy…’. I keep telling them I’m going to change my name, but even Harriet just rolls her three-year-old eyes at me.

I am now more than ever absolutely everything to our girls and this comes with feelings of immense responsibility.

Some days I feel like I am failing before 7am and some days I can get to 7pm before thoughts of failure and not being enough enter my head. But I know I have to be good enough and I am good enough for the many roles I fill everyday. I know this because you knew I was enough and your belief in me keeps me going even when I feel like I am drowning.

What I wouldn’t give to be staying safe at home with you, we were so content and happy a few months of isolation with the girls would have been amazing. I am trying to take the good from our current situation as I know you would but the memories I am making with our girls are bittersweet. Always aware of your absence and what we are all missing out on.

I would love to tag you like we used to – ‘your turn now, baby’. I would shut myself away and work in peace, I would tie up my trainers and run outside of our garden, I would let you deal with the current lot of tears and tantrums.

I would go to the shop without feeling guilty for having to put our children at risk by taking them with me, I would have a bath without interruptions, I’d even settle for a shower, I would ask you for dinner ideas, I may even sleep easier knowing you were there.

I do know if you were alive my journey would have been so very different. I would not be the woman I am today, you dying has changed me and will continue to change me and be part of who I am.

I thank you for choosing me and for all that you give me.

I love you, forever.

Karen Whybrow is a Coach and Rapid Transformational Therapy Practitioner.

LETTERS FROM LOCKDOWN

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