I have been absent from blogging for quite a while, the time has run away from me. Although we have been extremely busy, I think it was an accumulation of several different factors that have kept me offline. One was falling out with my brother through facebook which soured the whole getting online thing. Another I think was that I have never blogged or been on facebook at a difficult time of year for me, which marks anniversaries of the demise and deaths of my parents and my daughter.
I find it difficult to share the feelings I experience each year as that time comes around again, especially about my Sophie. It seems strange that eight years on I still struggle because of the time of year. My parents deaths are easier to deal with because they had full lives and leave lots of memories behind, but with my daughter every year brings a new milestone that she will never reach. Several of my friends are grandparents now, their children went to Primary school with Sophie. Her little brother is now older than she ever was, my other daughter is now the age Sophie was when she became ill and died and our youngest towers above her height on the wall where we measured them through the years. Time moves on and she stays frozen in time.
I recently encountered a woman out on a dog walk, who had lost her only son to cancer, he was twenty. There was an instant recognition that we were alike, as though we knew each other, it was easy to talk to her about Sophie dying because she knew. When she told me how her son died and what it was like to slowly watch that happen I felt it and understood. It's like a club of people who no longer belong in normal society and only feel "normal" when amongst their own kind. Losing a child forever changes you, your ability to connect to others is never the same and people find it difficult to befriend you when they know.
We have recently been clearing out cupboards, sheds and the loft to clear some of the clutter that builds up when so many people live in a house. Our big shed that I built, insulated and wallpapered when the children were little had become a store for furniture and old toys. I got the boys to help me and now it is a study come art room with sky tv and a day bed, I hope to get back to painting and drawing this year. My small shed has finally fulfilled it's purpose and is now a tool shed and not a store for things that might be useful for building projects. The rabbits have a new run that only takes up a half of the space that it used to and is much easier to get into to clean them out. Out in our front porch we had a large walk in brick cupboard that had held tools since we moved in, as these now had a home in the small shed it was time for a new lease of life. After putting up shelving I now have a cool, walk in larder/pantry. It has room for my Christmas china to be stored as well. I intend to be able to buy things when they are on offer and have somewhere to store them, so hopefully saving money in the long term. I have put a store box for chocolate in there as with our healthy eating there has not been much of that in the small food cupboard in the kitchen and that is taking it's toll on poor Rock Chef who needs his treats. He refers to it as "things from the top shelf".
Today I rang the travel agent and was told that our tickets for Malta are now ready to be picked up. I didn't want to pick them up on my own so we will go together in the morning. I have got the suitcases ready and am hoping I haven't bought too many outfits to fit in them. I have never owned as many shoes as I do now. I now have only to stock the cupboards with food for the kids, I have had them coming on dog walks every day to get used to the routine. I have been working in the garden, trying to get brown before we go as the sun there will be just too hot to risk getting a suntan.
Mother in law is healing well after her fall, getting her shopping has forced me back on my bike, so I was pleasantly surprised at the weekend when we went out for a bike ride how fit I was again. Maybe I will be able to survive one of Rock Chef's "short cuts" in Malta. Life continues to test us, Rock Chef lost his old band mate to a brain tumour, just two weeks before we had seen him play at a gig in Ramsgate. My last Aunt passed away after a long illness and my sister is having all sorts of tests for an illness that as of yet is undiagnosed. She has had to give up work and has basically taken to her bed.
It feels good to have got through the last couple of months more or less sane for another year, although the members of the household do suffer as I work my way through it, clearing, cleaning and changing everything. But now with an art room, tool shed, rebuilt garden and pantry in place they are happy. The garden is lovely to sit out in now, we have new neighbours with a little girl called Freya, I love to sit in the sun and listen to her sing and play in her world filled with fairies, ponies and magic. She has made up a song about me that she sings in the garden, it's great. She has benefitted from our clear outs with tents and music boxes, she reminds me of ours when they were little and could make up stories and pretend play for hours. Am hoping for a couple of quiet weeks now, holidaying and camping.