Holidays Without You

“I couldn’t protect him from that virus”
Reading this again made my stomach sink.
7 years ago I was talking about viruses and look at what we are living in now 💔

So the summer holidays have begun and unlike most people, this was a time that I was truly dreading. Last year Jack was super excited about finishing primary 1, he couldn’t believe that he had 6 weeks off school, a whole 42 days. That last day of term was like Christmas Eve, he came bouncing out those school gates with the biggest smile as we looked forward to our summer holidays together. Fast forward 1 year and all I could do was cry on that last day off term, I knew that same excitement would be going on in the primary school but this year Jack wasn’t there to join in. Life goes on and as a parent that is so hard to see. For me, life has stood still, I am in the 19th December 2012 each day of my life. One of my beautiful friends posted this and she was so right and showed me that although Jack isn’t there, he is still very much in their thoughts.

“Today should be a day full of excitement and happiness as all off my wee freya's friends at St James' Renfrew finish school for the summer holidays. As a mother you cant wait to not have to do school uniform and rush about in the morning. It's time to go for day trips, holidays and spend special time together. Today all I can think about is freyas most special friend, he will not be with his friends to share this special feeling, however I know he will be watching over them. Please take a moment to realise how lucky you are and have the best summer possible.”

I was lucky that I was a teacher and got to spend the best summer with Jack, we made so many memories and spent so much mother and son time together. People tell me that I am lucky I have all those memories and to keep thinking of them. Yes they are very true but you see, I want to make more memories with Jack. Thinking of those memories hurt as they signify all the more exactly what I have lost.

Last week my cousin took me on a trip to Thailand with him to escape life here. The picture above was Jack in the local garden centre and if I saw one of those statues when I was away, I saw 1000 and I made sure I brought one back for him. The reminders of Jack were everywhere from the minute I arrived at Glasgow airport to the minute I arrived home. I don’t want to make new memories without Jack, I don’t want reminders or old memories; I just want my boy back and our life to the way it used to be. You don’t ever escape life here and that life is now with me forever. Being away made me realise that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what people do, this pain doesn’t go away. It’s almost like you have this expectation that going away will change something. Maybe when you return it will all have been a dream, maybe it will never have happened and maybe Jack will be there waiting for me. The reality though is that nothing changes. One thing that did change was my perspective on life, what is truly important and how I see some things.

On our final night, we were walking down the street and on the pavement as that side of a phone box was a mother and child about age 2 lying sleeping. My heart ached and the tears streamed from my face, I just wanted to pick them up and take them home with me. My thoughts then went straight to Jack, I tried my best to protect my him from everything. I would admit that I was an over protective mother as I never wanted anything to happen to Jack, I wanted him to be happy, healthy and safe.
I worried about everything, even things I knew that I couldn’t control but the irony is that it did no good. I couldn’t protect him from that virus and my worst fear came true, something did happen to Jack, I lost him forever. I kept looking at that poor child lying on the street sleeping and it just conformed for me that life just isn’t fair and we can’t predict the future. That poor baby was probably being exposed to all sorts of germs on that street yet he was still living, Jack was lucky enough to have a clean, happy and healthy home and life yet he is now gone. But where has he gone is my worry. Being so far away made me feel even further away from Jack, as I looked into the night sky all I could think was where are you Jack??? A thought that tortures me 24/7, Where are you Jack? Are you sad? Are you happy? Are you scared? Are you even anywhere or are you gone forever? The hardest part is that nobody can answer these questions.

There are so many unknowns in this world and if I knew what I do now, there are so many things that I would have done different. Life is so precious and short and everyone needs to try to be so thankful for what they have. There is so much that can be said for family and friends, without mine, I wouldn’t be here 6 months on. Being away confirmed for me how truly special these people are and how I will hold onto them forever. Last night I saw another example of such community spirit at another fundraising event. I am 29 and I have never seen as much community spirit as I have the last 6 months, people’s kindness and compassion has made me very humble and to each one of you who have supported Brightest Star in any way these last few months, I truly thank you. I am still trying to get through all the replies as I like them to come from me personally.

Last night I had the most beautiful dream, it was so vivid and one I will hold forever. Jack & I were out together and he said to me as clear as day, you’re a good mummy. My heart was heavy waking up this morning as I long to be that mummy again but hearing those words brought warmth to my broken heart. Guilt is one of the worst parts of grief and something that I am not ashamed to say that I battle with daily. What is this, what if that? In my heart I know that I was the best possible mum to Jack that I could be, I loved him so much and he truly was my life, the 2 of us were a team and as had a bond that nothing could break. My only advice to any parent reading this is try to be the best parent that you can be. Like me, you just don’t know what is around the corner and should you need it, you want to be able to hold that knowledge in your heart.

Arlene, Jacks Mummy xx


Holidays Without You

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