4 Years Later
"It was just a normal day”.
How many times do you read or hear that just for the person to go on to say how this ‘normal day’ turned into anything but? I must have read countless stories that started just like that. I’d feel so sad for the person, that they’d experienced something so traumatic and how their life has changed forever, just in that one day, more often than not without any warning. I’d remind myself how lucky I was - and get on with my day.
On the 3rd March 2013 that all changed. Four years ago was our ‘just a normal day…..’.
I’m not sure what ‘normal’ is anymore though. Losing EJ means everything feels different, your perspectives change, I long for a normal day, the ‘normal’ i just expected I would always have. A normality that means a morning rush of packing school bags and taking EJ to school, a normality that is trying to help with homework – even though the way they teach maths has probably changed yet again and I’d be relying on big brother and big sister to help out. The normality of trips to the park and seeing EJ join his first sports club, cricket, football or maybe both. Just the normality of a working mum juggling life and longing for a few moments of quiet.
I got that quiet in a way I never thought would happen to me. You always think these things happen to someone else, not you. Waking up on the 4th March 2013 to a deafness silence was devastating. The chaos had gone out of our lives. The cheeky chatter, the mischievous glint, the waiting for the next ‘look at me mummy what am I doing’? There were no more toys to tidy away, no more negotiating an ice cream after tea had finally been eaten, no more finding nappies in the washing machine from EJ trying to be ‘helpful’. Friends no longer having to ‘Elliot’ proof their house. Just a huge empty hole of devastating silence. And I never saw it coming.
It’s been four years since our little man went for his afternoon sleep and never woke up. Each anniversary has been so different, it just adds to the loss of normality, the loss of knowing what to expect, how you will feel, when the next wave will hit. The first anniversary was largely a blur, you got through it but couldn’t for one moment say how. The second was harder than the first because the reality was starting to creep in, just in tiny moments but you could feel it. By the third anniversary, you felt that you should have the tools to cope more – you try and put your stamp on dealing with the day as best you can. But I can’t say the same for the 3rd March this year. I think it is fair to say that the reality that this is our ‘normality’ now and that my deepest hope that has persisted throughout is starting to fade – the hope that one morning I’m going to wake up and realise this has all been an horrendous nightmare, EJ is snuggled fast asleep in his bed and the 3rd March 2013 started and ended like any other normal day. My life is back to normal.
There is a song by Bruce Springsteen – Countin on a miracle. On the face of it the lyrics don’t tie into what happened to EJ in any way, but some of the words just hit, “it’s a fairytale so tragic, there’s no prince to break the spell, I don’t believe in the magic – but for you I will”. There is that huge desperate part of you that wants this not to be real, for someone to gently shake you awake and say it never happened. EJ has such an energy, a loving spirit, that although on some days your heart just says no chance, how do you expect me to get through another day – but there are days when you want to take the energy and spirit he had and make it count – believe in the ‘magic’. I see this magic as the little rainbow’s in the sky that seem to appear randomly over the cricket grounds when Emily and Oliver are in the field taking their wickets and making the runs. I see it in the little butterfly that came and rested on my leg for a few minutes one day when I was sat thinking about EJ, or the Robin that jumped on John’s windscreen wipers and just hopped around for a while whilst John sat in the car watching – thinking of his little boy. I see it in the chaos caused by the animals at his tree, the birdfeeders knocked on the floor, the little lego man disappearing, the plants dug up, makes me smile – it’s just like EJ has been playing. EJ loved music and dancing, we used to dance to Springsteen songs in the kitchen. So one more line for you EJ from Bruce - “Your heaven is here in my heart”.