Just a wedding.

Today I spent the day at a wedding. I was Best Woman, which was an honour, and saw one of my dearest friends marry a beautiful and lovely woman. I had a gorgeous dress and my children and husband all looked gorgeous too.

It was perfect.

It was, apparently, the first bride and bride marriage in Oxfordshire. That’s quite exciting, in lots of ways. It’s always fun to be at the edge of the wave of something, one of the first.

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What struck me most though today, as I helped put brides into dresses, hold drinks, waft flower girls along the aisle and most of all watch two beautiful people who are in love get married, was how very ordinary it felt.

Ordinary in a good way. Normal.

Normal in a good way.

It was two people getting married. Two happy people, in love, getting married. It struck me forcefully that as a society we’ve been as wrapped up in bride/groom normality as right and everything being ‘change’ or ‘progress’ or less positive words in the same way as we talk about a Kindle being an okay way to read but a ‘real book is a real book’.

It’s nonsense. The essence of a book is words and story, not paper. The essence of a marriage is just two humans wanting to be together forever, for the sheer joy of a perfect partnership.

I didn’t go to a gay or lesbian wedding today. I didn’t go to something new or remarkable or progressive.

I went to a wedding.

Just a wedding.

Two people, in love, caring for each other, full of fun and kindness and passion for a future.

And it was unspeakably, perfectly, heartstoppingly beautiful.

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Happy future, Claire and Angie.

Happy everything.

Saying his name.

The thing about grief is…

The thing about grief…

The thing is…

It’s never over. That’s old, an old and hardly illuminating observation.

Some days I’m almost there.

Some days I’m in hiding. Some days I find I’ve absorbed the status quo so well that I almost believe that I, like everyone else in this house, prefer not to say his name.

Perhaps they think that I prefer that.

Perhaps they keep silent believing that I keep going because of, only because of, silence.

It might even be true.

There are days with peace.

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Days when he waves and I’m okay with that. Days when I rage that my strewn seeds fall on barren ground, ears that close and mouths that do not reply.

But we learned the steps of a dance and dance it we do.

Until one day, one morning, just out of nowhere, Bene picked up his photos. He pointed all of us out and then says “Baby?”

We haven’t told him about Freddie. I know everyone does it differently but I didn’t want him to grow up in a shadow, I didn’t want him overshadowed. Perhaps I was afraid of what the shadow might do.

I haven’t even whispered, for fear of him remembering those whispers and feeling second best.

“Baby?”

All babies are ‘BabyBene’ to him, because that’s what his little cousins call him. When he sees a photo of himself he knows it is him. He’s clear in that.

He didn’t say Baby Bene, just Baby. And asked.

So we told him, the 3 of us who were there. We told him it was Baby Freddie and let him look at the photos and ask us.

I’ll never forget the moment. We all went quite still, watchful, like animals beneath the hawk, like skiers frozen as the snow slips slightly around them and they wait to see if the world will crash down.

He pointed to us all. And then he pointed to the window ledge with candle, keepsakes and the weight of my love and tears poured on it. There isn’t a photo there though, nothing to tell a boy of 2 that it is a relic shelf of a lost brother.

“Baby Freddie all gone,” he said. Gently, very gently. He’s a rumbustious boy, given to throwing and hurling and fast moment.

He was very gentle. He put the photos back, absorbed the moment, seemed respectful.

***

And I was wrecked for the day. I was grateful, sad, overwhelmed. And sealed my own fate. If you mention his name, mummy will cry.

***

He’s come back several time since to ask more.

“Baby Freddie,” he asks, the name particularly spoken in a way that makes me ache to imagine them as brothers, Bene adoring him as he adores his big boy cousin.

And it is done now. He knows. He doesn’t know what he knows, but in our stillness, our held breaths, we told him that Baby Freddie means something he can’t yet comprehend and that he will have to carve his own place into the pain that knitted us 6 together back then.

It was my turn to write at Glow last week. I’ve been finding writing there hard. Bene helped me there. There is still so much work to do inside me.

 

Busy times.

The summer holidays are nearly over and before you know it, they’ll all be back at school again. It feels like it has been a packed holiday. Last week in particular was crammed with ‘stuff’. We went to visit my sister for the day because (aside from wanting to see them!) Fran had to go to a training day for a rugby event. She has rather impressively been picked to play for the North of England Under 18 side in a Touch Rugby event, which involved a session training in Lincoln and another one next weekend in Manchester. I’ve never even BEEN to Manchester. (I don’t know how we will get there as the car is in limp mode due to an inexplicable fault… waaah).

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She’s quite excited about this – as is her Dad – and I’m pleased too as she and Maddy have been playing contact rugby more recently and I can’t say I’m a fan of that. Rather illogically I don’t mind Fran hurtling through the air backwards and upside down but I don’t really like people banging into her :lol:

We had a lovely day with my sister and co too :)

On Monday Fran had her braces fitted, the second to last bit of the cleft intervention she should hopefully need. You might want to pop over to her blog and read about that, since she’s writing again. It’s been a long old road and there is at least two years of this but she’s happy to have it started now and the first wave of it hasn’t been too uncomfortable. I’ve never seen such an odd shaped first wire though – it went in zigzags!

Through all of this Maddy was happily off at CCF camp near Ironbridge; she took part in riots, rifle training, police training, went flying and did a lot of ironing, so far as I can tell. She’s extremely composed about being away from home – my favourite thing was how thrilled Fran and Bene were when we spoke to her on the phone. Was good to get her back and I took her for a quick visit to the baby rabbits we are adopting as a friend has found herself with rather a lot of them by accident!

On Wednesday Amelie needed a small eye operation to remove some molluscum growing in her eyelash line. They’ve been causing enormous amounts of eye itching and refusing to go on their own so surgery had to happen. Was a tedious but very simple day and all went well. I’m having to keep an eye (ha) on it now though as it is a bit crusty :(

Looooooong wait for eye surgery. #meh

Josie and Fran did a few days either at work or at gym as Josie was enjoying some more gym camp. I have no idea how that child can do so much exercise and not completely collapse but she seems to manage.

Thursday was results day as previously reported. Hurrah again :)

I spent quite a lot of the week trying to stop Bene from being so freaked out by spiders and beetles.

After initial anxiety…
To combat an extreme spider phobia we are watching Spider in the Bath on our Apple TV thingy. Riveted #mummywin
…he conceded that Spider in the Bath is in fact a lot of fun.
It was the best kids show ever I think.
Best show ever :)

He’s also really enjoying going to PlayGym at Phoenix, which is good as we need to tire him out a bit more. He’s giving up on naps, which is slightly painful all round!

Boy on beam. #playgym #phoenixgymnastics #peterborough @phoenixgymclub

Along side that I managed to do a phenomenal amount of work on two websites, finish 3 books (the ends of each not all the way through each!) and finish the boarder on my sisters blanket. So it was a productive week, all in all.