We all feel the pain of the last year and no matter how hard you try to forget the really bad moments, they still appear in your mind like an old fashioned showreel.
I forced myself out of bed and after a long, hard cry we ventured out of the flat to spend the day at the beach. It was a day Lennon truly would of enjoyed. The girls spent most of the day in the sea and building sand turtles fittingly named ‘Len’ and ‘Len Len’ after their brother.
In the evening we went out for a meal and sat by the harbour, eating ice creams and reminiscing about all the good times we shared in Torquay as a family of five.
As the day went on everyone’s mood slowly improved – helped somewhat by the sand, sea and sun. And the memories of the last time we were all together in Torquay – Lennon shrieking and arm flapping with delight whilst watching the fairground rides, and how thrilled he was being pushed out to sea in his dinghy. He loved the water and it seemed most appropriate that we spent the day by the sea.
We did struggle to decide what to do. People asked us what would we do on the anniversary of Lennon’s death?
To me, anniversaries mark happy days. Days to remember positive life events: a wedding anniversary for instance.
The day Lennon died is not a day to celebrate. August the 3rd will remain the saddest, most traumatic day of my life and I do not wish to celebrate the day my brave little soldier died.
If I could of slept through that day, I would of.
Ian has been amazing since we arrived. He has been cooking, making sure we are all fed and taken over the responsibility of the girls. I have barely lifted a finger.
It’s just what I needed. I don’t have enough energy or gumption to organise a p@£s up in a brewery at the moment.
Everything feels numb.
I didn’t need to ask him to take over, he simply did.
It’s hard to say whole year has passed, the words get stuck in my throat. Mainly because it doesn’t seem possible that my darling boy has been gone for 366 days now.
The fog of grief is slowly lifting, but the pain is still there. A constant reminder of the missing piece to my jigsaw.
This time last year was the toughest point of my life, it had been a 10 year plus roller coaster ride with Lennon. Some massive highs and terrible lows. But as a family we had taken it on. We always knew that Lennon would not live into adulthood. When he was in PICU at 2 years old the doctors didn’t think he was going to survive. From that moment on me and Nik dedicated our lives to him and made every moment count. Without Nik’s ability and determination we would of never have made double figures.
Since Len’s death we have had to rebuild -both emotionally and financially. It hasn’t been easy. I knew when Len died, it would be my job to lift Nik and the girls. Hopefully I have, and I’m proud of what they have achieved in a tough year.
Life will never be the same, but we will continue to make the most of it just as Len would have wanted us to.
Reading over the messages we received this time last year meant a lot. So many people I didn’t even know were following our story.
My aim was for Len to never be forgotten and touch as many peoples life’s as possible.
We made it through Christmas and New Year, and escaped only slightly scathed out of the other side and into 2018.
Christmas cards arrived and the sight of Lennon’s name missing from them all stung, tears pricked my eyes with the opening of each one.
You may be surprised when I tell you that only 3 people thought to mention that they knew Christmas would be hard for us this year and they would be thinking of us.
The rest all wished us ‘Happy Christmas’ and prosperous ‘New Year’ – How anyone could possible think that our Christmas would be happy and our New Year prosperous is completely beyond me!
Do you think if your child had died 5 months previous you would have a ‘Happy Christmas’?!
After Lennon’s Birthday and the deep sadness I felt in the festive period, Christmas Day was surprisingly going ok. I had made it out of bed in the morning and was dragged downstairs by 2 very excited girls desperate to see the delights that Santa had left behind during the night. Their excitement and enthusiasm carried me through the day, and I felt pleasantly surprised that Christmas Day wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting it to be.
Until we sat down to eat Christmas Dinner with Ian’s parents and his uncle. The space where Lennon’s wheelchair sat in the dining room suddenly seemed so vast and empty. I felt sad, and that was the start of the downward spiral.
Someone let it slip that Ian had booked a trip to Paris over Mothers Day with his mates. He intentionally hadn’t consulted with me before he went ahead and paid for it and everyone knew except me. He had been hiding it from me with no intention.
Ian wouldn’t be home on Mothers Day. I will have to get through my first Mothers Day without my son alone.
I couldn’t believe he didn’t even pay me so much as a fleeting thought when he booked it.
I was already struggling with my emotions and the pain of dealing with the first Christmas without my eldest child, this revelation tipped me over the edge – like rubbing salt in a cut.
As soon as we arrived home I made my way straight to bed and didn’t surface until late morning on Boxing Day. I forced myself to get up and dressed for my girls.
Ian and I had a blazing argument.
He walked out.
He came home.
We went drove to my mums separately.
We ate dinner, opens presents and I went home.
I took the Christmas tree down and packed away our first Christmas without Lennon. I wanted Christmas over and done with. I didn’t want anymore Christmas without Lennon.
Ian and I made up. Life’s too short to waste time arguing.
The day after Boxing Day we had tickets for Disney On Ice at The O2 – Lennon’s Christmas present that I had booked in the weeks before he died. We went every Christmas. Lennon wasn’t interested in presents so we spent money on days out instead – Lennon loved experiences and trips out and Disney on Ice was one of his favourites.
We travelled down on the tube and the atmosphere wasn’t great. The magnitude of the day ahead weighing heavily on us all.
The girls throughly enjoyed it and we all spent most of the performance pointing out the little things Lennon would of loved and talking about how much we missed him not sitting amongst us, shouting and arm flapping.
At the end of the performance, snow floated down and covered us, butterflies flew above the ice and we knew Lennon was right there with us.
The days before New Year were mainly long and dull. Ian went back to work and I didn’t have the energy or the enthusiasm to take the girls anywhere. I felt a heavy fog take over me with a New Year imminent.
New Year has been a sticking point with me since Lennon was born – celebrating a New Year with a life limited child, to me felt completely out of the question. The approaching year could be Lennon’s last – why on earth would we want to celebrate that?!
This time the New Year brought a new torment with it.
2017 knew Lennon.
Lennon knew 2017.
Lennon was alive in 2017.
2018 would not know Lennon.
Lennon would not know 2018.
In 2018, Lennon died last year.
That hurt me.
After spending days moping around not getting dressed and crying, by New Years Eve I had realised that I really did need to get out and make some attempt to save my drowning self.
I even put some make up on.
We took the girls for dinner at ASK and then went to the local pub for a few drinks with friends.
We had the girls with us, so no plans to stay out and see the Year change – I knew that would be a step too far for me. So we left the pub at 22:30 with Florence and ventured home. Isla wanted to stay with her friends, so we left her behind.
On the 1st of January 2018 I woke up strangely relieved. Relieved that it was all over. But still sad. Sad that Lennon died last year. Sad as the hard, cold realisation that time moves on hit me yet again.
The morning after Lennon’s funeral we flew to Majorca for a week. Over the years we had always said that we would take the girls abroad soon after Lennon died. Mainly to give them a holiday they had never been able to experience before, but also to inject a little happiness back into their lives.
In that respect it worked. Both Isla and Florence had a fantastic time. (Despite isla being poorly for a couple of days.) We only left the hotel once, and they spent most of the week in the swimming pool.
Even Ian seemed to enjoy himself, swimming in the sea and getting involved with the hotel entertainment.
I really thought it would be a good idea to go away for me too. I honestly thought that I would feel a little better.
Who doesn’t feel happier in a sunnier, warmer environment, lying by a pool all day?!
I can honestly say I didn’t feel any different being away from home, other then feeling further away from Lennon.
I still began and ended everyday in floods of tears, and spent the days hiding behind my sunglasses or a book trying the blink the tears out of my glassy eyes.
The pain and the emptiness still there, and the gapping hole in me still wide open and raw.
Forcing smiles and happiness for my daughters, so that they can’t see the pain I am in and the constant discomfort I feel.
Trying to enjoy myself (as I am told “you’ll feel so much better”). But those true feelings of enjoyment and happiness have abandoned me. Deep sorrow, emptiness and loneliness have taken their place.
It was a relief to walk back through our front door, and into our home. Lennon’s home.
Everything in Lennon’s bedroom is still as it was when he left that Tuesday night. His feed pump still has his clear fluids attached. His syringes and medications are all still on his unit and his fluid charts and emergency plans all still hang on the wall. His clothes in his drawers and his toys and books still in his bed.
I feel close to Lennon here at home and at this moment in time, it’s the only tiny bit of comfort that I can find and cling on to.