|Me and Sammy. Playing|
It is always the unexpected remark or memory stirred that takes me unawares and stops me in my tracks.
It is birthday season again.
Yesterday we went to see your brother and his family for the day. It is his birthday today, his 29th. Next weekend it will be Sammy's. He will be two years old.
So for the second time in a week, I drove the 90 miles south, having done the return journey mid week on my own. Yesterday Stephen drove us home.
It was a lovely time.
We were greeted by a very excited grandson exclaiming as he came to the door with his dad,
"It's granny, AND grandad!" And a beautiful smile from our grand-daughter Libby, now 8 months old.
The house was decorated with banners and balloons and we had a birthday cake with candles at lunchtime, a celebration shared. Family time.
We had a "one day early" birthday so they could decide how they wanted to celebrate Al's actual one today.
Later on we went to a nearby pub for a meal, being joined by our daughter-in-law, Jen's, brother, also called Matthew, and his family.
Sammy and his cousin, being 6 months apart in age, greeted each other with great glee and proceeded to play together in a whirlwind of chasing about and eventually sitting down together in matching highchairs, alongside Libby in hers, and Sammy's older cousin, who is now at school, sitting at the table
So, why the tears this morning?
It is so hard to explain how it sometimes rears up and wells over.
Yet there was a reason for how I feel now, and how I felt at one particular point yesterday afternoon....... in a public place, surrounded by family and excited laughing children......
Two little words...................
Unexpectedly hitting me like a shock
My stomach feeling suddenly tight
A stab of pain
A stifled sob
A wanting to shield myself from others seeing the tears
Which had suddenly arisen unbidden
From the well which is always there...............
Two little words.........................
Coming from the lips of our grandson........
"Hello Uncle Matt"
But it wasn't you. He would've had two Uncle Matt's.
Now there is only one.
In those words I knew your absence......................... a deep, cutting, aching absence.
Hearing my grandson speak those words for the first time reached deep into my being to where the loss is held.
It gushed suddenly to the surface and spilled over.
Your brother, sitting across the table, realising I was wrestling with the welter of pain, and came round to hold me, sharing the understanding.
I had not thought, nor realised, that one day I would hear those two words spoken, but not to you.
Oh, Matt, I struggled to stop myself from sobbing, but I made it.
Not wanting to upset the others, especially the children.
But the pain is still there
Nagging, aching, bubbling......
It will subside,
I have learned that over the last 7 years
Only for now it cannot be contained,
A part of the wound has been damaged once more and needs a little time to recover.
Today I will give you that time Matt.
Next weekend it will be Sammy's birthday, and he will greet his Uncle Matt once more.
At least this time I will be more prepared, maybe......maybe not.
I only know I wish the words were for you.