At “home” – that didn’t feel like a proper loving home at all – I just had to concentrate on not getting hit by Granddad. That was a fairly full-time job as he had a very short fuse. Any mention of Mum and Dad was banned, even looking sad was pretty much banned. It didn't make for a happy or healing time.
No, it was the middle of the night when things got really bad. I would wake up with my mind in a whirl. Stress, anger, upset, uncertainty – you name a negative emotion and I bet I could say with total honesty that it was in there somewhere. They wouldn’t be even the slightest possibility of getting back to sleep but I knew if I made much noise Nan and Granddad would wake up and there would be another blazing row.
I will never forget what a kind member of staff at school (the Head Teacher’s PA) explained to me. When somebody dies unexpectedly all the certainties in your life, all the fixed points and emotional ties that hold your life together, are stretched out of shape. Some of the lifelines will be broken for a while and a few might never join up again. Others ties will reform but in a different way to how they were before.
My email mentor described my life in those first few months as being like a waterfall. My life had been like a river, flowing quietly between high banks. Suddenly the river goes over a waterfall where it tumbled down uncontrollably into the pool at the bottom where the water (my life) was all churned up and without direction. Eventually the water (my life) would make its way to the edges of the pool and start to be a slow moving river again. But it is still a river and it does flow on eventually.
As she said, “This too will pass”. And it did.