a young widowed father opening up about living with loss
Today is my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday. A day she has been planning since she turned 50. We had big plans. A party with all her friends and family followed by a holiday somewhere hot. But that all changed so suddenly last November. It felt like the party would lack its fun and the holiday would lack its sun.
But we’re troupers and we tend not to let a day like this pass by unmarked. So this morning my son greeted his grandmother at the door with a ‘Happy 60th Birthday’ balloon, gave her a card he’d made at nursery and we had breakfast and gave gifts. Yet something was missing. I knew Desreen couldn’t be here, that’s a given, but I know she’d have spoilt her mum rotten and really gone to town. So I thought about what I could do. Buying pastries in the shop downstairs it came to me.
My wife owned a pretty healthy collection of bags. Many a designer cow perished to furnish her arm. I know she’d be livid if I just started dishing them out to all and sundry (I think I may even be able to remember her once telling me she’d come back and get me if I did) but I also know she’d so badly want to please her mum today. So I took her favourite, wrapped it up and told her mum that it was from Des.
“Did you know?” she asked.
“Know what? I replied.
“That this is what she was going to buy me for my birthday?”
I had no idea but it got me thinking about just how well you know a person when you’re together for so long. She probably didn’t even need to tell me and I could have guessed.
Well they say birthdays and anniversaries are the hardest when you lose someone. I just didn’t expect my mother-in-law’s to hit me so hard.