Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

playing happy

This is a fourth guest post by my two-year-old son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton.

In Jackson’s fourth post, he shares his views on moving from the last home he ever shared with his mummy. You can read his previous guest posts by clicking here, here and here. As usual he’s got a mouth like a sailor.

Dear Daddy,

It’s been a while. I haven’t felt much like writing because I’ve been so busy moving house, hanging with my grandparents and telling everyone who’ll listen that I’ve had chicken pox.

I love the new house though, Daddy. I know that you took a risk on us moving and that you were shitting yourself that I’d totally freak out about leaving the last home we lived in with Mummy, but I really love it.

Thankfully you’ve chilled the fuck out now. Wise move giving up half the kitchen to me and my stuff too, it’ll keep me away from all your precious stuff in the living room. I mean frankly I don’t give a shit if Mummy’s Missoni throw acquires a little extra pattern, everything looks better with a touch of Play-Doh or Crayola on it from where I’m standing. I really enjoyed it when you left me in the living room with the sofa, your laptop and a tube of Carmex too. The couch looks amazing now, Daddy. I tried to tell you that it could do with a little pattern too. I loved what you tried to do with that wall in the kitchen as well. ‘Sea Urchin’ I think you said the colour was. Well it’s ‘Seabiscuit’ now, dude! Funny how all those paints Grandma bought me ended up being a horsey brown colour after five minutes. Why you didn’t choose an equine shade for the kitchen in the first place is beyond me, but you can chill now, Pops, I’ve got the walls covered. You’ve done enough, just leave it to me now. I mean you’ve seen me after nursery twice this week looking more like Jackson Pollack than Jackson Brooks-Dutton, haven’t you? I’ve got the skills to pay the bills!

If I think about it I probably only paint the sofa, the walls and myself to get a laugh or some attention. Mummy would have spent £400 buying a candle or something on your card much to the same effect, but seen as you won’t trust me with your wallet since I hid your work pass in an attempt to keep you at home with me, I’ve had to get creative. I love making you laugh too. Someone needs to and it’s not as easy as it used to be. That’s probably why I act like I do. I reckon you’ve worked me out though.

“How’s Jackson?”, I hear them all say.

“I almost hate to say it but he’s doing remarkably well. Generally he seems to be a really happy child. But sometimes I wonder if he’s playing me. Oh, and don’t try to tell me he’s only two, because I know him best”, I hear you reply.

Busted! I’ll give you this though, for an old git you’re quite down with the kids. Of course I’m not 100 per cent happy. I mean, who the fuck is? My mind strays, I wonder what the fuck’s going on and, to be quite honest, I find it hard to express myself at times. Perhaps I don’t want to talk about it either. Maybe I need a bit of time to take it all in. Some days I want to hide behind that fake smile I pull. And yeah, sometimes I ask you if you’re sad, I indulge you, I counsel you (for free too, but I’ll be back with the bill one day, you cheap mo fo) and I listen to what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean I want to talk about my feelings. Remember we all have to face this shit our own way. Sometimes it’s easier to grin uncomfortably like Victoria Beckham on the red carpet, and spit the words ‘I’m fine, Daddy, I’m happy’ through gritted teeth. Truth is we all have our highs and our lows. I might only stand 91.5cm tall, but I’m not that different to you. In fact, let’s face it, Daddy, I’m not that much smaller than you!

I guess what we have to remember, though, is I’m doing pretty well now but I reckon my hardest days are yet to come. I’m two, everything’s a game, it’s always play time and I’ve got loads of people round me who I love. But one day when I’m too cool to play and too adolescent to talk, I’m sure things will be different. If you think about it, it’s a shame you can’t act more like me now, living in the moment and all that, then face the shit with me when I’m ready. Perhaps we’re yinging and yanging though. I suppose we’ll balance one another out eventually. I guess we’d be fucked if we were both as miserable as you at the same time. I swear though, you’ll pay your dues. This little stand-up ain’t dishing the jokes out for free forever. One day I’m coming back to sit in the audience and listen to you cracking the gags. They better be good too because I’m propping this double act up right now.

Anyway, laters. Time for me to go and start colouring in the white bits on that monochrome sofa you just bought. I mean, come on Daddy, what were you thinking? It’s like a moth to the flame. And this moth has got a lot of felt tips.

Love you, Daddy.

J-Bo xx

3 comments on “playing happy

  1. Donna
    May 23, 2013

    My niece and nephew lost my sister 2 weeks after they turned one. They won’t truly remember her, sadly. But they point to photos and say Mummy and her little girl even points to her gravestone and says Mummy. Beautiful and heartbreaking all in one. They are starting to communicate in their way but have a wonderful language of their own, which I wish I could understand! But I wonder how one day they will ask, just where is our mummy!? xx

  2. AliceW
    May 23, 2013

    J-Bo you’re hilarious! Put those felt-tips away though and take your dad out this weekend, somewhere with lots of space to run around in. Maybe even somewhere with a hill you can roll him down. ;) x

  3. Lunar Hine
    May 24, 2013

    Jackson, I like your dad’s posts, but yours are hilarious – which was your point. I’m pantsing it about moving my girl from the only home she’s known and the one filled with memories of her Dada, but you’ve given me encouragement. Thanks, Jackson. PS If you pull the ends off, the middles of felt-tips make a much bigger stain :o).

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