A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
This is a very special guest post by my two-year-old son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton
Toddler, train enthusiast and part time nursery attendee, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton, shares his thoughts on his behaviour since his mother was tragically killed in November 2012 in a open letter to his father. Like every child of his age, his dad believes him to be an exceptionally gifted and extremely advanced pre-schooler. However, it probably goes without saying that this post is entirely made up because, as yet, Jackson doesn’t know if the book he is ‘reading’ is upside down or not. This is an interpretation of his behaviour from his point of view. I feel I must warn you, he swears like a trooper. His daddy did when he was young though too. I blame the parents.
I feel like I need you to see things from my point of view because you’re giving yourself a very hard time. Good at spelling, aren’t I?
I’m going to keep this brief because I get bored really easily and although I said I don’t like Thomas the Tank Engine anymore when we left the house this morning, I’ve changed my mind and he’s all I can think about right now. Frankly, I also find writing letters a real bore and I don’t understand why this archaic laptop has keys when I prefer to touch type directly onto the screen with sugary yoghurt on my fingers. But I love you, Daddy, so I’ll persevere. Big word for such a little guy, n’est pas? Oh yeah, they make kids’ TV shows that teach you French and Spanish now. Oh and Patois too if you include Rastamouse, man.
Where was I? Oh aye, three things happened last week that I think I ought to explain from my perspective because they seem to be crushing you up and I need you to be in a better state of mind to build my train tracks. I might be able to write well, but those bloody bridges get me every time.
Daddy, last week you took me ‘on holiday’ to the Canaries when I was really ill. I had a huge fever, you pumped me full of drugs and I think you probably wanted to ‘be on form’. Well let me tell you something, man flu starts young and I had it. You grown-ups think Calpol is the answer to everything but we only take it off you because it tastes like Haribo. If it actually worked that well, then why the fuck don’t you take it when you get ill? Are you with me?
So there we are sharing a sun lounger, recently bereaved of the one person who meant most to us in the whole wide world and you reckon a swimming pool and a scoop of ice cream is going to sort it. Did it make you feel any better? That’s what I thought.
I’m not trying to make you feel bad for taking me, quite the opposite in fact. I thought you really made an effort and you barely left my side. But that’s my point. I needed you last week, not a holiday. And on reflection I think you did a pretty good job at putting me first, so please don’t beat yourself up. Let’s just move on. We’re both home now and we’re closer than ever, so take a chill pill.
While we were away I heard you sniff. It’s a filthy habit and had I known you didn’t have a hanky I would have reprimanded you but, more fool me, I thought you were crying. So I ran across the room and asked, “Ooo okay, Daddy?” (God knows why I write so well but can’t even pronounce ‘you’, but you’re one to talk, you had a lisp until you were five). I also offered you a plantain chip to comfort you because I know from previous experience dummies aren’t really your thing. While we’re on the matter that bitch doctor from A&E can kiss my tiny ass if she thinks I’m giving her one of my plantain chips. Bloody nerve of the woman (see previous post). I did this because I want to look after you too, Daddy. We’re both crushed by what’s happened but we really need to support one another. You looked genuinely shocked that a child could be so sensitive, but I love you man and I’ve got your back. That’s how toddlers roll these days. We’re not as dumb as we are small.
So I had you covered when I thought you were blubbing in the villa but then you got all like ‘Oh God, I mustn’t cry in front of Jackson anymore’ at the airport when I behaved in a completely different way.
So you thought it was a good idea for us to get a night flight because I’d probably nod off. Well for once you predicted my sleep patterns correctly and for that you must be rewarded. I’ve a plantain chip with your name on it but if you share it with Dr. Bitchface, it’ll be your last. But what you failed to realise is that toddlers don’t react too well to being woken up from a night flight at 1am. What they like even less is when the taxi that is meant to pick them up at 2am fails to arrive. Don’t get me started on that taxi firm, but rest assured we will take them down, Daddy. What a toddler likes even less again is when the next taxi firm turns up with a baby seat and not a child seat. I can’t fit into one of those anymore, so when you told the taxi driver who suggested he just “drive slowly” leaving my life at risk just three months after my mummy was killed by a car, I think you were right to tell the punk to go and fuck himself.
However, what a toddler likes even less than all of those things put together is to see his father so upset at nearly 4am. That broke me and while you called a friend and asked for help, my verbal vocabulary doesn’t stretch that far yet (which is weird because I type like a demon), so I had to show my feelings.
So yes, I threw my dummies on the floor (I like to have at least three to hand, especially when upset because one alone doesn’t have the same effect). Yes, I removed my shoes and through them out too. Yes, I screamed the place down. But it’s not because you cried, I’m totally down with the tears dude, it’s because I was fucking knackered, you pushed me too hard and every other fucker seemed to have it in for us that night.
But have you noticed I how well I’ve behaved since we’ve been home? And have you realised that we’ve actually both laughed a few times too. Also, have you noticed how I keep asking you for a cuddle because you’re my main man and I need you so much right now?
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how I see it all and say I love you, Daddy. We both know Mummy was the best, but you’re doing alright so don’t be so hard on yourself. We’ll get there.