A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
This is a second guest post by my two-year-old son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton
In Jackson’s second post, he shares with us what he really (maybe) means when he throws himself on the floor in tears at soft play and claims that he’s only upset because he wants some raisins. As ever, his writing comes with a ‘parental guidance’ warning. His first guest post can be viewed by clicking here.
I’ve just been to one of my favourite places, Peckham Pulse soft play, with a little mate and three olds. It’s off the hook this place. Ball pool, big slide, shaky bridge, bare tunnels, the lot. There’s usually some fella in the corner who thinks he’s the shizzle too, dishing out all these rules that none of us listen to but it must have been his day off today so we let rip and proper had it.
Anyway, I’m gonna rewind a bit otherwise you lot just ain’t gonna get it. I’ve been having some serious woman trouble lately. Like, I’m handsome and that and I’ve got all these girls putting their names down already, but it ain’t that kind of trouble. I just don’t like them much right now, especially when they go anywhere near my dad. I’m like, ‘Back off bitch! Mummy would slap you down if you came anywhere near her man.’ I’m kind of just doing her work for her now that she’s gone.
And here’s the thing. This is why I need to get some of this shit off my chest today. I think I know she’s gone. I haven’t seen her for ages and I keep repeating back what my daddy says to me about how she didn’t want to leave me but that she can’t ever come back, but something keeps confusing me. I keep thinking she’s still here, that I’ve just seen her in the street or in the park or wherever.
As I was saying a minute ago, at the moment most chicks that I see get a big fat ‘whatever’ from me, which often manifests itself as a filthy look, a massive raspberry or a repartee that sounds elegant and articulate in my head but that usually comes out more like, ‘Ubbubbubbaabah, THOMAS, PERCY, HENRY, RAAAAAR!’ But then I see a lady who looks a bit like my mum and I’m charm personified. I’m thrown.
So I’m down the Pulse today and this woman goes to give me a hand over an obstacle that was just too high for me. She had black skin, just like Mummy’s. She wore her hair the same way as Mummy did around July of last year. I think she was French and maybe a bit taller than my mum but it’s always hard to know from down here. She was daft and funny too, not scared to make a fool of herself to make kids laugh. The only real striking difference was that this lady seemed a lot more comfortable showing her legs. Weird, because I always thought my mum’s were lovely.
So there we are playing and I’m holding her hand, happy in unfamiliar female company for the first time in months and I felt like what I’ve been missing so much was back. But I only felt like that for a minute. I might be small but I’m not stupid. I know my mum when I see her but grief can really fuck with your head. It was like happiness one minute then crushing sadness the next. I’ve got stuff to play with everywhere, free run of the place and yet there I am floored, in tears, confused.
“What’s wrong, Jackson?” asked Daddy, although he obviously already knew, I could tell by the look on his face. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No Daddy!” I shouted, lying face down on the floor in tears.
He gave me some space for a minute or two and then came back and asked me again.
Now give me an online forum like this, a MacBook Pro and the time to think my thoughts through and I can really hold my own. But ask me on the spot and I fall to pieces.
“Want some raisins, Daddy”, I replied mid-sob.
He didn’t buy that response any more than I meant it. Like he’s dumb enough to think that fucking dried grapes are going to make me feel better when I’ve barely eaten a piece of fruit since I was born.