A story of grief by a man and a boy
In January this year I wrote a feature for The Guardian about my experience of telling my son his mummy was dead. I guess at the time I hoped his pain would be short lived. I tend not to be one for rose-tinted glasses though. Give me clear vision any day of the week. So I’ve been expecting the bad times to get worse.
It was seven months yesterday since my wife was killed. Time for other people to begin to return to their lives and for my son to start to feel the void in our home. Time for him to mature a little. Time for him to get to that age where children start to compare themselves to others. Time for awkward moments when they start to point out things that are strangely absent from a person whether it be hair, a limb or a parent. The time that has passed since my son last saw his mum, proportionate to our ages, is also as long and she and I were together.
‘It’s just a relief he’s the age he was when it happened.’
‘Take some comfort in the fact he won’t remember.’
‘It’s probably a good thing that he hasn’t asked for her for a while.’
All things I suspect adults say to comfort themselves rather than the children involved. Ostrich-like denial of what seems to be the truth for my son. His grief has just come to life. His behaviour tells me more than his voice is able to articulate. But if I look hard enough I can see the reality rather than try to live an all-too-convenient lie. The boy’s got it bad right now.