A young widowed father opening up about living with loss
My son woke me up with a kiss this morning and then immediately told me to mind my own business. I hadn’t even said I word. He’s so like his mum in his sense of humour, I thought.
Having only just roused from a half-dream state, my mind was still wandering. It found itself back at Desreen’s old flat in east London listening to the noise of a party, which started roughly as we went to bed that night and showed no sign of letting up when we decided to stop trying to sleep by morning. The music yoyoed from drum and bass to eighties pop; I laughed to myself as I thought about the cheap cider-fuelled iPod wars that had no doubt gone on throughout the extended session.
Neither of us would ever have bothered complaining about the noise. We both loved it when young people made the most of being as selfish and immature as they’re ‘entitled’ to. And I guess that’s why I’m writing today – because I miss those old times.
Life moves on when you fall in love young. I remember never really wanting to get into a relationship in my twenties because I was having such a great time hanging out with my old friends and making new ones. But then it happened and we all fell like dominoes; one after another we were all getting married and having kids.
For a while life really didn’t change that much. Desreen and I fought the cliché of ‘settling down’ and tried our best to maintain the lives as we loved before becoming parents. We still had a great time together as a couple, and individually with our friends. I miss them too.
I miss seeing them and being able to do my own thing without the guilt attached to leaving my son with anyone else but his mum. It’s so hard to ever truly feel the freedom we once afforded one another when you have to ask others for help.
Then there’s the complete lack of time. I feel like all I ever say to the friends I haven’t seen for a while is that ‘we much catch up soon’.
When though? These days I find time is like milk in a fridge – you assume there will always be some there but if a few people take just a small splash in their tea, it runs out before you know it. And what with work, school and life in general, the calendar’s already full and my old life is barely skimmed.
It feels like, one way or the other, time costs guilt. I either feel bad about not making time for others or unfair on my son when I spend time away from him.
Today’s memories of the past made me remember how joyful it was when time was ours to spend. Stealing time, like stealing anything, however, can play heavy on your conscience.
If only there were two of me. Or, more to the point, if only there were two of us.