Last night I took the boys down to the local war memorial for the Act of Remembrance.
My beloved son stood it for as long as he could, and then the Last Post sounded, and his heart broke. We held each other, quietly crying together, loving each other in a way that excluded the crowd around us. Our shared grief blocked out everything else and for those 2 minutes we were able to let go of our game faces and be us.
I have said before that both of us love J, and we do. Even the AC took the risk and put his heart on the line again, knowing what it would mean if anything happened to J.
I believe that our shared grief comes from a lack of closure. 5 years on, and I can now bring myself to talk about it. I am not bitter, I have tried so hard to understand, and from my point of view I have days when I am there. The AC does not. He hates with a burning passion that I have tried to help him calm, and slowly we are getting there, but so slowly.
In the days approaching Rich's celebrations, I told the child that this was our public time, and that we would have a private goodbye when his ashes were scattered later. I told him crying was ok, but our time of sadness would come. Why did I tell him this? Because it was what was supposed to be happening.
On the day of Rich's celebrations, I was asked if 1030 the next morning would be ok for me to be collected, and we would go and get the ashes from the crematorium and make decisions as to what would happen, where and when. I went to the wake as happy as I could be, trusting the words that had been said. How foolish was I.
By 1015 I was ready. By 1030 I was pacing. Eventually, I phoned Rich's brother who was due to pick me up to collect the ashes. He had already collected them he said, at 9am, and was on his way back with them. I was not having anything to do with them.
I begged. I pleaded. But to no avail. The ashes were miles away and not coming back, and I had to explain to the boy child that our private goodbye would never happen.
The person who had the ashes then went on holiday, to get over the stressful time. I carried on muddling through, comforting a child who kept saying to me "Richard did love me. That horrible old woman didn't know us."
A week later I had an email to say the deed was being done. Again I begged and pleaded for the child and I to be able to go. I had friends who would take us to whenever we needed to be, but I was not to be told any location.
And then an email to say it was done. Eventually, weeks later there were pictures on fb that show the place, apparently.
The question then, was did I believe him? The answer, five years on, is that I want to, but I don't. How can I believe someone who would lie to a grieving six year old and a widow? Who would behave in such a way?
From this grief and betrayal came A Year and a Day, where we scattered the ashes of his bike kit that he was wearing, his blood soaked helmet and t-shirt, all burned together with high flames until all that was left was ashes. With family and friends they were scattered in a forest, as befits a Druid of his nature. His brother and family were invited, but chose not to come, not to that, not to St Clement Danes, not to the inquest. (For the first I had family, for the latter I had the lovely boys of the armoury) Because of a Year and a Day, we have somewhere to go if we need to, but I know the child feels the lack of a grave, a marker, something tangible that he can go to and talk to.
He wants his ashes put with Rich's, and I've had to explain so many times that that just is not possible, that we don't know for certain where Rich is.
I never hear from any of Rich's family now. The child and I, those 5 years, have been whitewashed away, I believe. All the talk of emotional support and financial help was just talk. I am left, no place to visit, still with the finances to cover, still dealing with the post.
If this comes across as bitter I am sorry. I know how few people read this blog, and so I am trying writing it out to see if I can expel the sense of betrayal from me that way. I am not bitter, I am accepting that grief makes people do strange things. (There were other things done that were stranger.)
And now I don't know how to end this, so I'm going to make a cup of tea. Quietly.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone so don't mock the spelling and I'll be back later to sort the layout!