On Monday I said goodbye to a very excited Adorable Child off to a weeks residential at the local outdoors place with school. I got a hug (in front of his mates!) but no kiss (we were in front of his mates) and and "I love you, see you Friday!" and he was off.
Monday was ok. I automatically looked for him in assembly, but there was a massive gap where the Y6 should be, so I wasn't surprised that he wasn't there.
I had a lift home from M, and then walked into my empty house, alone, and *wham* there it was. His headphones were lying on the sofa, and suddenly I was taken back emotionally to a time almost 5 years ago, when I'd walked in after everyone had gone, and Rich's coffee cup was on the table. Just left, with the obvious thought of return. On that day though, Rich wasn't coming back for a coffee. Suddenly, I could feel the normal-ness of my life disintegrating, and the horror of what had happened slapped me in the head. I could only see his face, on the bed in the hospital where I'd gone to identify him. I could only feel the hardness of his chest, the coldness of his hands, hear the voice of the policeman telling me to try not to touch him and the fear in his voice when I tucked the hospital gown down, away from his neck. He knew, and I didn't, how badly Rich was injured, and how he was held together by skin. Thank goodness for one piece riding gear, or he wouldn't have been in one piece, nor looking so presentable.
On Monday, I could feel that same old fear rising, that the AC wasn't going to come back and shift the headphones, that they would just stay there until I eventually swallowed my hope and moved them.
Sometimes, you can know that what you are feeling isn't right, but you can't stop, it has you in a firm grip and you just have to ride the coaster until it stops. I did. I rode that thing until I had finished being consumed by it, until I had absorbed it and recognised it and then told it that it was wrong, the child was on a beach walk and that I would know by now if anything bad had happened. There wouldn't be the delay that there was before, because I was at home.
I had a cup of tea, I was calmed, I focused on what I have now and how it is goodly different.
It always amazes me how grief waits for the most obscure moments to rise again. We are nearly at the 5 year marker. This one makes it official - I have been without him longer than with him, no matter how I stretch the moments.
We shall see what happens.