It doesn’t feel right yet, switching off the alarm clock before I go to bed, but I could get used to it easily enough. The alarms didn’t go off, because I hadn’t asked them to and the novelty of not being dragged from my bed by their screeching is one I appreciate. For the past seven years, it is that ear-assaulting noise that has started my day, seven days a week, apart from my time in the north and the occasional research trip. Today, however, my services are not required.
The past few weeks have been busy ones. While both I and my younger son have been moving and getting settled into our respective new homes, my eldest son has been clearing and decluttering his home prior to leaving it. Nick has mentioned his plans to see something of the world and is busily making his preparations. We’ve worked long hours every day in house and garden, creating space for the decorators to get in and prospective buyers to appreciate his home. It is all about making changes at present.
The long hair has gone, along with a mountain of possessions he no longer feels he needs and the lingering shadows of the past are being banished, one by one. The confidence is back and the smile seldom leaves his face as he speaks of the trip to Sicily they are taking in autumn and the African adventure they have planned. And that ‘they’ is the biggest change of all… and the one responsible for Nick’s smiles. Nick and Em will be travelling together…and not just around the world.
I’ve watched my son fight his way back from hell over the past few years. I’ve seen his determined refusal to accept anything less than full recovery as an option. I’ve seen too his gradual realisation that happiness does not depend upon erasing the effects of the past, but in accepting them as part of the journey to now… a now in which he has found both himself and his joy.
I’ll miss him. We share a lot every day. We’ve had our moments of grief, frustration and anger, but because we survived them and the extraordinary circumstances of the past seven years, we have been brought closer than most. That is a true gift, especially after coming so very close to losing him completely. We’ve shared joy too, and moments of triumph, from the first, tentative movement of a thumb to the awesomeness of the triathlon. Every so often, I choke back tears, realising the extent of the changes to come, but the tears spring from a joy that smiles to see him so happy and full of hope as he moves towards a new phase of his life with a beautiful blonde holding his hand and his heart.
You can never know what the future holds, you can only accept the gifts of the moment and move forward in trust, knowing that whatever happens has value and purpose. And in hope… a star that can shine for any one of us and guide us through the dark places to a brighter horizon.
Today, the sun is shining and my services are not required. Soon I will no longer be my son’s carer, but just his Mum again, something I hoped for but, for a long time, never thought to see. Soon, I will be waving Nick and Em off on their adventures and eagerly awaiting their virtual postcards. Soon I will be looking for a new job and a new direction for myself…and if the universe doesn’t mind, North sounds good…