Four years on

Today is the fourth anniversary of my beautiful [in every way] daughter’s death by dangerous driving.

 

It’s been four years today since our daughter died.I write and talk about it often, but I still don’t believe it deep down. I feel I am in a parallel world; in a parallel time living alongside my old life. I can feel the old life all around me. I can sense my daughter in the air around me, through her photos which are everywhere, in her room which we walk through every day as my son’s room is right beyond it. All her things are still there. My son uses her desk and photos of her line the walls. Her not being here is just a trick of the light because what is time except a mash-up of speed and light? Everything that has been is present in our house. We are just shadows passing through it. One day we will not be visible any more, but we will still be here.

That might sound like wishful thinking, but what is thinking for? Surely that is why we have imaginations – to be able to out-think reality.

When I was at school I had to read Thomas Hardy’s novels. I used to rail against some of the women in them. They were described generally as being ‘stoical’. I wanted them to be angrier. But what use is anger when something happens that you cannot undo? When you are too exhausted by trying to outrun it that you simply don’t have the energy for it? Imagination and dreams give you some release. Which is not to say that you cannot also seem to be doing ok – and maybe seeming to be ok is ok in the end.

I’m reading a book on the ‘science of bereavement’ and it’s kind of annoying me, which would make my former counsellor smile [she recommended a book to me once and I absolutely hated it]. The ‘science’ book keeps going on about how so many people who are bereaved have not collapsed and are getting on with their lives, being resilient. Well, of course. What else can they do? They are probably mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, friends etc.I dislike the word resilient, mainly because I think it is overused these days. Ironically, I prefer stoical these days. It seems less shiny somehow.

Parents in particular have to keep going if they have other children to look out for and also they may feel the need to look out for their dead child’s friends which is in a way an extension of looking after that child. They may also feel the need to campaign to stop it happening to anyone else’s child as so many do. I have certainly spent many hours campaigning on various issues linked to my daughter’s death and its aftermath, from contributing to films about dangerous driving to taking part in events at Parliament.

The parenting role is a cruel one in many ways because seeing your other children’s loss every day and not being able to do anything much about it is doubly painful. But that’s where the superpower of love kicks in and helps you keep going.  Love and the people you love never truly disappear. Love has a radiating power, even when its source is no longer visible.



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