I know I went to see him several times in the funeral home. I remember people saying "that'll be really hard" or "I bet that was really difficult" but for me, it was a relief to just be with him.
Then there was the funeral; I remember some of that. As far as funerals go, it was pretty impressive.
I also remember his birthday. 22nd December; very soon after his death to already be dealing with a "first" without him and I didn't know what to do. I'd made plans to see some of his closest friends and family. I woke up in the morning feeling completely and utterly lost without him. I hadn't collected his ashes from the Crematorium yet as I hadn't decided what to do with them. But on his birthday, I realised that he needed to be with me. I walked up the to Crematorium, which is at the top of my road, and sobbed that I needed to collect my husband because it was his birthday. Whilst I was there, I ordered a ring from Ashes Into Glass, a company which makes the most beautiful memorial jewellery and other things incorporating the ashes of a loved one, which would arrive 6-8 weeks later. I felt better that I had my boy with me on his birthday. I bought a "Red Robin" tree and eventually I'll plant that in the garden in his memory.
Christmas is a complete blur. I made it as lovely as possible for Esmée but I secretly couldn't wait for it to be over.
I think about Steve and what he would want me to do. We never had that sort of conversation. Within days of discovering his illness was terminal, he was bedridden with sciatica caused by tumours in his spine and his health declined at an extremely rapid rate. This meant he was never really lucid for longer than an hour at a time, if that. But I know my husband, I know his zest for life - it's one of the many features about him that I fell completely in love with - and I don't think he'd be impressed if I wasted my life, the one I'm lucky enough to still have, shutting myself indoors and not making the most of it when his, that he wanted so desperately to hold onto, was snatched away from him in such a cruel and unjust way.
I've found a pattern that, at the moment, seems to be working for us to get us through the days. I'm very aware that children pick up on a lot more than we sometimes realise, they just can't always tell us. Because of this, whilst Esmée is still too young to understand what's happening, I only let her see her Mummy happy. So every day, we get up and I get myself dressed, put some make-up on and we go out, whether it's to the park, the farm, the aquarium, into town just to wonder around, to a friend's house - anything, as long as we don't sit and wallow indoors. In the evening, she kisses one of the many photos of her Daddy on our bedroom walls. waves and smiles, I sing her the song he used to sing her and she goes to sleep. Once she's sound asleep, I let myself feel however I'm feeling. Sometimes I can look at photos for hours and smile and laugh, other times my heart physically aches and I feel like I can't breathe but whatever happens, she doesn't see this side. She's a little girl and until she's old enough for me to explain why I'm sad and that it isn't in any way her fault, I don't want her to see it. I don't want to burden her with things she's too young to comprehend and potentially allow her to feel responsible for my sadness. She's my light during these difficult times and I want her to always know that.
People often comment on what a happy child she is, and I have to agree. I have a very content little girl and find it so reassuring to know that I must be pretty great at being her Mummy!
Valentine's Day was difficult. I planned a little date day with Esmée, which was lovely although I hadn't expected quite so many loved up couples to have made the same plans as us and seemed to be everywhere we went.
Mother's Day this year was tough too, not only because I've lost the person who would make sure I was spoilt on Mother's Day but also because 6 weeks after Steve died, my mum lost her own battle with cancer, too. I spent Mother's Day with Steve's parents, who are of course going through the unimaginable, and we managed to make a nice day of it through our heartbreak. I've always felt close to them and I'm sure that will continue.
I've been blown away by the love and support I've received from most of my friends, family and even strangers. People's kindness during the hardest time that I have ever, and will ever experience will not be forgotten, I'm so very grateful.
Thank you for reading.