It is a normal day for me. All the anniversary ‘first days without her’ are over. I can breathe. Everyone says that the first year is the worst, and then it gets better. It certainly has been very hard. And I don’t feel any better about it now that a year has passed. If anything I miss her more. So I guess that is what happens – you get used to aching for someone. You get used to living without that person. It still hurts like hell. You never heal completely. There is a void. But I can go on. I can be happy, even with the grief there.
I wake up to the sound of my son happily chatting to his dummy in his cot next to me. I lay on my side, gazing at him and smiling, listening to his cheerful chatter. It makes me giggle. Sleepily I sit up and quietly peer over the side of the cot. He sees me and his mouth opens in a jovial gummy grin. He delightedly blows bubbles at me. I pick him up and give him a cuddle. I miss the way my mum used to hold me. He looks around the room with intense curiosity and an eagerness to start his day. I lay him on the bed to change him. As I do I blow raspberries on his fat tummy and chat animatedly to him as he gurgles at me. I lay him in my arms in bed and give him his morning bottle. He investigates my face with his tiny chubby fingers as he hungrily sucks away. I chat to him about what we’re going to do today. I think about how excited mum used to get planning her days and packing them full with social activities.
When August has finished gorging I pick him up and take him over to the mirror. I show him our reflection, saying, ‘Where’s the Munchie? Where’s Mama?’ He grins at his reflection and shoves his fist in his mouth. I see my mother reflected in the mirror beside us. I take him into the lounge and put him in his bouncer. I select a plethora of his favourite toys and place them with him in the bouncer. I turn the TV on to the cartoon channel. He watches it, fascinated, as he surveys his toys and debates which one to eat first. He picks up his red bird and bites down on it happily. I think about how my mother’s face would light up, were she given the chance to play with her grandson just once. I go and make my coffee. I sit on the front veranda drinking it. I think about how we used to chat together on this veranda. I look at the magnificent ocean, the waves swelling in quiet play. I think about walking along the beach with her and our dog Lacey. I listen to my son chatting to his toys delightedly. I nestle into my chair and let the contented bliss of the morning fill my being.
I get August’s brekkie ready and take it into him. I put him in his highchair and chat to him. I say, ‘You know what we’re going to do today Munchie? We’re going to redecorate the house with pretty things for Spring! Are you going to help Mummy?’ I make him laugh. His laugh is the best sound in the whole world. I think about my mother laughing.
I spend the rest of the morning and afternoon dancing around the house with August, taking down all the winter décor and replacing it with cheerful floral spring adornments. He watches me, fascinated. I animatedly chat away to him as I’m going about my tasks, asking him what he thinks. I stop sporadically and play games with him. I think about the way she used to sing as she pottered around the house. There is so much laughter in my day. It rings new life throughout the precious walls of this house.
Ross comes home from work and plays with his son. Watching them play together is beautiful. I relish it. When they are exhausted I take Augie into the kitchen and put him in his high chair so we can make dinner together. I give him a bread rusk. He snatches it and eats it whilst he chats away. I put on some Classical music and dance around the kitchen, preparing dinner as he giggles at me. I think about all the meals and the hysterical conversations I and my family have shared in this little kitchen in the past.
After his dinner I get him ready for bed. I stroke his hair as I give him his evening bottle. I gaze upon him with complete adoration, my heart swelling with love and amazement. I put him in his cot and hold his hand until he falls asleep.
When I am ready to go to bed I tiptoe in and gently pull his covers up under his chin. I get into bed and lay on my side, gazing at his contented chubby little sleeping face. I reach out for his fat little hand. He wraps his fingers tightly around mine. I feel so lucky and so blessed. I could just stare at him all night if I wasn’t so tired. I think about the fact that mum never got tired and I smile to myself.
To the sound of the ocean I drift off to sleep, with my love for my son swirling beautifully in my heart, as I imagine my mother, dancing through the heavens, leaving a trail of pink glittery ribbon.