I found myself having to leave a room fairly quickly today as my stomach was getting tighter and tighter. We were supposed to meet from 9-11 but by 9:10 I felt like I was drowning, my head was spinning and I needed to get away to my office and just be by myself. In the end Kathy and I came home and went for a walk. I find it very helpful to walk and talk. This was one of my fears about returning to work. Whilst I am in the process of re-entry I wonder if I am neither in space or the earth but between. Last week I realised from one day to the next, the knot in my stomach had gone. I realise now that I cannot just rush back. I seem to get over one hurdle only to discover another one.
Mike, I put on a movie, RV with Robbie Williams and looked over at the couch and you were not there laughing. When that was finished mum went up but it was still a bit early so I put on Mr Bean. You were not here to laugh with me. I remember all the times you would lie on the couch and laugh. Our humor was very similar. The girls dont get it! Its at times like this when I miss you.
Mike I miss you heaps. My mind has returned to normality. I was angry this morning that I took to work a picture I have made of the 4 of us. You are not in it. I dont want to accept that. Im not angry at you.
Akila is home in a couple of days. We will help her sort through many of her boxes for Uni, I am also hoping we can sort through your possessions. We can also decide on paint for your room. We decided to call it the “Pool room” after the movie “The Castle” but I notice we all call it Mikes Room!
Often wonder Mike if you are asleep in Christ, dancing, with the Cloud of Witnesses or what. Love you, Dad.
My friend mentioned the topic of lessons learnt through all this. There are probably many but I think they key ones are
•Cease the moment
•Create the moment
•Cherish the moment
•Don’t take the moment for granted
- God is the God of the moment as well as the galaxy
These are all relating to people not task! I am thankful for the many moments I had with Mike
1988 we went from 2 (Kathy and I) to 3. I loved Akila so much I was concerned that my heart did not have the capacity to love number 2 child. Well out popped Mike in 1991 and I found the heart was fine! Then in 1994, little Laura came along. Friends had warned us that going from 2 kids to 3 was likely to have a noticable effect on the family dynamics. Actually, that was not the case. It was more like, we are doing this anyway and one more is no problem. 4 or 5 no worries, a bit more space needed in the car, another place at the table, hand me down cloths, no worries.
But boy is it a shock to go from 5 to 4. Wow its as though the whole family has fallen apart. Of course Akila is not in the house and so its just Kathy, Laura and I, but the psychological effect is very profound. We notice it in the food budget, the time allocation, the space in the house, our schedules, our energy, thinking through our future, it all seems so less complicated. Oh how I wish for that complication back again! I wonder if they can reverse the snip? Would Kathy like another baby!!!!!!
I’m moving on, not sure I want to say Bye. There was comfort in that place. I dont have all the emotion to get that daily fix. The Kaleidoscope of vivid multi thoughts has gone blank. The clarity that came from all that adrenaline pumping has stopped. I find I am allowing other topics to rent space in my mind. Some are the very topics I dont want to discuss. I have moved on. They have nothing to do with Mike or issues surrounding his death. Its almost like I have been in space and I am in the re-entry stage and the laws of the earths enviroment are now in effect. So am I the same? Have I been through all this only to come out the other end a person who had a family of 5 and now its 4? I would hope that is not the limit. And there lies the problem, EGO. Why is it that when we have nothing to think about we normally find ourselves thinking about ourselves! Paul says
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things
Logos in Beagle Canal.
Well praise God, so far none of my family are ship wrecked though this experience. We dont take that for granted and continue to live at the foot of the cross. There were days Kathy and I thought we would decend into darkness and not come out. So why do I not want to say bye and move on! Wow the complexity of the human mind.
In the last days I have felt overwhelmed by emotion, especially when it comes to work. I have relished the thought of working with a friend who has a tree lopping business. No people issues, not unless the tree falls on someones property! I have been unable to open emails or have any motivation to even think about work related issues. During the initial days after Mike died, Kathy and I did not feel peoples prayers, we experienced the results. I have found much comfort in the Psalms in recent weeks. David was certainly not afraid to tell God how he should behave! God was not upset at David for talking to Him like that. My stomach has had an emotional knot in it.
This morning I have woken and been able to look at emails and even answer some! Wimp, I feel myself say but I have to admit I have a new appreciation for those who suffer from M.E. THE KNOT IS GONE! The human is a complex being and I am aware that I have little control over the chemical balance that keeps me sane. I realise this is one day and tomorrow may be a low but its certainly good to be in the sunshine of life.
The darkness has lifted, I cannot explain,
One day its there, and causes me pain.
The next its gone and I find I can go on.
Its grey outside and offers no hope,
But my heart is light and I have my sight.
Its early days, so I must walk,
my tendency is to run and sqwark.
God is good and to Him I thank,
He heard my cry when I thought I sank.
To friends around who showed much care,
Thank you for being there.
Kath and I are so grateful that we do not have any baggage around Mike’s death, i.e. it wasnt that she or I were doing anything that either directly or indirectly casued his death. So there is no blame. We are also grateful that we both have the same approach to our Christian faith and do not have one of us wanting to thow in the towel and the other seeing God’s hand in this. Kathy has been a source of strength and wisdom to me at this time. She has the ability to listen to all my ramblings as I process thoughts. Her solid understanding of the Bible has been an even keel to me. Her primary mode of operation is more spiritual and mine more carnal, I mean practical! During this time I have had a couple of very melancholy moments. Both times she has taken me out on walks and helped me get my head above water. Its very easy for me after 23 years of marriage to take her for granted. I punched her on the arm yesterday saying “my mate”. I know, you women would of advised a loving arm around and a “I love you”.! I am aware that times like this can lead to separation so I am very grateful that the opposite is true up till now and we pray that continues to be the case. So I have decided not to trade her in for a younger model at this time but I have suggested a few repairs and touch ups!!!!!
Todd phoned today and asked how I was doing. I had to say “I feel like a monkey in the zoo!”. My old boss phoned and I said “well Mike’s death I can deal with, its all the people that I find emotionally draining”. Kathy and I have been privileged with so many good friends around the world. When the news went out about Mike’s death, within a couple of hours people started to phone. This is such a loving and natural act. At the time our emotional bank was way way down. Then people arrived at the door. In these days you feel emotionally that you are gasping for breath. But then people want to express their love and sympathy. They do not know and cannot know that there were quite a few before them. This is still the case today. I dont know how to handle all this without offence. So I meet and greet but I am emotionally drained even at the thought of meeting people. I have no idea why that is. It does not make logic. I watch Kathy and she starts to have a glaze over her and I know that she is on overload.
So why do I say I feel like a monkey in a zoo? Is that offensive to all my friends? I dont want to hurt or offend anyone. I decided early on in this journey I would commit to honesty and now I wish I had not!
So what am I saying? I think I am saying “Kathy and I need space and we will contact our friends when we have the energy”.
I’ve ben mulling over in my head whether to put pen to paper and write about my relationship with Mike. I’m intimidate easily these days and think to myself, “what could I possibly write that would be of interest to anyone else?”. I dont want to lecture but share with dads Mike and my story and in so doing maybe encourage some in their relationships.
I was sharing with a “dad to be” yesterday in the garden and friends last night who are publishers the following story.
When Mike was about 6 I brought him a Quad bike. What joy it brought to me to watch him on it, but thats a whole other story. When we moved into our present house, the back garden was not how I wanted, so over a summer I broke my back breaking up and removing concrete, cutting trees down, dismantling an old falling apart asbestos garage, removing tons of rubble and then finally using a rotavator got the ground level and free from sand stone boulders. Im not shy when it comes to back breaking work and my upper body at that time was one of my finer attributes, but I ended up with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in my wrists as a result of all the work.
For the next couple of summers, I lovingly looked after the growing grass and took great pleasure as the lawn developed into what an Englishman would like! One January day Mike and his friend asked if they could get the Quad out and ride around the garden! What was I to do? Here was the garden I had busted my back for, ruined my wrists, put up rope to keep every one off for a few months and finally had a perfect lawn. The ground was very soft at this time of year and I intuitively knew this would be the end of my fine lawn! In that moment I thought, “I will always have grass, I won’t always have a son”. So he went ahead. Its not like me to sleep during the day but on this Saturday afternoon I went for a short nap. Only to wake up 2 hours later, Quad bike still to be heard and my garden looking more like a horse paddock!
The grass is still there and Mike is gone. I am so happy that I allowed Mike to have so much fun with his friend that Saturday. I had thought to myself several years before, “why do we as parents have a default answer of no?” Kathy and I made a conscious decision that if it was no, we had to have a valid reason. I could not see a valid reason Mike could not ride his Quad bike that day.
We know that with the many endings there will also be many beginnings. I found Kathy in tears as she was making up a bed in Akila’s room for a friend. This was Mike’s bed and mattress. It was the first time to make the bed since Mike left.
I had to wake Laura at 4am to get to the airport. As I put my hand on her arm to shake her, it was cold and for a split second the thought came “oh no not again”.
Kathy said “are you OKAY”, it was 11am and there was a rustle at the front door. For a moment I thought Mike was home from the early shift at McDonald’s or Laura was home from school for some reason. In fact it was the post being pushed through.
We know there will be many firsts that will cause sadness, worry, pain etc. We accept our human side.
Mike, the chocolate fountain you gave mum for Christmas we used tonight for the first time since you left. All your friends were over with Laura. Cutting up the fruit was a mixture of sadness but happy knowing you would like them all using it.