I have spoken before about the trauma being like a brain injury, everything I knew, believed in and valued was wiped out and I had to start living again, rebuilding, relearning about what was important, what mattered and most importantly how I was going to survive.
In the beginning that is all I did: I survived. I got up, washed, took care of the dog, took care of my Dad, I ate and I slept. At the end of the day I congratulated myself for getting through that day, but I never looked very far ahead. The day Toby died I stopped planning for my future and just started planning how I was going to get through the next hour, and then the next day, and then the next week.
Like with a brain injury things started returning to normal very slowly and very gradually, and for every triumph there were a hundred setbacks. Then gradually the triumphs increased and the setbacks decreased and equilibrium was reached.
Now two years on I can feel bits of my brain waking up. I feel excited about my future, what will I do next, where will I go, what can I achieve?
I live alone and have not been in a relationship for 3 and a half years, and after Toby died I had no interest in men or sex and thought I never would again.
I know this is a bit cringe-making for a 57 year old woman to admit, but I find myself feeling attracted to the opposite sex for the first time in years, and the feeling inside is a bit like a giddy teenager, and it feels wonderful. I never thought I would have the capacity to feel like that again.
I realised today that these are all signs I am waking up from my grief induced coma, so I want to tell any newly bereaved parent not to give up hope.
Everyone is different I know, but I now relish life again. I will never be the same person I was before with the same hopes and the same dreams. A lot of my hopes and dreams were tied up with Toby, looking forward to seeing him grow into a young man and maybe marry and have grandchildren. So I have had to amend my hopes and dreams but it feels so valuable to know they are still there and I look forward to a compelling future.
After all that is what we all need to keep us driving forward every day when sometimes life is cruel or dreary, as long as we have that compelling vision we can live to fight another day.