That time of year again

Toby Christmas day 2010

Well it’s that time of year again and I usually just regurgitate my blog about how to survive Christmas after the loss of a loved one, but it doesn’t feel appropriate anymore.

A better blog would be how to survive every day after 6 and a half years and coming up to your son’s 30th birthday.

Losing Toby has just settled into being part of me now, it’s part of the fibre of my soul. In many ways I still feel Toby around me even though he is gone, but what scares me is that as each year goes by he feels like he is getting further away.

I watched one of my favourite weepy films at the weekend ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ about a man with a young son who has lost his wife. There are 2 bits that get me. The first is when Tom Hanks is talking to the radio show host and she asks him what he is going to do, and he answers, ‘I’m going to get up every day and breath in and out and then maybe one day I won’t have to remember to breathe in and out anymore’. The second is when his son tells him he is worried he will forget his Mum – gulp.

I’ve been breathing in and out and getting on with things and I’m not unique, so many people suffer tragedies in their lives, I’m just one of them. I could wail and scream but it wouldn’t change anything but there is always just this bit of inner sadness that will never go away.

I do feel more hopeful this year as there is a lot of media coverage about people on their own at Christmas. I am spending Christmas alone, but it doesn’t fill me with dread anymore. I can just spend the day quietly remembering Toby – if I spend it with others he never gets mentioned. I am planning a Christmas Day dog walk with friends in the morning so won’t be alone all day.

I let all the Christmas stuff just wash over me now, it’s not such a big deal, I feel much more relaxed about telling people I am spending it alone and that’s fine with me.

My advice to anyone spending Christmas with a big gap at the table, just do what feels right for you but acknowledge the sadness, don’t put on a brave face that helps no one.

I’ll be doing something to honour my son on his birthday and on Christmas day, he is still a huge part of my life even though he isn’t here in his physical form. And then it will be over for another year and I can get on with breathing in and out.


This entry was posted in bereavement, Christmas, Grief, Healing, Loss, parents, suicide. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to That time of year again

  1. Anne this is very helpful. You are such an incredible, gentle, wise woman.

    I often wish I could spend Christmas alone doing nothing but just honouring Harry in my mind. But I have a daughter and she wants me to be happy and decorate the house and enjoy all the festive season. I can’t do that. I put on my mask and pretend, but it’s exhausting. I know I am so very lucky to have her… and of course it’s worth it to try to make her life a little easier.. but it is very hard to get through this period with Harry’s birthday and Christmas and New Year all so close together, and try to feel joyful.
    Sending you love and thinking of dear sweet Toby and of your amazing bravery and inspirational approach to your tragedy.
    Henrietta xx

  2. Karen Grondine says:

    Dear Anne, I could totally relate to the inner sadness that never goes away. My son Adam would have been 30 years old this January 8. He has been gone 5 years. I miss him always. Thank you for this blog. It is so helpful to me. Karen XO

  3. Tanya Smith says:

    My Son took his own life 29 years old just before his 30th birthday .2017 .It has been nearly two years this July and not one day goes without talking to him , missing his smile laughter and beautiful soul . I can never see an end

    • annwae says:

      Hi Tanya, the missing never ends but I have found that as time has gone on I have found ways to live a good life and find some peace and acceptance. I do run an online support group if you want to talk to other parents who have lost a child to suicide at Be gentle with yourself and have faith that it does get easier and you can find ways to live with your grief while honouring and remembering your son. Take care Anne x

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