Sophie, Joshua’s older sister started nursery just ten days after Joshua passed away, an extremely difficult transition for her and for me. Our attachment meant that in the rawest of grief we needed each other, therefore she only did very short sessions which developed with time. This week Joshua should have begun his nursery adventure, instead we mark two years since his funeral. I use the term ‘funeral’ loosely. If truth be told I was unable to give Joshua the funeral he deserved, it was an extremely private affair and unfortunately I kept family and friends at a distance too, perhaps more so in an attempt to deny reality. I did not want a funeral, a funeral would serve to confirm that Joshua had really died, I wasn’t insane, of course I knew he had but I wasn’t willing to acknowledge it formally, I still struggle to accept that Joshua is physically gone.
The anxiety heightened last night as I prepared to face the school run this morning. Sophie would return to school, starting her adventure in Year 1. However, our family home felt Joshua’s absence all the more today, for he should have been preparing for his first day In nursery.
I should have been getting two children ready for school, no doubt it would have been challenging but I resent not hearing the expected bickering of siblings, etc. that other parents complain about. In fact, during the holidays Sophie had playdates with her friends and their siblings and she was confused by the fact that they squabbled, her relationship with Josh was only one of love, mainly due to the fact that he could not spoil her games or steal her toys, nor could he argue with her due to his disabilities, she only knew how to care for him.
‘What if?’ is a concept/question that we as bereaved families will consider for a lifetime, a petrifying thought knowing that there is no end to this pain. We will love and feel the loss of Joshua for as long as we shall live, grief lasts forever but only because our love for him will too!
Today’s missed milestone of starting nursery poses ‘what if?’ How would Joshua have looked in his uniform, posing for his ‘compulsory’ annual photograph in front of the door? What would his character have been like, would he have been giddy and confident, perhaps a cheeky chappy, or, shy and reserved?
Today I saw a sea of people outside the nursery classroom, some Mums with teary eyes. I too had teary eyes but for a different reason, I should be amongst them. Instead I looked on, viewing the children who would have been Joshua’s classmates, the parents that I would have been in line with, attending birthday parties and playdates with. Instead, I walked past, past the life that should have been, past the life I would have lived had our beloved son not (firstly) experienced extensive brain damage (he’d have gone to a SEN school) and then devastatingly passed away.
I admit that I feel a sense of anger, anger that Joshua’s absence goes unnoticed, his ‘would be’ friends and their families do not even know that he is missing. His teacher will not know that a blonde haired, blue eyed boy should be sat on her/his carpet, that the name Joshua is missing off the register and too from the coat pegs and drawers, etc.
Grief means that we do not only miss Joshua with aching hearts, but that we also miss a lifetime of milestones and achievements too, today being only one of them.
‘You think seeing them grow up too fast is hard, try not seeing them grow up at all.’