One of Oscar’s friends sang a song at a street party recently and, although I do take some pride and strength in not breaking down just anywhere and everywhere, on this occasion I ended up in proper tears. This is very unusual for me and was in full public view of way too many people for my liking. The song was I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables and admittedly I wasn’t the only one touched by the song, especially as she sang it so well, but it really got to me that I couldn’t stop my feelings showing. This has happened a lot to me in the last few months and it is not something I enjoy.
I don’t like not being in control of what I let others in on. It baffles me that more than two years after losing Oscar I am struggling more than I was just after he died. The pain is still physical – I am not sure how to describe it but it just hits me sometimes; a pressure on my chest, a tightening of my throat, and I breathe deep and try to relax though it; the moment passes and with it the pain, but I am always left in a bit of a shocked state realising that it is so forceful- it is such a cliché really, but no less real. Just lately there have been many of these.
There are many things we all push ourselves to do; we push for a normal everyday life, we push for the boys to keep being kind and diligent at school and we push for finding joy in all that we do. But there are limits to how much we need to put ourselves through and we’ve hit one of these limits, as we approached the week that Oscar’s school friends finished at the primary school he loved so much. There was just no point in adding to our pain by seeing all the lovely happy and smiling faces of all his friends so we went away to Italy to try and escape. So this past fortnight has been a mixture of joy and profound pain for us all. We have gone away with family for the summer, which always makes me feel better – even before Oscar got ill it was always our escape from everyday life.
Of course escaping totally is impossible, but we were at least far enough away that we didn’t inflict any pain into what very rightfully should be a happy and exciting time for his friends and their families. I know for a fact how much he would have enjoyed this day and how much he was looking forward to going to secondary school with his friends. Even back in Year 4, when we all thought he was going to sail though his illness (although looking back at this there was nothing plain sailing or remotely easy about what we were doing but somehow we managed to convince ourselves that we were rocking it), he told me how he couldn’t wait to walk to school with his friends, he couldn’t wait for the day he was going to take the school bus every day and he couldn’t wait to play for his school football team. Those were the three big things Oscar was looking forward to, as any normal 8 year old would.
But he didn’t get to do any of that. And we didn’t get to go to his Leavers’ assembly or see him enjoy his last disco, or pick him up from the Year 6 residential. And as we have done all of this before with Sebastian, we know exactly what we should be doing, and how we should be feeling and it hurts. It hurts to see his friends do all of this, especially as they are all so lovely to us all – you really wouldn’t believe they are only 11 years old the way they show us they still care and miss Oscar in so many different ways. But no amount of trying to be happy for all of them (which we really are trying and most of the time succeeding in) will ever take away the fact that Oscar was stolen from us, Oscar’s chance to have these simple lovely experiences were stolen from him and we have had a lifetime of great experiences and joy with Oscar stolen from us.
Life definitely killed the dream I dreamed and it was such a simple dream; truly all I ever wanted was a happy and healthy family.