I walked into the dimly lit room and sat down. The counsellor opened the blinds, allowing a warm ray of sunshine into the room. She turned around, smiled, and then sat down opposite me.

“So, Karen, how has your fortnight been?” she asked.

I looked at her, opened my mouth to reply, and then burst into uncontrollable tears.

Admittedly, I have cried at every session, which is quite normal. But I’ve never cried before actually saying a word before. I realised then that the bottled up emotions inside me needed to be freed. What I thought was an emotional shut down, was in fact the complete opposite. I was a pressure cooker waiting to explode. The counselling session was one of the hardest I’ve been through.

I sobbed…more than once. I couldn’t hold it back, no matter how hard I tried. The sorrow was deeper than I’ve felt since the moment I discovered that my little boy had taken his own life.

Earlier in September, Steve Irwin (I believe most people have heard of him so I won’t introduce him further) was killed in a freak accident whilst diving. The media has been spilling over with stories about him and his family. Everywhere we look we see a photo of Steve with a crocodile. Last week, they had an interview with his wife, Terri. She said that she’s still at the stage where she expects Steve to return home.

I remember being the same with Barry. Every movement, every shadow, made me sit up and wait for his footsteps. However, when I heard Terri Irwin say those words I realised for the first time that I no longer sit up and look for Barry at the slightest sound or movement. I’ve finally realised that my son is gone forever!

This realisation brings tears to my eyes. Barry will never come home again. You have no idea how that saddens my heart and how it has drained my strength. The emptiness in my entire body, which I thought could get no worse, suddenly becomes much deeper. I didn’t think it was possible. It’s an absolute truth. It cannot be changed, no matter how much I wish for it. I finally accept that Barry is dead.

My counsellor tells me that in grief things do get worse before they start to get easier. I’ve hit the worse stage. How long this stage lasts, I don’t know. All I do know is that I have to create little windows of freedom from the torment of my mind. I have to find some way, each and every day, to find a way to focus on something else. I have to consciously demand that those dark thoughts get back in the corner, and stay there, so that the light can shine through. If the darkness wants a fight, then I’ll fight.

And I’ll win!