I haven’t written an update lately. I’ve had an event pop up in my life that some would see as a well placed distraction for the lead up to the one year mark of Barry’s passing. However, others might say the timing stinks, because I need my wits and focus in the weeks to come.

The event is important to me. Extremely important. The event also has a deadline attached to it. That deadline is only three days prior to the one year mark. I don’t want to miss out on this possible once-in-a-life-time chance and I have a lot of work ahead of me. I’m scared that this event and the event marking the loss of my son will clash in a big way.

I’ve already spent three weeks working hard towards having something to submit before that deadline. I’ve already thrown three ideas in the rubbish bin and, last week, started a fourth idea. I already feel exhausted. Yet I will push on.

I will push on for three reasons:

  • A dear friend is determined to help me reach the deadline and that inspires me to try harder.
  • Barry had faith in me. He often said, “When you sell a manuscript you can buy me a Ferrari and a King Charles spaniel.” Not “if you sell a manuscript”…when…and, to me, that showed he had confidence in my ability to “make it” and that makes me want to try harder for him too.
  • This is something I’ve been working towards for a number of years. So I’m doing it for me as well.

Yet…I remember how I felt with the lead up to Christmas. I’m already feeling those same symptoms now – only slightly, at this stage, but they are there. My stomach is unsteady, my head feels like a block of cement, my mind wanders without warning. I hear songs that I’ve been able to listen to in recent months, which now bring tears to my eyes. I find myself in situations that once again upset me, but didn’t a month ago.

It doesn’t matter what I tell myself. I have no control over these things. This is a sign that my body is changing, is preparing, is starting to rage a terrible war of conflict inside…whilst I, on the outside, have to plod through life as normally as I can. At least, I can see and acknowledge this. But it really doesn’t make the grieving process any easier.

And…on top of all this, I have a fear (which I will not voice here). I’m afraid that the fear will be my undoing. It will eat away at me and force me to crumble. My head is striving to tell me to “stay positive”, but my heart is so much stronger and it screams a warning that I cannot ignore. What if I ignored the warning and the fear came true? How would I feel then? How would I cope? I honestly don’t think I would. I’d much prefer to heed the warning and take steps to ensure the fear did not come true. If the fear is only imaginary then I will find myself on the other side of 18 May 2007 feeling relieved and silly for letting my mind run away with me. I want that relief. I need it.

Right now, I feel as if I’m sitting quietly at the bottom of a steep mountain. Slowly, ever so slowly, I’m being gradually pulled up the side of that mountain, but the rope is not strong and I don’t know if I’ll make it to the other side. Maybe the rope will break before I get there causing me to crash to the ground. Maybe the journey will be jolting and unsure, but I’ll be just fine. Life has a habit of not telling us which road we travel. For a person like me, who needs to know exactly what to expect, the uncertainty is agonising.

In five weeks, I will be facing the one year mark of losing Barry and I will be submitting a manuscript to a publication which could change my life. The two events are the complete opposite to each other. Will the sadness of one event cloud the excitement of the other? I know it will, but I owe it to myself to hold on tightly and hope the rope will withstand the pressure.