As the 18th draws closer, my body is changing – I feel sick. I’ve had a sore throat for three weeks, but it never developed into anything more. That alone would be tolerable, but now my stomach has decided to do somersaults, which is making me feel nauseous. It’s not a pleasant feeling.

This “sickness” is not an illness; it is in fact a way for my grief to spew from my body. I have no control over it. I wish I did. The symptoms are the classic showings of becoming increasingly nervous. I’ve suffered with this since I was a small child. Every time I have to face something that unsettles me, these familiar symptoms attack me.

I’m also beginning to “react” more. I can’t stop the tears from welling and a lump forming in my throat (which probably explains the sore throat). I suddenly see everything as a reminder of “the last time”, which is making the days all that much worse.

I’m still sleeping, which is a gift in itself. If I continue to sleep, I know I’ll get through this time to the other side. With sleep, I will cope. However, although I am sleeping, my dreams are exhausting me to some extent. I find it difficult to force myself out of bed in the morning, but I do it anyway.

I’m sick, but I’m not ill. That sounds strange, doesn’t it?

Even with all this, I feel lucky because unlike Daniel and Gary, I am not suffering with depression. If I did, I know I would be feeling quite terrible.

When we first lost Barry, depression did set in. I hated everything and everyone. I couldn’t see the point of anything. But that’s normal. It’s what makes us human. Loss of a child is a big thing to deal with. At Christmas, depression set in again. This time I believe it was worse. I had accepted the fact that Barry was gone forever and that was difficult to deal with. A week before Christmas I was suicidal. I didn’t want to live a moment longer, because I couldn’t deal with the pain and hurt. The end of February saw a level of peace settle over me. I’ve been lucky enough to hold on to that ever since. I still have the pain, but the inner turmoil is nowhere near as turbulent as it was.

Sometimes, I think humans feel they have to hold onto the pain, because that is a sign of their love. I know I thought that at one stage, but I don’t any longer. I have always loved Barry. He claimed part of my heart and nothing – not even death – can take that away. I will continue to cry for him, whisper little messages to him, wish for a sign of his closeness, but I no longer feel the need to hold onto the pain.

It hasn’t left my body yet, but when it’s ready to leave, I won’t struggle against it. I know my feelings for Barry and that’s all I need to carry me through.