As is often the way, the lead-up to the first year mark was worse in many ways than the actual day. Yes, we did cry many times during the morning and especially when the balloons were released, but the pain was at its worse on Thursday night. I feel certain this was because Barry’s death was discovered on a Thursday night and we all (Daniel, Gary and myself) seemed to relate everything to that night.

After my post at 11.30pm on Friday night, I took a sleeping tablet and went straight to bed. With only three hours sleep the night before, and all those emotions running through my body, I could not face another sleepless night. The sleeping tablet allowed me to sleep soundly for nine hours.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 9am feeling energised. The rest of the household were still sleeping soundly, so I made a cup of tea and sat in bed and read. The sun was out, the book absorbed me and a good night’s sleep always leaves me feeling much calmer inside. Just after 10am I showered and set about doing the housework. I worked hard, which is unlike me, but I wanted to do it. Daniel and Gary slept on.

Exhaustion is a strange thing. It steals so much from us. Daniel and Gary didn’t rise from their beds until after midday, whilst I continued to vacuum, wash clothes, dust, clean toilets and showers and clean anything else that stood still for more than ten seconds.

It warmed my heart to see Daniel smiling on Saturday afternoon, and joking with his girlfriend. After all those months of worry, my fear did not materialise and I can now relax and move on. Some might think me an idiot for wasting energy on that fear, but I can safely say no one knows what it’s like unless they’ve been there. With the rising of the sun on Saturday morning came another gift for me…renewed life.

A great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. My youngest son has been gone a year, but I now feel my oldest son will be around for a long time to come. We can start building memories today. Life isn’t excellent, but it’s better than it was last week. We survived the anniversary of Barry’s passing.