Love and Loss

The pain I felt when Colin died was so intense it was an actual, physical hurt deep inside my chest. I loved him so intensely that I couldn’t imagine life beyond him. Life without him seemed to be so bleak that I remember crying out, howling, to my family that I just didn’t want to go on if he wasn’t here to share it all. All those years I searched for love because I thought that it was the answer to a happy and fulfilled existence and now it had been ripped away. I thought what idiots we all are. Imagine looking for love when all love means is that some day you will be without it and all you will be left with is a deep, dark hole in your chest and nothing much else. I started to panic about all the other people I loved. If the love of my life could be taken so suddenly, well, couldn’t the rest of them be stolen from me too. I wondered if perhaps a life where you loved no one and you simply looked out for yourself was actually preferable to living in fear that loving others was opening yourself up to a whole world of misery.
But you simply can’t help it. A safe and sterile life without the potential for hurt and worry is not for many and it is not for me. I prefer to fill my days with the love of my family and friends and know that one day they or I will no longer be here. More simply, how could I not love Evie and Isla? They are Colin and they are me. What’s not to love about that? Yes it strikes the fear of God into me that something could happen to them too. A few weeks ago the clock struck 7am with no word from Isla and I lay there, stricken, convinced that she had died in her sleep. Obviously she hadn’t she was just being good for once but everyday I see accidents in my mind’s eye that could take either Evie or Isla from me. I see Evie running out into the path of a car nearly everytime I take them out. I see cars coming at us from junctions and think if that hit us it would wipe out Isla. I see head bumps, falls, choking hazards and potential illnesses and I think ‘Oh dear God how will I get us through?’.
I have had to start the process to get both girls’ hearts checked out for the same defect Colin had as it may be genetic. I have put it off until now because I almost don’t want to know. However, Colin’s friends who managed to attend the inquest were advised by the doctor in attendance that the girls should be screened for Cardiac Dysrhythmias as soon as possible. Colin knew there was something wrong with his heart because he had seen a cardiologist but I don’t think he knew it really was a proper life threatening condition. If he had hopefully he wouldn’t have joked about it like he did. He had come home after his appointment and scan results and stood in the doorway of our kitchen and we had the following conversation, roughly speaking (and please bear in mind that I had just had Evie at the time):
Col: “You don’t love me.”
Me: “What?”
Col: “You’ve not asked me about my scan.”
Me: “Oh God I am so sorry. It’s been hectic. How did it go?”
Col: “Well, I might drop dead tomorrow but I am more than likely to live a full and healthy life.”
The fact that he joked about it made me think he was exaggerating and certainly it never changed the way he lived his life so I am not sure he really had been fully briefed on his condition. If only he had. But then perhaps his happy-go-lucky way about his diagnosis is something I could learn from with the girls. Fat chance. If either one of them, or even worse both, have some genetic heart defect I may have to reassess how I bring up my children. Instead of normality I will box them up, wrapped in a huge wad of cotton wool, until I am gone. Isn’t that a perfectly normal way to deal with this whole love, life and loss equation? Hmmmm.

2 thoughts on “Love and Loss

  1. This reminds me of something CS Lewis wrote: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

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