The New Normal

Funny how we adjust.  First I thought I could not live without my husband.  Even after he absconded and I was somehow still alive (though, barely, in retrospect), if you had told me that I would in similar vein lose one of my children I would have said that in such a case I could not breathe.  Indeed, I suspect I did not.  Not for a long time.  Not really.

And here I am, living and breathing and shit.  I think I am finally adjusting to life without one of my children.  Finally learning to live with the pain, and the shame, and finding that both are numbing a little.  A little.

Still miss her.  Still wonder how she is, what she is doing, even what she is calling herself these days.  Wishing things were different.  Feeling guilty for what I have done without knowing exactly what she thinks it is, or how she feels.  Very few messages from her, and they are mixed.  Maybe one day we will talk about it.  Maybe not.

Brought into sharp focus by her absence in a short break with the other two.  Of course, she is always absent.  I think about her when I bake a cake that was her favourite (even if she were to come to tea, I could not make it for her now she is vegan).  I think about her when I think of the other children, and I think about her when I think of her dad, with whom she lives, and wonder what lies he is telling her, and what she makes of them, and I think about her when I think of my mother and myself qua daughter.  I think of her when I think of any member of my family and even some friends, and how she has lost contact with all of them.  I think of her when I read or hear about any of the things that used to interest her, though of course I don’t know what interests her now.  And lately I think a lot about the fact that we are coming up to her 18th birthday.  And how fucked up this all is, this new normal.

We are no longer even a remotely ‘normal’ family.  And that is the new normal.  No sooner have I begun to adjust to this, then it will be all change again.  My son will go to university, and I will live alone.  Or maybe my eldest, who will be graduating her masters soon, will move back for a little while, and that will soften the blow.

And very shortly, another change for me.  My life is about to enter a new phase and I daresay before long that will seem normal, too.  But will I like it?  Will I cope?  Will things get better or worse?

Image: Baby clothes, long stored in the loft, like so many of my things, were sold at car boot sales or given away when we lost our home.  What a lot of memories.  How bittersweet.


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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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