Friday came home quickly and carefully through mud still noticing but not stopping. One day away from SATS and the start of the end of primary and we walk up together but he comes back alone. That morning we agreed after half term he’ll do both ways without me. He joked ‘Oh I see, you don’t want my company anymore!’ and we laughed because he knows, although he doesn’t feel it. And I will still choose to leave early but go a different way then. My morning walk amongst the dogs is now etched into my grieving and I would miss it now if it stopped just like somehow I’ll miss the tears.

I’m wrapping myself up for something else, some inevitability, a force directing me through this process. I sit in the quiet house while he’ll be busy buzzing about at registration. I sit on the settee we bought back at the start, that I sat up all night on because my back was shot away, so I couldn’t lie flat and I slept sitting up with our newborn beside me and your Mum came to stay. But you were worried and saw the early signs of the illness that took her and we stumbled our way through babyhood, such amateurs but finding a way somehow. And you came home at lunchtime to make sandwiches because I couldn’t negotiate the stairs and I lived on the bed for months and my breath was for him.

And I sit on the settee that he clambered up with the cushions we built dens with, where I sat and videod the shifting ages and the bond through the pain carved out this relationship. And I sit where we watched him open all the presents and build his favourite track that you’d hidden in the back of the car and where you lay with him sat across you and I remember the speed you moved when toilet training backfired on you in the evening home from work. And watching Tractor Tom on his first day after Pre-school and lying his uniform, all bright dye and daz white, creases in place over the back. And I am enfolded in it all. The moments, the memories, the hours of a life and a settee where you watched Star Trek together and we watch it now and the place he sat on that morning when I got him up early and the front door was open and there were fluorescent men in the house.

And now the settee is a mess of tissues and I start to prepare for the next stage. To go with the process, to embrace this nature of change, to feel the pain of separation and in that moment know I’m still alive. That I have this women’s work, this joy, this wound. But the wound will form a scar and the skin will grow back differently, thicker, damaged but stronger. This wound will not define me but through the agony of loss allow this transformation, to evolve into something more.

So I sit on our settee that we chose in their Aladdin’s cave in Oxford, with Brie’s crazy dog who they’d lock in the toilet when we visited and she talked at double speed in her lilting brogue about the old days when she worked with your Mum in the mills. And I sit here now and remember it all and I roll and fall through the images and feelings, the colours of a life with our baby, our toddler our little boy. Our big boy now and the approaching teenager who I will guide in a new way, with a finer touch, with a softer punch, yet a stronger arm. With a different me, with new challenges, to take me on instead and fall out, to not lock antlers with you, to understand and make sense of it all, of who he was, of who he needs to be, of who he chooses to become. And how to assimilate all that he knows and to grow with the loss, grow into and through the loss and become strengthened by the natural lines of movement.

And I will hold his hand tightly though he won’t feel it and I will learn and listen and look around for guidance and I will ease us both through this transition. I will face it like I face this pain and I will find a way. And I will learn when to stand still and when to move and I will feel him shift around me and I will pay attention to the rhythms while he finds out what he needs. And all of our moments that carved us into here will hold me up and run and dance around me as we do it. The love that I sit in, that surrounds us, that forms us and I will feel it guide me as I offer no resistance.


It’s approaching. I need to prepare, lengthening the cord still further. Steadily, feeling it, going with it. Easing us into our next place.

Cycles, circles

Turning wheels


Our son

Your gift

My world



Thinking about our first walk when we got lost trudging back from Compton tethered together up the main road that runs under my bridge. I cross over and see us, new and drifting under the structure as I scurry over it in my reformed world. Going back soon to write and tidy and work through the day. I’m a bit stuck, the lightness of the sky eats into my horizon. I hear the bus pull away, my hand is warm and cold at the same time. Just biding time today, should go really, things to do, people to be, someone in one guise or another. My hair blows behind me like dog ears, I don’t like this light, it’s neither one thing or the other. The clouds are too low but not low enough. It’s cold but not enjoyable. Ravens stoop around today, hooded, sullen, darting in front. My cold is winning, I feel rough. I choose warmth, I think.

Heading back for the kettle. Bit odd today.

And just before leaving I look back at the table. The dried out wood has become a winters beach, stripped back wood, pale blonde, untroubled by feet. No comforting sand here to push into with a cool sun on your back, to reclaim the beach in isolation because no one else knows it’s here. And you can walk untouched by everything and listen to each lap of water and as it strokes back, pulling away from the town. It’s shiny pebbles glinting and sparkling in its wake. It takes your thoughts with it, each moment a glimpsed feeling over the stones, there for a second then part of something more and you stand and you watch as the seconds comes and go, rush up quietly, gently and subside and you let your feeling go with it. Glossing the landscape, spray your feet, your wet gritty toes digging deep into another world, teeming beneath in a place out of sight. And you are there, not quite cold but owning the beach and the moment and letting it drift all around you. You crouch down study the pools, the silky water slips from your grasp as you find the right stone, smooth eon shaped by friction and you turn it over in your grainy hand, appreciate its lines and looking out to a space in time, skim it with precision. And watch until the circle scattered water has finished its pattern and everything is good and in its place.

And while I’m cold on my bench high up above this town, I smell the salt in the air. I choose another pebble and shove it deep in pocket then turn to go, slip shifting up the stones to find the path again. Knowing my pebble’s still out there, somewhere, just out of view. With the sun shining back up, pinpoints of light in our universe.


And as the heat rises over our beach I glance at the rape field in the distance warming up my day now, in this present place.