I didn’t want to put the Christmas decorations up. Christmas was the last thing on my mind, and I really didn’t want to celebrate it. But on Friday 6th December I forced myself to get a little bit into the Christmas spirit and put up the tree and decorations. In the end I thought if I was going to put the decorations up I might as well go the whole hog and deck my lounge out like Santa’s grotto, and that’s exactly what I did.
My mum decorated the tree and my husband had ordered a new angel for Frankie to go on the top of the tree, so that every year he could look down on us. He also put up all the hanging decorations, and the house did start to feel a bit more festive, even if we didn’t.
As hard as it was we knew if we didn’t put up the decorations or try to make the best of Christmas we probably never would. Yes it was a very unfortunate time of year for all this to happen but we couldn’t put our head in the sand and pretend that Christmas wasn’t coming. In fact that has been our approach to all of this and it is why I am writing this blog now. We talk about Frankie, we acknowledge him and he’s as much a part of the family as any one of us is.
On the afternoon of December 6th, Frankie came home. A V Band brought his little casket to us and we put it upstairs in his room. I draped his rosary around it and my Mum bought him a little silver St Christopher to help him on his journey. He was surrounded by some cuddly toys – a little teddy bear from the memory box, a German Shepherd that looked like Curley to guard him, a lovely penguin with a scarf that my wonderful friend Sylvie Ross bought me and a handmade toy with an F on it that my cousin in Worthing made for him. We felt much better when he was safely in his room, knowing we could go and see him, talk to him and be with him.
On December 9th we collected a box of cupcakes that we’d ordered from my friend Mandy Morris, who has a small business called Mandy’s Kitchen Cupcakes and took them up to the delivery suite at the hospital to say thank you for all the care and treatment that we had received. Going back to the delivery suite was really scary, but again we decided to face it head on. We also had a catch up with Rev’d David Southall, and visited my husband’s Dad who was still in the hospital after his fall.
Finally on December 10th my husband went back to work. I on the other hand was still on maternity leave, and I planned to stay off until January 13th as we decided that we would have a holiday to somewhere warmer for a week on our own and get out of the UK. My husband worked from home most of the time, so I rested as much as possible and spent time with my Dad.
Every day I went into Frankie’s room and told him how much I loved and missed him. We decided to leave the room as it was with all his things in it, we couldn’t bring ourselves to move anything. I took a lot of comfort from being able to go into his room and feel close to him.
Normal? There was no such thing as normal any more.