Completely out of the blue this morning, toddler P made my heart melt into a million pieces. I was filled with love for her and her sweet nature but also had that bittersweet feeling of sadness that Pops isn’t here to witness it all. I was buttering her toast with marmalade (Poppa M’s favourite) and she was playing with her animal figures on my desk, the desk dad made.

She was nattering on, like she always does (usually we get through 2000 words and stories before breakfast) when she made my ears prick up, “did Poppa M make dese?” I was a bit taken aback, “pardon?” “Did Poppa M make dese, yuk mummy, dese!” She was fiddling with the brass fastenings that hold the graphic designers light box down on the desk. “Yes, yes he did.” Technically he didn’t, he bought them and used them as part of the desk but I’m not going start splitting hairs over minor details with a two year old. Not when she’s just filled me with that warm fuzzy feeling.

Toddler P has never mentioned him before. She knows who he is, I’ve talked about him, I’ve shown her pictures, he’s up on the walls and mantle piece and it’s a big part of allowing his memory to live on by talking about him. So for her to just come out with it was lovely, really really heart warming and in someways reassuring, reassuring of what I’m not sure but it just felt good.

It’ll be 4 years tomorrow since that day and to be honest the anniversary is just another day to me. Sounds bad doesn’t it? It’s true though. His birthday, Christmas, Father’s Day. They’re all just another day, I don’t personally get upset, hang on those days as moments to grieve and feel sad. I’m not criticising anyone that does. I just personally do not find those days hard or difficult. I did the first year, or at least the first birthday and Christmas I did. But the first anniversary I was heavily pregnant, almost due, bouncing on a birth ball frantically proof reading the final draft of my Master’s dissertation. I had other things to occupy my mind and be a bit more important at that moment in time. That said, I do still grieve and miss him, but the times I find hard are the odd moments when I wish he was here. It’s very rare I cry over him and when I do it’s usually out of the blue.

Makes me sound cold hearted doesn’t it? I’m not, far from it, I guess I’ve just learnt how to carry it with me and that’s a good thing. I’ve also dealt with more, a lot more since losing him. I’ve had to ensure mine and my daughter’s safety and well being. So grieving for him had to become manageable very quickly and really that’s what we all need to do about any type of emotional recovery. Learn to manage it, you can still feel it, you can still carry it and talk about it. In fact do, not doing is very unhealthy, ask any counsellor or psychologist, but what we all need to learn to do is manage that emotion and hurt/sadness. I guess I’ve just managed that with Poppa M. I’ve learn to just manage and carry it. Like I said I still have moments, I still get sad, I still think about him, talk about him and remember him, I just don’t always descend into flood of tears, or at least I don’t as often now.

I do still get caught off guard though. Just like this morning. It was out of the blue and it pulled on those heart strings bog style. I also think it’s no coincidence that it happened today, the day before the anniversary. I’m not religious but I am spiritual in someways (yes I am also a big cynic but I’ve softened in my old age) and I do believe some things happen for a reason. That some things in life are a little out of our control and that everything happens for a reason. Now don’t worry, I’m not losing my cynicism completely, I do still agree with Peter Kay in that the packet of quavers was just litter and wind, not “our Billy” but I see no issue in taking comfort in coincidences and if it helps you feel the love of a lost one then believe whatever you like as long as it’s not harming anyone else. I do think so coincidences are more than just chance though, some things are little messages and signs from up above or the spiritual world around us (however you want to visualise it) sent to just keeps us going a little, to remind us that we got this and we can keep going.

Whatever today was, coincidence, a message from Poppa M or just my little girl growing up and showing me how she’s understanding and learning more and more. It was nice. Nice to know she is grasping the concept of an important person being around before us, that she understands some of the objects in our house represent those people and just nice that she listens and takes an interest in the things I say (even if she still doesn’t hear, don’t touch that or put your shoes on). Yes toddler P, Poppa M did make those.

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