Inner Turmoil, Outward Smiles

I have just come back from watching Andrew in a ‘Strictly’ dance competition at the school he teaches at in aid of BST, and I feel compelled to write. I can’t tell you how important it is not to judge a book by its cover. I do see how all our smiling fundraising photos can portray an image that we are doing well and enjoying life but that is so dangerous. It takes immense courage and strength to leave the house at all.

Tonight was the second time I have been out in the evening since Skye died 14 months ago. The first outing was for a jazz gig my amazing friend performed in aid of BST after having lost a child herself earlier in the year, so you see why I wanted to go and support her?

It was important this evening for me to support my wonderful husband who has been so patient and supportive of my black times and to take an excited and proud Jesse to cheer on his dad. I have however been floored by something someone said to me; “I don’t  know how you and Andrew manage to keep going, achieving all the things you do and have fun because if my child died I would be just too devastated.”

I know we shouldn’t care what other people think but we do. We care that they understand about brain tumours, we care they understand that research is the only way the outcomes will change, we care so much, that we set up the Charity. We care too that people know facts about grief, which is why we speak out as honestly as we dare.  In life, we have such little control over so many things. Andrew and I fought alongside our beautiful son and would have given absolutely anything to die instead of him, but we couldn’t, it wasn’t a choice, just like we don’t really have a choice now.

We could end our lives, prove just how much we loved him, that we cannot live without him, perhaps even do it in case we could be with him in an afterlife, but where would that leave our other beautiful boys and where would it leave the children who will be diagnosed tomorrow? However sad we are, we are stuck here and will therefore, in Skye’s very own words, “make the most of what we have”. It is a million miles away from easy, but we will do it because there is not really an alternative. We smile and appear to be fine because we are British (well I am) and we want people to feel at ease, we live with an inner turmoil every day, we are just getting better at hiding it.

All the dancers did brilliantly by the way and I am so very grateful to everyone who put themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve amazing things - well done. 10 POINTS ALL ROUND!!!