I’m in my flat. 12 weeks ago this was my home.
I’m packing up. My life changed on Sunday September 1st.
My estranged wife died and I’ve lived at her house with the kids since.
Lyndie was 39. We were separated and had lived apart for nearly five years. As parents of autistic children we had to keep talking and we did.
I usually went over midweek on a Wednesday to see the boys and do their bedtimes. I also usually had them from lunchtime Saturdays until Sunday evening.
Her house was a place that I was familiar with. She had a number of conditions and at times she was bed bound. It wasn’t unusual for her to be so and either myself or the carer for boys would look after them.
It’s been a journey since that day.
Since I phoned 999, having to then tell her parents and all the phone calls and emails thereafter
The registration of her death, her funeral. Unpicking her arrangements, using her phone calendar as a guide.
I didn’t know everything about her.
That much was certain before she died and afterwards, the contacts and messages, some of which I struggled to read. Fixing her Facebook accounts, Unsubscribing her from email lists, Stopping auto scheduled amazon deliveries.
Then her notes, The things she wanted to say to me.
I can’t change anything. It is what it is. A certain amount of surprises in terms of her personal and financial situation.
I had to think of the kids first and foremost and what they needed, that meant getting benefits made out to me, Sorting Motability, pleading to the housing association to allow me the tenancy.
It’s not all done. I now need to clear my flat and sell it.
I need to apply for what was Carer’s Allowance.
I need to speak with my employer and find out about going back to work.
There’s the loss and grief of someone I loved. Regret at her moving out and guilt that she died.
I don’t know what happened. Her death is unascertained and there are further tests.
I cry sometimes and don’t know why. I stop what I’m doing and forget what I’ve been doing.
There are memories and words unspoken. There are arguments remembered and things that went wrong.
I’ve been told not to blame myself.
I’ve been told that I’ve coped well in keeps the boys in their school routine. I’ve been helped by the carer and her family.
But, it’s still like yesterday.
It’s fresh in my mind. Finding her, not feeling a breath. The touch of her hand.
It’s not easy, i still don’t know the whys. I know she struggled with her health in the past few years. We cancelled a week of our holiday in August.
We still holidayed together for the boys sake.
In these twelve weeks, I’ve had kind words and help and support.
I’ve had to deal with rumours of her taking her life and comments about my parenting ability.
I’ve had to read things I’ve not wanted to. I’ve had to make calls that I haven’t wanted to.
It’s endless and exhausting.
My focus has been my sons. They lost their mummy. Their light of their lives. Their encouragement, her smile, her hugs.
I’m no replacement for that.
I wasn’t an absentee father. I did anything asked of me for them. I know their needs and routines.
I’m still not their mummy though.
So it’s a flat to clear and it’s obvious that I lived enough to get by day to day in those four and a bit years. I hadn’t moved on and I was stuck after the separation.
The rooms and objects of my former home are now different to me. Not as familiar. Not as easy and safe.
My new home is ‘her house’ and will be for a while yet. The drama made by the housing association over me taking the tenancy meant that my grief was delayed whilst I worried over my boys being evicted and the upset that would cause to them.
It left me in limbo for six weeks. I couldn’t change anything at the house and I couldn’t start to pack the flat either.
My plans were knocked over in both senses.
My grief came back after I was allowed the house, I stopped worrying and started processing what had happened again.
My ‘alone’ had changed from evenings after work to daytime when boys are at school and then later at night when they’re in bed.
I don’t know where this new ‘normal’ takes me. For the moment I do feel flat.