Memory sticks

Slow, slow countdown to July 4. Year seven.

Back in the day I wrote raw, fuck you accounts of grief. Real time, incoherent pain accounting. Trying to translate the unimaginable, unspeakable, incomprehensible into words. Into some sort of coherence.

Writing grief.

Seven years on it feels more like shades of a shipping forecast.

Lighter impact. in terms of dominating everyday life, tasks, being and doing.

Timing. winding and wounding moments, longer spaces between.

Emotional state. tears. water. drowning. sadness.

June 18 and my eyes (heart) have started the random, now familiar, tear filling gig. Working from home/Zoom meetings offer unexpectedly novel passing options. The immediacy of being able to delay joining meetings for a few moments. Of not turning on the camera.

longer spaces between.

I’ve taken to decanting the content of old memory sticks onto google drive. Memory sticks. Tumbling into particular date space clusters: presentations, photos and files. Recalling a conference or ten with seventeen hundred versions of a mediocre paper and flight details. Interspersed with detritus from the last seven years. Screen grabs, documents, reports and more, laying bare the outlandish and unspeakable. Snippets of horror and the inhumane.

Then every so often a photo pauses time.

Thinking photography

Post-death, photos demand forensic scrutiny. The whole shebang followed by a meticulous poring over the minutiae. The cast, the setting, the props, the clothes. The weather, the light. Faces, emotions, action and more. My eyes repeatedly drawn back to Connor. Sit kneeling in that funky way he did. Slightly disconnected from engaging with whatever is capturing the attention of his classmates off camera.

I sit and imagine him going back to his class, eventually getting his book bag, a mini bus journey taking a good 40-50 minutes to travel the 6 miles home and late afternoon/evening unfolding in familiar, unseen, unremarkable ways.

When you have a finite time with your child, each piece of stuff – photo, anecdote, a piece of school work, school diary entry, painting – becomes something so much more than it ever was in the moment. The dustings of unfolding life tend to be lost in the complacency of an imagined forever.

I’ll take shipping forecast grief. And a focus on the good times. Beautiful, beautiful, cheeky chappy.

7 thoughts on “Memory sticks

  1. Health Service Journal reports further failings by the CQC today – moreover, it is investigating its own failings. The key points in the article are:

    1. CQC is reviewing how it responded to concerns about children’s autism services in South Staffordshire.
    2. Regulator rated the service provider “good” in September 2019.
    3. A separate independent review warned potentially suicidal children with autism were being put at risk.

    Not only is the CQC investigating its own conduct but the CQC, “Has asked its head of inspection for child and justice services” to carry out the investigation.”

    ‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’ or ‘Ronnie Biggs in charge of a mail train’ come to mind. To continue the animal analogy, it is not time for the CQC to be culled?

  2. There’s a part of me that when you write and show photographs about Connor just keeps me knowing that every single minute counts
    I have embarked on trying to be slightly fit and my on line motivator tells me about every minute of the day I will waste if I don’t do something meaningful
    I don’t buy that because I think being whatever I want to be is meaningful even if I stayed under my duvet for the next week and raised my head and ate chocolate shite and drank a bottle.
    But I buy into what you are saying in a very different way and that did make me think of the looking back and how important every moment of love really is
    I just phoned Oli, but he’s out doing something different in Berlin
    I miss him so much and the dress and new nail varnish he is wearing now was quite a surprise a few weeks ago but Berlin is a great place to be what you want to be. The nail varnish and eye liner has been around for a year but the dress was a new one
    Quite classy actually not flowery and belted.
    Take care Sara with your thoughts and changing pain
    You have made a difference in my life with everything you remind me of and I hope that the pain that will never change has let life grow round it a bit with new joys. I don’t have to tell you it will always remain as hard and painful as it ever was when you go there like the waves in the ocean that knock you off your feet.
    Much love xxxxx

  3. Connor is still on my office wall on his surf board .. every week here in Australia someone asks me who he is _
    I hope you are ok with that.. Much love from another mother xxxxxxxxx

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