Joshua does not understand that his Granny has died, so in many ways he is fortunate to be saved the pain of loss and grieving. I have often said that Joshua thinks only about the here and now and whatever is in front of him, so he does not have the capacity to worry or be upset by what he cannot see. He senses that something is wrong I am sure, but he does not like to see me cry. He used to laugh, awkwardly when I cried in front of him, but yesterday he looked puzzled by my tears and then on one occasion, he smacked me. I am sure he is trying to process what is going on, but he will simply adapt to his Granny no longer being a physical presence in his life, the same as he did, without a backward glance, when his Grandpa died in 2014. We have been looking at photographs of Granny, but he will not understand my explanation that she is no longer around, as he did not see her here at our house all that often – the last time she visited will have been last Christmas.
Joshua is a great tonic for coping with upset, as whatever else is going on in my life, Joshua needs to be taken care of : I could not, even if I wanted to, stay in bed all day hiding under the duvet. Joshua requires feeding, dressing, changing, bathing and entertaining everyday and so those processes have to carry on. He gives the best bear hugs, which would make anyone feel better, and he tries to act like a clown too, he tries to make you smile, and it is pretty hard to resist. So actually Joshua is a great antidote to grief. I have invited my sister and her family over for Sunday lunch today, and hopefully Joshua can make them feel a bit better too – though they have been warned that he may smack them if they cry! I wanted us all to be together at this long weekend, as it is hard to know how to fill this gaping time before we are able to register Mum’s death and start to make plans.
Once they accepted my invitation to Sunday lunch, I had a purpose again and so Joshua and I went off to Tesco for our weekly outing. He was playing his usual tricks – kicking the trolley, kicking my ankles, pretending to run away or trying to sit down on the floor, but I jollied him along until he reached the pet food aisle, where he had a seizure so I lowered him down to the floor. He continued to have several seizures and for the first time in a supermarket, we were supported by three kind customers and a member of staff – previously people have stepped over us without acknowledging us at all. So I went into autopilot with us both on the floor and I lay his head on my lap as we waited for them to subside, while timing the seizures. As they carried on, I realised that his emergency medication was in the car as I had just brought my purse and not my handbag into the store. So I asked the staff member to stay with him and count seizures , while I ran to the car and back. He was not on the floor when I returned, as he had got up when he saw me run away, and so he was seated on the chairs at the end of the tills, now surrounded by three concerned members of staff. The seizures gradually subsided so there was no need to medicate him, but I just paid for my shopping so far and brought him home to recover.
Once he was settled at home, I wanted to call mum to tell her what had happened at Tesco and how kind people had been, then I realised that I could no longer do that and of course then , the tears came. Both my sister and I shared everything with Mum and so we will miss her caring support over the phone as much as her physical presence. I usually rang Mum on Saturday mornings, before she headed out for the day, so I was at a loss at that time yesterday and I called my sister instead. I warned her that she will become my new Saturday morning routine. I know that we will get there, Mum trained us all our lives for coping in times of stress, but it is going to take time.