I have dreamed, off and on- more, recently, now I sleep un-medicated. I dream of standing in the shower in my friend Auntie Mickey’s house, where I spent those horrific days between ICU and funeral, my breasts running with milk, overflowing with the elixir of human life, white liquid escaping in uneven spurts and melting into watery rivulets that slide sown my skin and past my bellybutton. The tight feeling of engorgement in my chest, the heat of breastfeeding a newborn in my nipples.
I think it may be my body, weeping. For my small, young family that did not quite feel complete.
I am so jealous, it catches me in the middle and pulls at me. To witness a young family- mother, father, children complete- it aches me deep down, somewhere primal.
52 months I spent with Tony. 18 of them married. 17 of them pregnant. And 28 of them breastfeeding. Our relationship was all about creating life, and we reveled in that. My daughter weaned herself just two months before Tony died.
The traditions, the language, the nuances that make up the nucleus of a family… I watch the rhythm of them, the comfort of it, the shared history and mutual understanding; I hear the beat of it in other people’s lives and it makes me want to sob at the unfairness of it, the ridiculous anti-equilibrium it has created for my children and I.
The brightness, the perfection, the smugness of my perfect nuclear family…. it was beautiful but now it’s gone, and it will never be recreated. Things will be good again, if I have any say in it all… but the gossamer strings that held in place that perfect life are gone.
I will replace it. With the vision of a kick arse single mum, who does what she has to do for her kids. A family, with a bit missing, like a limb that will heal with a scar. But heal it will. There will be- is- something beautiful about our new family dynamic, a grittiness and a closeness, an appreciation and empathy and a deep, big love.
A nuclear family, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, not the only thing to aspire to.
But I loved it so much…. I was so happy with what I had.
This is not what I expected. But things haven’t been, not for months now… I’m beginning to stop expecting at all.