When I was on holiday with my son in France, there was a lovely, life-affirming moment which proves that life goes on after loss. I did not say anything to him for fear of upsetting him. I did not mention it to my brother either. As ever, the blog is a safe place to share it.

We visited a café and sat outside in the sunshine. My son ordered a pancake with lemon. He clearly enjoyed it very much.

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I remember a day when he would not eat one.

This post will only really make sense if you read tough post on my old blog.

My mum died in September 2009 and almost 5 years later her son, daughter and grandson went on a holiday to France.

The day where my son would not eat a pancake is also the one where my parents and my brother cancelled a holiday to France because she just could not face it with the horrors of her illness.

In 2012, Dad was due to go on holiday to France with my brother but did not go as his final illness took hold.

Yet in July 2014, my son sat happily in the sunshine on his first visit to France eating his pancake completely unaware of how very much this meant to his Mum.

Life goes on. You think it won’t but it does and in time you smile at memories instead of being devastated by them.

Now that is a kind of magic.

ethannevelyn.com

What is causing smiley faces for me and my family?

Well not much as it is one of those days where my sons have squabbled incessantly.  However, I have reasons to be cheerful to share with you.

1. I travelled to France with my brother and teenage son.  We had a very lovely time with great weather, fine wines, tasty food and conversation.  There was laughter, the sharing of memories and the making of some new ones too.  I will be posting more about this once I have got my photographs sorted out. If you follow me on Instagram you will already be getting a sneak preview.

2.  My brother has booked a holiday.  Part of my reason for the trip to France was to encourage him back into holidaying following the death of my Dad as they used to go together.  Mission accomplished.

3. Him Indoors not only remembered to feed the other two children but also took them out and about including to Hayling Island.  They went in the sea and clearly had lots of fun.

4. I have enjoyed getting back to things here although admit to sulking for a full two days after getting back.  I look forward to returning for more of the delights of France and hopefully in the not too distant future.

5. I have had such support from friends online about my daughter’s struggles with her new school.  It has given me the strength to move forwards positively.  I think going down the home education route may help both her and also have a good effect on me too.  I do love throwing myself into something and there will be a lot to learn.

6. We have got to the weekend and I am looking forward to relaxing with the family and a little trip to the charity shop.

 

Dear Dad

It is your birthday today.  87 years since you came along to Harriet and Charlie.

I thought I would check in with you.  Can we take it as read that you have port, mustard, honey and a good book to read?  I may well have cake with the children tonight to honour you and let’s face it, it is always any excuse for a tea party here.  Perhaps we should go to the sea this evening.

So we have moved and keep passing places that you were in when serving in the Royal Navy in the forties.  I feel certain that you have brought me here for a reason but am not yet clear on what that is.  I like the countryside down here and the sea of course.

It feels that I am getting a little more freedom as the children get older.  I still rail against how all the drudgery type stuff seems to fall on women.  I understand mum more and more every day.  I hope it all changes before my daughter grows up but I fear it won’t.

I am going to do some voluntary work in the local town after the school holidays.  I wish that opportunities had an aura round them so you knew which choices are the right ones. I wish people were the same so you could identify potential friends easily.

Him Indoors is doing OK.  Still has a more than a touch of the Victor Meldrews but you know what he is like.

Luke is doing well in his new school, one of the very best parts of us moving.  I think he can thrive here.  It is a bit of a shock that he is nearly 14 and has chosen his options.  It all suddenly seems very grown-up stuff and I don’t even feel grown up myself yet half the time.  He is turning into a man with all that entails and frankly it terrifies me.  How can I hold onto that sweet natured boy we know and love?

Laura is having a difficult time.  She is so very unhappy at her new school and wants to leave.  I certainly don’t want her to stay there is it is going to make her miserable every day.  That is no way to live a life.  I have had a meeting at school today and have asked for another.  She is shy and sensitive but also bolshy like me and Mum so is having her say in perhaps less than ideal ways which is not going down at all well.  I wish you were here so we could talk it through. You always had wise words and made me think there was a way forward whatever the challenges.

Louis is his usual self, taking things in his stride, trying new things and seizing every day.  He made me laugh today when Laura was refusing to go to school saying that you would say it was “not on”.  He remembers you so well.  As I write your memoirs, I see similarities in your natures, that ability to take on the world and to get on with things.

I am feeling a bit old.  I think some of that comes when you lose your parents.  I guess I am next!  I am not sleeping well at all waking up every hour most nights.  I need to get healthy eating and exercise in place and stop messing about.  I have the usual ambitions and still procrastinate way too much.  I annoy myself so much.  Always talking, never doing.  Still trying to get things right, be vaguely good at something and so on.

News you will love is I am going on holiday with our Charles to France.  I asked him as I felt it was about time he got back to holidaying.  He misses you Dad. Obviously I love the idea of getting away too.  Nobody gets the missing you as much as he does.  We are going for just a few days and if that works, perhaps we can look at a longer break in the future.  We are taking our Luke and I am going to try to get him to use his French.

Oh, here I go, getting all tearful imagining us going out for lunch today and then returning with treats of eclairs or scones.  And then the children would sing to you and we would eat the cake.  Happy days – much missed.

Happy Birthday Dad.

Even if I cannot hear your voice and all that.

Make what comes next a bit clearer to me please.

Cath x