The hangover from Joy

They were all there when I emerged from the terminal on Sunday.

My dearest love, with a little girl in a pram at his side. I’m not sure she knew I left, but she seemed happy to see me back. Three others, with hair from blonde to brown, all talking over the top of each other to get their stories told first!

Seven days felt like a lifetime, to me, without them. How was a lifetime without me going to feel, to them, without me?

Joy has a hangover, I’ve found. It doesn’t come from too many cocktails by the pool, or too many vodka’s from the mini-bar. It comes, instead, from having seven days to think about what potential your life has, if only you were going to live long enough to enjoy it. It comes from seven days of anticipating a reunion and realising that one day there won’t be a hello at the end of the long goodbye.

When I walked in the door, I melted into the warmth of my home, the comfort of my people, the familiarity of my routine. Gaz hoisted Georgia onto the couch next to him and I asked her all sorts of questions, what she had learned at school in the last week etc. Gaz and I both giggled at the silliness of this routine, as Georgia has no speech, and whatever she might have to say in answer to my questions shall remain a mystery, but I ask anyway, and she giggles in response, just because she likes it when we talk to her.

I’d give anything to keep this – anything. I want to hang on, for dear life, but I don’t know how long I can. With the news that came via my last test results, we know that I am not going to get that reprieve now….that period of maybe months off chemo, where I could have just one more beautiful time of being a “normal mum”, and dreaming that it won’t end so soon. Now it’s just putting out fires, until we run out of water. No exhaling, no meandering, just running headlong in one direction and another, looking for a dam with a bit left in it. Every bit of me wants to live, but I’m so tired. SO tired. The tide is turning. It’s subtle, but I can feel it.

Sometimes I watch my children walk away from me, and I feel a physical pang, like they are walking away forever. I felt that this morning, as I dropped Dakota at the drop off zone, and she ran to catch up with a friend. She hates it when we say so, but she swings her ponytail like Marcia Brady. I wanted to yell out to her. Come back baby. Spend this day with your mum. Did I ever tell you how proud I am of you? That you have such self possession, at an age when I would have been terrified if anyone so much as looked in my direction. Come be with your mama today? But I can’t, I’d want to hang onto her not just on this day, but forever, and I bought her up to live her life, and she does it with such gusto. Half of her is me, and I will just have to continue on with my day, holding the pride of that close to me. Wishing I didn’t have to teach her to live without me.

People tell me all the time, to comfort me, I’m sure, that I must just get on with my life, that any of us could go out and be hit by a bus at any turn. That I’m no different. I don’t think anyone realises how often I have wished that lunatic bus would come swinging around the corner and take me out. The sheer relief that it would be not have to think about saying goodbye. I think, ALL THE TIME, about the first time they were in the room with me, these four beautiful souls, just minutes in the world. I felt so lucky. Now, I think just as often about the heavy ache when they are no longer in the room with me and I know they won’t enter it again. It’s unbearable. I know I’ll never be ready to say goodbye to them, and they won’t ever be ready either. It’s like we’re in one of those dreadful wind tunnels, with the wind pulling me one way, and them the other. I scream and scream for them, I hold out my hands, but I can’t reach them.

This morning after I dropped the girls off at primary school, and was on the way home in an empty car, a truck slid across the wet road and into my lane. There was time and distance for him to correct, and me to swing a little over into the verge, but I did wonder if the timing was just a few seconds different….how easy it would have been. Not one part of me wants to die, but just today, I don’t want to live in this hell, either.

As always, I will dry my tears, and go and get them from school. We’ll have some dinner, and then we’ll tuck into bed for Masterchef. We’ll laugh, not at the way the fennel is presented on the plate, but that they dreamed of putting fennel on there in the first place. Indi will tuck into me perfectly, and say “you are so warm mama”, and Tana will look over enviously and ask if she can have a go in a minute. We still have that tonight, and that tomorrow, and we’ll keep on having more, for as long as there is water in the dams, and the lunatic keeps control of his bus.

And that, is the hangover of joy.

29 Comments on “The hangover from Joy

  1. What beautiful, eloquent writing Julia. You capture the emotion of a moment so perfectly.

  2. That post deserves a standing ovation with a huge hug all rolled into one. So beautifully powerful Julia. I wish you all the time possible with your fairies and your fella xx

  3. Ouchie ouch ouch that hurts just reading. My deepest respect for articulating this so; deepest sorrow and love for your Words and honesty & beautiful mothering heart. Just hugs 😔đŸ˜Ģ😤☹ī¸đŸ˜¤đŸ˜Ą

  4. You don’t know me but I love you! You are a magnificent soul. The world is a better place and I am a better person because of your sharing your light with the world. Thank you. Peace be with you dear one.

  5. There is only so much any one human should possibly be able to bear. It is so ok, that today you shouldn’t have to bear it. Hoping tomorrow is better, my heart goes out to you, and to yours…… xxx

  6. So much I feel like I should be able to say, but there really are no words, Julia. Just tears in my eyes and the biggest wish EVER that this was not your story… Big hugs xxx

  7. I’ve not long been following you Julia, since I hear you on Michele’s podcast a few months back. The honesty in this is beautiful. How awful it must be. Just shocking. Much love.

  8. I’m crying as I walk to school to pick up my loves. Ironic and poignant xxx

  9. I am sure there must be some prophetic words of comfort for you Julia, but I honestly don’t have them. Do the best you can for as long as you can, get as much enjoyment out of your family as possible. I know you have a good support team, hopefully they can help you through this tough time. Wishing you and your family all the best.

  10. You so have a way with words, I don’t know how you can write something so painful with such beauty but you do. Enjoy your cuddles and the fennel faffing. Sending you a massive hug x

  11. Just another internet random but I’ve been following your story for about 1.5 years linked from Essential Baby. I have you on follow on Facebook so I don’t miss any blog posts. Just know how widely you’ve reached.

  12. Mum Fairy – I get to see your posts through my friendship with Emily. Thank you for sharing your overwhelming life experience. Thank you for sharing the beautiful life you have with your family. And thank you for trusting us all by sharing the horrible yuk times. Jo

  13. Same as everyone else… just love the chick you are. As a mum who has not bought lipstick for 21 years I have to ask, should I bother? You look fab with the lippie. As a nurse I say, medicate well and be as comfy as possible. The love you have for your family is palpable through the web.

  14. Julia,you put your feelings and thoughts so eloquently?I just pray love that you feel rested and now more at peace after your break,.I am sure your fella and your faeiries are all thrilled to have you home.I wish I had the words to tell you more.Love and hugs always,and pray for you the strength and release from the weariness to go day by day one step at a time.,always basking in the love of your fella and faeries.😊😊😊😊😊

  15. What a beautiful soul you are Julia. I cannot begin to imagine how that that is even to write, let alone live it. As a mum it breaks my heart. So much love and peaceful thoughts to you guys.

  16. Thank you for sharing your reality with us, Julia. The pain is real, the sorrow is real, the heartache is real. But the joy, the big love, the continuous reaching out to one another – may people wait a lifetime for this, but you and your family are enjoying it now and it will be remembered for always. Be strong and courageous.
    Praying for you, as always. Deb

  17. How I wish I could take your heartache from you and make you whole again. Thank you so much for letting us into your life. Even at your darkest times, please know we are all thinking of you, caring about you and sending you massive big love. 💞💞💞

  18. Wow.
    I can only imagine that heartache from a distance. Not fully understanding how much more that feels when you know how close that time may be.
    I do want to tell you though, that Georgia knows. She knew you were gone. She loves that you are home. Samara is just beginning to find her voice. When they are non-verbal, it is so so hard to know what they understand. But when they start to find that voice, you realise it is so much more than you ever imagined they could.
    Your beautiful girls are a real tribute to you. And this blog is a beautiful legacy. They will never wonder about how much you loved them. They will never question how hard you fought to be here for them.
    Preparing them to live without you is the most selfless act of love imaginable. You have fitted more mothering into their young lives than some do over many decades.
    I wish I could change this for you. I wish I could give you more time. We all do. All we can do is send our love, our strength and our prayers and hope that somehow, you can feel them.

  19. You certainly are authentic Julia.A very moving and sad reflection.Much love xx

    • Thank you Deidre. So lovely to be back in touch with you and Ian. Love to catch up sometime when it suits you guys. Nothing to be alarmed about, you will find me much as i have always been, I don’t walk about howling or hysterical or anything, just normal old me :) I’d love you to see the kids, they are HUGE. Where do the years go? And you would love our beautiful, gentle Georgia.

  20. Julia,
    I found your blog a few weeks ago and have just finished reading it all through. You’re a courageous woman. I am so sorry you are forced to deal with all of this, but, you possess an eloquence and grace that is truly amazing and unique. Not to mention you’re quirky humor which just resonates so very much. Prayers and a big hearty hug from New York.

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