Friday, 26 March 2010

The Things That Set You Off

When I wrote the last post I was feeling lower than whale shit and I'm sure it came across that way. I spoke about how God-awful things were and how they don't get better. That is all true. Here's the thing though, what makes carrying on with your life possible at all is the fact that in between feeling that bad, there are periods of normality. Initially not many, but they do get more frequent and they do get longer. It is nice to know that during these periods I can work, function, laugh, shout at the television during rugby matches and quiz programs, get drunk, read books, play video games, cook, shop, get pissed off at the budget speech, etc. etc. etc. All of the stuff that means that despite the loss, the trauma, the pain, the grief I can still function as a member of the human race. Just. There is one snag though. All the bad stuff is still under the surface. In much the same way that Jaws was just under the surface. And between normality and getting your head bitten off are what I refer to as "The Things That Set You Off"

We have a pet rabbit called Buttercup (that's what you get when you leave the naming of a pet up to a seven year old girl). Buttercup has some personal hygiene issues, which mean that every so often we need to give her a soak in some warm water. I am going some where with this, trust me. This weekened we gave her one such soak. We needed something mild to put in the water so I got some Johnsons Baby Bath that we had in the wardrobe of what was to be Emma's room. I opened the bottle and got a waft of the smell....

....we never had a chance to use that baby bath on Emma, but I'm sure J&J have gone to a hell of a lot effort to ensure that their products have that new born baby smell, just like every other baby clensing product. Just like what we used on Emma to clean her and dress her after she had died. One sniff of the baby bath and I was straight back in that little private room in Alder Hey, cleaning and changing her for the first and last time.

Smells can be a big "Thing That Sets You Off". Music can do it as well. For Rach it's that Rihanna song "Russian Roulette". It's the hook; "You can see my heart beating, you can see it through my chest". The song was out around the time Emma was born. The words remind her off Emma on the respirator, her little chest going up and down. For me it's Elbow's entire "Seldom Seen Kid" album. When Rach was recovering from the caesarian in Wrexham and Emma was in the ICU in Alder Hey I had to make a few trips between hospitals on my own. Elbow was the CD in the machine. It's one of my foavourite records and for months after it killed me to listen to it. I had to force myself to listen to it.

I find new "Things To Set You Off" almost daily. Sometimes it's writing this blog, sometimes it's just standing in the shower. Sometimes they have me in bits, sometimes they make me furious at what I have had to endure. But sometimes, just sometimes they give me a smile. It's nice to know that, like the periods of normality, these smiles are something that happen more regularly.

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