Thursday 15 January 2009

The Dark Days

Five years ago today, I was at a very fashionable bar called Home in the very fashionable Hoxton with some very fashionable people. The party I'd been invited to was to celebrate with the editor of the very fashionable Blueprint magazine who was leaving to start his fashionable freelance career. As usual I was circulating, gossiping to many familiar faces as well as introducing myself to new people that I thought might be profitable to know. I also spent much of the evening in humorous (I thought) conversation with a very talented Czech photographer called Hana Jakrlova who I rather fancied. It was a splendid and enjoyable evening, and one I'll never forget.

At around eleven o'clock I checked my mobile...something I tended not to do very much after office closing hours. There were 11 missed calls, and as many messages so I ran upstairs out of the party noise to listen to the voicemails. The messages were from both The Boy and The Nanny. His messages were just to say to call the nanny urgently, and no doubt had been made because since divorce fron his mum, The Nanny and I had had a falling out, living in a state of uneasy peace. The Nanny's messages were more direct. The boy's mum had had a brain haemorrhage whilst in Ireland on business. She was in hospital...and fortunately still alive. When I called we talked about what had happened, and agreed that on Friday I would take Fred, out of our usual sequence of one weekend on, one weekend off. That at least I was happy with as I'd always fought tooth and nail for more time with him.

Since that day my mobile is never away from my side and checked for messages far more than is reasonable, and if I do happen to have a forgetful moment and leave it at home when I'm out, I always make sure I get hold of the boy to let him know where he can get me.

I returned very briefly to the party to say my goodbyes, and walked home to Borough. Not knowing the seriousness, or otherwise of the situation, it crossed my mind that she could die, and that much would change if she did. But I dismissed the thought on the basis that often I think the worst and it never happens.

And indeed she didn't die then.

That was two weeks later.

Every year since, for the next two weeks, I live with a very dark and heavy cloud over my head. I call these the dark days. And we burn a candle for her from the 15th through to the 29th.

My loss is as nothing to The Boys, yet he seems less conscious of the time than me (but interestingly he is always more fractious in January than the rest of the year), and that I think is the healing power of youth, but I don't doubt that underneath he misses her as much now as he ever did. Perhaps more.


  1. I can't offer any wise words but know that you and the boy will be in my thoughts and prayers.


  2. They say time heals, but I'm not so sure. We become more adept at hiding or coping with what we're feeling, maybe. Thoughts are with you both.

  3. Anniversaries like that are always hard to deal with. Hope you and the boy get through January OK and come out the other side looking forward to February and skiing....

  4. What a terrible time that must have been, no matter that you were divorced and presumably not entirely in agreement about your son's custody arrangements.

    My thoughts are with you too RTFM. You seem to be doing an excellent job of raising him - I'm sure his mum would be proud.


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