Time and Date


Yesterday’s date was 28 December 2014. The date is probably not significant to anyone else, but it marks precisely nine and half years since James died. That is half his life span of nineteen years (for the pedantic, it is not exactly half his life as he was only two months short of twenty when he died) ….. but the point is, we have now lived almost half his life span without his being here.

How incredible! – when at the beginning, time alternately seemed to creep by or race past at an unquantifiable rate, the days blurring into weeks and months of grey sadness; when living without James’ lively presence seemed an impossibility.

Yet somehow, we managed.

We got up each morning, we went to work, we shopped, cooked, drove, walked, went out, stayed in, watched TV, did all the ‘normal’ things that we take for granted.

But the timescale in those early months seemed distorted. I felt slightly out of step with the calendar and often had to check what day of the week it was. The autumn and winter of the year James died passed me by almost unnoticed. The first year of loss became punctuated by thoughts invariably prefaced by “This time last year, James was …..” and this made the year feel exceptionally long.

Today, I recognise that time feels as though it is passing normally for me again. I often write of the return of anticipation, and thinking about pleasant events to come has undoubtedly moved me forward in this respect.

As a family we have been fortunate to have weddings and births to look forward to and there is no doubt that these events, though invariably tinged with the poignancy of the absence of James, have been another saving grace.

In the early years, I found it easy to go away for breaks or holidays – being in different surroundings made for some respite from grief. On holiday I did not wear the  ‘bereaved parent’ badge in the same way as I did at home, with those who know me. It was easy to be with strangers – or not – as we chose, and the breaks were beneficial for our relationship. They represented the ordinariness we craved at the time.

Moving house two years ago probably set the seal on the recognition of my new normality; I was ready to move away from the last home James shared with us. My fears that he would not ‘come with us’ were unfounded; the memories moved in with us and in fact I find it easier to live in an area that is not invariably associated with his early years, as was our previous home.

I lived nearly thirty years of my life before James was born, had him for nearly twenty years, and have now lived almost another ten without him. Knowing we are approaching the decade anniversary of his death is indeed a strange feeling….



7 thoughts on “Time and Date

  1. Cathy Turner

    Andrea I have just finished reading your article in The Daily Mail and felt I had to write to you as my I have lost my two wonderful sons and know only too well the feeling of dread when you meet someone for the first time and your heart is pounding knowing they will ask about your family. Our son Greg died in a car crash in 1994, he had just turned 18 and when we thought life couldn’t get any worse Russell aged 24 also died in a car crash. We moved to Glasgow over 2 years ago and of course have met lots of people who didn’t know our past and have had to tell our story over and over. I still cry when asked but could never deny my son’s. We miss them every day and our broken hearts will never mend. So very sorry to read about your much loved son but only someone who has lost a child can understand your pain. Cathy Turner

  2. Emma

    I’m glad to know that time plays tricks on others too. When my sister went into hospital, it was a bright sunny day… Two weeks later, we left the day she died and I remember suddenly noticing that all the leaves had fallen. The whole world seemed to change in the blink of an eye, in more ways than one.

  3. ann

    I lost my beautiful boy who was 24 in a car accident this summer. A new normal, yes. I see Christmas and new year as hurdles, most things seem to be hurdles at the moment, thank you for the blog, it helps…..but you know that.

    1. Michael Skelding

      We also lost a son ten years ago. His name was Shaun and he was thirty five years of age. His brothers name is Stuart who is now forty one.When asked the question we always answer by saying that we have two children, but…
      Part of my therapy has been a private collection of poems about losing him but because of your piece in The Mail I would like to share this one with you and perhaps others.

      We had two children
      now there’s only one.
      So say the said statistics
      forms and files.
      Statistics say
      that one of them has gone
      but they do not relate
      to how we feel.
      For he is with us
      every break of day.
      He’s with us as each day
      turns into night
      and lives in every heartbeat
      in between,
      not to be seen
      but never out of sight.

  4. Debbie Buttars

    Dear Andrea – I read your article in the Daily Mail yesterday with almost a sense of relief – I identified with so much of it. I was so sorry to hear of the loss of your son James. We lost my darling daughter Hannah, at the age of 21, murdered by her ex-partner in January 2009. Our wonderful police liaison officer said right from the moment we first met him that we would be on a journey, one that would never end but would change as the years went on. I have always referred to my life since Hannah’s death as finding a ‘new normal’. I have been fortunate to have had the support of amazing family and friends but I have also felt a sense of panic when meeting new people who don’t know ‘the history’, feeling sensitive to their feelings, I know the story as if it were a DVD playing in my head, but wanting to let them know about Hannah and how alive she was and for me still is. I have found a sense of purpose in supporting the domestic violence charity Refuge and this has also helped to keep Hannah’s memory alive and I feel I’m doing something she would have approved of. Life itself is a journey for us all, we cannot know what is next, my path has been blocked by a huge wall, I may not get over it but I’m certainly going to find a way to break it down and continue on the diversion. I wish you well with you and your families ‘new normal’ X – Debbie Buttars

    1. Andrea Corrie Post author

      Thank you so much for your response and I am very sorry for your loss. It must be particularly difficult when someone has meant your child the worst harm; my heart goes out to you. xx


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