I sat at the bottom of the shower, cleaned, and sobbed with the effort of it. Part of it was physical and mental exhaustion. Part of it is that Saturday has now become the day I lost my daughter. It's three weeks. At the moment, every day is another day where I discover something else I won't be able to do with Tracy. I never heard her cry, never saw her move except on ultrasound. I'll never take her camping, show her Doctor Who, or disapprove of a boy she likes.
Last week we collected her ashes. It's still sinking in that I won't see that little form again, that the urn on Sharon's desk is all there is left. I danced with Tracy once. It hurts that she no longer exists in a human form that would allow me to do so again. Her remains are in a small ceramic vessel. Even though it's only about the size of a coffee mug, our daughter would have been able to go into it whole, and for there to be a lot of room left over. The urn has pink stripes.
We asked for green.
Shaz came home from shopping a wreck, and I asked her to join me in the shower. Once she was in I spent some time washing her body. It's not a sex or erotic thing, it's a gentle, intimate, matter-of-fact a way of showing care and affection. You make some time that is only about the other person, pamper them, love them, wash them. It's one of the things I enjoy doing for people who I like, be they lovers or dear friends. It brings me a great deal of pleasure to be able to show someone that I like them in this way.
And I like my wife. Very much.
We collapsed into bed again, knowing we had a big day of stuff to get done, feeling exhausted. I wasn't feeling so hyper-sensitive, so we cuddled and dozed, enjoying being close, warm skin touching.
Around 3:30 I dragged myself from bed, Shaz followed half an hour later. We've struggled through the day, got very little done, aware of the domino effect in play - that before we can get this job done, those jobs need to be done. We've gotten a couple of preliminaries going. Can't be bothered stressing about it anymore, it's all too hard. We'll do what we can, the house is quite messy but not unclean. And you know, if the estate agent doesn't like the state of the place, tough. We're broken people and speaking for myself, I'm not less broken today than I was three weeks ago. I may even be worse.
I take things hard, and it doesn't always show. I don't try to hide what I'm going through, I just have an attitude that tends not to show the pain and cracks so well. And often I don't realise how badly I'm doing until something happens to highlight it. It's funny, but if I'm dealing with another person's issues, my own almost always seem unimportant. I find it easy to be strong for others, sometimes to the detriment of my own needs.
There aren't many people who have shown me the sort of strength that means I can face my own fragility and ask them to be strong for me. To tell them when I'm feeling broken, or that I want to be held, or that I need skin contact. It's funny that a few days before everything went wrong, I contacted these precious few, sending each a small personal message telling them that I regretted my shyness with them.
Two days later, as I lay in bed alone on the Thursday night, I told them that if ever there was a time I wanted to be safe in their arms, it then. It doesn't matter if they were too far away for this to happen, or would be too uncomfortable with that level of closeness, or that in most cases I would probably be too shy to ask anyway even if we were in the same place.
It helps for me to be able to tell them that I could use their friendship, love and strength - to show them that with so many people in my life, they are people I feel safe with when I'm made of soap-bubbles - and hope that they know my love, strength and friendship is there for them in return...
...while I pray, for the very best of reasons, they never need it.