We’re getting used to our weekends with L now, although it still seems a huge treat to have her with us. No matter how old your children are, there is something comforting about knowing they are sleeping in the same house as you. This weekend, I was working and not home until Saturday night. L seemed much the same, low in mood and tired. She is now taking Fluoxetine but it will be a few weeks before it takes effect. She also seems anxious and worried very easily at small things. My heart just aches for her, but there is so little I can do.
On Sunday we made Christmas cakes. L and I usually make the cakes together and as we did, I thought about Christmas, only five weeks away. We have rituals at Christmas, which centre around food, and not the measured, three meals and three snacks approach. All three of them get chocolate oranges in their stockings and I imagine an untouched chocolate orange on L’s desk in her room. We stir the cake mixture, it smells delicious and I encourage L to have a little lick from the spoon. We love Christmas cake, mince pies and all the traditional foods of Christmas and while it seems so trivial to be worried about the loss of these traditions, it does feel like a form of grief.
Tomorrow she will go back,,first thing, and I will go back to visiting in the evening and missing her at night. It is now three and a half months. A nurse is coming back to work after surgery next week and I remember L being sad when they went off work, because she thought she wouldn’t see them again, because she’d be discharged by now. I have grown used to not wincing at her wasted frame or her gaunt face and sunken eyes. Now I wince at her distant sadness and the way she chews her lip. I wonder how it is that someone so utterly lovely, can feel so second best, as if she is never good enough. Where did she learn this? I wish I could turn back time and find out.