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Dear Carl

Today I went to Noah’s dance competition & he did so well, his crew placed 4th & are through to the World Championships.  It was emotional & a very long day aswell, but I did it – for Noah – and to prove to myself I have reasons to keep living. Without you. 

Throughout the whole day I knew you should have been with me, I remembered it was one of the last texts you sent me, the day before you left me. I was working nights on that Monday night & you were staying at your house.  I told you that Paul wanted 2 tickets for Noah’s dance competition, presumably to bring his girlfriend…and you said you’d come with me too this time. It was a big deal to me. I wanted you there & I didn’t want to face Paul alone, as he would have been his typically vile self to me had I been alone.. (coercive control you called it, remember? After all those domestic violence training days!). 

I was soothed by that, you were going to stand by me & be my rock – the buffer between me & the evil ex husband. I knew you were ill Carl…looking back now I realise dealing with Paul would have seemed massive, yet you offered even feeling how you did. Following that you told me we’d got gym passes for your ‘posh gym’ that week & we’d arranged to go on Friday…I was looking forward to that too.  ‘Me & thee’ time you called it. Everything seemed so normal. A little back on track.  You were forward planning which was a great sign to me that you’d been feeling better & more positive.  I didn’t see that battle in your head. 

See, we close to you knew you suffered anxiety & depression but you had no other traits.  No dependence on alcohol or drugs, no schizophrenia or extreme mental health episodes, no attempts on your life before.  You held down a successful job & you weren’t off sick ever, only for that short period before you left me.  You hung on so long, trying to keep those plates spinning. I’m so proud of you now for that. You tried so so hard. 

So the dance competition was hard. You should have been with me. Paul did come & he wasn’t vile. He didn’t try to chat or be friendly – he tried questioning me about how Sadie was dealing with losing you. Her sleep is disturbed & he said I was selfish for saying she’s better with me as she can talk to me (!!) typical Paul you’d say. ‘What a father!’ You’d say. You were always a much better father figure to my little girl than he was. And to Noah. A positive strong male influence, humble & kind, always.  It hurt us both how he emotionally blackmailed my kids & tried blackening your name.  Maybe that’s why Sadie sleeps badly at her dads? She remembers. I know she remembers. She can’t talk to her dad about you. Or maybe she actually could now – well you’re no longer a threat are you??  But I know she wouldn’t.

I also knew you should have been on an afters shift today. I’d looked in my diary when you’d said you’d come with me, working out that you’d make the first half of the competition if you came with me.  My diary for 2016 has your shifts til the end of the year. Neatly written in & highlighted so we could work out our complex shift working / parenting schedules…always such a juggle wasn’t it. Never easy. 

Knowing you should’ve been at work was hard because that’s familiar.  You should have been at work today, doing what you did so well.  Policing the streets with Cairo & Duke.  Familiar. And knowing that hurt me to the core, because you won’t be doing that any more, ever. The streets aren’t as safe without you & your dog Carl. We both know that to be true. 

I miss all the familiarity. You loved me for everything I was & it made me feel comfortable & secure.  You loved me in my fluffy grey & pink dressing gown. You loved me bare faced, you loved me in jeans & a t shirt, with my hair tied up. You found my quirks funny. My OCD at cleaning the kitchen sides. My hoovering obsession. You found ME lovable, and in losing you I don’t feel like I’m anything. I’m just a very sad, very lonely woman with a future she’s terrified of. 

I said to you – way back in the beginning when the whole complicated love affair started that if this didn’t work out you’d ruin me for anyone else. Because nobody would ever or could ever match up to you. And I was right you know? Nobody will ever make me feel that way & I would compare everyone to you.  An unfair benchmark, one nobody could ever reach. 

I’m going to be alone forever Carl.  That feels more real to me than ever now. 

I love you my beautiful boy. Always. 

Caroline xxx 

Walking Cairo & Duke. I love this picture. It’s everything familiar to me.