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Dear Carl 

Today marked 11 long weeks since you left. Somehow I’m alive still. It would appear that even when your heart has been crushed & your soul is shattered, future destroyed….your physical heart will actually carry on beating.

Who knew? 

I live in this bubble wrapped in a web of coping mechanisms. Don’t listen to music. Or if I have too I listen to music such as Capital FM which the kids like because it has all their favourite chart hits on.  But some chart music is not okay. The James Arthur song ‘Say you won’t let go’ that hit the charts around the time you left.  I heard it for the first time on the radio while driving home that afternoon, the 20th September – before I knew you’d gone.  I heard it….and the lyrics & I thought ‘oh I must send this to Carl’…. the words are something along the lines of ‘I’ll love you when I’m old & grey…’.  I thought it was lovely. Sweet. We did that a lot didn’t we, especially the early days…we sent each other songs & meaningful quotes, remember?  Now it reminds me of loss. False hope. The knowledge you were gone and I was still going about as normal. It haunts me. 

Another coping mechanism is not to look too closely at photographs. Because in them I see such intimate things that I remember so vividly still. Your unruly eyebrows. Your freckly fingers…freckly knees. The mole on your left arm that had a coarse curly hair growing from it. The flecks of ginger & grey in your beard.  Your eyes, that beautiful hazel brown colour of your eyes. Looking too closely is painful because it reminds me I’ll never look closely at you again in real life.  Because you’re gone. 

I don’t look in my work diary. Because all your shifts are neatly written in, highlighted with yellow. It’d been to work out our days off together…always juggling time.  So I rely on my phone calendar, my shift planner, anything but turning the pages & knowing you should have been at work. Finishing at 10pm & coming over for your late tea, sitting up until late, talking, telling me about your day. 

I don’t go to places we went too. The little cafe we loved, the pubs we loved. The park.  I remember walking late at night through that park, you set up a track for Cairo & I hid. I remember feeling on edge but excited to see him work, him racing towards me, nose to the ground tracking my scent & cheering when he found me.

All these are ways to get by. To live without you. Avoidance. To live I have to avoid all reminders. I explained to my friend it’s rather like carrying an egg. I carry it carefully. If someone bumped into me I’d drop it. I protect it fiercely because if someone pokes me too hard the shell might crack & all I’ve been protecting (my sanity, my self control) will start oozing out of the cracks & I won’t be able to get it back in. So I guard my grief and put on a smile in the hope people will believe I’m coping.

I just miss you. So much. But I carry on every day somehow and it’s exhausting. I carry on holding this ball of darkness you left with me. Would you be proud of me? Would you call me a warrior like you used too?

I love you so much. So much my beautiful boy. 

Love always 

Caroline 🌜🌟🌛

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