I'm a different person now. Losing a child does something to a person. Priorities change. Different things matter. I am affected by things I wouldnt otherwise have been affected by a year ago.
Emotions run much closer to the surface. The News isnt just The News anymore. The News brings about tears from me, for the people that have had devastating things happen to them. Especially if it involves children. Last night, Kelvin and I went and spent a night at The Rydges in Cronulla. We wandered around looking for a place to have dinner and saw a family...a father and his three children. The father was walking quickly, holding the hands of his two younger children. The third child, the eldest, hung approximately five metres behind, struggling to keep up with the others. He struggled because he needed a walking frame to walk. The little boy was approximately four or five years old, so the same age as Jack. The father, without even turning his head, called sharply to his son to hurry up. The little boy sped up as fast as he could, while his dad kept walking at a swift pace, one his son would never catch up to, and what's more, he never turned his head to check how his son was doing. When the father started crossing the road without waiting for the little boy, my tears started to fall and an incredible urge came over me to scoop him up and take him home. And spend my life holding his hand as we crossed the road together.
You can make of that story whatever you like. Maybe I was too judgemental. I dont know what their family life is like. But all I saw was a little boy struggling to do what his father asked, despite a disability, and his father giving him no credence. The babylost mother in me just wanted to make it all okay for him.
So yes, children enduring hardship affects me more than ever. It always did...but now it is almost intolerable, the pain from seeing a child suffer.
I am a different person because I probably dont smile as much anymore. It takes a lot for me to really find something funny. People who knew me before Sybella's death may not understand my new demeanour. I have issues with trivial topics and find it hard to make smalltalk. I dont see the point in talking for the sake of it. I also have begun to dislike exclamation marks. Who knows why that is. I dont mind if they are used appropriately...if they are overused, I get frustrated. Perhaps that in itself is trivial?
Some of my changes as a person are not necessarily good. I am a lot less tolerant, I am beginning to lack the ability to give second chances. I may not answer phone calls or emails for ages, and I tend to get incredibly overwhelmed by very small things.
I try to stay mellow and easygoing. I am not always successful. I resent parents who are given healthy, beautiful children that they neglect or dont appreciate...and I have taught a few of those children. Children who (consistently) dont have lunch. Children in (consistently) dirty clothes. Children that (consistently) arent picked up from school until an hour after bell-time. I shouldnt resent these parents, because God has a reason for everything and it isnt my place to judge. But I am human, and not perfect.
This is a very honest post. And I own my changes as a person, and I am aware that they arent all positive. They are all the result of deep grief and I ask for understanding and patience. I may never go back to the "old" Steph. I dont know. I am just taking each day as it comes and riding the wave. Some days are harder than others. Just remember, if it takes me a while to get back to you, it is because of me, not you. It is because I feel vulnerable or overwhelmed. I have days like that.
And to those who stand by me during my darkest hour, those who understand that I am not myself and keep checking in anyway, who harbour patience with me...thank you. It means more that you know.