We are just getting ready to return from our first holiday, the first one as a family since Lauren died. I'm not counting the airbnb we did in the lakes just after the funeral, as that was an escape not a holiday.
Since Lauren's death we've had three holidays cancelled. It's fair to say that my year of new memories and experiences has not exactly gone to plan. Although we've all got a truer idea of how deadly a simple virus can be. When Lauren died I couldn't get my head around the fact that a virus could kill a healthy person, even with all our modern medicine. I can now!
We were all excited to be getting away, but as packing day came I was more melancholy. The suitcase Lauren used for her Italian school trip still had her name emblazoned on it. A reminder of her last holiday. A holiday to the place where we got married.
I went to bed in tears, and on the way to the airport the following morning I had to fight them back again, aware of the watchful eyes of her sibings. I know that it is good to be honest about grief, but sometimes abit of deceit is necessary.
The banal tasks of travelling pushed sad thoughts from my mind. The actual journey was the smoothest (and cleanest) that I think I've ever encountered. The appartments lovely, and the pool quiet. There was clearly more Spanish visitors than British which, I'm not going to lie, was quite nice.
There are moments, when I look at Lauren's brother & sister, that I know how hard they find it. Holidays are good to make new memories, but difficult when someone is clearly missing.
That said the holiday has been good. We have been able to enjoy time away from home. It's hard to say because I don't want to make it sound like we are fleeing Lauren's memory. But sometimes a break is needed, sometimes we need to be a family of 4, as that is what we now are.
I love Lauren. I wish so much that she was here. But she isn't. Our future stretches on, hopefully her memory will be there, but that is in our hands. Here, on holiday, we are just a "normal" family of 4. No-one knows our inner pain, but also we don't know there's.
I don't want to deny Lauren. If I talk to anyone I'll tell them we are really a family of five. One of us just doesn't live here anymore. I'm not sure if I know where I believe she is, I hope it's somewhere good.
It's important to make new memories, to find our new way. Otherwise all that stretches ahead is pain and suffering, and that's no life for anyone.