We made it in one piece, thanks to Mum and Dad. The flight that left at midnight from Melbs was a bugger enough, but then it was a good eight hours of entertaining, musical chairs with Mum and myself, finally they fell asleep at four am, only to have the lights turned on at six to start the breakfast delivery. I was exhausted, but relieved we made it through without the usual bickering. KL was perfect for what we wanted. Shopping and a GIANT water park for the kids….. a lot of multiculturalism, but not too in your face to get them ready for parts of Vietnam. We took them to a giant shopping centre in the Petronis towers and they wanted everything!!! It was meant for little girls with more bling and colour than you could poke a stick at…. they both got shiny new shoes, headbands, jewelery etc etc until they were adorned in it. (All very cheap.) The water park was hilarious…… they were like two children at Disneyland! The water funnel gave the one at White Water World in QLD a run for it’s money…. and lets just say the safety restrictions we have in OZ don’t count for much in Asia! So they loved every minute. There is obviously a huge Indian and Pakistani community in KL, and there were Muslims everywhere. It was wonderful to see these woman who had to be covered from head to toe, running around in wetsuit like bathers laughing and giggling and going on every ride. I think sometimes in Australia we just assume that they are unhappy….. it’s clearly a bit of an un-educated view. I certainly felt normal in my full bathers and long shorts, usually feeling like I may as well be in jeans! We enjoyed the little stop over to break up the flights, then two days in we were up at five, off to the airport, a two hour wait then a three hour flight to Ho Chi Minh. Two hours later we boarded our last flight to De Nang…..A further four hour wait, no air con and people everywhere created three big blowouts, Rubes angry and abusive, Pops crying and throwing tantrums….. Damn did I just see that resort on the horizon and want to grasp it! Finally through customs (and one more blue when Rubes pretended to the very serious Vietnamese Customs official that she was wearing a wig! Great idea Rubes!) we saw our names on a very chirpy Vietnamese mans sign, and we almost devoured him! An absolutely beautiful drive through De Nang in torrential rain for around half an hour watching the lightning strikes and driving through rivers of water on roads, and we arrived three days later in the evening at our destination at Sunrise Hoi An. To heaven. The service, the smiles, the women touching the girls and telling them how beautiful they are (which has continued daily….) and a big old freshly squeezed juice, and we were finally relaxed. The rooms were incredible….. the views of the beach and close by islands, of coconut trees and tropical gardens of every green imaginable…. every coloured flower I could think of. A real little piece of Heaven on Earth. It has been the most divine place to relieve myself of the burdens of home, to grieve in peace, to rest, to not have the daily grind wear me down slowly…… I needed so desperately to have a tiny wee break from what was nearly killing me in Melbourne…. trying to still live without my soul mate. Trying to still get kids off to school, to get their homework done, to keep the fridge stocked, to pay the bills, to turn up to work and put on a brave face, to reassure them and give them advice, to keep a massive house tidy, to show everyone that I’m surviving……. wow….. no wonder I was so fucking exhausted…… My days a facade, my nights howling into my pillow. How long one can keep that up I’m not sure….. Here it has been tough, the kids not easy, no control over them really. I have loved every “other” hour with the surrounds to die for, but every day reminds me how tough life will continue to be without Trent. I still see his face in my mind every day, then I try and remind myself that he’s dead. Now just ash in my memorial garden….. How can this be? Even though I’ve lived it, I still don’t believe it? As we walked around Hoi An yesterday, Mum and I took in the beauty and craziness of life in a third world country. I wanted to remind myself how lucky we were to live where we live, to have what we have….. we are in a better position with a home of our own but I wonder if I could have him back if I’d live in a hut on the river, with nothing but each other and the kids….. in a stinking hot country with no access to medical or a decent income. Well obviously the answer is yes. But damn I wish I’d been given a choice. The hardest part of this process is that you have no control over it. No matter how you lose them, you’d never choose it…. slowly and painfully but with time to accept it and say goodbye, or one night watching Game of thrones in each others arms, and the next day gone. It’s the shittest thing on Earth no matter which way you look at it. I will not come home feeling no better, as I have needed the break, especially with the help Mum and Dad have given me. But I’m dreading going back to the life that has been forced upon me, because I really really didn’t want it. No matter how strong I am…. it wasn’t meant to be us.
In two sleeps we leave for Vietnam…… I am beyond excited. After the cruise I knew I really needed a “non” stressful holiday….. a really, really, really non stressful holiday….. one where I get help with the girls, I get space from the girls, and also most importantly…… quality time with my girls. The cruise was Trent’s kind of dream holiday…… but not quite mine. So taking it for him, instead of with him was excruciating. This is the kind of holiday I’d have loved to shown him. Not quite the version of travelling I did BC (Before Children) but at least the variety I love. Consuming yourself in the local culture, trying daggily to talk to the local language, learning the bartering system, having the kids hair braided, having daily massages or allowing fish to de skin our feet……….. Whichever way you look at it Asia is the place to do such things. The place I chose has a huge pool over looking the ocean…. but is surrounded by sand itself. So if the weather is not being kind, you can swim in the pool, but seeing as it’s almost on the beach, it’s as good as being there. And a walk on the beach every day is my idea of serenity. Vietnam suffers the odd typhoon, so it’s important to know these things! Although we were really lucky to end up in Fiji on the last trip, I wanted desperately to immerse myself in the culture, the off the beaten track villages and the food and people! Trenton would have loved to travel like that, and I’m forever sorry that one of the only overseas trip we got together was our honeymoon, when I was ten weeks pregnant and vomiting for ten days while he discovered Phuket without me….. The other being New Zealand for four nights for one of our wedding anniversaries, and it was phenomenal, but short. I know I am so lucky to have so many brilliant memories of him…… but will it ever fill the void?I don’t think a trillion memories could do such a thing to be honest. But after the last nearly ten moths of hell that I have lived with our girls, I am looking forward to sleeping, eating, swimming, shopping and crying a LOT. All without having to get up, and put on that face that shows the world I’m A Okay…. when all I want to do is crawl into a ball and disappear.
Today sucked arse. I planned it all very well…. I had a friend who lost her husband come and stay with her two year old for the night, and the point was to give her a Mothers day morning with presents and lovely treatment. My girls started out so beautifully….. they made us all pancakes (blue ones) and set up the table with condiments. Although they woke me up, they let me stay in bed till 8.30…… and after a lot of vodka and a two am finish, I was grateful. My widow mate and I got into some very deep conversations, (once the kids were all down) and it was very confronting…..The general gist was that I don’t allow myself to grieve in public. Like ever….. not to my sisters, my folks, my best mates…….. not to anyone. And it really hurt to be told that I should be. Because I know it’s right….. but how do you undo 36 years of doing something a certain way? I have forced myself to grieve in front of the girls, so they know it’s normal, and o’kay…. I sometimes want to fall into my Dads arms, or cry to a friend that I fucking hate this new life and I don’t know how to keep getting up every day….. It gets harder and harder….. as it becomes older and older news to everyone……. I remember being that friend who watched someone close to me lose someone….. and although I would mourn for them…… it’s a case of out of sight out of mind most of the time. I would kill to get out of my own mind……. I can barely stand it right now…. and Mothers day without my man writing me a long poem or beautiful message into a card, or buying me flowers is just churning my guts around and around. Its worse than my birthday, his birthday…….. These girls are what we created together, and we couldn’t have done that without each other….. so why now should I do it without him?
So my body clock thinks that I’m a party animal and should go to sleep at one am every night…. on a school night….. yay for me!!!!! But then I’m super lucky in that it also thinks 5.30am is a good time to start the day. Wonderful. I have been MENTAL lately through lack of sleep, and to top it off the booze I’ve been consuming to help me sleep, which is not helping me stay asleep then makes me feel like a bag of shit the next day. Yesterday the girls told me that I should stop swearing, and being such a bitch in general. They are of course correct, but I am exhausted all the time, they are particularly challenging at the moment, (and for once it’s Poppy not Ruby…..) and to be honest I am going through a whole new stage of grieving. Everyone’s lives are completely back to normal (in fact they were never really not…..)and mine is not….. and nor will it be. I am kind of expected to put on a brave face permanently, because let’s be honest, no one likes a downer. I know I am told to let it out when needed, but little do they know that if I truly let out what I’m feeling, they would probably admit me into a psychiatric ward because I would be rocking and howling and the noises that come out of the depths of my stomach sometimes when I cry after the kids are asleep is frightening…..even to me. I am enjoying my new outlet which is the young widows facebook page. I can get on anytime and I know I’ll find others awake and struggling just like me. It’s sadly comforting to speak to people that understand without having to say anything. The WWSG (Widows and Widowers Support Group) that I’ve taken over on Meetup is also taking off, and this Sunday will be the third get together we’ve had with the group….. it was supposed to be in a big open park, but thanks to crappy weather and no let up on the rain, we’re doing it in a pub again…. I feel like I’m going through the motions of my daily life, but I’m not really in it. I’m forcing myself to go to counselling, the kids to play therapy, utilising my Tuesday night off to get out with friends and pretend I have a social life….. But at the end of the day I am still really surprised that Trent is not coming back….. ever. This is clearly the longest I’ve been apart from him, and part of me convinces myself that I can do just a little bit longer….. completely in denial that it will be more than a little bit longer. Like it’s a bad dream and someone will wake me and say it’s all alright….. This grief thing is such an unpredictable bitch. It is just….. unbearable really.