Perfect Symmetry

I still can’t run as my broken toe is not healing as quick as I hoped, but I need to unload and just because I can’t pound the pavement, doesn’t mean the therapy can’t stop, thankfully this blog has become a 2nd outlet for me.
So since my last blog I received a phonecall. It was quite unexpected, and I had a certain amount of trepidation in answering it, I’m not sure why I just did. It was my eldest son, who for various reasons I hadn’t heard from, apart from a few texts, in nearly 3 months. Before I go on, it probably makes more sense to talk about almost 2 years ago, and a phone call.

I’ve already explained what happened with my 2nd son, Dexter, here. This blog has been mainly about how I’ve dealt with that and only days from what would have been his 2nd birthday I’d say I’m in a much better place and doing more than just coping. The memories are far less painful now, except for one particular one.
I still vividly remember being woken by the phone just after midnight on October 2nd 2012. Before I answered I had a feeling of total dread, I already knew that the news on the other end would be bad. I still have nightmares about it, each time I don’t want to answer as if that will prevent the events that followed but I can never stop myself from picking up and then I wake.
It occurred to me that I haven’t been entirely honest through this blog. Dexter’s death is undoubtedly one of the huge events that triggered my own mental struggles, but I’ve also had an ongoing problem with my eldest son, which has steadily got worse over the past year. I may have hinted about it here, but I guess I didn’t want to put any detail, as he is old enough to read this himself, and also probably knows a few of my followers so I felt it was somehow too personal to share it here. That probably sounds daft given how personal some of my blog entries have been, but they were more about me, whereas I felt I had to protect Lewis somehow and so until now that was my line of thought. I have a tattoo which reads ‘To protect Lewis’ in Sanskrit, and while I’ve not always been successful in that duty, it’s always been my true intention and still is.
I realise though that I’ve been bottling up our issues and it never helped me regarding Dexter, so it sure as hell won’t here either. And things are at such a low ebb now with him that I almost have nothing to lose by getting my thoughts out here on pavement therapy.

So, almost exactly 2 years on another phonecall that took me by surprise and while I obviously won’t disclose the details of such a personal call, it has the potential to completely derail my life again in a horribly similar way to the last one. The challenge I have is to not let that happen.
Everyone used to always say that Lewis was so like me. Looks and mannerisms. My response would alway be that he’s actually a better version of me. An improvement. And I still believe that now, whether it be academically or in terms of sporting ability. Even socially he’s more popular than I ever was as a kid! The best of that is that he has driven me on to be better too. My current PB for 5k was recorded when he ran with me, pushing me to be faster than I’d been before (and beating me too!)
He’s had a tough couple of years and it’s coincided with becoming a teenager, which is a challenge in itself. Unfortunately it’s also coincided with the hardest 2 years of my life and somewhere in the middle we’ve both lost out.

I’ve read that the human brain has a natural affinity to symmetry. People with symmetrical faces are considered the most beautiful for example. It’s something hard wired in us.
Rather than allowing it to be the beginning of another period of misery, I want this 2nd phone call to be the end of all of the shit I’ve gone through. That would be the most desirable symmetry I could ever have in my life.
All of the hurt, anguish and misery bookended by the 2 worst calls I’ll ever answer, consign it all to the past and only look forward from here on.

There have been some massive highs in my life in the past year, but each of them is tempered by the absence of Lewis in them.
The cup final Aberdeen won, that I’ve waited 19 years for, felt as empty as the seat next to me in the stadium no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise at the time.
Milo’s first smiles have been amazing, but they’re a reminder of the ones we never got to see from Dexter. When he’s older we’ll tell him about his big brother that he’ll never get to meet, but it’d break my heart if I have to tell him about another brother he hasn’t met too.

It’s always darkest before the dawn they say. Well with the phone call from Lewis and Dexter’s anniversary coming in quick succession, it can’t be much darker, maybe my dawn is just around the corner. I hope so. Because the alternative is losing another son and that’s simply unimaginable.

One thing I’m sure of, is I really, really need to get out running again soon.



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