I experienced time travel yesterday.
It was intense and life affirming.
It happened while I was attending a reunion morning tea at the pre-school my son last attended in 2012. The same year that my late husband died from brain cancer. My son was four and half years old and his sister was three.
Now he is ten and his sister is eight. I had just dropped them off to primary school and smiled as I watched them happily saunter into the playground. I knew they would enjoy all the opportunities that the day would offer.
I steered my car towards the preschool and felt time start to shift backwards as I followed what was once a familiar route.
For the final leg of my journey, it was necessary to park on the edge of a green reserve filled with majestic green Oak trees and blooming purple Jacaranda trees. Then to walk about two hundred metres across wet grass and fallen blooms.
Each mindful step towards the preschool buildings felt laden with thoughts and memories. As I trudged, memories and emotions swirled around me. They seeped into my body, deep into my core.
Every morning that I had dropped off my son at pre-school I had exchanged pleasantries with the teachers and other parents about the weather, the traffic and plans for holidays,
when really my only concerns were
how many more months would my husband live, how could I support him best and my children? How would I handle the funeral? How to survive the first few months of my grief and my children’s grief?
The most vivid memory that surfaced was of when my son returned to preschool the day after the funeral. Would he be ok? At 11am, my son’s teacher sent me some photos of him smiling and playing happily. Confirmation that despite our heartbreak my son could still find joy. The photos provided so much comfort, reassurance and hope on a very difficult day.
Deep in thought, I was disturbed by the sound of light jovial chatter.
I had reached the preschool.
I stepped into the classroom with a deep breath and one of my son’s teachers greeted with me a warm embrace. We laughed and she said I looked younger. I think what she meant is that I looked lighter! She has been thinking about us over the past five years wondering about me, my son and my daughter. How are we?
As we chatted I was transported back to the present. I shared photos of my son laughing and enjoying my brothers wedding last year. I told her how although we had lost my late husband and more recently my father, we have two new members of the family. My amazing sister in law and a beautiful baby niece. And that I also have a loving boyfriend who enriches our lives with adventures and fun. She was so pleased and relieved to hear our news.
Five years ago, I trusted and hoped that my kids and I would be ok. That we would be resilient and embrace life and love.
I gazed up at the expansive blue sky as I strode back to my car. How are we? We are way better than okay!