I have a tale to tell but I don't know the best way to put into words that would do it justice. To start with I want to say that this is not me looking for sympathy from the anonymity of the internet, it is far from that. I have probably taken as much sympathy as I can directly, not that it is not appreciated because it has been but there is a message in what happened to myself and my wife a few days ago that has also indirectly brought a great deal of comfort since.
There is an expected order within life, we do not always acknowledge it but its there nonetheless. Generations come and go, time after time. The oldest leave first to be followed by the new generation that arrives, this is the way of things.
We never expect to lose one of our own generation whilst the older is still present but that is what has happened to our family over these last few weeks.
My sister sadly passed away quite suddenly at 39 years old. The hole that she leaves behind in our family is beyond measure for each and every one of us and the only saving grace for us all is the love that is shared by each of us unconditionally that has provided support. When one of us could not walk the rest of us have carried...that's as it should be.
I am the big brother of six and if I am honest here it's all I know how to be. I don't just love my brothers and sisters, I would do anything for them if they needed me to. Growing up with such an age gap from the first to the last even installed into me the beginning of who I was to be as a parent. Family is everything.
So to lose one of them, the one that was most special to all of us due to her nature and the uniqueness that Williams Syndrome gave her was something I was not prepared for.
God only knows what Mum & Dad are going through because at times it takes all that I am to just get up out of bed in the morning. Their strength and love continually amazes me.
Grieving is hard. It's weird in a way that there is no right or wrong way of doing it. It's like after having found your way into Hell on Earth, then there is the worst rollercoaster ever conceived and you have to ride it until some point way way off in the future whether you want to or not.
Sometimes you can function pretty normally throughout the day only to be sideswiped by a song on the radio or a random memory that literally brings you to your knees. You can laugh at the memories that have passed either with yourself or when sharing others. You can be crying every morning when you wake up because the dreams are just too much to cope with and yet another day has begun in which your sister will not be a physical part of.
Sometimes it seems that every single moment is heartbreaking.
I see my siblings suffering, I see my parents suffering more and all I want to do is take the burden of their pain from them but to do so, even if I could, would take away the love of who we have lost. The love we have is what causes us the pain.
So I have to admit I have been quite angry inside of late. This has been a large part of my continued grieving process. I have been angry with "Them" for taking my sister away. My sister who had nothing but innocence and love in her heart. My sister who literally lit up each room she entered with her laughter and smile.
I have no idea who the "Them" are that I am so angry with but I managed to talk to my wife about it a few days ago as we sat on the riverside in Bakewell.
The sun was shining and we had had a nice morning being out and about. Things almost felt normal for just a while in the spring air until I remembered this was one of the places I wanted to bring my sister to.
I had wanted to sit here next to the river with her this summer eating fish and chips whilst throwing the odd bit out to all of the geese and ducks that fight for every scrap.
A shadow passed over me as I realised that this would never now be.
I have always had Faith inside of me and even practised it with the Church of England as it suited the way I like to live my life but truth be told I think that there really is more when we are done here but as for anyone particular all almighty being... who knows. I could not give a monkeys which god anyone prays to as I think when all is said and done we will become something more than we are where none of the definitions matter, but that's just me.
Wifey and I started to talk as she saw the shadow pass through me at the riverside. I explained that I had not lost my faith as such as it is but I was not convinced of anything now because who on Earth would take someone so damned special with so very little warning.
I was saying that nothing could convince me at the moment that there was some grand scheme that involved taking my little sister, a constant light and love in so many lives, away from us. I admitted I was more than a little angry about it all.
At this point a very golden bubble about the size of a baby's hand floated down in front of us to which I said "I suppose that's a sign that everything is alright really is it" (I was still pretty damned upset at this point) "There's bound to be a kid blowing bubbles somewhere here"
So we both looked in both directions. Then we looked a bit harder. Nope nothing. Wifey stood up and looked further afield but no there was nobody blowing bubbles kid or otherwise.
Thing is it was quite busy with folk coming and going along the footpath but not crowded, the views in every direction were clear. The bubble just floated there in front of us moving gently from left to right before pausing from time to time. Then it headed for the ground where we expected it to pop as it touched the pavement.
It just gently landed in the middle of the pavement and sat there. It didn't move again but it did not pop. It's golden colour shone brightly even as other people walked headlong towards it but nobody stood on it. Not one footfall got anywhere near it and there were quite enough people to make this an odd occurrence.
The birds never bothered it either. These birds are normally greedily eating anything that touches the ground whether it's edible or not but not this.
We sat mesmerised looking at it for a couple of minutes as it spread out a touch wider.
I looked at my Wife stating "That's just impossible" and decided to see if I could get a picture of it.
This was not a problem because it was not going anywhere. I took the picture and it stayed with us for a few more minutes. Then it just started to go down. It did not pop as you would expect but just very slowly deflated as all of the passing people seemed to subconsciously avoid it.
It's golden glow never faded, even when it finally went flat.
But does this mean something? Anything?
Honestly I don't know. But what I do know is as I headed into what was one of the fastest plunges into the dark I have experienced so far, this tiny bubble of light seemed to appear as if on cue.
When I thought that all the wonder of the world was lost forever and whatever sort of faith I have was beyond being tested I felt something very comforting out of the blue.
I am not going to say that this was a profoundly religious moment but it was a very poignant one that seemed to bring me back into a place that was a peaceful harbour from the storm.
That storm still rages on and on some days it's worse than others, as it is for all of us, but I know now deep down in the depths of my soul that part of my little sister is always with us.