It has been raining today. Not just a light drizzle; not even a heavy downpour; I mean incessant, torrential rain.
It’s set in for the day. That rain that you listen to in the morning lying in bed, lashing against the windows, knowing that it will be with you all day. So what do you do? Do you sit inside all day looking out of the window waiting for it to pass, knowing that it won’t? Or do you get out raincoat on, boots on, embracing the day, making the most of the day so that it isn’t written off completely, making the day count in some way.
Since Edward died this is the way we think now. We are lucky to have another day to live. We have one life. Edward lived his life to the full, we must too; for ourselves, and for Edward.
Edward loved the rain; he loved being in it; he loved it that others didn’t like being in it; especially if they were moaning about it, or crying about it. How he loved to be out and about, outdoors, up mountains or hills, in fields, at beaches, in woods it didn’t matter as long as he was outside, out in the open, in the country, at the sea, in the fresh air, connecting with nature.
I quite like the rain. Not when I have to keep myself presentable and go on the school run before a meeting; not when I’m coming out of the hairdressers (why does it always rain on days when I get my hair done?); not when we’re planning a day out with a picnic and it’s a wash out; not when events get cancelled or such like. I like the rain when we decide to go on a rainy walk, as we did today. Suitably clothed, out and about, not too long to get cold, just enough to know we’ve been out, feeling fresh and energised. Able to go and have a hot drink afterwards, and able to come home and get a warm bath and into dry clothes.
On a walk like today there is nobody about; not a soul. Just quiet, connecting with nature, hearing the rain, smelling the freshness, the grass, the earth. The trees look different, they smell different. A walk in the rain is different. I’ve enjoyed it. I like the way you don’t talk as much in the rain. Busy doing your walk; hoods up, keeping dry; walking with purpose; alone with your thoughts, rather than ambling and chit chatting. Oliver wasn’t happy today … cold, wet, tired and very annoyed that we’d decided to go out. Whining most of the way, jacket leaking as it just couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of rain, soaking through his jumper, soaking his socks which wicked the rain water into his boots. To be honest we were all soaked. I thought about Edward lots on this walk. How he might have been making himself visible to us in this rain; how he’d be laughing at Oliver’s protests and upset. All was well and good in the end and even Oliver cheered up with a hot chocolate with the works on to warm him through.
Do I think differently about rain now than I did before? Yes I do somewhat. I now have a different perspective on rain, because I associate rain with Edward.
The heavier the rain, the more unexpected the rain, if there is thunder and lightning … the works. I think of Edward. Sometimes that makes me smile, other times it makes me cry. But I no longer think of rain the same way. Sometimes I feel comforted that the rain is there, that Edward is with me, other times I hate it because it reminds me so much of how much Edward loved it, and he should be here, in this rain, with me. And I feel both; both different emotions, and yet both the same; both very real; both valid. The rain makes my heart sing and cry at the same time.
I find it comforting that on many events Edward has made it rain. At Lytham Proms 2017 for example, when Meningitis Now was the charity chosen at Proms Night. And it rained, and rained; heavy, torrential rain; rain you could see on photographs; rain which never stopped. Hundreds of volunteers there to help out, and they stayed, and they worked hard, and they smiled. All absolutely soaked to the skin; all enduring the weather; all wanting to support the charity, all there out of love for Edward; all saying what a privilege it was to be there, and how they would do it all again. That was love for Edward. That was Edward showing us he was there with us.
There are those who tell me to not do the things that Edward loved. To not go to the places I associate with him; the places which hold memories for me. Thinking that by me not reliving and remembering these moments that will be better for me. Wanting me to forget; wanting me to erase these memories. But why? Why? Why would I not want to go to the places where I have the loveliest, happiest, vivid memories, or any memories for that matter, of my beautiful boy? I can, and I do make more memories with my beautiful family, but I cannot make more memories with Edward … memories are all I have. Going to the places I know I’ve been with him is special; I know he is with me. I picture him, I think of him, I think of the memories with him, and I think of the memories we’re making with him still with us in our thoughts as we do so. So we walk, and talk, and remember, and smile; and I keep these new moments, and the memories with me, and that is special. Edward was part of our family, and still is.
And when we take a walk, and Oliver says “Mum, you see that bench there by the river? I remember sitting there with Edward. I remember us throwing stones in the river there.” And I remember too as I look at Oliver wearing Edward’s raincoat, Edward’s walking boots, picturing Edward wearing those clothes too. That’s special; that’s love; and that’s Edward in our minds and our hearts; with us, always.