Getting over the hump

As time goes by life becomes just that little bit easier. Without Rosie I must find my own course through challenges and obstacles, through life. What I do with and for my children is now entirely my decision. It’s up to me to interpret what I feel is best for Natalie and Joseph based on Rosie’s letter to her closest friends, our past discussions and my intuition. The same goes for the rest of my life; what I do, how I find happiness.

My life has in some ways become something that I never anticipated, never contemplated, never imagined. But despite the obvious upheavals I am beginning to rediscover my self-confidence. Actually, if the truth be told it’s not so much a rediscovery but a personal awakening. Before I met Rosie it is fair to say that I wasn’t the most confident of people. Over our years together she instilled in me a sense of self-worth, and confidence. It is with that confidence that I am starting to rebuild who I am. Yes I still doubt myself. Yes I still question my value compared to others. But I know, for the sake of my children and more importantly myself that I can and will become a stronger person, with greater self belief; much as I was when Rosie was by my side.

This morning I’ve been watching an amazing online masterclass given by Aaron Sorkin on the craft of screenwriting. For those of you who don’t know Sorkin, he is the brilliant writer behind numerous films, plays and TV series. But the one which will always be the one for me is ‘The West Wing’. Rosie and I watched all seven series over and over again. At times I could recite whole tracts of script or précis any episode, recalling the name and the episode number in question. Sad? Yes I know, but everyone has to have something that gets them going!!

As I have written before, in her final letters to me Rosie gave numerous instructions. Most were big, some were life-affirming and some were difficult to carry out. In amongst those letters was one innocuous direction, “make sure you watch West Wing with the children”. On the face of it that seems like an odd thing to add to one’s final letters. But I know Rosie and know what she meant by that. Firstly, she knew that no matter how old the series would appear to our delightful little children there were still lessons to be learned. Friendship is priceless; be honourable; stand by your principles; stand your ground; don’t be swayed if you know you’re right; always do the right thing, no matter how hard it might be. But second, she knew how much we enjoyed watching it together, and that by watching it with the children I would remember her fondly. And she was right.

The problem is that since she died I really couldn’t ever see myself watching the programme again without her. Until today. In that masterclass Sorkin references some of the classic scenes, which are then shown. Having watched those clips I now realise that I am ready to see The West Wing again. And with that realisation I also recognise a number of other aspects of life that I am ready to begin re-engaging with. Life really is for living. No it’s not straightforward, and it certainly isn’t like an episode of The West Wing with a neat and tidy ending. But the life I’m living is the one I choose to live, in the best way I know. I have no idea what the outcomes will be but I will certainly never regret trying. What’s next?*

Elliot

 

*a little nod to Jed Batlet

Why?

Why why why?

This Chanukah was a bit lonely without mum, she would have remembered all the lines to all the songs. She lit the candles perfectly, she sang the songs really well (not, ha, ha, ha) and she did everything really really well! AND, don’t forget PRESENTS! They were fabulous, absolutely fabulous. I LOVED them I didn’t want Chanukah to end…….. but it did, boo hoo hoo.

My Dad tells me stories every night about my mum,  they are really fun ( and lovley). I understand it all but my 5 year old brother doesn’t, poor him. He misses her so much.I really don’t think that it is fair for anyone to get cancer buuuuuuuuuuuut ……….. it has to happen in the end.

You DO know that it is annoying being the only girl that lives in the house, right? Of course you do ( I hope) well anyway I hope you understand why. I am writing this blog.

Natalie

Your starter for ten

On a day-to-day basis life without Rosie has become a series of practical tasks that I must get through. I’ve talked about that before. On the whole I manage to get things done, without showing too much emotion. But then once in a while something pops up that makes be feel really sad. I’m then reminded that what I’ve lost isn’t simply an extra pair of hands but the yin to my yang.

Rosie and I didn’t watch a lot of TV. Anyone who has followed Fighting Genghis will know that Rosie became addicted to trashy box sets on Netflix, latterly “Once Upon a Time”. I should add that I didn’t partake in this binge viewing (apart from Breaking Bad which we both hoovered up). But one of the TV programmes which we did watch together,  semi-religiously, was University Challenge. Now as you know Rosie was a smart cookie, and so during any given edition she’d be able to answer a handful of questions. I lagged  behind somewhat. When I did get a question right it was a minor miracle and something to celebrate. In response Rosie always gave me that “I’m so proud of you” look that a mother gives a child. It made me feel warm inside. Last week I watched University Challenge for the first time since she died and lo and behold I got a question right. The sound of silence was deafening. I felt sad all of a sudden.

On the subject of sadness, Joey was talking about missing mummy and being sad. As I usually do in these situations I told him that I miss mummy and feel sad too. It’s quite unbelievable what this little trouble-maker said. “Don’t worry daddy, I’ll take away the sadness”. How do you respond to that? Hopefully one day he’ll read this and understand that statements like that reaffirm my belief that he and Tali will be OK. That they’re going to grow up to be bright, well-adjusted individuals and that with support like this I know that I’ll get through it, with them by my side.

Rosie was my sense checker, my sounding-board. She was there to make sure that my sometimes outrageous ideas didn’t escape into the outside world. She was also the one person in the world that I could talk to without feeling stupid. If I had a problem at work she would be there to give me her perspective. She had no axe to grind, no point to prove. Her advice was free and it was thoughtful.

She also often gave professional advice, that came free. This week at work I was dealing with a minor issue which involved American lawyers. Having been married to a lawyer for many years, and having a step-dad and a brother-in-law who are lawyers I’ve become quite fond of their pedantic, precise ways of writing. And this week’s missive was a classic of the genre. Without Rosie’s perfectly formed view I now have to think “what would Rosie do?”. It’s not easy to get my head around but frankly if CJ Cregg can do it then I can have a damn good try. If you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about then you obviously haven’t watched The West Wing. Rosie would most certainly approve of that one.

On a separate note I want to thank the lovely people at Rosie’s law firm, Bristows. Not only are they helping to establish Rosie’s charity (name still to be decided) and continue to be a massive support with other aspects of the charity, but they also invited Natalie and Joseph to their annual children’s Christmas party. This is the third year they’ve been. The first year was a month before Rosie started with Bristows. Last year was the second time, when Rosie wasn’t feeling so good and then there was yesterday. The lady who organises and runs the whole event, Marie, greeted us with such love and warmth. I’ll admit that I didn’t find it the easiest of events to attend but I knew the children would enjoy it, and they did. It reminds me of the massive impact Rosie has had on this world. Thank you Bristows.

Finally, I want to express the pride I have in my beautiful, clever daughter. If you’re reading this blog then chances are you read Tali’s. Her blog was direct and to the point. It expressed her feelings and, most importantly, it’s helping her to deal with her grief. It came as no surprise to me but her blog was read by twice as many people as my posts. Long may that last.

Elliot

The highs and the lows

Life really is a very odd thing. In many ways it’s really rather boring and predictable. There’s a regular beat, an almost monotonous rhythm to daily life. Getting up and out of the house, packing the children off to school, going to work and so on and so forth. Every family has it, I imagine almost every individual experiences it. For me it’s been a challenge to find an efficient and practical way to do these mundane things. I think I’m getting there. In an odd sort of way life really is rather hum drum. Like putting one foot in front of the other life is a series of steps to get you from one place to the next. At least that’s the way I view it right now.

As ridiculous as it sounds I now realise that without Rosie I don’t have someone to share that with. The sheer act of sharing the day-to-day things with your loved one never struck me as anything important. It now seems so very important. And when it comes to the big things, well the hole Rosie’s left behind is colossal.

Today is Joseph’s birthday. It’s a close call but I think he enjoys birthdays more than Rosie ever did. That’s saying something. If you know me or have read this blog you’ll appreciate that I’m not a natural when it comes to birthdays, least of all arranging parties. Once again, and I fear that this might be the last time, Rosie came to my rescue.

Now follows a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Rosie was super organised.

She was so organised that she’d already arranged Joey’s birthday. The time, the place, even the entertainment. She’d bought plates and going home presents and knew exactly how the party would play out. So when it came to actually running the party it was a whole lot easier than it otherwise would have been. For anything left over which Rosie couldn’t do, the food and drinks, the birthday cake and the multitude of other things that have to be done, well those were taken care of by the holy trinity: my wonderful sister, mother-in-law and nanny. They were a truly amazing trio who ensured the party went off with a bang. Thank you ladies.

This morning Joey awoke to see several presents lined up ready to be opened (these were on top of the 40-something presents he opened after his party yesterday!). He was ecstatic. He had a great deal of fun opening his presents from the family. And lastly a card which Rosie left for him. In the last week of her life she was determined to write a few of the children’s future birthday cards, she struggled but she managed. Joey was happy to see the card but otherwise nonplussed. I on the other hand was in tears as I was catapulted back five months. In an attempt to console me he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. As Rosie used to say, “what a nosh pot”.

On a separate, but probably not entirely unconnected note, last night Natalie asked me if she could write a blog. She said she wants to say things on the blog that she can’t say out loud. I asked if she’d like to use Fighting Genghis. “Yes” was her immediate and enthusiastic response. I asked if she’d like to read mummy’s first blog. Her answer surprised me. She told me that she’d read the first entry with Rosie while we were on holiday in Israel. I wonder why Ro did that?  Did she know her end was fast approaching? Or am I reading too much into it? I’ll never know.

Anyway, watch this space and if you see a blog written by Tali please read it and pass it on. I have no doubt it will have the searing honesty and emotion with which Rosie wrote.

Elliot