I don't know what to title this post.
How do you title a post that even writing it just makes me want to cry?
Yesterday my boy got up out of bed, and came downstairs. He does that everyday.
And then he said "Mummy, I want to talk to you."
"Will I die before you?" This isn't unusual. This comes up every couple of months.
"I don't know baby, it's unlikely." In this house, we never say never, about anything, because we never know what is around the corner.
"Mummy, when I die, I want to be burned, like Richard, and I want my ashes put with his."
My heart fell. How do I tell him, again, that we can't do that? How do I explain again? I tried to deflect it away.
"Well, we can take them to Thetford where we put his bike kit ashes, and we will scatter them there."
"No, I mean, with his real ashes, his body ashes." No baby, no, don't say that.
"Well, that is difficult darling, because we don't really know where Richard's ashes are." My heart is tearing now, because I can see the hope in his eyes, see him wanting to be reunited.
"Why did I-t-B take Richard away from us?" I don't know baby, I don't know.
"Because he was Richard's brother and he loved him and he was grieving for him and wanted to have him close to him." I hate being reasonable. I hate it, I hate it.
"But he didn't love Richard like we did." No-one loved him like we did baby, no-one could.
"Well, he loved him like a brother, and we loved him like a boy loves a stepdaddy and like a Mummy loves a Daddy." He was your world my darling boy, he was the centre of your universe, he loved you and taught you and protected you and cherished you.
"But I want to be scattered with him." I know. I know.
"Well, I don't know if we can do that, but we'll do the best we can." I don't know what that best is, but I'll do something. Anything. I'll do whatever I have to do for you my boy.
"I love you Mummy." I know you do darling boy.
"I love you too." With all my heart, with all that I am.
And then he raised his voice and called "Love you Richard." He loves you too. He'll never stop loving you. You'll never stop loving him.
"He can hear me, can't he?"
"I believe he can. And see you." I believe it. I don't know how, but he told us he would never leave us alone.
"And see BG." Always he thinks of her too. She was the first person he thought of when I told him about the accident.
"Good." Pause. "We can scatter me at Thetford if we can't find where Richard is. He'll find me."My heart is breaking for my brave brave boy. For his faith, for his confidence, for the love, for the hope he still has.
"Yes baby, yes he will." He will. He will. There is a God and He will put you two back together again.
Then he asked about breakfast. That's how matter of fact all of this is for him. He knows what happened after the Celebrations, because I had to tell him, because he had to know we weren't going to collect the ashes and scatter them with Richard's family. He understood that there was nothing we could do - Rich and I weren't married, I had no legal right over the ashes of the man I loved and lived with and worked with and raised a boy with. He heard me beg for the chance to be there.
But he sees through it all. He's not bitter about it, he's not angry, he just wants something he can't have. He's not planning on dying any time soon, he told me later, but he wants to have things organised. He gets to the centre of it all - "He'll find me." - a fact, a confident fact, believing in Richard the way a little boy should believe in his Daddy, even when he is a Stepdaddy.
So I've called it "Heartbreak and acceptance." because that's what this is for both of us. When he had gone to his fathers I cried from anger and frustration and sadness and the re-feeling of the shock of one mans inhumanity towards a little boy. Then I was proud of my boy, and loving of God for my boy, and for his humanity and understanding and his faith and his love.
There are no other options.