Looking back, it doesn't feel like we managed to do an awful lot, it seems that 2012 was blighted by this disease. Checking the statistics of this site, or looking at posts that I did make, however, apparently for a long while, I did carry on and everyone else still visited and read the pages, so their lives all did too. To me, in my head, it feels that the illness and the passing of my late mother in law to be, was the be all and end all. Of the world. When it actual fact, it was just the changing of mine. This may seem like a very obvious fact, but for me, with this first "real" loss, it is quite a difficult realisation to swallow.
I spent months, not quite knowing how to deal with Badger when the time did come and we lost Irene. He loved her, dearly and he knew that she was poorly - he visited for a while and saw her in bed, we had to remind him to stay away from jumping and so on. He kind of understood, but of course, you get poorly - then you get better. That was his mentality anyway. And when you go to hospital, they make you better. With terminal cancer, that doesn't happen. His only experience of death is Mario or Sonic on a computer game... and of course, you reboot and they come back. How do you explain that to a (then) 5 year old with Autism? With so much already going on...?!
Let me tell you how, you spend months trying to build up the courage to ask your partner, or mother in law what they would like and fail to do so in the fear of upsetting people even more. You bury your head in the sand, praying and praying - right up until you hear the news of her departure - that you wont have to explain death. I don't say this is what you should do, but I do say this is what I did do. I turned to everyone I could think of to ask for help on this, and nothing seemed "right" it didn't quite fit... what little help there was. So I continued to hope that I wouldn't have to explain it, and if I did have to explain her death, that he'd understand, just KNOW, what it meant. I made sure that he had as many memories to cherish, I made sure we always said yes. Her favourite place was Blackpool. Seriously, all over the world and she loved there best. It was convenient, in that we were able to go often, even when she was deteriorating, and I know that Badger will now associate the place with happy memories. And trams. Gotta love the trams.
In the end, it was a few weeks after her funeral (we decided against taking him) and he was asking questions again. Exhausted with trying to say "the right things" and put it a certain way, I simply phrased it on this occasion, as she was gone. It sank in, he was sad for a while, but he understood and knows now why we have a grave to visit rather than a house.