I remember walking into Shanganagh, with my younger cousin. I had a little pregnant bump, flowers, a candle. If I remember correctly it was dark. I linked my arm in hers as we started to walk towards the grave, and she just said so simply “You’re never going to be the same again are you, you’re not going to be the same Sinéad”. It was such a simple question, and as the years have passed I realised just how right she was.
I have changed. Hearing what I’ve heard, seeing what I’ve seen, it changes you. Everything looks and feels different. I never had a care in the world before that day, or the weeks that followed, but now, I expect the unexpected. If the school phone, or when the tiny human was in the Creche, I take a breath, I expect bad news. I see things different now, hear things differently, feel things differently. I worry about things that’s had never once entered my mind before. The world is a very different place. If I lose myself in thoughts for too long, my mind starts to race, to panic, so I don’t. I never really knew what it felt like to really long for something. Have you ever felt it? The feeling that your chest is about to collapse? I long to feel “normal” again. To not have a care in the world.
I’m harder on myself than I ever thought possible. I doubt myself. I worry about whether the things I’m doing are good enough, or whether I’m just doing “ok”. I worry about what people think, am I doing this the right way? Should I be doing “it” differently? I worry about losing the people I love and care about, and not just to death, just losing them out of my life. All the people who have got me to where I am today, how do I keep them here?
I remember saying to my cousin, “I guess not, I guess I’m different now”. I could almost hear her heart break a little 💔 At 30 I should never have experience that. But I did. I look in the mirror and see the lines on my face. Worry/laughter? A definite mix of both. I like to call them experience lines now? Sometimes I don’t recognise myself. Who is this new person?
I allowed myself to love again, and there is nothing more incredible than the feeling of flutters in my tummy. I am so lucky to have met another kind hearted man. One who makes me feel normal… but they will always be apprehensive flutters…. just what if?
So yes, I know I’ve changed, but deep down, deep, deep down, I know the old me is still in there somewhere, I’ve just had to embrace the changed, altered version.