It’s been three years since Jamie died. I’ve tried to count the cost of this senseless shooting but the numbers don’t add up. No number begins to reflects the cost to my life in pain and loss. Here’s my short list of the personal cost from his death:
My marriage: Yes, it was tough before and we might not have made it through together. Jamie’s death just served to highlight how far apart we were in our emotional makeup. And opened up a door to how different our expectations of life were. On that day, I was told that I had to deal with all the emotional ‘stuff’ as he wasn’t good at it. Then I was told that the doors to the office had to remain open. And while the office doors didn’t close, any doors to my heart slammed shut. They remain closed to this day.
My children: During those dark days when I suffered most from the stress and shock, I was so damaged I watched TV endlessly every night. This gave me peace as I simply didn’t want to think or feel. A side effect was that I cut my children out, too. And they still walk on eggshells around me. When they talk to me, I sometimes feel like they are speaking to a mad woman, speaking slowly and clearly in even tones. I’m not sure where this effect on their lives stops. And I am still working hard at avoiding dark spaces of thought.
Myself: When I realized that this anniversary was coming up, I first thought that I would write about how no matter how many and how hard we hugged Jamie’s mum, the loss would never leave her. How hugs for any any mum whom loses a child does not ever come close to filling the hole in her life.
And then I looked at the hole in my life – and cursed Derrick Bird. The ripples of his unhappiness and fear have put a large hole in the boat of my life as it tossed the lives of many others on the way: Leanne, Richard, Jane, Marie, Dave, – the list is goes on and on. I have paid a very personal price for my kindness and openness on that day. And I know I would pay it again, if needed. It’s just I can’t stay in Cumbria. Like Frodo, I had to leave. And now I am back underneath Californian skies where at least the darkness can be kept at bay by the sunlight.
The final equation comes down to this simple solution: I’d happily take back Cumbria’s rain clouds – and still have Jamie around to tell jokes and beat me at bringing landlords on board.