My Cardigan Is A Time Machine.

Today has been a great day! I’ve worked – a bit! Met new people, learned new skills, studied – a bit, been a mum and juggled the general hats of what most would consider to be normal everyday life…Not something I take for granted, nor is it something I’ve managed successfully for quite some time, so I’m feeling pretty accomplished.

On returning home this afternoon I changed clothes. Nothing unusual in that? I decided to wear a cardigan. Still nothing out of the ordinary! I made a choice, as we all do, on what I wanted to wear. Absolutely nothing unusual , out of the ordinary, or in any way different to what each and everyone of us chooses to do every single day…..Wrong! Firstly, I made a choice. I chose, as I  feeling rather good, to wear a cardigan. My favourite cardigan. Well, my favourite cardigan which I happen to have not worn for three years and eight months to be exact. It hasn’t been washed for just over three years and eight months either. Compulsion. A compulsion to put on my favourite cardigan, which I have neither worn nor looked at since the day Frankie ~ Kates died. Obviously I had not thrown it away either. Why would I? It was my favourite cardigan. Besides, it had survived two house moves and several clear outs. My cardigan was a survivor too and today it had shouted loud enough to make me act. Make me look it directly in the eye – well, not in the eye quite! But shouted loud enough to make me notice how blue it was – Frankie had blue eyes. Putting my arms through the sleeves I noticed a familiar perfume I hadn’t worn for three years and eight months. Whilst doing up the buttons, I noticed how pretty they were – Frankie used to like fiddling with them whilst I held her. My head is ping ponging now from past to present. A familiar wave of adrenaline rising up through my body, each breath feeling heavier than the last. The world is closing in, it’s above me weighting me down, my feet are rooted, anchored, debilitated. I am debilitated. All around me is blackness, to the left, black. To the right, black. Like tunnel vision, blackness swirling all around except for one shard of light ahead in the distance. If I focus, if I concentrate hard enough I can bring the light closer. Looking down at my cardigan I notice what most mums see on their clothes. Muck! Soiled marks from various activities. Near the top, a very clear handprint. No doubt the remains of weetabix on a little pink chubby hand was responsible for this. If I concentrate, if I don’t allow the pain to snatch away the memories, maybe I can see her, just one more time. Imagine her warmth. Smell. Hear her laughter. The light is brighter now and I am there. ” that morning ” reliving at a pace so fast I can’t hold onto or capture anything. Being propelled into oblivion. Being out of control. My cardigan! Looking down I see more. I see the remains of a suspicious looking ‘ snot ‘ mark! Seriously?! This is what you leave me with? A mucky hand print and a snot trail?! Suddenly I am smiling. Feeling out of control leaves my body and for the first time in three years and eight months I remember and am filled with love. The love you only feel when picking up your own small child. Sticky , chubby, pink fingers and all. Indulging in memories for me is very limited. I know I stood for some time holding onto that feeling. The very best part of this? I didn’t feel debilitated after. I didn’t have legs like lead, my speech was not slurred with the effort it took to try and force myself back into the now. Instead? I flew down the stairs and showed my eldest daughter the stains. The sticky hand print and snot marks! Proof that my child actually did exist. A whole conversation of memories, provoked by factual evidence of her existence. To smile and cry.

Today has been a good day. I juggled the same balls as most people and in addition to this, with the aide of my cardigan , I have travelled back in time….admittedly I was fifteen minutes late picking my daughter up from school and I did forget which day of the week it was, inadvertently standing my friend up and forgetting we were running this evening, but, admittedly, the world didn’t fall apart with my departure from present time and nor did anything bad happen to anyone I love. Today has been a very  normal day!

 

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