It doesn’t take much – In the name of Thiago – Day 195
Long before Thiago was born, I was blessed with a beautiful little girl called Elisa who I doted on and pretty much worshipped. When she was younger, she was very much Daddy’s girl, but she also became increasingly used to being the only subject of my attention.
Then when Thiago did make an appearance in February of last year the whole world must have felt a very different place. It wasn’t just that there was someone else in the family. It was that this intruder was a very fine-looking boy and also because of his health complications, needed the support of a fraught mum and dad.
By the time Thiago’s life had been and gone, it felt to me that this beautiful girl had moved on too. It’s only really now that it’s coming home to me. With all this pesky fucking grief behaving the way that it has, I feel like a jockey that’s been riding the winning horse for all but the final furlong and then been done on the line. There’s no time to react.
I really miss being a Dad to Elisa or at least the Dad I was, which naturally cannot ever happen again the same way, as she hurtles towards adolescence. It’s hard enough missing my little boy, which I do terribly, but to have lost what I had with Elisa for so long makes it hurt even more. But this is not meant to be a woe is me kind of blog, and this evening after a long day of her locking herself away in her room, she did eventually say a few words to me.
Now I know very little about the world Elisa lives in these days, but you know what, I made damn sure to listen hard to everything she said to me for those two precious minutes where she dropped her guard this evening and banged out a few lyrics of Melanie Martinez and Alec Benjamin. Those two minutes meant everything to me today.
All I want or indeed hope for is that one day she’ll come back and not just for money but to spend a bit of time with me somewhere along the line. Fuck this Covid bollocks, it really does shit all for an only child. I spoke to Angélica earlier today – she’s still at work as I write this – and as I started to outline my frustrations that I’d been unable to get Elisa out of bed before half two again. My good lady pointed out that that’s where siblings can be quite handy.
Sitting in my summerhouse now I can hear the five free rangers, Elwood. Axle, Bowie, Phoenix and Hendrix, next door admittedly sometimes winding each other up to the point of no return for anyone’s wellbeing, but they’re never bored. Likewise Super Steve and Louise and their three children next door. These are busy, happy homes.
It’s so hard for Elisa being on her own, I know that. Sometimes I try really hard to come up with ideas and stuff and on other occasions the overwhelming sense of being in a giant Covid cage paralyses me.
I do get sad, every day of course I do. Because Elisa is the kindest, sweetest and compassionate of little girls, it cuts me up knowing that she’ll never be the big sister she could have been to my little man. I don’t know why I’m putting myself through all this pain writing this, I can barely use the keyboard as it’s swimming in tears. This is not feeling cathartic tonight.
I know I’m doing amazing things and it’s like my mate Olly said to me earlier: it’s not just the grieving and the fundraising that I’m coping with and doing really well at, it’s the fact that I am also trying to coordinate a 300 mile walk this autumn with a growing band of followers. That will be my moment. It’s not like the London Marathon or some other event where you turn up at the start line and just go with everything already set out for you.
I think at the end of the year, I’ll be able to reflect on a job well done, for now reflection just brings more and more pain and knackers me out. Please help me protect the legacy of my little man by helping me with this Herculean fundraising effort folks. I’ve sent designs for the charity T-shirts on today – thanks Olly – so the ball is continuing to roll. Enjoy your weekends whatever you’re up to.