In Australia, in particular, people talk about restarting 2020 because we began the year with catastrophic bushfires and now we have a pandemic.
I would still like to restart 2009.
It’s been a long time since I posted anything. Now we’re all confined to our houses, working from home, school from home, no going out to restaurants, no domestic or international travel. We had to cancel our trip to Thailand and Cambodia. One of my sons was announced in the Australian Muay Thai Kickboxing team but I doubt there will be any world championships this year.
The restrictions are starting to be lifted slowly which is good – better to be safe than sorry and have to return to lockdown if there’s another outbreak.
During this time of confinement, I find myself spending a lot of time in Clea’s room. It’s the place where I work from home. It’s my yoga studio. It’s painted a light purple/pink colour. It’s a light and sunny room and in the autumn afternoons it is very warm.
The boys are schooling from home and my husband is working from home as well. We have all found our own ‘space’ in the house. One boy spends most of his time in his bedroom, the other has taken over the loungeroom, my husband has part of the kitchen/dining room and I have Clea’s room.
Someone from work did notice during a video conference call that the room was very pinkish but the conversation didn’t go any further. Maybe she knew, maybe she doesn’t. I don’t know. I almost said that dead children don’t need their rooms but happily I kept my mouth closed.
There’s not a lot of things in this room that are Clea’s; what things I have kept are in the wardrobe behind the closed doors. There are drawings on the wall that Clea produced – a Fathers’ Day one (I have the best Dad in the world), one about where she had lived (which did not include any place where she had lived) and another for Santa and his reindeer. There is also Clea’s calendar left open at September 2009.
I stare at Clea’s photos throughout the house and still can’t quite fathom her death. How could she have possibly died in a tsunami at six years old? How is it possible that my daughter is not here? Then I start to wonder whether it was all a dream; that I dreamed I had a daughter and I dreamed up her life. But the sign on the door in her handwriting says ‘Keep Out Clea’s Room’.
I pick the roses outside her room and find myself looking up at the window half expecting her to smile and wave at me. And I burst into tears because that’s not going to happen. I have found myself crying a bit more often during this confinement. I’m not sure why. Stuck at home, nowhere to go. Baking lots of biscuits. Although, I can go to the cemetery – the dead don’t carry COVID-19 and no one goes near anyone else at a cemetery.
Happy Mothers’ Day.