I have been going to the same gym since before Clea died, therefore I have known most of the staff since before Clea died. Yet, only one member of the staff has ever mentioned Clea to me and that was away from the gym. She said she knew about Clea because she had been the one who had taken my temporary leave form for the holiday period and she had also been the one who had extended that leave (you pay a minimum amount if you are away for two weeks or more).
But last week, at the breakfast bar of the gym at 7am, as she made her cup of tea, another lady began to ask me about my sons and my husband. It seemed that she knew something but I wasn’t quite sure. So, I began to say that I didn’t know whether she knew about my daughter or not when she stopped my explanation to tell me that she did know. And then she said ‘we all know’.
That statement came as a complete shock to me as no one had ever said anything to me about Clea. I was under the impression that they did not know. I said to the lady; no one has said anything to me. She said that they did not want to upset me. The only response I could think of was that no one could upset me more than I already am but she simply patted my arm and walked away.
I do not believe that people are worried about upsetting me. I think they are worried about how they will deal with me when I do become upset and they do not want that sort of responsibility. Or they are worried that they will become upset thinking about how awful it would be for them to lose their daughter, in any circumstance.
A friend, whose daughter also died in extreme circumstances, told me once that I would be surprised how many people knew who I was and what had happened to my daughter. After all, we were in the media for a short time. As I said once before, I have become one of those people whom other people talk about when I leave the room.
Now, when I go to the gym, I watch these people knowing that they know about Clea but they are all too scared to mention her to me. Do they watch me? Do they talk about me when I am gone? It is a strange feeling to know that people know who you are and what has happened to you but they don’t say anything.
For 145 weeks, they have all known but they have been too scared to say anything. They are not going to upset their days by starting to be brave now especially at 6am.
I find it upsetting that they can’t be bothered; it is all too hard.
My advice to others is that you should acknowledge the death of someone, not pretend that they did not exist so that your happy and peaceful life can continue.