I first met the ‘new normal’ on the 19th December 2021, the day after Lenny had died. We were sat in the bereavement suite at Chesterfield hospital, on the side there were some child loss pamphlets and a child loss book, with the phrase, your ‘new normal,’ in the title. As you do, I read the title and judged a book by its cover and immediately thought … Sod off! I don’t need a new normal, what’s wrong with the old one. I’m not going to change. What the hell is everyone talking about? Finding a new normal? I want the old normal, that was fine! In all honesty this was one of the things that freaked me out the most. My life felt as far from normal as possible.
I have always struggled with the idea of normal. From a very young age I didn’t want to identify as normal. I’ve always thought of someone who is, ‘normal’ to be boring, unimaginative and follow the mainstream. But at this moment that suddenly sounds ideal! I long for any sense of normal, whatever that means? A boring life would be great!
After the birth of Lenny, I am a changed man, in so many ways! It’s probably true that most people feel like this so maybe all new parents have a new normal, however, its so clearly identified because they have a child to look after. Being the parent of a child who has died, you have nothing to show that your life has changed, some people expect the old you. No one would do this if Lenny had lived. Years ago there was an expectation that parents who had lost a child returned to their old selves. Now, the idea of a new normal seems so obvious.
I am now beginning to embrace the idea of the ‘new normal’ even though I still hate the phrase. I absolutely want to be different, my life has changed, I am a Dad, my perspective has changed and my priorities have shifted. I am more honest, I have become more fearless, kinder to those who I care about. I understand that life is fragile and precious. I tell Lenny’s mum I love her as much as possible and I cuddle her whenever I can.
My new normal is so much richer because it involves Lenny. Losing him has been so unbelievably hard but having him is incredible and I wouldn’t change that.