About a year after The Boy had his stroke I read a book called The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, written about the experiences she went through after losing her husband.

It reminded me of my experience. I was asked many times why I was so optimistic and dogged in my belief that The Boy would recover and eventually return home. I simply believed that one day he would miraculously recover and walk back through the door. That belief stayed with me for about two years.

It’s a trick that I suppose the protective part of your brain, or heart, or whatever, uses to get you past a difficult situation. It got me through. I knew I felt that way, I knew it was highly improbable, but my heart hung on to it anyway.

I compare myself to my father’s situation. My mum died the same year that The Boy had his stroke. They actually fell ill within six weeks of each other. A difficult year. However my father has never felt that she would miraculously walk back through that door. That is possibly because he is deeply religious, as was my mum, and they both believe/believed that there is a better place in the next life. He’s happy that she’s there already, though still grieves deeply.

I recently suffered another loss and find my heart and brain playing the same trick. I often forget that things are not as they were. And of course that leads to the inevitable crash when the realisation lands again. The trick is only ever played in the day time, never at night, when all the sad thoughts crowd in. It is at that time that I think of how things could have been different, that I contributed to that loss, albeit unintentionally and unknowingly.

I wonder. Do other people experience this trick of magical thinking?