If I say so myself, I feel quite proud of myself, for driving up and down the M25 this evening, in order to congratulate my friends Mel and Elio on their wedding. They got married in Greece four weeks ago, but had their evening "do" tonight. I DID IT!!
I went alone and left alone. Poignantly the chair next to me was empty and I realized that it had been intended for Cliff (in their original seating plan). And I could have sworn at one point that I could sense him there next to me, but who knows? Maybe longing for him made it seem so?
They were so happy that I managed to go. When I saw Mel's face light up, it made all the butterflies in my stomach and trepidation seem worth it. She looked stunning, radiant, beautiful.
The only times I felt really wobbly was when Mel asked me if I was ok and said thank you so much for coming, and I told her I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and again, when having the same conversation with her lovely Mum. Also when she danced with her Dad because I felt so happy for her that he survived his heart surgery in December last year.
It stuns me that I can feel alone even when I am in a room full of people sometimes. But it is testament to these friends, my lovely boss included, that tonight, I didn't experience that.
There's nothing like being with two big Italian families to make you feel at home and safe.
And yes, I did get plenty of cuddles, and those are good for the soul (and your confidence). I even danced (once) although I was only brave enough because the Bride and Groom's Mums both held my hands.
Even so, I felt an enormous sense of relief when I walked through my front door and not just because I was dying for the loo. I had to let the tears come, and the strangest thing occurred to me. Tears are my friend now. I used to hate crying like this, but now I realize finally, that they help me. They stop me bottling my loss up and becoming ill. They cleanse me, and little by little, they are accumulating into the ocean that I will have cried by the time I have learned to live with this. For now, they are another friend.