Friday, July 31, 2009
Also managed to have a go at the miniature golf game that my boss brought along for the charity fund-raiser. Only one go ... but a huge thing for me! Cliff's pot is getting very full and heavy, so we should have raised a fair bit by year end.
Driving home was awful. The heavy rain was matched by the big fat tears running down my face in the car ... caused by the fact that I wasn't going home to him. My heart felt heavy and full of grief, sadness, pain and longing. Grief really is a physical thing.
When I got home, my dog-sitter was still there which made it easier to walk through the front door ... I never realized how much I'd miss having another human being to welcome me home, let alone the love of my life. He'd also done some work in the house which was a nice surprise and I'm accompanying him to a wedding reception on Saturday, which is something to look forward to.
I just feel exhausted and defeated right now. Hopefully next week will be better.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
My boss Sue has introduced a new ritual at these two day bi-monthly meetings. In the evening we have a little fun, playing a newly invented (by Sue) game ... indulging in a bit of competitiveness, thereby raising money for the charity (http://www.bullying.co.uk/) that I nominated on behalf of Cliff (if people's preference was to donate to charity instead of buying flowers at his funeral).
The first meeting found me unable to speak, let alone participate, in the fund-raising. I sat there mute, focusing on keeping my shit together. I missed the second meeting due to being in Denmark, and am nervous about how I will react to Tuesday night's instalment. I know this though. Whatever I feel, however I react or cope ... it's ok. I'm in good company - a safe environment, and they understand. If I fall over, they'll pick me up. MAYBE, perhaps, I might even be able to participate this time.
I also know this. When the evening is over and I go back to my hotel suite, I will long to call him to say goodnight, like I used to ... smile, laugh and chat for ages. I used to miss him immensely, being away for just one night. And now, it's been almost 7 months. How the hell have I survived this?
Internet, I'll be back on July 30th.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Occasionally I am speechless, albeit rare ... this was one of those occasions.
I thought it was lovely that she shared these thoughts with me and the after effect is positive ... those words will give me comfort and stay with me for some time, if not forever.
Another older friend left me a message on Facebook (on our wedding anniversary) which said, "My thoughts are with you my friend. I can't say I understand - I wasn't lucky enough to find a love like yours, Boo. My love to you always. Chin up x x x x x".
A colleague who is more of a friend also regularly reminds me that she is envious, despite how strange that sounds, of what I had. Because she hasn't.
More comfort. And yet again I find myself thinking that I was so lucky, still am lucky actually, to have had with Cliff, for fifteen years, what some never find in an entire lifetime.
Not only that, I am so fortunate, I know, to have these people in my life ... these people who know what to say to me - a rare gift.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Every six months or so, a man comes into our office to sell Italian leather shoes, suitable for office attire.
Usually I want to buy a couple of pairs as they are reasonably priced, but I always used to call Cliff, just to check that it was ok (we had an agreement to check with each other when spending over £100 - it just saves arguments, and not once in fifteen years did he ever say no to me, not once ... to anything).
So, even though I felt happy after buying two pairs of black leather office style shoes today ... if felt wrong. And I'm fighting the tears, sitting here at my desk, because I couldn't call him, hear the fake irritation in his voice, and then the, "oh go on, treat yourself darling."
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
And our favourite wedding photo, as opposed to the thumbnail seen on the Grief Healing Discussion Board, my Blogger profile and Facebook.
I actually managed to sleep through the entire day and night yesterday.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH
... AND MISS YOU BEYOND WORDS, BABA ...
Monday, July 20, 2009
If not, there is only the sudden horror, the wrench of being torn apart;
of being reminded that nothing is permanent, not even the ones we love,
the ones our lives revolve around.
Life is a fragile affair.
We are all dancing on the edge of a precipice, a dizzying cliff so high we can't see the bottom.
One by one, we lose those we love most into the dark ravine.
So we must cherish them without reservation.
Now. Today. This minute. We will lose them or they will lose us someday.
This is certain. There is no time for bickering.
And their loss will leave a great pit in our hearts;
a pit we struggle to avoid during the day and fall into at night.
Some, unable to accept this loss, unable to determine the worth of life without them,
jump into that black pit spiritually or physically, hoping to find them there.
And some survive the shock, the denial, the horror, the bargaining,
the barren, empty aching, the unanswered prayers, the sleepless nights
when their breath is crushed under the weight of silence and all that it means.
Somehow, some survive all that and, like a flower opening after a storm,
they slowly begin to remember the one they lost in a different way...
The laughter, the irrepressible spirit, the generous heart,
the way their smile made them feel, the encouragement they gave
even as their own dreams were dying.
And in time, they fill the pit with other memories
the only memories that really matter.
We will still cry.
We will always cry.
But with loving reflection more than hopeless longing.
And that is how we survive.
That is how the story should end.
That is how they would want it to be.
© 2009 by Mark Rickerby
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I've been thinking you're fantastic, you have done and achieved so much these last six months, all the while coping with your grieving. You have grown so much before my eyes. Your sense of humour is priceless! I'm so proud to be your friend and I will always be here for you.
She is living proof that we only need a handful of friends, especially if they are as genuine and caring as she.
Perhaps she motivated me to be positive because ...
... I bought a Dyson Animal (vacuum cleaner) and hoovered my entire house today, dusted, washed the toilet, kitchen and bathroom floors, wiped down paintwork, did the washing, emptied the bins, cleaned the fridge, cleaned the bathroom and toilets, changed the bed, and cleaned the kitchen properly ...
I am exhausted and about to log off, then have a shower, pop to the shops, fill the car up with petrol, then find something worth watching on TV.
Looking forward to seeing Jenny tomorrow ... we are spending the day in Belgium, stocking up on cheaper cigarettes ... oh and I might treat myself to a bottle of Absolut :)
It's just dawned on me that this is the first strong weekend I've had since Cliff died.
Friday, July 17, 2009
I wish that if someone says they are going to phone me, that they do.
I know that they don't understand the effect that their lack of action has on me - the "untouched".
I know that they won't let me down and in the end it will all come right.
But to give myself any semblance of normalcy in this brave new world, I have to plan stuff and execute it, or I feel even more wobbly.
Maybe I should be a big girl and just tell them, huh ...
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
I'm almost back to working at break-neck speed ... but a little voice keeps warning me not to push myself too hard. NOT YET.
It's almost as though I have a split persona ... normal at work, Italian grieving/ululating widow at home. But that's okay. I have to release or I will either go insane or get very ill.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
If you’re a writer, write - it could be an article, an anecdote, a story, a poem, a song, a letter, an obituary or a eulogy. If you don’t want to write for someone else, keep a private journal and write about your feelings as you journey through your grief.
Buy a very special candle, decorate it and light it in honor of your loved one.
Purchase a book - perhaps a children’s book - on coping with the loss of a loved one, and donate it to your local library or school. Ask the librarian to place a label inside the front cover inscribed “In memory of [your loved one's name].”
Plant a tree, bush, shrub, garden or flower bed as a permanent growing memorial to your beloved. Mark the site with a memorial plaque, marker, bench or statue.
Memorialize your beloved in cyberspace by lighting a virtual candle at Light a Candle Online.
Write a special note, letter, poem, wish or prayer to your beloved, go outside, attach the paper to a balloon and let it go - or place it in a vessel and burn it, and watch the smoke rise heavenward.
If you are harboring bad feelings or regrets, gather symbols to represent those hurtful or painful situations, events, or feelings from your past, place them in a container and hold a private burial or burning ceremony, saying goodbye and releasing them as you do so.
Ask relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to gather their contributions, and put together a scrapbook or box of memories containing mementoes, letters and photographs of your loved one.
Celebrate the life of your loved one by continuing favorite traditions or eating favorite foods.
Select a Valentine card that you wish your beloved would have picked for you, and mail it to yourself.
Give yourself a gift from your loved one that you always wished he or she would have given you, and think of your beloved whenever you use it or wear it.
Copyright - Marty Tousley (Article: http://opentohope.com/hope/dealing-with-grief/waiting-for-biophoto-of-marty-remembering-our-loved-ones-on-valentines-day/)
Oh, and the small matter of our impending wedding anniversary on the 21st. Oh sweet Jesus, WTF am I going to do on that day? Ignore it and go to work? Get shit-faced? Get deep, dark and sad? Ululate? Commemorate it by overcoming one of the hurdles on my "ought to try to do list"? Stay in bed? Watch lots of DVDs in the genre of P.S. I Love You? Go and see some friends? I have no idea. Clueless and lost on this one. But I do know that I have to have a game plan otherwise I will sink and fast.
Here are some of the places that we vacationed at:
Dominican Republic - http://www.vpapel.net/vpapel/catalogos/san_juan_en/index.htm
(Cliff proposed to me here) He convinced me to go white water rafting and we loved it, also went on a Monster Safari Truck drive ... the scenery is stunning, the people are beautiful and the island is still relatively unspoiled. This resort had the beach that you imagine the perfect Caribbean beach to be. Cliff confiscated any bills from me - I was only allowed coins, because I kept giving any money in my purse away to the children there. One magical memory is a catamaran trip where we saw a massive turtle (approx the size of a small car in surface area) and sitting on the beach in Sosua, enjoying a chilled tall drink, only the two of us on the actual beach, candles, a stray dog to feed, and the moon shining through the palm tree at us.
Jamaica - http://www.couples.com/00propTOUR/ct01.htm (got married here)
Jamaica - http://www.couples.com/00propTOUR/ct01.htm (honeymooned here)
Paris - he wouldn't let me book the Georges V and I can't remember the name of the hotel we stayed in, but we did go to the Moulin Rouge for our first wedding anniversary - http://www.moulinrouge.fr/Videos/popup_show.htm We were so close to the stage that if you smiled at the dancers, they smiled back at you. The show is fantastic and lives up to the movie of the same name. Cliff laughed till tears ran down his face because I freaked out ... I thought (and I still believe) that the snakes that the girl swims with in the aquarium (which comes out of the stage during the show) were REAL and were going to escape. I was SCREAMING. He said they were mechanical.
Hong Kong - http://www.harbour-plaza.com/en/fac_detail.aspx?hotel_id=hphk§ion_id=fac&subsection_id=recreation&fac_id=swimming_pool this had an amazing glass rooftop swimming pool that made you feel as though you were going to fall into Hong Kong Harbour. This whole place STINKS but is fascinating. And the food is NOTHING like Chinese food at home. We survived on room service and the good old Aussie restaurant chain "Outback". This is also where I introduced Cliff to some Triads which was interesting. I also insisted on going into a bar for a drink because I was thirsty and he was trying hard to convince me to walk a little farther ... to discover that it was a brothel (yes, he'd realized beforehand) but no matter ... they told me all the best shops and markets to visit for the best deals.
Gozo - http://www.vintagetravel.co.uk/gozo_area_information.cfm where we hired a beautiful villa with the prettiest pool near the famous temple of Ggantija. http://www.maltavista.net/en/list/photo/1029.html We also visited Malta for a day to see the hospital where Cliff was born.
Amsterdam - where we stayed in a fleapit of a hotel which was dirt cheap, but had fun taking in the nightlife, en route to stay with Cliff's sister
Western Caribbean Cruise - stopping in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Mexico: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/ships/class/ship/home.do?shipCode=NV to celebrate my 40th birthday. We disembarked in Ocho Rios to visit the resort where we'd got married two years previously and were greeted by the staff like long-lost family :-) We only saw around one fifth of this ship - it was unreal. Our suite had a balcony and it was pure heaven, incredibly relaxing. Every morning we'd bring back milk, cream, juice and fresh fruit so that Cliff could fix us both cocktails - yummy.
New Orleans - http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/NewOrleansRoyalOrleans.aspx I wanted to move here because every house had a rottweiler (and we had one then) ... till Cliff suggested that I question WHY every house there had a rottweiler! It's like Disneyland for adults, and I'm so happy now that I bought Cliff some confederate banknotes and a piece of eight for his coin and note collection. He'd dreamed of owning these banknotes since he was a little boy when he used to collect the bubblegum version of the same.
The one main common denominator in all of these holidays is this. We never argued. We smiled and laughed a LOT and we enjoyed each other and our surroundings, always managing to get down and dirty with the locals rather than simply experiencing the almost clinical image that especially the Caribbean tries to impose on you. It's a shame to miss the real side of life here. That said, I'm like a child in a drug dealing, gun-running, poverty-stricken den, and oblivious to all of the dangers. Cliff on the other hand actually looked like a Bolivian drug baron when he was tanned ... and he was always very aware of his surroundings, and incredibly street-wise. I think this enabled us to go just about anywhere, with this ying/yang view, that was our very own, on the world.
We had wanted to go to Australia for a month, but not till we could justify paying out for Business Class seats. So, I'm going next year, albeit flying economy ... and there'll be no more 5 star all inclusive beach resorts for me, nor further holidays in the Caribbean - it was "our magical place" and wouldn't feel right. The other place on our "wishlist" was Mexico ... with the highlight being a trip to see Chichen Itca - I've decided not to pursue this one because it would be too painful ... like self-imposed masochistic torture. But I AM going to travel - I always have, and he'd want me to ... it's just that I'll be staying with old boarding school friends now ... and let's face it, I need supervizing.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
- broken down vehicles
- dead birds
- emergency vehicles
- people walking on the hard shoulder
- car wrecks
- Fast Lane - Mercs, BMWs, Audi's, white vans, boy racers
- Middle Lane - Jags, Rovers, chauffeur-driven expensive cars, coaches and trucks
- Slow lane - police cars hiding behind trucks, trucks, more trucks, Micra's and little old ladies who think it's alright to have a picnic on the hard shoulder, highway maintenance vehicles, and traffic cones ad infinitum
Thursday, July 9, 2009
It's good, it feels good, and I finally feel like I'm earning my salary again. There were times when I could feel the pressure, just that little bit, as well as the impatience that is hard-wired into my work personality! Equally I do know that I have to take care not to push myself too hard or I'll go backwards and FAST ... this has happened before.
I'm actually starting to care about other things again. For the past six months, his passing has over-written everything else in my world really, and understandably so. It has made me oblivious to anything else, and at times caused me to be rude ... openly laughing at others' minor complaints ... when my tolerance was at zero.
Tonight am feeling absolutely exhausted ... but that's good too. Hopefully this means that I'll sleep solidly. It also feels good to be able to fall through my front door and have a good bawl before settling down to blog, read, chat on the phone or veg out in front of the TV.
Reading is my favourite chillout hobby these days because I find that when you read, you can't physically (or mentally) do anything else (unlike TV, surfing the web etc ... where you can easily become distracted or spend your entire evening in a deep dark pit). My current choice is "The Book Thief" which is excellent and I just had to include below an excerpt from the last book I read ("Burnt Shadows" - also marvellous):
... a time
every shadow, everything the earth was losing,
a time to think of everything the earth
and I had lost, of all
that I would lose,
of all that I was losing
- Agha Shahid Ali
beautiful isn't it?
Yep, another strong day - wonder when I'll come crashing down, because I know it's coming.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
2. Having two selfish days with PJ, so that we can revel in the fact that we truly understand each other and know how we both feel and fear. And laugh and share memories about our husbands.
3. Going to Australia next year to see Geoff, Andrew and Cathy-Anne. Meeting Geoff's wife and children :-) Seeing all the Yule Family and Samih and Helen again. Then having a stopover in Singapore so that I can spend a couple of days with Kendra and her family.
4. Our school reunion this September - OMG I can't wait for this one. It is going to be fun and laughter non-stop. I hope I behave ... last time I ended up smoking in the refectory and getting filthy looks off the (then) Headmaster.
5. The satisfaction I will get from getting various things finished on the house.
6. Throwing myself back into Innovation projects at work, and enjoying the networking and job satisfaction that goes with the territory.
7. Making him proud of me.
8. Seeing my counsellor again.
Clearly, I'm having a good day ... but that's not a bad list is it?
Monday, July 6, 2009
If I could speak to him right here, right now ... one of the things that I'd tell him is that despite the almost unspeakable pain, every second of it is worth the fifteen years that I shared with him.
... oh and I'd expect some praise for the excellent job Vern and I made of valeting his white van yesterday.
Finally, I'd ask him to hold Frankie's hand, to ensure that she feels safe. Our friend Gary called me today to let me know that she died at 14h00 today.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I have spent the greater part of the past six months, sitting on his couch, waiting for him to come home. Rationally, I knew this was an impossibility. Emotionally, I have only now truly accepted the full ramifications of what happened on January 6th.
Everything in the house was left as it was on that fateful day ... and today I finally started to accept that I have to move his projects forward because he is not here to action anything himself.
The first step was asking Paul to saw some branches off the tree in the driveway, as opposed to coping with their interference with various Sky channels.
I also found the manual to our Neff ovens and reset the main oven, so that it worked properly, as opposed to coping with the smaller oven.
The other major realization was that anti-depressants are NOT the way forward for me personally. Their possible albeit rare side-effects are too dangerous to dabble with in my current state of mind ... and although I believe they are wonderful in certain situations, I am not ill, I am grieving, and must grieve. There is no other way forward from this pit.
Onwards and upwards. I will fight from now on and make him proud of me. But I had to reach "reality" on every level, before I could start the battle.