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Friday, December 31, 2010

Ready or not - here comes 2011

It's 16h30 here in the UK and I'm still sitting here in my PJs. I can't believe it's NYE. My second one without him.

I'm exhausted from crying solidly for the past two days and hoping that I've released enough pain to enable me to smile and particpate in the celebrations later today. I wish I was already in Australia because it'd already be over. But then I'd be nearer to the 6th January and the two year mark.

Bring on January 7th. And quick. That's when my body feels as though a fresh year has started. His death has overwritten the rules of time and the gregorian calendar. I've always been known to break rules. I was born for it.

Truth be told, I'd rather be with Deb and Kim this evening because they are having to withstand NYE as well as their wedding anniversary and the two year anniversary of Warren dying. I'm lighting candles for A and W and Cliff tonight. It just feels right. Besides Kim is flying and shan't be able to light one herself. This will ground me too ... remembering I'm not alone in this. There are so many - too many - of us.

After a long thought I decided not to attend the Pirate Club House music event in London. It would have been too much. It would have felt alien without him standing there talking to the men organizing it while I danced my butt off. I danced for him. And I don't feel strong enough to dance for him tonight. NOT YET.

Part of me wants to stay home alone but I'm terrified I'll react the same way I did a year ago. He'd not be happy with me. Today the silence in the house is deafening.

So I'm going to have a jacuzzi, drive down the coast and see in 2011 with his family.

Guess I ought to let them know ... along with a good friend of his. I need them tonight .... almost as much as I want and need him.

Here's to more peace and healing for us all next year. And here's to my beautiful strong husband. I miss you so much it's unspeakable.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coming home

I could feel it bubbling beneath the surface.

The wave building its colossal force.

From the moment I sat in the car to drive home.

I wondered if whilst I'd been away, Cliff and Hammer (our dog) had come home, painting the house with their magical Christmas decorations ... like bringing memories alive, vibrant ... and thus showing us three together, happy and having a magical time ... and that when they heard my car park on the drive, they'd have to remove the tree, the colours and become invisible once again. Then watch me break, unable to breath, let alone stand up once I shut the front door.

Grief will have its way. I could see those translucent faded water colours of Christmasses past through the waterfalls of tears that fell, only adding to the tsunami's volume.

My heart keeps breaking. Over and over again.

We used to love sitting in the dark, mesmerized by the lit Xmas tree, content together, feeling the magic, feeling love. Taking time to remember the simple things.

I sit in the darkness alone now and I can't find his light in the darkness. I know it's there but the darkness is crushing his light. I light candles to symbolize his light. But the brightest star pales next to him. Why can't I see it?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Catalysts








How strange. Or perhaps not. Three things have been the catalysts, which have brought tears to the brim, and on one occasion, brought tears shamelessly over the brim, silently running down my face over the "season of sleepovers".
Here they are. They look fairly innocuous, don't they? Cute even. I guess what is strange, is the fact that all three of these catalysts were animated characters.

There is a very simple explanation ... all three of these characters have immense courage, they never give up, they keep their word, they do what is right, they overcome adversities (caused through no fault of their own) whilst remaining wonderful souls, and I would challenge anyone who claimed they were fortunate and privileged to find more than one (MAYBE two) people ... throughout their entire lifetime, who have such an enormous heart.
I found one. And I was loved passionately and truly by him for just over 15 years. I still can't believe he chose me. It still stops me in my tracks and stuns me ... that I was so so lucky, so privileged, that we had that "one true love in your lifetime thing". I was his one. He was my one. He told me more than he did any other person in this world. He shared more with me than he did any other. He gave himself wholly to me. And I did him. He told me how important it was that he told me everything ... that he had to, to guarantee we would remain soul-mates, that we would never part ... and he succeeded in his goal. I know he's dead. But we'll be together again, in the same "form" again ... when my fate decides, on a whim ... that it is the right time. Till then, I love him still, as I know he does me, our souls safely entwined. Always.

Only you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A little fairy dust

Tree three Boxing Day


Robert cooking our Christmas Dinner


Cliff's Xmas Eve Candle - representing the light he was and is in my life

Indoor Firework


Boxing Day - my godson's tatt - courtesy of Pink Floyd - true words



My beautiful god-daughter


"Hamba gahle ..."


My best g/f infecting me with magic



Xmas Eve - a welcoming sight at Cliff's brother's



Tree #1



Tree #2


My rock and confidante
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Right now I am sitting here in the quiet listening to my goddaughter breathing as she falls asleep and reflecting on how good it was to see Cliff's Dad, sister, brother and family. How quickly his closest friends replied to her messages of 'Merry Christmas' and how warmly. How she is so loved and so well ... and how her closest friends can indeed make the impossible happen - that she smiled, laughed and enjoyed the day, the food, the exchanging of gifts, and included Cliff in the celebrations without sinking into a deep dark place. What a massive step forward from last year when I thought I was losing my sanity. Thank you all so much for your love and laughter and thanks most of all to Cliff who taught me to never give up, to face my fears, to laugh through the hard times. It is true. To honour the dead is to have gratitude. It's not about grieving even if it is inescapable. I only fought the tears once today, watching Shrek. Don't ask. I'm just enjoying the magic while it lasts.

I hope the magic touches you too. Wishing you a peaceful holidays filled with light, love and heartfelt wishes that the memories of your holidays past sustain you through this one.






Friday, December 24, 2010

Out in the sticks


I dropped Fred and Barney off at kennels this morning so that my season of sleepovers could begin, and went to head off home ... so that I could log on and work those last hours from there.

Uh-oh, the car was stuck in ice and snow.

The kennel owner fetched her Land Rover so she could tow me. I had to get the car manual to find out where the tow pin was, and where to fix it. While I was still reading the manual, she'd attached my car to hers. I wondered if there would come a day when I was as self-sufficient as she (a divorcee) was. Maybe. Maybe not. Cliff spoiled me so much, that I tend to look at myself as a useless Princess type of woman these days, and I hate myself for it.

The rope snapped a few times (she didn't have a proper tow-rope) and I got splattered in mud and snow when I tried to push it.

But it in the end, our efforts paid off. I made it onto good road, but most importantly, even though I kept thinking that if Cliff were here, he'd have pushed the car (on his own) and we'd have been delayed for less time than we were, instead of crying, I laughed and laughed and laughed. What a refreshing change of reaction. It actually felt good. The fact that I dealt with it, albeit with help, I did it!

Not only that, I didn't bat an eye when the car slid and slipped around further down the road, because in comparison, it was nothing.
While we were struggling to get my car back on road, a man drove past us. The kennel owner said in a loud voice, "I'm glad I'm on my own. I mean, I could get lucky and have a husband like that. NOT." I was howling with laughter, literally, even though she wasn't. I managed to howl with laughter even though I was wishing that Cliff were there.

Maybe I'm growing up a bit. Maybe.

I'll be logging off in half an hour ... no more work until January 4th. I need the break as I've worked so damn hard, but I'm a bit nervous about not working because it seems to define who I am these days. It keeps me sane and on the straight and narrow mostly.

So, in a little while, I'll be loading the car with gifts, my candles for Cliff and my overnight bag, onto the season of sleepovers. I'll be missing him deeply, but I know I shall also enjoy the company of family and friends. I will try to enjoy Christmas, for him.

Only you baba. Merry Christmas my beautiful husband. I shall wrap myself in the warmth and love of Christmasses past to get me through this one. For you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The best gift I shall receive this Christmas

I received this mail from an old friend's daughter the other day. It made my heart smile because I love to hear what other people's memories of Cliff are. It doesn't get any better than this.


Hello Boo, I've just been reading through your blog after seeing your post of it and I'm now a blubbering mess. I'm sorry I've not said it sooner but I'm sooo sorry for your loss, I know that it had been a long time since I had seen Cliff but there was a time in my life when both you and him were very important to me and helped me a lot through an extremely hard time. It's strange to think of him not being somewhere, I still remember him how I did when I was 15 - a huge giant of a man who could take on the world, I've never met 2 people who were a stronger more loving couple than you two and always wanted that for myself one day so I can't even begin to imagine how hard this past 2 years must have been for you and I just wanted to say I'm sorry he's gone and very sad that I will never get to see or speak to him again. Take care and I hope one day if ever I'm down your way again we could maybe meet for a coffee or something xxxxx

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wrapping Gifts


I wrapped up all my gifts last night, and wrote out all my cards.

I used to love doing this Christmas stuff, but this year it felt more like work, a laborious time-consuming chore. If I'm brutally honest, it was painful.

That said, I'm glad I've done it. It'll be ok when I get down the coast and see family and friends.

But right now, being marooned, working at home again thanks to the icy roads, it's left a very bad taste in my mouth, or should I say, my heart?

When I finished, I went upstairs to run a bath and starting sobbing, speaking to Cliff, "it's not right. It's not right, there isn't one gift for you, not even a card."

We'd probably be buying our tree right now, and I'd be insisting on one that was too large, and he'd humour me. We'd be buying groceries in for the break. His gifts from me would go under the tree as soon as it was decorated. Mine from him would wait till Christmas Eve when he would go shopping ...

Still, I guess I've made progress on last year.

BUT. IT. HURTS. MORE. THIS. YEAR.

It's just sunk in to my frazzled and tired brain, that it's December 20th today ... which means ... it's Christmas this week. Yes really. I hadn't quite clicked how close it was.

And this year there will be no excitement at a minute past midnight (if that), when we settled by the tree, with a cocktail in hand, to exchange gifts. Both of us incredibly excited. No meats cooking. No decorations in the house ... erm, except the Santas that are still up from two years ago. And no, I still can't bear to take them down because he put them up. The picture above shows the one in the kitchen - this Santa climbs up and down the rope (well he would, except I disconnected the battery).

I opened two cards from my sister and niece, and all this Christmas confetti fell out - reindeer, xmas trees etc - when I ripped open the envelopes ... it was swirling around in the air, catching the light, and as I watched it land, I thought to myself cynically, "oh ok, the decorating's done for this year then").

I wanted to read Christmas cards that he'd given me over the years. I know exactly where they are, but I'm scared to start going through it all. I know it will rip my heart into smaller pieces.

So, instead, I put the snowglobe that he bought me three years ago on top of the TV. Now I have decorated. I sobbed when I shook it ... because he used to buy me these little things. Just because. Just because he thought of me when he was out and about, and he'd know I'd love something. Not because it cost a heap, but because it reminded me of being a kid.

I miss that. Having someone who thinks of you all the time. Maybe he still does. I know I do him.






Sunday, December 19, 2010

Help for the Holidays


Here are some useful articles, written by or recommended by, my favourite Counsellor, Marty <3









and some poems that you may identify with:


I will Light Candles this Christmas

by Howard Thurman

I will light Candles this Christmas;
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all the year long.

Christmas Memories

When snowflakes dance on winter winds
And colored lights shine Christmas cheer,
When children's laughter fills the air
And family gathers from far and near,
I try to celebrate with them
And not let my hurting show,
But the empty spaces within my heart,
At this season, seems to grow
'Till oftentimes it fills the days
And many nighttimes too,
With aching thoughts and memories
Of Christmases I spent with you.
Yes, memories do hurt, it's true
But I have this feeling too.
I'm so glad I hold these memories,
For with them I hold part of you.
So for now I'll wipe away the tears
And join with loved ones dear
To celebrate this Christmas time,
For I know that, in my heart, you're here.

One Little Candle

I lit a candle tonight, in honor of you
Remembering your life,
and all the times we'd been through.
Such a small little light the candle made
until I realized how much in darkness it lit the way.
All the tears I've cried in all my grief and pain
what a garden they grew,watered with human rain
I sometimes can't see beyond the moment,
in hopeless dispair
But then your memory sustains me,
in heartaches repair.
I can wait for the tomorrow,when my sorrows ease
Until then,I'll light this candle, and let my memories run free



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three Candles



This year I am not locking myself away from the world and ignoring Christmas. I had to do that last year, because I still wasn't sure if he was dead or not. This year I know he's not coming back.

This year is going to be harder.

But, I'm pleased to say that I have actually bought gifts and cards, and opening the Christmas cards that are landing on my doormat are actually not hurting me this year. Last year, each one was like a stab to the heart. I couldn't open cards, read texts, wouldn't answer the phone or the door. I sat there, day after day, stunned, broken, confused and wondering if he would somehow magically come back for Christmas or the New Year.

I'm spending the holidays with Cliff's family and my friends ... and I am looking forward to having those sleepovers, being in good company, sharing good food, and most of all taking a rest from work (because it has been manic ... causing me to work till 11 at night on a few occasions recently).

I think it's distracted me from Christmas.

In a way, I am looking at it in terms of sleepovers and visiting people, sharing a turkey dinner ... I'm not really looking at it as Christmas. I just happen to be bearing gifts. But it's not really Christmas ... because my Christmas died with my beautiful husband.

So, over this season of sleepovers I am determined to laugh and have fun. He'd be disappointed in me otherwise.

And I will admit the holidays are here briefly, on three separate occasions ... when I light a candle on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day and on New Year's Eve. I bought these last week, ready to take with me. But only briefly. And then the silent tears will fall. They will wash away Christmas and then the season of sleepovers can resume.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I stood by your bed - abridged by Boo





I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.

I could see that you were crying,

You found it hard to sleep.

I whispered to you softly as you brushed away a tear,

"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast,

I watched you pour the tea,

You were thinking of the many times your hands reached out to me.

I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.

I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.

I gently put my hand on you, I smiled and said "it's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.

I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.

To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew ...

In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is almost over...

I smile and watch you yawning and say "goodnight, I'll see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,

I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.

Be patient, live your journey out ... then come home to be with me

- Author Unknown

Just sitting beside me

Sometimes I just sit and get lost staring at the globe on my blog. I wonder who the people are ... are they widow/ers? Do they find themselves nodding when they recognize their own actions or feelings in my words? Does reading my blog help them, or make them sadder? Are they regular visitors who leave comments, for I sometimes recognize names of places, the inhabitants of which I have met, and love today. Are they colleagues, friends, family or old school-friends? I try to imagine what these visitors go through, what their stories are ... and what adversities (other than grief) they are trying to overcome. I feel like diving into the map, meeting them, holding them, listening to them.

But most of all, I just feel this overwhelming gratitude that they are sitting beside me. That they care enough to visit and check in on me, that they return to follow my journey, and choose to walk beside me.

There are no words ... but to sit beside me, that means the world. It really does.

I can see clearly now

When I woke up this morning, I realized why I normally sleep on the sofa at weekends.


It's because it's too easy to pretend that he's downstairs, working on the house, or watching TV.


And I did pretend, or wondered.


I couldn't help myself.


Then I came down the stairs, wanting to shout out, "where's my beautiful husband?"


and hear him say, "here I am baby."


To feel myself wrapped up in his arms, a morning hug.


Have a cup of tea or coffee with him.


The simple things.


My heart is breaking all over again.


Is it because I sat with the neighbours looking at their tree last night?


Is it because I watched my neighbour build an igloo, and know that Cliff would have joined him?



Is it because I have cabin fever and have been stuck, working from home, since Monday evening?


Is it because I've had to walk up the little shop in the snow alone?


Is it because I still can't listen to Joe Cocker's album, "Have a little faith" ... because it will crush my heart, yet I know I should, because I need to hear the lyrics. I need to hear the truth, I need to hear Cliff telling me those words ...

Is it because I've got to clear the snow off my drive alone?


Is it because I noticed that my neighbour had cut back the trees in my driveway the instant I drove onto it. And if Cliff had done it, I wouldn't have ... because all I could see was him? That if my house had been falling down before, I wouldn't have noticed, because all I would have seen would have been him? Because he was and still somehow is my entire world?


Is it because I couldn't visit Vicki last night, as I usually do?


Is it because I'm still feeling bad that I didn't see his family last week, due to being ill?


Is it because I still find it hard, at times like this, to believe he is gone forever?


Is it because Christmas and the New Year - such a big deal for us - two big kids - is around the corner?


Is it because our friend John's son drove me down to the cashpoint, and guarded me, just like Cliff did, waiting for the money to come out the machine? Is it because that felt familiar?


Is it because, this year, I have made plans to be with people, because I know that he would not want me to be alone this Christmas, as I was last year? Because this year, I know that he cannot come home, and last year, I still wasn't sure?

Is it because it's 23 months now, and a sharp reminder that it is almost two years since I looked into those clear blue eyes and that smile?


Is it because I came downstairs and where the snow has started to recede ... I could see the bright yellow cement mixer in the garden, along with the Spanish roof tiles on his shed at the bottom of our property? Little reminders that this is his home too. Evidence that he was here?


Is it because home is with him?


Is it because I so desperately want to go home?


Because I still identify myself as ... "I am Cliff Mayhew's wife." And I'm still so proud of that.


I don't want to be his widow.


It's such a demotion.


And I've never been demoted in my life.


I miss him so much - it hurts physically.


I miss our laughter, our fun, our love, our conversations, our intimacy, our comfortable-ness.

I miss not choosing a tree with him, and his patience with me, his good-natured acceptance of my child-like insistence of having a tree that is too large, year after year.

I miss feeling completely safe.


I miss his hands.


I miss our hugs.


I miss him looking at me across a room and winking.


I miss him.


All of him.


This snow has a lot to answer for.


Last year it scared me.


This year it has broken my heart.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Grief is physical

I was watching "Friends". The one where Monica and Richard are friends ... and she is teaching Richard how to cook lasagna, and he gets tomato on his shirt. She wipes it off his chest. And I can feel it.

His chest.

I literally gasp with the pain.

Oh god no, and I am doubled over with the sheer pain and loss overwhelming me.

Tom Selleck's chest is too similar to Cliff's. Cliff's was nicer, but still, it reminds me too much of what I am missing, of what I have lost, of how much I miss him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Yellow Snow









Elderly people were out walking in the snow.
I brought a smile to their faces, as I pleaded with Barney, "slow down Barney-Boo, please".
He didn't though, unless he stopped to make yellow snow.
I'm starting to enjoy the snow again, like I did when he was alive.
It really is beautiful (unless it's yellow).
It's snoo-snooing, baba. And I'm playing in it. Without you. But with you in my heart.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's still snowing ... but I've chosen my attitude

and you know what? It really is beautiful out there.

I just donned my coat, gloves, hat and Uggs and trundled up to the little shop to buy essentials. The snow is really deep, and crisp. The pavement (sidewalk) wasn't icy. The air did me good, as the office is shut, I've been stuck indoors for a couple of days almost.

It does make one feel a little marooned and cut off from the world, however, I can still work from home, which alleviates getting stressed about that ... and it's quite restful. I can't control the weather any more than I could control my husband dying or not ... it's humbling actually.

I've decided to take it as it comes. To enjoy it instead of getting worried about it. After all, what option do I have. May as well choose a positive attitude.

I think Barney may disappear in it in a couple of hours when we go for our walk. I'll try and take a photo.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's snowing

I hate the snow now.

It snowed the last morning Cliff was alive, and now ... every time it snows, those flakes just fill me with so much loss and pain.

I miss him beyond words. It is unspeakable.

Not to mention how vulnerable it makes me feel. I can't drive in it. I worry that if I walk in it I will fall and break an arm or a leg. Then what? How would I cope?

Life is so frightening now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Firework

thanks Jazzystar for sending me this song:

Firework - Katy Perry

he really was awesome, the brightest light in my world.

And he still is.

Tired of juggling


This past working week, I have left the office at the following times:
19h00, 20h00, 21h00, 22h00, 15h30 respectively.
My boss asked me what I was still doing at work at 20h00 one evening, and I retorted cheekily with, "I could ask you the same question."
It just brings home how much Cliff supported me in such a fundamental way ... the reminders I had set in my phone, instead of having a "to do list" (because looking at all the chores at once is so overwhelming, I prefer to carve them up into more manageable chunks, i.e. one day at a time) were all bar one postponed till next week ... when hopefully, my working hours will be more earthly.
I had to drive home in temperatures of -5 degrees in my rear wheel drive on Friday night, and it terrified me. But I was a big girl and remembered Cliff's voice telling me, "don't worry about the person behind you ... if he wants to go faster, let him overtake." And that was the philosophy that I adopted for the journey. The full moon also urged me on ... I felt some comfort from it, hard to describe ... something to do with dragons and men that were fearless. I got home calmly and no tears were shed until I was safely inside my own front door.
It feels as though I've been juggling for so long. One man down. Something had to give, and this weekend it was my health. I got a sickness bug, and I swear it was due to being run down and exhausted. So, I dropped my balls. Cancelled all my commitments for the weekend, and stayed in my PJ's for the duration ... snoozing, watching TV, making plans (yes, can't stop myself) with realistic time lines this time ...
If I hadn't taken this time out, by Monday, I'd have been really ill. I know it's the right decision.
Yet, I still feel guilty.
Or, perhaps I am just worried ...
... that people won't understand. That they don't "get" that losing Cliff feels like yesterday to me. That they will misinterpret my appearance of coping as having "moved on", that they don't realize what it takes out of me to travel an hour, or clean my house, or ........
I'm not flaky. I just have my own limit. And I've reached it.
Yet, I still feel bad.
I had to cancel my brother-in-law coming to ascertain what he needs to do to finish off our home.
I didn't see my sister-in-law who was over from Holland
I haven't seen my other sister-in-law or my father-in-law since god knows when
I didn't visit my other brother-in-law either
I hope they know that it's not that I don't care, or that I don't want to.
Because I do.
But something had to give this weekend, otherwise everything would spiral out of control.
If I can keep work under control, this helps ... because my waking hours are mainly spent at work. If that goes awry, everything else is affected. I'm trying to stay stable health-wise, to not hit rock-bottom thinking about Christmas and the New Year ... for this year is going to be a lot harder. Simply because I understand that he is really dead now. I've made a plan for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day ... and will be with my Mayhew family, sleeping over at one brother-in-law's on Xmas Eve, visiting my sister-in-law Xmas Day morning en route to Xmas dinner with my best girlfriend. I thought about spending it with my family, but it's a much longer drive (three times longer) with a higher risk of driving through snow and ice ... and it means less time separated from my shitheads/dogs. AND, less time to get home should I feel the need to run home.
See? I'm even juggling plans, things that haven't happened yet. Weighing up pros and cons, guessing my emotions on the days ahead.
The Santa's from two years ago are still up in my home. I think I'll plug them in this year. It's a step forward. I'm aiming to put up a tree next year. Not ready for it yet.
It's exhausting doing this without him. The simplest things. Let alone the holidays.
I'm dog-tired.
I wish I was a dog ... then all I'd need to worry about was ... well, nothing.
Thank you, my beautiful strong husband, you gave me 15 years of that. Living in my lala-land, without a care in the world. How I wish for those halycon days.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks

What do I have to be thankful for?

The love I have
How much he loves me
that he chose me

my family and friends
my job and colleagues
my widow friends especially

Steve at BMW
my home

my heating and hot water
my neighbour climbing into the loft to turn the boiler back on
my neighbour cutting back the trees and bushes on my driveway without me even asking him to
that I don't have to keep driving thru that branch and hoping that it would snap off

my parents. I'd sooner have had them and lost them both by the time I was 32 than have different ones that were still alive. I know how perfectly wonderful they were

Cliff
Cliffy
did I mention my beautiful husband

that my eyesight hasn't been threatened by diabetes

my dogs

... although I wasn't thankful that my deaf dog Fred peed in my right Ugg boot while I spent half an hour in my jacuzzi

my jacuzzi
vodka

sending you light and love for Thanksgiving ... especially if you have an empty chair at your table today

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Over ... till the next one


It's hard to forget the date my beautiful Mom died, because she died from a stroke on November 22nd.

The same date that JFK died.

Albeit years apart.

I was 29 so that means she's been gone for 17 years.

Today I kept my head down and worked solidly and quietly (for me) from 08h00 till 18h00. Then went to Tesco ... had another cry before heading home ... and kept busy some more.

But you can't escape it, can you?

I didn't sleep at all last night and left home at 07h00 - it was still dark!! I don't normally wake up till 07h00. I'm tired physically yet my brain won't power down.

Off for a shower, then I might be a real hussy and take a vodka and book (and dogs) to bed.

I need a break from these bloody dates.

The only months that don't bring a significant date are:

April
June
August

that sucks!

I didn't really grieve for my Mom till I was with Cliff. Beforehand - in my previous relationship I couldn't let go, show weakness or lose it.

My beautiful strong husband healed me.

And today ... it sounds dreadful ... but it's true. I still miss others - mainly my parents, immensely. To lose anyone is devastating, especially family.

But losing everyone else, looking back, compared to this ... it seems like CHICKEN FEED in comparison. I know you shouldn't compare one loss against another. But it's hard not to today.

I love my Mom so so much. I was privileged to have her. I mean that. All my friends loved her too. We were all devastated - the whole family and many friends.

But he was my world, my heart, my soulmate. My compass and best friend. My lover. My future. All I ever wanted and dreamed of. My life. My raison d'ĂȘtre. I was with him every day.

Then not.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Really?

How can it be?

Almost 2 years since I last touched the face I long to see?

It feels like yesterday ...

It feels like a millennium ago ...

It sometimes feels like perhaps I dreamed it all ...

Yet I can still feel him, dream of him, be so head over heels in love with him ...

still learn from him, listen to him, seek and hear his advice ...

still feel his love and strength

... yet feel completely alone

... still not really want to be here

... still feel the pain that I felt from the first second when we were wrenched apart

... yet find myself still standing most of the time, find myself shocked that I survived the end of my world?

How can it be?

How can it feel as though I have not moved forward in almost two years?

How can I let go ... of that which I love and adore and would die for?

Yet I convince myself I must, and I do ... little by little ...

but only for him. Every painful step, taken for him alone.

Only you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A tin of biscuits and a kettle

I've only been home an hour. It's bedtime already.

Because I had to sit in Tesco's car park for half an hour.

Because I was crying so hard I couldn't see to drive. I just had to let the wave of molten lead crawl over me, let it burn me until it was satisfied that it still had the power to bring me to my knees. Debilitate me on a whim. Wring my heart with a sadistic delight.

This morning my kettle broke. The kettle that he used to make me tea with every morning. I know it's just a thing. But it upset me so. So while I waited for my diabetes meds I had to choose a new one. Then I felt such an irritating itch on my neck and touched the necklace that holds his ashes near my heart and it came off. The clasp had broken so I calmly put it in my purse and realized how lucky I'd been not to lose it.

Picking up groceries, I couldn't avoid all the santas, Christmas food, decorations - each of them stabbing me in the heart. A death of a thousand cuts. Translucent faded water colours of him selecting meats, cheeses and goodies. I had to walk slowly, purposefully, as I couldn't remember what I needed. It took an age.

Torture.

Then I saw the tin of biscuits. You know. The "seasonal" ones. And I just had to get out of there. And fast. He'd always buy 3 tins straight after Xmas. Delicious and far cheaper. In 15 years he never once said "no" to me ... but he wouldn't pay the pre Xmas price tag and I'd look forward to this treat every December 27th.

Then I struggled to bring the shopping in. In the dark rain. The dogs helped. Not. Brought the bin back onto the drive. He always did that. Looked at the mail. Junk and ... an electricity meter card request. Cue more sobs.

I'm beyond exhausted. Work is coming at me at breakneck speed as are deadlines. I'm hormonal too. I'm run down. And I've got this tsunami coming at me. I can't fight it. This Xmas is going to hit me even harder than the first. For I know now that he's never going to buy those biscuits again. Last year I wasn't sure. This would have been the year that he covered the roof in white fairy lights. Think Chevy Chase. The reality is that his friend still hasn't returned to put on the last 20 roof tiles - a year on.

Tomorrow I have an eye test to ensure I'm not going blind from diabetes. I'm petrified. I don't mind dying but I don't want to go blind. Seriously. I'm not supposed to drive for a couple of hours after they put on the eye drops but what else can I do? I don't have a support network where I live.

I'm tired. I'm tired of this battle. Every single day. And for what?

I miss him. I want him. I need him. I love him.

Doing this alone is so tiring, so frightening at times.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On the edge

My boiler decided to turn itself off during the night.

On the coldest night of the year so far.

So the shower turned cold as I applied shampoo.

Then we got stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.

I could feel myself starting to feel panicky and insecure.

It doesn't take a lot these days.

I fucking hate asking for help.

So I haven't.

So I'm really cold.

I tried turning on the heating and water but it wouldn't light, at which point I started crying.

Then i screamed at Cliff, went hysterical and shouted at him more.

Why the fuck did you leave me here? I fucking HATE you for leaving me.

How could I have said that to him?

I said I was sorry but I feel devastated for saying it. I didn't mean it baba. I an still inconsolable shedding big fat hot tears of heartbreak.

I don't want to ask for help.

I want my beautiful husband back.

He should be here to fix it

So I'm sitting here ... stubborn ... Wrapped in two blankets.

I can take stubborn to a new level.

When my washing machine broke it took me a month to aak for help. I rediscovered so many clothes. I bought new ones. I handwashed.

But in the end I had to give in

so. Tomorrow. I will ask.

Stupid bitch.

Stubborn.

I miss you baba.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A loss is a loss in its own right



Today I read on Facebook that my friend's dog hasn't got long to live.

It has made me incredibly sad.

Because I know the indescribable pain my friend will feel when he dies.

I can remember losing our 9 year old Rottweiler so vividly, and the shock of searing pain that scorched both of us.

I remember him looking so puppy-like, moments after his legs seemed to buckle as he laid down on the floor next to me. It was Christmas Eve shortly before midnight, when "we three" would open our presents next to the tree. He was interested in his soft toy - a snowman, and sniffed at his Cadbury's Milk Buttons, but didn't bother eating more than one of them. He seemed fine, but I knew. Just as I knew that last November the 5th would be his last ... and actually the whole evening centred around him and his enjoyment. I made sure he really enjoyed that last fireworks night - he loved them so.

Those last hours, he was happy. You could see it in his eyes, and the love he had for us, and we for him shone from his big eyes. The house was cosy and warm, the tree was gorgeous, the smell of meats, including a joint of pork and an entire turkey reserved solely for him, wafting up his nostrils. Even though he wasn't eating by then, Cliff laid a slice of each meat - pork, ham, turkey, chicken, beef - next to him ... and he licked them, kept sniffing them to check they were still there right up to the end. We kept replenishing a shallow bowl with water, which he drank ... each time pushing it away when he'd had enough. He laid with his head under the tree, and the house was peaceful.

Just like my beautiful strong husband, he went bravely and surrounded by love. The only time he made any complaint was when I took 10 minutes to have a bath. The noise was pitiful and broke my heart. It was a noise he'd never made before and I rushed back to him. I believe that he didn't want to be alone, that he wanted me or us with him all the time.

Someone knocked on the door, and I told Cliff no one else was welcome that night. It would only be the three of us till the end.

And so it was.

Cliff and I took a sofa each late Christmas Day, refusing to leave him, even to sleep. The tree lights were dimmed, as was the volume on TV, and we kept checking him, making sure he was warm, talking to him, even though he slept almost solidly, and refused to drink any more water.

He lifted his head to look at a giraffe that Cliff had made him out of those sausage shaped balloons. He loved balloons too. He also liked bubbles, so Cliff bought him a bubble-machine ... which I think may be in our loft today.

We talked quietly and I know he felt safe because it was just "we three".

At two or three in the early hours of boxing day, I suggested that we go to bed because he was sleeping soundly and seemed alright. Cliff was halfway up the stairs and Hammer started retching. I held him and stroked him, telling him, "it's alright Ham-ham, mummy's here."

He breathed in and I held my breath, just as I did when my husband left this world, waiting for him to exhale and take another. Seconds lasted for an eternity. Then he exhaled - and I knew that my 14 stone "puppy" had left us. I didn't let go.

I looked round for Cliff who got off the sofa, with an expression I'd never seen him with before.

Then I saw this shimmering wave-like, colourful light and I put my hand up to it. I touched it and at that moment, I was positive it was Hammer's spirit. I still believe that. I took my eyes off it for a second and when I looked for it again, it had gone. In fact when Cliff had taken his last breath, I looked for the same shimmering ethereal light and couldn't find it. One of my friends told me that was because he would have stayed with me a while and not left straight away. I liked that rationale.

My head told me our dog had died but my heart refused to hear it. I remember telling Cliff that I thought he would be alright now and that we could go to bed. I remember asking Cliff to promise me that he'd be okay.

On December 26th, I heard Cliff walk around to my side of the bed, softly crying and saying, "come here baby" and me wailing, "no, no, noooooo" and rocking together, holding each other so tightly. I remember admitting that I knew he'd gone the night before, and Cliff shared that he felt a "wave" coming over him while he was watching me hold him ... and he knew that he'd gone in that instant. We spent a couple of hours laying on the bed, crying, sobbing, sniffling and laughing at our shared memories with this wonderful intelligent human-dog.

Cliff was shocked at how badly affected he was. He kept saying, "why do I feel as though I've lost a child? Why am I more devastated about this than I was when my mother died? He was the bain of my life for nine years, I shouldn't feel so broken". (This really bothered him and my friend Kendra explained that grief is cumulative and when I repeated this to Cliff he felt less bad.)

I went next door to ask our neighbour to help Cliff bury him, because Cliff refused to let me do it. He was adamant. I was, however, equally adamant that he would not do this alone.

Cliff told me that if I wanted him to be buried in a pet cemetery with a headstone, whatever I wanted ... he would do. He had to stay at home with us though, there was no question in my mind. I suggested that he rest under the beautiful ferns ... a spot he would lay ... like a lion on the savannah, mistakenly thinking that we couldn't see him ... spying on the dogs next door.

So they dug a hole - six feet deep and three feet wide. A hole that you'd dig for a human coffin. Meanwhile I was tasked with collecting all of Hammer's possessions. I filled a big black bin liner to the brim with his toys. Then I collected his stuff out of the freezer - his ice cream, his joints of "reduced price" meat that Cliff procured for him, his sausages. Then the larder - his meatballs etc. His homeopathic medicine (for a recurring skin and eye irritation), his Christmas presents - one of which remained unopened. His milk buttons. His food bowls, his drinking bowl that was so large you could have bathed a baby in it. There was so much stuff.

I kept watching Cliff and Paul digging and my eyes kept being drawn back to my beautiful Hammer, wrapped in a baby blue soft blanket, lying next to them.

Cliff placed a bowl in each corner of the grave, and put food in the bowls. He wouldn't let me watch them lower him in the hole. But he took so much care, so much love and tenderness. He told me that he was snuggled in his blankets and he placed all his toys and stuff around him carefully. And he reassured me that he double and triple checked that he wasn't breathing, that there was no sign of life first.

I threw the turkey in the bin outside and told Cliff later.

We laughed ... imagining that one day in the future, an archaeologist would find Hammer's grave and announce that he had discovered a royal or a warrior dog. We both liked that.

He also told me that EVERYTHING had to go with Hammer. That I mustn't keep anything. But I sneaked one toy out to keep. An orang-utan - it smelled of him, and was covered in his fur, his dribble. I had to keep one thing, firmly sealed in plastic. Just in case. I've opened it twice to smell him in four years.

We were off work for the holidays and we stayed in alone. Cut off the world. We couldn't cope with anyone else. We mourned, we cried and laughed and we reassured each other constantly that he went without pain, that he had a great life, that we'd been good dog-"parents". We informed some friends, and they admitted that they cried when they read the news. If we had to go in the lounge, we would go together, because the big gap that was left on "his" sofa physically hurt our hearts.

Then Cliff threw himself into work around the house, then projects at work. I seemed alright. I returned to work, but I know now, looking back that that first year, I was depressed, especially at weekends.

I created a collage of photos of him in a huge frame, and typed up all the memories of him, printed it out and cut the memories into ticker-tape pieces, sticking them by the photos of him taken around the time of the "memories". Cliff hated it. He said it was a mess. It is. But I love it. Doing that was so cathartic for me.




After I kissed Cliff goodbye when he left this world, as I walked down the hospital corridor ... I remember whispering out loud, "there had better have been a big black dog there to meet you".

Right up to the week before Cliff died, Cliff would tear up if I talked about him. I could. Cliff couldn't. He grieved as men do, by doing stuff, keeping busy. I just grieved ... and in the end I could talk of him without getting upset.

But I still can't listen to Texas' "Black Eyed Boy", because I used to sing it to him. He loved me singing to him, his beautiful brown eyes would gaze off into the distance. And he knew. Absolutely knew that he was special enough for a song to be all about him.

I so wish I could protect my friend from all this pain and heartache, but I can't. It makes me nauseous to think of what she has to come.

When her baby "Ronnie" was a puppy, he was found to have a bone disease whilst in training to be a guide dog and I think he was going to be euthanised because it was assumed no one would want a puppy that came with a life-time guarantee of high vet bills. She immediately fell in love with him, and made him hers. I loved having hugs with him and spoiling him when I went out to Savannah. He so reminded me of Hammer. He is a beautiful black lab. Beautiful in and out.

When it's time, run free Ronnie. Hammer will meet you. And Cliff will now have two "bains" in his life.

He'll be fine. But I know my friend won't be. Not for quite some time anyway. My heart goes out to her.

I feel so helpless and useless.

Human or animal ... death fucking sucks. And it isn't healthy to compare one loss to another. Comments like, "he was just a dog" or "get another dog" or "he lived 12 years which is older than most Labradors" just aren't helpful and frankly, they are insensitive.

It's similar to insinuating that one widow's pain is worse than another's. Because one husband died young vs. a 60 year long marriage, or because one had a long-term disease vs. a sudden death through a heart attack or a stroke. That it's better or worse if you have children. That it's worse because you are struggling financially, or you feel so much guilt at receiving life insurance money. That if you weren't married - and only engaged - that the pain must be less. That because one widow laughs, sings or dances in public that she's not grieving as much as another. That's all bullshit. The pain is not worse for one more than another. It is what it is.

Every loss is a loss in its own right, and shouldn't be demeaned or compared to another.

Each loss is unique and personal.

Each loss breaks you.

A person. A dog. A horse. Whatever. That person's pain is very real.

It's not a competition ... it's a broken heart. If it's insinuated that your loss is less than another's - that it's worse for another, it's offensive because it undermines the love you feel and the pain that you are going through.

I should know.

If only

I had a dream.

So vivid.

Beautiful in its simplicity.

He was holding me and I had my arms around his neck ... he was swaying me gently and talking to me.

I can't remember what he was saying because all I could focus on was the magic of seeing him, touching him ... and best of all, nuzzling his neck. I remember gasping aloud when I breathed him in.

And I told him how much I missed him.

If only he could for real.

But even in dreams, it's so wonderful.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mind over matter


Since my car accident, it has felt as though my car’s steering/hold on the road has been deteriorating slowly.

It’s made me feel like I can’t trust the car.

I’ve been so tense driving it that my shoulders and upper arms hurt afterwards.

My friend’s husband checked and slightly adjusted the tyre pressure for me, to no avail.

I actually drove at 50 on the motorway (a first for me).

So … I arranged for BMW to come collect the car to fix it.

Steve at the Body Shop (who helped me before) rang me at work yesterday to let me know that they have had the car on the ramp, they’ve attached it to its mother-ship computer, they took it for a test drive at 80 on the motorway and … THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT.

He then arranged for me to take it for a test drive (with him in the passenger seat) on the motorway, and gently said, “I wouldn’t give you back a car that wasn’t right, you know.”

What a nice guy.

I nearly started crying.

I thought I wasn’t affected by the accident. Really. But this issue is clearly all in my head.

My mind is making me tense up whilst driving, which is translating to the wheel and the car. I’m not driving normally. It’s not the car.

I guess it’s another effect of not having the luxury of Cliff being here to reassure me. When he was here, my confidence wouldn’t have taken the knock it has.

But my biggest learning is that I am suppressing my emotions and reactions to things, aren’t I. I mean … I walked away from that accident without a scratch. I thought I’d walked away without any harm to my psyche too … but it would appear that I didn’t.

I miss you baba.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Remember, remember the 5th of November ...


I hardly need to be reminded of Bonfire/Fireworks/Guy Fawkes Night.

As you know, fireworks were a big thing to us ... any excuse ... we'd let one (or fifty) off. Oh, and it's my Dad's birthday too.

Last night, I sat on my sofa, with my hands over my ears (and the curtains firmly shut) trying to ignore the few rockets that were let off early.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to watch them again and enjoy them.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A New Widow




A friend at work asked me if I'd be willing for her to give my contact details to one of her friends, because her husband died unexpectedly (of a heart attack) three weeks ago.

He was Cliff's age.
They'd only been married for three weeks.

He died one week after their honeymoon.

They had five years of happiness together.

Not long enough. It never is though, is it? Even if you have 60 years, it would never be long enough. Because it's irrelevant actually. It just is. Never long enough. Whatever.

She also asked for advice about what she should and should not say, and what was helpful.

I found answering those questions fairly easy ... some examples of what I shared with her were:

... don't say: "you know where I am", "at least he went quickly", "he's in a better place" etc
... do say: "let's go for a walk this Sunday. I'll pick you up at 12"
... do say: "I'm going to do your shopping for you for the next 6 months. Write me a list every Thursday and I'll do it on the Friday."
... do: take her round nutritional balanced meals that she can zap in the microwave
... do: keep her company on Friday nights

But when she asked me how I felt in those initial weeks, I really struggled. I started to tell her ...
... immense fear, shock, like being three years old and getting lost in the supermarket ... remember that feeling, that fear upon discovering that you are separated from your mother and you can't find her? The adrenaline surging through your veins, your heart banging away in your chest? That lasted a minute, maybe two ... until your mother was reunited with you. Well, when your spouse dies, that feeling, that fear, shock, adrenaline, heart banging so hard that your ears ring with the stress of it ... lasts at least for a whole month.
In my case, I got Diabetes Type II because of the stress that my body went through in the early days after Cliff died.

I then added that when I stood up, I had to hold something for balance, because my world felt so out of equilibrium ... I had experienced the ultimate truth, that nothing in this world is certain or secure or what I thought it was ... and I remember standing for a while, thinking about which foot to put forward first before I could walk. I'd get kind of get stuck there for a while sometimes, concentrating furiously. Sometimes I'd just sit back down again for a while. Seriously.

That I only ate what was put in front of me.

Then I had to tell her that I generally didn't think about those first days, because it upset me too much to do so.

I fought to maintain my composure and went back into business mode.
I'm more than happy to meet the new widow, to listen to her ramble incessantly as I did, to hear her pain. To hear all about him. To share what did and didn't help me, but only when she needs to hear it. Drip-feed. That I can do.

But please don't ask me what the first month or two were like. I can't go there, because if I do, I REALLY ACTUALLY go there. My body reacts as it did then ... I feel the surge of adrenalin, the tears come quickly and uncontrollably, my heart thuds loudly in my chest and my ears, and the immense fear encompasses me. The blackness smothers me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A little taste of Cliff


I saw Roy and Shirley on Friday evening. It was so damn good to see Roy ... it's been too long. I gave him a second hug and told him, "oh it's so good to see you. You've given me a little taste of my Cliffy."

It was wonderful. And such a contrast to the last time I saw him ... then we looked like we were both gurning. You know that thing your mouth does when you're trying hard not to cry. This time we talked and laughed, even if I kept talking about Cliff, it was with a smile on my face.

And I loved seeing Shirley again. I'm completely at ease with her. It's almost as though there are four of us in the room. Perhaps there was.

Afterwards I went to see Vicki (my usual Friday night routine) and she observed the spring in my step, instantly understanding the positive effect seeing our old friend had had on me.

But then. I had to return home alone. The spring in my step disappeared. And I was inconsolable. I've slept on the sofa all weekend

Another high followed by an extreme low.

But I won't ever stop seeing people or doing things that give me happiness. No way. That would be pathetic of me. Besides, just like him, my beautiful strong husband who gave me the best days of my life, they too are worth any pain that follows.

I think that the clocks going back last night didn't help either. They mark the calendar and announce the imminent arrival of winter, fireworks/Bonfire Night, Christmas, NYE, 2011 and in two months - the second deathiversary.

I have to have a plan for the holiday season. I have to decide where to spend Christmas and NYE. And I can't decide. Not yet.

Just thinking about it makes me nauseous.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Plan B


Vicki and I went to see Plan B last night.


They were AWESOME.


What a great set.


Ska, reggae, rap, motown, blues, house, dance, a fusion of old (My Girl, Aint No Sunshine When She's Gone) with hip hop ... genius lyrics, oh and he's easy on the eyes too.


Cliff would have loved it.


As we drove over to the venue, I remembered that the last night out we had together (3 weeks before Cliff died) was at that very same venue for the "Rendezvous" reunion that our friend Ray got us tickets for. I was too young to remember the original "Rendezvous" Club, and Cliff kept teasing me, saying, "don't worry baby, I'll take you away from all this soon. I know you're pretending to have a good time." And I retorted, "you have got to be kidding me. They are playing the first good tune of the night, and now you want to leave?" (I was dancing to Liquidator at the time, which also happened to be one of his favourites.)


My stomach was unsettled because I wasn't sure how I'd react being there. But I was fine.


We bumped into people we knew and Vicki's youngest sister Sarah was there.


Sarah is a great dancer (she dances for a living), and we really did dance ... like we used to, and found ourselves lost in the music, the bass banging through our hearts, all together, along with some of Sarah's friends.
Vicki looked great. I'm so proud of the way she has fought her breast cancer. Her treatment is over now and she is beginning to find her energy again. Slowly, slowly. Both of us. But not last night. Which made it even sweeter. God I love her. So much. My bolthole. My confidante. My lovely friend of 29 years.


And then I started worrying that Plan B would play any one of three tunes ... because I knew I would sob.


Now these three tunes are amongst their most popular.


But they didn't play any of them. Which is very strange. Or perhaps not.


I think he was there last night. I felt him. I smiled at him and I smiled for him.


We had the best time.


But today has been hard.


Just like when I went to Australia, San Diego, Sofia, or wherever I've been ... afterwards it's always so hard to return home alone. Back to reality.


But. Just as every second of this pain is worth the fifteen years that I had with Cliff, the sadness through loneliness, the pain of being reminded that this is a permanent loss each time I drive home alone ... to my empty, dark, cold house ... the house that used to be lit with love and laughter, care, fun and tenderness is worth the happiness that I feel intermittently today.
Absolutely.




It doesn't do it justice. It doesn't show the atmosphere, the buzz, not to mention the sound quality is poor. And I'm relieved it doesn't show us dancing either ... I still only dance for my baba.


Only you.

Well that was unexpected


I have received two voicemails over the past month concerning the same issue, albeit regarding two different people.

People who I like.

People Cliff knew. One was his nemesis (or one of them) many years ago.

He knew them well but I wouldn't categorize them as his closest friends by any stretch of the imagination.

Mutual respect. Yes. They knew each other. Yes.

They did business together at times. Not in recent years. For good reason.

They knew the dark serious side of each other too. For sure.

They came to the funeral. One came to the wake and stayed till the end. He was lovely to me, always has been.

Each voicemail (from two close friends) explained that both of these men would have liked to come to Cliff's Firework on the Harbour Arm ... and one even went as far as intimating that perhaps I'd like to call the person up because they seemed a bit upset.

Are they shitting me?

The Firework was for really close friends. My choice.

I certainly don't have to explain my rationale for who was invited.

And I won't.

Never mind my dead sainted husband.

They've re-written history and turned him into their dead sainted friend.

And I happen to know that Cliff had to kick one of them in the balls to keep him down, during one disagreement.

If they were that close, they'd have been pallbearers.

And they'd have been invited.
They're upset? Not as upset as I am, I'd imagine.
Why are they even bothering me with this?
What are they thinking?

That I give a fuck?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Killing me softly


I haven't been looking after myself very well recently.


Because I've been struggling with this acceptance crap.


I've been very low.


So I ... in a subconscious and warped way ... kind of figured that I could die "softly" from diabetes.


It wouldn't be suicide because it was happening to me (yeah, right ... I realize now that that is a crock of shit).


So I didn't really care if I ate chocolate or not.


Didn't measure my blood sugars for 3 whole months.


Maybe longer.


Maybe since Australia.


Then I saw this guy on the news talking about his diabetes. He was blind and they had to amputate his foot.


Shit, that woke me up.


I don't mind dying, but I sure don't want them hacking pieces off my body, and I especially don't want to go blind.


I'm looking after myself now.


Cliff would be furious with me too, and as you all know, I don't do stuff that makes him furious because it breaks my heart if I think I am upsetting him.


He is my motivation.


(and keeping my feet and eyesight ;-)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Sofia






This past weekend I was in Sofia with some old boarding school friends.

It was wonderful.

I love being with those old trusted friends.





I love being able to take for granted that things and standards, ethics, morals ... whatever you want to label it ... are guaranteed, you know?




I love being able to say what I want, disclose anything and not be judged for it.





I love that none of us are prejudiced in any way, be it; sexuality, race, religion or whatever.

I also love that none of us ram religion down each other's throats and that we are more "spiritual" than religious per se.




I also found peace there. We went to see the Rila Monastery, and even though it is a sacred religious place, for me personally, it was a spiritual experience. I found immense peace there. We lit candles which affected me deeply, and I had to walk out of the chapel back into the sunlight quickly, lest I broke down.







All of our little group had experienced loss in one way or another, and I was proud to be amongst friends who are battling their own demons and heartache. It grounds and humbles me.





I didn't like being alone though. As soon as I returned to my hotel room alone, I could feel the dams were ready to burst. So, I changed my top, slapped on some lipstick and banged on Janet's door, and announced that I was going for a vodka. Told her I felt a little wobbly. And she was ready within 3 minutes to accompany me to the bar. The dam was saved.


I enjoyed every moment until I got back in my car at Heathrow. It didn't help that my "meet and greet" purple parking guy was a bit surly... but as soon as I got on the motorway I started sobbing. It was too late to collect my dogs from kennels, and I just couldn't face going home alone.


So I didn't.


I carried on driving all the way down to the coast to see my friend Vicki and when she opened the door, she was greeted by a flurry of tears. Her boyfriend told me I was having dinner with them, which I did, and he even cooked it alone so that we could sit and talk and hug a lot.

For so long I've been pretending that I was okay. And I'm not really. Yes, I have more inner peace, having reached this new level of acceptance. But. And it's a big but ... the pain is worse. It's all that is left of this grief and loss. Pure pain. There are no distractions ... no anger, no guilt, no confusion, no denial, no bargaining, no nothing. Nothing else now. The pain is very real now, and I understand the loss on every level; intellectually, spiritually, emotionally ...


I feel better for admitting it to her. For talking about it out loud instead of just on here.


Today a huge weight has been lifted from me.


Back to work, back to life, back to reality.


A weight lifted ... and replaced ... with wonderful memories of a great weekend with amazing people.

Stolen from MamaBearSarah

“I Will Follow You Into The Dark”


Love of mine some day you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
And I held my tongue as she told me
“Son fear is the heart of love”
So I never went back
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
You and me have seen everything to see
From Bangkok to Calgary
And the soles of your shoes are all worn down
The time for sleep is now
It’s nothing to cry about’cause we’ll hold each other soon
In the blackest of rooms
If Heaven and Hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the No’s on their vacancy signs
If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

I would you know? In a heartbeat. I'd follow him anywhere.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stories


I've had a couple of wonderful dreams about Cliff this week. Just normal stuff. Like being out on the town with Shaun and Debbie. Having a great time.


Just the wonderfulness of being with him.


God I miss him so so much. That closeness. But I am grateful for the dreams. If that's all I can have, I'll take it, gracefully.


On my way to lunch today, I was talking to one of my friends at work (who I like to call Claire-Bear ... she is a wonderfully warm woman with heaps of empathy and she has a great sense of humour.) She was accompanied by another colleague who I know less well and who asked me how long ago Cliff died, and how long I'd been with him etc ... and Claire piped up:


"Two weeks before he died he'd been working on the stage at Buckingham Palace ... for the Olympians coming home, and then bam ... just like that, from being fit and well, he'd gone, bam ... what a shock for you, it was for me even."


I had to reach out and touch her, for (she won't be aware of this) she had given me a Cliff story. One that I had forgotten through the fog of grief and loss.


Like the ones I used to tell and share.


It meant so much to me. So much.


And tonight I fly to Sofia to see some old school-friends.


It's time to write some new stories, whilst keeping those old cherished ones in my heart, and taking them along for the ride.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Craving Touch


Mmmmmm ... I am definitely ready for someone new in my life.
I found yesterday's trip to the dentist pleasurable, just because someone was touching me and paying attention to me.
And I used to be scared of the dentist.
Then I started fantasizing about the dentist ... and he looks like John Cleese ... so that is REALLY worrying.
Yep, I'm ready.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I think I'm ready


I think I'm ready for a relationship.


I'm still in love with Cliff.


He is always going to be in my heart and soul.


It just is.


But damn, I'm lonely.


I only come alive for 24 hours every 2 weeks when I visit someone.


I am gregarious by nature and wasn't made to be alone.


I'm too lonely and it's pulling me under.


I think I'm ready.