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.

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


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


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.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Break another piece of my heart

I'm happy for the Chilean Miners.

Honestly, I am.

But I just can't watch the emotional reunions on the news.

It will break another piece of my heart.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Our friend's girlfriend is now my friend

As I swung into her street, I saw her gardening.

She was miles away ... in her la-la land ... a remarkably similar place to the one where I used to reside, and seem to be visiting more frequently lately, much to my astonishment.

I lower my window and say, "Alright, darlin'?", pretending I'm a lecherous bloke, much to her amusement, park ... and we head indoors to put the kettle on.

She looks at me and asks, "are you okay sweetheart, why are your eyes all puffy?" ... and I tell her that I had been bawling the night before (at Cliff's brother's house) because after too much alcohol ... everyone started arguing about jack shit, shouting and screaming ... even getting physical ... and it just really really affected me. I didn't like seeing them like that - divided and ugly. It was ugly. Unnecessary. Horrible. The vodka making them talk shit and acting out.

I told her that in the end, I was so upset that I was on the verge of calling one of Cliff's friend's to come pick me up. That scared them into scrapping outside (out of my view).

I walked up to them all and shouted, "haven't any of you ... not fucking one of you learned ANYTHING from Cliff's death? Life is too short. This is bollocks. Please just stop it."

But they were fuelled by earlier ugly words, adrenalin was flowing ... along with the vodka in their veins, and you know, suddenly everyone thinks they're fuckin' Superman.

Cliff's youngest brother, however, hung his head low, and went quiet ... his body language completely changing. He couldn't look at me standing there sobbing. And he left.

Pathetic. I was upset, angry and just wanted to call Lloyd or someone to come get me. You know, just wanted him to walk in, ignore everyone, and just pick me up like a 3 year old ... and take me out of there.

I'm not used to the shouting, losing control thing.

I hate that.

It makes me flashback to an ex ... and his drinking Jeckyll and Hyde persona, and his shouting ... and the violence. I don't like the feeling and I don't react well to it. At all.

For the record, I did live with fuckin Superman. And he'd have laughed at their antics. It was like a bitch fight. Pathetic. Lucky none of them know how to fight like he did, otherwise it would have been a trip to ER and a police visit.

I'm just not used to it.

Cliff could hold his drink. I can hold my drink. And if I do get squiffy, I'll just entertain people dancing, being silly, laughing.

I got so upset that I went into escape mode ... holding my mobile in my hand ... ducking and weaving out of their grasp - their attempts to comfort me ... keeping my eye on all exits ... and then I picked up the dog bed and took their dog with me into the guest room. There I was like a child, cuddling the dog and booing ... and nearly got to sleep when the door opened and I was shaken awake. "you've got to sort them out ... they're kicking off again," pleads Cliff's nephew's best friend.

Up I get, still fully dressed ... and I laugh at them. "you're bringing it on ... intentionally ... cut it out NOW," I ask.

They don't. And I just want my husband. Because they would have listened to him.

Then his nephew sees how distraught I am and apologizes. Straightens out. Demands that everyone is civilized. Screams that I am inconsolable. And I am.

Now they're all playing nicely I decide to have another drink and put some tunes on. No more consideration from me. I select sounds that I love. Trance. Banging house. Fuck you. And I start dancing. I'm not even drunk. But I am fuckin pissed off.

Dancing in my la-la land. I can't hear you. Lalalalalalalalalala. Hands try to hold me and dance with me. But I'm cage dancing. Fuck you. Can't touch me.

And Cliff's nephew stands close, just watching me, concerned. I grin at him ... and he opens his arms and I step in a bit closer and he picks me up, like the 3 year old that I am ... dancing with me ... rock a bye baby lalalalalala. Then I realize he's flashing my arse at everyone and tell him, and he practically drops me.

I eventually go to bed at 08h00 and don't wake up till 14h00. I didn't get shit-faced, just a bit squiffy, but I do have the hangover from hell. After some toast and a shower, followed by 6 cups of tea I leave and head out to see our friend's girlfriend.

"FFS," says Shirley when I finish telling her why my eyes are puffy.

I start to unwind finally. Another tea and more Marlboro Lites. And she puts some video footage of Roy on the PC. He's not home again until the end of November and she's missing him. Lots. Big style.

Hearing his voice, hearing him laugh ... completes the downtime process. It's like he's there. Not on the monitor.

She moves to turn it off and I ask her not to. Doesn't batter an eyelid. She knows how close Roy is to us.

A ten minute visit turned into 3 hours, which were spent telling each other stories about Roy, Cliff, us and them. Taking turns. Funny stories. Serious shit.

And I realize that her ethics, standards, morals are matched to my own.

That her relationship with Roy is almost identical to the way Cliff and I were.

We share some deep dark stuff, knowing that our fears, thoughts and feelings are safe in each other's keeping.

I learn that she was widowed when she was 35, and she also lost her grand-daughter at the age of 4. I feel as though I've known her my whole life. She's a genuine, trusting, honest, up front woman. She is so in love with Roy, and he is her.

I've never seen Roy like this before. And I remember ... those same words being uttered about Cliff many moons ago. I love it. I love that our friend has finally found his soulmate - true love. The closeness that no one can drive apart, try as they might.

And I tell her. We both agree that we know it's precious. A rare thing. Something that people can spend a lifetime searching for ... and not find.

We both did. We're both lucky. Widowed or not.

And not only that, she's no longer my friend's girlfriend. She's now my friend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A mere blink of an eye … relatively speaking

As I drove home last night, I had to squint due to the fierce sunlight hitting my rear view mirror. Being British, I had removed my sunnies from my handbag, wrongly assuming that there would not be cause to wear them again this year.

Out of nowhere, I thought of my Mom wearing her Ray-Bans, driving and smiling in the sun … in Bahrain where we lived for many years. And I smiled … back at her. It was a warming thought that she and I had both squinted because of the same sun whilst driving. I smiled again because of the connection.

Acceptance has brought with it a fresh mindset.

Something that I have finally grasped is the fact that my Mom’s life was hers, Cliff’s was his … ergo, mine is mine. That although we were so close and loved them so so much, that it doesn’t detract from the fact that each life has its own timeline.

And I’m beginning to not only see that fact, I’m becoming more comfortable about accepting the same fact. That said, it doesn’t make it any less painful. But it does afford me some peace simultaneously.

And if I measure any earthbound life; mine, my mother’s, even Cliff’s … against the life of the sun, it is but a blink of an eye. If that.

And this is what I shall think of each time a tsunami hits me, bringing me to my knees. Compared to eternity, compared to the lifespan of the sun, the wait to see him again is nothing … nothing. Not really.

It just feels like a millennia. That’s all.

Breathe, breathe. Keep it in perspective, Boo.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A new level

I now understand why I was terrified of reaching "acceptance".

Very naively, I assumed that my mind would be blown apart by the fact that Cliff's death was real. Not so.
If anything, it softly crept into my heart, mindset and belief. But once it had snuck through ... with the stealth of an SAS soldier ... (roughly a week after "the firework") it took root. There is no going back to that place where everything is unsure and foggy. I know this intuitively. Beyond any doubt.

I was right to be frightened of accepting his death though.

For this new level brings a deeper and much more powerful grief.

Waves of water have turned into waves of molten heavy lead. Heavy enough to debilitate. Crippling. When I can catch my breath, I always tell him, "this is killing me, baba. Literally." When I cry now, I can't breathe. I make noises that sound unearthly. I literally fall to my knees, or find myself bent over, heaving with the pain of it. It's primal, as it was in the beginning, except this time round, I know it's true. All I can do is feel ... all I can do is embrace the pain, until it passes.

There always seems to be a trade-off in this journey. On reaching this new "level", I have been graced with peace, because I no longer feel that inner turmoil, confusion or wavering between belief and disbelief. I've stopped looking for him, stopped trying to recreate that which cannot be brought back, stopped begging him to return for I have finally, after 20 or 21 months, truly accepted that he cannot.

That he is reduced to ashes.

Those faded translucent water colours have stopped following me. In their place are "action replays" whirring round in my mind, memories, clearer visuals of him - I can pluck these out of the recesses of my mind on a whim. And I do. Often. Not to torture myself but just to remember ... doing so reassures me sometimes even. Not always.

Everything is so much clearer right now. I "get it" ... everything he wanted me to know, understand, feel and learn. And it stuns me. Out of nowhere, involuntarily I remember something he said "in passing" ... and I "get it" ... I finally hear him, comprehend what he said at last. Crystal clear. There are many examples but the most prominent one is about one of my dogs.

Recently I keep hearing his words, "don't ever leave him. He'd be lost without you." Cliff was referring to my deaf dog Fred, and I immediately replied, "why would I ever leave him. I wouldn't," with complete conviction. I can see myself, back then, shaking my head and frowning. Feeling perplexed and wondering WTF he said it for. I remember thinking that it was the most ludicrous statement, left-field, ridiculous and unthinkable. Outrageous even. Perhaps a little insulting. And then I remember Cliff's silent response - his facial leakage, his body language. I vividly recollect sensing that Cliff was intimating that I ... me ... yours truly was being referred to alone. Not we ... us ... and it felt alien and I didn't "get it", I simply thought it was peculiar when he said it. He knew I might find it all a bit much because Fred - believe me - is a special needs dog. He gets separation anxiety, even if I go upstairs without him. If I want to go out at the weekend, I have to get up early and pretend to go to work. If I don't, he will bark incessantly ... up to 6 hours ... till I return, causing my neighbours to complain. He insists on being "velcro-ed" to my leg, prolonging any home chores significantly. If I ignore him too long because of chores, work or even if I am on the phone too long, he will punish me by peeing indoors, sometimes worse. Every time I come on, he spends those 4 days trying to shag Barney, much to Barney's irritation, often culminating in fur flying when the poor thing has had enough. I mean the dog doesn't do anything for those 4 days (unless he's eating or sleeping) other than make this his mission. I have to walk the dogs separately because Fred "walks" on his back legs, barking like a piercing siren, clearly paranoid that every bug, dog, person and car is a physical threat to me. Even shadows. Thankfully he only reacts like this when he's not on his home turf.

I could go on. And on.

I am ashamed to admit that in the past couple of months I have been contemplating taking him to a rescue shelter for dogs. At one very low point in my psyche, I even contemplated having him put down.

And this thought actually emanated from the mind of a girl who adores animals, especially dogs. A girl who would die chasing her dog across the road, without a care for her own safety. The same girl who failed a driving test courtesy of a Great Dane who lolloped in front of her car, resulting in the examiner contemptuously informing her that he could not possibly pass anyone who valued a dog's life above a human's. The same girl who walked 8 miles in the freezing rain to raise money for Orang-Utans, then again for Snow Leopards. The girl who was an ardent Ele-friend. The girl who only selects animal charities to donate to (with the exception of SSLF post Cliff dying). The girl who feeds strays when on luxurious holidays much to the chagrin of resort and restaurant employees.

I could go on. And on.

And now ... I look in his deep brown eyes. The eyes that he looked through fearfully at the world. The same world that taught him that people were cruel. That the very person he loved with unconditional loyalty beat him as a puppy. So badly that the RSPCA rescued him and re-homed him with a family a few miles from here. The family who consequently realized that they didn't have the time, energy or patience to deal with his behavioural problems, and who unwisely decided to resolve the issue by buying a pedigree dog to keep him company ... only to discover that the issue became even worse. The family who sold Fred and Barney to us when we were mourning the loss of our Rottweiler, who died at the age of 9 (which is old for that particular breed). I look at him and see nothing left of the distrusting, flinching, count-his-ribs-by-looking-at-him dog that we brought home. And I remember that he is super-glued to me because I am the only person who has ever loved him. Never beaten him. Always gently woken him when he whimpers in his doggy-nightmares. The noise is PITIFUL and breaks my heart because I'm sure that he is remembering his past in his dreams.

I look at him and see a loving dog who would die protecting me, who literally tries to hug me when I return from work each day. A gentle, kind soul. The same dog who, last Christmas, pressed his body into mine all night long, each night because he sensed I needed him to. The dog who will carefully lick the salty tears from my face. The dog I made an unquestionable commitment to. Anything else, any other scenario never crossed my mind, and never would have before losing Cliff.

And the shame burns me. It feels as though the thoughts were from another "me". In an alternate nasty reality. Not me. Completely against the grain. Absolutely unthinkable. Never.

And I say to Cliff out loud, "you knew, didn't you?" He knew.

This new level of grief, as deep as it goes ... has enabled me to learn and listen to Cliff again properly.

And it's allowed me to look at my deaf dog - with all his idiosyncrasies - through the eyes of the girl who adores him, whatever he does.

I feel like I've got me back again. Broken yet mending. The dog lover. The animal lover. The natural protective instinct that is part of my genetic make-up is functioning again. That add-on is fixed. I'm no longer falling in and out of love with this particular shithead.

Cliff knew that I would struggle when everything went black. That Fred would probably be the proverbial straw. And he mentioned it, "in passing". It made no sense whatsoever at the time. But today ... it's crystal. And I listened and understood this time. I'd have never ever forgiven myself, and I was so close, saved by my husband's voice and words. My beautiful strong husband who knew how I would not have ever really recovered from making a terrible decision through desperation and pain.

He's mine. For life. Whatever.

Friday, October 1, 2010

His drawer

I had to find my cheque book last night.

Which meant I had to open "his" drawer in the kitchen.

It's hard to describe because it's like comfort and pain at the same time.

His handwriting, his wallet, a dinky toy he found, blueprints, the hospital report from when he fell 20' onto concrete steps (which made me cry because the doctor had written "quite tired" and that was just so bloody typical of Cliff to understate how ill he felt), money bags, receipts, notepads, pencils that were shaved rather than sharpened ... and countless other objects.

Luckily I found the cheque book quickly and was then distracted by a humungous spider crawling across the floor, so my tears were wiped away to enable me to see properly ... so that I could kill it.

I'm getting quite good at killing spiders, but can't help the screaming. Although sometimes I don't scream and I wonder if that's because I know that no one is coming to rescue me.

I have to say that acceptance has brought me more peace ... and more lessons.

But the grief ... is harder. The pain, the loss is more acute ... clearer. It descends on you like a wave of lead, crushing you.

I let it crush me because I know that I will stand up afterwards and get off my knees again, time and time again.

He taught me that, you know? Never give up.