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


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.


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.