Since my last post, Cliff's 4th grandchild was born (Rex Clifford), Christmas and New Year have passed us by, and I've emotionally "left" our home ...
I was honoured to be Jayde's birthing partner and the FIRST PERSON IN THE WORLD to hold Rex Clifford. He's perfect. We managed not to cry (or pass out) but found ourselves blinking at a rate of a million blinks per minute to disperse any tears bubbling at our tear ducts. And you can almost see my chin wobbling in one of the photos. It was fun having sleepovers with Amber (Cliff's first grandchild) for the two nights that Jayde was in hospital ... and we shared looking after Scarlett.
This magical experience was unfortunately followed by sad news. One of my school friends died of sleep apnea whilst staying in a hotel LA, for a job interview. We were all shocked and very upset as the news spread. Eerily, he'd emailed me the week before to tell me how much he loved me. After the tears, I found myself grateful to have had this gentle giant of a man as one of my friends ... and to have spent time with him a couple of years previously, at a school reunion.
And ... as the 4th Christmas/New Year approached ... I was totally amazed to find myself genuinely looking forward to the holidays again. Excited even. We had a quiet yet lovely time together as a family. My big sister's cottage was made for Christmas ... the quintessential English country cottage with wood burning fire, beams and doors you (and even I ... at a height of 5' 2.5") have to bend down to fit through.
A real tree ... gifts put underneath on Xmas Eve, candles lit ... Xmas stockings ... and my sister spoiled us all with tree presents and gifts for the table too.
I lit a candle for Cliff of course. Didn't make a big deal about it. Just quiet.
The stars on Christmas night practically filled the sky and were so bright. "Hello, Baba," I smiled, before blowing him a kiss skyward. There were some silent tears that escaped a few times (usually in the shower, or outside whilst having a Marlboro Lite) but none of the big dramatic sobbing episodes that came with the first three years without my Baba.
After 2 weeks with my sister and coming home without Barney (he remains in a high class kennels in Suffolk so that packing up the house is easier ... he is a Houdini and clearing out stuff, packing it, giving it away means the front door will be open more often than not) was not easy. I had a sobbing episodes and felt myself spiralling downwards rapidly. So ... I got in the car and found myself at my friend's house. I cried and asked if I could stay a couple of nights and she suggested I stay with her till I leave for Spain. And I am. I've left our home in every sense except for physically emptying it. For now all focus remains on the paperwork to ensure that the sale completes quickly. My latest ETA is 28th February ... hurrah!
Onwards to my new life (Life v.3) in Spain with Barney ... it's a busy time but I have help packing ... and more importantly, after spending a day there, I know I can return to my temporary "post restante" address by the coast ... appropriately spending my last days in the UK in the place where his invisible footprints remain.