Love don’t live here any more.

I had a very lovely text yesterday, from someone who reads this, had noticed I haven’t been writing, and was just checking in to see if I was ok. It meant a lot, and no, I didn’t mind you getting in touch. Thank you for caring enough to do so. Because generally people don’t check in anymore. Not that I blame them. Everyone has their own lives to live, paths to walk, journeys to make. I know they’d be there if I reached out to them. It’s just that it’s not something that you feel like you can do when you’re lost down a rabbit hole. Who the h*ll would want to talk to someone feeling like that? It hardly makes me a sparkling conversationalist, and why would I want to drag someone down to these depths anyway?

But I’m still here. As it happens, now that Austin has moved out, and Tash has gone back to uni, I’m still here all by myself. Well not right now. Right now I’m at the pub writing this because I haven’t seen an actual person in two days, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people, not including work. It wasn’t doing my head any good, so I thought maybe I should go and see other people having a life, even if I don’t have one. That and I need to pop to the shop, so I forced myself to get my arse in gear and here I am.

Yes I’m still here. Living on my own. Except it’s not really living. It’s just existing. Sitting my empty house. The house feels weird, like no-one lives in it anymore. As the title to this latest epistle says, love don’t live here anymore. It’s quiet. Emptily eerily quiet, like a long abandoned ruin. And I know it hasn’t been long, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it, I’m just in the middle of a period of readjustment.

In the meantime, even though I know I should, I can’t seem to find the energy to arrange to see anyone. To go visit anyone. To exercise. To leave the house. Hell, I barely get out of bed most of the time, since that’s where I tend to work from too. And writing here? Well I’m just going to sit here and pour my pain on to the page again, and who wants to hear me going on and on about that? So I haven’t been writing either. I have at least managed to carry on working, but I haven’t invoiced anyone for months and I haven’t done my personal accounts for even longer. Not good.

Don’t wake me up
It’s the best that I’ve felt in weeks
And to be completely honest
I’d rather be happily dead or asleep

The only thing I’m really good at at the moment is sleeping. 12 hours straight easy, however many alarms I set. Because however many alarms I set, my brain knows they’re just arbitrary, and as such can be ignored. There is no real reason I should wake up; I don’t have appointments, or plans, and so… I hit snooze over and over again, and eventually end up waking up far later than I wanted to, which just gives me something else to beat myself up about. But hey, at least I then have less of a day to get through before I can go back to sleep, right?
Sometimes I make an effort. I try and find something to do. As you can see, I’ve bleached and dyed my hair. I even put a smile on for the camera, as I was showing Tash the results. I’ve made a new pendant out of a goldstone heart that Matt bought me. I’m refurbishing a lazy susan I got secondhand. I’m binge watching box sets. Anything to kill some time…
This was supposed to be our time. Our happy ever after, being together for the rest of our lives. Not just for the rest of his. I am missing him so much, and it still hurts just as much as ever, even if it has a slightly different quality to it. There’s still so much I want to say to him, and can’t. So many places I can’t go without him. There’ve been a lot of memory flashbacks just to help make things that little bit worse. I miss him, I miss my kids, I miss my life, and I miss who I was. The sheer loneliness of life now is heartbreaking and soul destroying and quite literally painful.

I’m most definitely not OK. Well, the me that is writing this isn’t. The me who goes through the motions at home, and randomly bursts into tears at the drop of a non-existent hat isn’t OK. Sometimes I go out, and it’s nice to be out, and to see people. Most people probably think I’m ok. I can chat, and laugh, and be distracted, and I’m grateful to them for including me, and for the semblance of normality it brings, while all the time feeling like I’m standing slightly off to one side from myself, watching it all go on. And then I have to go home, because I’m tired of dancing. So I go home, drained, to a still empty house. Everything is where I left it. All the things I’m not getting done are still not done. Nothing has changed. There’s a feline saving grace though. In the absence of any other option, each of our three cats will now spend some time sitting on me at some point during the day. And Max gives good cuddles. They make me cry, but that’s ok, I do that on and off all day anyway. Crying with fluffy cuddles is better than crying alone.
I know that with time, I will establish a new routine, I will find things to do, projects to put my mind to. I will visit people, I will see friends, I will get back on the spin bike, and maybe one day I’ll get around to going away by myself again, like I used to once upon a long time ago. I’m just not there yet.

Land of make believe

I sometimes feel almost ok for a little while. I get busy. I’m working. I’m reading. I’m hanging out with the kids or very occasionally with friends. Whatever. Busy brain, thinking about other things, doing other things…

At which point you probably expect me to say I then feel guilty for feeling ok, as the cliché goes.

But that’s not how it is.

It’s more like my brain gets distracted, thinks everything is ok, and then, well, if everything is ok, it must be because Matt is around, right? Everything’s ok again, right? Life is back to normal.

And then the busy stops. The silence descends again…and…it’s not ok. My brain remembers how things actually are, and has to remind itself, and me, that he isn’t around, and it’s not ok, and it’s never going to be that kind of ok ever again..

And it’s like it hits you all over again.

Again, and again, and again.

The ‘never again’ is the brick wall I’m constantly mentally banging my head against, and it never goes away. I might get to bang my head against it a little less often these days, especially if I try hard, but it’s always there, and the impact never seems to hurt any less.

Tash goes back to Uni on Saturday, and I’m trying very hard not to think about it, not to count down the days, so as not to panic about the fact that as of Sunday yet another new stage of my life starts. The one where I live here completely on my own. I’m sure it’ll work out fine. It kind of has to, it’s not like it’s optional. It will be what it turns out to be. But, as with everything else these days, that’s not going to stop me worrying about it beforehand, now is it?

Out and about

Another day. But one that was a little better, as they go.

We got out of the house.

We went and saw someone who has become a friend over the last year. As I’ve said before, it’s odd who has come out of the woodwork to support me, and also who I thought would, and then haven’t. Not to mention the grief tourists – those who popped up to vicariously enjoy the ride, be seen to be being oh so supportive, and then vanished in the haze.

We picked up some repaired jewellery, that is special to me, and having a particular bracelet back on my wrist felt good. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it being there.

I then played taxi so Tash could see friends.

Being out is better than being in.

It also turns out that Austin will be down Friday/Saturday for one final family body art Bristol trip, as he wants new ink before life gets properly locked down again since, like me, he thinks that’s going to happen. And I think I’ll get the matching dermal since it turns out that Ruby has a spare appointment at the same time. Why not, right? It’ll be nice to be all together again, however briefly. The crest before the crash.

On the downside, COVID-19 is further f*cking with life, and if things go as I fear they will, there’s a very real possibility that I could end up out of a job in the middle of next year. And it’s always good to have something else to add to the list of things to worry about, right?

And don’t tell me not to worry, as life keeps showing me that things can always get worse.

Anyway, today was better than yesterday.

Perpetual Motion

Yes I know, there’s no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.
But…

Every day I mean to go to bed early.
Because every day waking up is a struggle.
And the day that follows it seems to be hell.

So by the time I get to now, I’ve drunk enough, got myself into a settled place where I’m watching Netflix or whatever, actually I can’t face going to bed. So I stay up, and thus, the wheel turns, the cycle repeats, and in a few hours…? Same sh*t, different day.

And there we go again, over and over and over again; perpetual hell, if not perpetual motion.

For starters, even though I know that asleep is better than awake, and my dreams are better than my life, I also know that inevitably I will have to wake up to reality at some point tomorrow, and I won’t want to, and I’ll have to remember what my life actually is every time I surface, and it never hurts any less. If I’m lucky, I’ll dream of him. But then if I’m lucky that way, then waking up will be even worse. There is no win here. So why go to sleep, when I know I can’t stay there, and I don’t want to wake up?

I thought that after the vultures had descended and picked over his bones, and that that day wasn’t hanging over me, I would feel better. I don’t. I really really don’t. And ok, they’re not vultures, they’re family who are totally entitled to have his things, but since they haven’t seen fit to reply to my request for the one thing that shouldn’t have gone to them to be returned to me, that meant a lot to me, (surprise, surprise), I’m not feeling all that charitable right now. Why should I continuously do the right thing, when others don’t?

And as an aside, my house was full of his stuff. But stuff doesn’t make any noise. So why does it feel not just empty, but somehow so much f*cking quieter?

Anyway.

The last few days have been pretty hellish. I’m a complete wreck, tbh. Like I said, I thought having it over and done with would help me feel better. It hasn’t. I guess it’s aftermath, aftershock…I haven’t recovered from it yet. I’m bouncing along the bottom. Minus the bounce.

That’s the thing with grief. We’ve all lost people, grandparents etc, In the natural order of things. I’ve lost best friends. This? All new. I have no map. No experience to fall back on. No knowing that I’ll get through it and be ok. You think you know how it’s going to go. You don’t.

I want to be ‘better’. I want to be happy again, I want to ‘move on’, blah blah. I’m not wallowing in it, lingering, whatever you might think, on purpose. But grief like this isn’t what you want it to be. It is uncharted territory. Part of it is learning that you don’t get over it. You don’t get to go back to the person you were. And it would kind of be an insult to the person who meant so much to you if you did. You are changed. You are changing. Like the primordial ooze inside a chrysalis. You have no idea who you’re going to be at the end of the process. And you don’t get to choose how the ride goes. You’re just along for it. Fighting against it just makes it worse. Which is so not me. I’m a control freak.

I know I need to learn not to expect so much of myself. To be kinder to myself. To let myself be how I need to be whenever I need to be whatever that is. I keep setting myself up for failure, because I have no clue what I’m doing, but keeping thinking that I should be doing better, and then I’m not doing it right, and that I’m failing at this, just like everything else. Hopefully over the next few days I will settle down a bit. Just in time for Tash to go back to Uni, and leave me home alone. Even though I’d kinda like her to stay being here, I really hope Covid-19 doesn’t stop her leaving. She should be out there living her uni life. Not stuck here with her wreck of a mother. So fingers crossed for her…

You wouldn’t have thought Frozen 2 would trigger a flashback, would you? And I wish it hadn’t. And Tash hadn’t seen it, and felt a little bad, because she hadn’t expected it to make me cry. It’s just Disney, right? But it’s ok. Everything makes me cry at the moment, and it is what it is. Can’t blame the film, or her, or whatever. I’m just having a really bad patch. I miss him, I’m scared to be home alone soon, and I wish this wasn’t my life. I would never treat anyone, or talk about anyone, the way that people have behaved towards me, and knowing that it is forever out there makes it worse. But that also is what it is, and I will never be able to change that. And all of it, everything, really, really, hurts.

Bedtime right? Well, soon anyway…

Empty house

I want to write more.
But I can’t.
I’m feeling very oddly numb. And not in a comfortable way.
It’s been a very long day.
It’s been a very sh*tty day.
It’s been a day that has been full of far too much.
And I think my brain has just shut down to turn off the pain.
It’s all too much to process at once, especially now that my friends have gone home, and Austin has gone home, and Tash has gone to sleep.

I lost a favourite earring amidst the chaos. A nothing, really, but annoying. But as it happens, just a mild irritation really.

Far more, so much more importantly, the snowboard that Matt had always hung on my side of the bed, that he’d given me, that he was going to teach me on, got taken up there by accident. Too many people trying to be helpful at once without quite enough communication. Such things happen. Which would normally just be one of those things. A ‘Ho Hum, Ah well’ thing. But not this time…

I was going to leave it be.
But I knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t at least make an attempt to ask for it back.
There’s not a cat in hell’s chance they’ll give it back to me.
I know they don’t care about what I feel or what I want.
But at least I’ve asked.
At this point, what do I have to lose by asking?
So it’s up to them now, isn’t it?
Do the right thing, or don’t.
Sadly, if I was a betting woman, which I’m not, I’d bet against me…

And so now here I sit.
Matt has been uninstalled.
I feel sort of additionally bereft.
Even more lost.
It’s now a very empty house.
It’s indescribable.

In case you were wondering, this is what a life looks like, packaged up and about to leave…

Yet another goodbye.
More salt in the wound.

But it’s done.
And it’s now tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it turned out to be a better day?
Sod betting I think.
All bets are off.
No point anyone wasting their money at this point, right?

His stuff is gone.
And, being just stuff, it will inevitably end up gone and forgotten way before he is.
He lives on in those of us he left behind.
And I will carry him with, and within me, until my turn comes.

In the meantime, I’ve got a little birdhouse in my soul for you. No matter how long it’s been, you are still SO beautiful to me. I love you, I loved you all along, and I miss you. I know you’re far away, but one day I hope I’ll somehow find my way back to you, and we will walk hand in hand together through fields of gold, alongside an eternal beach, while the waves crash on the shore beside us. If there’s a heaven, that would be mine. However I can’t leave yet, so in the meantime leave a light on for me, and have a little patience? What will be will be. I can hope, right? These days hope is all I really have.

Uninstallation

Did you know I used to be a software engineer? I did, you know. Back in the days before marriage, and children, and divorce, and Matt, and holy crap so many years ago. In fact if marriage had worked out, last week would have been our 25th wedding anniversary, which is beyond weird as concepts go. Sometimes I feel like I’m a hundred years old. So much water under the bridge. I can’t even imagine it now. When I look at photos of Matt and I, even that seems surreal somehow now. I don’t recognise that happy carefree person. My life now is so far removed from that. That world is just…well…a world away. It’s quite literally unbelievable in so many ways…I guess maybe that’s because a part of me still refuses to believe that this is my life now.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Software. I was a software engineer. I analysed, I programmed, I created and sorted databases, wrote user manuals, etc., etc. And over the years in between, I’ve spent a lot of time on computers. Working. Communicating. I’m a dab hand with them most of the time. Websites, social media, marketing, sorting software tech problems for people…that’s me. Yep. I’m a closet geek. Well, ok, probably I’m not very in the closet with that, but that’s neither here nor there.

In case you were wondering, there is actually a point to this. I’m just taking a while to get there, because I don’t really want to think about it, and I’ve been doing my best to keep very busy and constructive and focused all week so as to keep my emotions at bay. I’m not ready to open the floodgates, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to close them again. Having said that, tomorrow all bets are off. Prepare for the flood, build me a f*cking Ark, get ready to ride the tsunami…

Tomorrow, Matt v.48 will be uninstalled from my house. From our home. Right now my house is full of boxes that are full of his stuff. And then there’s all the stuff that won’t fit in boxes. There is a whole heap of stuff, and then some. And it’s all going. See, now you know where I was going with the software metaphor.

Luckily both the kids are able to be here for the day, as are a couple of other friends, along with the all star man with a van, Kevin. I will not be on my own, I will be amongst family and friends. The Rule of 6 may be an inconvenience in many ways, but it turns out that it has a silver lining. Thanks to the Rule of 6, no-one else is able to be here, as we’d be breaking the law. Handy that, no?

So the van will get loaded up here, shuttled up there, unloaded, maybe once, twice, whatever it takes. And then it will done. Yes, the house will be much much emptier. But the memories will remain. His presence will remain. Taking his stuff away doesn’t wipe that out. For all that I don’t want to let any of it go in some ways, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just stuff. And hey, it’s a small house. Maybe it will look a little less like an episode of Hoarders without Austin’s stuff (which went a little while ago) and Matt’s stuff in it…?

Doesn’t matter whether it will or won’t, it’s going to happen regardless, so I guess that was a rhetorical question of sorts. The actual process of watching it all go, and all the memories that are going to be triggered by seeing all those things, is going to hurt like f*ck. I’m going to cry a lot. Like a river. But it won’t be hanging over me anymore. It’ll be done. And that’s a good thing.

Nonetheless, the chances are you’ll find me at a local hostelry somewhere after that, drowning my sorrows. and crying into whichever poison I’ve decided to drown them in. Matt would approve. He wouldn’t approve of the rest of the above. Man, he would be SO furious with how it’s all gone down though, like me, not surprised. But he’d approve of rounding it all off with a few drinks. I’m sure we’ll raise the odd one in his honour, in memoriam, too.

I was not me until I
Discovered you.
You are significant

So, here it comes I guess… Deep breaths.

Now the night is over

This evening my inner jukebox and my Deezer flow and my feelings have been, maybe bizarrely, in sync. So prepare yourself for even more song lyric links than usual.

And I know it’s late, but I wasn’t ready for sleep.

But now the day is over, even for me, the night is drawing nigh.

I know it’s all just coincidence. But then as Gibbs says, with Rule 39 I believe, “there’s no such thing as coincidence“…so who knows?

And yes, it’s lazy of me. I should write more myself. And I’m sorry, but I have a really tough week ahead of me. and I just don’t have the emotional capacity right now. I’m too busy holding myself together. I have some friends gathering around me to get me over the final hurdle, but that isn’t going to make it any less painful. It will however, put one more thing behind me, and draw a line under things.

So, if other people can say  what I want to say better than me? Let’s let them do it. My walls are up, and they’re not coming down to write a blog right now.

So lets start with the only ear worm I’ve had today. I can’t remember it ever popping into my head before. He always made me feel on top of the world, and inspired me to try, and he’s still my shining star. So, maybe…?

And let’s follow that with the white flag that I will never be waving, as there will be no surrender. I’m in love with him and always will be, however life moves on.

After all, all I needed was the love he gave, and getting through every day without it is indescribably painful. I don’t think I’ll ever be whole again.

As my life continues, when I’m left home SO alone, especially with Tash going back to uni, nothing ever happens. It’s just me, here. I will be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

All I can do is hope that maybe one day, as the song from his favourite film says, beauty will come out of ashes.

Can’t say I have much hope in that.
I reckon I’m just here until I’m pushing up my own daisies.

There, wasn’t that cheerful? I just have to get through this week. Get myself to Saturday night. And then I think I may go and get very, very drunk. Wisdom may come with age, emphasis on the may, but I’m not that old yet, even if I often feel like I’m ancient, past it, and worn out. So, wise or not, there will be sorrows to drown, and then hopefully locked safely away in Davey Jones’ locker, so that I can move on to whatever the future may hold. I’ve been knocked down, maybe I’ll get back up again. I have no great expectations. Just as well really.

How am I? Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

The stars may not align, but I’ll still try and shine for you. Always.

Fear isn’t the killer, loneliness is.

It’s going on stupid o’clock, as ever.
But then who cares?
For the second day in a row, in my home alone trial run, it’s been just me.

No-one cares when I go to bed.
No-one is there when I do.
No-one cares when I wake up.
No-one is there when I do that either.

I got a large chunk of work done.
I cried a lot.
I did chores.
I cried a lot.
I went up the road for a pint with my kindle. before I did the shopping and came home and forced myself to eat, because that’s what people do.
It’s also the only way I was going to have any actual human contact.
Not a phone call from the boss.
Or the odd random text from whomever.
Actual talk with a real person, in person.

And I did, after a fashion, chat to a couple of other people, in a completely meaningless pass the time kind of way.
And then I shopped.
And I walked home, crying a lot.
And then I came home, to an empty house.
And cried some more.

The cats are missing the kids, fighting over territory, and not yet quite ready to give in and concede that they might have to spend time with me, in my role as understudy.
The reptiles have all just eaten, and let’s face it, they’re not really all about the feels.

So here I am.

On the sofa.
All by myself.
White wine, crappy TV, iPad games.
Which would be heaven to some people.
Sadly I’m not one of them.
It’s just sh*t.

I guess I’ll go to bed soon.
That being what people do.
And then I’ll be asleep, where I get to go and live in one of many worlds, away from this one, and from which waking up is like waking the dead, and I fight it with every fibre of my being, because I’d rather be in those dreams than in this life.

So I’ll wake up.
Cry a lot.
I’ll make coffee, take my meds, cry a lot.
And then tomorrow will be just like today.

Rinse and repeat.

As trial runs go, I think it’s going swimmingly, don’t you?

Tick, tock…

Three simple words.

Been dreaming of you lately, so waking up has been hard, because I’ve wanted to stay where you were, however weird it was.
Been out a couple of times today, seen people, chatted, played normal.
Been trying to ignore the fact the the kids are away next week, which is I guess my first trial run of being here, home alone, all alone.

There’s lots I could write or say.
But it basically just boils down to the one thing.

I miss you.

All the time.

I miss you, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive without you.

This was supposed to be our time…and now it’s just me.
And I don’t know if me is enough.

Stretched on your grave

So. Today is not a date I am planning on remembering, or marking, in years to come. But it is the last first, so this year it counts.

Today marked a year since we laid Matt to rest. Except we didn’t even do that. So then today marks a year since the necessary formalities took place. When we all formally and officially got together and said goodbye to him, in accordance with social norms, none of which he gave a monkey’s about.

I remember being in one of the formal cars in the procession, that I’d had to fight to have, since apparently it had been decided that only family get to go in one of those, and I wasn’t family. Like I was supposed to follow along behind like some sort of second class citizen in whatever car we had. Since I was paying for half of the funeral, I paid for the extra car. I sat in that car, with my family and friends, following the hearse down the A38, and I remember commenting on how surreal the whole thing was, and that I’d never imagined ever having to do anything like that. That I couldn’t believe what was happening. And the whole day was like that. It happened. I was there. But I wasn’t there. It was like it was all happening to someone else. But it was a lovely day, in so far as it could be, even if the rifts that would grow were already present and obvious. It was all about rites, not rights. The sun shone, it happened, it was done.

Maybe laying him to rest would have been better. After all, he’d be whole, in one place, sent on his way by everyone. But he wanted to be cremated, and he wanted to be scattered on our hill. Thanks to family animosity, and to minimise stress all around, we split his cremains (yes, that is actually a word), and so half of him has gone one way and has now been scattered the way that they wanted to do it, and the other half will go another way when the world opens up enough for us to do it the way he would have wanted. With his and our friends, and celebration, and warmth, and joy, and tears, and all that it needs to be for all of us that will be there (we had to postpone our original plans thanks to Covid restrictions). And one day, when I’m ready, a small final part will be set free on a particular special beach, which has nothing to do with anyone else other than me and him.

His funeral was just a date. He was already long gone, travelling along the path he’d chosen. Everyone got to do their duty, say their goodbyes and then the majority considered their dues paid, their job done, and went back to their lives, leaving the rest of us grieving on our own, with precious little support. I am so grateful to those of you, and you know who you are, who have stuck with me since then. Grief doesn’t go away just because the funeral is over. Or because a year has passed. You don’t get over it, you just learn to live with it, and I’m still trying to learn how to do that. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I guess I was hoping that, in Victorian style, the year would be up, my widow’s weeds would come off, metaphorically speaking, and then I would feel better. I don’t. In fact it almost feels harder, as the numbness and shock wears off, and true reality sets in. As they say, where there was great love, there is great grief, and man, did I love him. So much. I’ve never known love like it, and it went both ways. So I’m not going to pretend it’s ok, that I’ve moved on,  that life is normal now, just to please other people. It really isn’t, and I’m not ok. I’m still here, and I will continue to be. But I’m not ok.

In two weeks time the final active part of this shitty journey will be over and done with. His belongings will have been taken away from me, which hopefully Covid-19 restrictions will still allow to happen, since having started, I just want it over and done with now. And then I want them all to leave me alone. I’ve done my best for the whole year, but clearly that wasn’t enough. They’ve all made their position very clear, and it’s been a horrible few weeks knowing what is coming, having to sort through his stuff, and pack up his life etc. I feel ganged up on and bullied, but hopefully they will be happier, and satisfied, and finally have the “closure” they seem to think I’ve been denying them. I know that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment. I know that none of this is my fault. And I know that if we’d been married, as we wanted to be, it wouldn’t even be happening. But ho hum, it is what it is, it is going to happen, and this too shall pass.

And then that will be that. There will be me, in my empty house, on my own, still grieving, still hurting like all h*ll. But there will no longer be anything hanging over me. That has to be better. Besides, it’s all just stuff, it’s all just water under the bridge, and none of it changes anything. He’s still dead, and I’d still give anything, barring my children, to have him back. He loved me, I loved him. I’ve got the memories, the messages, the photos, and the witnesses. Our love was a fact. And that’s all I need. I am lucky to have had him in my life, to have had what we had. Some people never get to have that at all. I will spend the rest of my life missing it, whatever else life brings to me. So one year on, I’m going to say it again. I love you to the beach and beyond and forever. Your crazy matched my crazy big time, and you are still my beautiful boy. xxx😭💔.