Not a good day

Today was not a good day. Today meant taking Dad to the hospital for his hip op check up (new hip is fine, old hip is now proper f*cked), when the last time we did that, it was with Matt. And there he wasn’t, but I could remember it all so vividly, and there I was on my own, and it wasn’t good. There was more than usual waiting around- x-ray was rammed – and I got some work done, and had a hazelnut coffee, and then wandered off for a bit and sat in the middle of the hospital while the world went by, with tears streaming down my face, wondering how I’m going to cope with doing all the things that Matt always supported me in without him, and feeling completely incapable of coping with anything at all.

Afterwards we four went to lunch for Mum’s birthday, at the Windmill, and I mostly kept it together, and it was all very pleasant, until we left them again and Austin drove me home, and I cried all the way home because once again, there hadn’t been a Matt there, and there hadn’t been a Matt with me all day.

Still, I went to work after that, and did some work, concentrating hard so as to not think of anything else, and then left on the dot, to take Max (the new kitten) to the vets for a check up. He has a bit of a cold, and apparently really doesn’t like car journeys – cue much pitiful wailing. Him and I cried all the way there and back, but on the upside, at least the car worked, right?

And then I went to the Square. I grabbed Austin for a much needed hug, and to give him a kitten update, and then popped in to the Lamb for a quick work catch up with Sharon, who got me in full-on, bad day, not coping mode (sorry!) without warning. I am lousy company. Once she’d gone, I could have stayed out longer, but I decided not to. I nipped in to the shop on the way back to the house instead and saw all the new Christmas food bits and bobs, and tried not to cry all the way round, therefore failing to buy half the things I actually meant to get because I was just thinking about how Matt wasn’t with me, and what’s the point of shopping for such things for one? And last year we had Christmas together on our own and it was lovely and this year, well…I don’t want to do Christmas at all, I just want it all to go away and to ignore it and I can’t, because everywhere is putting up decorations, and people are talking about it, and other people aren’t me and they still want to have Xmas, but it’s just going to be sh*t however you look at it, whatever we do to try and make it be ok, because it’s going to be another first, another thing that Matt isn’t there for. Another thing I’ll be doing without him.

Now I’m “home” watching crap TV, and paying attention to the kitten. Max may have a cold, but he is still very cute, and he’s currently being very playful and chasing his tail all over Matt’s side of the bed, where Matt isn’t. Ah, actually now he isn’t. Now he’s sleeping on Matt’s pillow, where Matt isn’t. I need to wash his face when he’s next in the mood for me doing such things. Having a snotty nose/eyes is not great when you spend most of the time hiding under the bed. Having said that, he is very cute when he sneezes…

Basically I’m just waiting for it not to be today anymore. But it’ll just be another day where Matt isn’t. So tomorrow is not going to be any better than today was. That same sh*t different day thing holds very true these days. People keep telling me how strong I am, while I feel the total opposite of that, and I don’t know how they can’t see that, and I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread. That’s what comes of being far better at expressing myself with the written word than I am with those that I speak.

Today is full of Matt not being here, as if you hadn’t gathered. How can an absence feel so tangible? I feel really down, really sad, fragile and lost, and yet oddly flat and numb at the same time. What’s the point of being on the meds when I still feel this low? When my thoughts still wander off to very dark places? Surely that means they’re not doing any good? Ah well, I’ll keep taking them for the time being, like the Dr said to. At least that means I’ll sleep, right? One sh*tty day at a time…

Three months

So yesterday marked three months since Matt died. Time is weird. I feel like it’s been no time at all, yet it feels like forever since I last talked to him. Saw him. Held him. Touched him. Had him sleeping next to me. And whether it’s the monthiversary, or the time of the month, the phase of the moon, or whatever, I have been missing him massively this weekend.  I have been crying on and off, even more so than usual. I just miss him SO much. I still don’t know how to do this without him.

I have all our emails, all our texts, and I think I’ve managed to back up all our WhatsApp conversations over the years. But they’re then, and not now, and I could read them, but I can’t, because they make him feel so alive to me when he just isn’t. Facebook memories and their associated comments are bad enough. Every comment from him is like a tiny little stab to the heart. A dead voice from the past speaking to my present. All I want is him, here with me, now and forever, like it was supposed to be.  I can’t have that, and the pain that comes with knowing that is just indescribable and inconsolable.

I have lost a fiancé and gained a kitten. Lovely though Max is, when he stops hiding underneath the bed, it feels like a pretty poor exchange. I am hoping that in the long run Max will bring me out of myself a bit, and also out of wandering around the town trying to find a place to be. That was the plan after all, according to the counsellor. And Matt is, if he is still somewhere, is up there wherever shaking his head at me getting another kitten. Well if he was still here, I wouldn’t have to, would I?

I came home, having been out seeing Sharon, and popping into the pub to see Austin (working there) and unexpectedly at short notice Kevin (Matt’s boss and my friend) who suggested a quick drink. Which was actually all very lovely. But then it was time to come home, and look after the kitten, and to be at home. And I got stuck on the door step. Stuck between that place four years ago when I lived on my own and going home to an empty place sucked, and this place where I live on my own and I’m now going home to a place where Matt isn’t, and will never be, and where I wish he was, which is infinitely worse. I didn’t want to turn the key, open the door, and face my current reality. I just wanted to stay in that Schrödinger’s moment where he could still be at home, still be mine, still be with me. And then I came in, and then…

Oh my beautiful boy, I miss you so much. I am clinging on to reasons to stay here and not join you. I know I really shouldn’t be considering that, even though sometimes I really, really, really want to. I can’t tell if I don’t want to be here anymore full stop, or I just want being here to not hurt so, so, so much. If there was any guarantee that not being here would mean being with you…I’d be there in a shot…but there isn’t. And there are people, and kittens, who need or want me to carry on being here, even if I don’t. So here I still am, one day at a time…

I was going to say that I don’t know what I want. Except I do. I want you back. I just want you back here with me. And I can’t have that. Explain to me how I live with that? This is so, so hard. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have no idea how people do it, other than knowing that I am doing it, and I guess you just keep on doing it, and that hopefully at some point it gets that little bit less painful, that little bit easier. Surely it can’t get worse?

Everyone keeps telling me how well I’m doing. By whose standards? And yeah, I’m probably doing a bit better than I was, but I’m also very good at being one person on the outside, and another on the inside. Whether I like it or not, time is passing, and although I hate it, and I really do, you are slipping further and further away from me, and that hurts too. I hate leaving you, and us, behind. When all I want is us back. I want to roll over, curl up with you, hold on so tight and never let you go. I want to be back then. I love you. I miss you. 😭💔

Still not here

We went to look at a male Ragdoll kitten today, as the counsellor thinks something to look after that needs me, that is affectionate, might help ground me, give me a reason to be at home, and give me something to focus on. Ragdolls fit that spec. Matt had always been pretty much against a third cat. Which didn’t stop me wanting to ring him and talk to him about it, and ask his advice. And his advice for now, not then, because I know back then he would have said no, but in this circumstance, maybe he would think a new kitten would be a good thing for me. But I couldn’t ask him. I can’t ask him. I’d like to think he’s up there looking out for me, or looking after me, but whether he is or isn’t I’ll never know.

So I asked the Twitterati. Who said buy kitten. Well, the internet is all about cats and kittens, right? 😉 Their decision wasn’t exactly a surprise. And I kinda knew where I was going with it but… So tomorrow I will be picking up a new distraction. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not. I have no self confidence, and no confidence in my ability to make the correct decisions about things. But hopefully it will help. What do I have to lose? Ragdolls are supposed to be affectionate and clingy and need attention, and…maybe it will work. Maybe it will help. Maybe I will come home to hang out with the kitten instead of floating restlessly around from pub to pub. In which case it will have been worth the money.

Then I went to work. And then I went to the Doctor, who thinks, unexpectedly, that I should stay on the meds, at the current level. He’s worried that if we pull that rug out from under me, I’ll just feel worse. The anxiety is probably, arguably, just a product of what I’ve been through and the process of dealing with it. He made it very clear that what I have been through is a massive trauma, well above and beyond the normal for such things (like there’s a normal), which I should not underestimate. Some people wouldn’t even have made it out of bed at this point, (which sounds quite attractive tbh), and he wanted me to know that I’m actually doing pretty well all things considered. Better than ok. I do wish it felt like I was doing well though. But it doesn’t. I’m just trying to do life because I don’t have any choice. Still, at least he’s continuing to prescribe me the diazepam, which is my lifeline when I can’t get a grip, or the anxiety gets too much.

And then after that I went to the pub, and had an unplanned and unexpectedly nice evening at the Lamb, with an ever changing group of people and friends. And it was nice. And I played nice, and was sociable and everything. I even nipped out to the FOAC Christmas Fayre in the Town Hall and picked up a couple of bits, and pretended that Christmas isn’t something that I really wish wasn’t happening and would rather ignore. I put on the face that people needed to see, and yes, I actually enjoyed some of it. I’m led to believe that’s allowed, even if it feels weird to me. I still don’t feel engaged with any of it, but it’s a bit like knowing how to play the game. Even if you feel like you’re watching it all from the outside, if you’re convincing enough, you can almost convince yourself you’re normal too. I SO am not.

But eventually I had to come home. On my own. To an empty house (Austin is at his Dad’s). And it doesn’t matter how good or distracting the interludes are. The reality remains the same. I still came home to an empty house, where you are not. I can’t tell you all about my evening, talk and laugh about what people said and did, and then snuggle up with you, put the world outside away, and go back to just being us. I don’t like it. It still all feels horrible and wrong and actually it feels worse as you get further away from me. I feel like I’m leaving you behind and losing even more of you. I feel guilty for moving on, even just a tiny bit. I want to go back, and I can’t. I don’t love you any less though. And I miss you just as much. Your side of the bed feels particularly empty tonight. 😭 💔

Spinning around

Today Matt’s eldest daughter graduated with a 1st in Product Design Engineering from Sheffield. I really wanted to be there for Matt, but for various reasons I couldn’t be, which hurts, and I can’t help feeling like I let him down, however daft that might sound. He was SO proud of her; he told everyone he could how well she’d done, and I wish he could have been there to see her graduate. I know she does too. It’s so hard for everyone going through things where Matt should be, and isn’t. So many firsts…and they all hurt.

And today I saw my counsellor for the second time. I’m still not sure how it will help, but I’ll keep going for the time being. It’s not something I have any experience of. Maybe just talking to someone who validates that how you feel is ok, who is objective and doesn’t have an agenda, who doesn’t judge you, and who lets you express yourself is enough. And she did have some suggestions and maybe some of them will help me cope a little better. Time will tell. I really need something to help, so I’ll try pretty much anything at this point. I’m seeing the doctor tomorrow, something I also discussed with her, and maybe between the two of them we can get me on some sort of an even keel. I know a lot of people are worried about me, and I’m worried about me too. I’m not in a good place on many levels.

I didn’t sleep well last night again. It was a night of vivid and surreal almost nightmares, and I woke up frequently. Matt was in there somewhere too, not in a good way, but I can’t remember the details, which is probably a good thing. My brain is clearly spending all day and night spinning around trying to make sense of something to which there is no sense. Still, I’d really like a more restful night tonight. The meds insure that I sleep, they just don’t guarantee the quality of that sleep…🙁💤

Tomorrow is Friday. Another weekend looms without you. And for some of it I’m going to be home alone, including an overnight. I know I have to learn how to do that again. But I don’t have to like it. How can I possibly like living here without you? There’s so much you here, and yet you’re not here at all. It’s no wonder my brain can’t cope, and it’s no wonder I feel so lonely. I was cleaning my teeth this morning, and my mind’s eye suddenly saw you standing there next to me, cleaning your teeth too, like you always did, and it was so vivid; like I could reach out and touch you. But I couldn’t. Crying and cleaning your teeth at the same time is not easy. Even in the mundane, I miss you. 😭💔

Another day

I thought I wanted to write more, And I probably do. But now that it comes to it, I don’t feel like putting a lot of those words on the page. It’s been another day. With ups and downs, friends and not so, work and stress, a panic attack, and predictable behaviour from the usual quarters, and it’s another day over. So this is it, for what it’s worth, today.

Simon, the current manager of the Oakhouse, was one of the few locals who were visibly emotional when I had to tell them about Matt. Ironic, since he’s not a local at all. However we spent a lot of time there, it was our chosen place. Where we felt at home. And we spent a lot of time with him, not just there, but also drinks elsewhere, and we both counted him as a friend. He’s been looking after me ever since, letting me keep wine in his fridge, stocking my favourite wine, etc.,……and he leaves tomorrow. I know the Oakhouse will remain, but I feel like I’ve lost my bolt hole, my out of home comfort zone. Austin will still be working there, so I’ll still spend time there, but it’s not going to be the same, which is sad, and depressing, and worrying.

I don’t cope well with change, or stress, or anything at the moment. And today has had everything. I’m glad it’s bedtime. It’s just a shame that tomorrow is unlikely to be any better, as ever.

Last night you were in my dreams and not in a good way. I am carrying a lot on my shoulders at the moment, and if you were here  you would totally understand and get it and just know… we always knew what each other was thinking. So if you feel like popping by again tonight, could you please just come and give me a hug? Because I need one of your hugs SO badly. I know it’ll be just a dream, but it would mean the world to me right now. Even if waking up again afterwards will make me feel bereft again, I feel like that all the time anyway, so it would be worth it.

I love you so much, and I’m trying really hard to keep going, and to do the best I can for you and for us. We knew what mattered.  Our truth. Anything and everything else is just gravy baby.

Self-centred

I know there are people out there who have it far worse than me. I know that I’m being incredibly self-centred and selfish and probably wallowing in self pity. But since this is all about Matt and he’s not here, I guess it’s all about me after all. And I wish it would all just stop. I wish I would stop feeling like this. I wish it would stop hurting like this. I wish I could stop crying. I wish I wasn’t so lonely. I wish he would come back. I wish none of this had ever happened. I wish I hadn’t taken my previous life for granted. I wish everything didn’t feel so pointless now. I wish I didn’t get so anxious and stressed about everything now. I wish I didn’t know that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and life is still going to be shit, and that that’s going to keep happening over and over again.

I’m thinking it’s probably a good thing I’m seeing both my counsellor and my doctor, in that order, this week. Maybe talking will help. Maybe changing or stopping my meds will help. Something has to. Because this is hideous. Man, I miss you SO much 😭💔

Grinding

So we’re home. Back to the grindstone. And it feels pretty much as shit as I thought it would. We had a lovely work lunch at the Oakhouse, a celebration for a colleague’s work anniversary, and I felt like Maverick after Goose’s death. I just couldn’t engage. I tried. I did. But it just didn’t feel right. It’s just doesn’t seem to be in me. Like not laughing at Tim Minchin on Friday, even though I could appreciate he was being funny. It feels a bit like some vital connection is broken inside. I don’t suppose it’s easy for them either, I probably radiate sad and withdrawn. I wouldn’t know what to say to me either. Instead of feeling like part of the group I felt like a spectator, on the outside looking in.

And once back at work, I kinda felt that way too. I’m mad busy, there is so much to do and more coming in all the time, and you’d think the distraction would keep my mind off things wouldn’t you? Which, yes, it does sort of. But the stress of it all just triggers my anxiety, or some track on the radio or deezer will set me off, and I end up in tears one way or the other anyway.  Maybe it’s because there was too much of the routine to do today, and not enough of the creative? Maybe if I can get properly mentally involved with some part of it? I’m constantly amazed by how you can cry on the inside without making a noise too, as long as I take the occasional break so as to let it out a bit without embarrassing anyone.

Today’s highlight was meeting Guy for a coffee after work. A breath of sympathetic fresh air, with a healthy dose of honesty thrown in. He made some very good points, not least of which being the fact that I look terrible. Which I do/did. I think I cry so much my eyes look permanently tired, my skin is f*cked, and I just look kind of grey and drawn and sad. His other points were less depressing, and helped add a little perspective to a few things, which is difficult to do for yourself when you’re deep down in the tunnel, and convinced that even if you could see a light at the end of it, it’d probably just be another train coming along to knock you flat again. I hope we get to do it again sometime soon; we’ve been friends a long time and his advice counts. Thank you.

At lunchtime an overheard comment about someone’s children and teeth triggered a bitter sweet memory today. Matt was the noisiest sleeper ever. He snored like a freight train hurtling past. He ground his teeth. He made noises and talked in his dreams. Sometimes he’d have nightmares, and the scared panicky wail he’d make would wake me up, but not him. The only way to settle him was to hold him tight, and to stroke his face and talk quietly to him, and slowly he’d calm down, and his body would relax, and decent sleep would claim him again. It was so intimate and so sweet. It’s odd the things you discover you’re going to miss, isn’t it? I still can’t sleep on his side of the bed. I don’t even move into it in my sleep. So now I keep the book I’m reading there, and the iPad, the TV remotes, etc. Because then it’s not empty is it?…

I would love to have had you with me this weekend, snoring and all. Everyone tells me that you’ll always be with me in my heart, and I am carrying you with me, so maybe you kind of were. I can’t help wishing for the real thing though. Love you, miss you, want you back always 💔😭.

 

 

Skulls

It’s been a long day. Well, ok, thanks to the mirtazapine which stops me getting up in the morning even if I want to, it hasn’t actually been that long, it just feels like it. Lots of buses and tubes and walking and rain, and markets and pubs and children and just…lots. I’ve coped better than maybe I thought I would. It’s been what passes for a good day these days. Which doesn’t mean to say there have not been a fair few weepy patches throughout that stuff, but I’ve managed to be distracted and busy enough for my head not to take me too many places I didn’t want it to go.

Oh, and I’ve also managed to keep taking the pills at the right times to try and keep me on an even keel and just far enough removed from how I’m really feeling, which mostly worked. It’s amazing how good you can get at crying silently, and on the inside, and when no one is looking, I’m proper tired now though. Tired of being awake, tired of playing nice, tired of holding it together.

In Spitalfields Market I bought a stainless steel skull bracelet to match the skull pendant that was the last gift that Matt bought me when we were in Pembrokeshire shortly before he died, and the skull ring that will be with me in a little while. I’m cheery like that these days…

I like it and Matt would have liked it and I’m hoping Gary can do his magic and solder and fix and tweak and have this one become another permanent fixture on my wrist. Weirdly even retail therapy has generally lost its appeal. What’s the point when there’s no one to go home and tell about it, with the “oh dear, what have you been buying this time?!” Or the “ooh I like that”. Etc. This then gets to be an exception to the rule I guess.

I’ve missed you all day though. I’ve missed you helping me up stairs and escalators. I’ve missed sitting next to you on the bus or the tube and holding hands, or being wrapped around you when standing was the only option. I’ve missed sharing things with you. I’ve missed laughing at things with you. I’ve missed you looking out for me and looking after me – today is an ouchy day. I’ve just missed you on and off all day full stop. There has been a you shaped space everywhere.

I guess a little bit of me is slowly getting used to you not being here as the weeks pass and you continue not to be here. I’m not stupid, I know you’re not coming back. But I sure as hell haven’t stopped wishing you were here. And it still hurts and I still cry a lot, a lot of the time. And there’s that word ‘time’. To go with ‘little steps’, ‘one day at a time’. Etc. The language of recovery. And oh look, there’s another day done.

Now I get to be scared and anxious about going home tomorrow, where nothing will have changed, the same old shit will still be around to deal with and you still won’t be there. And I thought going away was scary…

Wherever you are, I still love you my beautiful boy, and I’m carrying you with me everywhere I go. 😥💔

 

Carry you

So, there’s been much anxiety and tears and stress, but I made it to my brothers’ place today. I managed to leave town, even though I felt like I was leaving Matt behind somehow and I felt scared to leave my comfort zone, even if my comfort zone isn’t that comforting these days. On top of that I even did about three hours worth of work in the car on the way in.

We, and I, made it to the Tim Minchin gig that Matt should have been with us at. I couldn’t really engage even though I tried. not with Matt not there, and tears falling at every minor key. It was like, I know this is funny, I know I like this, but my laughter switch is broken. It was good, he is brilliant, he is funny, there were old songs and new, happy and sad. And I’d just about got it together when they rounded off the gig with the most beautiful song called ‘Carry you’ dedicated to their recently deceased tour manager and sound engineer, which just completely wiped me out. Even so, I hope I can get a copy somehow somewhen because it was truly lovely and heartfelt.

Because I will be carrying Matt with me too. Forever, however long that should be; I am carrying him with me now. I have been missing him like crazy all day, and today the memories that pop up come with the cold chill that runs down my spine, just like in the first week after it happened. I still can’t understand how he isn’t here when he is so present in my head and my heart. And I can’t get seem to get past just wanting him back so badly.

He would have been proud of me in the very busy pub afterwards though. I was brave and asked some scary looking people if us four could share their clearly only half used table. and it was fine and we did. Go me. I may have lost all my self confidence and strength, but Matt did try and teach me how to stand up for myself better and I didn’t want to let him down by not at least asking, because he would have asked without even a second thought about it. He had so much more confidence than me about things like that, and yet oddly much less in other ways. I hope you are proud of me up there somewhere…I just wish you were down here..😥

Now I’m going to bed in a strange place, without you, and being away without you just feels wrong; going away for the weekend is what we did, it was one of our things. This time last year we were in Westward Ho. And two years ago you bought me the Baby Bels that really showed you listened and cared. Thanks Facebook. Not.

I still don’t feel strong enough to get through this. I don’t feel like me at all. But I am trying to refocus on getting through one day at a time, and I have made it through today and that’s something.

 

 

Little lost soul

So how do I tell whether this is just a really bad patch, or the antidepressants fully bedding in and making me feel worse like the last ones did?

I can’t stop thinking about him. Just like yesterday, I keep seeing him in my head, coming across photos or reminders of him, and the pictures in my mind’s eye are so clear and so vivid, I just can’t understand how he isn’t here in reality. My brain just spins itself round and round in circles, and I just miss him so bad that my stomach is tied in knots and I can’t speak without crying.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know where to be. I’m fed up of hanging out in all the local pubs but I hate being at the house for any length of time. The church is closed. It’s dark so going for a walk to the res or up the hill is out of the question. I am, as someone just called me, like a little lost soul, just floating around with no place to be. And I feel so, so lonely.

I have no purpose. There’s nothing I want to be doing, nowhere I want to be. All I seem to be able to do is cry nonstop. Ugly, from the bottom of my heart crying, And it hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts, and it doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t get better.

I don’t know what to do.