I know it sounds weird. But it kind of hadn’t occurred to me that Christmas is in two days time. And I suddenly realised I have a whole chunk of stuff to do between now and a day that I want absolutely nothing to do with. That I’m actively dreading, even though in theory it’s just one day, another day like any other. But before coping with that I have work to do so that I don’t get behind, and presents to wrap, and chores to do, and maybe even some decorations to put up, if any of us can summon up the energy or inclination to do so. And if we don’t, well that’s ok too, right? None of us are really into Christmas this year, and it’s not that it was a big deal these days anyway, now that the mob are grown up, and that Tate won’t be coming down. And Matt hated it, so it’s not like we’d even be celebrating it for him. We’ll do what feels right for us, and that’s the right thing to do.
I met up with Clare today, minus Rory & Liam. Life rarely goes according to plan. But it was really good to catch up and to talk someone from the outside world, and to talk about Matt. Nobody talks to me about Matt, nobody wants me to talk about Matt. I’m sure that’s because no-one wants to upset me, or they don’t know what to say, or because they’ve moved on and he’s not foremost in their thoughts, or whatever. But to me it just feels like everyone has forgotten he existed. And he did exist. And he was important. And not talking about him makes his absence feel worse. I want to remember him, to be able to go, oh yes, Matt and I used to do that, without it being awkward. He was a part of a my life for a long time, he doesn’t stop being a part of it just because he died, just like I don’t stop loving him just because he died.
Out of the blue this evening I suddenly sorted through all the photos I had printed out of him for the funeral and put the best ones into frames, and filed the others away. I didn’t know I was going to do it, which probably made it easier, and didn’t build it up into a big thing. But it has left me in on and off floods of tears ever since. Because he, and we, looked so happy, and carefree… And it all looks like such a world away, I don’t recognise the me in those photos, I don’t look like that anymore, I can’t imagine ever looking like that ever again. It never gets less surreal.
I’m hoping having the pictures around the house will mean I get used to them, and that slowly seeing them will shock and upset me less, and that sometime after that they will just make me smile, (his grin was infectious after all), and that I’ll look back and remember all the good times, the great times, the amazing relationship that we were so lucky to have. Even diamonds have flaws, don’t go thinking I don’t know we weren’t perfect. But if you can stand there, inside your glass house, and tell me hand on heart that you and your relationship are 100% perfect then feel free to throw the first stone… And if having the photos up proves too hard to handle, then I’ll just take them down again, and try again when time has moved even further on.
I was listening to podcasts in the car. I can’t listen to music much these days, it’s like a direct link to the tear tap. We shared so much music, used it to say so much to each other… Anyway, I was listening to the Griefcast, unsurprisingly. Which was recommended to me and is good. Lots of what is said resonates, and it makes you feel a little less alone. Like one of the interviewees who like me had realised that we have no title. No box to tick on a form. I’m not widowed. I’m divorced. I’m single. Except that’s the last thing I feel. Single? Really? It’s the first time the FB status “it’s complicated” has ever meant anything to me. I also have no way of referring to Matt in conversation to outsiders. There’s no “my partner and I”, there’s no, “my fiancé tried to fix that”. Not without opening up the inevitable can of worms. “Oh, what does your partner do?”, “oh has he given up on that then?”. Well no actually, he passed away a few months away… Sometimes you just don’t want to have that conversation. But he’s not my Ex either, and to refer to him as such would be SO wrong. I don’t know what to say, so I say nothing at all.
Which goes for life pretty much these days. I don’t say much to anyone other than the kids. What is there to say? Nobody wants to talk about Matt. There is no happy recounting of what I’ve been up to since you last saw me. There are no exciting holidays or plans ahead. There is just the same shit, different day stuff that there has been for months. You’ve all heard it all before. I don’t want to bore you. I don’t want to upset you, or me. And I don’t want to be told how to fix it, or that I should be over it be now. Sometimes it feels like a miracle that I talk at all. Good thing I write then, right? Because it’s not quiet inside my head. Inside my brain is whirring, and processing, and crying, and panicking, and trying to make sense of the senseless, and stressing, and hurting, and remembering, and playing the what if game, and wondering and… But hey, these days, should you ask how I am, “I’m ok, just muddling through”. Because you didn’t really mean it when you asked me anyway. You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.
What I wouldn’t give to be back in the world those photos have captured and frozen in time…