The long and winding road

Everyone grieves differently. And no-one takes the same path through the minefield. That’s ok. There is no right way. There are no rules. You do what you need to do, I’ll do what I need to do.

For many reasons, scattering Matt’s ashes is something that his close family and I will not be doing together. So rather than keep it as a contentious issue we have, very politely, split that which remains. They can ┬ánow do their thing and I can do mine, without anyone standing on anyone else’s toes. It’s not ideal, but I get it, I understand, and it’s ok. Well it’s not ok, but it is how things are, and I’ve reached a place where I’m ok with that. In the big scale of things, it’s not important, and I’m glad we’ve reached a resolution that works for both sides. It’s a difficult situation and I have absolutely no wish to upset anyone any further. So having agreed such, I was going to collect from the funeral directors on Monday but, as it turns out, that is now when my Mum will be having her home dementia assessment, so I ended up rescheduling and collecting from them today. It was therefore not something I was entirely prepared for, but hey, no surprise there though, nothing in my life seems to go to plan these days.

As a result my head is, and has been, in a whole heap of weird places since then. I’ve had work to do. I then had drinks and a much appreciated conversation with Guy, a friend of long standing who I’ve not seen for a while, and which was lovely. I then went and had food in the Lamb because I had a voucher, needed to eat, and nothing better to do. And then I decided to come home because I figured I might as well be alone because there’s no-one around me, than alone surrounded by other people, and those who could have come and talked to me but didn’t. Did I mention I come with my own personal exclusion zone? Yes, I know, I probably looked absorbed in my kindle, and you didn’t want to bother me or intrude, blah blah… That’s supposing you even noticed me at all of course. I apparently do invisible quite well too.

Anyway… I was expecting to be home alone for a lot longer, but where the Lamb was busy, the Oakhouse was not, and Austin was home to keep me company way earlier than usual, so I had company to watch Death Race with. Got to love a Statham film. Lots of violence, flexing muscles, occasional wit and sarcasm, and absolutely no requirement to think too much. Distraction is a wonderful thing…

In amongst all of this a plan has come together for the scattering of his ashes. A small, invitee only plan, because I want it to be a positive thing, I don’t want any stress or negativity. I know what he wanted, and I now have a where and a when. I’m working on the who – but it’s something to be done with close friends and family, in a supportive and caring way, as he would want it to be. As I’ve said before, there is nothing like grief to show you who your friends are. It brings perspective to things, to what is important, and to what, and who, is not. I have met diamonds in the rough, been sucked in by grief tourists, and discovered rotten apples where I expected better. I know being friends with someone who is grieving is f*cking hard work, and I understand why some have fallen by the wayside. I find I have much more patience and understanding these days than I did before. I judge less, and I don’t let the little things stress me as I once would have done.

Scattering Matt’s ashes is something that means a great deal to me, and it is something I want to do surrounded by those who have risen to the challenge, by those who loved and supported Matt and I, and by those who love and are supporting me. Family isn’t just blood, it’s also those who you meet along the way through life, who stick with you, for the right reasons. There’s a quote – “Friends are the family you choose” – which works. Bonds are not just made by blood, or bits of paper, they’re forged through the battles you fight together, and by what you come to mean to each other. And now that I truly know who my friends are, I consider them to be part of my family and they are amazing. I can never thank them enough.

So I am going to do this, I am going to do it for him, and I am going to do it right, and do right by him, in a place that meant the world to him, and to us. It’s where he wanted his ashes scattered…we just didn’t know it would be so soon. As long as I am doing the best by him and for him, and for us, I can hold my head up high. It’s my way of honouring him. Yes it will hurt, and it will be hard, but it will also be lovely, because that’s how we will make it, together. It’s one more step along the path I now have to walk without him…and it is a step that needs to be taken.

In the meantime, half of what remains of Matt is downstairs. And I really, really, don’t know how I feel about that. Because it’s ashes, it’s not him, he’s gone….but at the same time it’s all that’s left of him, and a part of me wants to cling on to that, because it’s all I have now. Ashes, and photos, and sentimental things, and memories. I’m feeling oddly numb… I’m pretty sure I’ve slammed up a massive wall to stop me thinking about it. When crying hits me, as it has on and off today, it’s come from a very deep place, and it’s been really hard to stop, and I’m tired enough already. It’s all just too hard, I’m very emotional, I’m in a lot of pain still, and I have a lot, maybe far too much, on my plate at the moment. So let’s just stick to one small thing at a time, one day at a time, one challenge at a time. I got through today. Tomorrow awaits.


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