Well it’s tomorrow. Or tomorrow is now today. Which means I made it through today. Or make that yesterday. You know what, since I can, and frequently do, mix my metaphors (let’s face it, it’s my blog), I’m pretty sure can I mix my tenses too.
It has been a tough rollercoaster of a day. I have bounced around the whole emotional spectrum, several times over. But then I knew it was going to be like that. I was prepared. I am immensely grateful that Austin was here with me and for me, and I have also employed every weapon in my arsenal to help me cope. I am beyond grateful that the sun kept on shining, as it has done all week. It would have been a far harder day to cope with had we been stuck inside, with a grey wet windy world outside and in.
As the day went on, I got a whole heap of messages from friends and family, every one of which buoyed me up a little bit more. Some of them were just…well, beyond lovely. I was near tears all day, and frequently a message would push me over the edge…but that’s good. They were good tears. I’m just so touched by the people who took the time to get in touch. Kevin rang me up at the end of the afternoon, while I was sat on my swing seat just chilling’, and actually sang Happy Birthday to me, which nearly wiped me out completely. Thank you to every single one of you for your support, your messages, your thoughts. It made such a difference to feel like I wasn’t doing this on my own. It helped. It lifted me up that little necessary bit. I am blessed to have every single one of you in my life. There are no words…
In the meantime today, as planned, I slept through most of the morning, and then the rest of the day went as planned too. There was the hill, and plenty of essential fizz, and lovely gluten free cake, with a whole heap of tears, and memories, and much, much more. We crammed a lot into one kind of important day. Important to me anyway.
Matt and I hadn’t been properly together for that long when he told me he loved me. I was a bit taken aback, as it came from out of the blue. I was massively touched, but I wasn’t expecting it, not that I didn’t welcome it. It’s just that I wasn’t quite ready to put my neck on the line… Baggage, complicated lives, so much risk… Anyway it’s another one of the moments that I have a perfect snapshot memory of. But I didn’t quite know how to respond, and the moment passed, and all was good. A couple of weeks later, during which we’d seen each other quite a bit, and I’d had plenty of time to think, he was down for the weekend and we decided to go and walk up to the top of the hill behind town, which as it turns out, is a place Matt loved, where he used to hang out when he was a kid, where he would go to clear his head when that needed doing when we were together. It’s a place that meant the world to him. And as we walked up there, I remember I was chewing the skin around my fingers on the way up, a nervous habit of mine, which he picked me up on instantly; we already knew each other so well. He knew there was something on my mind. But I was nervous… Once bitten, twice shy… But fall fast, fall hard. And man, we so both had. Nothing about us was ever one-sided.
Anyway. We got up there. He showed me his hill, his places up there, told me why he loved it, what it meant to him. He shared it with me and welcomed me in. We talked, and we stood there just looking at the view, hanging out together. And up there on top of his world, I asked him if now would be a good time to tell him that I loved him too. He just turned around, and wrapped me in the biggest softest hug ever, so yes, clearly it was a good time, and he held me tight and he cried, in a good way. (Hey, he was a big softy at heart). He wanted me to know how happy he was, even if talking through the happy tears was hard. And I felt just the same way. It was everything. He was just so pleased to be back in his part of the world, back where home used to be, with the woman he wanted to be with, and just over the moon to discover that I loved him too. He felt like life was finally going his way. And I felt like I’d been given the kind of love and relationship I’d wanted all my life, and never, ever thought would happen to me… We spent a while up there after that, just wrapped up in each other, looking at each other, the view, and just, you know, being us, in our own little bubble. It was, and still is, a really special moment, and it’s an amazing memory. Even if it does and did make me cry today. And now.
So today we went up the hill. I was laden down with many things. The walk up there was hard work – not one of my better days health wise – and besides, my rucksack was heavy! Once up there, we found a little kind of sheltered dip and took up residence. Then there was fizz, and cake, and photos, including selfies (obvs), and smiles, and tears, sometimes even smiles through tears, and just a whole heap of memories. Over our time together, Matt and I spent a lot of time up there. It is, and will remain, one of our places. So, to use a clichéd phrase, it was emotional. And then some. Luckily Austin is part of my household, so hugs were ok. Make that essential. And for 99% of the time, we were more like 2km from anyone else, let alone two metres, before I get told off for leaving the house. And believe me walking up that hell sure as f*ck counted as exercise!
Yes, I’m hiding behind sunglasses. Not just to match Austin, but also because I’d done more than enough crying all day, and no-one needs to see me looking that tired and drained and sad, me included. I may be 47, but I’m vain enough not to want you to see me looking like I’m 67!
As I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do what I had planned for later this year (though I still hope to), I also took some of his ashes up there with us, and scattered them at the appropriate moment, and watched the wind spread them around us, so he could be there with us in (almost) body as well as in spirit. It just felt like the right thing to do, and doing what feels right for me/him/us is the important thing. Actually nothing else matters. We also planted some bulbs, and sowed some native wildflower seeds. That rucksack had a trowel and a cycling bidet full of water in it too, as well as everything else. It wasn’t heavy for nothing! Maybe at some point there will be a patch of that hill that is a little bit more colourful than expected, and Austin and I can look at that, and we’ll know why, even if no-one else does.
Eventually we came home. It was getting windier and a bit chillier, and we’d done what had been planned and so it was time to walk a little more, enjoy the remaining sunshine, and make our way back to the house. Once there I had that planned pampering bath, though I struggled a bit with that – it was another “he’s not in here with me” moment, and I have to admit I couldn’t really relax into it. So once my face mask had done its time, I called it quits, and hey, at least I was now clean, right? And just a little bit sparkly, thanks to the bath bomb Tash bought me for Christmas 🙂
Then we ate lovely pasta, we watched the 300 and Léon (directors cut, and I still prefer the original), we drank plenty more fizz, and moved on to wine, and then…well…here we are. I’m back in bed, firmly planted on the left hand side, as ever. Once again, I’ve survived another day. It was, or has been, a really tough day. I have had to be careful not to think too much, too deeply, or for too long, otherwise I’d just have lost it completely, and just ended up curled under my duvet in foetal position for the duration.
I wanted to avoid that. I wanted to mark the day, to include him in it, to try and find some positive in it, and to maybe move forward a tiny bit. Let’s face it, if I could, I would move heaven and earth to have him back here with me. I’m pretty sure that, if he could, he’d rather be back here too. But it doesn’t work like that. There is no rewind button, no do-over. He’s gone. The world keeps on turning. Life keeps on keeping on. But what we did do today was make the best of a seriously shitty situation. It could have been worse even if, clearly, it could have been a whole heap better. And there you go, another one of those firsts is under my belt and crossed off. Yes I’m older. Like I care. I may only have aged a year, but over the last seven months I feel like I’ve aged a decade. I’ve lost my identity; I still haven’t figured out who I am without him, because I still find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that I am, and will be, doing the rest of my life without him. I’m getting there one day at a time.
Once upon a time, this would have been a photo of two hands, two glasses raised to each other, to us… Today, this one’s for you Matt.
You came into my life, you stole my heart, and it’s still yours. You changed my world, and me, for the better, even though as learning experiences go, man this one hurts SO bad. You made me feel like I was worth something. Hell, you made me feel amazing – desired, vibrant, alive, valued, treasured, and wanted; whatever my size, or my health issues. And man, the chemistry! Woah! I had never felt that way before about, or with, anyone. Ever. And I may never again. I just couldn’t believe anyone could see that in me. I think it’s fairly safe to say I have some fairly massive (huge!) self confidence issues, though if you hadn’t read this, you’d probably never guess… I’ve been told many times in the past that I have walls. Now I have f*cking barricades…
But look at us. I think this is possibly my favourite photo of us – we both just look relaxed, loved up, and happy. I never doubted for one minute, not one second, how much you loved me, through good times and bad. And I will never settle for second best ever again. Thanks to you I know I deserve better. I’m not sure I ever managed to get you to that same place, though god knows I tried, so hard, over and over again. I think you knew really, I just think you struggled to believe. I wish you hadn’t suffered so much in the past. I wish you’d had more faith in yourself, in me, and in us… But thank you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for everything, the good and even the bad. Thank you for letting me in. We argued because we were passionate about life, and about each other. We were both strong willed, opinionated and stubborn – two sides of the same coin – which was always going to have its issues! . But we were learning to work through things together, to communicate better. We were growing together and hey, making up was amazing *grin*! Sadly life just didn’t go according to plan…when does it ever? And now I’m having to move on through life without you, ageing while you never will…
Anyone who comes along and tries to take your place is going to have a pretty hard act to follow, that’s for sure. Right now I can’t imagine it. In fact even thinking about it makes me quite literally physically shudder. All of me tenses up into flight mode… Oh, and I then cry. Surprise, surprise…
Maybe you were up there with us earlier. Hey, I invited you, right? Maybe those little white feathers I found on the way up the hills meant what some people say they do. Maybe they don’t. It doesn’t really matter. I carried you up there with me, and I will carry on carrying you with me. You will always be a part of my story. Love you more xx.