I’ve had a bad, bad day…

Bad day. Bad, bad, bad day. From the moment I woke up it’s felt bad, which mostly resulted in my going back to sleep as many times as I could before I really couldn’t anymore, and had to get up and face it.

I’m due, so I’m probably hormonal. Which never helps. Which also means I’m in pain, thus reducing my ability to cope with life yet more. And then I have another big ‘first’ coming up, and it doesn’t matter what you do to avoid it, you know it’s there, you know it’s coming, you know it’s going to be bad, you even know it’s probably not going to be as bad as you worry it is, but it’s definitely not going to be great, and I’m going to be doing it all on my own. So there it sits, the approaching iceberg…

I’d like to thank all the people who saw my facebook post today about me struggling and that I’d appreciate a message, and who actually did get in touch and chat with me today; it made more difference than you know. Because I need to be pulled out from the maelstrom of my thoughts. When I’m on my own, I have nowhere to go with them but down, and down, and down…

I’d also like to thank the weather for not being as sh*t as it was supposed to be, so I was able to spend some time outside on the swing seat, aka my safe place, which also helped a bit.

I’m just massively down, missing him like crazy, and like <this> far from tears all the time. I’m hideously lonely, and I’m stuck in a world where that’s not going to change any time soon. Austin, bless him, was here, but he’s very self contained, and was occupied building a Meccano model of HMS Belfast so I barely saw him all day. Not great.

Oh, and there’s another thing. Isn’t there always?

I’ve been ignoring it for months…but I’ve been having patches of very sore and/or stiff joints. My knees, my ankles, but worst still my wrists and worse than that, my hands. I can’t wear half my jewellery anymore because my knuckles are swollen and sore, and the fingers aren’t much better. My hands don’t bend and flex  easily, and they hurt. It’s worst in the morning when I wake up, when they haven’t moved all night. Eventually they loosen up for a bit during the day, and then they get worse in the evening. I’d been putting it down to gardening, weight gain from the anti-depressants, whatever, but when Austin realised this was a thing and it’s a thing that’s been going on for months, he made me call the doctors. Now I have to have blood tests to test for inflammatory markers and rheumatoid arthritis antibodies, or at least I think that’s what she said. And I bet that’s what it turns out to be. Because whatever can go wrong does go wrong now – it’s becoming almost boringly predictable. Wouldn’t that be just another wonderful thing to add to my litany of ailments?

Thanks to the above, I can’t wear Matt’s bracelet that I bought him now – I had to take it off, which wasn’t easy, and I’m just hoping Gary can find the spare parts to make it a bit bigger so that I can wear it again. I miss wearing it, in so many ways. I now struggle to wear rings of any sort; worst of all, my engagement ring and its little accompaniment, and that hurts in so many more ways than one. So far I’ve managed to get them on and off as need be – but it hasn’t been easy. And at a very basic level, my hands hurt. Sitting here typing, they hurt. Like endometriosis wasn’t enough, I appear to have a new thing, whatever it turns out to be. Yeah, go me. F*cking marvellous. And I just can’t believe Matt isn’t here to help and support me through, that he has gone, and that I’m left to deal with all this sh*t on my own.

And just suppose one day I decide that maybe the time is right, and maybe it would be nice to meet someone new…who the f*ck is going to want to take on a middle aged woman with serious health issues and hefty amounts of baggage? Which is part of why lonely feels so bad; because I’m worried it’s going to be a forever lonely. What if this is it?

To talk of many things

I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I haven’t been writing. Kind of deliberately. Partially because I’ve been full on busy with displacement and distraction activities. And if I’m doing what passes for “ok” these days as a result, then I don’t want to write because if I write I will think, if I think I will remember, and if I remember, I will hurt, and I just haven’t been able to risk going there. I’d been too fragile recently, it had all been getting too much. And if I’ve somehow been managing to keep my head above water, and to feel just about ok, there ain’t no way I’ve wanted to rock that boat…

You see, what I’m starting to think is that it never stops hurting. And also that it never hurts any less. You just get better at not thinking about it, and just carrying it with you as you go about your business. I think it’s called compartmentalisation. Such things tend to have big words to define them, don’t they? Sadly, this doesn’t mean that the grief isn’t there, or that it can’t reach out and ambush you…

A couple of days ago I was on the spin bike. I was kinda doing some work, sorting some stuff out. Mid session I ended up having to FaceTime Tash to help her out with Excel calculations for some work she was doing. And somewhere in amongst all of that my brain managed to slip back into deja vu, as this was how things used to be, a time that was, and from there it started thinking; well when I’ve done this, I’ll do this, then I’ll do that, then we’ll do that, and then we’ll plan…

And there it was suddenly, like reality slapping you around the face. No. No you won’t. You won’t be doing that. You won’t be planning that. Here are there things you were thinking of and no, you won’t be doing any of those with him ever again. Nope, not that, or that, or that either.

There it was, like that bit in Star Wars, a disturbance in your force. Like every single fibre of your body suddenly reached out for what once was, and cried out for what is missing. Except they weren’t silenced. The yearning, and the grief, emerged anew from the depths, and I was inconsolable for hours. Just unstoppable tears, crying with the kind of noises you hadn’t realised you could make until 8+ months ago, crying just like it had all happened yesterday. Time does not heal. B*ll*cks does it. Time just carries on, and so do you.

So I’ve been being busy, whether actively or passively. There’s been lots of time spent on my swing seat in the garden in the sun, letting it rock me gently into a sort of sense of security. I’ve done lots of gardening – turns out I’m pretty good with hedge trimmers, and secateurs, and rakes, and so forth. I had no idea I would be able to get so much of it done by myself, and I’m stupidly proud of what I’ve done so far. And then I so wanted to show Matt, and have him be proud of me too…because no-one else cares…but I moved myself quickly on, and sent Kevin some pics to show him what I’d achieved instead. He got it, as I knew he would.

I’ve also sanded and resprayed two round picture frames, so that Dad can reassemble them, with their glass and mounts, and the pictures that came in them, and then my Christmas presents may finally end up hanging on a wall here somewhere, and I reckon they should look fab. Go me, another job well done. I do love paint spraying things…preferably silver, but actually white gold in this case. Close enough…


In the meantime I have also rescued, possibly only temporarily should the original owner turn up, another (very juvenile) royal/ball python, now called Tiberius. Yes, reptile rescue is essential travel, and just being out of the house for a couple of hours, driving in the socially isolated sunshine, being the furthest I’ve been from home in weeks, with music and my boy did wonders for my inner headspace. It lifted me massively. As I’ve said before, this lock down is ruining my mental health, and I don’t think I’d realised quite how much until I actually got out of town. Sadly it’ll be a while before I can do that again…but I’ll hold on to the positive from the trip for as long as I can. Oh, and the new snake is very cute. I’m hoping he/she gets to stay :).

Other than that I have read endless detective books. I have played games. Listened to podcasts. And I have carefully redirected my thoughts and my brain anytime it’s threatened to wander off into my emotional minefield. I can’t go there. I know I should probably be more actively engaging with the grieving process. But it’ll still be there to deal with when I get back to it. I’m just taking a break. Pretending it’s the summer holidays, or something…

We also spent a day earlier this week celebrating Austin’s 22nd birthday. Which was a day that it was important should be all about him. I did have to take myself off for a get it together break for a bit – I still find drinking fizz and celebrating things without Matt incredibly difficult. It just feels wrong somehow… But a birthday is a birthday, and birthdays involve fizz, and they do not involve me writing on here about them on the day. I wanted it to be a day about him,  and with presents, fizz, cake, takeout, DVDs and hanging out, I think we did the best we could in the current constrained circumstances. Happy Birthday to my grown-up boy :).

So I hadn’t written for a bit. And now I have. I’m still here, I’m still trying to get by, with more or less success. Same as the rest of us I guess.


Star light, star bright.

The Lyrids are out tonight. And just for once I remembered at the right time, and the skies were fairly clear, and so I sat on my window sill, legs hanging in the wind, looking south over the fields, watching the skies, wishing and hoping…

And I was lucky. I properly saw two separate shooting stars. I got Austin to join me, and he thinks he saw one too, which is perfect considering that it is now officially his birthday, it being tomorrow not today, if you see what I mean. I am gutted I can’t give him the kind of day he should have, that he warrants, that he deserves. But, as he put it, the lockdown pissed all over my birthday too, so it’s not like it’s just picking on him. And we have small plans, and we will make the most of it, and we’ll be together. There will be fizz, and cake, and a walk, and take out, and a film, and it’ll be what it’ll be. Present buying will have to wait a little longer…things are due but not here yet…but he’s ok with that.

So with all the lights turned out, there we sat together, and we looked up at the night sky. We listened to the wind blowing the trees around, and talked idly about the universe, and perspective, and the randomness of everything.

We talked about what we’d wish for, on a shooting star, if we could, with the proviso that it has to be within the realms of possibility, because we all know the things we’d wish for otherwise. He’d just like for his 23rd year to be better than his 22nd which, considering all the sh*t that’s happened, probably isn’t a big ask. However let’s not forget that in that time he graduated well, and is now on the second of two jobs, and on the way to finding the one he actually wants, so it hasn’t been all bad… 😉

And what would I wish for? Well, like I said, sticking within the realms of possibility, I think I’d wish to find love again one day. To not be alone for the rest of my life; to end the hideous loneliness. For this not to be it. For things to get better. I’m hoping that’s not too big an ask too, but as with all these things, only time will tell…  I know I can never replace him. Nothing will ever be what we had. But to have something with someone else would be nice. When I’m ready, whenever that should be.

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

It’s been another not great day. A lonely empty one, but at least the sun was shining. I am missing my friends, and the simple comfort of a hug from another person so much. I am really struggling, and there’s only so much gardening I can do…though I managed to find a lot more to do somehow today! I also tried to work, but my head was in the wrong space, barely above water, so that didn’t really work. I need hugs so much right now…

Now it’s time to sleep. Hopefully better than I did last night. Restless broken sleep, weird dreams, and a way earlier rising than usual. But that spell sat there, with my boy, looking at the dark world outside was kinda soothing, so maybe that will help.

Matt was my star, and he still is. He shines in my memories, his star is inked into my skin, and hopefully somewhere up there, he’s shining somewhere else, and watching over us. He’d get that. A bigger cosmic cosmos. That hope that there’s more…because it’s the only thought that makes any of this a little more bearable. I have no faith, no religion to take comfort in. But maybe, just maybe, there’s something more out there…and thinking of him as a star watching over us isn’t going to do any harm, so for now, I’ll go with that. Another day done, and another day closer to finding out if that’s true…

I have to admit it’s not getting better

It’s not getting better. Not even with the sunshine. Not even with Austin at home.
I know the people talk of depression as the black dog.
This is not a black dog. Or cat. Or grey cloud.

I feel like I’m trapped in a hopeless dark place.
It’s the kind of feeling I think potholing would give me.
Stuck in a tight space with the walls and weight of the earth pressing in around me.
And panicky and scared that I’ll never get out.
That this is it.
This is how it’s going to be forever.
That this is my life until my life is over.

My thoughts have been ending up in some very dark places…

Oh, and the endo is off on one again too; now there’s a surprise. It always did have the most immaculate timing and, due to its hormonal nature, probably excarbates how I’m feeling. And it’s harder to cope when I’m in pain. It’s all very circular that way. Cycles, circles, circadian rhythms, ebbs, flows…

And with so much having happened, and still happening, as my oldest friend and I discussed today as she feels much the same albeit for different reasons (and it was so good to talk to her btw), I feel like I’m just waiting for the thing that finally breaks me. The one next thing that breaks the camel’s already weak back, and pushes me over the edge, to a place I won’t make it back from.

The way the world has been going over the last 8 months, I’m pretty sure it’ll come. That may sound fatalistic, but can you blame me? Really? I have plenty of reasons to feel that way. What can go wrong will, and has, gone wrong. I don’t know what it’ll be next. I don’t know what form it will take. I worry every time Austin goes to work. I worry about Tash being miles away and on her own and not with us. I worry about my folks. Heck, I worry about everything. And when whatever it is happens…?

A year ago, we were having a night away, in the sports car, in the sunshine, at The Sheppey, staying in our favourite room, just as a treat to ourselves. . It was amazing and private and happy and wonderful and everything we were at our best. And now? Another day of fears and tears. I don’t even recognise the me in that photo – that me is long, long, long gone. As is he. It’s like that me died with him. We’re both dead.

I was stupid enough to try and listen to music earlier…not a good move. And the random nature of what it churned out was beyond unhelpful. But since I did…in case, you need reminding, I need you, and I miss you, and I really would walk a thousand miles if I could just see you tonight.

And just so as you know, and you should have known, because I told you how much I loved you so many times; but I was amazed by you. You took my breath away. Eight months since you left, and I don’t love you any less. I think maybe I love you even more, because that love now has nowhere to go now. It’s all the things that aren’t. It’s the words I can’t say to you, the feelings I can’t share, the hugs I can’t hide in. It’s in all the tears that flow, the endless painful noisy crying that comes forth when I’m on my own. It’s in everything that isn’t and will never be.

What I wouldn’t give to have that car back on the road, with you behind the wheel, and us heading off again together, even if your driving did scare me witless half the time….

Love you forever, my eternally beautiful boy.


The bad days seem to be continuing…

This morning Susie Dent (aka That woman in Dictionary Corner) tweeted:

Should you need it, ‘matutolypea’ (ma-toot-oh-leh-pee-a) is a state of extreme funk/irritability after waking up. A combination of Latin and Greek meaning ‘morning sorrow’.”
Which pretty much covered it for me this morning, if you throw in a side order of weepy and emotional.

Life has had a few too many triggers in it over the last few days. There are some big dates coming up, and various other trouble is looming. My mood has bouncing along rock bottom for a while now and I’m pretty sure there is only more trouble ahead…

So last night’s dreams were weird and sadly devoid of Matt. And today Austin was working, so when I woke up suddenly, for some reason, feeling shit, I was in an empty house, with no-one to talk to. Even with the decent weather, and my swing seat to sit in, Pootle’s little grey cloud really hasn’t gone anywhere all day. It’s been a seriously low day.

I tried. I did some chores. I did some tidying of the conservatory. I sat on the spin bike. I did some more gardening, though there’s not a lot left I can easily do now. I listened to podcasts. I read. I played stupid iPad games. But mostly what I did was cry on and off, mostly on, all day. And I do mean ALL day. The only upside to this is that I am now tired down to the bone, and so drained and soul weary, that sleeping shouldn’t be a problem; in fact it’ll be even more of a blessing than usual. I just want today to go away.

Which is laughable. Because tomorrow is liable to be just as shit. I will however have Austin for company, and we can go for a walk, and I can put on a brave face, and we can do some of the things that need doing around here that I can’t do on my own. Oh, and I have some actual work that I need to do too, though finding motivation to do so in the current world is rather difficult. But it’s something to do, and it will pass some time. Nonetheless it’ll still just be another day without him, and I’m afraid I’m not coping at all well with that at the moment.

I’m just missing him so much. I’m seeing him everywhere, as my inner memory reel keeps showing me new scenes. It’s like my brain is actually trying to sabotage me FFS. And I am SO f*cking lonely. And all these things I’m doing? All it means is that I’ll be on my own in a neater tidier garden/house. It doesn’t change anything. Nobody cares. It’s pointless.

It’s not like if I make it all lovely and clean and presentable he’s suddenly going to come back and share it with me, is it? It’s still going to be just me, stuck inside these four walls and my head, with no-one to share my tidy space or my messy thoughts with. And yes I know Austin is currently here, but that’s very much an until he can get away thing. I just feel like my life is over, and thanks to the lockdown, I can’t get out there and try and convince myself it isn’t.

I’ve probably said it before, and I’m pretty certain I’ll say it again, but this is not how my life was supposed to be. If this is how it’s going to be, then I’ll pass thanks. I’m not interested in a life without him, even though I have to keep living it. It is what it is. And it continues to be horrible.

Tough day

Tough day.

After days of seemingly predictable sunshine, today we got wind and rain, which I wasn’t expecting. OK, so maybe I should check the weather forecast more often, but I hadn’t. I guess that’ll larn me. Lock down feels a whole more locked down when outside is so miserable you can’t even leave your house to hang out in your garden, and the thought of going for a walk is so unappealing you don’t even entertain it. After yesterday’s monthiversary, which was hard enough, it’s been a case of grey and miserable outdoors, and grey and miserable inside too. I’ve done some work, I’ve done the odd chore, I’ve tried… But I’ve been <this> close to tears all day. And anything and everything that could set me off has.

I took a long time to wake up today; as ever, and unsurprisingly, meds and alcohol and depression will do that for you. Besides, what is there to get up for? My dreams have always been mad and vivid and surreal, even before the heavy duty cocktail of medication I have to be on for my endometriosis, and now additionally for my depression and grief. I tried to wake up, and stay wake, but I just couldn’t and let’s face it, it wasn’t like I had to be any where at any time. Once again he was in some of my dreams, and we were somewhere, somewhen, living out an imaginary scenario together.

But it’s not like I wake up crying, as he’s wrenched away from me all over again. Mostly I’m so tired, so exhausted and wrung out by life as it currently is, that I wake up and doze and wake up and doze, and by the time I’m properly awake those dream have mostly faded, leaving just vague disjointed memories; the details have become hazy, there’s just this sort of leftover happiness from having been able to be with him again. And on a day like today, I can’t help thinking I’d rather be asleep in some subconsciously conjured up world where we’re together, than living in a cold grey miserable one where we are not.

I need the sunshine to come back. I need to be back sorting the garden, pretending I’m achieving something, getting stuff organised. And mostly I need to be able to hang out on the swing seat we got for me, shaded from the sun but not the warmth, able to rock gently backwards and forwards, and read, and work, and pretend it’s all okay for a little while. Yes, I’m sure Freud would call it a womb substitute or some such. Whatever it is, it works for me. It’s my safe, secure, sort of happy place. It’s the only ‘our place’ I can currently get to. And on days like today, even that is not an option that was open to me. The weather took it away from me, just when I needed it. And I was left in trapped inside these four walls, and inside my head… No wonder there have been so many tears today. It’s been yet another useless, pointless, wasted day.

I miss him. All the time. And what I need is to be able to keep busy enough that I’m not thinking about him, about missing him, about the void and the loneliness; and when the world is like this and the weather is like this on top of that, I just can’t.

Yet another day to be alone, with a lifetime of them stretching ahead of me. But this one is done. I doubt I’ll make it out of bed early tomorrow either, and I hope he pops by and visits in my dreams again…but hoping won’t make it happen. It won’t stop me hoping though…

Eight months

It’s been eight months today. Eight months since he left us all.
First you count in hours, then in days, then weeks, and now in months. Oh, and in firsts, though I’ve got a couple of weeks before the next big one of those hits…

So, eight months it is.
And there’s no logical reason why that should make today feel worse than yesterday or tomorrow.
It just does.

I guess it just focuses the mind on the time passing. Once I’d have said it shows you how the world is moving on while you are not, yet right now not even the world is turning.
But how has it been eight months already? How can it be so long since I’ve seen him? How can it feel like yesterday and forever ago at the same time? It feels like so, so, so long since I last saw him, talked to him, touched him. Far too long. I miss him all the time. Yet he’s vividly present in my thoughts all the time and, at the moment, even in my dreams, which I am finding oddly comforting.

Unsurprisingly unprompted memories have been popping into my head all day.

How we’d sit on the swing seat in the garden, and his arm would be around me and I’d just lean into his shoulder, holding his other hand, and close my eyes and feel so safe, secure, and loved. Once again I sat there this afternoon, and once again when I let my head lean on the cushion behind me, and closed my eyes, and I could have sworn… When I opened my eyes and looked over, I was almost surprised not to see him there. Of an evening when it got chilly, he’d set up his fire pit in front of us, handmade from a washing machine drum, and we’d just sit there curled up together and watch the flames, and all was well with the world. We didn’t need much, just simple things. Each other. Beaches. A camp fire. Any place we were could just be us, we were happy, and it felt like nothing could touch us.

I remember how he’d do all the driving whenever we went anywhere (he wasn’t the best back seat driver!). And when my little car struggled to go up a hill, or to overtake someone, he’d sort of rock backwards and forwards like he was riding a horse (which he used to do) and could somehow egg the car on to do better. It was so cute, and so funny, and it made me laugh, and I would catch him at it, and tease him, and we’d laugh, it was just, you know, one of our things.

As part of my garden clearing, I’m in the process of washing and storing our kayaks/canoes because I don’t know what to do with them yet, but I want to make sure they’re looked after properly. So yes, I washed a kayak, not something I’ve ever said before. And whilst doing so, I remembered the time we turned up at The Plough, back where he lived, with his son Tate, all three of us rocking up at their little music festival from the river bank. I may have been a little scared of falling out, but turning up by boat, to the envious glances of all the others who wished they were messing around in boats on the river in the sunshine? Awesome. I miss The Plough. So many evenings spend sat at the water’s edge, watching the boats come and go, and watching the sun go down. They knew us there, it was friendly and welcoming, and we both missed it once he’d moved down here; it had become one of our places. Now it’s just another place full of happy memories that I will probably never go back to.

Eight months on I’m getting more used to his absence, but I don’t miss him any less. Which is probably weird. Grief is full of such dichotomies which is, incidentally, one of my favourite words. To those not in the know, eight months is ages ago, but to those who know, to my counsellor and to my doctor, eight months is still apparently early days, and is acknowledged as such, which helps stop you feeling like some hopeless emotional wreck. So it’s ok to still just be getting through one day at a time. Slowly those days add up, and hey, you’re still here, alive, but not yet living, and eight months have passed. One day at a time, and it is what is is – still the mantras I live by.

The long and winding road continues…and one day it will lead me to your door. In the meantime I still love you, still miss you, still talk to you, still reach out for you. You are not, nor ever will be, forgotten. 💔

Grief is…

There was a FaceBook post somewhere earlier that asked people to answer the question “Grief is…” with what it means to them. I was going to answer there, but I didn’t. I decided I’d put it here instead. Rather than being something popping up in feeds saying “Jennifer just commented on…”. Besides, I think it’s going to take me a while to reply…

So, grief is…?

Grief is endless, relentless, hopelessness.
It’s literally painful; your insides ache from either crying or trying not to cry, your skin is blotchy, and the face you see in the mirror is old and drained. Everything about how you walk, talk, eat and exist changes overnight.
It’s realising what heartbroken actually means.
It’s overwhelming loneliness, and the constant yearning for something you can never have again.
It’s the tears that are always just a thought away, and sometimes not knowing if they’ll ever stop once they start. And there’s not a day that passes without tears.
It’s not being able to imagine a time, a future, when you’ll be truly happy. You keep faking it, and faking it, and somehow you’re still not making it. Sometimes you wonder if it’s something about you, that you don’t deserve to be happy. Maybe karma is getting you back for something you did, but you can’t for the life of you think what you can have done that was so bad that this is appropriate punishment.
It’s not being able to believe that you were given something so amazing, flaws included, and then had it taken away from you, and wondering if maybe you just imagined the whole thing, because love like that happens to other people, and then wondering what’s so wrong with you that you didn’t get to have the happy ending you so both wanted. Rational thought frequently goes out the window…

It’s the memories and flashbacks that come out of nowhere and then swamp you, just when you think you’ve got it together for a bit. A glimpse out of the corner of your eye, a certain sound, a movement, and there you are, back then, and he’s so close that you feel if you reached out just far enough…
It’s knowing that even your better days are only temporary, because grief is not linear, you don’t just suddenly “get over it” as it is, and always will be, with you, and peaks are always followed by troughs.

It’s not being able to look around your house without seeing something that reminds you of him, but not being able to hide those things away either, because they mean too much.
It’s having literally hundreds of wonderful happy photos of you both together, and the places you went, and not being able to look at any of them without losing it, because all they do is remind you of what was and what will never be again.
It’s not being able to listen to music anymore, because it sets you off too much, or to watch huge swathes of movies that either have too many associations, or that have love stories with happy endings, and your story didn’t.

It’s the trips you’ll never take, the places you can’t imagine going without him, the conversations you’ll never have again, the sentences that he will never finish for you or you for him, the way you always said just what he was thinking and vice versa, the shared stories that are lost, the in jokes that will never make anyone laugh again.
It’s the things that you’d never shared with anyone else before, and will never share with anyone else again. The trust you built, the bonds you made; all broken. The memories that belong to the two of you alone and that now matter to no-one else but you.
It’s the loss of all the plans and dreams you made together; a future swept away by the tsunami.
It’s the road ahead that suddenly leads nowhere…

It’s feeling like people expect you to be over it; it was months ago after all right?
It’s not wanting to talk to anyone about it because you don’t want to drag them down into your depths. And whatever anyone says or does isn’t going to make it better anyway, so it’s just easier not to say anything, and so your life gets even quieter.
It’s knowing you’re not the person you were, and you never will be, and fearing that even your friends won’t like who you are now because, let’s face it, you don’t like who you are now much either.
It’s feeling alone even when you’re surrounded by people, friends, family, because the only person you want to be there is not, and where he is gone, you cannot follow.

It’s the hardest and most painful thing you have ever done and will ever do, and you struggle just to get from day to day in the hope that one day you’ll learn to carry the void within you rather than being swallowed up by it. And then you worry that maybe even worse will actually happen, because it turns out that unbelievably things can always get worse, what can go wrong will go wrong; and you realise you’ve added anxiety and panic attacks to your repertoire.

And today, it’s spending hours hacking back the garden, until my fingers hurt from using the secateurs too much, my arms ache from using the hedge trimmer so much, and I’m covered in a hundred stinging scratches, and then standing back and looking at my work and not having him there to share it with, to be proud of me, and then wondering why I bothered and what the point was, and what the point to anything is.

Finally, though I’m sure there’s more, it’s knowing that there’s no point trying to explain it because if you know, you know, and I don’t need to explain, and if I need to explain, I’ll never be able to make you understand. As I’ve said before, if you don’t understand, don’t judge me for how I’m coping, for how I choose to grieve, and for long I need to grieve for. You’re lucky enough to be ignorant, and ignorance is bliss. Just be grateful that you don’t understand, and leave it at that. I wish I was you.

I can lie to myself

It’s been a tough few days.
I’ve been up.
I’ve been down.
I don’t feel entitled to be down when my brother and his family are going through so much.
But I can’t help how I feel.
And grief is not a competition.
I can’t turn it off, much though I’d like to.

So it’s been a long few days.
An Easter weekend, a four day break, a thing that would once have been a special weekend; time away, time by the beach, time being us.
Two years ago we went to see The Wonderstuff for what was for me, not him, the first time.
I, and my 18 year old self, loved it SO much, and love sharing that with him.
Another highlight in many years’ worth of memories with him.

And the days pass, not that anyone knows what day it is anymore.
Lock down has removed any sense of routine, of schedule, of normality.

Sometimes Austin is working, sometimes he isn’t.
I try and keep busy.
I sleep a lot.
I dream; spending time in a hundred different vivid worlds.
The other night we were back together; just us doing whatever the dream had in store for us, like life was normal, almost like he was checking in.
Oddly it didn’t upset me.
I was just pleased to hang out with him for a while.
If you’re out there, pop back any time, I can pretty much guarantee to be asleep for 12 hours straight once I’m out for the count.

And then there’s the hours I have to be awake.
I read. I listen to podcasts. I spin bike. I tidy. I walk. I do chores.
I sort through things I don’t want to sort through or deal with, but I make myself.
I’m rediscovering the garden, inch by secateured inch.
I’ve discovered I’m pretty good with hedge trimmers, though my health & safety measures probably leave a lot to be desired, though I haven’t ended up in in casualty yet…
I’m covered in scratches and thorns and sore bits and aching muscles.
But if I’m doing, I’m not thinking.
If I’m not thinking, I’m not missing him, or her, or feeling for them.
If I’m not missing him, then I’m not hurting, and crying, and thinking of all the plans we had for the garden and the house, and our life together.

I can try and tell myself I’m not missing him, that I’m doing ok.
But I can’t even lie to myself.
I’m not ok.
But I’m doing the best I can to get by.

And I do miss him.
So much.

Whole of the moon

Our house, in the middle of our street. Well, cul de sac anyway.
It’s my house.
It’s nothing special really, but I love it. I chose it, and eventually I fought to keep it.
It’s my/our safe place, it’s the roof I kept over the mob’s head and, for a while, it was pretty much home for Matt and I.
It faces south, with large picture windows.
And today, with clearish skies, and the full moon above, moon beams are streaming in through my bedroom window.
On nights like these Matt and I used to open the curtains, curl up together, and just watch the moon go by, lighting up the entire room, and us, in its passing.
It was a pretty much a full moon when he left us.
And it’s a full moon today.
He’s not here.
But the curtains are still open, and the moon is passing by once more, oblivious.
We both saw the whole of the moon, and it’s just not the same seeing it without him.
But it does remind me of so much…

Apparently it’s a super pink moon, the biggest and brightest of 2020…who knew? Hard to tell through the hazy cloud but still…

I’m looking out, and I’m looking up, and I’m thinking of you. Always. You were my star, and you still are, and I still look up and look for you and think of you, whenever the stars are shining bright. I love you so much, wherever you’re currently shining. You lit up my entire life as you passed through it.

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you burned so very, very brightly…