Some days are better than others

Somedays you just can’t get it together. Can’t hold it together. It all just gets away from you. I tried my best. I got some work done. I did some housework. I did everything I could to keep busy and distracted and…nope. Nothing worked. The tears flowed, over flowed, whatever, whenever, wherever.

Tash and I kind of had a plan to go out and have a drink at the pub early doors and go to the shop, but I just couldn’t face it. Not being out there, amongst people. I couldn’t find my game face, let alone put it on. Even if I had, it would have gotten washed off. Considering the amount of rain we were having, I guess maybe nobody would have noticed all the tears, but still…I just couldn’t do it. It’s just been one of those days… Sometimes you can’t make it on your own. And that’s ok, cos I had Tash. In a few weeks I won’t have. And I’ll have to go out if I want to see anyone or have anyone to talk to. Challenging times ahead. As ever.

If some days are better than others, I hope tomorrow is better.

Your latest trick

Do you want to know what my brain’s latest trick is? Well today it’s particularly keen on throwing me random flashback happy memories out of nowhere and then, just as I’m almost smiling at the memory, dragging me back to the here and now and painfully reminding me, as if I needed reminding, that I’m never going to have any of that again. I am never going to see him again, talk to him, be hugged by him, feel safe and protected by him, curl up and sleep with him, and so much more, ever again. Thanks brain, great way to ruin a perfectly acceptable afternoon out with my youngest. Did you know sunglasses are a godsend? You can do a lot of crying behind them, with the odd judicious wipe of the face, without getting caught crying.

And it is amazing the things that can set your mind off. Watermelon. Camembert. Watch straps. I could go on but I’m not going to. Besides, they’re my memories, to hold on to, to keep and to treasure. They’re not for sharing, and they’re all I have now. They’re mine. No-one can take them away from me.

Coming home is always the hardest. Because I’m never coming home to him. He’s not waiting for me with a smile and hug, and plans for the rest of the day, even if my brain sometimes fools itself into thinking that. So it’s a dark road that leads to my house. Sometimes I think it would be better if I never left here at all. But life doesn’t work like that, because life has to go on and actually, for all that it hurts on return, I know that being out of the house is good for me. And I have to keep on living. Or at least trying to live, trying to fake it so that maybe I make it.

I miss him. So much. And you know what? I miss being happy, I really do. I used to be a happy person. A positive person. And now I’m not sure I even remember what happy feels like. It’s been so long… And I do try. If I focus really hard on the present and what I or we are doing, and play that mindfulness game, I can almost pretend that life’s approaching some sort of ok, and it’s like when it was just us three many years ago… But it isn’t. And it’s wrong to try and carry on like that, as if none of it happened. That’s not honouring his memory, that’s not bearing witness. He was, we were, and now he isn’t and we’re not. And that doesn’t just go away for all the trying in the world. Reality always comes back and hits home.

He may not be here. But he will always be with me. I’m still trying to figure out how to do this without him. I still don’t know how, and I still don’t know who I am now. But I’m still doing it. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what he’d want me to do. And I have people who want me to keep doing it, and I’ll ignore the ones who don’t. So I’m trying. And here we go, another day done, with another one to come. As ever, one day at a time, one hour at a time, sometimes one breath at a time…

PS: It’s ironic isn’t it? I have so many lyrics, so many songs, that I can use to say things, to express things. Yet I can’t listen to music. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was a child. And now? It doesn’t really matter what it is, what it says, it just seems to rip my heart out every time. There will always be a lyric that triggers, a key change that pulls on the heart strings, a song that pops up that is full of memories and associations. I miss it, like I miss him. Maybe one day I’ll be able to think of him and smile and not cry. Maybe one day I’ll be able to play music, in the sunshine, in the car, with the wind blowing through the windows, and it’ll be ok. Maybe…

Lullaby

So, as planned, eldest flew the nest today. And I know he’s only just down the motorway, and I know he’ll stay in touch, and I know he’ll come back and visit, and I do really want it to work out for him. It is the way of the world, it is how it should be.

But now there’s an empty room in the house. There’s even more emptiness here than there was before. It’s quieter than it was before. I miss him already. And it hurts. It feels like another loss. Sure, it’s not that kind of loss, but it’s a kind of grief nonetheless. For what was, and what will no longer be.

Life is hard. And relentlessly so. But then I knew that already, didn’t I? Wishing it ain’t so won’t make it so.

One day at a time. And tomorrow I will wake up to do it all over again. And the Spiderman is always hungry.

When tomorrow comes

When tomorrow comes, Austin is moving out. Not for uni, not for a holiday. For good. He has found a new job. He has a place to crash for a little while. so he has a little time in which to find a flat of his own. And so my boy is finally flying the nest. Which is great. Fly, be free my little one. With all my best wishes and love and support as the air beneath your wings. We went out for dinner and marked it best we could. He is an amazing person, as anyone who knows him will tell you, and those who are on his road ahead, who have yet to meet him, have no idea how lucky they are going to be to have him in their lives. I’m trying to be brave. It is, after all, how it should be. But man…letting go hurts. Especially when things are as they are…

And then we will be just two. All two briefly. In a few weeks youngest will go back to uni. And then it’ll be just me here, permanently home alone. Which was always coming. As was the end of my maintenance support when she graduates. But all of these things were going to be ok, because we knew that, and Matt was going to be here and we were going to get through it together. We were going to work it out. We had it covered. And now?

It’s going to be just me. And I know I’m a grown woman, and I’m sure when it comes to it I’ll cope, because let’s face it, I have to. But man, I am so scared of being on my own all the time. This is so not how it was supposed to be. I didn’t know how bad lonely could feel…

In the meantime, I’ve just been dealt another doozy of a hand by life, which I can’t really share in detail here because, even though everyone thinks I’m mad, I refuse to lower myself to somewhere that is not right for me and for Matt and I. Yes, venting might make me feel better, but it would probably make things overall worse not better so, you know, why go there?

Even though my kids, and many others, have thought I’m mad, and too nice for my own good, up until today I have known that I can hold my head up high and that I have done the right thing throughout. I have checked in with everyone. I have kept in touch with those that matter. I’ve not let a special date pass without checking in on those others that it affected. I’ve done it for over a year. I am actually quite proud of myself for that, given some of the provocation that has come my way. I have done my very best to do the right thing in every situation, even if it’s been hard. And man, it has often been very hard. I have done the best for me and him, for him, in his memory and in his honour. I thought I was doing good. Aw bless, you stupid girl. *face palm*. I can practically hear him laughing at me…and then hugging me because he’d appreciate my trying.

But here we are, sad but true. It looks like I was wasting my time. And now, I think maybe, enough already. Apparently forgiving those who trespass against you doesn’t stop them from continuing to do so. I may yet have to gird my loins and find some strength from somewhere, and yes, I don’t know I’m going to do it, but I’m going to try and stop being a walkover. I hope I’m going to fight my corner if I have to. After all this time, after all I’ve done, if I haven’t earnt a little respect in return then…I dub thee unforgiven. And it’s what he would want. If he were here right now, he would be absolutely furious. Livid. Beyond that even. I think it’s time I was a little more him and a little less me. And he always believed in me.

There are two types of people in life. Radiators and drains. I have done my very best to be a radiator. I’m pretty sure I’m not a drain. But whatever I am, I’m sure as h*ll not going to be a doormat any more. No more Ms Nice Lady. So don’t tread on me. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to go against the grain,  but at this point, I really, and literally, have nothing left to lose. And maybe I’ll regain a little self respect. I honestly thought I was doing the right thing. It turns out I was wrong. However I think I can still hold my head high for doing my well intentioned best, even if it has turned out to be misguided. But now? That doozy hand has forced my hand. Gloves off… If anyone out there has some to spare, please send me some strength, and maybe some healing, and just, please, hold my hand as I try and get through this too? I’m not sure my breaking point is that far off… Life just seems to be intent on piling it on, one thing after the other. I don’t know what I did in a previous life to deserve all this, but I really hope I enjoyed it… 🙁

PS: It turns out that, looking at the links I’ve put in here, Metallica’s music pretty much covers it today. Just as well. If this all goes to pot, as seems more than likely, I’d just like to mention that I’d like Enter Sandman as my mid-service track, in case I forget to add that to the “important stuff” file. I’ve already informed the mob, but they may not remember….

In the still of the night

This is one of the times I miss you most. When I really need to talk to someone. And that someone is always you. I have absent mindedly reached for the phone at least twice today. And now I’m somewhere else on my own, knowing that there’s no one else I want to talk to, be comforted by, and fall asleep with. So my mind is full of thoughts and feelings that have nowhere to go, and sleep is going to be a while away. I wonder if, when I give in and talk to the sky, you can hear me?

Sunday’d be too late

So, it’s been seven hours and fifteen days… No it hasn’t. It’s been 367 days, or is it 368, and however many hours, but I’m not Sinnead O’Connor, quietly dripping one beautiful tear down a flawless cheek. I’m a messy, lost, emotional, rudderless, ugly crying, me. Sunday marked a year since you left us, and still, nothing compares to you, and nothing ever will.

I had so much to say on that anniversary day and I still do. So much. But I just haven’t been in a place where I could do it. I’d battened down the hatches, and didn’t want to open the floodgates. I have been lucky enough to be able to talk to, and spend time with, some very important people over the last two days, which has helped. I have been reaching out left, right, and centre…to friends and family…and then I realised, *face palm slap*, that what I was actually trying to do was to talk to you…so it’s no wonder that nothing was quite scratching that itch is it? If only… I live in a world of if onlys…

It feels like it’s been forever, and also no time at all, and yet it is also still so surreal that maybe it never happened at all. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all some kind of sick joke…and I’ll wake up and it will all be over. But, as that song says, I’m still here, and I’m still not dead. And you are. It’s still all far too real.

It would have been the worst year of my life even had it been the only tragedy to have happened in it, which sadly it has not. Every time someone has said things couldn’t possibly get worse, they have. It has been a year of complete h*ll, and it hasn’t suddenly gotten better just because that year has passed. I am quite honestly surprised that I am still here, no thanks to some, and heartfelt thanks to many.

Being neither Sinnead O’Connor, nor Prince, I don’t do lyrics. So I thought I’d try a poem. Maybe this would be his song

And I did write one. But I just couldn’t get it. Because there just aren’t the words. However I tried, it all felt clichéd and trite and it’s all been said so much better by others… I’m no W.H.Auden, no AE Houseman, who both say it better than I ever could. As ever, I’m just me. I tried, I did my best, and I was going to put it here. But I just couldn’t do it well enough to say it all in a way I could be proud of.  I couldn’t do you justice with my words, and I didn’t want to get it wrong and let you down. So many others have done and continue to do it better.  If I could, I would write you a poem, I would sing you a song…but I’m not talented enough. You’d get it though. You always did. We always knew what each other were thinking, but when we were apart we didn’t always have the words we wanted. Being apart was always so hard. It hasn’t gotten any easier…

I guess that’s why we used songs to say things to each other that we couldn’t say quite the way we wanted to ourselves, something you can probably tell from the links that have been scattered throughout my blog entries. We shared so many songs, so many lyrical words, and I am so glad I still have all our playlists, all those songs, for when I am able to listen to music again.

I couldn’t have this played at your funeral, though I wanted to. It’s a song you sent me a long time ago, but it would have been considered inappropriate, and I was only permitted so much influence over your farewell. But, whatever some may say, this is what we were underneath it all. Pure f*cking love. Just so as you know, I’m going to carry on being me, for you, because that’s what you would have wanted. In the meantime, here’s the song that said it when we laid you to rest…another one that you chose to send me. And I’ve still got love, so much love in my heart for you, and, come what may, I can’t and won’t let it go.

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, we fought our way to be together. It took a long time, and it sure as h*ll wasn’t easy. Juggling everything we had between us sometimes made walking our life together a tightrope, but I’m so glad I got to walk along it with you. I’ll never let you go. And while I’m here, quoting away like mad, here’s one more song for you… Like so many films, but this one especially, your favourite, I can’t watch it without you. Your crazy still matches my crazy… And hey, I’m probably a whole heap crazier now than I was then. Grief tears you apart, and when, if, the pieces come back together, you’re just not the same, and never will be. There is always a crucial piece missing, and you are always broken in a way that can never be fixed.

I have no idea who I am now, but I am apparently a world of clichés and quotes, so why stop now? So, if the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love, and to be loved in return, we were that for each other. Man, to be loved like that, and to love like that…just amazing. One year on I still love you as much as ever, if not more, and I’ll love you forever, to the beach and beyond. You were my new day, and you are still the little birdhouse in my soul.

We marked your passing in many a typical way, including a beach, with fizz, just the three of us. It all hurt like hell, and it still does. Life may be better at the beach, but being on a beach without you was a very hard step to take. It may have been an anniversary, but it was not a celebration. Just an acknowledgement of the time that has passed. And if there was anything celebratory about it at all, it was just that I am still here a year on, and I have made it through the many many times when I thought I would not, when I would cheerfully have gone gently into that good night and joined you.

So here we are. One unimaginable year later. Who knew you could cry every day for a year? I have been forced to learn so much about life, myself, others in that time… And here I am, still expressing myself by writing it all down, and since I’ve always been able to say more in the written word, be they mine or those of others, than those spoken in person, it’s helped, in so far as anything has, so I guess I’ll keep on doing it. In the meantime, here I am, lying here with all my thoughts inside this empty bed, and I miss you. If you distill it all, take all the words I write here, all the lyrics in these songs, and all the days I go through, that’s what you get. Three simple words that say so much. I miss you. And I love you. Another three words, that really go without saying, but I’m saying them anyway. I love you.

And so, life goes on. One foot in front of the other, remembering to breathe, one day at a time. It’s not really living, it’s just existing. But, like everything else, it is what it is. If only…

PS: Neck Deep have a new album out. You’d love it. I love it. And on it are so many songs we would have sent each other. It hurts, but I feel like I’m listening to it for both of us. It’s so sad that you’ll never hear it. And as they say on it, whatever storm is passing by…we all know nothing and we will all end up pushing daisies, and that’s the way it is.

Come as you are

So here we are. It’s this weekend.
It was a Friday when my world collapsed around me. This year the “anniversary” date falls on on a Sunday. And luckily, thanks to my antidepressants and other meds, there was no chance of me being awake early enough this morning to relive that Friday today. Silver linings I guess. Not that it really helped, I just got the flashbacks a few hours later. It’s all etched in my mind, in technicolour, every single detail. Which is ironic since my memory is usually rubbish… But I remember all of it. Everything. My brain frequently plays it over, and over, and over again…

So I’ve taken a few days off work. I’ve gotten a few things done, and I’ve made some plans, things to do with kids, and with some friends/important people over the weekend.

And here we are.
I should have been in bed hours ago.
But…

Because we are when we are, my brain has brought all my memories and thoughts to the front. Normally I can keep busy, hide in a book, whatever, to a degree. Now there’s no way of hiding from anything. It’s like having it all forcibly brought back into focus, and then being made to look at it all, live through it all, all over again. Not just the day, our whole time together. All those years, our trips, our everything. Memories popping into the present from nowhere. Memories that hadn’t popped up before. And man, it is so hard. I still can’t believe it. I thought a year would have made things better. It hasn’t. And it’s made a fair few things worse.

Every night this week, every time I’ve gone to sleep, my dreams have been mental. And fantastical and pure escapism, and so not what my life actually is. In short, somewhere I would far rather be.
And every time I wake up, reality settles in, sometimes instantly, sometimes it takes a while.
And then I remember.
Just like back then in the early days.
I remember.
And then I cry a lot.

I doubt tomorrow will be any different.
But we have plans.
My coping strategies for the weekend are locked and loaded.
I have beer, and wine, and fizz, and places to be, and people to be with, and if necessary I can spend the whole weekend just slightly comfortably numb. And I know they’re not healthy coping strategies, but tbh, I don’t give a monkey’s. I may even turn my phone off for a few days, and just focus on being mindful and looking after me. I will do what ever I have to do to get through this and out the other side.

But I still don’t want to go to sleep.
To be fair I don’t really want to wake up either.
But I’ll do both.

It’s going to be a sh*tty weekend.
I knew that.
So here we go…

Man, I miss my beautiful boy so much. And love him even more. Life’s just not fair.

Here comes the rain again

It’s raining outside.
Heavy fat drops of what is probably the edge of a thunderstorm.
Which is appropriate and apt.
Because I feel like I’m in the middle of my own personal thunderstorm.

Plans are being made, kind of on the fly, depending on who’s been in contact.
There will be places I go over the next few days with friends, family, both, neither.
I won’t be around here a lot.
And I guess I’ll get through this, because that’s what you do.
When you’re going through hell, just keep on going, as someone said.

I hope none of the worst case scenarios that have run through my head come to pass.
I hope I come out the other side feeling like I’ve marked it appropriately.
And I hope getting through the worst year of my life helps me feel better afterwards, and helps me go forward.

Time will tell…

In the meantime I still miss him so much it physically hurts…and I’ve been crying on and off all day. It’s almost impossible, as the anniversary approaches, not be be thinking about him, and that day, all the time. I just want him back. Which is the only thing in the world that I can never have.

SSDD, right?

And here’s the actual thunder. Awesome. And perfectly timed.
Plus I love thunderstorms and since I am, inevitably, awake, maybe I’ll open the curtains and watch the lightning for a while…

I just don’t know what to do with myself

It’s nearly here.
We keep trying to make plans.
People want to be there for me, whatever I want to do.
Some of our friends need/want to mark it too, but don’t want to impose.
Which is all very well, but I don’t really have a clue what I want to do.
I know what I don’t want.
I know where not to be and when.
But what do I want to do?

I want to mark it.
But it’s not a celebration. Anniversaries usually are. This is most certainly not.
Well, unless you want to celebrate the fact that I have survived this year, which after some of the times I have been through, I honestly wasn’t sure I would.

I don’t know what I want to do.
I don’t know what feels right.
I know that I probably need to get of town for a bit.
I feel slightly run out of town, to be honest.
I know where I’m not wanted.

I know I need to do what feels right for me.
But I really wish I knew what that was.

Maybe it will become clear to me when I get to it?

I know it’s going to be a really sh*tty day.
I know I’m avoiding thinking about it or making decisions about it, because I don’t want to face up to it.
And I also know it doesn’t really matter what I do, because it’s not going to make any difference; it won’t bring him back, and it won’t make it all suddenly better.
Yes, the first year of firsts will be over and done with. But that isn’t going to make me miss him any less, or love him any less, or suddenly heal me.

Maybe I should just take myself off on my own?
Maybe I can’t actually do it on my own?

So many questions, so few answers, and even less decisions.

6 days and counting

So this is the week that was always going to be.
And I have decided just to go with the flow through it.
T’aint nobody’s business but mine, after all.
There is no signposted path for this, there is no template, no map, and even if there were, one size never fits all.

So I may sleep too much, drink too much, stay up too late, wake up too late, write rubbish here, whatever…
I am doing what it feels like I need to do; whatever works for me. Whatever feels right, and whatever is going to get me through it.

Let’s face it, most of you have no clue what this feels like (and also, thankfully, don’t know how lucky you are).
If you do, you get it.
If you don’t, then there’s no way I can make you understand.
So, as with everything else, it is what it is.

This time last year we were so happy, and we were looking after, and out for, each other. We were in the middle of the most amazing couple of weeks.

And then…

Now I have to look after me, by myself, in my own way.
Judge how I do it if you want; and hey, I’m used to judgement by now, so knock yourself out, it won’t touch me. Judging me says more about you than it does about me. And as they say, those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind. If you’re not here helping me through it, being there for me, helping me to do it better, then you have f*ck all right to have an opinion on it as far as I’m concerned.

Walk a mile in my shoes…and then maybe you’ll get it. But I hope you’ll never have to. I wouldn’t wish this on even my worst enemy. But if you do end up here…then you’ll get it. And you’ll also learn that, even if it feels like walking over broken glass, you keep on walking, however slowly, because you have to. It has nothing to do with bravery.

Oddly, in a serendipitous sort of timing way, it would appear that this week I have some actually gardening to do, at precisely the same time as I have some metaphorical pruning to do.

Sooner or later you have to focus on, and look after, yourself. However much I wish he was, he’s not here to look after and support me anymore. I have lost my rock. The only person to look after me now is me, And as someone wise once said to me, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And I’ve got enough problems right now without carrying extra ones with me… Hey, if you don’t care about me, why should I care about you?

Two years ago, this was us, out and about doing our thing, our way, in our little happy bubble. Look at those smiles. Man I miss feeling that way. So much love 😭💔.