So. Today is not a date I am planning on remembering, or marking, in years to come. But it is the last first, so this year it counts.
Today marked a year since we laid Matt to rest. Except we didn’t even do that. So then today marks a year since the necessary formalities took place. When we all formally and officially got together and said goodbye to him, in accordance with social norms, none of which he gave a monkey’s about.
I remember being in one of the formal cars in the procession, that I’d had to fight to have, since apparently it had been decided that only family get to go in one of those, and I wasn’t family. Like I was supposed to follow along behind like some sort of second class citizen in whatever car we had. Since I was paying for half of the funeral, I paid for the extra car. I sat in that car, with my family and friends, following the hearse down the A38, and I remember commenting on how surreal the whole thing was, and that I’d never imagined ever having to do anything like that. That I couldn’t believe what was happening. And the whole day was like that. It happened. I was there. But I wasn’t there. It was like it was all happening to someone else. But it was a lovely day, in so far as it could be, even if the rifts that would grow were already present and obvious. It was all about rites, not rights. The sun shone, it happened, it was done.
Maybe laying him to rest would have been better. After all, he’d be whole, in one place, sent on his way by everyone. But he wanted to be cremated, and he wanted to be scattered on our hill. Thanks to family animosity, and to minimise stress all around, we split his cremains (yes, that is actually a word), and so half of him has gone one way and has now been scattered the way that they wanted to do it, and the other half will go another way when the world opens up enough for us to do it the way he would have wanted. With his and our friends, and celebration, and warmth, and joy, and tears, and all that it needs to be for all of us that will be there (we had to postpone our original plans thanks to Covid restrictions). And one day, when I’m ready, a small final part will be set free on a particular special beach, which has nothing to do with anyone else other than me and him.
His funeral was just a date. He was already long gone, travelling along the path he’d chosen. Everyone got to do their duty, say their goodbyes and then the majority considered their dues paid, their job done, and went back to their lives, leaving the rest of us grieving on our own, with precious little support. I am so grateful to those of you, and you know who you are, who have stuck with me since then. Grief doesn’t go away just because the funeral is over. Or because a year has passed. You don’t get over it, you just learn to live with it, and I’m still trying to learn how to do that. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I guess I was hoping that, in Victorian style, the year would be up, my widow’s weeds would come off, metaphorically speaking, and then I would feel better. I don’t. In fact it almost feels harder, as the numbness and shock wears off, and true reality sets in. As they say, where there was great love, there is great grief, and man, did I love him. So much. I’ve never known love like it, and it went both ways. So I’m not going to pretend it’s ok, that I’ve moved on, that life is normal now, just to please other people. It really isn’t, and I’m not ok. I’m still here, and I will continue to be. But I’m not ok.
In two weeks time the final active part of this shitty journey will be over and done with. His belongings will have been taken away from me, which hopefully Covid-19 restrictions will still allow to happen, since having started, I just want it over and done with now. And then I want them all to leave me alone. I’ve done my best for the whole year, but clearly that wasn’t enough. They’ve all made their position very clear, and it’s been a horrible few weeks knowing what is coming, having to sort through his stuff, and pack up his life etc. I feel ganged up on and bullied, but hopefully they will be happier, and satisfied, and finally have the “closure” they seem to think I’ve been denying them. I know that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment. I know that none of this is my fault. And I know that if we’d been married, as we wanted to be, it wouldn’t even be happening. But ho hum, it is what it is, it is going to happen, and this too shall pass.
And then that will be that. There will be me, in my empty house, on my own, still grieving, still hurting like all h*ll. But there will no longer be anything hanging over me. That has to be better. Besides, it’s all just stuff, it’s all just water under the bridge, and none of it changes anything. He’s still dead, and I’d still give anything, barring my children, to have him back. He loved me, I loved him. I’ve got the memories, the messages, the photos, and the witnesses. Our love was a fact. And that’s all I need. I am lucky to have had him in my life, to have had what we had. Some people never get to have that at all. I will spend the rest of my life missing it, whatever else life brings to me. So one year on, I’m going to say it again. I love you to the beach and beyond and forever. Your crazy matched my crazy big time, and you are still my beautiful boy. xxx😭💔.