Private Universe

Day 3 in the lockdown house. Did I see anyone? Is the suspense killing you?
No. I didn’t.
This doesn’t mean I didn’t try.
I got up.
I did chores.
I did, impressively, have a shower and wash my hair which, since I didn’t put curly gunk on it afterwards, means I can re-dye it tomorrow.
But no.
I didn’t see anyone.
Because I got all ready, and left the house to move one car so that I could take the other car and…despite its brand new battery…we weren’t going anywhere. Not in that car and, since that one blocks the drive to the other, not in the other one either. The lights came on but…not enough power to kick it over. Battery? Starter motor? Alternator? Who knows…and there was f*ck all I could do about it right then. I didn’t want to call the breakdown guys, and Austin has my jump leads.
So, cue very messy breakdown, in many ways.
Like, I know it’s not important, but I’d built myself up, got ready, forced myself to do all the things I didn’t really want to do, so that I could go out, so that I could do the thing I’d said I’d do, when I’d rather have just stayed in bed.
And then I couldn’t do it.
Which pretty much wiped me out, mentally anyway.

On the upside this means that my folks – my bubble, so it’s allowed – are coming over tomorrow to see if we can jump start it, and move cars around and just in case we can’t, they’re picking up some things from the supermarket for the cats for me on their way over. I’m going to see actual people, in person! And people who won’t mind when I lose it and cry on their shoulders for what could be quite some time. I’ve already cried all over them down the phone today. Silver linings I guess…

And then, even thought I didn’t feel like it, I did join the new zoom group thingy. Which went ok. I made it through, I hope I wasn’t too annoying, talk too much, or whatever.

Last night I ended up throwing up when I went to bed. I think the flapjack I ate was too out of date. It could be because my pain levels are a bit off the scale at the moment. But then it could also apparently be a side effect of finally, after lots of tapering, coming off the meds. I was fairly nauseous today. But I ate marmite on toast. And it stayed down. So I joined the zoom. Both of which are good, right?

So that was Saturday. At least I think it’s Saturday… Luckily the final season of Game of Thrones turned up on my doorstep yesterday so I had that to watch. As the day passed FB and Google images delighted in telling me how wonderful my life was up until a couple of years ago. Lovely photos to see…if it wasn’t for seeing them, and his comments on them, ripping my heart out every time.

So overall, you know, not a great day. In case you were wondering, this is not going well.

Why’d you leave me? One day I will follow you into the dark. Let’s face it, there’s no light here.

Bubble

Day two of the second lockdown. It has now been over 48 hours since I have seen another person. Over 48 hours since I talked to anyone in person. Over 48 hours in which the only phone conversations I’ve had are for work or with family. The only physical contact I’ve had is with felines or reptiles. It’s just me, and a constant soundtrack of podcasts or, once evening comes around, the TV, until another day can be called quits and put behind me. It’s a very strange feeling. And now it’s the weekend. Which holds even less.

I’ll have to leave the house at some point, as I shall run out of cat food, and if I don’t feed them, I’ll be the mad old lady discovered because her cats have killed her and are eating the corpse. I’d say I’m joking, but they’re really into their food at the moment. They’re also paying me a lot of attention at the moment. They tend to all three be around me somehow most of the time. I guess I must radiate miserable. Or needy. Or something. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. It doesn’t intrinsically change anything either way.

Maybe the sun will be shining, and I’ll gather up enough motivation to have a shower, and get presentable, and take Sofia out for a shopping excursion. Or maybe I won’t. I think I’m actually going to, uncharacteristically, join a new Zoom chat tomorrow evening. Because some conversation/virtual company is better than none, right? Either way I should probably have a shower and wash my hair. It’s coming to something when that counts as an achievement isn’t it?

Turn around

So it’s Tuesday. Lockdown starts again on Thursday. So in a bizarre way today feels like Thursday. And so tomorrow is Friday, because it’s the last day of the end of the current stint of “normal” life. Except it’s not Thursday. And I never could get the hang of Thursdays, virtual or otherwise.

But anyway. Thanks to the imminent re-closure of the world I have been unexpectedly blessed because several of my close friends have gone, you know what, we need to see her before this happens. So I have seen, and am seeing tomorrow, Ian. I’ve had coffee with Guy. I’ve had drinks with Chris. I’ve had drinks with Rob. Various people have checked in with me to see how I’m doing. I have talked to real people about real things, people I don’t have to be someone else with. Real, real, real, real. I am so thankful to you all for both thinking of and including me – for remembering that I’m struggling, when you have your own lives and challenges…and we’re all living chaotic lives and you didn’t have to make time for me. But you did. Thank you (as if those two words were anywhere near enough). Tomorrow is L-1 and I’m seeing Ian again, and we’ll hang out and chat, and it’ll all be lovely until…

…it all hits home. I’ll go home, and the prison door will swing closed behind me, keys will turn, and lockdown will be here.

But being boring, and sensible, rules are there for a reason, I have been brought up to do what I’m told. And if you’re bending those rules, or thinking that somehow they don’t apply to you, and you’ve got it all covered, you’re ok Jack…then you are most definitely part of the problem not the solution. I may not agree with the reasons behind it. I have done a lot of reading. I’m not quite sure what to believe any more. But if we’re in lockdown, we’re in lockdown. You may not agree with it either. But if there’s any chance of it working. it’s only going to work if we do what we’re told. Do what the rules say. It nearly worked last time, we just cracked too early.

You want to have Christmas with your family? Then follow the f*cking rules. Do what you’re told. You are not immune. Down here in the SW we got to feel somewhat safe and removed from it all for a long time. Low number of cases, low risk, blah blah. But it’s here now. We all know someone in town who has had it. Soon we’ll all know someone who’s ended up in hospital as a result of having it. And sadly some of us are going to lose people to it. It’s here. The zombies are knocking on the door. Don’t let them in! Is your reason for breaking the rules really worth someone else’s death? Let’s get this over and done with, let’s make it work. The sooner we behave, the sooner it ends.

I will be staying home. I will be working from home. I will not be seeing other people outside of that which is permitted. And, quite frankly, it’s going to be horrible. It is a seriously disastrous thing to be happening to me on top of everything else. My mental health is at rock bottom right now. Do you really think I want to be socially isolated for a month all by myself? Do I f*ck! And I don’t really care if I personally get Covid. But do I want to give Covid to someone else? Do I want to be unavailable if my folks need me because I have it or because I’m isolating because some other inconsiderate f*cker puts me in that situation? Do I want to be the patient X that spreads it out and beyond? Do I want someone to die because hey, you know what, work is a bit easier if I’m in the office, or because I wanted to have some fun, or do whatever is that I wanted to do to make myself feel better, because I decide I’m more important than everyone else, and it’s ok if I bend the rules right? Do you have any idea what the death of another person close to me would do to me right now? I think it would be the final nail in my coffin…

But hey, you know, have a rave in Bristol, because you know, you don’t want your civil liberties infringed, and you just want to have a good time…

*breathe*

But I refuse to face up to all of that until what is actually Thursday. What’s the point? I know it’s going to be a truly sh*t month. I know it’s going to be truly unbearable. I know that my feelings of loneliness are going to be even further off the scale than they have been lately. I’m going to have a month of that at least. Of that being my life. But is worrying it about it in advance going to help? No, it’s just going to make this particular period of hell start earlier than it needs to.

So I’m just not going there now. What’s the point? It’s coming, whether I like it or not. Don’t get me wrong. I am dreading it. I am quite honestly viscerally scared about how I’m going to get through it. But it’s not here yet. So, as they say, why borrow trouble from tomorrow?

Lock me down, and if I can get out of bed, I have things that need doing. I will get back on the spin bike more, since I can no longer hide in a quiet corner in a pub when life has become too much. I have a car that needs cleaning and valeting. If I’m lucky, I will occasionally go for a permitted and socially distanced walk with one person from another household. I will bubble with an as yet to be decided household, which will probably be my folks. I am going to end up having to Zoom more than I am comfortable with but, given the choice between that, and talking to myself and the cats, and the fact that if I don’t talk to people I’m going to be headed for a white padded cell or casket, I think it’s going to be another hurdle I have to get over. Hello Zoom. Hello Microsoft Teams. Hello FaceTime. I’m going to have to drag myself out of my comfort zone, since that comfort zone will no longer be comfortable anyway. And it will pass, and if we all behave, maybe we can have a couple of normal months before it happens all over again. Which it will.

I’m in a really really weird mental space right now, thanks to my stalker, the bitch next door, etc etc etc. But as ever it is what it is. I am managing to get some work done. I’ve got some chores done. And, oddly, just recently I have turned around all the photos of Matt and I again, and now I can see them all the time. I don’t know how long it will last; will I get to a point where it just upsets me too much and I have to turn them around again? Or am I going to get habituated to them and be able to smile back at him when I see him smiling at me? I don’t know. Right now it feels like a good thing. But…

I don’t know. Like everything else, there is no certainty. Everything is fluid. Let’s be honest, these days I don’t know anything. I don’t know how anything is going to go. Reality was already surreal. I am beyond lost. So one day at a time…

Here we go again…

It’s a little bit funny

It’s a little bit funny. This feeling inside. Even if it was one that I wanted to hide.

*Engage understatement mode*.
Last time lockdown was not good for me.
*/engage*.

And here comes neither the hot stepper, nor the lyrical gangster, but a second lockdown. And this time it’s just me. OK, I’m allowed a bubble, which realistically has to be me and my folks. Other than that, I am allowed to see one other person outside to exercise with. In the meantime, it will be me, myself, and I, living and working from home. An unholy trinity.

I’m just not sure I’ll make it; I’m not even sure I want to. But let’s be honest. It’s late, I’ve been out, there’s been soon to be missed company, plenty of white wine, followed by time at home with Game of Thrones and inside my head. This is quite probably not the time for deep thoughts and decisions. To paraphrase Winston Churchill since, though I may be lost, I remain educated…dear life, you may be ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly. However by then I may be better able to cope with the emotions and worries and consequences that you are in the process of throwing at me.

So, once more unto the sleep of the sedated. Will sweet dreams await me? Will the Sandman keep my soul safe until the morn? Heavy thoughts tonight, alone with the beasts inside my head…

Did I mention it can always get worse?

Take another little piece of my heart now baby

I just wanted to say I’m still here.
Clinging on by the skin of my teeth.
I’ve got a lot of things to write about, things I’ve been doing, things that have happened.
But I’m just not in the right headspace for writing about it right now.
In fact I’m not in a very good place at all.

Today has been a complete wipeout.
But that’s ok.
I decided to let it be what it was clearly going to be.

Maybe in a day or so I’ll be able able to pour my thoughts out onto the page.
But today is not that day.
And that’s an understatement.

Love don’t live here any more.

I had a very lovely text yesterday, from someone who reads this, had noticed I haven’t been writing, and was just checking in to see if I was ok. It meant a lot, and no, I didn’t mind you getting in touch. Thank you for caring enough to do so. Because generally people don’t check in anymore. Not that I blame them. Everyone has their own lives to live, paths to walk, journeys to make. I know they’d be there if I reached out to them. It’s just that it’s not something that you feel like you can do when you’re lost down a rabbit hole. Who the h*ll would want to talk to someone feeling like that? It hardly makes me a sparkling conversationalist, and why would I want to drag someone down to these depths anyway?

But I’m still here. As it happens, now that Austin has moved out, and Tash has gone back to uni, I’m still here all by myself. Well not right now. Right now I’m at the pub writing this because I haven’t seen an actual person in two days, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people, not including work. It wasn’t doing my head any good, so I thought maybe I should go and see other people having a life, even if I don’t have one. That and I need to pop to the shop, so I forced myself to get my arse in gear and here I am.

Yes I’m still here. Living on my own. Except it’s not really living. It’s just existing. Sitting my empty house. The house feels weird, like no-one lives in it anymore. As the title to this latest epistle says, love don’t live here anymore. It’s quiet. Emptily eerily quiet, like a long abandoned ruin. And I know it hasn’t been long, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it, I’m just in the middle of a period of readjustment.

In the meantime, even though I know I should, I can’t seem to find the energy to arrange to see anyone. To go visit anyone. To exercise. To leave the house. Hell, I barely get out of bed most of the time, since that’s where I tend to work from too. And writing here? Well I’m just going to sit here and pour my pain on to the page again, and who wants to hear me going on and on about that? So I haven’t been writing either. I have at least managed to carry on working, but I haven’t invoiced anyone for months and I haven’t done my personal accounts for even longer. Not good.

Don’t wake me up
It’s the best that I’ve felt in weeks
And to be completely honest
I’d rather be happily dead or asleep

The only thing I’m really good at at the moment is sleeping. 12 hours straight easy, however many alarms I set. Because however many alarms I set, my brain knows they’re just arbitrary, and as such can be ignored. There is no real reason I should wake up; I don’t have appointments, or plans, and so… I hit snooze over and over again, and eventually end up waking up far later than I wanted to, which just gives me something else to beat myself up about. But hey, at least I then have less of a day to get through before I can go back to sleep, right?
Sometimes I make an effort. I try and find something to do. As you can see, I’ve bleached and dyed my hair. I even put a smile on for the camera, as I was showing Tash the results. I’ve made a new pendant out of a goldstone heart that Matt bought me. I’m refurbishing a lazy susan I got secondhand. I’m binge watching box sets. Anything to kill some time…
This was supposed to be our time. Our happy ever after, being together for the rest of our lives. Not just for the rest of his. I am missing him so much, and it still hurts just as much as ever, even if it has a slightly different quality to it. There’s still so much I want to say to him, and can’t. So many places I can’t go without him. There’ve been a lot of memory flashbacks just to help make things that little bit worse. I miss him, I miss my kids, I miss my life, and I miss who I was. The sheer loneliness of life now is heartbreaking and soul destroying and quite literally painful.

I’m most definitely not OK. Well, the me that is writing this isn’t. The me who goes through the motions at home, and randomly bursts into tears at the drop of a non-existent hat isn’t OK. Sometimes I go out, and it’s nice to be out, and to see people. Most people probably think I’m ok. I can chat, and laugh, and be distracted, and I’m grateful to them for including me, and for the semblance of normality it brings, while all the time feeling like I’m standing slightly off to one side from myself, watching it all go on. And then I have to go home, because I’m tired of dancing. So I go home, drained, to a still empty house. Everything is where I left it. All the things I’m not getting done are still not done. Nothing has changed. There’s a feline saving grace though. In the absence of any other option, each of our three cats will now spend some time sitting on me at some point during the day. And Max gives good cuddles. They make me cry, but that’s ok, I do that on and off all day anyway. Crying with fluffy cuddles is better than crying alone.
I know that with time, I will establish a new routine, I will find things to do, projects to put my mind to. I will visit people, I will see friends, I will get back on the spin bike, and maybe one day I’ll get around to going away by myself again, like I used to once upon a long time ago. I’m just not there yet.

Land of make believe

I sometimes feel almost ok for a little while. I get busy. I’m working. I’m reading. I’m hanging out with the kids or very occasionally with friends. Whatever. Busy brain, thinking about other things, doing other things…

At which point you probably expect me to say I then feel guilty for feeling ok, as the cliché goes.

But that’s not how it is.

It’s more like my brain gets distracted, thinks everything is ok, and then, well, if everything is ok, it must be because Matt is around, right? Everything’s ok again, right? Life is back to normal.

And then the busy stops. The silence descends again…and…it’s not ok. My brain remembers how things actually are, and has to remind itself, and me, that he isn’t around, and it’s not ok, and it’s never going to be that kind of ok ever again..

And it’s like it hits you all over again.

Again, and again, and again.

The ‘never again’ is the brick wall I’m constantly mentally banging my head against, and it never goes away. I might get to bang my head against it a little less often these days, especially if I try hard, but it’s always there, and the impact never seems to hurt any less.

Tash goes back to Uni on Saturday, and I’m trying very hard not to think about it, not to count down the days, so as not to panic about the fact that as of Sunday yet another new stage of my life starts. The one where I live here completely on my own. I’m sure it’ll work out fine. It kind of has to, it’s not like it’s optional. It will be what it turns out to be. But, as with everything else these days, that’s not going to stop me worrying about it beforehand, now is it?

Out and about

Another day. But one that was a little better, as they go.

We got out of the house.

We went and saw someone who has become a friend over the last year. As I’ve said before, it’s odd who has come out of the woodwork to support me, and also who I thought would, and then haven’t. Not to mention the grief tourists – those who popped up to vicariously enjoy the ride, be seen to be being oh so supportive, and then vanished in the haze.

We picked up some repaired jewellery, that is special to me, and having a particular bracelet back on my wrist felt good. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it being there.

I then played taxi so Tash could see friends.

Being out is better than being in.

It also turns out that Austin will be down Friday/Saturday for one final family body art Bristol trip, as he wants new ink before life gets properly locked down again since, like me, he thinks that’s going to happen. And I think I’ll get the matching dermal since it turns out that Ruby has a spare appointment at the same time. Why not, right? It’ll be nice to be all together again, however briefly. The crest before the crash.

On the downside, COVID-19 is further f*cking with life, and if things go as I fear they will, there’s a very real possibility that I could end up out of a job in the middle of next year. And it’s always good to have something else to add to the list of things to worry about, right?

And don’t tell me not to worry, as life keeps showing me that things can always get worse.

Anyway, today was better than yesterday.

Perpetual Motion

Yes I know, there’s no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.
But…

Every day I mean to go to bed early.
Because every day waking up is a struggle.
And the day that follows it seems to be hell.

So by the time I get to now, I’ve drunk enough, got myself into a settled place where I’m watching Netflix or whatever, actually I can’t face going to bed. So I stay up, and thus, the wheel turns, the cycle repeats, and in a few hours…? Same sh*t, different day.

And there we go again, over and over and over again; perpetual hell, if not perpetual motion.

For starters, even though I know that asleep is better than awake, and my dreams are better than my life, I also know that inevitably I will have to wake up to reality at some point tomorrow, and I won’t want to, and I’ll have to remember what my life actually is every time I surface, and it never hurts any less. If I’m lucky, I’ll dream of him. But then if I’m lucky that way, then waking up will be even worse. There is no win here. So why go to sleep, when I know I can’t stay there, and I don’t want to wake up?

I thought that after the vultures had descended and picked over his bones, and that that day wasn’t hanging over me, I would feel better. I don’t. I really really don’t. And ok, they’re not vultures, they’re family who are totally entitled to have his things, but since they haven’t seen fit to reply to my request for the one thing that shouldn’t have gone to them to be returned to me, that meant a lot to me, (surprise, surprise), I’m not feeling all that charitable right now. Why should I continuously do the right thing, when others don’t?

And as an aside, my house was full of his stuff. But stuff doesn’t make any noise. So why does it feel not just empty, but somehow so much f*cking quieter?

Anyway.

The last few days have been pretty hellish. I’m a complete wreck, tbh. Like I said, I thought having it over and done with would help me feel better. It hasn’t. I guess it’s aftermath, aftershock…I haven’t recovered from it yet. I’m bouncing along the bottom. Minus the bounce.

That’s the thing with grief. We’ve all lost people, grandparents etc, In the natural order of things. I’ve lost best friends. This? All new. I have no map. No experience to fall back on. No knowing that I’ll get through it and be ok. You think you know how it’s going to go. You don’t.

I want to be ‘better’. I want to be happy again, I want to ‘move on’, blah blah. I’m not wallowing in it, lingering, whatever you might think, on purpose. But grief like this isn’t what you want it to be. It is uncharted territory. Part of it is learning that you don’t get over it. You don’t get to go back to the person you were. And it would kind of be an insult to the person who meant so much to you if you did. You are changed. You are changing. Like the primordial ooze inside a chrysalis. You have no idea who you’re going to be at the end of the process. And you don’t get to choose how the ride goes. You’re just along for it. Fighting against it just makes it worse. Which is so not me. I’m a control freak.

I know I need to learn not to expect so much of myself. To be kinder to myself. To let myself be how I need to be whenever I need to be whatever that is. I keep setting myself up for failure, because I have no clue what I’m doing, but keeping thinking that I should be doing better, and then I’m not doing it right, and that I’m failing at this, just like everything else. Hopefully over the next few days I will settle down a bit. Just in time for Tash to go back to Uni, and leave me home alone. Even though I’d kinda like her to stay being here, I really hope Covid-19 doesn’t stop her leaving. She should be out there living her uni life. Not stuck here with her wreck of a mother. So fingers crossed for her…

You wouldn’t have thought Frozen 2 would trigger a flashback, would you? And I wish it hadn’t. And Tash hadn’t seen it, and felt a little bad, because she hadn’t expected it to make me cry. It’s just Disney, right? But it’s ok. Everything makes me cry at the moment, and it is what it is. Can’t blame the film, or her, or whatever. I’m just having a really bad patch. I miss him, I’m scared to be home alone soon, and I wish this wasn’t my life. I would never treat anyone, or talk about anyone, the way that people have behaved towards me, and knowing that it is forever out there makes it worse. But that also is what it is, and I will never be able to change that. And all of it, everything, really, really, hurts.

Bedtime right? Well, soon anyway…

Empty house

I want to write more.
But I can’t.
I’m feeling very oddly numb. And not in a comfortable way.
It’s been a very long day.
It’s been a very sh*tty day.
It’s been a day that has been full of far too much.
And I think my brain has just shut down to turn off the pain.
It’s all too much to process at once, especially now that my friends have gone home, and Austin has gone home, and Tash has gone to sleep.

I lost a favourite earring amidst the chaos. A nothing, really, but annoying. But as it happens, just a mild irritation really.

Far more, so much more importantly, the snowboard that Matt had always hung on my side of the bed, that he’d given me, that he was going to teach me on, got taken up there by accident. Too many people trying to be helpful at once without quite enough communication. Such things happen. Which would normally just be one of those things. A ‘Ho Hum, Ah well’ thing. But not this time…

I was going to leave it be.
But I knew I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t at least make an attempt to ask for it back.
There’s not a cat in hell’s chance they’ll give it back to me.
I know they don’t care about what I feel or what I want.
But at least I’ve asked.
At this point, what do I have to lose by asking?
So it’s up to them now, isn’t it?
Do the right thing, or don’t.
Sadly, if I was a betting woman, which I’m not, I’d bet against me…

And so now here I sit.
Matt has been uninstalled.
I feel sort of additionally bereft.
Even more lost.
It’s now a very empty house.
It’s indescribable.

In case you were wondering, this is what a life looks like, packaged up and about to leave…

Yet another goodbye.
More salt in the wound.

But it’s done.
And it’s now tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it turned out to be a better day?
Sod betting I think.
All bets are off.
No point anyone wasting their money at this point, right?

His stuff is gone.
And, being just stuff, it will inevitably end up gone and forgotten way before he is.
He lives on in those of us he left behind.
And I will carry him with, and within me, until my turn comes.

In the meantime, I’ve got a little birdhouse in my soul for you. No matter how long it’s been, you are still SO beautiful to me. I love you, I loved you all along, and I miss you. I know you’re far away, but one day I hope I’ll somehow find my way back to you, and we will walk hand in hand together through fields of gold, alongside an eternal beach, while the waves crash on the shore beside us. If there’s a heaven, that would be mine. However I can’t leave yet, so in the meantime leave a light on for me, and have a little patience? What will be will be. I can hope, right? These days hope is all I really have.