Can we not?

So apparently I’m still here. Lockdown two came to an end. Not that it makes much difference to me, in Tier Two. I can’t meet my socially distanced friends in a pub. I can go for a walk with them, as before, but if I want to be out of an evening, I have to sit in a pub on my own, and eat food (ie spend even more, wasteful (cos I have no appetite) money than usual) whilst being surrounded by Christmas decorations and other households, or those masquerading as such, who I can hear having fun, and being happy, and all I feel is even more painfully lonely. I’ve done it once. I wished I hadn’t. I probably won’t be doing it on my own again.

Matt hated Christmas. He was, back before he was living down here, a delivery driver, so Christmas just meant he was even busier than ever, working ridiculous hours for neither enough money nor any appreciation, which wore him out and stressed him out. Even when he finally got to stop and take time off (which he had to pay to have covered), this was followed up by him being tied to family obligations, spend loads of money he didn’t have, having to be places he didn’t want to be, when he didn’t want to be, and he just hated the whole season. Things were changing slowly once he moved…and I will be forever grateful for the fact that, in our all too short time together, we were lucky enough to have two Christmas days together as just us. A day all to ourselves, with no other commitments, just us. Just the best…

Anyway, I’d forgotten how bad this time of year makes me feel, as it gets darker and damper and danker and colder, but yet also lighter and more festive for others. Neither of which I am even close to feeling. Understatement. I feel completely out of sync with the world. Being out of the house just causes me to feel massive anxiety. I wish it would all just go away. The second year is definitely worse as the shock and numbness wears off and reality properly hits home and sinks in, when everyone else has moved on.

On the upside, it turns out that I am going to be unexpectedly blessed as, not only is Tash home from uni, thus I am no longer currently alone for a bit, but thanks to my Ex (which believe me, is not a phrase I use often), she is going to be with me for Christmas Day. It is his turn to have them, and I was ok with that, but I’m not going to lie; it is nice to know I won’t have to spend Christmas Day on my own, or somewhere else where I’d feel like I was on my own. I have had some lovely invitations to be elsewhere, for which I am deeply grateful and touched, but I would have felt out of place and, well, just…wrong. I’m going to be tired, as ever, probably drunk, and inevitably emotional. I’m always emotional these days. Who really wants that with them on Christmas Day? Home was always going to be the best place to be either way.

So it’s going to be the two of us here. Food will be here in the form of a 5 course hamper for two from The Oakhouse. I will lay on treats, and fizz, and gifts. We will get up when it suits us, and basically just be us, doing whatever we want to do all day. Just like Matt and I did twice. Hopefully it will work out and be good, just like those two Christmasses did. No pleasing anyone else but ourselves. Luckily Tash is not big on Christmas either, and she’s perfectly happy for us not to put up decorations and toe the line, play the game. Which is lovely. Why pretend to be feeling something you’re not? And I’ll be missing him, just as much, and maybe even more, than I do every day. Il me manque toujours.

It’s going to be sad not to see the rest of my family, near and far, though. Just when we probably all most need each other. Tiers will separate us. Everyone else is in Tier 3 at present. My brother’s family are currently socially isolating as my 8 year old nephew has tested positive for Covid. The exceptional Christmas bubble doesn’t cover New Year. Austin will be working over Christmas, down where he now lives. My Mum’s worsening Alzheimer’s just means it’s easier not to try and do things all together, as she won’t cope, and it stresses us all out. The only positive otherwise currently? After Dec 21st, the Winter Solstice, days will very slowly start getting longer again. And that’s what I need. Light, and sunshine, and maybe, hope…?

So Christmas 2020? Just like 2020 as a whole, and most of 2019, it can go do one. Last year was my first Christmas without Matt. This year will be my first Christmas without my son, and my second without Matt. It doesn’t get better. It doesn’t get easier. Did I mention I don’t like firsts? And I also know other people are facing their first firsts and I know how that’s going to feel for them, and my heart is breaking for them…

Lockdown Mark 2 did me in. Nearly literally. Having Tash home is great, a temporary respite, even though we’re both currently spending a lot of a time working separately. Having Austin visit for social distanced contact and food earlier this week with us both, finally making us our eternal triangle again, albeit briefly, was lovely. But I had and have trouble enjoying any of it. Because I knew it was and is all going to to go away again and I know that in a few weeks time, I will be back to living on my own, and not coping… I can’t live in the moment and enjoy what I do have, I always know it’s something I’m going to lose again. I’m trying…and failing dismally. My well of tears is constantly overflowing.

Thanks to Tash making me a list, and a degree of nagging, I’ve gotten a few things done this week. Including calling my counsellor, so hopefully she’ll be in touch soon. Whilst doing some research online the other day, I ended up doing a few surveys, and it would appear I’m probably suffering from severe depression. So, depending on what my counsellor says, I guess I’ll be calling my Doctor, and discussing more anti-depressants, even though I don’t want to go back on them. On the other hand, I don’t want to feel this sad and hopeless all the time either, and other people need me to stay here. But I need something that doesn’t have weight gain as the main side effect. I’m way larger than I was or want to be, even if I’ve started to lose a bit, and that’s seriously counter productive when it comes to my mental state. So…well…who know’s what’s going to happen next with all that?

With the other things coming my way; like Dad’s next hip operation, and having to find residential care for my Mum now, as she is now deteriorating…it feels like it all never ends. And it’s all on me. I just can’t catch a break. Not with anything. Apparently the engine of the Hyundai is seized, which can’t be a good thing. Sofia is still going, but I wouldn’t trust her for a long journey.

I’m doing a lousy job of looking after myself. I am at the bottom of a well without a ladder. How am I supposed to look after myself and deal everything else as well? Sometime it all just feels like too much. Too much responsiblity. When the next thing hits, and there’s always a next thing, I have no margin of error. No bounce. Knock me down, and it takes me forever to get back up again. The only thing I am consistently managing to get done is work, which is a saving grace. It keeps me busy, it passes time, and it earns me money, albeit less than it did thanks to this bloody pandemic. But at least I’m doing something, right?

I don’t know that there was a point to all of the above. It’s just a stream of where I am now. It’s not a great place. I can’t even imagine a better place. But I’m still here. Tash is here. We have some plans, lists of things to do. So, you know, one day at a time as ever, right? I wish I could believe that one day I will feel better. After all everyone says I will…even those in my situation…but I just can’t see it from where I am now. It feels like this is it, but that I just haven’t learnt to accept that yet. I’m still wishing what is isn’t…

 

 

Sometimes it’s just not fair

So yeah. It’s really late. I should be in bed, at the very least trying to sleep, if not actually sleeping.
But it’s been one of those days. I woke up late, surprise surprise, and then remembered what I was waking up to. Not good. As the numbness wore off, the pain hit home again, and man, really? How? Why? How do I keep carrying on when life keeps doing this kind of sh*t?

And last night in one of my dreams I was with Matt. No biggie. Not one of those big visitation dreams people talk about. Just a dream where we were riding my subconscious rollercoaster together. And even though the details faded too fast, as dreams do, I know it was nice to see and be with him again. It was just the natural order of things. Him and I together, being us, no big deal. Except it is when you wake up and it’s just me and he’s gone again. I know it’s all coincidence and random and life isn’t really out to get me, and I’m not actually jinxed. but… Hint: not sure I can handle this, let alone any more.

Nonetheless I got up. I did stuff. I drove to Bridgwater and picked up new ear plugs because, you know, why not? I even did work because like, how do I tell people, like my boss, “hey, you know, I’m sorry, but I’m going to be a bit off radar again for a little while again”. Yes. Again. Why? Yeah, well, and I know this keeps happening, and I know it sounds unbelievable, and yeah, I can’t believe it’s happened to me again too, and I know it sounds like I’m just trying to skive out of stuff, but honest to god I’m not. Thing is, that guy killed on the bypass yesterday? Yeah, well, he was my friend. And I’m really sorry, but I’m not sure work is something I can be doing today. So yeah, no, I didn’t say that, even though that is so totally how I feel. I can’t believe this is my life, how could anyone else? It’s too unbelievable, there’s no way it could be true…but this is my truth.

I am so glad today happened to be the time for my next phone call with my counsellor because, you know, I’ve not got enough people to talk to as it is, and this, this on top of everything else? Just too much. I took myself out of the house and headed into the fields, so that I could talk to her without an audience. And it did help. To be allowed to express myself, to be reassured that how I am feeling is normal, that to be knocked over and over again is totally allowed to hurt like f*ck. That just doing one day at a time, doing what I can do, even just remembering to breathe, can be an achievement when things are this bad. And if I’m not ticking every box going, well hey, it would be a miracle if I was. And all that I could constructively do today was to donate toward the GoFundMe account for his funeral/wake/tombstone. Which is just sh*t. No fair. Stop the ride, I want to get off.

Tonight we, as in we three, went out to Kevin’s for outdoor drinks and so forth. Kevin knew Jake well. Better than me in some ways. And tonight Liverpool won the Championship League (excuse me if my terminology is off) and Kevin was over the moon, but with that bitter sweet tempered by the fact that Jake would also have been thrilled… It’s just not fair. Nothing is fair anymore.

Nonetheless we had a really nice night. There was chat and food and music and drinks, and I really kept an eye on not drinking much, the kids less so, because if I’m going to be drunk and emotional, then I want that to be here, not there. And at some point the fat rain started, and it was time to come home.

But, even though we were home, I couldn’t go to bed. I had to sit and be home and watch TV and kind of ground myself back here before I could head to bed. I can’t explain it really. It is what is is. As ever. And now it’s bedtime.

In the next few days I’m going to start weaning myself off these anti-depressants. I don’t think they’re helping with the depression, and the weight they have made me gain just makes me feel even worse about myself, and I already have massive body image issues. I also think they’re at least partially to blame for how sedated and dopey and incapable of getting up in the morning I am these days. Which doesn’t help with me trying to get on with life. Austin is worried about me coming off them. He thinks it’s a bad idea. But if dropping the dose makes me feel worse, I can just go back up again. And if coming off them doesn’t make things worse and then with that and the exercise I get back to my usual sort of size, then that will be way better for my mental health. Hey, I’m heading for being out ‘there’, single, old, overweight, and with baggage. Hopefully it’s a good decision. We’ll see. But that’s an experiment for another day, maybe the weekend. Not now.

Now, finally, it’s time to try sleeping. The fan is blowing, the phone will play me sleep meditation, and what do you know, it’ll be Friday again. Tick, tock, tick, tock…

Rusty

So today was as exciting as expected, so not exciting at all. It was just another day. Woke up later than I wanted, only to realise that there wasn’t much to be awake for anyway. I spent most of the day spring cleaning my laptop which was complaining about lack of iCloud memory. And rather than spend more per month on extra storage, I decided to get rid of a whole heap of unwanted stuff.

Which would be fine, if going through all my photos didn’t mean bumping into hundreds of photo of Matt, or Matt and I. And then there’s the photos he’s not actually in, but I know that I was talking to him at the time they were taken. For nigh on four years, if we weren’t physically together, we were headphones in each others ears, living vicariously together. And then apart from the photos, there’s the file with all our texts, the file with all our WhatsApp messages which I’ve saved because I don’t want to lose them, but reading them, even just a part of them, is like hearing him talk again, like having him in my ear again, and seeing in those words all the hopes and dreams and the love we had, and just wondering where the f*ck it all went wrong, and why, why, why isn’t he still here? It’s like bringing him closer just to emphasise how far away he is now. It’s indescribably painful.

We lived our relationship long distance for years, which was not easy, but it was worth it, because we were going to have forever together. We actually said that, in black and white, in a file that now sits stored for posterity, that means nothing to anyone else but us, and now just me. We said that one day we would look back on it all, on how hard it had been, on how much we’d loved each other then, from the future where we were busy being happy together forever, still loving each other just as much and more for the rest of our lives. Oh man. I wish…god, do I wish…

The long term long distance thing probably explains why I still half want to call him, msg him, text, him, or expect him to be likewise in touch…I was used to him not being physically being here but being able to contact him. Some habits are hard to break as far as my subconscious is concerned.  And now I don’t talk to anyone. I don’t talk to the kids, I haven’t seen a friend in ages, and the only person I’ve properly talked to is my counsellor who, though lovely, is paid to listen.

I just miss him. So much. It’s almost worse as the distance between now and then grows larger. I worry I’ll forget how those hugs felt, what his voice sounded like, the way he laughed, the feel of his hand around mine, the way he looked at and into me. Every day I lose him a little bit more, and I can’t get him, or any of it, back. I miss him. I can’t let go but he’s slipping through my fingers. I miss us. I miss who I was with him, how he made me feel, how he lifted me up, how I could make him laugh, how we cherished the way we supported each other. I know I am never going to be who I was again; that person died when he did. And I have no idea who I am now, or who I’m going to be. I’m not sure I’m anybody. I’m just empty. I’m pretty much just a dead woman walking.

Yesterday Tash said something, I forget what, and I actually laughed briefly. And I realised it had been the first time I’d genuinely laughed in days, if not longer. It felt weird. Rusty. I am so quiet these days, in so many ways. There’s a world full of thoughts and feelings inside that I daren’t touch, and so I segregate my thoughts, and keep to the safe and the routine and thus yet another day will pass, which could have been yesterday or tomorrow, as all my days run/blur together. Today’s spring cleaning meant bumping into far too much, and I didn’t even have anyone to share that with, to share how I was feeling about it, to lean on for support.

Grieving is hard work. It’s tiring. It’s walking down a long featureless road on your own, with no destination, weighed down and crippled by your thoughts and feelings, just putting one foot in front of the other, and hoping that one day the journey starts to make sense or have purpose, without any real faith that that will actually happen.

You know what worries me? That this lockdown will end, but my lockdown won’t. That everyone’s life will get back to ‘normal’, and I still won’t have anyone to see, to talk to, and I won’t have the lockdown to blame that on anymore. I’ll just have to face up to the fact that everyone moves on, everyone has their own lives, as they should, and that it’s really just plain old me now. The kids will move on, back to uni, off to other jobs. And there I’ll be. Just me, myself, and I… It doesn’t just worry me. It properly scares me. I really don’t think I can do this on my own. So when it comes to that point, what then?

If I could turn back time

There’s the odd moment, say at the end of the evening, when it’s just the kids and I, post film, heading to bed, when it’s like the last four years never happened. It’s just us three doing our thing, as it ever was. And then I remember…

I wonder…

I wonder that if 4 years ago someone had told me what was going to happen, I’d have chosen a different path. If someone had said ‘you’re going to have an amazing relationship with someone you are compatible with in every way, you will share your whole life with them, no holds barred, you will love and be loved, through thick and thin’, and then told me that it would end with sudden death, with life as it is now… Would I have still chosen to go there?

Probably, because back then I had no concept of what this actually feels like. I’d have been making a decision without all the facts… And, as it happens, I did resist, what with his situation and mine, but he was so darn persistent, and he pretty much totally swept me off my feet… It was sort of unavoidable and felt inevitable, and natural, like it was just how it was supposed to be. Everything falling into place, chapter two, happy ever after…

But that was then. Ask me now. If I could choose to turn back time, would I do it all over again? I’m hurting so much right now, that it’s easy to say no, I wouldn’t.

But it was amazing. To actually be made to feel like I was worth loving? That I’m not just short, fat, unattractive, ageing, unhealthy? (Yes, I have issues. Many issues. Always have had. Not sure why.) To have so much in common with another person, who loves you inside and out, cherishes you, to have the kind of love I’d only read about, to actually discover that maybe there is such a thing as your soul mate, and to feel the same way about him…? To just fit together in every way? Unbelievable. And yes, I know we argued sometimes and we had our issues, just like with any other couple, but when it boiled down to it, we were us, and the rest of it was just noise. Us against the world, and I thought we could face and beat anything together. So I can’t believe we are where we are now. Or where we aren’t. I don’t understand. I can’t. I never will. So in many ways it was unbelievable, from beginning to end.

But maybe ignorance is bliss. You can’t miss what you’ve never had. And if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t feel like I do now. I could never have imagined how it feels to cry every day for going on ten months. How nothing is ever the same again. The impact it has on you, your life, your world, your self confidence, your work…literally everything. Back then I’d have thought I could weather the storm, that it would be worth it… Now?

I think I’d still have done it though. To have felt loved like that, however briefly, has to have been worth it. We had an amazing (and yes I know I keep using that word) few years. I could have lived my whole life never being blessed with feeling like that, never feeling like I was worth anything or deserved loving. Which kind of makes now worse. Now I’m scared that I will be on my own and lonely for the rest of my life; that I’ll never meet anyone else and that even if I did nothing will ever live up to what we had, and I will never feel like that again. What if this is just the countdown to the grave? What if he was the only person who could ever truly see me and love me? Why does life have to be so cruel? Why can’t I have what other people have? What is it about me? (yeah, it’s really not helping my self worth issues).

One day hopefully I’ll be able to look back and be grateful, to smile at all the happy memories that are banked in my brain, and be thankful for what I learned, for having had him in my life, for having been shown so much. I’m just not at that place yet; if my thoughts go there, I just get lost in missing him, in the never agains, in the what could have been. Thinking about us is like prodding an open raw wound, it just hurts too much, so I just can’t…

I could tell myself that I need to learn to take strength from what he saw in me, to remember that he believed in me, he had my back, and he was proud of me. He wouldn’t want me to be feeling like this, and I know he’d be gutted if he could see how damaged and broken I am. He’d also see just how much he was loved which, just as I do, he often doubted. But I can’t do anything about that, or about how I’m feeling. It just is what it is. It’s a process that is happening to me, without my control. I’m trying, every day, one day at a time, and I can only do the best I can to ride out the storm. As my counsellor says, you don’t get over it, you just have to get through it. I’m trying to. I’m still not sure I’m going to make it but, so far, here I am, still doing it.

So, is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? You tell me.

It’s oh so quiet…

It’s very quiet here.
In my room. In my house. Even inside my head.

For the last few days we’ve been three again, and rather than company being gregarious and chatty and sociable…I feel like a third wheel, as they chat away, and laugh, and get on with doing whatever they’re doing whenever.

Meanwhile, I’m under the bell jar, struggling to breathe. A stranger in my own home, in my own family, because this isn’t who I was in the days when we were just us before. I am altered.

I have nothing to say for myself that they haven’t heard before. They’re busy being happy, and normal, which is lovely, and I don’t want to be the one permanently p*ssing on their parade. I’d love to be those things, but that world, their world, even the world, feels alien to me. It’s not my world. And no-one wants to be in my world, who would? So I just don’t talk much. Inside my head has become my padded cell.

I’m trying to reinstate routine into my life; one of the bits of homework I have from my counsellor. I get to bed a little earlier. I get up earlier. I have a coffee, and then work for a couple of hours. Then I can go sit on the swing chair and aimlessly kill time, and keep my brain distracted, and any errant thoughts silenced. It’s only day two, so it’s a little early to say whether or not it’s working, and whether or not it helps. I’ve not really started on the rest of the homework yet. Baby steps, as someone else said. Two days of this, only a few days of us all being at home; we have yet to establish the rest of whatever routine becomes, put the spin bike back into it, walk more, whatever.

As ever, even with them here, I miss him. But it’s like I’m missing him in a slightly different way at the moment. I’m missing him. Not his presence, not us, not what we did, where we went, not his company. I’m missing who he was. His essence. The person inside him that I loved through thick and thin, that I knew so well. Sometimes I’ll remember things and my face will smile despite itself, and that feeling of loving him swells and overflows, and then has nowhere to go, and the tracks of my tears etch ever deeper grooves down my face. In the odd unguarded moment I’ve even found myself almost about to text him and tell him I’m thinking of him and how much I love him, and can’t wait to see him, just like I once would have done. And then reality bites…

It’s like you get a little less numb each day time passes and a little bit more of what you’ve lost gets through to you, but you hadn’t realised you were still numb, so each bit bites unexpectedly, and wow yes, it can still get harder. And you wonder when, if ever, it ends, or how much further down you have to go before you get to look back, and leave him in the underworld, and walk forward into the future. Or is this just how it is now?

The bitter spider sits
And sits in the center of her loveless spokes.

9 months

Nine months.
I sit and look at those two words and I just don’t know what to say anymore.

Nine months.
And yeah, it’s not like it was to start with, but it sure as f*ck ain’t a whole heap better. I guess I thought it would be by now. But guess what? It’s not.

Nine months.
Once upon a time, back in those blissful ignorant days, if I’d met someone like me, I’d be wondering why they weren’t moving on, were still unhappy, still broken… And now I know why. And it’s not something you can unknow. I get it now. Man, do I get it now.

Nine months.
Matt and I were never going to have kids, didn’t want to, and you know, *snip*. But there’s been a little bit of me that wishes that some kind of weird miracle could have happened, even though I’ve always known it hasn’t, but even so somehow I’d have been left with a little person to raise from the ashes. A little mix of me and him. Something for me to focus on, to be kept busy by. Someone to love me, someone for me to give the love I have for him that now has nowhere to go. Nope. Not happening. Probably just as well, bearing in mind my inability to cope with me, let alone anyone else, right now.

Nine months.
How did that happen? I do nothing and the world still turns. As my daughter points out, that’s three times three months. And then she pointed out that that means it’s also three months until one year. At which point my brain melted down a little more than it had already done today.

Nine months.
And I have achieved nothing today. Even my safe spaces haven’t helped hold and comfort me today. It’s just been another day of sitting places, being unable to settle, doing inane things, and waiting for time to pass. I missed my counsellor’s appointment because I slept through it, because the only thing I can do well now is sleep. Well, it’s not like there’s anything to leap out of bed for, now is it?

Nine months.
Nine months of crying every day.
Nine months of wishing life was different, that it hadn’t happened.
Nine months of wanting him back, whilst knowing that’s impossible.
Nine months of still loving him.
Nine months of loneliness and emptiness.
Nine months where everything seems pointless, even more so now than ever.

Someone told me how strong I am today. I’m really, really, not. I’m just getting through one day at a time because I don’t have any choice. That’s not strength. That’s just the way it is. I’m trying. I’m doing my best every day, but it just doesn’t feel like enough. And I’m not moving forward, because right now there’s nowhere to move to.

Nine months away from him, getting further away by the day.
It feels like forever, but the pain feels like it was yesterday,
And I still have a million questions that I will never have answers for.
And sometimes he still feels just a heartbeat away…

I’m tired, sad, and lonely.
Would it be ok if I slept for nine months now?
Thought not…

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. 💔

And so it began…

Four years ago tomorrow, which is actually today now, Matt and I first met. We didn’t get together then. But there the seeds were sown, and he pursued me afterwards, and then, well, the rest is history…

I had no idea we would end up where we did, and how good we would be together, how far we would fall for each other, and I had absolutely no clue we would end up here. How could I have? I had no idea we’d end up here the day/night it all happened, let alone saw it coming beforehand. We had amazing, with flaws…and then we had nothing, because there wasn’t a we, there was suddenly just a me, left flailing around in the void, with no compass, no guide, no idea how to cope.

I wonder if he’d even be attracted to me now. I wonder if he’d even recognise me. Because I don’t. I was thinner, I was fitter, I was healthier, I was more attractive. Now I’m none of those things. I don’t even dress like I did. I can’t. But more intrinsically, I’m not me any more. My life now is unrecognisable. It has shrunk down to nothing. I don’t know who I am now. I used to like me. I used to be happy. I used to be independent, I used to go places. We used to go places. I used to be so many things, none of which I am now. I’m just…broken. Adrift, and lost. And so, SO f*cking lonely. And yes, I know I probably sound like a stuck record, but that’s the way I feel and continue to feel.

I tried to explain in my last entry how low I have been feeling. I pretty much spelled it out. I don’t think I could have made how I’ve been feeling lately any clearer. So I guess I hoped people would listen and reach out to me. And once again, a few did, to be counted on the fingers of one hand, the usual much appreciated suspects… And I really am grateful to those who got in touch. It does mean a lot. Just like I was touched by the lovely girl at my support group who passed on a green crystal heart than she’d been given at her lowest point, that she wanted me to have, and to pass on when I no longer needed it, which meant so much to me. Just like I was touched by the lovely lady at the same group who sadly is in the same position that I am, who wanted me to know that she reads my blog and it means a lot to her. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. Thank you.

But more fool me if I thought anyone else would actually read it, or reach out as a result. It’s just as well that I really write this for me, rather than anyone else, isn’t it? It’s good for me to express myself, because I can’t tell you in person how I’m feeling, and you probably wouldn’t want to hear it if I did. It’s too uncomfortable – for me to say and you to hear. I know many people have said call me if you need me, but I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t reach out, even though I should. And I think people just presume that because they haven’t seen you or heard from you that you’re fine, when actually, it can just as easily mean exactly the opposite.

But what do I have to do to make people hear me? I don’t know. I’ve nearly given up on trying. Still, having ended up in a really scary place over the weekend, I did get in touch with the doctor, who is supposed to be going to help, though judging by her ability to call me back when she says she will so far, I don’t hold out much hope. I saw my counsellor today, and I have some things that I should probably be going to work on, though I’m not sure I’ll manage it. I’ll try… Yes, I should drink less, and go to bed earlier, and get up earlier, and yes, that might make me feel better. But since I can work when I want, and do, what’s the point of getting out of bed if I don’t have to? Why drag myself from the only place I’m happy back into painful reality? I’ll try, I’ll give it a go. Probably. Easier said than done, I bet. Hiding in a world of white wine and then dreams may not be the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s what works for me now. I know I’m probably not helping myself, or helping the anti-depressants do their job. But it’s not like I’m drinking more than I have done over the last few years, and what happens if you take away my crutches, my one remaining comfort zone?

There are a lot of firsts, and birthdays, and anniversaries and the like, coming up in the next couple of months. Like two years ago we went to see the Wonderstuff – the first time I ever had, having always wanted to, and 29 years after he’d first seen them. It was amazing, and we had the best night. It was awesome. But facebook memories, my memories, his memories and comments, that’s all they are now. Memories. They’re all in the past. Seeing/reading them…each one is like a little stab to the heart. A painful reminder of what we had, and what is gone. He’s not here to share them with again, and they’re not important to anybody else. You don’t just lose your person, you lose a shared history, a narrative, the way you don’t need to say things because they always know what you’re thinking. It’s the stone that was thrown and all the ripples that came from it.

Then someone threw a f*cking great boulder in and washed it all away, and left many of us drowning in the waves and clinging on to the wreckage, quite literally for dear life. Is it any wonder that sometimes I just want to let go? I’m struggling at the moment. I’m doing a little better than I was a few days ago; I’ve been kept busy, with work, and my folks, and various. But I’m under no illusions; that could change in the blink of an eye. It frequently does. Last night I dreamt of him. And this morning he was gone again. And however many times that happens, it doesn’t hurt any less.

I miss you so much. I miss the person you made me, that your faith and support brought out in me. I miss so much about us; the team we were together, all the things we did and shared, and the places we went. I may not miss the arguments we sometimes had, but we were working on them and getting stronger all the time. I miss your hugs, your laugh, your sense of humour, cwtching up with you on a beach…I miss everything about you, even how epic your sneezes were, and how loudly you snored. I miss the life we had, and the life we were going to have and now never will. Four years, and now you’ve been gone nearly 7 months. It wasn’t enough. Nowhere near enough. I still love you to the beach, and beyond. I just wish we could have had more time…

Tough week

It’s been a tough week. The six month mark, however arbitrary it may be, hit me hard. And I’m starting to recognise the signs of when things are worse. Life feels flatter. I cry more. My anxiety gets worse. I stress about everything more, work, chores, whatever. I care even less about what I’m wearing, what I look like, what I eat, drink, smoke, how much or little I do of any, either, or all. I just want to curl up in bed and stay there. And I stop writing. Never a good sign.

But here I am. I’m sort of back. I had a good session with my counsellor today, mainly from a venting point of view, but also because it’s good to talk to someone, since no-one seems to want to talk to me anymore. I swear I have a goddamn f*cking exclusion zone around me. But even with work stress, and many other things not going according to plan (surprise, surprise), I have managed to get through the week, and I have some half formulated plans that are taking shape, and that will hopefully come to fruition and help with the moving on process. Every little plan, every little thing booked into the calendar, helps to keep the wheels turning, to keep me moving forward. It’s weird, because it’s not like I actually look forward to stuff, but it’s just that it forces me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I am massively grateful to those of my friends who have been in touch this week. Amidst the whole Caroline Flack thing, and the #bekind, and the don’t knock other people’s crowns off and post a nice photo of yourself thing… Really??!! Actions speak louder than a million facebook posts. The card that George dropped through my letter box. The messages from Jo checking in to make sure I was ok. Mark doing the same. But as I said in my rather pointed FB post, I could have counted the number of people who’ve been in touch lately on one hand, and I wouldn’t have needed the thumb. That’s probably not strictly true, and it’s probably not totally fair. It’s not far off though. How many people just like a post, share a meme, join a #trend and think yep, go me, job done?

When it boils down to it, it’s just me and Austin. Who didn’t get the job he went for, and for whom I am totally gutted. Just because I’d kinda like him to stay here doesn’t mean that I don’t equally want him to spread his wings and fly away and go and live his life and not be stuck with mine. That’s what he should be doing. And with his usual pragmatism he is on to Plan B, and C, and D…and sooner or later, one of them will come through. I will say this though, the guys that turned him down for the ECA three year training course? They don’t know what they’re missing, and they have turned down a gem.

So here’s the weekend. A quiet one. Which means that, if I want to, I can sleep all day tomorrow. My dreams are, thanks to all my meds, even more vivid than ever they were, and they were pretty mental before! And they’re so much more interesting and exciting that my actual life is. For the last few days I’ve woken up, and then burst into tears as my black and white painful reality replaces my technicolour dreams, and I remember just how shit things are, and what my life is now. To add insult to injury it turns out the my doctor has retired and as I’ve known him for many years as my Dr and a cyclist, and he knows all my history and was massively supportive and being helpful, I feel a little as if someone has pulled a rug out from under me. That’s like 20 years of my medical history down the drain. There just isn’t enough support for anyone anymore. Our overstretched NHS can’t cope with acute demand, let alone me, or my folks. There are waiting lists for everything, from Mental Health Care to Social Services. The thought of having to start over with someone new, for my endometriosis, my grief… To be fair, the lady doctor who did call me today sounds lovely, and has asked me to give her a few days to go away and find me any other available specific support there is out there and also chase up my referral to Mental Health Services, which may well never have been made in the first place. You’d have thought being considered a suicide risk might flag you up somehow…?

But that’s the way it is. And to be honest, if I got to that point, I wouldn’t be calling anyone anyway. I know I’d know what I wanted to do, I’d have made my mind up, and I wouldn’t want to be talking to someone who might stop me from doing that. I wouldn’t call anyone. I sure as hell wouldn’t do that “call me if you need me” thing. That’s not how it works. Even if you really meant it when you said it, which SO many people, as it turns out, don’t. Stop posting meaningless but well meaning messages on social media. Meaning well isn’t enough. Reach out. Text or DM people. Call them. Drop them a letter, a card, a bunch of flowers. Do something human. Having been on the receiving end of all of those, I can tell you that the smallest REAL things can make the biggest different.

So this seems to have been more of a rant than a post. There’s more stuff I can’t talk about yet, but I’ve blurted out enough already. The rest will come another time. And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening. Thanks for reading. And thanks for being there for me. It means more than you know.

Once I caught a fish alive

I saw my counsellor today. I wasn’t really in the right head space for it, because it’s hard to see how talking can do anything about how bad I’ve been feeling. And I was feeling marginally better by the time I got up today, as I’d caught up on some sleep, and I didn’t really want to upset the apple cart. But I went, and upset it, and me, anyway. And did it help? I don’t know. It’s good to talk. No-one around here seems to want to talk to me about it all, not properly talk, nor properly listen. Heaven forbid I might actually get emotional on them. How very un British of me. Or maybe they think it’s catching, and talking to me means it might happen to them. Or maybe they just don’t know what to say at all, so just move on so as to avoid it all together. Who knows?

But it’s good to be told that actually how you’re feeling is normal. In fact actually, less than six months in, I’m doing pretty well all things considered apparently. I am dealing with a whole heap of shit, all at once, any one of which would be quite enough for some people. And look, I got up, I got out of bed, I got dressed, I went to see her, I did some work. I’m doing it. Every day. And it’s so hard when you’re down in the pit to see that, to remember that. So, as someone on Twitter suggested a while ago, and as she suggested today, I’m going to try and write a list of five things I’ve achieved each day. And maybe five things that were good. Even if it’s just like little things. Or maybe just five that’s a mix of both. And if I can’t always think of five, then that’s ok too.

So here’s today’s five:

  • I put petrol in the courtesy car. Which I was worried about because I didn’t know if it was diesel or petrol, or how to work it out, but I did, and I got it right. It may sound like a stupid little thing, but it wasn’t to me.
  • I didn’t spend all evening in the pub whilst Austin was working there. I had one drink once I was back while I got some work done, and then I came home and hung out here. OK I was hoping to be going out to meet people later, but that didn’t come about, which knocked me back a bit, and reminded me what a small town this can be. But at least I spent time at in the house, not money at the pub, and cried on the sofa with cats, not in the toilets so that no-one sees me.
  • I bought three ‘new’ tops in the charity shop, next door to my counsellor’s new place, one of which is a long drapey blue jumper that I absolutely love already. And all three, plus a pair of earrings, came to a total of less than £20. Retail therapy may not really be a solution, but at least it wasn’t an overly expensive elastoplast, and I do love that jumper.

OK, so today I’ve only made it to three really. And I’m back in a pretty low place now. I’m just sad, and tired, and down, and really really really lonely. I’m going out tomorrow to a thing in town where there will be lots of people, some of them whom are actually friends, which you’d think I’d be really excited about but I’m actually just really anxious about it. About being around all those people, about the possibility of bumping into people who aren’t friends, who I don’t want to see. But it’s OK, because Austin will be there, and in his ever practical way, he’s just said we can go home whenever I want or need to, and that helps. That I can focus on.

I can’t get away from how I’m feeling, and how things are. But I can get away from things, situations, people, that make it worse. That’s something to remember when it’s all getting on top of me.