Pea brain

If you’re paying attention, you know I should be in bed right now. And should probably have been for some time. But hey, it’s been one of those days. It started off ok. I got up normally, even a little earlier than usual. And I had plans for working and spin bike and whatever, but mid-afternoon I realised I wasn’t feeling great. Sore throat. Endo pain. Chronic fatigue. Just sort of woozy and off and not with life… So I took myself back to my bed and hung out there for the rest of the day. The kids checked in from time to time. They went shopping for food stuff. And then Tash cooked enchiladas, and I made it downstairs, and we were looking at the usual eat food, watch TV/film, drink wine, go to bed, gradual slide down to the inevitable.

However sometime after food, Max, the not-so kitten, decided knocking over a very large piece of wood destined to be a mantlepiece on top of himself would be a good idea. He’s grown rapidly. His brain hasn’t. It is in fact inversely proportional to his size. However, since following his latest bout of chaos he was properly limping, and subdued, and not himself…we ended up at the vets at stupid expensive out of hours o’clock. As it happens he’s probably ok, and the fact that I took out pet insurance was probably one of my wiser decisions of late. Which is good. Better safe than sorry. And I really can’t cope with lose anyone or anything else now, it’s all been too much already. So all that done, it turns out he’s probably ok, which was a massive relief, and then we were home again. I can’t just go to bed when I get in late, I have to settle… So I did. I watched some Criminal Minds, I had a night cap and I wound down.

So here I am now. Settled. Even with all that, it’s been a sort of ok day, as my days go. I gave myself permission to have a sick day. I read a good book. I dealt with the cat chaos, and now I’m back in bed, settling back in to my comfort zone. It’s a weird thing – because when, however late it is, you’re feeling just about ok, you don’t really want to go to bed again, because that will mean waking up to another day, and you only known how today is, you don’t know how tomorrow is going to be. And it’s easier to cope with now, the known, than tomorrow the unknown. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow, later than I want to, wishing I’d drunk a little less white wine…and who knows what kind of shit is going to hit the fan tomorrow?

But that’s tomorrow. This is today and here and now, whatever the actual o’clock is. In the meantime the recovering pea brained Max is being looked after by youngest, and I’m in bed, heading for sleep, with one of the other cats, Cassie, for company. It’s not Matt, it’s not a hug, but it’s better than no company at all for sure. Tomorrow can wait a little longer…

Still here

It’s probably massively arrogant of me to think that there might be people out there who have been wondering if I’m still out here; who have seen that I’m not writing, and might be wondering how I am. So forgive me for that. But just in case…

I’m still here. And life’s still shit. It has days when it’s a little less shit. And days when it’s a whole heap more shit. There’s often no rhyme nor reason to either. It is just what it is when it is. It might have been fine five minutes ago, and then it isn’t. Or vice versa. And I use the word ‘fine’ as in just not as bad. There’s a sort of OK sometimes when I’m succeeding in keeping my brain busy in a non-triggering way. Sometimes there’s a sort of numb that settles over me for a while – I think that’s my favourite. Sometimes I manage to be just strong enough to push past the little triggers, the thoughts that are thorns that snag me as I pass by them, and I get through some time a little easier. And then you make the mistake of thinking things are getting better, and start to think ahead a little, because you’ve forgotten that grief is not linear, and however much you wish it was, it just doesn’t work like that.

Because sometimes I get busy for a couple of hours with work, or whatever, and then surface, come to, and my brain starts going right then, that’s done, now we can go and do…and it’s only for a fleeting moment, a quicksilver memory of how things used to be, before my brain goes hm, no, uh huh, there is no we, no us going to do anything. This is your reality you idiot, he’s gone, which hurts like hell all over again and, by the way, how could you have forgotten that this is your life now anyway?

Sometimes I go out and do mundane stuff like shopping with the kids. Clothes shopping in TK Maxx for my youngest, with the odd bit thrown in for me, and a gargoyle, because, well, just because. Consider it a selfie. Then food shopping for all of us, and it was all good… Until I found myself crying over frozen mashed potato in the middle of Morrisons, with my head on her shoulder. I also found myself picking all sorts of random stuff off the shelves because I don’t really know what I want, and I still kind of expect to be having the ‘what shall we have for tea’ conversation with him. Shall we get that, what do we need, what would you like? I know I don’t need permission to buy what I want, and it’s my money, but…it still feels weird.

Lockdown easing is like going back to when I was just a few months in post his death, and I’d just starting to try and do things without him. I’m back to not being used to being out there on my own. People scare me, social anxiety is a thing. I’ve forgotten that shopping for food, or anything, is not a together thing. I can buy whatever I want, without debate or discussion or consideration for anyone else, and as a consequence I have no idea what I want at all. Left to my own devices I probably wouldn’t bother at all. As long as there’s lager and white wine in the house I’m good. I lost my appetite years before Matt came along, thanks to all my endo meds. I eat because other people want me to and think I should. I’d rather graze if/when I want to. But hey, give it a few months, and I’ll be here on my own, wishing they were here, making me eat, so be careful what you wish for right? Because that’s going to be even harder than this is.

There have been better bits. I went for a walk/chat/drink with a newish friend from town on a day I happened to be nearer the top of the curve than the bottom. We talked about everything and nothing and mostly not about me, which was just how it needed to be. I had my first ever Zoom meet up, with a few of my old holy inky friends from back in the day. I wasn’t going to. I just happened to be online at the right time, and as I’ve mentioned often works with me, I kind of sprung it on myself. So I did it. It was lovely to ‘see’ and talk to them, and it helps that they all met Matt many moons ago at our last gathering. I still feel massively removed from people though. From everyone. But I can’t complain about how sad and lonely I am and then not talk to people when they offer, now can I? Except I do that. A lot. All the time. Because by the time someone has gotten in touch to say hey, yes, let’s chat, let’s walk, or whatever, I’m back down the rabbit hole, and I’m not even talking to the kids, let alone anyone else. Apologies to anyone I’ve done that to. I know you’re trying to help, and I know I’m not easy to help.

Today I woke up from my mad dreams to be told by FB that today was Jake’s birthday, and to seeing Matt’s photo on the chest of drawers…and well, that pretty much set the tone for the day. Not good. So the photo has gone back to facing the wall, as it would appear I’m still not capable of dealing with seeing him. I did do some work. I did some chores. I cried a lot. It rained a lot. And basically it was just another day. They’re all pretty much the same. Some days I cry a lot. Some days I cry less. I still miss him massively, I still love him, I still want him back. However long it’s been, that part never seems to change. Sad is who I am now. It’s my baseline. I guess I’m maybe just very very slowly getting used to the way that that’s how my life is going to be. And so the days pass, and blur, and one turns into the next.

I’m kind of hoping to get some reorganising and tidying done around here this weekend. Bet you money I don’t though…which is a shame, considering the state of the place. Ah well, maybe, you never know, right?

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…

Really???

Last night in the early hours there was a helicopter out again, bringing with it all the usual thoughts, and feelings, and memories…

Every time I hear one, as it does the hovering, searching, or landing near here thing my heart sinks.

And it was right to.

Facebook this morning was full of the single vehicle accident on the bypass last night, complete with fatality, and the bypass being closed for investigations, and the chaos of traffic coming through town instead. Etc. Etc. Speculation abounded in that, ‘ooh I wonder what’s happened, I hope everyone is ok’ way, which is merely thinly veiled nosiness.

In the meantime I wasn’t having a great day, but I was coping better than sometimes, and the sun shone, and I kept it mostly together, even if I didn’t get a lot done. I even left the house, to pick up some shopping, and a skateboard, and I went and sat in the church for a little while (it’s finally partially open again) and though I’m not religious, I managed to find some sort of peace for a little while, which stayed with me for longer than it sometimes does. I was doing sort of ok, briefly…

However bad news spreads, a little slower in lockdown, but it still gets around. And it turns out that a friend of mine, Jake, was that fatality. He was only 24. I’ve known him since he was 16/17, and for whatever reason we got on really well. He was a cheerful, cheeky, cocky lad, who played a mean game of pool, laughed a lot, flirted a fair bit, and who I beat frequently, because his cockiness would always get the better of him, and being beaten by a girl dented his not insignificant ego a little, but he never took it badly. We just had such a laugh, every time we hung out. He was like an extra little brother, and we’d stayed in touch on and off even when he moved away for a bit. He ended up back around here, and I’d see him around from time to time, and we’d play the odd game of pool if he was in the Crown, or chat in passing elsewhere. He was so sweet after Matt died – he just gave me a huge hug and genuinely sincerely cared how I was feeling. I’ve got so many happy memories of long drunken nights playing pool with him and taking the piss, shooting the breeze, whatever, over the years. I’m going to miss him heaps. It’s probably just as well that the Crown is unlikely to reopen after lockdown, because it won’t be the same without him popping up there, and if we’re not all in there, we can’t notice that he won’t be either… It’s not like I saw him a lot, or often, lately…but every now and then, there he’d be. And now he won’t ever be again.

I am absolutely gutted, and I can’t believe he’s gone. So young, so alive, such a character…gone. And I can’t believe that yet another person in my life has gone either. Just like that, another person has become just memories. I’m torn between floods of tears and a very very weird numb sort of detached feeling.

Life is horrible, and cruel, and unfair, and shit, and it can always get worse. Like I didn’t know that already…💔😭.

So RIP Jake. I bet you’d be surprised by how upset everyone is, and by how much you’ll be missed. We are, and you will. Rack ’em up; one day soon enough I’ll be in the beyond too, and I think you owe me a game…

Exhausted

I am so tired of doing this. Of feeling like this. Day after day after day. I’ve tried to reach out to my mates, and ask for help, for contact, for support, and I’ve managed to make arrangements to see the odd person over the next week or so, but I’m so introverted these days that I’m so anxious about going out and seeing them, even though I know it’s a good thing to be doing, that I could easily end up bailing. There’s a couple of people I should call back, but I just can’t bring myself to. I’m not good with phones. I know I need to get out. I know I need to talk to people. But I know that even when I do I won’t have the kind of conversation I actually need to be having. I won’t pour my heart out and let people in. I’ll play nice and say the right things and put on a brave face and skip over the awkward bits, and pretend I’m getting by.  And I’m not. Not by a long shot.

And while I keep myself to myself and try not to spread misery everywhere I go, and keep out of everyone’s way and not be a burden, the kids are bored, and when they’re not they’re doing their own thing, seeing their own friends and generally carrying on regardless. Eldest was in his room all day today and literally only appeared for food. Youngest is around more, and being a bit more helpful, and is doing the cooking, but in the meantime eldest gives me attitude every time I ask him to do anything cos, like, why should he, he lives here, but it’s not his house and his things and his pets so why should he do anything about tidying up after himself, or helping with shopping, or feeding them, right? And so just like now when he was being sloppy and lazy about putting the recycling out, he snaps at me for pointing that out, and just like when he snapped at me the other day, what he said was cruel and uncalled for and it hurts, and everything already hurts, and on top of everything else, it’s just too much. I already don’t want to be here. I love them both to bits; they’re the only good things in my life…so if my kids don’t want me to be here either then there really isn’t any point, is there? They’re old enough now that they’d just carry on regardless. They have money, they’d inherit my money and the house; job done. Everything they need without the parental overlord around – who could ask for anything more?

The last couple of days have been full of randomly triggered memories and flashbacks, and I just feel like I’m drowning in them. There he is…and then there he isn’t again. And it hurts so much. What with those, and Fathers’ Day, and just…just everything…it’s too much. I don’t want to do this anymore. Don’t panic though. Well, not now anyway. I’m safe for the time being. I’m going to bed, I’m going to sleep, and I’m going to hide in my dreams for as long as possible, even though I have work I should be getting up to do. And then finally I’ll have to wake up, and realise that all I have ahead of me for the day is another day of what today was, what yesterday was, what the day after tomorrow will be. And there’s no-one here to hold my hand through it. To hug me when I’m falling apart. To listen to me say all the things that are eating me up inside. Not only is the one person who could have done all of that the reason behind it all, but he’s also gone and so, for the most part, has everyone else. I’m not strong. I’m not brave. I’ve never felt so incapable of coping in my life. Is it any wonder I’m struggling? How the f*ck does anyone get through this? You’d have thought it would get better. It doesn’t. In fact I’d swear it’s getting worse, precisely because it isn’t getting better. Hope does not spring eternal. It gets eroded away just like everything else. Don’t let the bastards grind you down? Too bl**dy late. Each day is another mark on the wall of the prison cell, just counting down the days until I get to walk through those gates… I hate the me I am now.

I just wish I didn’t feel so alone, and so lonely, and so sad. Is that too much to ask? Just a glimmer of light, a sign things might one day be better? No? Yeah, thought as much.

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?

Worlds away

Six years ago I became officially divorced, after 17 years of marriage. How weird is that? So much has happened since then that all of that hurt and betrayal and chaos and fear and trauma, which I know was there then, means nothing now. It’s literally worlds away. It’s like it happened to someone else. It has no relevance to my life now; it’s lost in the mists of time. But it’s so odd to think that since then, the whole of my life with Matt started, happened, was everything, and then ended. And here I am back where I was then, just like someone hit reset on my life again. I do wish they’d stop doing that…especially when bizarrely the Ex, who left me for another woman, is still with her, and happy as ever. Which is good for him, and for the kids, and I bear him no ill will for it all. But I can’t help wondering why life seems to have it in for me, and not him. Karma would appear to be upside down around here. I guess life just doesn’t work like that, does it? It brings a whole new meaning to “karma’s a bitch” right? I’m back where I was when I was 22, except I’m actually 47. Not a great age at which to be starting all over again, all over again…

So in six years time will this also feel like it never was, like it’s not relevant to whatever my life is then? The easiest way to deal with it now is to not think about it, and to almost pretend it all never happened, never was, so will I look back on all of this and feel like it never happened?

Somehow I doubt it. Everything I read and am told basically says that the effects of what happened on that fateful day will be with me for years. Not months. Not oh look, it’s been a year, you’ll be fine now. No. This is apparently likely to be something that takes years to come to terms with. Which is not something you really want to hear when you’re where I am now; which is barely coping, hurting and struggling, and not being sure I can get through it. You want to be told that it gets better, it gets easier, that you’ll be ok. However no-one who’s been through it will tell you that. Those that do are those that don’t have a clue. All that those on this side of the glass will tell you is that it will get better eventually, but that that will happen in your own time, that it’ll take as long as it takes, and that you never get over it, you just learn to carry it with you, to live with the scars.

I just wish there was some way to know for sure that I’m going to be ok eventually, and sadly no-one can give me that. Which really doesn’t help. What I wouldn’t give to be able to fast forward to a time where I feel something approaching OK. That would mean believing that that time will come of course, and I’m not sure I do.

In the meantime, life is not getting easier. Lockdown has, as I’ve said before, been really bad for me. I struggle to wake up every day, and when I do I frequently wake up and burst instantly into tears because reality hits and all I have is another day of the same sh*t ahead of me, and that every day is the same, and there’s currently nothing to look forward to, nowhere to go, and no-one to see. I can count the number of people outside my family who have been in touch with me over the last few weeks on one hand. I feel like I’m ceasing to exist. I make no impact on the world around me, and it turns regardless. My world has shrunk to a few cubic metres, complete with exclusion zone. It’s a strange, cripplingly lonely, place…it’s no wonder no-one wants to visit it…

Ages ago someone from my support group gave me a green heart crystal. It had helped her through dark times and she wanted to pass it on to help me. I was beyond touched, and carried it with me from time to time, but I was so petrified I’d lose it I was worried every time I took it with me. I don’t cope with losing things very well… So with thanks to a YouTube video and some craft supplies I turned it into a pendant. I’ve now done the same with a rose quartz heart for my niece’s birthday. And yesterday evening I made another blue goldstone one, because I could and I felt like it.

In fact this evening I actually started my own Etsy store, and I’m thinking I might make a fair few and list them. Either they sell – in which case great, I have more money, or they don’t – in which case I have Xmas presents for all the females I know sorted well in advance! It doesn’t really matter. It’s just nice to have something new to do, that uses a different part of the brain, that passes some time, and that actually has a physical end product. Something pretty that you can hold and say “I made that”. And I’ll get better at doing them, and I’ll come up with new designs, and a few more hours will have passed. It beats updated websites and reformatted e-newsletters, that’s for sure…

(I’m not going to link to my store. Someone might buy the one listed there just out of pity for me. Maybe if I make a few I’ll link to it. I’d like to see if this one sells as is first though. Vanity…).

And now it’s the weekend. Which is just like the week but with even less to do. Unsurprisingly I’m not looking forward to it… At least I won’t feel so guilty if I lie in bed all day though. Silver linings, etc, etc.

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.

The well of grief

The kids went for a walk without me today. Which was good. They got some time and space together, and I’d have held them up, besides which I had some work to do. But it was also good because I could cry properly for a while. It’s an ugly thing; it’s noisy and it’s messy and it hurts physically and mentally. And it’s not optional.

It’s like a pressure cooker. The tears, the grief, it all just builds up inside you all the time, you can feel it rising, and by now I know that it has to come out…but I don’t feel able to let it all out with them here. They’ve seen it all before, and I think it makes them feel awkward; they don’t know what to do with it, with me, or what to say or do. They’re not feeling what I’m feeling. They don’t really get it (thankfully). And so I tend to bottle it all up. Which I know is bad. I get quiet, and withdrawn, and I feel small and numb and isolated and a bit like I’m outside of myself. And then my thoughts wander off, and end up in all sorts of unhealthy places…

As it happens I saw a friend today, for work reasons, and she’d actually noticed I’d gone quiet again, which was surprising. And nice, and unusual, and uncommon. She didn’t know quite what to do about it…but she’d noticed. I don’t expect, or actually even want, people to notice. Everyone has busy lives, and what would you say to me anyway? But it was nice that she had, nonetheless. And it was also nice to have a decent conversation with a grown-up I’m not related to. Also unusual and uncommon, given the times we are currently living in.

Anyway, somewhere in the roof, there is my sixth form yearbook. In there is a poem I wrote, about the well of grief that overflows intermittently, and never runs completely dry. It’s there because one of my best mates, and her mum, were killed in a car crash when she was 19. We hadn’t known each other that long, as these things go, but some people you just click with, and she had a beautiful soul. It was tragic, and heartbreaking, and had a big impact on lots of us. So in that yearbook is a memoriam to her – a few lovely photos alongside my poem, although it’s unattributed. It meant a lot that they chose to use it. (Yes, I was an angst ridden teenager, doing an English Lit A Level – of course I wrote poems). Then when I was 25, and Austin was literally only weeks old, my best mate, who was a fair few years older than me, was also killed in a car crash, and life got a little darker and a whole heap less colourful. We were a strange couple, him and I, but I got him, so he was himself with me. He always flew a little too close to the sun, and he lived fast and died young. Once again, it was tragic, and horrible, and all the things you’d expect it to be. (Yes, considering my track record now, it’s probably best not to get too close to me…) And as the years have passed, I’ve lost my share of grandparents and relatives, as you’d expect, considering my age.

So I thought I knew what grief was. How it worked. How you get through it. That you get through it. That if it happened to me again it would be ok, in that I would know that one day I would be ok again, so I’d be able to cope with it.

It turns out that I had no f*cking clue. Yes, I know this is different, and more complicated and traumatic, in oh so many ways. But it is SO much worse. How I felt when I lost those people doesn’t come anywhere near how I’m feeling now. Not even close. Which, I know, shouldn’t come as a surprise really. Love hard, grieve hard, as they apparently say. It’s still way worse than I ever imagined it could be. It’s like a part of me, and of my past, present, and future, has been ripped out; and that I will never be whole, or OK, again. It’s no wonder no-one understands except those that have been there themselves. It’s inconceivable until it’s unavoidable. But that well that overflows, constantly fills, and doesn’t dry up? I think that metaphor still holds pretty true. But I’m not going to be writing poems. Instead you get stream of consciousness blog writing. Plus ça change…

Another pointless day is done, and another one awaits. One pointless day at a time, day after day after day…

Helicopter

Something is going on out there in the fields south of us. There’s been a police car hurtling around, and now a helicopter is on its 5th pass. No idea why, or what they’re looking for, but all I can think of is the time the helicopter came here, and they didn’t save the day, couldn’t save the day, even though they did their best.

It’s been a bad day all ’round. The mob went off to see the Ex for the day, and I said goodbye, and then I rolled over and went back to sleep and fought as hard as I could to stay asleep for as long as I could, even though my dreams were weird and frightening, because I didn’t want to be awake, where my life feels like both those things and more. Finally I had to wake up and stay awake, and the first thing I did was cry. In fact I woke up crying, like a newborn baby ripped from the warm and comfortable into cold harsh reality. Partially because I could, I guess, because there was no-one there to hear me, and I guess also partially because I was going to be on my own all day with no plans, no sunshine, no anything, so I was lonely from the get go and things weren’t going to get better. There was no reason for me to be awake, no reason for me to be here, no meaning to my day or even my existence. I didn’t want to be awake and I didn’t want to be here. I still don’t, but I still am.

I did the usual stuff. I even hit the spin bike for a bit, and tried to do some invoicing and stuff at the same time, which I often do, until my computer and one of my email accounts fell out, and it all went pear shaped…and I just don’t bounce back any more. I have no margin for error. I have no wiggle room. If something goes wrong, that’s it. I can’t cope. I melt down. Everything becomes too much instantly and then I’m just a crying mess metaphorically bleeding out all over the floor. Although less metaphorically than usual, since it’s that time of the month, so now I have to deal with hormones, and cramps and, this evening, stabbing endo pain too. None of which I can cope with now, not on top of everything else. I managed to fix it all eventually, and have a shower, and sort of patch myself back together again, but that was it for trying to do anything constructive today. Wipeout.

Eventually the mob came home. They did their thing, I did mine. We watched a film and some TV. And now it’s bedtime and I get to do the whole thing all over again tomorrow. Maybe I’ll actually get the accounting and invoicing stuff done this time. Maybe I won’t. The painkillers are cutting in, which is something at least. Life just feels pointless. If I hadn’t been here today, nothing would have been any different. I neither added nor subtracted anything to anyone or anything. I just existed. The world kept turning, and would have done regardless.

And that helicopter is still going backwards and forwards, trying to find something or other, and now I get to have flashbacks before bedtime. Some things you just can’t un-see. They’re permanently etched on your retina; memories you wish you could forget but can’t. There are things you should never have to do, and we had to. And there it goes flying past again… I think sweet dreams are unlikely, don’t you?

Some days are just a living hell. Today was one of those days. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Or not. Guess which one my money is on?