Uninstallation

Did you know I used to be a software engineer? I did, you know. Back in the days before marriage, and children, and divorce, and Matt, and holy crap so many years ago. In fact if marriage had worked out, last week would have been our 25th wedding anniversary, which is beyond weird as concepts go. Sometimes I feel like hundred years old. So much water under the bridge. I can’t even imagine it now. When I look at photos of Matt and I, even that seems surreal somehow now. I don’t recognise that happy carefree person. My life now is so far removed from that. That world is just…well…a world away. It’s quite literally unbelievable in so many ways…I guess maybe that’s because a part of me still refuses to believe that this is my life now.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes. Software. I was a software engineer. I analysed, I programmed, I created and sorted databases, wrote user manuals, etc., etc. And over the years in between, I’ve spent a lot of time on computers. Working. Communicating. I’m a dab hand with them most of the time. Websites, social media, marketing, sorting software tech problems for people…that’s me. Yep. I’m a closet geek. Well, ok, probably I’m not very in the closet with that, but that’s neither here nor there.

In case you were wondering, there is actually a point to this. I’m just taking a while to get there, because I don’t really want to think about it, and I’ve been doing my best to keep very busy and constructive and focused all week so as to keep my emotions at bay. I’m not ready to open the floodgates, because I’m not sure I’ll be able to close them again. Having said that, tomorrow all bets are off. Prepare for the flood, build me a f*cking Ark, get ready to ride the tsunami…

Tomorrow, Matt v.48 will be uninstalled from my house. From our home. Right now my house is full of boxes that are full of his stuff. And then there’s all the stuff that won’t fit in boxes. There is a whole heap of stuff, and then some. And it’s all going. See, now you know where I was going with the all software metaphor.

Luckily both the kids are able to be here for the day, as are a couple of other friends, along with the all star man with a van, Kevin. I will not be on my own, I will be amongst family and friends. The Rule of 6 may be an inconvenience in many ways, but it turns out that it has a silver lining. Thanks to the Rule of 6, no-one else is able to be here, as we’d be breaking the law. Handy that, no?

So the van will get loaded up here, shuttled up there, unloaded, maybe once, twice, whatever it takes. And then it will done. Yes, the house will be much much emptier. But the memories will remain. His presence will remain. Taking his stuff away doesn’t wipe that out. For all that I don’t want to let any of it go in some ways, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just stuff. And hey, it’s a small house. Maybe it will look a little less like an episode of Hoarders without Austin’s stuff (which went a little while ago) and Matt’s stuff in it…?

Doesn’t matter whether it will or won’t, it’s going to happen regardless, so I guess that was a rhetorical question of sorts. The actual process of watching it all go, and all the memories that are going to be triggered by seeing all those things, is going to hurt like f*ck. I’m going to cry a lot. Like a river. But it won’t be hanging over me anymore. It’ll be done. And that’s a good thing.

Nonetheless, the chances are you’ll find me at a local hostelry somewhere after that, drowning my sorrows. and crying into whichever poison I’ve decided to drown them in. Matt would approve. He wouldn’t approve of the rest of the above. Man, he would be SO furious with how it’s all gone down though, like me, not surprised. But he’d approve of rounding it all off with a few drinks. I’m sure we’ll raise the odd one in his honour, in memoriam, too.

I was not me until I
Discovered you.
You are significant

So, here it comes I guess… Deep breaths.

Now the night is over

This evening my inner jukebox and my Deezer flow and my feelings have been, maybe bizarrely, in sync. So prepare yourself for even more song lyric links than usual.

And I know it’s late, but I wasn’t ready for sleep.

But now the day is over, even for me, the night is drawing nigh.

I know it’s all just coincidence. But then as Gibbs says, with Rule 39 I believe, “there’s no such thing as coincidence“…so who knows?

And yes, it’s lazy of me. I should write more myself. And I’m sorry, but I have a really tough week ahead of me. and I just don’t have the emotional capacity right now. I’m too busy holding myself together. I have some friends gathering around me to get me over the final hurdle, but that isn’t going to make it any less painful. It will however, put one more thing behind me, and draw a line under things.

So, if other people can say  what I want to say better than me? Let’s let them do it. My walls are up, and they’re not coming down to write a blog right now.

So lets start with the only ear worm I’ve had today. I can’t remember it ever popping into my head before. He always made me feel on top of the world, and inspired me to try, and he’s still my shining star. So, maybe…?

And let’s follow that with the white flag that I will never be waving, as there will be no surrender. I’m in love with him and always will be, however life moves on.

After all, all I needed was the love he gave, and getting through every day without it is indescribably painful. I don’t think I’ll ever be whole again.

As my life continues, when I’m left home SO alone, especially with Tash going back to uni, nothing ever happens. It’s just me, here. I will be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.

All I can do is hope that maybe one day, as the song from his favourite film says, beauty will come out of ashes.

Can’t say I have much hope in that.
I reckon I’m just here until I’m pushing up my own daisies.

There, wasn’t that cheerful? I just have to get through this week. Get myself to Saturday night. And then I think I may go and get very, very drunk. Wisdom may come with age, emphasis on the may, but I’m not that old yet, even if I often feel like I’m ancient, past it, and worn out. So, wise or not, there will be sorrows to drown, and then hopefully locked safely away in Davey Jones’ locker, so that I can move on to whatever the future may hold. I’ve been knocked down, maybe I’ll get back up again. I have no great expectations. Just as well really.

How am I? Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

The stars may not align, but I’ll still try and shine for you. Always.

Fear isn’t the killer, loneliness is.

It’s going on stupid o’clock, as ever.
But then who cares?
For the second day in a row, in my home alone trial run, it’s been just me.

No-one cares when I go to bed.
No-one is there when I do.
No-one cares when I wake up.
No-one is there when I do that either.

I got a large chunk of work done.
I cried a lot.
I did chores.
I cried a lot.
I went up the road for a pint with my kindle. before I did the shopping and came home and forced myself to eat, because that’s what people do.
It’s also the only way I was going to have any actual human contact.
Not a phone call from the boss.
Or the odd random text from whomever.
Actual talk with a real person, in person.

And I did, after a fashion, chat to a couple of other people, in a completely meaningless pass the time kind of way.
And then I shopped.
And I walked home, crying a lot.
And then I came home, to an empty house.
And cried some more.

The cats are missing the kids, fighting over territory, and not yet quite ready to give in and concede that they might have to spend time with me, in my role as understudy.
The reptiles have all just eaten, and let’s face it, they’re not really all about the feels.

So here I am.

On the sofa.
All by myself.
White wine, crappy TV, iPad games.
Which would be heaven to some people.
Sadly I’m not one of them.
It’s just sh*t.

I guess I’ll go to bed soon.
That being what people do.
And then I’ll be asleep, where I get to go and live in one of many worlds, away from this one, and from which waking up is like waking the dead, and I fight it with every fibre of my being, because I’d rather be in those dreams than in this life.

So I’ll wake up.
Cry a lot.
I’ll make coffee, take my meds, cry a lot.
And then tomorrow will be just like today.

Rinse and repeat.

As trial runs go, I think it’s going swimmingly, don’t you?

Tick, tock…

Stretched on your grave

So. Today is not a date I am planning on remembering, or marking, in years to come. But it is the last first, so this year it counts.

Today marked a year since we laid Matt to rest. Except we didn’t even do that. So then today marks a year since the necessary formalities took place. When we all formally and officially got together and said goodbye to him, in accordance with social norms, none of which he gave a monkey’s about.

I remember being in one of the formal cars in the procession, that I’d had to fight to have, since apparently it had been decided that only family get to go in one of those, and I wasn’t family. Like I was supposed to follow along behind like some sort of second class citizen in whatever car we had. Since I was paying for half of the funeral, I paid for the extra car. I sat in that car, with my family and friends, following the hearse down the A38, and I remember commenting on how surreal the whole thing was, and that I’d never imagined ever having to do anything like that. That I couldn’t believe what was happening. And the whole day was like that. It happened. I was there. But I wasn’t there. It was like it was all happening to someone else. But it was a lovely day, in so far as it could be, even if the rifts that would grow were already present and obvious. It was all about rites, not rights. The sun shone, it happened, it was done.

Maybe laying him to rest would have been better. After all, he’d be whole, in one place, sent on his way by everyone. But he wanted to be cremated, and he wanted to be scattered on our hill. Thanks to family animosity, and to minimise stress all around, we split his cremains (yes, that is actually a word), and so half of him has gone one way and has now been scattered the way that they wanted to do it, and the other half will go another way when the world opens up enough for us to do it the way he would have wanted. With his and our friends, and celebration, and warmth, and joy, and tears, and all that it needs to be for all of us that will be there (we had to postpone our original plans thanks to Covid restrictions). And one day, when I’m ready, a small final part will be set free on a particular special beach, which has nothing to do with anyone else other than me and him.

His funeral was just a date. He was already long gone, travelling along the path he’d chosen. Everyone got to do their duty, say their goodbyes and then the majority considered their dues paid, their job done, and went back to their lives, leaving the rest of us grieving on our own, with precious little support. I am so grateful to those of you, and you know who you are, who have stuck with me since then. Grief doesn’t go away just because the funeral is over. Or because a year has passed. You don’t get over it, you just learn to live with it, and I’m still trying to learn how to do that. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I guess I was hoping that, in Victorian style, the year would be up, my widow’s weeds would come off, metaphorically speaking, and then I would feel better. I don’t. In fact it almost feels harder, as the numbness and shock wears off, and true reality sets in. As they say, where there was great love, there is great grief, and man, did I love him. So much. I’ve never known love like it, and it went both ways. So I’m not going to pretend it’s ok, that I’ve moved on,  that life is normal now, just to please other people. It really isn’t, and I’m not ok. I’m still here, and I will continue to be. But I’m not ok.

In two weeks time the final active part of this shitty journey will be over and done with. His belongings will have been taken away from me, which hopefully Covid-19 restrictions will still allow to happen, since having started, I just want it over and done with now. And then I want them all to leave me alone. I’ve done my best for the whole year, but clearly that wasn’t enough. They’ve all made their position very clear, and it’s been a horrible few weeks knowing what is coming, having to sort through his stuff, and pack up his life etc. I feel ganged up on and bullied, but hopefully they will be happier, and satisfied, and finally have the “closure” they seem to think I’ve been denying them. I know that I have done nothing to deserve such treatment. I know that none of this is my fault. And I know that if we’d been married, as we wanted to be, it wouldn’t even be happening. But ho hum, it is what it is, it is going to happen, and this too shall pass.

And then that will be that. There will be me, in my empty house, on my own, still grieving, still hurting like all h*ll. But there will no longer be anything hanging over me. That has to be better. Besides, it’s all just stuff, it’s all just water under the bridge, and none of it changes anything. He’s still dead, and I’d still give anything, barring my children, to have him back. He loved me, I loved him. I’ve got the memories, the messages, the photos, and the witnesses. Our love was a fact. And that’s all I need. I am lucky to have had him in my life, to have had what we had. Some people never get to have that at all. I will spend the rest of my life missing it, whatever else life brings to me. So one year on, I’m going to say it again. I love you to the beach and beyond and forever. Your crazy matched my crazy big time, and you are still my beautiful boy. xxx😭💔.

 

 

Trying to think outside the boxes

So, I have two weeks before Matt’s belongings are taken away. And time waits for no-one, let alone his family.

So today I made a start, while Tash is here to help me get things out of the roof, which is tricky in our house. I think I’ve now probably made my way through about 25% of it. Getting boxes and boxes of his stuff down from the roof. Getting various other stuff down with them. Finding other bits and pieces from around the house to add into those boxes. There is still so much to do…

And it’s hideous. Putting his life, all of his things, the things that he’d kept that were precious to him, alongside all the detritus that we all accumulate that means nothing but is still ours… Going through everything, all his life, his history, our memories, putting it all into boxes, piled up box on box, and knowing that it is all leaving. It feels like I am being made to evict him from where he called home. Where we called home. Our home. It just hurts so much, and he would hate it. He would be so furious with how things have turned out, and are being dealt with, and where things are going. He would never have let anyone bully me like this…

But it has to be done, and doing all of that I just lost it. Lost it completely. To put your person, the person who meant everything to you, into boxes and then give those boxes away? It’s indescribable. I’m SO not ready, but I have no choice.

I did my best to get on with it, but I came to a bit where I’d done all I could cope with for today. I just had to stop, and get out of the house. I went and sat in a very quiet corner in the pub, just so that I would be forced to hold it together, to pull myself together and stop crying, because we’re British and we don’t do emotional in public. As it happens I met some friends up there briefly and talking to them really helped for a bit; it just brought me back to a bit more grounded, and got me out of my head. And they got it, and were there for me, and that meant the world. I am very grateful, even though they’ll probably never realise how much.

I have cried so much today that my contact lenses are clouded with salt and my sight is blurry, hence the marginally early night. Yes, I know it has to be done. Yes, it will be good to have a house less cluttered up by stuff. Yes, his kids should have mementos of their Dad, which I’ve never objected to. I get that. And conveniently Austin moved all his stuff out yesterday, which though painful, means there is space to pile up Matt’s stuff until that weekend comes. So that helps. Kinda.

But shortly it will all be taken away, and arbitrarily shared out, with no thought as to what he might have wanted, and then the leftovers disposed of by others if unwanted. Which is, again, just beyond words, and he’s not here to express his wishes.

But hey, at least another step will be over and done with, and I will be drawing a line under it and trying to find my way forwards afterwards, once I’ve recovered from the aftermath. I know it’s all just stuff really. I have all the things he bought for me, or gave to me, and all the things I bought for me him and gave to him – those I am allowed to keep. And all the memories I have are mine and ours and are priceless, and cannot be taken away, and that I will be holding on to, like flotsam after a shipwreck. Taking his stuff away doesn’t erase who we were and what we were to each other. That’s truth. That’s fact. And there’s comfort in that. Or discomfort if you happen to not like that but tough, it doesn’t stop it being true. I have a world of photos and messages and texts that say it all. I know what we were and how it was. And I miss it all more than words can say.

I have a lot more to get boxed up and sorted, which is going to take a lot more time, which is going to keep hurting, and so it’s going to be a really tough couple of weeks. I guess there’s going to be a whole heap more uncontrollable crying. Nothing new there then. But I will get it done, because it has to be done, and then this particular chapter will be over and done with, and behind me. Because that’s how it goes. Every day the sun comes up. So far my track record for getting through sh*tty days is 100%. And hopefully that will continue, right?

All too soon I will be home alone in my house, minus Austin’s stuff, minus all Matt’s stuff, with Tash back at uni. I’m guessing that is going to feel like a very very very empty nest. Nothing stands still…who knows what happens after that?

You’re my nutter

We’d joke around, as couples do. One of us would say or do something daft, and then the other one would say, omg you’re a nutter, but hey, that’s ok, because you’re my nutter, or the idiot in question would say it’s ok because I’m your nutter, or whatever. We’d talk about the what ifs of life, of health, of growing older, and we’d both say that, in turn, hey, it doesn’t matter, we’ll face it all together, I’m not going anywhere.

And then he did.

He’s still my nutter, even though he’s not here anymore. And I am his. I just wish I wasn’t here without him, and that he hadn’t gone anywhere.

I’ve just had a really lovely day in Bristol with Tash. I have had my very first dermal piercing, sparkly of course, in honour of the ray of sunshine that my niece Loren was. Tash has two new lobe/cart piercings too. Because Ohana means family, and family means no-one gets pierced on their own, be it Matt and I, me and one of the kids, whatever. He was so there with us. We, including Ruby who pierced us two many times, and Jon who has inked several of us, talked about him. We remembered him. He was not, as is normally the case, the elephant in the room. And it was just bl**dy lovely to have him talked about and acknowledged and communally missed for a change.

I missed him there. I missed him holding my hand for comfort as the needle went in, even if it didn’t hurt as much this time as I thought it would.  I missed him when we had drinks in Zero Degrees. I missed him as we wandered around the shops. I missed him as we ate Japanese at Yakinori. All things we have previously done together. And I wish I was allowed to miss him out loud more. That people would talk about him. I guess it’s the way these things go. But it’s so nice when he is talked about. He was such a presence, his absence should be acknowledged more. He is missed by so many people.

So it’s been a really nice day, with a seriously bitter sweet edge. I shed a fair few tears throughout, mostly unnoticed, and some on Tash’s shoulder, but that was only to be expected. I am well aware that my remaining time with Tash, who is due back at uni soon, is limited, and it was lovely to have today with her. Sure, I should probably have been doing more work, or chores, or whatever. But time is running out and I think, no I know, it was way more important to be making the most of our time together, and making memories for the future, especially when none of us know how long that future will be.

He was missed. He always will be. There will always be places he should be that he is not. And his crazy will always match my crazy.

But as my days go, today was a fairly good one. And that’s a good thing. Such days are few and far between, but hey, one day at a time. I’ll take it.

Scared

I am so scared.
About so many things.
I am scared about Tash moving out, when Austin has gone already.
I am scared about being on my own full time. Really genuinely scared as to how, or if, I’ll cope. I am really not sure that long term, I am going to be able to cope, to make it. That might just sound like words to you, another trite blog phrase. But it isn’t. I am really, really scared.

I am also scared about a few weekends time, when Matt’s family have announced, by formal letter, that they are coming here to collect all his belongings.
I feel bullied.
I feel ganged up on.
But, since Matt had failed to get divorced, or to leave a will, I have very few (make that pretty much none) legal rights.
Apparently it’s not about personalities, it’s about closure.
Ha!
(*bites tongue* and doesn’t say all of the things that I could say in response to that)

But hey, apparently it’s all my fault, right? So that makes turning up and taking it all away, whether I like it or not, ok.
Whatever.
It is what it is.

I get that they want his stuff. I totally get that. And it’s right that they should have some of his things. We all want mementos of our loved ones. I was actually planning on arranging that, before I got steam rollered.
But, just so as you know, having his stuff won’t give you closure. It will just give you stuff. And that stuff will make you hurt every time you look at it, every time you use it. I should know. It’s still important to have it though, and I have never objected to that. It’s just that there’s no such thing as closure. This is not something you get over. You just carry on carrying it with you. And hopefully with time it weighs a little less.

This could have been done in a nice way.
But it wasn’t, so here we are.
I’m not even close to being surprised though. And neither would he be. He’d be fuming. But he’s not here, so that’s irrelevant. At least my conscience is clear. And I can hold on to that.

It still is what it is.

I will get everything out of wherever it is. I will box it up. I will put it all out on the lawn. And it will all get taken away. I will do what has to be done, even if I cry through it all. And it’s all just stuff, let’s be honest. No-one can take away the important stuff, the memories, the feelings, and what we meant to each other.

But I am very grateful because it would appear that slowly a small group of people are gathering to be around me that weekend, to help me get his stuff outside, to be there with me through it, to buffer and protect me, and maybe even to have a few drinks together after it’s all done. And I am SO grateful to every single person who has been there for me through all this. Especially those who will be with me for that weekend. You all mean so much to me.

Please keep being there. My life is about to become a very, very lonely place.