Carry you

So, there’s been much anxiety and tears and stress, but I made it to my brothers’ place today. I managed to leave town, even though I felt like I was leaving Matt behind somehow and I felt scared to leave my comfort zone, even if my comfort zone isn’t that comforting these days. On top of that I even did about three hours worth of work in the car on the way in.

We, and I, made it to the Tim Minchin gig that Matt should have been with us at. I couldn’t really engage even though I tried. not with Matt not there, and tears falling at every minor key. It was like, I know this is funny, I know I like this, but my laughter switch is broken. It was good, he is brilliant, he is funny, there were old songs and new, happy and sad. And I’d just about got it together when they rounded off the gig with the most beautiful song called ‘Carry you’ dedicated to their recently deceased tour manager and sound engineer, which just completely wiped me out. Even so, I hope I can get a copy somehow somewhen because it was truly lovely and heartfelt.

Because I will be carrying Matt with me too. Forever, however long that should be; I am carrying him with me now. I have been missing him like crazy all day, and today the memories that pop up come with the cold chill that runs down my spine, just like in the first week after it happened. I still can’t understand how he isn’t here when he is so present in my head and my heart. And I can’t get seem to get past just wanting him back so badly.

He would have been proud of me in the very busy pub afterwards though. I was brave and asked some scary looking people if us four could share their clearly only half used table. and it was fine and we did. Go me. I may have lost all my self confidence and strength, but Matt did try and teach me how to stand up for myself better and I didn’t want to let him down by not at least asking, because he would have asked without even a second thought about it. He had so much more confidence than me about things like that, and yet oddly much less in other ways. I hope you are proud of me up there somewhere…I just wish you were down here..😥

Now I’m going to bed in a strange place, without you, and being away without you just feels wrong; going away for the weekend is what we did, it was one of our things. This time last year we were in Westward Ho. And two years ago you bought me the Baby Bels that really showed you listened and cared. Thanks Facebook. Not.

I still don’t feel strong enough to get through this. I don’t feel like me at all. But I am trying to refocus on getting through one day at a time, and I have made it through today and that’s something.

 

 

Little lost soul

So how do I tell whether this is just a really bad patch, or the antidepressants fully bedding in and making me feel worse like the last ones did?

I can’t stop thinking about him. Just like yesterday, I keep seeing him in my head, coming across photos or reminders of him, and the pictures in my mind’s eye are so clear and so vivid, I just can’t understand how he isn’t here in reality. My brain just spins itself round and round in circles, and I just miss him so bad that my stomach is tied in knots and I can’t speak without crying.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know where to be. I’m fed up of hanging out in all the local pubs but I hate being at the house for any length of time. The church is closed. It’s dark so going for a walk to the res or up the hill is out of the question. I am, as someone just called me, like a little lost soul, just floating around with no place to be. And I feel so, so lonely.

I have no purpose. There’s nothing I want to be doing, nowhere I want to be. All I seem to be able to do is cry nonstop. Ugly, from the bottom of my heart crying, And it hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts, and it doesn’t stop, and it doesn’t get better.

I don’t know what to do.

Flashbacks

The brain is a f*cker. I wanted to be polite, but since it’s been throwing flashbacks of Matt at me all morning, I decided the profanity was appropriate. Just the tiniest little thing seems to be enough to trigger it. Like dental floss for example. There I am, flossing my teeth, and suddenly I’m remembering him sat next to me on the bed, clear as day, telling me about how he hates it when he finds a bit of dental floss that hasn’t been thrown away properly because it reminds him of some ickiness involving a tapeworm type critter being removed from someone’s eye and which grossed him out completely. Just like he was sat right there next to me. And it was so clear and so vivid a tiny bit of me thought if I just turned my head right a little I’d see him there…but of course there he wasn’t. And that kind of thing has been going on all morning. It’s really not helping.

Having said that, I have got a few things done – got youngest’s money sorted and her accommodation for next year. Booked a long overdue opticians appointment. Paid HMRC back their overpayment from tax credits from years ago. So I have at least achieved a few of the outstanding pile of things. Little steps, as they say.

But that’s weird too. I think my brain is deliberately setting itself specific challenges. Like getting hold of the picture from the Sheppey. Maybe it’s like the trials of Hercules? And each time I get one of them done, it’s like there’s a little voice inside of me, going ‘look, I did it, I did good, can I have him back now…?”.

It doesn’t make any sense, does it? Sure, I now have the lovely picture we both liked, but you’re still not here though, are you? I can’t play Orpheus and go down to the underworld to beg for you back. This is reality, and it sucks.

It seems mad to love someone who’s now non existent so much, but I do. It’s not logical. It makes as much sense as the rest of what my brain is doing. But my loving you didn’t stop when you did. It goes on, just as strong, and man it hurts… 😭💔

It never rains but…

A night of bad and surreal dreams that often included Matt did not set me up for a good day. To wake up and have him be gone again instantly, in the opening of an eye, is brutal. But I got up because I had to, and got myself what passes for sorted. At least these days I don’t care what I look like, so throwing clothes on is easier, and there’s no point wearing make up as it would inevitably get washed off at some point or another, so getting ready for the day is a lot quicker than it used to be.

I then tried to run an errand, and discovered that my car wouldn’t start. Not surprising since it hasn’t been driven anywhere for ages, so I had to get eldest to help out. Luckily he was home from his night away with the Ex just in time, and able to do so, before my folks turned up. Errand run, time for Sunday lunch.

We had a fairly pleasant Sunday lunch all together at the Lamb, with the added drama of some poor customer having a TIA. I kept his wife company for a bit before the ambulance arrived, which brought back some less then pleasant memories, even more so when it did. Simon (the landlord) was brilliant with the whole thing and it all worked out and the gent in question was well enough to be released back into the pub. I just wish that had been the case in our case. But it wasn’t was it? And there once more opened the chasm that I can’t get ever get across.

And so we went home, with me already more than a little on the emotional side. Eldest jump-started the car with Dad. I spent an unhappy half an hour or so trying to find a battery charger in the garage. Matt completely rearranged and reorganised it and I have no clue what’s what in there, or where what is. Eventually I found three of them(!) one of which turned out to be the right one, and which Dad and eldest got set up to charge the battery. In the meantime, while rummaging, I discovered that it would appear that there are also boxes of Matt’s stuff in the garage, as well as in the roof and in the conservatory and in the hall, and under the stairs. Boxes that are random mixes of useless junk alongside photo albums and bits and bobs that were clearly precious to him. All of which need sorting out and just looking through one box, even in passing, reduced me to emotional wreck status. All of that ‘him’ just gone…it’s just beyond sad…😢

Anyway, I pulled it together for a bit, and Dad got my copy of the Sheppy Inn print into the frame I brought from TKMaxx. So that was good, and it looks good. I just need to hang it now. But at least something actually got achieved today. And then they went home, eldest took a time out, and I went and took refuge in the church for a bit, because I needed some quiet peaceful place to cry and not be embarrassed by it, because walking around with tears streaming uncontrollably down your face tends to make people feel awkward. But sadly even churches close, so I’m back to hiding in a corner in the Oakhouse, trying to express just how bad I’m feeling with words, which aren’t even coming close to doing the job today. Facebook has handily just chosen to remind me that a year ago I was sitting in here with him and Anona by the open fire. Not helpful.

Ouchy has chosen today to wake up so I’m in considerable amounts of actual physical pain for the first time since Matt’s death, and he’s not here to support me or look after me. When the pain is like this any ability I might have to hold myself together just crumbles. It always frustrated Matt that he couldn’t take it away for me, he hated seeing me in such pain; all he could do was curl up with me and do the best he could to look after me and make me feel better. We’d fall asleep snuggled up with his hand laid flat palm down on my side where the pain lives, like a little hot water bottle, and it was so helpful and so sweet. The meds aren’t working yet, and tonight that hand won’t be there. Another one of those ‘firsts’… Hopefully the antidepressants will do their job and knock me into sleep. Otherwise it’s going to a long sad lonely night.

Today I am not coping. Today I am struggling. Today the feeling of loneliness is overwhelming. It’s not been a good weekend. I just don’t know what to do with myself any more, or why to do anything at all. It’s so hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other…when without you, let’s be perfectly honest, I don’t want to. 😭💔

 

If a picture paints…

As part of all the to-ing and fro-ing over the last couple of days, eldest and I  finally picked up the two boards from the wake that had all my/our photos of Matt on them.

Maybe I shouldn’t have looked at them. But I kinda had to. Because however emotional it was, which it was and still is, I wanted to see him. It just feels like it’s been so so long since I’ve seen him, that it felt better to see him through the tears, than to not see him at all. I miss seeing him.  It’s been the longest 11 weeks of my life. With how things have been lately, I needed to be reminded of his smile, of all the places we’ve been together, of how happy we were. I know I’m never going to see him again, and I hate the fact that these photos are all I have now. The distance between my now and those frozen moments in time is only going to grow as time passes, and that hurts. But even though seeing him came with tears, and memories, and yearning, and pain, I’m still glad I looked at them. To smile a little through the tears. To see him, and to see us. And remember that we were. WE were. We may not have been perfect but, even warts ‘n all, we were pretty amazing, and I’ll always be grateful that we were us.

I have already acquired some nice photo frames, and at some point I’ll populate them. But maybe not yet… I think looking at him on a daily basis is still be a bit more than I can cope with. I don’t feel strong enough for that yet. But when I’m ready, those photos can come out and be around me, and I’ll take what comfort I can from them when that time comes.

Love you my beautiful boy. 😭❤️

 

 

Eulogy

I have had a very up and down day, but with a lot of quality time with eldest, and the arrival of my new print and my obsidian egg, and a successful trip to TKMaxx to go with it, followed by fish & chips and hanging out together. It’s been nice, and quite comforting. I’m as close to ok as I get, and although there’s some things I want to write about, I also don’t want to drag myself down right now so…I thought I would share Matt’s Eulogy with you instead. It was a very hard thing to do, to stand up in front of everyone, supported by one of my amazing children on each side, and to tell people about my Matt. I’m still very glad I did. And I’m still a tiny bit proud of myself for doing it. It was so important to me that everyone knew who my Matt was and who we were. So…here it is:

We all knew a different Matt. He was Matthew, or Hammy or, to me, Matt. Unless I wanted to get his attention across a crowded room, in which case shouting Hammy was the only thing that really worked. He was a son, a brother, an uncle, a father, a husband, a friend and more recently my partner & fiancé. We were everything to each other. I’m not going to pretend we were perfect – believe me we had some kick-ass arguments. but we always talked things through, and made up, and were stronger as a result. We argued the night before he died, over something typically ridiculous, and I will always regret that, even though I know that’s just how we were.

Matt was larger than life, full of vitality, the life and soul of the party. Making him laugh was a joy, especially when he wasn’t expecting it and his belly laugh would just erupt from deep inside. On the inside he struggled sometimes. He wasn’t as secure as he came across. Some of his previous relationships had left him with some baggage, and a lack of self-confidence that you wouldn’t expect. He didn’t realise how many friends he had in Oxfordshire until he’d left, and he’d be amazed to realise how many friends he had full stop – looking at all of you here. Really, he’d be gobsmacked.

He hadn’t slipped back into life here quite as easily as he’d wanted to but, as he said, it didn’t really matter, as we had each other, and that was more than enough for both of us. As you can tell, he was often a big softie. He’d cry at soppy moments in films all the time. Well those he could stay awake through that is – he was very good at falling asleep in the cinema!

He loved working with Kevin here, and he was a bit of perfectionist. When something hadn’t gone right at work, he’d ring me up and beat himself up about it, until he’d talked it through to reach a solution. He always wanted to do the best job he could, and not let anyone down, which is probably why Kevin was happy to let him get on with things a lot of the time.They worked together really well, and had the cutest little bromance going on 😉

Matt wasn’t about money, as long as he had enough money to do what he wanted to do, he was happy. We travelled around a lot. Matt liked to be outdoors. Having converted him up from that daft uplift mountain bike sport, and before my health got worse, I converted him to the only real way of riding bikes and we rode sportives together. Once, early on, before he’d reached my level, I had to leave him at the split point on one of them, and rather than be annoyed, he was just proud that his girl was the kind of girl who could go off and do that. His support and faith in me were amazing.

If it wasn’t the bike, it was beaches or mountains or hills. We once managed to go to a different beach every weekend for ten weeks in a row. He’d never seen dolphins in the wild before until then, and we saw them many more times. I remember the two of us sitting on a small beach somewhere wild in the rain, with no-one else there, under waterproofs, just having the place to ourselves and the dolphins to watch.

He loved to swim in the sea, usually complete with wetsuit but not always. I thought he was mad! He kept trying get back into surfing, but as with most of us, age had caught up with him a bit, and popping up wasn’t as easy as it used to be. Not that this stopped him trying. Sometimes we flew kites instead. Well he did – with his usual skill and flair. I just got dragged around the beach by my luckily smaller kite, trying to stay on the ground, while he laughed at me flailing my arms around trying to control the darn thing!

He went snowboarding here when he could, and even had a go at teaching Tash. However beaches were definitely our favourite thing and on a beach, on May 1st 2017, he got down on one knee and proposed, with a haribo ring. Clearly I said yes! Oh, and ate the ring 😉 Having been married before, clearly not that successfully, I wasn’t that bothered about doing it again, but he was determined that he wanted to stand up and tell the world how much he loved me, and who can argue with that kind of thing? 😉

Matt had a big heart. He loved all animals – reptiles, cats (even though he pretended he didn’t like my two), horses, especially dogs, and he missed not being able to have his Mollie with him and was sad when she passed. Having said that, there was the odd dog that didn’t like him, which always really annoyed him, especially when they chose me over him!

Music was a big part of his, and our, lives together. For a few years our relationship was a long distance one, and we spent our lives on the M4/M5 going to visit each other. We’d talk all the time, in the car, when he was driving the van, in the evenings. We’d send each other songs that sometimes said what words couldn’t. Even when he moved down here, we were in touch 24/7. If we were together, we were always holding hands, always touching. When we weren’t, it was Messenger, or WhatsApp, or Text or whatever. Over the years we got through so many pairs of headphones it was ridiculous!

We listened to a lot of music when we were together in person. We went to various gigs, some more his thing, some more mine. I never could convince him the Quireboys were good! 😉 Recently he finally got to see Mad Apple Circus at a mini festival in Bristol, and danced like a mad punk for hours, even if he did have to stop to catch his breath from time to time. He got to meet them, chat to them, and even got the t-shirt. He was so happy – it’s going to be one of my best and happiest memories of him.

As you can tell by looking at my face, and knowing Matt, you’ll know that Matt and I also had body art in common. We never got anything done on our own. If one of us was getting something done, so was the other, at Pierced Up on Park Row, which sometimes included my kids too! Then we’d all end up in Zero Degrees opposite – it became quite the tradition. Until the last manager moved on, they knew us by name and he used to try out his new brews on us! Tash, Austin and I had memorial tattoos done last week, at Pierced Up as ever, and as they knew him so well there, and were as shocked as we were by it all, we got VIP treatment, complete with us all being allowed to be in the room together to hold hands, and with shots of fortifying rum. Oh and also with no charge, as their way of honouring him too. That’s Matt – he made a big impact wherever he went. It was one of our many favourite places, like the Sheppey Inn, or Cornwall, or Pembrokeshire, or walking around the res, or the Oakhouse where we met and had made our own, or Glastonbury. I think we all know his beliefs were fairly non-religious but he had a spiritual side – he liked crystals, and reiki, and more, and he would be laughing at me now, walking around with the relevant grief aiding crystal in my bra. Well, right now to be honest I’d try anything to try and ease the pain a little! The list of “our places” was growing all the time, and there are a lot of places that are going to be very hard to go back to without him now.

Matt lived life to the full. If he could help a friend he would. He was full of projects for the house, and would turn his hand to anything. The house is full of bits and pieces for plans we had that will now never happen. He also loved my little sports car, even if him trying to fix it has left it more broken that it was before!

He also gave the best hugs ever, as I’m sure many of you know, and my hand fit perfectly in his. He’d even hold me up when my legs wouldn’t. And he taught me to stand up for myself more. He was so proud of me when I sent back a meal that was rubbish a couple of months ago, and so was I! He always looked after me, my health issues never phased him, he was already in it for in sickness & in health. He didn’t care what I wore or whether my weight went up or down, he just loved me for me, and I loved him for him.

We were always together, and there is nowhere that there isn’t a Matt shaped void now. His favourite film was Deadpool, and the fact that we had both found someone who’s crazy matched our crazy was just amazing to us both. I can’t imagine ever finding anyone like him ever again, and I’m struggling with figuring out how to live my life without him. I miss him so much it hurts. I don’t know where he is now, and I guess I’m just hoping he’s around and watching over us. So in case you’re up there listening to me Matt, I love you to the beach and beyond and forever. Your crazy matched my crazy big time.

That was my boy. My beautiful boy. And I hope you know him a little better now. I am better for having known him.😭💔

It’s a long and winding road…

So I’m coming down with a cold, or at least that’s probably what the killer sore throat implies. And I had to get up earlier than I wanted to, and I was grumpy, and I was emotional and it was not a good morning, even if I did get a couple of hours of work done.

But it probably wasn’t the best basis for my first appointment with a counsellor. Counselling is not something I’ve done before. I’ve probably scoffed at it in the past, to be honest. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I was sort of actively dreading it. So much so that I asked eldest to drive me there and back, because driving when I’m in a state is not good thing. My contact lenses do not have windscreen wipers, and vision is important when you’re driving. Plus, all that lovely logical logistical stuff aside, I basically just wanted the company and support, and knowing he’d be there with hugs when I came out afterwards made it a little bit easier to take that step into the unknown.

So I went. And it was ok. More than ok. And I have more appointments booked now. I like her, which means I can talk to her. She asked lots of questions to find out about me and my life and then also, obviously, about why I was there. And I answered them, and when it came to it, I could and did cry without feeling any judgement. As she put it, having heard the bones of the story, it’s just f*cking sh*t. And it is. It really is. There is nothing about any of what has happened or how it happened, that isn’t sh*t. And it’s been no time at all, and it is ok to still be an emotional wreck. The way I’m feeling is normal. She may not have said all that, but that’s how she made me feel.

Around here I sometimes feel, and yes it may just be in my head, that people think I should have got past the crying all over the place stage, and/or that me crying makes them feel awkward and embarrassed. But I’m sorry, it’s only been 11 weeks, and it’s not like it’s the kind of thing that has a time limit on it anyway!  I cry on and off all day, from silently to screaming out loud. I miss him all the time. There are so many hurdles to get over every day; so many reminders, memories that pop up from nowhere, or are triggered by who knows what, and ambush me. I just feel so lost. And lonely. And isolated. And scared.

I don’t know what I expect from counselling. I’ve been very emotional since seeing her, but I think that’s probably good, because it means I’m not holding it in just to please anyone else. I really wish I didn’t feel this bad all the time. But I do. It just is how it is. Sometimes  I’m walking, and crying, and it all gets too much, and I still have to stop and bend over and wrap my arms around the pain and catch my breath and get myself together before I can carry on walking. But sh*t like this doesn’t go away in a matter of weeks. I may not like it, but this process is going to take months, more likely years. And it is never going to have not happened. I will be carrying it, and him, with me forever.

Counselling can’t fix me. It can’t bring him back. But hopefully it can help me deal with some of the things I’m feeling and thinking, be a sounding board for some of my darker thoughts, and be another professional eye watching over me. I guess I’ll find out as the weeks go on. But I am going to go back. See what you’ve done to me? I carry crystals. I’ve tried reiki. I’m seeing a counsellor, though I’m not sure that was ever your thing. Maybe it should have been. Maybe you could have fought some of your demons that way. More likely you’d just have tried homeopathy though…😉

Still, right now, I will try pretty much anything that might help. Because the flow of emotions and the aching pain are relentless, and tiring and draining…and all so useless. Unavoidable but useless. Because you’re not coming back to me, which I still can’t wrap my head around. How the f*ck is all of this even a thing? I love and miss you so much hon. That’s not changing either. 😭💔

Quicksand

The last couple of days feel odd. A sort of one step forward, three steps back feeling. It’s not been a great week so far…

I hate the change of the clocks and seasons. I hate the dark, the grey, the miserable weather which, considering how I feel inside, is ironic. You’d think it would feel appropriate, no? Pootle with his little grey cloud overhead? But it just makes it worse. It may be because of that, or not, but I am feeling even sadder inside, even though apparently I look, and am coming across as, more like me. That feeling of weight is back pushing down on my chest; I feel flatter, and emptier, and my inability to see the point in doing anything, or the motivation to do it, is ever present again.

But I’m still here, I’m trying to do as much work as I can, and to fill my calendar up as much as possible, and great though all that sounds…it’s still all desperation driven. I don’t want to lose my job or let people down. And I don’t want to be home alone with nothing to do other than miss him and feel sorry for myself. So I have people to see, to walk with, drink coffee or wine with, all of which is good, and I’m grateful to every single one of them. But I still haven’t found something I want to do just because I want to do it. Something I actually enjoy. But then maybe it’s just too soon to be even hoping for something like that?

It may be too soon, but while trying to move forward, I also hate the way time is passing. It feels like I’m getting further and further away from him. Like I’m losing him a little bit more every day; when all I want to do is cling on to him, and hold him tight, and have him here with me. The sound of his voice, the feel of his touch, his presence next to me…they’re all getting left behind. And he isn’t here and I’m on my own just groping around in the dark trying to cope with that. How do I do that? I still have absolutely no clue, no answers, just an inescapable gaping void that I can’t avoid or deal with. There’s just the constant ache of missing him, and there’s no way to tell him how much it hurts, no consolation to be found from where I would always have turned to before. What I wouldn’t give for just one of his hugs right now…😥

I’ve got my first session with the counsellor tomorrow. I’m hoping I like her, I hope it helps, I hope it’s constructive. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but I guess I’ll find out won’t I? Counselling has never been something I’ve really tried, so I don’t really know what to expect. Fingers crossed it helps. And the chances are it won’t do any harm to try anyway, right?

In  the language of bereavement, which I get to learn now, this is apparently my year of firsts. First Halloween without you. First Christmas without you. And so on. And seeing a counsellor is a first for me too. This new life is a very strange one. And I don’t like it. I don’t like living without you. Not one little bit. I wish you were here 😥💔

Once more, with feeling…

Sometimes, out of the blue, it all hits you again like it’s just happened…

I’d had a pretty ok day. Woke up earlier than usual so got house stuff done. Went to work. Got work stuff done. Went to the pub for a drink. Did some routine top up shopping. Came home to deposit shopping before going out again…

…and cried like a baby the whole way home, before finding myself sat on the kitchen floor, crying my heart out, like my whole world had only just now ended; that crying deep from the pit of my stomach that happens when it’s at its worst, and being completely unable to stop for what seemed like forever.

I had to go out again to meet a friend, so I managed to make myself get it together, but that seems to have just been an interlude…

Thinking back on it now, whilst being back to crying so hard that breathing is difficult, I think it may have been because today was his eldest daughter’s birthday. When in Pembrokeshire a few months ago we’d already found the perfect card for her. Not long after that we’d seen something online that seemed like a good, or if not good at least amusing, gift for her, so I bought it a little while ago to send to her from us. Both of which I got sent to her to arrive this morning. So it really was a card and gift from both of us, but only half of us could sign the card. Which was bitter sweet for me, and for her, today, having her first birthday without her Dad, must have been much much worse.

I’m glad she pinged me to say she liked it,  I really hope she actually did. And I hope she’s had a really good day despite everything. it can’t have been easy. Like I’ve said before, whatever anyone else is saying/doing/thinking about me, all I can and will do now is the best for Matt and for me. To thine own self be true. He was massively proud of her, and I hope he’s proud of me for what I’ve done.

I guess I can’t really explain why today suddenly turned out to be a bad day. Why your absence seems to hurt more today. Why I miss you even more than usual. That’s because I haven’t got a clue, it just is what it is. I guess sometimes it just goes that way. My love for you remains even though you don’t. But man it hurts. I just want you back SO intensely. And all the conversations and distractions and stresses in the world don’t make that go away. They’re all irrelevant and neither here nor there. But loving you is why I can ignore all the petty shit. I know what was and is important. You were. You and me were. And we knew that. Miss you so much 😢💔.

Who do I talk to?

I think I’ve figured out what one of the problems I’m struggling with is. Not only do I not really have anyone to talk to, but I don’t have anyone to talk to about Matt.

Matt and I were mostly us, and hadn’t managed to integrate into much by way of groups. To be fair, though we’d tried a bit, we were happy that way. We decided not to let it worry us, and we both felt that we didn’t really need anyone else anyway. We were enough. Our us bubble. Which now becomes a downfall. There is no group for me to hang out with, where he isn’t, to be surrounded by.

I do have people to talk to sometimes. But lots of my friends had never been lucky enough to meet him, they only know him secondhand, through me, through pictures on Facebook. Even so, some of them came to the funeral just to support me, which meant so, so much to me. And of those few of my friends who had met him/us, very few are local, so it’s hard to meet up and chat and just feel supported. I am spending a lot of time on my own, and I’m pretty sure that’s not good for me or the places my head can go.

I’ve lived here for twenty years, and I’ve known some members of his family for far, far longer than I knew him. But I wasn’t here for the years that all of them remember him most for. I wasn’t at school with him and his friends, or part of his teenage antics and whatever he got up to at uni and in between. I didn’t know him for the years he was married and wasn’t living here. I do however know everything about it all though, as Matt and I didn’t have any secrets from each other. None. We talked about, and shared, absolutely everything. What we’d done, how we’d felt. Everything.

Which is one of the other things that makes me sad. I can’t imagine anyone else ever being important enough, and who I could trust enough, to tell them about everything that has happened to me in my life. And to be heard and understood. It was amazing. Yet another thing that has gone with him…

But back to where we were…

His family can get together and reminisce and share. But I’m not family, which felt fairly clear before he died, and remains so now, so we won’t be getting together and sharing happy memories.

His friends can get together and do the same and some of them are in fact having a reunion in November, having all been brought together at the funeral, to get together again. But I’m not one of them either.

So who do I talk to? Who do I tell about my Matt? Who do I share him with? When I say ‘Matt used to…’, or ‘oh yes, Matt and I did..‘, who won’t do that awkward bit when they wait a bit and then change the subject?

All our memories are just mine now, in my head, and in hundreds of photos that no-one else will ever look at it but me, and even I can’t look at them yet. Not talking about him is like he didn’t exist. Like he was never here. Like someone so active and vibrant and vivid can just be erased. Do people think this massive part of my life should be shut in a box and never opened? I want to remember him. Memories of him pop up all the time, at random times and triggered by random things.

Even the self check out till at Tesco’s set me off today. The number of times I was in his ear when he was shopping on his way to see me, and we’d laugh at the voice telling us how important your clubcard points are to you. The idea of forgetting even the tiniest thing about him really scares and upsets me.

But with no-one to talk to about him, how do I keep him alive? How do I keep him with me? Our life together, and his death, have changed me irreversibly. I’m having to work out who I am now, without him, and I’m not who I was before. But I’m still Matt’s fiancé, even though we’ll never stand on that beach and exchange our vows. He will always be a part of who I was and who I am going to be. Even if no-one wants to talk to me about him, or include me, or in fact talk to me full stop – they can’t take that away from me.

Some people may never be lucky enough to have what we had. I was amazed that I got to have the kind of relationship I’d only ever dreamed of. I may never have anything like it ever again. I know we weren’t perfect. Who is? But we had what we had, and it was pretty goddamn amazing 99% of the time. I am so grateful for having had you in my life.

I miss you, my beautiful boy, and I am carrying you with me, into whatever the future may be. Even if no-one wants to talk to me about you.  😥💔