Three simple words.

Been dreaming of you lately, so waking up has been hard, because I’ve wanted to stay where you were, however weird it was.
Been out a couple of times today, seen people, chatted, played normal.
Been trying to ignore the fact the the kids are away next week, which is I guess my first trial run of being here, home alone, all alone.

There’s lots I could write or say.
But it basically just boils down to the one thing.

I miss you.

All the time.

I miss you, and I don’t know how I’m going to survive without you.

This was supposed to be our time…and now it’s just me.
And I don’t know if me is enough.


I’ve deliberately spent the last two/three days in my own little bubble. Austin has been working mostly. The sun has shone, until today. I have sat, I have read, I have listened to podcasts, I have played Evony and War Dragons, and I have achieved very little of any consequence. And when he has been home, we have hung out and watched films and eaten food etc, and I have generally spent most of the time trying very very hard not to think about anything in particular. Mostly successfully, apart from those breakthrough moments when some memory, some thought, breaks down those carefully constructed walls, and there you are, crying like a bereft child once again.

It’s like there’s a little voice in the back of your mind constantly going “I just want him back, please can I have him back?” and you can’t shut it up, how ever much you try, even though you know that can never happen. I never knew what it was like to want something so badly, and to simultaneously know you can never have it. I could want to be famous, I could want to win the lottery, I could want to win a medal. With work, or luck or training…there’s a possibility these things could happen, however slim. I can never, ever, have Matt back again. I recently rediscovered the word ‘yearning’, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, but that’s what it is. An endless painful yearning for what can never be…

We accidentally ended up in the Square, running errands, on VE day at the same time as the British Legion were doing a very limited socially distanced marking of the event, complete with a respectful toast to those who have gone before, on the Church steps. And there were quite a few people out to witness, watch, partake. More people than I’ve seen in quite a while. Several of whom clearly have no idea of what two metres is. But that wasn’t my real issue. It was more that town was suddenly a place of people again. It was a small, but limited, Axbridge celebration. And I was suddenly surrounded by people who know me, who know what’s happened, and Matt wasn’t there sharing it with me, when he always would have been, and my anxiety levels went through the roof, and I suddenly felt very self conscious and naked and vulnerable and scared and emotional, and I just had to go home before I lost it in public. Looks like I get to add social anxiety and possible agoraphobia to life now too doesn’t it? I can’t really explain it, but I didn’t feel safe out there; I wasn’t, and am not, ready to cope with facing up to it all in public again. Social distancing and lock down may suck, does suck, but it does also give you permission and justification for not facing up to anything or anyone. It has made hermits out of many of us.

You see most of the time I’m kind of used to him not being at home. I don’t like it, but there he isn’t. Thanks to my keeping busy work, I now have my two safe spaces there, one indoor, one out. My places were I can sit, and rock myself gently back and forward in comforting fashion, and pretend, and not think, and just be in my little make believe chilled little isolated bubble. But out there, outside my front door, wherever I go, he should be there with me. And I haven’t had to face up to his absence in such a way for quite a while. It hurt. And yes, I know it’s coming. I know the world will start turning again, and people will go back to doing what they always did, but I’ll still be here, or out there, missing him, wishing he was with me, feeling his absence everywhere I go. It’s like you all got to join my weird little socially isolated world for a while…but I’ll still be here when you get to leave. Lock down has made my life, and my mental health, a lot worse, but once it goes away, I’ll still be stuck here, in my self-imposed isolation, wondering what the f*ck happened, and how the f*ck I go on doing this, and when on earth it gets better, if it ever does.

And tomorrow is my beautiful sparkly niece Loren’s funeral. Which are words that should never ever go together. How is this even a thing? But it is. Somehow it is. So I am taking my Dad up to London, whilst Austin Granny sits, and then we’re coming back again afterwards, when I intend to drink far too much white wine until I go to sleep again. I’m dreading it. I don’t know what to expect, I don’t know how a funeral with only 10 people works, I don’t know how I’ll handle it, and I also know that how I’m feeling about it all must be just a tiny fraction of how they’re all feeling. In fact I feel bad even talking about how I’m feeling. I’m just worried, because I’m not really coping with me at the moment, yet I want to be there for them, because this is SO not about me, and I don’t want to get it wrong. So I kind of need to seal my crap away into a box for the day, with iron bars around it, and man the f*ck up, and do my best to do what needs to be done. For them. And for her.  And man, she would have loved the DMs I’m going to wear for her, in her honour. Her kooky Aunt will be out in force, living up to expectations.

I can’t imagine how we’re all going to get through it, whilst at the same time knowing that we will because none of us have any choice. It’s going to be a long and hideous and difficult day, and I just hope they know how much I love them all, how much I feel for them all, and that I wish I could do more for them. There are no words, and not enough {{{hugs}}} in the world for a time like this.

Sometimes life just sucks, and it’s not fair, and that’s all there is to it.

Three years

I’d known today was going to be bad. Firsts always are. In the run up to them I get emotional and anxious and stressed…but then they’re generally not quite as sh*t as I think they’ll be… And therein lies the rub. ‘Generally’.

Because not so this one. This one went off the scale…

So. Today marked three years since Matt and I got engaged, on a beach in South Wales, just the two of us. As I’ve said before, I wasn’t too bothered about getting married again, but it was what he really wanted, and when Matt’s mind was set on something…that was that. He said he wanted to stand up and tell the world how much he loved me. His first wedding was a small pretty much non-event, and this time he wanted to do it all properly, to have the wedding he’d always wanted to have. With me. And who wouldn’t swoon and melt when someone wants that and feels that way about you, especially when you feel the same way about him too? It’s like hitting the mother lode, the jackpot, your dreams come true…

So although I’d agreed, and we’d decided it was something that would happen at some point, and we’d found a ring we both liked, I didn’t know when he’d actually do it…until that day three years ago when he got down on one knee and officially asked me if I’d marry him. I said yes, obvs. Even if I did insist he swap in the real ring for the haribo one he initially used – which I ate… 😉

Only we didn’t get to have the wedding we wanted, did we? Not only had he not managed to get around to getting divorced, although he had just become legally separated for long enough to do so more easily, but he left us, me, before that could happen.  And so those plans, along with so many hopes and dreams, and our entire future, are just so much smoke in the wind, all blown away by the storm. Gone. So much is gone.

My birthday was bad enough. But it was my birthday, which was at least a little celebratory, and came with cake and presents and Austin, and thus company for being up on the hill. It was a my thing, celebrated without him. Not good, but, doable. Today was an US thing, marked without him, unlike the last two years when we celebrated it together, marked since there is nothing to celebrate now. Which was way, way worse. And I had to do it all on my own, literally, as Austin was at work, for a very long day. I gave up on today, and just let it be and go however it felt like going. There’s been lot of sitting and a hell of a lot of crying, and precious little else.

 As is ever the way, the only place that I have to go to, to be with him, to be at his favourite place, where we were us and happy and above the world, is up the hill. So I trudged up there very slowly, in the sunshine and chilly wind, for a glass of fizz and more tears. I managed to knock the bottle over twice, which actually seemed a little like Matt taking his share, in an odd kind of way, as well as being totally indicative of the kind of klutz I am at the moment.

And then I trudged back down. And then I had to go to bed for a while because I was drained, my ankles were killing me, I was exhausted, and basically just too sad to be awake anymore. I needed to check out for a bit. So I did, and I’ve basically been on or in bed ever since. Austin arrived home eventually, we chatted some, which helped a bit and now he’s gone to bed early. (It’s a big day tomorrow for him on a possible better job front, so please send positive vibes and best wishes his way.)

The day we got engaged was an amazing one. We were going to the beach every weekend – this one marked number 6 out of the eventual 10 we managed. We were at the beach, we were together, and massively happy, and he proposed and it was just perfect. He even got to go surfing (badly!). We left and popped into see his mate Gra and his family, and Mollie (Matt’s dog, who had ended up with Gra as he couldn’t take him with him one house move or a few before). Mollie was on her last legs, and it meant so much to Matt to see her one last time, and also for the first time he shared his good news to be with one of his best most long term mates. We then came home via my folks, and shared the news, and they were SO genuinely pleased for us both, and we all drank fizz, and celebrated, and Dad took some beautiful photos, which I’m so grateful to have now. All my family and friends were thrilled for us.

Matt’s family – not so much so. I don’t think they ever expected us to be a permanent thing – more just some sort of lfing. Us being the real deal was inconvenient and didn’t fit in with how they’d thought things would be once he’d left his wife. I know the difference in responses to our engagement really upset him. He wanted them to be happy for him, for us, and to support him in his choices…but the cupboard was bare. His Mum sent us a card and some fizz, once the dust had settled a bit, but I don’t think they ever got how much we meant to each other. I think they thought I had Matt under my thumb and he just did whatever I wanted. As if…! (As anyone who really knew Matt will tell you, that’s not how Matt worked. He was his own man, he did what he wanted, made his own decisions and owned them. There was no telling him to do anything!). When his kids found out we were engaged, they were far more supportive, and excited, and happy for us. Which is probably why, amongst other reasons, I’m still in touch with them, and not the others, I guess. That and the fact that his kids don’t blame me for his death, and the rest of the family does.

Today turned out to hurt a whole heap worse than I’d even imagined it would, from dawn ’til dusk. I just miss him SO much, every day, every where, in every way and in every thing, and especially today.  I wish we could have had the day we were going to have, on a beach somewhere, surrounded by those who truly loved and supported us, making what we already knew official, and sharing it with them, the sun, the sand, and the sea. I miss the life we were going to have together.

I had been starting to have the occasional better day, but now? In the world as it is now? The loneliness is crippling, the isolation is claustrophobic, and the depression and grief and pain can be overwhelming… I am stuck in a world where I can’t move forward even if I wanted to, even if I could.

At least it’s pretty much bedtime, and another first, another truly sh*tty day, is behind me.

PS: had my blood tests this morning – should find out more next Wednesday. Let’s see if my pessimism is justified shall we?

Another big first

So. The clock has turned. It is now officially my 47th birthday. Which I have been dreading for days. It was always going to be horrible and now, living under house arrest, in our strange scared new virus-ridden world, I can’t even do any of the things I might have done to mitigate it. And I know the chances are, it won’t actually turn out to be as bad as I fear it will be. Things are often worse in anticipation than in reality. That doesn’t help right now though, does it? And really? 47? Getting divorced was liking hitting reset and wiping out 17 years of my life. Matt leaving us wiped out the last four years. I have no idea what age I am, or feel, these days. He was two years older than me, we were both mistaken all the time for being younger than we actually were. Both young at heart, and young together with the same likes, interests, outlook…

Anyway, what I am going to do now, is to put these photos of last year and two years ago up. Because I’m hoping to go out tomorrow, and take some new pictures that mark this day, so that my birthday isn’t always marred by pictures that make me cry and show me what I’ve lost, what I miss, and what I would still do anything to have back. I have to mark a moving on.

Last year Matt and I took my (still currently sadly not working) sports car to one of our special places, the Sheppey, for food and drinks in the sunshine, having been at the beach at the cutest little AirBnB place in Cornwall for the weekend before. Three years ago we were on the beach at Croyde. We were always happiest at the beach. It was one of the things we had in common – before each other, and with each other and now, I guess, I have to learn to go back there without him. I haven’t so far. I’m not brave enough yet. I’m not sure when I will be, and right now that decision is out of my hands anyway. Going to the beach hardly counts as essential travel! But one day I’ll go, and life will be better at the beach again, and I will cry like a baby, but hopefully the waves and the sand and the rocks and the many happy memories will soothe me, even through my tears, and we’ll reconnect at some weird level, because I know he’d get it, and knowing that, I won’t feel quite so alone.

As I said, I have been dreading this day for a long time. I know that if Matt were here, we’d have gone away for a beach weekend on the nearest weekend, and then done something special on the day itself. Last year he made me cry at the end of our weekend away, by taking me on a detour on our way home, to Charlestown. especially to surprise me by buying me the tile I had mentioned I loved when we were there the day before, just to give it to me for my birthday. It was so thoughtful, and so out of the blue, and I’d had such an incredibly painful weekend, when even walking around hurt like hell. It was just one of those moments that just rip all your defences down, touch you right down at the heart of who you are, and make you cry, and…well, it was just amazing. It was very Matt. It floored me, and made me love him even more than I already did. It turns out there is always more love… And he thought me crying about it was incredibly cute; he’d made me that happy, and that made him properly happy. I remember it all, crystal clear, just like it was yesterday. I’d been nigh on crippled for the entire weekend, and he didn’t mind. He looked after me, he didn’t treat me like an invalid, he just knew how it was, and he was quietly there for me. It hurt him so much that he couldn’t help me, or fix me, or take the pain away, but just having him there with me, understanding, through it all, was all I needed. He was all I needed. He made it better. He made it ok to not be ok, I could just be myself with him, however I was feeling. We hadn’t gotten around to getting married, but we were already, both of us, in it for in sickness and in health. In fact we loved our time where we were staying so much, we even talked about moving down there; it was beautiful, near beaches and great walks, the locals were lovely, had welcomed us with open arms, and the local pub did decent live gigs and good beer. What more do you want? Yet another pipe dream gone up in smoke…
That present, from last year, is on my wall, at the end of my bed, and I see it every day. There’s a lot of important things on that wall, but let’s stick to that one for the moment. It reminds me of the good times, how we were all about the beach, about being away, about just being us and escaping some of the negative energy that was around, about loving and supporting each other. About how thoughtful he could be. We didn’t need anyone else, we didn’t need approval or permission, and neither of us cared what anyone else thought of us. We were enough for each other, had both lived through a great deal, and were both amazed to have found the love we had, even with our flaws and our arguments. And that was one of the times when he just swept me off my feet all over again. I felt like the luckiest, most blessed girl, in the whole world. And unlike photos, which I still can’t have up, it’s ok to have that up there. That works. It feels right.

But here we are. I cannot believe I have to do my birthday without him. I was going to say ‘celebrate’ my birthday without him, and yeah, once upon a time, I would have said that; I have always loved and celebrated my birthday, and stretched it out for as long as possible. But tomorrow/today? It doesn’t feel like something I want to celebrate. I’m just going to do my birthday. It’s an important day, another one of many firsts that are coming up, that I have to get through without him, and cope with on my own, throughout which I will painfully feel his absence.

Austin is here, and we have a couple of little plans, made to cater for the restrictions within which we currently live. I will get up when I can face it. There may be a bath, and some pampering, and I might even paint my nails. There will definitely be a walk up the hill in the sunshine, to a place that was massively special to Matt and I, and there will be copious amounts of fizz drunk all day. There will even be a little commissioned gluten free birthday cake from the Almshouse Teashop (who are doing takeout).

It won’t be a great day. How could it be, without him? I may well cry all day. I’ve already started. Hey, I may not even make it out of bed. But like all these days, it will pass. My track record for getting through shitty days is 100% so far, right? I will do what feels right for me, as and when and where. And if that involves hiding under the duvet with a bottle of fizz and watching crap tv all day, then I’ll do that instead. It’s my birthday, and I’ll cry (oh man will I cry) if I want to. Like crying was something I could just choose to do/not do. It isn’t. Like waves on a beach, grief just washes over you as and when it chooses to. But I’m pretty sure I will get up. And I will mark it. Just to make a point. To prove that I can.

This was my beautiful boy. This was us. I hope I get to be that happy again, one day whenever in the future. Right now, I’m going to focus on being grateful for what we had. And I’d rather have had that kind of wonderful just once in my life, even if not for long enough, than to not have had it at all. Wherever you are Matt, I love you to our beaches, and beyond, and I always will. You will always be missing in me, and I will always miss you. Come walk with me tomorrow, you know where we’re going…

If you simply cannot understand why someone is grieving so much, for so long, then consider yourself fortunate that you do not understand.” Joanne Cacciatore.

I see you

There is so much going on at the moment. Around me, in my life, in my head. And there is a quote/meme that floats around the various FB groups that I unsurprisingly frequent that says “You don’t know pain until you crave a conversation with someone who is no longer alive“. There is a whole heap of truth to that…

…because the only person I really want to talk to about it all with, who I want to share it with, who I know would understand, whose advice would be useful, and whose support would be invaluable, is no longer alive. And there is no-one who comes close to filling that space. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are amazing. My kids and my family are amazing. But they can’t fill a Matt shaped void, because they’re not Matt. And I would give anything to be able to talk to him again…

Having said that, I do want to say a public thank you to Jayne for the lovely card and note she sent me this week, that arrived while I was away, that I came home to, and the photo that came with it. You didn’t have to do that hon, and I really really appreciate it. I still can’t cope with photos of him., and the way you wrapped one inside of the other so it would not hit me out of the blue was perfect. I have tried to put photos of him up several times, but every time I have had to take them down, or turn them around, and it was kind of too late by then anyway…I know they’re there, I know the pictures; just like my memories are etched in my mind, those images are burnt onto my retinas and I know every single picture that’s there even when I can’t see them. There are times I choose to look back at memories, but it has to be when I’m in the right mental space/time. I can’t cope with them being in my face all the time, because I can’t be prepared and holding it together all the time, and I know I’ll run up the stairs to do something, and as I go by, there he will be, smiling down at me, and it will hit me, and take my legs out from under me, and I just…can’t… So for the time being, they’re not there, and I can choose to ignore them, and pretend they’re not there, and get on with whatever I’m doing, because that’s what has to be done.

But hopefully there will come a time when it hurts less to see him as I pass by. When photos make me smile at the happy memories they show, rather than cry about what I miss, and what I no longer have, and will never have again. When the what ifs don’t kill me inside. The photo you, Jayne, sent me, will be one of those. Thank you so much. Matt wasn’t a massive fan of photos. He used to tease me massively about my wanting to take photos of him, and selfies of us. I am so glad I did now though, because at least I now have many many photos of where we were, who we were, and what we did. I also have all his photos, and actually he took a fair few of me and us himself despite teasing me for doing the same. I may hate seeing our life together reduced to static images on a screen, but those images are better than nothing at all. So much crammed into mere pixels…

(BTW Jayne makes amazing and beautiful jewellery here).

I’m not doing very well at the moment. The gap between my public face and my private one has grown. I’m hiding more than I’m sharing. And I know that’s not good, and in the long run I’m going to need to address that. The problem is that I just don’t know how to do that right now. I can’t talk to Matt, and I am keeping more and more to myself, and inside myself. Time is not healing, it is just emphasising the distance between now and then. Every day, every step, is one more further away from him, and every day my life feels emptier and lonelier.

For all that I am doing all the things that I have to do, that I am supposed to do, which I am, I totally and utterly fail to see any point to any of it. Life gets more and more pointless every day. It doesn’t feel like I’m moving on, moving forward to better things, maybe because I find it impossible to imagine better than what I had, and if I can’t have even that, then why bother? The longer it’s been the more everyone else seems to have put it behind them. No-one mentions him, no-one asks me how I am, everyone seems to have moved on, as if it never happened. They seem to have dealt with it, left him and what happened behind, and I feel like they’ve left me behind too.

Maybe I’m making assumptions, presumptions, and actually they’re just like me, and keeping it all bottled up and away from me. But if there was ever anyone you could share that with, it would be me, because we’d both be on the same page, right? Who knows? For me it’s just one day at a time, one more day, one more same shit different day, and I feel more and more isolated. It would be so easy to go off the rails…

I saw him. He saw me. I can’t see him anymore, and nobody sees me anymore. Nobody ever has seen me the way he did. And vice versa. It was part of the amazing we had, and that we were both amazed by. And now I’m invisible, walled in, and hidden away. Matt and I shared our past, our present, and what was going to be our future. So many plans… We had no secrets from each other. And I can’t imagine ever being that open ever again. To be honest, it would feel like a betrayal if I was.

Doing this, doing living, doing day after day of hum drum, of nothing special, of routine, of tedium, waking every morning to reality, to just getting through one day at a time without him is so hard, because I don’t know what I’m doing it for. I just keep doing it because I have to, and because people who have been down this road before me, and know the steps, tell me that one day, even though it’s hard for me to believe now, it does get better. I really, really, really hope they’re right. Because right now I’m struggling…

PS: The way I’m feeling is probably not helped by the fact that my period is four days late – no, nothing to worry about (as if!). So I’m possibly peri-menopausal, and I’m probably also stressed and hormonal, and in the meantime I’m most definitely still in a lot of pain. Probably doesn’t do much for my emotional stability...

Brave New World

Mad day. Evening. Night.

This afternoon Austin and I went into Bristol for Lou Lou’s vintage fair, which has been absent from Bristol for a while but was back today. I didn’t expect it to go well. I didn’t even really expect to be up and awake in time! Anyway, I was, and we went, and it’s something that Matt was usually there for; we’ve been there with Tate, and Tash, and just us…so being there involved a lot of unshed tears and a massive lump in the throat. But the shopping gods were with me. I bought a 60’s black and white dress, a 50’s ball gown with exquisite glass beading on the top half and an empire line skirt, an 80’s warm fluffy bomber jacket and a beautiful black with silver glitter evening jacket, some earrings, a scarf, and a present for someone. Amazing.

Even Austin shopped! He now has a fab 80’s blue/grey leather Georgio Armani leather jacket, which is so totally him, and which he didn’t believe was leather for ages, because he’s not used to really good expensive leather…it’s soft and lovely and he looks fab in it 🙂 And as the Wetherspoons around the corner was closed thanks to plumbing issues, we ended up at the Grain Barge where both the beers and the dirty pulled pork chips were fab. Bitter sweet, but still lovely. It’s really hard going to our places without him, but I’m trying to not let that stop me going to them anyway.

Back to home. Where the boy went to work. And I got ready to go out. I know I’m often out, hiding from an empty house, but I don’t actually GO out very often. I don’t really have a social life. So I decided to make an effort. I considered wearing my new 60’s frock, although I was a bit unsure, as I have little to no self confidence these days. No exercise, crap diet, antidepressants = more of me than I would like there to be *sigh*. So I pinged Tash on SnapChat with photos to make sure mutton wasn’t going out dressed as lamb, and that I didn’t look too middle aged and overweight. She gave me the go ahead, and reassured me, so I decided to go with what she said, and out I bravely went. 60’s dress, 70’s me, 80’s jacket, 90’s converse. Did I mention I love vintage 🙂

I met up with Kevin and Simon and Emilia and others at the Lamb, to be told that I looked good and well done for going with the fancy dress theme, surrounded by those dressed as Abba, and other various 70s themed outfits. I hadn’t even realised it was fancy dress! I was just dressing to please me, as ever, and vintage is one of my things. How very fortuitous…and a little bit bizarre…

We were out because Linda, the current landlady of the Crown, who I have known since she took it over, was celebrating her 70th birthday. I went out feeling massively nervous, with a serious degree of anxiety thrown in. Antsy as fuck and seriously tempted to bail given even the slightest excuse to. And once we’d all met up, and moved up to the Crown, it was busy and crowded and hot, and all the things I don’t cope well with. Strangers. Those looks from people who don’t know if they should talk to you not. The looks/words exchanged between people as they see you or you pass by – “that’s her, she’s the one who lost her fiancé”… I was not in a stable place by any means.

So I’d like to thank those of you who left nice comments on the photos I put on Facebook, that I read while I hid in a corner in the pub. It/you really helped. And lots of people at the pub said they loved my dress and how good I looked, and where had I got it, etc. Someone even said I looked amazing. Which was nice, and helped, but let’s face it (says the little voice inside), who’s going to tell the “widow” that she could use some exercise and to lose a stone? However I’m not fussy, I can’t afford to be these days. I’m heading for 50 and my life was not supposed to turn out this way. So I appreciated every single kind word and compliment. And hey, it only cost me £20 so, you know, go me! And thanks, once again, to all of you.

And so there I was. Out. It was good to catch up with Emilia again, it had been too long. It’s always good to hang out with Kevin and Simone, who I consider to be family now. There were lots of familiar faces out with me, as The Crown has been one of my safe places for a very long time, through a variety of landlords and ladies – we’re talking like 20 years here. And Austin was able to leave an empty Oakhouse and join us too, which helped massively, and gave me bit of a boost. My endo pain is off the scale today – my period is due – and I had, and have, taken all the drugs I can, every time I was allowed, tonight, and there were several patches where it just wasn’t enough. Ow! (massive understatement – worst patch in a long time). Austin knows how it hits me, he gets it, and I don’t have to explain. He’s just there for me. I’ve said it many times before, and I will say it many times again, my kids are f*cking amazing.

So there we were. We all chatted, in various groups and combinations. I took care not to drink too much. I held it together. Which is not easier when your carefully constructed walls are being constantly assaulted by serious pain.

But, when I was ready and able to, I got to go to what has always been my happy place. I love to dance, and music has always been a massive part of my life, both before, and with, Matt. To be enveloped in music, to move, to just let it take me away…it has always been something I love to do. When we lived in Paris, and the kids were young and my Ex and I used to take turns to go out, Dave, Nicolette and I would go clubbing. Culturally it was different to here. It wasn’t about drinking. It wasn’t about pulling. For pretty much everyone there, it was just about the dancing and the music, unlike in the UK. I danced on my own, I danced with other people, with no sexual connotations or expectations. It was all just about music and movement and self expression. Dave used to tease me because I tend to dance with my eyes closed. But I still do. It’s just my place. It takes me away. I can’t explain it. Some people pray. I dance, and the louder the music the better. Sadly I don’t get to very often. I don’t care if I’m dancing on my own, or with other people, and I’m not in a place where I want to dance with anyone anyway, so it’s not about flirting, and I’m happier on my own. Leave me to it. It’s just me, and the music, and a somewhere else place, even if it is a space where for a while Matt was and now isn’t. We danced so well together. My little dancing bubble became our dancing bubble. Our space. And that was so about flirting and more… But tonight I was dancing for me, nobody else. And it still works. The only times I have been even remotely happy since he died have involved music and dancing. And it helps that he knew how much I loved it. He got it. He wouldn’t mind. I am not betraying him by temporarily enjoying myself – I’m just doing it without him physically, but totally with him in spirit.

Austin doesn’t do dancing, and headed home when he’d had enough. Dr Love, the DJ, is fab, but was mostly sticking to 60s/70s stuff, tailored to his audience. But towards the end of the evening he played The Lovecats by the Cure for me. And I’m pretty sure he has no idea how important that was. I didn’t tell him, though I think he recognised me. It’s probably the last track that Matt and I danced to together, at Jane’s party where he also DJed, the weekend before he died, at which he played it when I asked him to. I’m so glad he played it for me again tonight, Demons have to be faced and conquered, and I danced, in my own little world, and thought of him, and missed him, and held him with me in my heart, and cried, in a good, mostly unnoticed way.

And eventually the evening came to an end, and the crowd started to disperse, and I was heading for home, on my own, when I realised I wasn’t quite ready for that. So I headed back up the road, and found a friend, Pete H, heading my way, who was the perfect person at the perfect time, because what I needed and wanted was a really big non judgemental hug, And I got one. It meant the world to me. I’m so glad I turned back; it made all the difference to how coming home went.

It was a good night. I got to be me, because I don’t care what anyone thinks of me anymore. Which somewhat contradicts my social anxiety, but there you go. But I wore what I wanted, I danced when and how I wanted to, in my own little bubble. I was surrounded by friends, and people who know me, and it felt safe. Matt was, as ever, never far from my thoughts, and you know, you can nip to the toilet, cry a lot, tidy up your make up, and head out again, and people generally don’t notice. I still miss him massively in every single thing that I do, and him not being with me is still not something I cope with well.

One weird thing though. I was approached by a guy who’d been watching me on and off all evening. And not in a chatting me up kind of way, his wife was like two foot away, and also chatted to me. He wanted to tell me how beautiful I was. Which he did, several times. And then a bit later he told me that in an other part of his life he is a preacher. And God had reached out to him that evening to tell him to reach out to me, to tell me that he was thinking about me, and wanted to touch my life. And that I should read the Gospel of John. Which was a tad mental anyway, but is mostly freaky because he is the second person to have reached out to me with the same message. Weird. I thanked him for his kind words, and said that although I didn’t necessarily agree with where he was coming from, I appreciated his compliments, and that I knew his words were coming from a good place, and that I’d love it if that was true and that maybe one day my life is going to get better. What I didn’t say is that if God’s really up there, and looking out for me, why the f*ck did he let this all happen to us?…

I’m home now. I’ve made Austin surface and chat briefly. Max is asleep on my lap. I need to get some sleep, as I have to get up tomorrow and do stuff, but I’m still not quite ready for that… Time for the antidepressants and some morphine, that should do the job 🙂

Mad day. Evening. Night.

Once upon a tom…

Austin is away tonight. Soon Austin will be away all the time. So I worked late since, hey, what else was I going to do with my time? And it’s not like there isn’t always work to be done. Then I took my kindle off to the pub afterwards and hid in a corner and read my way through a couple of pints. And then I came home, ate some food, and sat in front of meaningless TV, half watching, half reading, half keeping an eye on the cats, half not knowing what to do with myself. And I know that’s too many halves, but all those halves add up to two. And I’m just one these days, just me, and I’m really feeling that right now. It would be fair to say I’m a tad emotional this evening. Loneliness is not nice…

I’m off to bed now. Not because I want to go to bed. Not because I’m particularly tired. I’m going to bed because I know that that’s what normal people do at this kind of time of night. So that’s what I should do. Tick the right boxes, go through the motions, play the game. Because this is going to be what my life is going to be. Work, and empty nights, interspersed with occasional times when I’m seeing friends. Luckily I have a few of those nights coming up, so I can stick my fingers in my ears and go “la la la” and ignore the real world, and be seeing people and be out and about and not here. But then again I suppose actually that’s also the real world now. Times when I see friends, and times when I will have nights home alone, at a loss as to what to do with myself.

It doesn’t help that I’m ouchy at the moment. It doesn’t help that my work review is coming up. It doesn’t help that there are lots of things that I am not on top of. But that’s all just gravy. Icing on top of the shitty cake. Matt is still not here, and I just feel flat, and lonely, and sad. This is not how my life was supposed to be. And the life I’m living doesn’t really count as such. Isn’t it great, isn’t it swell? Nowadays, not so much…

In the meantime Max became a once upon tom today. You’d never guess, as he’s just been chasing both the other cats around my bedroom in less than restful for anyone fashion. At least I got a decent photo of him before normal service was restored… And hey, who doesn’t need a cute kitten picture to look at and pretend everything’s ok? Besides right now he’s curled up and purring on my tummy, and that’s pretty cool. He’s not Matt. But then he doesn’t snore like Matt did either. Silver linings…


Once I caught a fish alive

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

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

So here’s today’s five:

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

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

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

I wonder as I wander

So I’m at the next trade show. Miraculously I managed to find somewhere in Topsham where we hadn’t both stayed before. And after a couple of wasted hours cooling my heels after I’d done what I needed to at the show, I had food with the team, and then headed back to what today passes for home.

I wonder if I’ll ever be normal again. If I’ll ever be able to walk home from a night like this not wishing I was holding your hand, and crying because I’m not. Not wishing that you were about to do the man thing, and play with the wood burning stove, and make the place all cosy and us, while I teased you about being neanderthal man.

Now it’s just thermostats and radiators, and time killing, and a big cold empty double bed upstairs, and the temptation to just sleep on the sofa to avoid being in all that space on my own.

This morning I woke up from a night of very pleasant dreaming, torn untimely, and I have pretty much been in tears ever since I instantly hit reality. I’ve been crying on and off all day. I can’t stop, just in the same way as you can’t stop breathing. It’s not getting easier, and I don’t just mean today. I’m just getting more and more drained, and tired, and I just want to curl up under my duvet and sleep and doze and watch crap tv, whatever…and not come out for a while. Quite a while. Possibly months. Or never.

It’s just such f*cking hard work. Putting the face on, playing the game, saying the right things. Looking you straight in the face and lying about how I’m feeling. Etc. I’m exhausted. And all out of reasons as to why I keep on doing this. Putting myself through this. But then there are my kids, right? So I have to. It is said that you don’t want to die, you just want the pain to go away. I’m not sure the why matters…

But I’m knackered and need some sleep. Time to go, said Zebedee.

Uncomfortably numb

I feel a bit…odd. Numb.

I should be feeling post-tattoo perky, and excited and proud of my two new inkings from the fabulous Jon at Pierced Up. But I’m kinda not. Don’t get me wrong, they do look really good, and they’re going to be awesome when they’re finished. I’ve also got both lobes up to 6mm, and I put tunnels in them yesterday morning and could see through my ears! In fact yesterday evening I also got the left one up to 8mm. I was really chuffed about both of those things, but the novelty of that wore off quite quickly, especially since no-one else gives a monkeys. Not that it’s going to stop me getting them both up to 10mm of course…

Maybe it’s because my tattoos still need a couple of hours more work on them because they’re not finished yet. It was a bit disappointing not to to get them finished today, but we decided they needed to be bigger than originally planned, and after 5.5 hours I’m not sure I could have taken much more anyway; I’d run out of capacity to cope with the pain, and they were fairly ouchy as tattoos go. So, in a couple of weeks, when they’ve settled, I’ll go back and get them finished – fill in the black work bit and finish the dotwork shading. Probably another 3 hours, maybe less.

Maybe it’s because they hurt a lot and it’s all just taken lot out of me. I am tired, that’s for sure. And my endo ouchy is off on one too.

But I think it’s more likely that I feel flat because Matt wasn’t there to share either experience with – stretching or ink. Which he should have been, and always would have been, and he wasn’t and he isn’t, which sucks just as much as it ever does. Body mods was something we shared. It was one of our things. And it just doesn’t feel quite the same it being just my thing now, even though it was my thing before he came along. It was a thing better shared, and is now one more thing I have to do on my own. Although Austin did get bored of waiting around for me in his capacity as chauffeur and got his eyebrow pierced while he was there, so I wasn’t entirely alone in my insanity.

As tradition dictates, once photographed and wrapped up and let out onto the city streets again, Austin and I went to Zero Degrees for celebratory beer and food. Except I just found myself uncontrollably and unexpectedly crying into my beer. Luckily it was, for some unknown reason, bizarrely busy and loud, so I could cry in our dark corner without anyone noticing. Apart from Austin of course, who did his best to console me as ever. He’s had a lot of practice by now.

Then I went to a bereavement support group in Bristol. Having found it, and it turning out to be meeting the same evening as I was already due to be in Bristol, it seemed worth going to. So I went, and met a range of people in the same type of situation as me, variations on the same theme, who were welcoming and friendly. It’s only once a month, and it’s always good to meet people who get it – it cuts out all the small talk and removes the need for explanatory bullish*t, and just kinda cuts to the chase. I may even go back.

I’ve not been coping very well since New Year. Although Christmas and New Year’s Eve were tough and emotional and horrible, I was at least surrounded by family, and sometimes friends. Then the New Year started; grey and miserable, bleakly stretching ahead of me. A year with no Matt in it, with no plans, an empty diary, and nothing to look forward to, except more of the same, with lots of work to do, and a fair few extra stresses thrown in for good measure. I think I’d been crying for nigh on five days straight by the time I got to talk to my Doctor.

So he upped my meds, and has now referred me to the Mental Health Services Team, with a note that I’m a possible suicide risk. I’ve been feeling marginally better yesterday and today, but it still feels like I’m on a knife edge. And it’ll take weeks before I hear from them anyway. So, one day at a time. Or one hour at a time if that’s what it takes, and it often is.

Right now, like I said, I just feel numb.