Ever the same

I’ve been out. I was honoured to be invited. And scared to go, since we’d usually have gone together. I got over the first “who’s she, with the purple hair and the piercings” reactions. And then later, when people were having the “she’s the one whose fiancé died last year” conversations, when they thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that too. Since you’re not me, I can’t explain to you how the looks that come my way are different depending on the conversation your spectators are having.  But you can tell. You can feel it in the quality of the looks that come your way. But nonetheless I went. I made conversation to strangers. I made an effort. I played nice. I was, thankfully, rescued by Gill and Tony reappearing, having apparently been there earlier, so I was with friends who I could actually talk to properly, honestly. And what has happened to me, has happened to me, and it, and other people’s reactions to it, is what it is.

And then we/I came home. Domestic bliss then became somewhat lacking since getting one of this weekend’s tasks – the emptying and removing of the long deceased axolotl’s tanks – had resulted in things ending up in places that didn’t go down that well in certain places. Which eldest didn’t appreciate when he came home from work. But I’m not going to apologise for parenting. My house is full of boxes of stuff that belong to people who are not me – most of which are eldest’s. All of it has other places to be, and if it’s yours, then I’m sorry, it’s yours, you deal with it, you sort it. I am the one working, covering the costs of the house, paying for the majority of all the food and socialising that goes on, when I know that you both have more savings than I do. Sort your own sh*t out, you’re not children anymore. I love you being here, and I don’t want you to leave because I am beyond scared to be alone, but that doesn’t mean you can take advantage of my gratitude for your being here.

In the meantime, my period has just arrived, three weeks late, which probably explains the last couple of days of being emotional. Hormones suck. I am now in a world of pain that most of you can’t imagine, I am drained, and tired, and you know what? I’d like just a little bit more appreciation of the shit I am going through whilst still managing to hold it together enough to keep a roof over our heads, to keep feeding us all, to basically give whatever I need to give both of them for them to be happy. They’re both old enough to know better. Like it or not, I am still the parent around here. Both of them are going to leave, to move on, to have their own lives, as they should. And I’m going to be left here on my own, inside my head, inside my four walls (if I can afford to keep them, which is seriously doubtful).

It’s not fair. None of any of this is fair. Life hasn’t turned out how any of us wanted it to be, none of us are where we saw ourselves a year ago. He should have been with me tonight. Last year he was, although looking back on it, he wasn’t at his best…and there I was tonight, feeling his absence a little keener then sometimes. Maybe the white feather I found on the walk down there meant something…maybe it didn’t. But for all that it’s ridiculous, that little feather brought me a tiny bit of comfort, and I’m not in a place where I can turn such things down.

I am trying to take these broken wings, and learn to fly again…but right now I feel like a fledgling that has prematurely and accidentally left the nest, whose parents have been scared off, and there’s no-one who has noticed; no-one is coming to rescue me. I’m just floundering around, trying to survive, the best I can, and hoping my best is enough. Nearly a year down the line, and I am still just coping with one day at a time. Reminding myself to remember to breathe when it all gets too much.

If you’re reading this, please check in, leave me a comment, msg me, whatever. It helps me so much, however selfish/needy that sounds. I’m just feeling lonely, and want to feel a little less alone. I need you.

Time to sleep. It’s safe there, mostly. It’s waking up that hurts. And tomorrow is Sunday, so there’s no rush to do that.

I hate the smell of lavender, but it’s supposed to help you sleep. So I’ll take the song instead, since deezer has just randomly brought it my way. After all, I was me for your love. Your love walked in and I was lost, but now the show is over, it’s time to say goodbye. Who am I now?

Helicopter

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Super moon

Tonight is the Super Flower Moon. And from where I’m lying, with the curtains partially opened, I can see it. And yes, it is big, and bright, and beautiful, and its light is streaming into our room…and once again I am not sharing it with him.

I am so low, so flat, and so lonely, at the moment. I just can’t pull my socks up, pick myself up from the bottom. Every day is the same day over and over again. Nothing changes. Nothing improves. My blood tests were clear, which you’d think was a good thing, but all it means is that I still have all the symptoms, and the pain, and no answers, thus no treatment. A referral, advice that might be forthcoming, an appointment that might happen if the world ever gets back to whatever normal was, but no answers. No help. Just more pain, on top of the usual pain (which is worse because my period finally arrived), on top of the pain of grief that is still ripping me apart however hard I try to be distracted, busy, focussed elsewhere… None of it works, and nothing is helping.

I’m just so damn f*cking sad all the time. I’m trying to avoid triggers, only to discover you can’t. They lurk, and then jump out and get you when you’re least expecting them – a random memory, phrase, something you see, hear…and I’m gone again, like I’ve regressed back to the early days, and the tears are falling, and the lump in my throat is back, and it just hurts all over, and over, and over again.

I’ve not just lost him, I’ve lost so much more than that. I’ve lost the me I was then, and am now someone I don’t even recognise, or like, and I’ve no idea who I’m going to end up being.

I can’t listen to music any more, when it’s been a massive part of my life for longer than I can remember.

I can’t drink fizz just for no particular reason at all, like just because it’s Wednesday and we fancied walking up the hill and drinking fizz, and even when there’s a genuine reason for fizz, it just feels all wrong somehow, to be drinking it without him.

I haven’t been able to go to a beach, any beach, since he died. And now I can’t even if I wanted to, and I don’t know if it would help or just make me feel worse anyway. We were never happier than when we were at a beach together, and I almost feel like I’d be betraying him by going there without him.

I can’t, and don’t want to, ride a bike without him, even though I’ve made it as far as the spin bike, I can’t imagine getting out on the road on my own, without him, without his support, without knowing that he’s there to get me home if it all gets too much.

I had music before him, and I had beaches before him, and I cycled long before him, but I don’t seem to be able to get those things back now that he has gone, having spent those years when all those things were done with him; always together, never apart. That was us. Even when we weren’t physically together, we were always in touch, always talking, texting. Always together, never apart. And now it’s never together and always apart. From one extreme to a very painful other. Together, alone. (take a listen, the lyrics pretty much cover it).

Time does not heal. Time just makes the distance between where you are now and where you were then greater. It takes you further away from your person when all you want to be is closer. Sometimes it makes the ache, and the yearning, even stronger. As time passes, I guess/hope I just get better at carrying those feelings, the loss, the insecurities, the void, with and within me. It’s pretty clear I’m not there yet…

And I know there are probably those thinking I should be moving on, I should be “over it” by now. I’ve already lost one friend, many months ago, who basically said he couldn’t read this anymore, that I was wallowing too much, and so he’d be taking his leave. So long and thanks for all the fish. Fine. Off you go then. Because that’s b*ll*cks.

There is no timetable. Everyone walks this path their own way, and if you’ve never had to walk it, well lucky you. Don’t you think I’d like to be feeling better, and happier, and positive? That was who I used to be. This is not the person I was used to being. But it’s just not who I am now. And I can no more make me turn from this into that, than you can hold back the tide. I will end up, once the waves have receded, washed up on my own internal beach, and I will never be the person I was. When something like this happens to you, your story becomes split. There is the life you had before it happened, and then there is the life that comes after it. And to have cared and been cared for, loved deeply and been loved deeply in return, and then to have lost that? How can you ever be the same again?

I am trying to learn to be kinder to myself. To not expect so much of myself. To not let other people’s ideas of how grieving is, or how it should be done, or when it should be over and done with, influence me. To take each day as it comes and to do what I can, when I can, to do what feels right for me. And if all I can do is sit and cry, then that should be ok too. Right now I really can’t imagine a time when I will ever be happy again. All I can do is hope that maybe that time will come, whenever that may be, and ride out the waves the best I can in the meantime. I just hope they don’t completely swamp me before then. Because I’m so tired of it all. I feel old, ugly, worn down, eroded; not waving but drowning. I cannot picture my future.

It is what it is. One day at a time.

I have to admit it’s not getting better

It’s not getting better. Not even with the sunshine. Not even with Austin at home.
I know the people talk of depression as the black dog.
This is not a black dog. Or cat. Or grey cloud.

I feel like I’m trapped in a hopeless dark place.
It’s the kind of feeling I think potholing would give me.
Stuck in a tight space with the walls and weight of the earth pressing in around me.
And panicky and scared that I’ll never get out.
That this is it.
This is how it’s going to be forever.
That this is my life until my life is over.

My thoughts have been ending up in some very dark places…

Oh, and the endo is off on one again too; now there’s a surprise. It always did have the most immaculate timing and, due to its hormonal nature, probably excarbates how I’m feeling. And it’s harder to cope when I’m in pain. It’s all very circular that way. Cycles, circles, circadian rhythms, ebbs, flows…

And with so much having happened, and still happening, as my oldest friend and I discussed today as she feels much the same albeit for different reasons (and it was so good to talk to her btw), I feel like I’m just waiting for the thing that finally breaks me. The one next thing that breaks the camel’s already weak back, and pushes me over the edge, to a place I won’t make it back from.

The way the world has been going over the last 8 months, I’m pretty sure it’ll come. That may sound fatalistic, but can you blame me? Really? I have plenty of reasons to feel that way. What can go wrong will, and has, gone wrong. I don’t know what it’ll be next. I don’t know what form it will take. I worry every time Austin goes to work. I worry about Tash being miles away and on her own and not with us. I worry about my folks. Heck, I worry about everything. And when whatever it is happens…?

A year ago, we were having a night away, in the sports car, in the sunshine, at The Sheppey, staying in our favourite room, just as a treat to ourselves. . It was amazing and private and happy and wonderful and everything we were at our best. And now? Another day of fears and tears. I don’t even recognise the me in that photo – that me is long, long, long gone. As is he. It’s like that me died with him. We’re both dead.

I was stupid enough to try and listen to music earlier…not a good move. And the random nature of what it churned out was beyond unhelpful. But since I did…in case, you need reminding, I need you, and I miss you, and I really would walk a thousand miles if I could just see you tonight.

And just so as you know, and you should have known, because I told you how much I loved you so many times; but I was amazed by you. You took my breath away. Eight months since you left, and I don’t love you any less. I think maybe I love you even more, because that love now has nowhere to go now. It’s all the things that aren’t. It’s the words I can’t say to you, the feelings I can’t share, the hugs I can’t hide in. It’s in all the tears that flow, the endless painful noisy crying that comes forth when I’m on my own. It’s in everything that isn’t and will never be.

What I wouldn’t give to have that car back on the road, with you behind the wheel, and us heading off again together, even if your driving did scare me witless half the time….

Love you forever, my eternally beautiful boy.

Whole of the moon

Our house, in the middle of our street. Well, cul de sac anyway.
It’s my house.
It’s nothing special really, but I love it. I chose it, and eventually I fought to keep it.
It’s my/our safe place, it’s the roof I kept over the mob’s head and, for a while, it was pretty much home for Matt and I.
It faces south, with large picture windows.
And today, with clearish skies, and the full moon above, moon beams are streaming in through my bedroom window.
On nights like these Matt and I used to open the curtains, curl up together, and just watch the moon go by, lighting up the entire room, and us, in its passing.
It was a pretty much a full moon when he left us.
And it’s a full moon today.
He’s not here.
But the curtains are still open, and the moon is passing by once more, oblivious.
We both saw the whole of the moon, and it’s just not the same seeing it without him.
But it does remind me of so much…

Apparently it’s a super pink moon, the biggest and brightest of 2020…who knew? Hard to tell through the hazy cloud but still…

I’m looking out, and I’m looking up, and I’m thinking of you. Always. You were my star, and you still are, and I still look up and look for you and think of you, whenever the stars are shining bright. I love you so much, wherever you’re currently shining. You lit up my entire life as you passed through it.

The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you burned so very, very brightly…

Sometimes even sunshine isn’t enough

It’s been a bad couple of days. It’s the wrong time of the month, early, so my endo is viciously off on one and the pain is seriously hard to get on top of. With my hormones all over the place, and pain ripping through me, it’s just not a good place to be in to try and deal with how I was already feeling, let alone the latest tragedy.

Matt was the only person who understood my ouchy properly, and got it. I miss his support and empathy through the pain, not to mention his hugs. He’s the person whose shoulder I desperately, desperately want to be crying on now, now that we’ve lost Loren too. I am missing him massively all over again; it’s like the scab has been ripped off the wound and it’s all painfully raw again. I feel like I’ve been knocked back about four months; I keep crying all over the place, I can’t find the motivation to do anything, I’m just achingly sad all the time, about and for both of them, and I feel like I’m stuck in a black hole that I’m never going to get out of.

Austin is doing his usual sterling job, but in his absence, there is no-one to talk to, no-where to go, nothing to do. I can feel my mental health spiralling down the plug hole… He starts his full time job tomorrow, so I get to find out exactly how weird that feels, and how I’m going to cope. Not gonna lie, I’m scared…

The idea of just me left to my own thoughts rattling around my head all the time is not a pleasant one. Even the sunshine and being outside couldn’t lift me today. I bet I’m not the only one feeling this way out there either – this is not a good time for people living on their own, or with mental health issues, or both. I bumped into a couple of mates on my walk earlier – well, you know, at a respectable distance – and just having an actual face to face conversation was just amazing. It actually perked me up a bit, even if it didn’t last long. I just hope everyone stays locked down like they’re supposed to so that we can get this bl**dy virus under control asap, because I don’t know how much of this I can take. I’m lost and broken and scared and sad and incredibly lonely, and probably a whole heap of other not great things too. Life currently sucks.

Ain’t No Sunshine

As predicted I slept through most of today. Part late night, part mad dreams, part complete lack of desire to be awake and dealing with reality. Austin went off to stay with the Ex for the day/night sometime mid morning, so being awake would just have meant me rattling around the house home alone, and that doesn’t go well in my current mental state. Eventually I did get up though. Places to be, people to see. I did chores, housework, washing, whatever. And I even went and sat on the spin bike for an hour, for the first time in probably like 18 months. I may not have pushed it much, but I worked up a sweat, so I guess that’s good right? I’ve been meaning to do it. I did it. So I achieved something today, if you look at it like that.

But even while I was doing it, it was like, why? Why am I doing this? What is the point? The last time I did this, Matt was here; he’d just arrived home from picking up Tate for the weekend. I could practically see them both in the doorway, in that vivid flashback way that seems to come with grief. If I turned ’round they’d be there, right…? Each time that kind of thing happens, it’s like being punched in the gut. It winds you, takes your breath away. Turns out it’s quite hard to cycle while crying… My exercise routine was part of what our normal life was. And life isn’t normal now.

I know I should be worried about being unhealthy, unfit, overweight, whatever…but I’m just not. I don’t really know whether I ever want to ride my bike ever again, because it had become something that I always did with Matt, because he would always be there to make sure I got home if my health issues got too much and I couldn’t carry on. I say I want to, and I know it would be good for me, for the headspace, and hopefully for getting back to riding with friends and so forth. Sounds great in theory. But the idea of getting ready to go riding, putting kit on (supposing any of it still fits), getting the bike sorted, and actually getting on it and leaving the house…doing all those things without him? I’m not sure I can face it. I’d probably be crying too hard to even make it out of the Close, let alone out of town. Him, me, cycling, us; it’s all so intertwined I don’t know if it’s ever going to be possible to get back to a place where I’m happy to ride on my own. And let’s face it, even if I got past all of that, my health issues haven’t gone away. It’s going to hurt so much on so many levels.

In a related note, I went out for a cigarette the other day and someone wherever I was said, “you do know those things will kill you right?” And I was like, yeah, I do, and I don’t care. And I realised that I wasn’t just being flippant. I actually don’t. I don’t care if I get run over by a bus tomorrow. I may be doing my very best to cling on to life, and get the help I need to keep me here, but if someone/thing else should happen to take me out along the way well…that would be ok by me. That wouldn’t be my fault. It would probably come as a relief. Hey, by the looks of things, maybe Covid-19 will do the job. It’s certainly in the process of likely wiping out the few things that I have in my calendar that I am looking forward to. What chances of a gig in April or a show in May? I thought the shitty weather was bad enough, but no, life just keeps piling it on. Sure as f*ck ain’t no sunshine in my life these days.

Right now I’m at my folks again. Tomorrow morning we have another appointment as part of the long process of getting my Mum (agressive early on-set Alzheimer’s) sorted, so it made sense on several levels to sleep here tonight rather than at what passes for home, with Austin away. I had company, Dad had company, and there’s white wine. I’m fairly low maintenance really, even though I’m clearly also incredibly needy in lots of ways.

I can’t sleep all day tomorrow. I have to get up. So maybe I’ll try and make a start on this getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, drinking less thing. Or maybe I won’t. Ooh, the suspense…

Enter Sandman

Going away wasn’t good for me, as you’ll have gathered. I’m not surprised, I saw it coming. It was work, and he’d always have been there to help me; so that wasn’t a good start. But also Cornwall is one of our places. We’ve been there variously, for many reasons, many times. And being there without him? Not good. Beyond not good.

So that was sh*t, even though pretty much no-one else noticed, which says a lot in itself. And then I came back, and the last couple of days have been a little…weird? I’ve slept a lot, I’ve worked more than I thought I would be able to, I’ve been in a lot of endo pain, and I’ve generally just about functioned. I was supposed to be visiting one of my best mates this weekend, but I found myself in a place where I couldn’t. I felt, and feel, awful for letting him down (sorry Mark 🙁 ), but right now I just feel like I need to be here. Even though this isn’t home anymore, because he isn’t here anymore, it still kind of is, because it’s my place, my house, the one thing I salvaged out of the divorce, the roof I fought to keep over our heads, the place where after a long time of living apart, Matt and I finally got to be together, though sadly not for long enough. And I just feel I need to be here, with my crap, my cats and my chaos, even though Austin is going to be away on and off over the next few days and I may have some scary alone time to deal with. It feels oddly like a nesting thing. Being away can sometimes be good, even if it wasn’t this time, because you get to run away…but then coming home makes me cry because I know I’m coming home to a place where he still isn’t, and being at home can be an empty, and so lonely place. So why I should feel like I need to be here is a little bit beyond me, so I guess I can’t really explain it at all. But it is what it is, and I’m doing what feels right for me. I need to be here, and here I am.

I just know I’m having a really bad patch. And I feel like I need to take a step back from life, and try and look after myself, even though I’m not sure what that means. I know that right now any pressure, any sense of obligation, any conflict, would spiral me downwards, because I would feel like I’m not living up, not hitting goals, and also letting people down. I feel very, very fragile. And I know that I have been really down for the last few days and I am scared of how down I have been and where my thoughts have taken me. I am still scared.

Tonight, unexpectedly, I was out again, with Kevin and Simone, and then Austin, and other friends. Playing pretend. Fake it until you make it. It was a nice night out as these things go. I faked it, I didn’t make it, as ever. But it was ok, and I’m still trying.  Right now I’m just looking forward to going to sleep. I had amazing dreams last night; the sort that last for hours, a lifetime away, transporting you to another fantastical world, and at some point or another he was there. Maybe that helped this morning feel not quite so bad. I know they’re just dreams, but if I get to be with him again, even in an imaginary world, I’ll take that. So I’m going to watch Masterchef, I’ll have a glass of wine, and tomorrow I’ll wake up to another day. But since it’s Saturday now and tomorrow, I can just roll over and go back to sleep, and ignore the real world for as long as possible. And yes, I know, that’s probably not healthy, and that I should be focussing on being awake and getting stuff done and moving forward. B*ll*cks to that. I’m sure that time will come. Tomorrow, or make that today, is not that day.

Right now I think, as I have been told by many people, I need to let myself grieve. Which sound like I’m not doing that, like I’m doing lots of things to avoid it, and escape it, and run away from it… But I’m really not. And I’m not sure how letting myself grieve works. I am in a place where grief is something that just keeps on happening to me, as many people who have been where I am probably understand. I am not avoiding it – I can’t. It’s just a rollercoaster ride that I don’t want to be on, a sea I am swimming through and drowning in. Even though every single bit of me knows that there is no way he can ever come back, I still want him to. I read a newspaper article today about a couple who had tragically lost their daughter, who said they were just waiting until they died so they could be with her again. And I get that, even if I don’t believe it works like that. Like them, I am just treading water.

So I’m going to hang out here. I’m going to do chores. I’m going to talk to the cats, in crazy old lady fashion. And in my empty house I’m going to cry when I want to, and wail and howl, and let it all out. Austin will be home at some point, and I’ll hang out with him when he’s here. And when he isn’t, yes I could reach out to people, but I won’t, because I know I won’t be honest with them, and so they won’t know they need to help me. That’s on me, not them. To be fair, I have tried, but I’m probably not very good at it. I don’t trust anyone anymore, as I’ve been let down when I have, so why would I? But I’m still here, and I’m still clinging on, even though I sometimes don’t want to. One day more…

To sleep – perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil…

PS: I recently had a comment from someone thanking me for my blog and how it speaks to them. I can’t tell you how much that means to me. The very thought that, even from down here, I can be of any sort of help to someone going through what I am also going through is amazing. Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting.

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.

Cold comfort

I worked a longer day than usual day, tired and full of cold. Then I came home to my empty house, and chores to do, and a bearded dragon to dispose of which, as I did so, without going into details, triggered a massive flashback. And so I sat curled into myself on the sofa and cried and cried and cried, and as I turned my head to the left to lean into the sofa it felt oddly, just little bit, like I was leaning on you. Like that bit of sofa was your shoulder, and if I kept my eyes closed I could feel, like a phantom limb, your arm there behind me ready to wrap around me, to pull me in closer, hug me, and hold me while I cried on your shoulder, as I have done so many times before. You were so good at that. You always looked after me and supported me. Your hugs were amazing. You said mine were too. Because we fitted. And we did. There was no better place to be in the world that in one of our hugs. And it was so tempting just to stay there. Not to move, not to open my eyes. To stay in that so near yet so far place and to pretend…

…and I did. For a while. But I could only kid myself, only dream, for so long. Sadly I’m too pragmatic and too practical and realistic, and there were things to be done, I knew better, and the sofa was still just the sofa, so at some point I gave myself a mental kicking, and got up, and did them. Because they weren’t going to do themselves, and no-one else is here to share the load any more, not really.

I miss your hugs SO much. And I’m in so much pain right now, despite all the painkillers, one of your hugs would make all the difference. Sure, I could go and get a hug somewhere else. But it wouldn’t be a Matt hug 🙁