Not so comfortably numb

Today was…weird. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was stoned. But I wasn’t. Ain’t touched nothing like that in a very long time. So for whatever reason I just felt very cut off, very numb, very spaced out and disconnected, and very, very tired. Very…odd.

But I just went with it. No point fighting some battles is there? I managed to get some shopping done mid afternoon so that we could eat. But other than that I just went with it. I sat and rocked gently in the sunshine, and did the usual inane things I do to pass the time at the moment. I even had to have a nap late afternoon; it’s been a while since that happened. But if that’s what my body and brain needed to be doing today then hey, have at it right?

It wasn’t exactly unpleasant. Or pleasant. Not thinking about anything much at all has its advantages. As a result I’d managed to mostly keep it together, apart from the odd moment here and there, until this evening my 8 year old nephew popped up and rejoined my team on one of the iPad games I play, and told me that he missed Matt, Loren (his sister), and me. Coming as it did, out of the blue, it pretty much floored me. Just heartbreaking. What can you say? Me too? There’s nothing to be said that can make a damn bit of difference…though I did my best. I can’t get my head around it all at my age, how on earth is he supposed to at his age? Instead we flew dragons together for a bit and chatted about nothing, before parting ways to respectively head for the land of nod. I have a funny feeling he should probably have been asleep already anyway, not playing games with me 😉

So off to bed I go in my turn. I need to do some actual work tomorrow. And sit on a spin bike. Provided I don’t feel like I did today that is. Then all bets are off…

Cold to the bones you made from me

In the morning I wake, and roll over, and sleep, and wake,…and sometime this morning in that rolling routine, when I went back into a dream in which I’d already been, there he was. He’d been away, working, but he was back, back to me, happy to see me, though in need of a shave, and just as it was going so well….my brain woke me up. Ripped me away from where I was happy. Like my subconscious wouldn’t let me stay in a lie, and yet I so, so, so wanted to stay there. I already knew it was a lie; would it have been wrong to stay with him for just a little bit longer?… It was just so nice to be with him again, to touch, to talk to, to hold…

Which was a pretty inauspicious start to my day. And, having shut my crap away in a box for 48 hours or so, to get through a hell that was not truly mine and to support those for whom it was, today was pay back day. Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall, and all the distractions, and games, and reading, and work, could not put me back together again. Tbh I should probably have stayed in bed. Come to think of it, I don’t know why I didn’t. I guess getting out of bed is just what you do, right?

Today is my amazing, beautiful daughter Tash’s 20th birthday, and sadly I even managed to screw that up. Even though I’d paid for things to deliberately be there in time, none of them were. I know she says she doesn’t mind, but I don’t believe her, because I know I’d mind. We’ve messaged, and talked, and stuff but…I’d just like at least one of my presents to her to have arrived in time. Yet another lockdown casualty… And I’m gutted we can’t actually be together for her birthday, especially as one of the photos we both chose for me to post on FB to mark her birthday was from two years ago, when the whole family was together to celebrate her 18th birthday, including Matt, and it’s just the two of them messing around with a balloon, and having a laugh, and it’s just lovely… And now he’s not here, and neither is she. Hopefully she’ll be home in a couple of weeks though. That’s something. I miss my girl, and I’ve not seen her since January, which seems like forever ago.

I’ve been crying on and off since I woke up, with a brief break for some work stuff and a catch up with Gill. And I guess it’s probably just all the bottled up emotions coming out. And the aftermath of Loren’s funeral. A whole heap of everything really. And I can tell it’s a bad day, because I can’t get warm. It’s like I’m chilled to the bone. Outside, inside, sun or shade, I’m cold. Right now I’m wrapped up in my duvet, praying that sleep comes early tonight. I’m pretty sure it will, as I’m drained and exhausted again.

In expectation of sunnier days to come, I have bought my safe place, my garden swing seat, some solar powered led fairy lights. They’re lovely. I set them up yesterday, and when they’re on, and especially when you pull the cover down, it’s like being in your own little nest. Which sounds lovely, and it kind of is, and it should be…except all it did this evening was remind me that it’s an empty nest. That Matt would have loved them, but that he’s not here to love them, or to love me. And no-one else cares about such things at all. As ever. there’s no-one to share it with. It is, like so many things these days, pointless. Pretty, but pointless.

Happy Birthday to my no longer teenage daughter. I felt old already, now I feel ancient! We’ll celebrate all our birthdays when we’re all allowed to do so properly. I’m glad other gifts got to you, and that you have friends who thought of you and made it special for you.

Bubble

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.

I can lie to myself

It’s been a tough few days.
I’ve been up.
I’ve been down.
I don’t feel entitled to be down when my brother and his family are going through so much.
But I can’t help how I feel.
And grief is not a competition.
I can’t turn it off, much though I’d like to.

So it’s been a long few days.
An Easter weekend, a four day break, a thing that would once have been a special weekend; time away, time by the beach, time being us.
Two years ago we went to see The Wonderstuff for what was for me, not him, the first time.
I, and my 18 year old self, loved it SO much, and love sharing that with him.
Another highlight in many years’ worth of memories with him.

And the days pass, not that anyone knows what day it is anymore.
Lock down has removed any sense of routine, of schedule, of normality.

Sometimes Austin is working, sometimes he isn’t.
I try and keep busy.
I sleep a lot.
I dream; spending time in a hundred different vivid worlds.
The other night we were back together; just us doing whatever the dream had in store for us, like life was normal, almost like he was checking in.
Oddly it didn’t upset me.
I was just pleased to hang out with him for a while.
If you’re out there, pop back any time, I can pretty much guarantee to be asleep for 12 hours straight once I’m out for the count.

And then there’s the hours I have to be awake.
I read. I listen to podcasts. I spin bike. I tidy. I walk. I do chores.
I sort through things I don’t want to sort through or deal with, but I make myself.
I’m rediscovering the garden, inch by secateured inch.
I’ve discovered I’m pretty good with hedge trimmers, though my health & safety measures probably leave a lot to be desired, though I haven’t ended up in in casualty yet…
I’m covered in scratches and thorns and sore bits and aching muscles.
But if I’m doing, I’m not thinking.
If I’m not thinking, I’m not missing him, or her, or feeling for them.
If I’m not missing him, then I’m not hurting, and crying, and thinking of all the plans we had for the garden and the house, and our life together.

I can try and tell myself I’m not missing him, that I’m doing ok.
But I can’t even lie to myself.
I’m not ok.
But I’m doing the best I can to get by.

And I do miss him.
So much.

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.

There are no words

As I mentioned on my last post, things can always get worse. You just don’t realise how much worse. After my first birthday without Matt I was already struggling. And then on Tuesday, my beautiful ray of sunshine niece Loren passed away in a tragic accident. She was only 11. It’s hideous and heartbreaking, and there just aren’t the right words, even though I’m going to try and find some.

As Austin puts it, the saddest thing about this photo is that I’m the only one still alive. And I did try and find a different photo of her, for that reason. But she totally loved that hat, and that afternoon’s walk to the Windmill was just Matt, me and her, and we had fun, and it was a really nice time. It just had to be this one. It totally says Lolly to me, and it’s a very happy memory, and when everything else has come and gone, those are what we have left to hold on to.

Life is not fair. It does not make any sense. My family is small and close and we’ve already gone through so much, to add this is just…incomprehensible. It’s too much to get your head around, and I’m not going to lie, it has knocked me right back, but that’s irrelevant. This is SO not about me. It’s about my brother and his wife, and their two other children. It is so hard not to be able to go there and see them, even if just for a couple of hours. All any of us can do is be at the end of a text, of a phone, which really doesn’t feel like enough. But then I also know that nothing anyone says or does can make this any better. I’m not going to pretend I know what they’re all going through, but sadly I can probably imagine a lot better than a lot of people…and my heart just aches for them so much because I’ve been down the road ahead of them. I wish I could do more, but I don’t want to be that know it all person about it all, just because of my experience. Everyone’s journey through grief and loss is a different and individual one. And every single one sucks.

Life is just shit. We’re all devastated, and we’re going to miss her forever 😭💔