Lost in the loneliness

It’s been a busy, somewhat stressful, hot, sweaty and tiring day.
But it’s been more than worth it.

My personal domesday clock is counting down.
And if I stay still long enough, I can practically hear it ticking…

As predicted, I’m in the middle of the sh*t couple of weeks that were coming, but having seen this coming, I’m a little better armed to fight the battle now. At the very least I have ordered plenty of fizz… However that specific day is still ooming…(being a verb that combines looming & ominously – in case you didn’t know). And I still don’t have a plan…

But today, in various places and at various times, I have been able to spend time with people who really knew Matt and I, who knew him, who knew us, who knew and know how things really were and are. And although it doesn’t stop it hurting – f*ck, what could? – knowing that we’re all on the same page, all feeling it together, all there for each other, really, really, really helps. To hear and be heard, and to share without judgement? Just so amazing, and affirming, and I am so grateful. Anything else is just white noise. Not important, and not worthy of being in my life.

There’s nothing like something like this to show you who your friends really are or are not, as I’ve said before. And sadly I’ve lost some along the way, who couldn’t or wouldn’t stay the distance. But those with me now? We’ve all been through struggles, through this together; we’ve been forged in fires we’d rather not have faced, be they their’s or mine or both, and I think some of those new bonds will be with me for life. I hope so. If not, well, life is a strange and meandering path, some people are with you for the whole ride, others are just there for steps along the way…but even if that turns out to be the case sometimes, it wouldn’t detract from how important it was for me to see them all today.

Oddly, and hilariously, apparently I’m looking good these days. So I look good overweight with a suntan. Hah! Maybe. Maybe you’re just very polite. Or I maybe I just looked really REALLY bad last time you saw me. Distinctly possible! I can’t paint people, but I can paint a smile on myself to rival one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s, and thinking about it, if you’re paying attention, it’s probably just as enigmatic… But I can play the game. I’ve got skills… I went out, we went out, we laughed, we ate, drank, there may even have been the odd very brief intimate shared tear when no-one else was looking. And another day has been marked off on the wall of the solitary confinement cell that grief leaves you living in.

Love isn’t something you can turn off. It turns out I love him whether he’s here or not. Inconvenient, no? Sometimes I have the most vivid disassociated feeling that I’m about to wake up and none of this will ever happened. Wouldn’t that be just something?

And then I have to have serious words with myself. Because, like, as if, you idiot *face slap*. Whatever people might think, and whether they like it or not, I’m actually not stupid. If I was I’d be religious and just waiting for my turn to hope to have been good enough in this life to be allowed to walk through those hallowed pearly gates and run into his arms. Yeah, right…

So now I’m home again, putting off tomorrow, lost in the shadows, trying to learn to listen to music again, writing this, and all the time holding on to him deep inside, because I’m never letting him go.

Love you my beautiful eternally gorgeous fit as f*ck boy ❤️😢. And man, do I miss you. SO much. You were always so paranoid that I would leave you, and I promised you I never would; that I was never going anywhere. And I wasn’t, and didn’t, and I never would have done. I kept my part of the bargain. You didn’t. I’ll never get it. I guess some things are permanently incomprehensible. How do I keep doing this without you? 😭.

 

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.

One thought away.

I am only ever one thought away from tears.

So, with various other chaos erupting around me, and work to be done, I can usually get by for a while by being busy and by not thinking about anything else.

And I’ve just had a really nice night out with a cycling mate Rob who remembered that I’m not one for reaching out and had reached out to me in the middle of the last shit storm week. Did I fancy a drink this week? “OMG yes”, I believe I replied. And in a coming together of things, and places I need to be, I’m back at my folks for a couple of days, seeing Rob tonight, sorting Dad’s staples’ removal tomorrow, and seeing another mate afterwards, then back here and “home” again on Thursday. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed I’ve been isolating myself from people. Everyone says “call me if you need me”. Simple right? And so easy for you to say. And If I don’t call, I’m fine, obvs. Not. Because mostly I can’t. The only person I want to call is Matt. And I can’t do that either. Sadly if you’re down there it just doesn’t work like that. Why on earth would I want to contact anyone else, and burden them with me? But I’m making an effort and reaching out to people. I’m trying to be pro-active. I’m trying. No-one’s going to know how I’m feeling unless I tell them, are they? Apparently this is when you learn who your friends really are…

But it’s always there. In the wrong song that comes on. In the photos that someone shows you. In the dark hours, and the what ifs. In the random memories that pop up triggered by god knows what. In the hug that you get at an unexpected time or from an unexpected person, or both. It’s always just below the surface. I can now cry at the drop of a hat. Not that anyone is dropping hats around here. Plates, or balls, possibly. But not hats.

I guess to almost everyone else, Matt died last year. Ages ago. Old news.

But it’s a one way mirror thing.

That all makes sense from that side of the mirror.

Sadly, as I now know to my cost, thanks to the others I have met online and elsewhere, on this side of the mirror, in the club that no-one wants to join, 5 months is nothing. 5 months is early days. I have a long road to travel ahead of me, and since I apparently have to stay here, I have many miles to go before I sleep. If someone made a massive impact by coming into your life, it should be no surprise that they made a similarly massive impact by leaving it. And the stronger the feelings beforehand, the worse the grief afterwards. And it’s all true. All those seemingly trite memes – they’re true.

There hasn’t been a single day since he died that I haven’t cried. And most of those days I’ve cried a lot. There are still days that even breathing hurts. Some days I’m amazed I’m still here. But I am. I don’t feel like I’m coping, but then I guess I must be, because I’m still doing it, right? I’m getting up, I’m getting dressed, I’m working. I’m fine, right? Except I’m really not.

I don’t know who I am anymore. This isn’t the me I knew. People say I should go and do something I enjoy; without appreciating that anything I do that I enjoy I would now be doing on my own, without Matt, and the joy that used to be in whatever it is has gone. I can’t think of anything I enjoy. I can’t think of anything I want to do. Well I can, but I’m not allowed to do that.

I can’t tell you how much I envy people who don’t know how I feel. How I wish I didn’t know how I feel. I can’t imagine a place in time where I’m happy again. The best I can do is brief patches of semi-respite. And they never last long.

And then here I am again. Alone with a head full of thoughts, eyes filled with tears, and a heart that literally feels broken.

I wish… But wishes still aren’t horses and beggars still can’t ride.

Hell yeah

So the clocks have gone back. Great. It didn’t really make much difference to me. I was asleep. I just didn’t sleep as long as usual as far as the clock dial is concerned. It’s not like I had anything to get up for anyway. Time is pretty arbitrary these days. It moves on, but my reality doesn’t.

I managed to get some stuff done though, once I was up. Deliberately. I sorted lots of the overwhelming paperwork into piles – trash, file, think about, and panic about. I hung some clothes up to dry. I tidied a bit. Basically I did as much as I could before being at home got too much and I had to leave. I kept my head busy doing things so that I wouldn’t think about Matt.

It’s always a finite thing though, as I work on doing things in our home where he isn’t anymore. I start to feel the reservoir getting closer to overflowing. I can feel the tear clouds gathering. I get shaky and anxious and basically it’s time to be somewhere else. But at least I did get some things done. I have to remind myself of that. I may not have achieved much, but I did do something. Little steps.

Yesterday eldest and I went to the planned Sons of Liberty gig in Bristol. Via a couple of unplanned piercings at Pierced Up. Matt would probably have hated the gig, though I enjoyed it as best I could. No-one notices you crying at a gig. And he’d be cross at me for getting something pierced without him being there. Well I’m cross at him for not being there to hold my hand through all of it, so I guess it balances out. Only I’m not cross at him, even when I try to be – there’s too much sadness in me for anger to get through, and anger wouldn’t serve any purpose anyway.

In the mean time, my brain fog continues. I lose things all the time. I’ve always coped badly with losing things. These days it tends to lead to a major meltdown; it feels like just one more symptom of how useless I am these days. Once upon a time I lived on my own, and although I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, I was at least capable and independent and organised. These days I feel like a three year old, and incapable of coping with anything. Losing things just adds to my feelings of inadequacy and incompetency, of anxiety and panic. I just want my someone here to support and look after me, and he’s not and he never will be.

Whatever other crap is going on, and it is, I’m still concentrating on doing the best by you.  Eldest can’t understand why people would want to take an already shitty situation and make it worse. Or why I won’t kick off about it. You would be furious about it all. But it’s because, like anger, that wouldn’t serve any purpose. I do kinda wish people would remember I have feelings too…but that would be an in an ideal world thing, and I think it’s fair to say my world is far from ideal. 

Yes, I’m carrying on without you. I don’t have any choice. I’m not enjoying it; I still love you, I’m incredibly lonely and I’m very hurt by a lot of what’s going on. I still reach out for you, I still catch myself wanting to share things with you and not being able to. Talking about you in the present tense and having to correct myself. I guess that’s because for me, you’re still very much here, in my thoughts, in my head, in everything I’m doing. If only…💔😥

 

Isolation

Bad day, good day, which I don’t feel like writing about now, since I’m not actually crying at the moment and I need the respite. I’ve only just managed to drag myself out of the doldrums thanks to a decent chat and cup of tea with Gary; who was the one person around who actually responded to a call for contact. I guess it’s my own fault for being me. People are probably used to thinking I’m antisocial, that or they think I’m hard as nails and don’t need support. Funny how wrong people can be isn’t it? Then again maybe they just plain don’t like me – I’m pretty sure I’m an acquired taste…

So I’m sat in our pub as usual, in a quiet corner out of the way, trying to read, and trying not to think, with headphones in and Deezer playing (the ‘next’ button is proving very helpful…) so I don’t have to hear either the dodgy pub soundtrack, or the sound of so many groups of people having a good night out. I just can’t imagine that ever being me again. Not in the carefree way such things were once done, when life was a thing taken for granted. A bit of me wants to shout at them, shake them, warn them to make the most of every second…

In the meantime, with the music thing, I’ve been trying to figure out quite what it is that is wrong with it. Took me a while but…  There are only two situations in which I have used headphones over the last 3 or 4 years. They have been in one ear for sportives or country walks, back in the day. And then…what with the long distance thing and even afterwards, if Matt and I weren’t together and there was no reason why we couldn’t be talking (like work, or such), then we were always on the phone to each other. While walking, driving, shopping, whatever. Which explains why this feels so f*cking weird and why I feel like I’m waiting for a conversation to continue. I’m waiting to hear his voice in my ear. It’s a bit like this is just the “on hold” music and he’ll be back on the line shortly. But he won’t, will he? Another ‘never again’.

So here I sit on a Saturday night, on my own because that seems to be my lot, as it was before and as it is again, in the usual place hiding from reality, and waiting to talk to someone who will never talk to me again. All tragic on so many levels…

Ok, so keeping the tears at bay appears to have failed somewhat. It’s just that so many phrases and words and ’in jokes’ have gone along with him and his voice. There’s no point me telling you about them or sharing them, you wouldn’t get them anyway. Often we barely needed to talk anyway, because whatever one of us said, the other had just been thinking, which made us laugh all the time…

That given though, what I wouldn’t give to hear his voice again.

Hello Mr Magpie… 😥💔⭐️