Why bother?

It took me a long time to get out of bed today, good resolutions not withstanding. I know what my counsellor wants be to me doing. And I tried. I set alarms and everything. But why get up? I had nothing to do, nowhere to be, no-one to be with. Not until 7.30pm anyway. Being asleep was infinitely preferable to being awake. Nonetheless I did make myself get up earlier than I wanted to, even if that was well into the afternoon. My dreams were so much better than awake was…

Once up, I was going to go and walk, but the forecast was for yet more grey and raining, so…you know, no thanks. I am so fed up the weather outside being exactly how I feel on the inside. So in between regular bouts of crying, I did chores, and housework, and accounts, and various similar stuff, whilst listening to the crimejunkie podcast, chatting with Jo, a ukpb friend, which was lovely, and generally pretending that life was ok and normal. And then I even had a shower and attempted to make myself clean if not presentable. I put clothes on, I put my war paint on, I put the right jewellery/armour on.

And then not so later on I went out to the Crown, and met friends and played pool, Austin joined us for a bit, and as the end of the evening drew nigh, for the first time in a long time, I msged Matt, which I know is completely pointless, but I just couldn’t help myself. I just wanted to tell him what was happening in my life, and how much I missed him. Tragic, I know.  Since I have his phone, if the contract is still going, I’m the only person who’s going to read it anyway. But it is what it is. We were always in touch…and there is such a gaping void now. I am reminded every time I want to text, to message, to call, that I can’t, and it hurts. To be reminded that he isn’t here. That he is gone, ahead of me, to somewhere I can’t reach, can’t follow, and let’s be honest, don’t even really believe in. He is gone, and it’s just me now. And I don’t like being just me. I feel naked and vulnerable and scared. This is not how my life was supposed to be and I can’t cope with how it has turned out to be. I’m still scared I won’t make it. But I’m still here, and still doing it, so I guess that’s something.

Yes, I had a nice enough night out. I saw friends. I played pool, which is my secret super power. I won more than I should have. I stayed out late. And it all meant f*ck all with no-one to share it with, no-one to be proud of me, no-one to go home and tell about it and to appreciate it all. Hence me msging him I guess. Although if I’d been out, he’d always have been with me. Still… I may have made new friends. I may even end up seeing new people. Matt would have loved them. But he’s not here, and without him? It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything other than go “meh whatever”, and go back to sleep. I don’t want new friends, I want him. I stayed out, I played the game, and then I walked home alone, crying as I went. I guess this is my new normal. It sucks.

I just want him back. It’s all I want, all the time. And I know that is never happening. I am having to learn to negotiate this new bleak world without him. And our story is part of what I have to tell new people I meet. Hi. Yes, I’ve been here x years, I was married, I was divorced, I met my soul mate, and last August I lost him. And now it’s just me and my kids, and life just generally sucks. It’s perky meeting me. Bet you wish you hadn’t asked about my life now. Yet another reason I don’t talk to people. I don’t want to share such a personal part of my life with strangers.

Two years ago I was curled up with Matt, after a bad pain patch, watching a film. I would give anything to turn back time and be back there. He keeps cropping up in my dreams at the moment, and maybe that’s some weird way of him popping by and checking in. Or maybe it isn’t, because they’re just f*cking dreams, and dreams are weird and irrational and make no sense anyway. It’s lovely to see him, to be with him…but sooner or later I have to wake up to the reality that he’s not here. Again. Over and over and over again. And that still kills me every time. Every day I wake up, I realise what real life is, and then I cry a lot, and try and go back to sleep and chase what little of him I have left.

I don’t really have any reason to wake up and get on with stuff tomorrow. It’s really late now, so I have an excuse to sleep in anyway. So yes, I drank too much, stayed up too late, but…I reckon it was worth it for the being out and seeing people and pretending to have a life, even if it isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing from a self-help point of view right now.

This is not a brave new world. It is a scared new world. It is a world I no longer know how to live in. I frequently don’t even want to live in it. But I am still putting one foot in front of the other and hoping, even though I really don’t do hope, that one day it will ease a little. One day I will see a future, and be strong enough to live in it. I hope.

It makes me think of Deadpool 2. When he goes down and sees her, the other side of a barrier he can’t get through. Matt loved those films. He was a soppy sod, and those films made him cry every time. And now he’s the other side of a barrier I can’t get through. I wish I knew/believed. That he could see me now. That he wants the best for me, that he’s looking after me, and waiting for me. But sadly I’m too realistic/pragmatic. But if there’s any chance…please, help me find my way through this. Hold my hand, lead me through the minefield, and help me find my way to a better place. Love you my beautiful boy, just as much, if not more, as I ever did.

And so it began…

Four years ago tomorrow, which is actually today now, Matt and I first met. We didn’t get together then. But there the seeds were sown, and he pursued me afterwards, and then, well, the rest is history…

I had no idea we would end up where we did, and how good we would be together, how far we would fall for each other, and I had absolutely no clue we would end up here. How could I have? I had no idea we’d end up here the day/night it all happened, let alone saw it coming beforehand. We had amazing, with flaws…and then we had nothing, because there wasn’t a we, there was suddenly just a me, left flailing around in the void, with no compass, no guide, no idea how to cope.

I wonder if he’d even be attracted to me now. I wonder if he’d even recognise me. Because I don’t. I was thinner, I was fitter, I was healthier, I was more attractive. Now I’m none of those things. I don’t even dress like I did. I can’t. But more intrinsically, I’m not me any more. My life now is unrecognisable. It has shrunk down to nothing. I don’t know who I am now. I used to like me. I used to be happy. I used to be independent, I used to go places. We used to go places. I used to be so many things, none of which I am now. I’m just…broken. Adrift, and lost. And so, SO f*cking lonely. And yes, I know I probably sound like a stuck record, but that’s the way I feel and continue to feel.

I tried to explain in my last entry how low I have been feeling. I pretty much spelled it out. I don’t think I could have made how I’ve been feeling lately any clearer. So I guess I hoped people would listen and reach out to me. And once again, a few did, to be counted on the fingers of one hand, the usual much appreciated suspects… And I really am grateful to those who got in touch. It does mean a lot. Just like I was touched by the lovely girl at my support group who passed on a green crystal heart than she’d been given at her lowest point, that she wanted me to have, and to pass on when I no longer needed it, which meant so much to me. Just like I was touched by the lovely lady at the same group who sadly is in the same position that I am, who wanted me to know that she reads my blog and it means a lot to her. The kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. Thank you.

But more fool me if I thought anyone else would actually read it, or reach out as a result. It’s just as well that I really write this for me, rather than anyone else, isn’t it? It’s good for me to express myself, because I can’t tell you in person how I’m feeling, and you probably wouldn’t want to hear it if I did. It’s too uncomfortable – for me to say and you to hear. I know many people have said call me if you need me, but I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t reach out, even though I should. And I think people just presume that because they haven’t seen you or heard from you that you’re fine, when actually, it can just as easily mean exactly the opposite.

But what do I have to do to make people hear me? I don’t know. I’ve nearly given up on trying. Still, having ended up in a really scary place over the weekend, I did get in touch with the doctor, who is supposed to be going to help, though judging by her ability to call me back when she says she will so far, I don’t hold out much hope. I saw my counsellor today, and I have some things that I should probably be going to work on, though I’m not sure I’ll manage it. I’ll try… Yes, I should drink less, and go to bed earlier, and get up earlier, and yes, that might make me feel better. But since I can work when I want, and do, what’s the point of getting out of bed if I don’t have to? Why drag myself from the only place I’m happy back into painful reality? I’ll try, I’ll give it a go. Probably. Easier said than done, I bet. Hiding in a world of white wine and then dreams may not be the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s what works for me now. I know I’m probably not helping myself, or helping the anti-depressants do their job. But it’s not like I’m drinking more than I have done over the last few years, and what happens if you take away my crutches, my one remaining comfort zone?

There are a lot of firsts, and birthdays, and anniversaries and the like, coming up in the next couple of months. Like two years ago we went to see the Wonderstuff – the first time I ever had, having always wanted to, and 29 years after he’d first seen them. It was amazing, and we had the best night. It was awesome. But facebook memories, my memories, his memories and comments, that’s all they are now. Memories. They’re all in the past. Seeing/reading them…each one is like a little stab to the heart. A painful reminder of what we had, and what is gone. He’s not here to share them with again, and they’re not important to anybody else. You don’t just lose your person, you lose a shared history, a narrative, the way you don’t need to say things because they always know what you’re thinking. It’s the stone that was thrown and all the ripples that came from it.

Then someone threw a f*cking great boulder in and washed it all away, and left many of us drowning in the waves and clinging on to the wreckage, quite literally for dear life. Is it any wonder that sometimes I just want to let go? I’m struggling at the moment. I’m doing a little better than I was a few days ago; I’ve been kept busy, with work, and my folks, and various. But I’m under no illusions; that could change in the blink of an eye. It frequently does. Last night I dreamt of him. And this morning he was gone again. And however many times that happens, it doesn’t hurt any less.

I miss you so much. I miss the person you made me, that your faith and support brought out in me. I miss so much about us; the team we were together, all the things we did and shared, and the places we went. I may not miss the arguments we sometimes had, but we were working on them and getting stronger all the time. I miss your hugs, your laugh, your sense of humour, cwtching up with you on a beach…I miss everything about you, even how epic your sneezes were, and how loudly you snored. I miss the life we had, and the life we were going to have and now never will. Four years, and now you’ve been gone nearly 7 months. It wasn’t enough. Nowhere near enough. I still love you to the beach, and beyond. I just wish we could have had more time…

A world away but not far enough

I’m working away from home, in Cornwall. Normally Matt would be here with me, keeping me company, even though he didn’t have to be. He just wanted to be where I was, so he was. He’d help with the work bit, hang out with us for the après work bit. And then after all was said and done we’d hang around down here and do beach things, and then we’d head home together.

So I already knew it was going to be difficult. Doing exactly the same thing I was doing this time last year, but without him. And it was. I could feel him not being there. I could see him in all the places he was before. Memories/flashbacks aplenty. And it’s also really hard to do my job when you’re not feeling happy and confident and chatty…but I still did it. I did my best. I’ve done enough, and possibly more than. That at least is good.

I didn’t last all day though, more than partially because the wifi was rubbish and I could do more work coming back to the house the team are staying in than I could at the show. But also because it was all, slowly, cumulatively, getting to be too much. I just couldn’t be there without him anymore, I needed to get away and have some time and space on my own.

And then I shot myself in the foot.

I had packed to come away yesterday. Usual things in usual bags. Spare shoes and waterproofs etc. just in case, all thrown in the car. One part of which was Matt’s stripey jacket – I use it as my waterproof now (Tash has run off with mine) and I like it and it was his and it makes me think of him and, well, whatever.

So today I left work, and came back to the car, not entirely on an even keel, and there it casually was on the back seat, so distinctly his, just like it would have been last year, and like it would have always been doing this kind of thing, and for a tiny bit there my brain rebooted, and life was ok, and there’s his coat, and he’ll be right behind me, and we’ll head off and…

…before reality came crashing down on top of me again and I lost it completely. It blindsided me. Even though it wasn’t like it’s news, it was like being hit in the face with it again. No, life isn’t ok. He isn’t here. He is never going to be here ever again. He isn’t just away. He is gone. Forever. I am never going to see him, talk to him, touch him, ever again. Never.

And then I cried a lot. I cried in the car park for a while, until I was ok to drive. I cried driving back. I cried when I stopped to take photos of all the cute lambs in the field along the way, because I wanted to be going back to him, to tell him about my day, to tell him what I’d just seen and how cute they were, and also because there is no-one to have those conversations with anymore. I got back to the house we’re staying in, where thankfully I was on my own, and I basically cried until I fell asleep, even though I should have been doing more work, because I don’t think my brain could cope with being awake anymore. It was all just too much. Overload. Unsurprisingly my dreams were disturbed and unpleasant and restless…

There is no-one to have those casual yet intimate conversations with anymore. No-one to tell about my day. No-one who really cares about what I think about how it went, how things are, how I’m feeling. I get by. I chat, I do my best with the people who come close. But I can feel myself saying less and less to anyone because, what’s the point? More to the point, what’s the point to anything? Why am I doing all this? None of it makes any difference to the baseline. I feel totally broken, and there is no fixing me, so what’s the point talking about it or in anything I’m doing? I’ve always had walls, and Matt knocked them down. He made me a more open, possibly nicer, person, because I was happy and relaxed and carefree and in love… But now they’re back up and then some, which is probably why someone described me as shut down lately. They’re not wrong. Because it’s just me now. All my thoughts, and feelings, and everything that was once shared is now not. So, unless I’m writing, it’s all inside me, and that’s where it stays, under control. Talking is all very well, but it doesn’t fix anything, so why bother? My life is getting quieter by the day. I can feel myself cutting myself off from other people. I’m adrift and lost and broken and I don’t think I’ll ever be whole again. And I guess I just have to figure out how to carry on living my life feeling this way, because I honestly can’t imagine a time when I’ll be happy again.

I just miss him SO much and I am SO f*cking lonely all the time. I’ve lost my soul mate. How does something like that ever get better? This is what my life is now. It is what it is, and what it is, is sh*t.

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.

The long and winding road

Everyone grieves differently. And no-one takes the same path through the minefield. That’s ok. There is no right way. There are no rules. You do what you need to do, I’ll do what I need to do.

For many reasons, scattering Matt’s ashes is something that his close family and I will not be doing together. So rather than keep it as a contentious issue we have, very politely, split that which remains. They can  now do their thing and I can do mine, without anyone standing on anyone else’s toes. It’s not ideal, but I get it, I understand, and it’s ok. Well it’s not ok, but it is how things are, and I’ve reached a place where I’m ok with that. In the big scale of things, it’s not important, and I’m glad we’ve reached a resolution that works for both sides. It’s a difficult situation and I have absolutely no wish to upset anyone any further. So having agreed such, I was going to collect from the funeral directors on Monday but, as it turns out, that is now when my Mum will be having her home dementia assessment, so I ended up rescheduling and collecting from them today. It was therefore not something I was entirely prepared for, but hey, no surprise there though, nothing in my life seems to go to plan these days.

As a result my head is, and has been, in a whole heap of weird places since then. I’ve had work to do. I then had drinks and a much appreciated conversation with Guy, a friend of long standing who I’ve not seen for a while, and which was lovely. I then went and had food in the Lamb because I had a voucher, needed to eat, and nothing better to do. And then I decided to come home because I figured I might as well be alone because there’s no-one around me, than alone surrounded by other people, and those who could have come and talked to me but didn’t. Did I mention I come with my own personal exclusion zone? Yes, I know, I probably looked absorbed in my kindle, and you didn’t want to bother me or intrude, blah blah… That’s supposing you even noticed me at all of course. I apparently do invisible quite well too.

Anyway… I was expecting to be home alone for a lot longer, but where the Lamb was busy, the Oakhouse was not, and Austin was home to keep me company way earlier than usual, so I had company to watch Death Race with. Got to love a Statham film. Lots of violence, flexing muscles, occasional wit and sarcasm, and absolutely no requirement to think too much. Distraction is a wonderful thing…

In amongst all of this a plan has come together for the scattering of his ashes. A small, invitee only plan, because I want it to be a positive thing, I don’t want any stress or negativity. I know what he wanted, and I now have a where and a when. I’m working on the who – but it’s something to be done with close friends and family, in a supportive and caring way, as he would want it to be. As I’ve said before, there is nothing like grief to show you who your friends are. It brings perspective to things, to what is important, and to what, and who, is not. I have met diamonds in the rough, been sucked in by grief tourists, and discovered rotten apples where I expected better. I know being friends with someone who is grieving is f*cking hard work, and I understand why some have fallen by the wayside. I find I have much more patience and understanding these days than I did before. I judge less, and I don’t let the little things stress me as I once would have done.

Scattering Matt’s ashes is something that means a great deal to me, and it is something I want to do surrounded by those who have risen to the challenge, by those who loved and supported Matt and I, and by those who love and are supporting me. Family isn’t just blood, it’s also those who you meet along the way through life, who stick with you, for the right reasons. There’s a quote – “Friends are the family you choose” – which works. Bonds are not just made by blood, or bits of paper, they’re forged through the battles you fight together, and by what you come to mean to each other. And now that I truly know who my friends are, I consider them to be part of my family and they are amazing. I can never thank them enough.

So I am going to do this, I am going to do it for him, and I am going to do it right, and do right by him, in a place that meant the world to him, and to us. It’s where he wanted his ashes scattered…we just didn’t know it would be so soon. As long as I am doing the best by him and for him, and for us, I can hold my head up high. It’s my way of honouring him. Yes it will hurt, and it will be hard, but it will also be lovely, because that’s how we will make it, together. It’s one more step along the path I now have to walk without him…and it is a step that needs to be taken.

In the meantime, half of what remains of Matt is downstairs. And I really, really, don’t know how I feel about that. Because it’s ashes, it’s not him, he’s gone….but at the same time it’s all that’s left of him, and a part of me wants to cling on to that, because it’s all I have now. Ashes, and photos, and sentimental things, and memories. I’m feeling oddly numb… I’m pretty sure I’ve slammed up a massive wall to stop me thinking about it. When crying hits me, as it has on and off today, it’s come from a very deep place, and it’s been really hard to stop, and I’m tired enough already. It’s all just too hard, I’m very emotional, I’m in a lot of pain still, and I have a lot, maybe far too much, on my plate at the moment. So let’s just stick to one small thing at a time, one day at a time, one challenge at a time. I got through today. Tomorrow awaits.

 

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 🙁

There were dragons

Today is day three of a stinking cold, when I’ve spent most of the day in bed again, although it’s amazing how much work you can get done from bed, so it’s not been a complete washout. But I wasn’t feeling great, and as yet another tedious day slowly ticked by, my mood ticked down with it. Time came when Austin and I needed to go out, for whatever reason, and I thought I’d feed the lizards beforehand. Only to discover that Matt’s bearded dragon Reg, an elderly beastie who we’d rehomed for someone a couple of years ago, had passed away. He was a very old, and grumpy, man, and he’d not been himself lately, so it didn’t come as a huge shock but…that didn’t stop it upsetting me a lot. And I so wanted to tell Matt, and obviously I couldn’t, and I can’t, and that hurts. I know him being his shouldn’t make a difference but it just does. It’s why I couldn’t even consider getting him rehomed when I wasn’t coping with looking after the zoo, even though I did let the leopard geckos go. He was specifically Matt’s, and just like Matt, he’s gone. It’s another link broken… And I found a lovely photo of the two of them, which just made me cry more because, man, look at him? He looks so relaxed and happy, and it just feels like he’s looking right at me, right into me, the way he always did. But he isn’t, and it’s just pixels on a page, and again, that hurts.

I’m struggling at the moment. Grey days. Stinking cold. The endless grind of day after day of the same old stuff. Grief hurts. My insides hurt. It’s all draining. It’s depressing. It’s soul destroying…I feel like I’m being eroded.

Someone told me not to worry, it’ll get better, and I had to bite my tongue a lot. Because how the f*ck is it going to get better? Is Matt going to come back? Is my life suddenly going to be exciting, and full of sweetness and light? And someone else recently expressed surprise that I’m still crying every day and I was like, really? Like it’s been six months so I should be fine now, right? Whereas someone else made a point of talking to me in the shop this evening to say how sorry she was to hear about Matt’s beardie and how unfair it was to add that on top of everything I’m already going through, which was very thoughtful and just lovely. It takes all sorts, right?

I’m seeing friends every day for the rest of the week, even Saturday, all of which I’m looking forward to, because I’m hoping it’ll be the boost I need right now. And March is a new month and I need to make some changes around here, and maybe I’ll actually manage to do that, and kickstart some things. Time will tell, as ever…baby steps, things I can achieve, no pressure. The last thing I need now is to be beating myself up for not achieving unrealistic goals, right? At least tomorrow I have to get out of bed in the morning. That’ll be a good start.

Tough week

It’s been a tough week. The six month mark, however arbitrary it may be, hit me hard. And I’m starting to recognise the signs of when things are worse. Life feels flatter. I cry more. My anxiety gets worse. I stress about everything more, work, chores, whatever. I care even less about what I’m wearing, what I look like, what I eat, drink, smoke, how much or little I do of any, either, or all. I just want to curl up in bed and stay there. And I stop writing. Never a good sign.

But here I am. I’m sort of back. I had a good session with my counsellor today, mainly from a venting point of view, but also because it’s good to talk to someone, since no-one seems to want to talk to me anymore. I swear I have a goddamn f*cking exclusion zone around me. But even with work stress, and many other things not going according to plan (surprise, surprise), I have managed to get through the week, and I have some half formulated plans that are taking shape, and that will hopefully come to fruition and help with the moving on process. Every little plan, every little thing booked into the calendar, helps to keep the wheels turning, to keep me moving forward. It’s weird, because it’s not like I actually look forward to stuff, but it’s just that it forces me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I am massively grateful to those of my friends who have been in touch this week. Amidst the whole Caroline Flack thing, and the #bekind, and the don’t knock other people’s crowns off and post a nice photo of yourself thing… Really??!! Actions speak louder than a million facebook posts. The card that George dropped through my letter box. The messages from Jo checking in to make sure I was ok. Mark doing the same. But as I said in my rather pointed FB post, I could have counted the number of people who’ve been in touch lately on one hand, and I wouldn’t have needed the thumb. That’s probably not strictly true, and it’s probably not totally fair. It’s not far off though. How many people just like a post, share a meme, join a #trend and think yep, go me, job done?

When it boils down to it, it’s just me and Austin. Who didn’t get the job he went for, and for whom I am totally gutted. Just because I’d kinda like him to stay here doesn’t mean that I don’t equally want him to spread his wings and fly away and go and live his life and not be stuck with mine. That’s what he should be doing. And with his usual pragmatism he is on to Plan B, and C, and D…and sooner or later, one of them will come through. I will say this though, the guys that turned him down for the ECA three year training course? They don’t know what they’re missing, and they have turned down a gem.

So here’s the weekend. A quiet one. Which means that, if I want to, I can sleep all day tomorrow. My dreams are, thanks to all my meds, even more vivid than ever they were, and they were pretty mental before! And they’re so much more interesting and exciting that my actual life is. For the last few days I’ve woken up, and then burst into tears as my black and white painful reality replaces my technicolour dreams, and I remember just how shit things are, and what my life is now. To add insult to injury it turns out the my doctor has retired and as I’ve known him for many years as my Dr and a cyclist, and he knows all my history and was massively supportive and being helpful, I feel a little as if someone has pulled a rug out from under me. That’s like 20 years of my medical history down the drain. There just isn’t enough support for anyone anymore. Our overstretched NHS can’t cope with acute demand, let alone me, or my folks. There are waiting lists for everything, from Mental Health Care to Social Services. The thought of having to start over with someone new, for my endometriosis, my grief… To be fair, the lady doctor who did call me today sounds lovely, and has asked me to give her a few days to go away and find me any other available specific support there is out there and also chase up my referral to Mental Health Services, which may well never have been made in the first place. You’d have thought being considered a suicide risk might flag you up somehow…?

But that’s the way it is. And to be honest, if I got to that point, I wouldn’t be calling anyone anyway. I know I’d know what I wanted to do, I’d have made my mind up, and I wouldn’t want to be talking to someone who might stop me from doing that. I wouldn’t call anyone. I sure as hell wouldn’t do that “call me if you need me” thing. That’s not how it works. Even if you really meant it when you said it, which SO many people, as it turns out, don’t. Stop posting meaningless but well meaning messages on social media. Meaning well isn’t enough. Reach out. Text or DM people. Call them. Drop them a letter, a card, a bunch of flowers. Do something human. Having been on the receiving end of all of those, I can tell you that the smallest REAL things can make the biggest different.

So this seems to have been more of a rant than a post. There’s more stuff I can’t talk about yet, but I’ve blurted out enough already. The rest will come another time. And if you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening. Thanks for reading. And thanks for being there for me. It means more than you know.

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…

 

On the edge

For the last two/three days I’ve felt something along the way to feeling normal. Not almost. Not close. Nothing like that. But more like it’s something I could maybe feel one day in the future. And I don’t know why. It could just be because I’m getting very good at not thinking about things that will set me off. It could be because…oh, a million reasons. Who knows? As ever, these days, it just is what it is. And I’ll go with it…

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had sad moments. I’ve cried. I’m crying now, because it’s the end of a long day and I’m somewhere where I wish he was and, as ever, I miss him. I hate going to bed without him, and I miss sleeping in his arms. But the status quo lately seems to have been one step up the ladder from where it was before. But tomorrow I could just as easily fall off the ladder completely and be back down where I started. One of the many things I’ve learned is that grief is not linear. Or predictable.

It’s a weird feeling. A bit numb maybe. A bit of me is just waiting for it to all come crashing down on me again, and is just wondering when that crash will come. A bit of me is going ok, is this it now, is then when it starts getting better? Am I ok now? Luckily the rest of me isn’t that stupid. I know that’s not how it works.

But today I did a lot of work. Ouchy woke up but didn’t set me back. And now  I’m with family, have had some good conversations, and have plans for the weekend. Tomorrow is going to be more challenging, but I’ll leave that for tomorrow. Why borrow trouble?

This is not the life I wanted. But it is the life I have. I just wish I wasn’t living it without him.

I still love you, my mad, crazy, beautiful boy. Wherever you are, if you are, I hope you know that. I’m all yours and you’re all mine. I wish I could have kept you safe.