My beloved husband, Kent, died in January 2012, 3 years after diagnosis of a brain tumour. Our son was 2 1/2 and our daughter 3 months old. He and I were far too young. I am now hurtling through the black space of life without him.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The future

Hi love.

It's me.

I'm in the future.

The future, this one that terrified me so much it made my head spin out. I'm here and I'm doing it.

The best news is, I'm surviving. I have survived the last few years. My heart seems to still be beating, and life is bursting around me. There are happy things. Our children, of course. My grief for their loss burns up my insides, but them - they are explosions of fun and laughter and life and delight. As you know. We have a lovely home and there are beautiful trees outside our windows. My friends care so much for me and I know they would do anything they can to make my life easier or happier. They have shed tears for me and that has shared my load. I have an old friend, you know the one, who makes me laugh and laugh, and even sometimes, you'll be pleased to know, snort. There is good conversation in my life too, good ideas, and maybe even some dreams, though I tiptoe around those. After some time, I even started enjoying food again and, can you believe, I had a curry just last night. Mum and Dad have been amazing of course. They will do anything. They do do anything. I need them so much, though I do get a little pissed off with them at times too, and I often think it was not them I chose to marry. It can get a little complicated, having them in my life to such an intense degree. I sometimes remember you telling me and Mum to play nicely.

It seems the church has forgotten me though. I wasn't expecting that. Most of those who represent the church have never spoken a word about God to me in 4 years. A couple have, and it has been incredibly painful for me, so I don't know what approach I need, but I am certainly surprised at the silence. It's the same silence of God Himself. I always believed He pursued and pursued the lost. But not this one. I think I've been left in the church's too hard basket, or perhaps it seems I have made my choice not to turn up and noone is keen to change my mind. Entering fully in to my story - our story -  puts ones faith at risk, I believe, so it's better to just create your own interpretation about it and leave me to one side. I guess there are millions of us, over to one side.

The pain has been immense Kent. I have a whole blog here where I have tried to put it in to words, so I won't try again now. But perhaps you don't need the words, perhaps you have seen it? I don't know how that works, how you can be in a place where there is all joy and no tears, yet know of the fires that have ripped through my insides these last few years, seen all the bits of me that have been changed forever, all the worst parts of me erupting to the surface, and all the bits that have turned to nothing but cinders and memory. The pain is different now, here in this part of the future. It is no less intense, but it is kind enough to wait below the surface a little. Letting me breath around it. My daily struggles are around doing all the work on my own, managing that undefinable anxiety, still a desperate loneliness at certain times of the day, that can't be filled by anyone who doesn't live in my home, and the complete disappearance of that huge part of me that was a wife, a lover and a best friend. I try to work myself up to being happier, but then it often comes crashing down and I realise my foundation seems to be unhappy. So I'm working on the idea of just having happy moments, never mind the overall feeling, just having some happy things in my day. I like to think about those happy moments increasing, and starting to hold hands with each other, though I admit I then get distracted by the idea of hand holding...

I told you once, when you were worried about me, that I would be happy again. I have regretted it many times. What was I thinking? I've wanted you to know that was such a load of bullshit. But I'll keep trying, because I know that's what you want. I've tried to be my best defender against myself too, as you are not here to do it for me. I've done it on your behalf. That's got a bit wobbly, as I have thought of the likelihood that I will be alone for the rest of my life, and the reasons why, but I keep trying to hear your voice. There's one thing I haven't been able to manage. Do you remember many, many years ago, before we knew of this future, you told me I was to never cry alone? I was always to come and find you? You're nowhere to be found now sweetheart and I have done nothing but cry alone.

Paris was attacked this week. Gunmen opening fire. Not randomly, specifically. There is so much searing pain in that city right now. I feel it so much for them. I wonder how people can feel in just a few moments all that I felt as I watched you die in slow motion. I guess that's what shock is for - they say that without it, we, the observers, would die too.  And oh, what they have ahead of them! There may be pain now, but what pain there is to come! It has been hard not to put us in Paris. Perhaps because we have been there. I imagine us getting up from our cafe table and running, or I see you being one of the ones not able to get up and run. I long for us to have been able to get up and run from that which was after you. I remember the joy of riding our bikes through Paris, and the desolation of having them stolen. I remember me doing all the talking (of course) on our long walk back to the camp site that evening, making plans for how we would live when we returned home. I remember, I always remember, you lying in bed that night quietly, thinking about your bike. "I just can't believe it's gone," you said. Can you feel that feeling again, a million-fold? That's a bit what it's like baby. Even now.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Tonight and yesterday

Tonight we will eat and drink
to remember and honour,
kissing each other on the cheek,
checking in my eyes
to see if I'm OK.
We'll make good conversation
and admire the children,
and catch glimpses of another face in theirs
and wish, wish that there was
another chair full.

How different to the other kind
of remembering, just yesterday,
stretched out flat
on a rectangle piece of grass
dropping tears down to bones,
cracking the blue sky
with the sound of a pain
that time doesn't take,
and asking him to make sure
that he's the first one there to meet me
when I arrive.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Thank you, my dear friends...

'If you're brave enough to live it, the least I can do is listen.'

- Cynthia Bond,

Monday, 27 July 2015

If I hadn't seen such riches

"Now I'm relieved to hear
That you've been to some far out places
It's hard to carry on
When you feel all alone
Now I've swung back down again
It's worse than it was before
If I hadn't seen such riches
I could live with being poor
Oh sit down
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down
In sympathy"

Stone and Harris

Monday, 30 March 2015

The crying

I said once that the crying is not for writing about.

But it is part of the story, of course. Now that this event is behind me, I feel comfortable sharing this piece, and I feel that the whole story must be told. Written in my journal in January 2013. 

This is the core of my grief. 

I'm lying on the floor on my side, my knees pulled up to my chest and my glasses on the carpet beside me. Tears and sobs flood my body, and the room is filled with the sound of pain. For a long time the world around me disappears. I sit up, and for the first time in a year of crying, nearly vomit.

I need company. Real company with breath and skin. I sit beside her cot, lean my head on the rails and reach through to feel her little body rising and falling. She stirs, and relief comes as her arm stretches out towards me. I reach down and hold her hand. No, actually - she holds mine.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sweet relief

I thought I'd be alright you know. I'm only on a half dose, and while it seems to have made a difference, surely coming off them for a while to see how it goes wouldn't be too big a deal. When I went on them I was selling my home and hadn't found a new one, and I was pretty down about that, along with everything else. Now we have a very happy home and I am finding a little more in my life.

But just three drug-free days found me wretched and sobbing on the floor, the little guy crying nearby, the little girl crouching down quietly next to me, stroking and stroking my arm, retrieving my abandoned glasses unbidden, and putting them silently within my reach. Making me better.

I may not have found my sanity in that unbearable few days, but I did find, once again, a most extraordinary heart. A sweet little mouse with a lion's heart, bursting with love, concern, tenderness. Sometimes, knowing that she is here with me, and will be here with me, is such relief.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

17 January, again.

I went to the cemetery on my own today, which is how I wanted it. It was hard, hard, hard, and again I am amazed at what a powerful place it is, and what can happen there that can be kept tucked away in other places. 

These days the pain has stayed tucked away a lot - something I have been thinking about and may write about some more. But as so often happens, the longer you go without letting it out, the bigger the hurt when it comes. It seems I am not the only one to know this.

There were no photos there today, but we did take a few when we visited on Christmas Eve. 

It's always hard to know what to do on these days. It seems that when I don't know what to do, I bake, and so, as has happened before, we made a cake for Daddy. We're working on commemoration vs celebration - cakes are a little confusing I admit, and today I was asked, 'will we be singing Happy Birthday?" We didn't do that, but we did sing, and light candles, and held on tight. I have loved those kids even more today. 

The little guy spent much of the day doing jobs-around-the house with Grandad while the girls spent some of it baking a cake together. It seems that those of us who are alive, the best way to survive is to get on and do the things you love. We'll have to keep trying that.

This girl has a cake instead of a father. Good grief.


Flowers from a friend whose heartache kept mine company today.

These have been my songs, and words (excerpts), for today. Turned up really loud they are hard to drive to, but they speak the pain.  Click on the titles to listen.
All by Brooke Fraser.

Reality has left you reeling
All facts and no feeling
No faith and all fear

I don't know why a good man will fall 
While a wicked one stands

I don't know why the innocents fall
While the monsters still stand

You who mourn will be comforted
You who hunger will hunger no more
All the last shall be first
Of this I am sure

You who weep now will laugh again
All you lonely be lonely no more
Yes the last shall be first
Of this I am sure

Eat and drink for tomorrow we die,
We will look our Maker in the eye.
Raise a flagon and drink to your health,
Who is He that can conquer Himself?

I will think of you each time I see the sun
I didn't want a day without
but somehow I've lived through another one

I will think of you each time I see the sun
I didn't want a year without you
but somehow I've lived through another one

Did you find it hard to breathe at first?
Were you wounded and in disbelief at how much it hurt?
Now the ache's still burning
but the world's still turning, isn't it?

I will think of you each time I see the sun
I didn't want a life without you
but here I am living one

Young widow grieves for her fallen husband, Albuquerque, NM