The Fragility of Tomorrow

Had a little slip up last night, a Saturday night on my own and desperately missing Him. He, who should have been sat next to me, bare foot with beer in hand.  Tears were not shed…..grief doesn’t always soak my face.  Instead, an empty feeling where the silence deafens.  Many friends just a phone call away, yet feeling so alone.  It’s just me, me and my wine and a silent room where his voice once filled like pleasant interludes.

This morning I woke up to the news of another terror attack in London.  Our capital city in pain.  More lives taken and more families broken.  I know my tragedy is not comparable to terror attacks, but my point here is….. we never know when tragedy will strike.  How arrogant to assume tomorrow is ours, that we own ourselves and the light that follows.  We are oh so fragile yet oh so strong.  And we carry on, making memories which will last forever.  Because we know that where life is short, a memory is long.  And it’s all we can do is make them.

Speech-face ready

I was recently asked to give a speech at a Marie Curie corporate fundraising event.  I was completely shocked to be asked to be honest, but also honoured in equal measures.  So the panic began of trying to compose a suitable speech.  I’m not by any means short of words, written or spoken but to compose something to read out aloud whilst standing in front of actual living and breathing humans, would be enough to send my hair curly, if it wasn’t already. Anyway, on with it I must and that is what I did.

Last night was the event, held at a posh restaurant I wouldn’t usually go to for fear of looking out of place.  Instantly I was warmly welcomed by the city suits.  The evening started with a speech from Mr Mayor himself, who gave his talk whilst holding his very modest glass of wine and nothing written down. What a pro!  The wine indeed flowed but I restrained myself after the one glass….no one would want to hear from a slurring widow.  I was already told that my speech was to be between the main and dessert, so you can imagine the feeling of dread I felt, whilst tucking into my canon of lamb….it was enough to wretch it back up.

Finally, the time arrived.  I was called to the lectern by the hospice manager who gave some words before me.  Straight away I was hit with a problem.  I had printed my speech off on small cards which I thought would look neater so you can imagine my horror when I faced a microphone that you have to hold.  Oh no! What I am I going to do now? I was only blessed with two hands and both of those are going to be busy…one holding the cards and the other, the mic.  How will I turn the cards? No time to think…..I’ve got to start…they’re all looking at me.

The second problem I encountered was realising and regretting that I wore a black dress.  Nothing wrong with a black dress, but I’m not doing much good for the widow stereotype am I? Again, no time to worry, just get on with it.

So on with it I did.  I surprised myself at how well it was going actually.  I paced, I paused, I made eye contact, I managed to turn the cards whilst holding the mic, I managed not to cry.  At the end, I could see members of the audience dabbing their eyes and a sense of achievement came over me.  Not because I wish to make people cry with my story, but the whole point of this evening was to raise money for this wonderful charity and the only way to encourage people to dig deep is to connect with them emotionally.  Wet eyes told me that I had made a connection and that was all I could ask for.  I even got a standing ovation.

I bashfully returned to my table, grateful of the refill of wine and the smiling faces on my table.  A feeling of relief and pride washed over me, as I tucked into my cheesecake.  Next time, I think I’ll wear a yellow dress.

7th May

Just 1 year ago today He was diagnosed and it’s already been 7 months since He’s been gone.  I don’t think I will ever get over, or accept the speed at which cancer can take a young, fit and beautiful man in a matter of months.  It’s an impossible truth that I don’t want to believe, don’t want to be real, don’t want to be ours.  I’ve been dreading today, this anniversary, when 1 year ago today, life changed forever.  I owe it to my man, to keep on fighting, keep on dreaming and keep on living.  To lead a life he would be proud of me for and be the best version of myself, that he taught me to strive for. To keep looking forwards, even though every part of my being is tugged to that day, in some attempt to process the impossible.  I know tomorrow is never promised, but tomorrow I will fight again.  Today, I lament our fate.


Smacked in the face with another event

The grief train is as punctual as ever, chugging along with its repetitive rasp.  Why can’t it pause at the last stop or take a wrong turn?  After all, the driver is a learner.

But no, it has a timetable and at the moment, it’s sticking to it.  Today is Easter Sunday and as I sit here contemplatively shouving chocolates into my mouth, I wonder why you haven’t risen again? If it was possible to rise again based on love alone, you’d be here.  You’d be here, tenfold.

C’mon Sweetheart.  There’s chocolate to be eaten.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  There’s wine to be drunk.

How Am I Coping?

I’ve had many people tell me, since becoming a widow “I don’t know what I would do if I lost my husband”.  I have a problem with that statement. Is it supposed to make me feel better? Is it supposed to make me feel bad, that I am standing there…in an upright position, wearing make up, with a coffee in my hand. Because, what you’re suggesting is if you were in my position you probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, in that moment.  How could I possibly be standing there, exchanging words with another human being when my man is dead?

Truth is, I probably would have said the same thing before cancer came and took a massive shit all over my perfect life.

I usually respond with “what’s the alternative?”  This question torments me a lot and I often ask myself “how am I okay?”  This inspired me to pen the following.  Call it a poem if you want.

How am I breathing, and fast
when I’ve seen you draw your last?
How am I standing tall,
when it’s all I can do, to not fall?
How are these cheeks dry
and breast and thigh, when heavy eyes just want to cry?
How am I not bruised and burned
as I’m disgraced that the world has turned?
How can I speak instead of ball
when it’s no longer your name I can call?
How can I hear
when I still hear your voice just like it’s near?
How do I not scream
when now I only get to see you in a dream? 

I hope this answers the question to those wondering, how I cope.  I have no choice.