Excitement and nervousness as I near what would have been Colin’s 40th birthday. His friends and my family are beginning to gather in Edinburgh complete with our numerous training injuries for the Edinburgh Half Marathon on Sunday. I’ve booked a private dining area so if we are all still able to move then we are going to toast Colin and our efforts for the British Heart Foundation that evening. It will be all the more poignant because as a group of friends we have just lost another lovely man too young and too soon last weekend. So it will be cheers to you Neil and Colin on Sunday. We love you and miss you both and we wish you were here to laugh at our ageing bodies as we steer them around what is set to be a very windy city come the weekend.
For more information please check out my feature in Edinburgh’s Evening News.
After Colin’s funeral a former client of his came over to speak to me. He was keen to tell me that Colin had changed his life for the better. Colin had helped stop his ex-wife from removing his two children from the UK and this man was eternally grateful to my dead husband for that. I am eternally grateful to that man for showing me a different side to Col on that very difficult day. To me Colin just so happened to be a divorce lawyer. His life outside of our family life was just that, outside. I didn’t think much of it. I certainly never pondered how my bumbling husband could alter the path of someone’s life. I thought he simply sent lots of letters arguing over whose was what and went to court every so often to argue in person via expensive barristers. Colin didn’t think he was very good at what he did. I used to tell him that was a sure sign that he was. My view is that if you permanently think you’re going to be found out, that somehow you’ve got to where you are and no one has noticed yet that you’re a bit of a fraud, then you work doubly hard to avoid the big reveal that uncovers you. People that think they are great at what they do are usually complacent. Col was not complacent it seems. It was not only this kind man who spoke to me after Col’s memorial service that thought so highly of him. I received beautiful letters from barristers, clients and colleagues who all thought the same. One day I will read them all again. In the meantime many of those same people who I don’t know but knew this other Col that I didn’t have been sponsoring my run for Col and I am amazed at their generosity. Overwhelmed actually. They’ve never met me, but on the strength of knowing Col in this other life he led, they have been moved enough to help me fundraise in his name. With these donations and so many others from friends, families and my blog’s followers I have raised over £4000 in Colin’s memory for the British Heart Foundation and I can’t thank you all enough. Let’s hope that my stress fracture in my ankle allows me to get round and I do my wonderful husband proud.
In the early days, weeks and months after Colin died no stranger out there in the big, bad world was safe from my tears. I tended not to weep with friends and after the early days my family didn’t even see me cry all that often. But car park attendants, post office clerks, shop assistants, well they got some of the best or worst of my inappropriate weepages. But for months now I have been almost operating as a fully, formed human being again. I’ve been flying under the ‘widow’ radar in everyday society because I have not had one of those moments where the simple things in life (the supermarket shop, getting a child passport, applying for a new road tax disc) have broken me into little pieces like they used to. But today I wept again with a stranger in a strange place. Proper sobbing with big fat tears. Grrrrrr. The nurse at the A&E was terribly nice about it but I don’t think she had any clue why someone being told that no their puffy ankle wasn’t a stress fracture but damaged ligaments and that they shouldn’t exercise for four weeks on said ankle would end up in uncontrollable tears. Through the three NHS tissues she kindly supplied me with I managed to croak out in between sobs that I am meant to be running Edinburgh’s Half Marathon in memory of my dead husband on what would have been his 40 birthday, in two and a half weeks, and I have raised nearly £4,000 for the British Heart Foundation because his young heart gave up too soon. I had no idea how much this run has come to mean to me. I walked (with a slight hobble) out of there absolutely devasted. I sat in the hospital car park weeping in my carseat. It felt like everything that has kept me going since his D Day anniversary in February had just crashed down around me.
The good news is the A&E nurse was wrong. My physio has taped me up this afternoon and has said even if I have to limit my training to cycles and rowing I can run that day with a little physio magic. I hope so because despite all this training wrecking my ancient body I am so looking forward to running for Col on that day with our friends and my family beside me all the way. Please stay together ankles, knees and hips. Just please.
Sponsor me in the hope I might make it all the way….
When Evie was a baby Col and I had a competition about who’s name she would call out first. He would sit there just repeating Dada Dada Dada at her at every opportunity with a glint in his eye. I didn’t realise until some time later that I was fighting a losing battle anyway as almost every child says Dada first. And Colin knew it. He’d googled it and it’s something to do with ‘d’ being an easier consonant to say but could also be nature’s way of making the parent who did not pop the baby out in the first place feel even more attached. Anyway, much to our amusement Evie’s first word was neither Mama or Dada and really wasn’t a word. ‘Abu’ was applied indiscriminitly to both of us and became our name for her.
What’s gutting now he’s gone though is that Colin’s second daughter is very much a Daddy fan. Her first words have been bubble, ball and bot bot but her new favourite this week is Daddy. Not Dada but Daddy. It’s so clear and heart wrenching every single time. And everything and everyone is Daddy. Pictures on the wall and people who come and go all get the same thing – a finger point and a, clear as a bell, ‘Daddy’. It’s not like we have that many daddies in our lives but I suppose she does hear it. From me to Evie and her about their daddy, from me to my dad, from her cousin’s to their dads, from the TV and from books. Maybe I shouldn’t think about it too much. Embrace it. I have been trying. So when she pointed at the black jazz trumpeter on the strange mural in my kitchen and said, ‘daddy’ I snorted with laughter and got up and got a pic of Col to show her who her actual Daddy is. I will keep on going with this process. Because after two hours listening to a perpetual ‘Daddy’ from the back of the car yesterday I am a little over it. I can almost hear Col laughing at the absurdity of it. When the two of us competed over Evie and her first Dada and Mama he used to tell me that he wouldn’t have to do much to earn it and that no matter how many nappies I changed or how many baths or feeds he missed out on it would still be ‘Dada’ that came first….well now he’s got that a little too right. He didn’t get too many nappy changes or feeds in in those nine weeks with Isla and yet his mini me is a massive fan. Oh Col you’d adore her right back.