February 25:D-day No 5

Five years. Half a decade. 1,828 days. 157,939,200 seconds. 2,632,320 minutes 43,872 hours. 261 weeks. Whatever unit of time I use it feels too bloody long since I distractedly said goodbye to my husband as he left the house in a flurry to go and play tennis. How can I have survived the half decade that I have since Colin’s heart stopped working at 3.01 on a south London road on Saturday 25th February 2012. When I saw that policeman’s uniform through the windows of my front door I didn’t think I could live a minute without him let alone five whole years. The 25th of February 2012 is the day that my whole life changed completely and forever and somehow this year feels worse than year one, two, three or four. The world has spun me so very far away from him now and the pain may has multiplied with every eon. And now sometimes he feels like a figment of my imagination.

So I do. I imagine him in our lives everyday. I imagine how he would enjoy the funny, enlightening and sometimes baffling conversations I have with my girls. I imagine how he would be part of so many small decisions about their wee lives (ballet or tap, Irish or highland, packed lunch or school dinners) and also the great big, huge ones (money, wills, education). I imagine him proud of them reading books to themselves, being kind (every so often in Isla’s case), being so keen to learn everything and just proud of them for being fabulous.

It was so hard to imagine life without him in those early moments, hours and days and now it’s hard to imagine him here. Enjoying it all.

What is real and not imagined though is that I am grateful his death has changed me for the better. I wish he hadn’t had to die for me to realise that life is not about the things, the stuff, the car, the house, what other people have and don’t have and is their life better than your because of it. My world now is so much more about the people I fill it with. His death has made me full of empathy for others where perhaps I didn’t always put my feet in others shoes without opinion and judgement. His death has made me aware of the mortality of everyone I love and also myself. I would feel I’ve done a bad job of being on this earth if I didn’t do my utmost to raise col’s wee beings to be amazing people. He was so they shall be too. I hope with all my heart.

A tough weekend and a tough week. You hear less and less from people as the years tick on. In year one I would probably have held a bitter grudge. Now I just nod to myself and think it’s only because they just don’t know how this death of a partner and intense grief thing works. It’s hell. It’s ongoing and it doesn’t melt away as life goes on. And now, clear my throat, it is time for my crusading bit. I am glad my friends (well some of them) don’t know how widowhood can be, how it is all encompassing. I wouldn’t want them to. However, just in case the worst does actually happen to any of those I care about I am appealing to everyone out there to send a letter to their MP. It takes two seconds on this link I am sharing. One day that could be you or someone very close to you receiving a policeman’s knock on the door or some bad news delivered by a harassed doctor. Current plans by the government will rob those who do (after April 6) of much needed funds, compiled from the deceased’s NI contributions, and it makes my head spin with devious way it is happening to those who do not even know they need it yet. Rant over.

In my dreams…

In the months after Colin’s death I could easily recount in minute detail by minute detail the few dreams I had of Col. The one where I was in our house, it was full of people, but I couldn’t find him. I desperately needed to speak to him. I hunted and hunted for my phone to see if I could track him on the phone. But no one had seen my phone. Eventually I found it. And it was blank. There was no key pad. I couldn’t dial his number to call him. I was devastated. I woke just missing his voice.

Continue reading In my dreams…

Reading Him Through Others’ Words

I had a large bag of notes, cards, letters and photos, 100s of them, that I have not looked at or opened since the weeks after Col died. I have tried. Numerous times. But failed to even go beyond the first few lines of the first letter opened. I bought a beautiful book to place the memorial cards people picked up at the service for him and were to fill in with their favourite memory of Col for myself, Evie and Isla to read in years to come. These have a smiley Col beaming out from them on one side and are blank for his friends, family and colleagues to conjure up a moment in time with the man we all adored. I have read only half of them today. Through tears. So many tears. My head hurts, my eyes are but a memory and pure puffiness has replaced where they once were and I keep seeing him everywhere and weeping more.

Continue reading Reading Him Through Others’ Words

Remembering Him

It’s two years today that Col left us all behind. The last few days have been about remembering him. That said I don’t think there is a day that passes that all those that knew him do not in some small way or another remember the man or boy they once knew because that to me seems to be how losing someone works. Birthdays, anniversaries loom on the calendar and you get your way through them and tick them off and perhaps on those days you do conjure them up as they were more than you do on a run-of-the-mill day. Ultimately though you remember them and how you miss them everyday in all sorts of small ways. A place passed, a street once walked, a song heard, a photo found, an item in your wardrobe worn again, a phrase repeated on different lips…the triggers are everywhere and always. That to me is what happens to us when we are gone. Who we once were is nothing if we do not leave people behind with a thought of us, a smile Continue reading Remembering Him

Sliding Doors Moments

I am getting used to this new reality. It’s beginning to feel less odd being just me and my girls, in Edinburgh. Structure is gradually making its way back into my chaotic world. But then every so often my stomach lurches and it all slips away. Where’s Colin? Why are we here? Argh. I have a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment and think does Colin exist in some parallel universe and I’m just another version of me and I got on the wrong train? There is actually another me, Evie and Isla somewhere else. He and we exist in our London house in this ‘other’ world and we are doing all the things that we always did. He goes to work, he kisses the girls goodbye, I get excited about him coming home, I get annoyed with him when he is home for being too loud and waking up the girls, we have evenings together watching TV and playing competitive sofa University Challenge, we have weekends, we spend time with friends, we argue about who is going to chase Evie up and around the soft play centre, we freeze our bums off in play parks while assessing what is a fair amount of time before we hit a cafe and we have a laugh and some disagreements as we plan for our future.

I want a Philip Pullman-style Subtle Knife so I can slice through to this ‘other’ dimension because although this new reality I am in is now OK and I’m getting used to it. I would much prefer to be back in that place, doing all those things and just being with my Col.