Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The next step


On Monday I went shopping. My list read, “Veg, echinacea, ashes.” And so I went to collect my Pip and bring him home, a task I found very comforting. En route, I met a friend and her dog to go for a walk and she looked at the green box on the passenger seat. “It's Pip,” I explained.

“Oh fine,”she said, unfazed. “Shall I have him on my lap?”

As he had always fancied her, I had to smile....

Many of you have asked for an account of Pip's memorial service and while I do not wish this to be a blog about bereavement, this is obviously what occupies a large part of my time at the moment. So bear with me for a moment.

Grief is, like death, a strange, private business and we all do it differently. I have Wet Days when I howl and rage and weep at the fact that he is gone. At how quickly it all happened – though of course those last 3 months didn't seem quick. Sometimes I can't even bear to think of him, or look at any pictures, for the gut churning pain is too raw, too intense.

And then I get Dry Days, where my energies are higher and when I walk Molls on the beach in the morning, he is there beside me and that is a huge comfort. I come home and instead of an empty flat, his presence is all around me and I talk to him, hear him call, “Flowerpot!”

But yesterday - his memorial service - felt very unreal. I felt as if I was in a play, waiting for Pip to walk in and comment on the jazz band, or sit and take my hand as he always did. The jazz band were wonderful and when Ruth got up to sing, her voice melted the sternest of hearts.

John the Fish, the humanist celebrant who knew Pip, Pete and me, read my words out and those of others, my friend Nik gave a lovely funny talk about Pip, and my older brother and his wife gulped through a tribute. We started and finished with Pip's favourite songs and the shared love in the room was amazing, the room packed so that people were standing outside.

Afterwards, in the pub, the band continued playing and the party continued. I talked to as many as I could, went home to get Mollie and have a breather, and returned to the pub later. Then my youngest brother and I went home for more talks, wine and some grub.

It was a day of laughter and tears, of shared memories and a sense of disbelief. Now it's another rainy January, I put Ben on the train first thing and then had to take poor Molls to the vet where she is now having some glass removed from her paw. I'm to pick her up this afternoon (she said, trying not to think about what might happen under the anaesthetic).

Several widows (I dislike that melodramatic word) have warned me that now the service is over, I will feel terrible. Well, I haven't been feeling wonderful so far, but I guess we all react differently and if I hit the skids, then I do. What will be will be.

I'm embarking on the next chapter of my life – and who knows what will happen? I intend to write my way out of this and if I can help others who are suffering as well, all the better. The last few months have shown me what an incredible bunch of friends I have and I will need them all, I know. (SO does Molls – I hadn't realised how much we would both miss male company.)

But as Pip wrote in his last card, “I will always love you, Flowerpot,” and I will try and hold on to that to give me strength in the coming months.

41 comments:

Akelamalu said...

You seem to be managing well m'dear. I can only imagine how hard it is for you. I believe Pip is with you, such love stays forever. I know it's the old adage but time is a great healer. I'm thinking of you. xx

Jo said...

I'm so touched by your post. I've only just discovered your blog, but shall be revisiting. I lost my first husband 14 years ago this month. He was 34 and I was six months younger. Our son was 20 months old when it happened. It would also have been his 49th birthday on January 24th. I have a 'new life' now, as I've remarried and have another child. However, this time of year is always painful and sad for me. You learn to live without the person who has gone, but you never 'get over it'. My thoughts are with you over the next few months and years. Wishing you strength, courage and glimmers of happiness!!

Morton S Gray said...

Hi,
I love your phrase 'I intend to write my way out of this.' I think writing is such a blessing at times like this. I recently wrote a piece about how my late father affected my spirituality. It was very cathartic and I sobbed buckets, but I like to think of it as a tribute to him. Keep writing. Hugs. Mx

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Ak. Im wishing I could fast forward the next year, emotion-wise but obviously not!

Flowerpot said...

Thanks so much for your comments Jo. I am so sorry for your loss but delighted you have found happiness again but I bet this time is difficult for you. Thinking of you too.

Flowerpot said...

I'm glad you were able to write your way out of things too, Morton.

Pat Posner said...

Aww, Flowerpot, I laughed and cried when I read about your friend having your Pip on her lap - and what a wonderful reaction it was from her.

Thank you for sharing the memorial service with us.

Keep having both Wet Days and Dry Days because they will go some way in helping you heal.

I'm sure Molls will be fine; but I know how scary it is when a pet is having an operation.

Love from me, licks from Tim and Ted
xxPat

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Pat - it was a lovely reactin wasn't it? Glad to say Molls safely home with foot in a bootie!

liz fenwick said...

Sounds like it was as perfect as memorial service can be. And like Pat the friend's comment made me laugh.

Please Mollie is home.

hugs
lx

Gusto - Umbrian Wine Tours said...

Sue, so glad we saw you yesterday and had a chance for a brief chat. Also glad we got to see the famous green box and silently say goodbye to Pip.
This was a lovely piece of writing and I think others can take comfort from it too.
... I have to say that I was doing fine until I heard Ruth sing Careless Love ... what a fabulous voice she has. I wasn't sure if I was happy or sad that you had gone to walk Mols at that point. It was such an emotional rendition.
We're looking forward to seeing you before we head back to Italy. xxx

Flowerpot said...

Liz - Yes it was actually, everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Flowerpot said...

Giselle - well Pip had to be at his own party! Hope to see you before you go - good luck with the dreaded car x

Ellee Seymour said...

Those are wonderful words to cherish for the rest of your life and I sincerely sympathise with your grief and wished you lived closer so we could walk and talk together and share our writing and inspiration.
Echinacea is good, btw.
Take care. xx

jessie said...

Again, a beautiful way of putting things. Keep writing.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

It will be a rollercoaster of emotions You will get tossed around a lot, but just bob up and down like a cork in the water and you will get carried to calmer shores eventually. The best advice I can give is to take one day at a time.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

It will be a rollercoaster of emotions You will get tossed around a lot, but just bob up and down like a cork in the water and you will get carried to calmer shores eventually. The best advice I can give is to take one day at a time.

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Ellee - yes I wish we lived nearer too.

Flowerpot said...

Jessie - I certainly will. That and singing are a huge help.

Flowerpot said...

Addy - yes it;s been a rollercoaster so far but I am just going with it - not thta there's much choice in the matter! Thanks so much for your advice.

Chris Stovell said...

I couldn't comment yesterday, as I was too choked. In my experience bereavement leaves a big hole that you can never fill. That's not as bleak as it sounds; sometimes you fall in but most of the time you know it's there and learn to accept it. Sending you every good wish as you take the next steps towards the future. Cx

Flowerpot said...

Oh Chris I know you have been through all of this and sorry to have upset you. Thanks for your advice which echoes that of one of the nurses. Accept it. I do hope we can meet some time this year. xx

Colette McCormick said...

One day at a time Sue. You just have to breathe through it.
x

Bluestocking Mum said...

You had something very special, something that not everyone has in their lives Sue - hold on to that, and take comfort from the quality of your lives together.
With love like that, Pip will never be far from you.

Writing will be your salvation. And for now just 'use' the good days to get through and do what you have to to cope.

We're all with you.
xx

Kat W said...

I'm so sorry to be reconnecting with you in such sad circumstances. I don't know if you remember me (Katina). We used to (about 9 years ago) meet up in Falmouth to write at your house, cafes & later as part of a pub based writing group. I lived in Penryn with Mackie and went to college at Tremough for a while but we had to move St Austell way because of Mackie's work.

Anyway, I often visit Debs & JJs blog and saw your comments and wondered if it was you. I finally find my way to your blog but wish it was in happier times for you. I'm so sorry about Pip. I remember silly little things but especially the boat he was building. Did he finish building the boat you once took me to see him working on?

Anyway, if you don't remember me or if I have anything wrong then sorry to disturb you. If you do - I have a blog if you want to stop by anytime & say hi.

All my love
Kat

Flowerpot said...

Colette - breathing through it is a great idea. Thanks for that.

Flowerpot said...

Bluestocking - yes I have come to realise that we did have something very special, for which I am so very grateful. At the moment his love does give me strength - I only hope I can hold onto that.

Flowerpot said...

Hi Kat - good to hear from you. Yes, he did finish refurbishing the boat and we sold it about 8 years ago. Glad to see you are still writing - keep in touch!

Debs Carr said...

Isn't it funny how close friends tend to say the right thing. It made me smile when I read about your friend asking if she should have Pip on her lap.

The memorial service sounds very beautiful. Grief is strange and something we all deal with differently and I'm glad you're going to write your way through it.

Poor Molls, I hope her paw is on the mend. x

Talli Roland said...

You've brought tears to my eyes. I can just feel the love you and Pip have for each other, and his memorial service sounds like a great tribute to him. Thinking of you.

Flowerpot said...

Debs - and some people say completely the wrong thing! Molls is on the mend thanks - just got back frma long walk and she seems OK (she says crossing fingers)

Flowerpot said...

Talli - it was a great service - everyone said what fun it was and absolutely Him. Thanks for your thoughts Talli.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think you're doing the right thing in talking about it. No point bottling it up. We need to reach out and touch into people's hearts with our memories; and that is exactly what you're doing on here.

Take care, CJ xx

Flowerpot said...

CJ - Thanks for that.

Lane said...

It sounds such a wonderful and fitting memorial service fp.

I hope your next steps will be manageable - wet days and dry days, but manageable days. Thinking of you and Molls. xx

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Lane - a lot of peole have come up to me since and said, "I'd like a send off like that when I go," so I think Pip approved.

Amanda said...

What a beautiful post. Funny how something so humourous as your friend having Pip on her lap can bring tears to the eye. Thinking of you. XX

Flowerpot said...

Mandy - I find it 's the kindnesses that make me cry so much at the moment!

MarmiteToasty said...

(((Flowerpot))) my heart and soul goes out to you... reading this through tears and smiles at your friend.... I will never fully know what you are going through.... probably due to a lack of a decent husband ever in me life :) - but i can read your pain through your beautiful words.....

one day I will get back down to cornwall and the pasties will be one me...

much love to you....always

x

Flowerpot said...

Marmie you are a star. My love to you for your extreme courage and humour. We'll toss over the pasties... xxx

Ellee Seymour said...

Take comfort from having the love of a special man and that is the price you pay for the immense grief you now feel. I hope your writing brings you comfort, and one day joy again.

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Ellee - I hope for all that too. xx