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.