Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Six weeks on


This has nothing to do with today's post, but I felt like a bit of sea. This is Bedruthan Steps, taken on a walk last summer.

I have managed 6 weeks and 3 days so far and I think Pip would be – is – relieved. I have not starved, I have not drowned myself in wine nor a sea of self pity. I have continued to work (thank god for work), walk Molls, go to singing and meet friends.
I have started to collect my own wood.

My metabolism has changed. I am nearly always cold, and have chilblains on my little fingers. Contrary to what everyone thinks, I am eating hugely, as I'm constantly hungry. Don't ask me where all this food goes.

Some people ask me, nervously, if I'm all right. But often, if I'm not all right, I can't tell them, for at the first sign of my incipient tears, their eyes flicker like a startled horse and they start to cry themselves. So I end up consoling them.

Alternatively, there are those that rush to console me when I want to be left alone. These friends mean well, but sometimes I just need to deal with it by myself. Grief is difficult for all of us to manage.

I have discovered that sometimes, I really don't want to be with my nearest and dearest. Anyone over-emotional is a no-no. Whereas people I don't know well, or new friends, turn out to be just the right people to be with. It's an intuitive thing and one that the great writer Joan Didion has written about, to my relief. It's not just me! I thought, when I read her book, A Year Of Magical Thinking.

My friend Anne at the Farmers Market is a great source of comfort. Before Christmas, when Pip had just developed pneumonia, she said, “You'll be in my thoughts and prayers over Christmas.” Ignoring the growing queue at her veg stall, she declared, “I'm going to give you a Christmas hug,” and enveloped me in her cosy arms.

I met someone from singing at Anne's stall yesterday, and asked her if she was OK. She shook her head and tears sprang to her eyes. She told me what was the matter and we hugged each other, weeping over the polyanthus. We laughed, shakily, and compared notes on grief. We decided to go for a drink and cheer each other up. And we both went our ways with tears in our eyes and a smile on our faces.

Grief is a private matter, and not always meant for sharing. A close friend asked me how I felt, as she wanted to empathise. It varies from minute to minute, I said. Sometimes, when I think of the last three months, a great foot presses on my chest so I can't breathe. At others, I wonder if I've dreamt the last 14 years.

When I looked at Pip's watch the other day, my stomach plummeted, as if I was descending in a very fast lift. Walking Mollie the other day I felt as if my heart had slipped – and then I realised that this is exactly what it's done.

Yesterday, I saw light over the sea and my heart lifted. That's my Pip, I thought, out on the horizon, waving to me. Later I played football with Molls and I giggled like a child. On Friday we had a gig at the Poly in Falmouth and I stood on stage and sang my heart out, and I didn't miss Pip because he was right there with me, cheering us along.

32 comments:

Chris Stovell said...

I want to say 'well done', hugely well done, but that sounds a little patronizing. I want to say 'I know how you feel', but I don't because whilst I feel the loss of my dad, I'm thankful that my DH is very much here( although we've had a couple of close calls). I suppose all I can say confidently is that it's good to hear from you and that, like many others, I'm thinking of you and hoping each day gets a little easier in some small way.

Leigh said...

I think about you frequently, and wish grief wasn't such a lonely business. Am sending as much care/empathy as you feel you want right now. If there's some left over, save it for later. Though there's plenty more where it came from. x

Flowerpot said...

Thanks Chris - it doesn't sound patronising at all. It does get easier - sort of - but having lots of other challenges really helps. Nice ones, mostly!

laurie said...

this is very beautiful and i so feel for you. so dread this day for myself.

joyce carol oates has a new memoir out about being a widow. it might not be something you would want to read right now, but maybe eventually.

Akelamalu said...

Oh honey you are coping in your own way, which is the only way. No right, no wrong way, just your way. I hope it gets easier. You're right of course, your Pip will always be there with you - love never dies. x

Flowerpot said...

Leigh - you have made me smile hugely - what a generous offer. I feel better already xx

Debs Carr said...

You write so eloquently about your feelings and I'm glad that there are happy times as well as the heartbreakingly sad ones. Even the title of that book is positive, so it sounds like the perfect thing to read.x

Jenny Beattie said...

With love and hugs from me too - for whenever you need them. JJx

Talli Roland said...

Even though I can only imagine what you're going through, reading your words makes me think that Pip really would be proud at how you're dealing with your grief.

Flowerpot said...

Laurie - i read an interview about Joyce Carol Oates about a month ago - thanks for the tip. When I feel a bit stronger I will give it a go.

Flowerpot said...

Ak - it is getting easier or perhaps you just get used to it. Thanks for your thoughts. xx

margaret blake said...

It's early days, love you are doing ok, just one day at a time, believe me. Hugsxxxx

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Dearest Flowerpot – I had no idea that your beloved Himself, (Pip), had passed on. I’ve just spent a long time reading your previous posts and been terribly moved by your eloquence describing what was happening and how you felt about it all. I have been moved by all of your posts. You record the tumultuous emotions of hope, fear and sadness so very well in your writing. Six weeks is such a short a time when you are in the throes of grief. It’s a rocky road at times and grieving can be such an exhausting and lonely path to tread but it is one that is done in your own time and in your own way. I wish you well and that you have great moments of laughter and love along the way. These are the wee anchors that ground us for the times when grief engulfs us and takes our breath away at its depth and ferocity. Time eases all things; it’s just getting there that’s the rough part. May the road rise up to meet you dear FP.

Leontien said...

Thanks for your post, it helps...

Leontien

Flowerpot said...

Debs - there are happy times as well as the hard ones. Singing is a great help too...

Flowerpot said...

Thanks JJ - hugs always welcomed!

Flowerpot said...

Talli - thanks so much. I hope he is too.

Flowerpot said...

MOB - thanks so much for a lovely comment. I'm crying now! (not that it takes much but kindness always does it!)

Leontien - you take care too.

Flowerpot said...

Margaret - one day at a time is the best I can do. It works so why knock it?

Manchester Lass, Now and Then said...

It's good to hear you are keeping yourself busy with work, singing, friends and best of all Mollie♥ Like many others I think of you often xxx

liz fenwick said...

FP- there's nothing I can say except you write about it so eloquently which breaks my heart even more.

Hugs.
lx

Amanda said...

Your words are beautiful. Pip is proud. XX

Flowerpot said...

Manchester Lass - I dont think I've ever been busier - in a pleasant way. So something good has come out of all this!

Flowerpot said...

Liz - I'm so sorry for making you feel sad. It's not all bad - whatever people say, work is a great panacea. Hugs and hope to meet up when you're next in Cornwall xx

Mandy - that has made my day. Thank you! xx

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Such a lovely post with a little positivity in your words. Molls is obviously helping you through your grief, as is your wonderful ability to write it down.

Take care, CJ xx

Colette McCormick said...

One day at a time x

Denise said...

Your posts always bring tears to my eyes these days, but that's not a bad thing just the beauty of your writing. Until my sister died I'd never known how to approach people who'd lost someone. Afterwards I knew there was no magic formula, and some days you would want to talk about it and some days just be left alone. I hope the people around you pick up the signals and let you tread the path that keeps you happiest.

Flowerpot said...

CJ - Molls is a great asset, and yes there isa lot of positivity around. Sometimes more than others - but then life's like that isn't it?

Flowerpot said...

Colette - yes that;s a good way to do things right now.

Denise - what a very thoughtful comment. Thank you so much. You have said so much in so few words.

Grump said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I have a lump in my throat now and am wondering how I will cope with loss and grief when I have to meet it.
Thanks Brave heart.
Woof to the ever loving Molls xx

Flowerpot said...

Grump - to be honest, this is something I have dreaded ever since I met Pip. But I am getting through it - as you will. There are good days and bad days, which there always are in life, but Molls makes a huge difference, as Tilly will. And if you love someone, then that has its downside - you don't get owt for nowt as they say. Life moves on, which is a good thing. Love lasts forever.

Ellee Seymour said...

What a wonderful walk to relfect on your special memories.