Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Paddington 2 was another trigger, for some reason. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I would simply say, do go. The film was as good if not better than the previous Paddington, and although it had been showing at my local cinema for several weeks, we got the last two seats and found we were in a packed screen with no children whatsoever.
All of us wept and laughed and wept again all the way through, and it really is a few hours of honest, heartwarming magic. Also, Paddington has exactly the same stare as MollieDog, which of course made it even more touching for me. There is such a loving and courageous honesty to this little bear (and to Moll) that is unusual in today’s sceptical world, and the film was all the better for it.
But walking home on my own, and returning to a dark, cold flat, made me realise how much I miss having someone to share it with. To get in, have a cuddle and tell them about the film. To cry at the touching bits, and laugh at the hilarious bits. To lie in bed later, hearing the comforting sound of another person breathing next to you. Nowadays I look over at Pip’s picture and wonder if I dreamt those 14 years.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very fortunate. I have some extremely good friends, many of them male. I enjoy my work, and am lucky to be able to survive financially when so many can’t. I have my darling Moll, I love singing with my various groups, and particularly enjoy doing gigs, which are all very good for the soul. I am a healthy, independent woman and I value that highly.
And yet this year more than ever, as the days grow shorter, I am aware of all those whom I have lost at this time of year. My dad died in early January, when I was in my early twenties, and that knocked the stuffing out of Christmas from then on, as far as I was concerned.
Pip died seven years ago on Boxing Day. I lost my brave, funny, charming and Best Cuddler in the World that day. Three years ago, his brother, the lovely Pete, decided to join his brother Pip. I can’t blame him, but we all miss them so much.
And right now, these very special men, whom I have all loved very dearly, are circling round my thoughts. They call out to me in my sleep, and stand at my shoulder while I walk. They sit beside me when I watch TV at night. They remind me that this is part of what love is. If I hadn’t loved them, I wouldn’t be missing them so much now.
I have so much to be grateful for, and yet being on your own, especially at this time of year, when you loved being with your partner, is no joke. So spare a thought for those of us who might seem a bit blotchy eyed or less enthusiastic than others right now. We are just waiting for our ghosts to disperse, and maybe find that other special person to share our time with.