Dear John, 6 years on

Dear John

Well, in the same way it’s so weird that you didn’t know about Brexit, you also completely missed a world-wide pandemic (tautology!), with a virus having killed well over a hundred thousand people in the UK alone.  So far I have escaped it.  I have wondered whether you would have survived it; it might have taken you just a few years later anyway.  I’ve also wondered whether it was a factor in your ‘unknown infections’ whilst in hospital; could it have been Covid back then?

We are still in a national lockdown which means no travelling round the country, no holidays abroad, no restaurants or retail outlets open, no zoos or stately homes to visit, no big events to go to like the country shows, or Crufts or racing.  Also I have not been able to socialise at all, look for new friends etc, so have felt very very isolated and often scared.

Because I’m in a new area, my grief has come back quite a bit.  If I walk by the sea on a rough and rainy day, I think, John would have liked this.  Every time I see old couples together holding hands, I think, that should have been us – we would have stayed together so I would have been in a life-long relationship, growing old together (didn’t happen).  I come across historical things locally and think, would John have known about that?  What would John have thought about everything that’s happening and where I’ve ended up?  (Well, I’ve moved but still not sure I won’t move again; it wasn’t the dream perfect location, it was just having to choose somewhere, anywhere, in a panic, because I’d moved out of the old house and had nowhere to live!)

The worst thing is living alone in a new house, with a lot of our things still around me – the same sofas, the same bed at the moment, the same pictures on the walls, the same books and CDs etc.  I can’t help thinking how sad it is that I can’t show you my house, take you on a tour.  Look, this is where I put our old bookshelves, this is where I’m keeping your artworks, our bookmarks collection.  What would you have thought of this house, John?  Would you have approved of it?  Would you be jealous to see me living here now?  Yes, of course you would have wanted more life also.  I picture you sometimes – that’s where John would have sat, in the porch, reading a newspaper, enjoying the retirement he never had.

I’m supposed to be looking forwards not back, but it’s difficult when you’re alone all the time not to feel sad and sentimental.

All my love xxx

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