After ‘The Death of Marat’

Bath ss

Sharing with you this photo I took some years ago as a joke, to show John – referencing the famous painting The Death of Marat (1793), below.

It’s such a sensitive painting for me.  It had some significance for John, some humourous idea he had had that referred to it.  We used to comment on it – it’s often used or referenced in other contexts.

Of course dreadfully difficult in my circumstances now, I hate it really – but nevertheless, having come across my photo above, I wanted to show someone.

It sort of provides an example of how intellectual our relationship was (and what I’ve lost).

http://muddycolors.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/artist-of-month-jacques-louis-david.html

 

 

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Another Spring

Daffodils 2018.jpg

Well the snow and cold weather are over (I hope) and I’ve suddenly been surprised by Spring!  These are daffodils in St James’s Park.

It’s brought with it a resurgence of grief – back to that horror of thinking that the person who was closest to you, who you were sharing your life with, has been snatched away, and will never see a spring again, will never see daffodils again.

I was shocked to think that it’s my fourth spring already since it happened – that I’ve seen four springs now on my own, and cried over the fact he’s no longer here with me.

We used to sit and look at blue skies together, and comment on how the enjoyment of the sky and nice weather didn’t depend on one’s wealth, how anyone could have that pleasure.  Now looking at a blue sky is difficult, because of feeling my loss of him, and his loss of being able to ever see the sky again.

It’s such a morbid thought, but for every one of us there will be the spring after we’ve gone, the first of those that we’ll never see.

Somebody else will be looking at daffodils (and maybe remembering us).

 

 

 

Programmes I don’t watch

These are TV programmes that we used to watch together, or he used to watch a lot, so I no longer ever watch them because it feels too sensitive, like that was another life:

  • Have I Got News For You
  • QI
  • Mock The Week
  • Only Connect
  • Doc Martin
  • Mastermind
  • University Challenge

These are programmes that I have started to watch again on my own, even though they are sensitive:

  • Family Guy (But never the musical introduction/theme song, because that was such a shared thing)
  • Would I Lie To You (I like this so much and it cheers me up)

(But how can I just return to watching things we used to watch, like nothing’s happened?  It’s not easy.   How can something so massive have happened to you, and yet the rest of the world, trivial things, just carry on the same?)

 

Comparing Cinderellas

Over the past few weeks I’ve been comparing two versions of a ballet – Prokofiev’s Cinderella.  One was a traditional version from Amsterdam, Dutch National Ballet, one a recording of the Matthew Bourne version set during the war, which I saw recently at Sadlers Wells but which was also on TV over Christmas.

The music doesn’t directly correlate as you switch between the two, but I’ve certainly become very familiar with bits of it.  I don’t know if I could say which of the productions I preferred, probably the more traditional one, but only by a bit, and both had interesting scenes and ideas.  For example in the Dutch version I particularly loved the groups of four seasons dancers, in different colours, bright green for spring, yellow for summer, red for autumn, then blue/white for winter, with the trees reflecting the same colours, so pretty.  And also how the trying on of the shoe was done, with a whole row of dancers moving forward by one on a row of chairs, with each one doing something slightly different or comical when it came to their turn.  And in the Matthew Bourne I liked particular moments, like the angel all in silver suddenly appearing on a mantelpiece, and the way the stepmother and family do a funny walk together in the hospital scene, so evocative and so cleverly matching the music.

I’m only just starting to bear to be able to listen to emotional classical music again.  The music of the final scene – I’ve just watched the ending of both versions, not an actual proper dance between the couple but a staged happy ending – when it comes in is SO affecting and emotional, it’s like the Rosenkavalier duet at the end, just magical, all ‘twinkly’, stunning how a piece of music can bring out such feelings in your heart you can hardly express, well done Prokofiev!

Just another musical comment.  It’s a well known thing in classical music and opera for example, that the tempo at which things were taken used to be slower in the past and in modern productions can be faster.  John and I used to discuss this a lot, he had an amazing feel for tempo and we both tended to agree about a preferred tempo.  In general, personally, I often prefer the more ‘old fashioned’ speed, and sometimes find things taken much too fast (many examples I could give in opera).  But listening to the main Cinderella theme repeated at the end of these two ballets – in the traditional one it was played over the credits, in the Bourne there was a wonderful danced curtain call – I really felt the traditional tempo was just that bit too slow and laborious, whereas it was much better, to my ears ‘right’, in the more modern version.

I felt so so sad that my partner that I used to be able to talk to about this sort of thing was gone – and so so sure that he would have agreed with me about the tempo, and about the astonishing musical beauty of the ending.

Walking and talking

I’ve been trying to walk more, to get exercise for my own health, and have been regularly walking up and down a long straight path which I call my ‘exercise path’.  It is in a rather deserted place, by a playing field.  Occasionally there are other people there walking dogs, but generally it is a lonely and dismal place.

I prefer it when it is sunny – I have got rather hooked on walking in winter sunshine, on cold days. Quite often though, when the weather is just dull and overcast, I find it depressing – countered only by the fact that by exercising I know I’m doing something positive for myself.

I can’t help feeling very reflective when I walk on this path.  I find myself sometimes talking as if to John, telling him what’s been happening and what my current state of mind is like.  Oddly I don’t think I ever walked there with him, so it’s not a place he would have known.

It’s three years now and I do feel very very lonely, and miss so much having someone intelligent and caring and supportive to talk to every day.

It’s true that some things get easier, that things aren’t so raw, but it’s also true that it never goes away – the loss is always there.  I will never be able to speak to him again, listen to him again. Every time I walk on the path is another memory made without him.  Every sunny, or dull, day is a day he hasn’t seen – every leaf, every cloud, every bird, something he’ll never see.

I never expected to be feeling loneliness like this again.

 

Winter Wonderland

Well I’ve got seriously hooked on Winter Wonderland (a giant funfair and christmas market) in London’s Hyde Park this year.

I’ve been four times.

The first time I went alone and was so aware of everyone around me being in couples and groups, I don’t think I saw one other person on their own.  So I contrived to go back a couple of times with people I didn’t know very well, which was better in a way but didn’t feel great.  (I guess what you really want is to be there with the person you loved and enjoyed the company of and who you knew so well, but that’s no longer possible.)  I went back again yesterday on my own and felt a bit better.  Clinging onto my idea that although he’s no longer here, there’s still ‘me and the world’, and why can’t I enjoy what the world has to offer even though I’m on my own.

I had another profound revelation, that I’ll have to ‘compartmentalise’ my life more now.  Whereas he, my dear life partner, covered several aspects, maybe now I’ll just have to separate things.  Not expect ‘intellectual stimulation’ along with ‘companionship’.  Find ‘humour’ in one place and ‘emotional support’ in another.

I’ve just written a page long list of all the rides and attractions I can remember at Winter Wonderland – there is so much to look at and to do.  I went on the observation tower and to the ice show, and would really have loved to go on one of the fast things, like the main roller coaster that goes upside down five times.  But I can’t judge whether I’d like it or hate it – maybe next year I’ll pluck up courage.

I listened to live music in six different places, and also drank mulled wine and ate bratwurst, spit roast chicken, sweedish meatballs, and waffles (not all on the same day!)

One feature of Winter Wonderland is my favourite – I fell in love with the giant christmas tree children’s ride, where you sit in a spherical ‘bauble’ that goes round and up and down gently.  I just loved watching the various coloured lights at night – it’s programmed to run through so many options and is just a beautiful thing.  First it’s all red lights, then flashing white, then maybe green and purple (various combinations of two colours), then it’s all blue, then twinkling yellow and pink, then every branch a different colour…  Mesmerising, and so pretty.

Those of us still on the planet should cling onto and enjoy places like this – as they are so full of LIFE.