Fear of grief

This is why I have had to look through every piece of paper that is in the house – amongst all the junk, I occasionally find a treasure!  Have come across some early writing of mine including a poem which I must have written at the time of my wedding on the Isle of Wight in 1988.  I don’t think I’ve seen it since then.

Difficult to read and retype, the particularly poignant verse being:

I will work through pain and problems,
Lean to live with fear of grief.
What we’ve had is worth a lifetime,
Even should our time be brief.

Well, our time wasn’t that brief (29 years), but I did end up experiencing grief at the end of it.

Link to complete poem here:  Wedding


Casablanca Steps


These are the Casablanca Steps, which I have written about in A Widow’s Words.

A jazz band that plays cheerful, humorous songs at the country shows – I have seen them often.  It was horribly difficult the first time I saw them after my loss – knowing that the person I had watched them with before would never see them again.

They can’t know how poignant they have become for me.


A Small Death


One of my goldfish has died.  Farthing.  (Came after Orange, Lemon, and Clement.)

It was the most placid fish, and seemed to have a calming effect on the others.  It was a ‘neutral’ fish – it was never aggressive, never bullied the others, and it seldom got chased or bullied itself.  I thought of it as probably female because of this behaviour, but can’t be sure.

For about a week it became listless, sitting at the bottom of the tank and not swimming around.  I separated it yesterday morning and it was clearly not well, not able to right itself, floating on its side.

It once before nearly died, after I first got it, but somehow it recovered, so this had sort of been its extra life anyway (about two years).

I hoped it might survive but found it dead late last night.  I have buried it in a place that only I know.

It’s only a small death, but nevertheless… the spectre of death presenting itself again.

It does of course make you aware of the parallels of when a person close to you had their last few days and died.

Poor Farthing.  You shared a bit of my life with me, in a small way.

I do wonder whether the remaining fish, for a moment, in some part of their brains, notice the absence of one of their companions.  (‘What happened to that nice quiet orange fish with the big tail that we used to swim around with?’)  This is something we humans will never know – such a thought could not be detectable or measurable. Maybe if there were only two fish, the remaining one might change in its behaviour, indicating an awareness of loss.  But with several remaining, they all behave as normal and there’s no way of knowing if they know or care (unlikely).

Never mind, I care.





News update

Dear John

It will be three years soon, and I’m still living in the same house, the same area.

I need to move and am working towards ‘letting go’.  I don’t want to be faced with difficult spots, painful memories wherever I go.  I think a fresh start would be a good idea now.

But I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years.  I’ve spent 2 years tidying and sorting and now know every corner and where everything is.

I’m attached to it, I’m comforted by the familiarity, and I don’t fancy the disruption of a move.

Nevertheless, it has to be done.

In other news –

I keep seeing things in my local area that I want to tell you about, that you would have been interested in.

That new school has opened already, by the station, which you thought was in such a bad spot because it would add to already ridiculous traffic.

They have added more ‘street furniture’ everywhere in the form of benches, which promptly become used by large groups of vagrants drinking beer all day.  (I remember your opinions on street furniture!)

Yet another place we knew well has closed – the Indian takeaway ‘Depa’ which we used for so many years for deliveries.   I don’t like things that provided me with comfort not being available any more (!!!)

You would hardly recognise the area around Victoria station – so much new building, huge new office blocks and new bars and restaurants (which we could have explored).

And finally –

I saw a small dead black and white bird on the pavement right in front of me today, in the town centre.  Must have been a pied wagtail, hit by a car.

Unusual.  Not nice.  I refuse to give it any significance.

New Year

It has occurred to me that this is probably the first time in my whole life that I have spent a Christmas or New Years Day entirely on my own.  We would always have shared them together, and before I’d met John I would have been with family.

I did spend Christmas with family, but today I’ve been all day at home alone, trying to treat it like any other day, and getting on with things like sorting and washing.

But it’s not any other day.  It’s the first day that it’s already that he died last year, not this year any more.  Everyone comments on the passage of time, my life is racing on.  But I feel utterly adrift with a completely uncertain future.

I didn’t stay up for the new year.  What’s everyone celebrating anyway?  The fact that the world has kept on turning?

I don’t think I’ll ever be singing Auld Lang Syne again, not without John to sing it with.