I have managed a few hours sleep but once again find my brain in overdrive! This brings me onto his first one:-
CHOICE /Cause and Effect
The coroner reassured me that whatever I had done the day Clive died it would not have made a difference, e.g. if I had taken him to hospital all the professionals and technology could not have saved him. It was Clive who chose to stay at home and as such was then warm and cosy in our bed having been lovingly kissed goodnight by me. That helps give me some peace and comfort.
Now I am faced with so many choices I could be overwhelmed but I am trying to focus and prioritise.
- I would choose to bring my amazing man back to life. I would choose right now that he was still physically at my side and not a line of pillows in our bed. They are choices that are impossible, there is a genuine reason for me not being able to make them, so I choose to move on.
- I could choose to pack up my things, lock the door and go back to live in Cheshire to be nearer my family. I could reflect that the last few years have been truly incredible, say thank you very much and start a new man hunt! Some may chose to expect me to do that as after all have two failed marriages behind me so why don't I just carry on my collection?!! I choose to stay in Tadcaster to remain as close as I can to my soulmate. Our home is filled with him, plus our memories, our vision board with all our plans. I choose to fulfill as many as I can.
- In my grief I could choose to be private, lock the door of our home and of my heart and mind. I know from sharing my experiences of postnatal depression that it not only helped me but has helped so many others. So that is one of the reasons I chose to continue to share. As a reader you have a choice - if you don't want to know what I am wittering about then don't read it!
- I could have chosen to ignore Clive's brief for his funeral. He gave me an outline of 'no mention of God and Jesus; celebrate not mourn; having a few beers and watch a match; only wear black if you really look hot in it'. Somehow the plans for Wednesday have risen in my mind from that.
- I could chose to cancel all of Clive's bookings in the diary for work. He would do anything to avoid having to let people down. I am pretty sure that the people who have booked him will accept his reason for absence but I am asking them to make a choice - give me the opportunity instead! I am not Clive Gott but if you want people to be inspired and motivated, then I can do that by offering my version using his 'stuff' as my inspiration plus my own.
LIFE LONG LEARNING
As a teacher by initial profession (I taught children with severe and profound learning difficulties for many years) this is obviously a value I hold dear. What have I learnt through Clive's death so far?
- Make each day, moment count. Part company with friends and relatives with a positive mood for if you or they die a legacy of guilt, regret and remorse is likely to be left. As we regularly travelled apart Clive and I would always part with a hug or a kiss. On a couple of occasions when we'd fallen out (yes we did!) I might drive off but only to the corner. I'd let him stew for a couple of minutes then appear back to have a hug before I left properly. I have no regrets, guilt or remorse with him. I ask you this - who are you currently cross with or haven't spoken to for days, weeks or years? Can you even remember why? If you got the news today that they too had died how would you feel? When I left Dominic's Dad I know many people judged me badly. Fair enough - their choice. Many of my friends chose to lose contact with me and I admit I was a poor friend too as I did the same. Mainly as I was such a mess dealing with it all. One special friend I'd had seemed to have wiped my out of her life. It hurt as I'd thought we'd had a very close bond. After not even a Christmas card for the second year running I decided to send her a note. I apologised if I had upset or offended her and suggested that I would love to catch up if she did. The result? A hug a few weeks ago between us that repaired the gap in years in an instance. We now feel just as close as we did when our children were babies. All it took was one little gesture and it made us both so much happier. So who are you going to say hello to?
- People want to help. By pushing it away it denies them comfort. Many people are contacting me to say they feel useless; they don't know what to say to me; they worry they might cry in front of me; they want to take my pain away and theirs. So I am open to help - to ask and to receive it graciously. My angel Michelle next door sent me a text yesterday afternoon to say she still had her ironing board up and offered to do my ironing. I could have said no but I accepted gratefully. Just right now I do need support with such things. In time I won't but am happy to do so. I am going to need help the next couple of days to sort Wednesday out so I shall be asking! I learnt after being so ill postnatally that I am not Superwoman. I am not invincible. I need and appreciate support.
- My Mum always says 'worry when things happen'. I'd had a similar conversation a couple of weeks ago with Dominic about something that might happen in 4 years time. I'd suggested to him that the best way to ease that worry was to take small steps possibly to prevent it happening but in the meantime not to waste thoughts as so much could change. Better to focus and work on things you can influence than let your mind be distracted over issues that might not happen.
- I have also learnt that there is a tiny piece of metal that controls your ballcock! Just after Clive had been driven away last Saturday night our downstairs cloakroom toilet decided to give up too! Humour helps so much when your world has collapsed. We all know how Clive thrived on humour. He taught me the value of that and that is why we must laugh at these times too. He'd have laughed at me yesterday dancing around the room with his Rhinos shirt on a coat hanger!
Clive and I have both spent the last 10 years or so being very open about our lives. In doing so, although we may have annoyed some people, generally we have inspired others to make positive changes in their lives. Several times I have thought I'd give up my passion to speak and write as I simply needed more money! Yet incredibly that same day I would get a message out of the blue from someone thanking me for helping them through a dark time and it would inspire me to continue. I find myself in that place again now. If I clam up and keep my thoughts and feelings to myself now it goes against the advice I have given others - it is important to communicate. Being open and honest is best in the long run. There is no shame in any aspect of grief. We all must do what feels right for us but also not judge or disrespect how others in how they deal with it. We need to be patient and kind to one another. There is already too much hurt.
Last week I had a vision of Clive being where he shone - centre stage at a place he loved. Hence the celebration for Wednesday was created. My purpose short term is to make that happen. The vision was so strong that even when asked 'what if they so no at Headingley' I refused to consider it and replied as Clive would have 'what if they say yes'. I shared my vision; I asked how can we make it possible and took steps to achieve it. And it is happening. My vision and purpose after Wednesday will be to have a bit of rest (please let me sleep longer than 5 hours!) and then sort the legal and financial aspects. I may as well put it out there now .... I'd like a book deal please to share this latest saga; enough speaking engagements which will enable me to keep living in our home, time to grow Clive's charity and also to support mine at the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation http://www.joebingleymemorialfoundation.org.uk/ and at least three days each week to heal myself and others, e.g. spending quality time and having simple pleasures with the loved ones I still have in my life.
Clive used to do everything with enthusiasm! He even relaxed with gusto! Over Christmas he watched hours of Ben Hur because the remote control for the television was just out of reach! I have the same temperament. Currently I am well aware I am running at 300 miles an hour (well my brain is!). I hope that after Wednesday it will begin to slow down. I shall make steps to ensure it does. I want to go and reflect whilst in a church on Thursday. Clive didn't want us to do that together yet he was the most spiritual man I know. I want to do that for me and Clive would respect that. I reckon I need a massage, some walks, a bike ride and a good go at my 'Feel Good' list. I know my mental and physical health are paramount and I shall look after both with enthusiasm shortly. Without those my vision is worthless.
In the meantime I shall put my remaining energy (NOT MUCH LEFT!) into Wednesday by asking for as much help as I can. When Dom brings me a cup of tea when he wakes up we'll start on a list. Will he learn some stuff this week!
So you will see that Clive's values spell out his name. It's who he was. It's who I loved and adored beyond words and I know he did me - he told enough of you! And it's the legacy he leaves behind.
He had added another one - ABUNDANCE.
That is why I came up with the flowers idea. He loved to share thoughts, words, deeds and mostly kindness. He would have preferred to spread smiles amongst our grief and loss of his physical being. And I know he'd be proud of us all for doing that.
So I leave you with a challenge this Monday morning, if you wish to accept it!
Which one of his values can you do today to make a positive difference, no matter how small, to this wonderful world of ours?
Thank you for all the hugs - even the virtual ones work, so accept one from me to start your week with.
N.B. Clive's products can be ordered via here.