Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Breathless - literally!

Well what an amazing day!

After my third 'no sleeping pill' night I awoke feeling reasonable refreshed. I have been at my parents home in Cheshire the last few days for TLC. Hopefully the nights here will have broken the need for the tablets.

I went to visit a friend who hasn't been well. We both had a cry and a hug together and consoled each other that in months from now we shall both be feeling better! It was good to know that my blog has been helping her too. Get well soon Angela xxx

I then went back to Mum's and was chuffed to see my sister Claire's car outside. As I entered the house Mum was beaming and thrust an email in front of me. I couldn't take it in as she was wittering on, animated and excited! My sister had sent an email to Shayne Ward's management a few hours earlier. Mum has been a huge fan since he first entered then won the X-factor and she had tickets for us tonight to see the first show of his tour in Wolverhampton. Claire had explained what big fans we are and also that due to my bereavement saying hello to Shayne before or after the show would make the evening even better. Within minutes of her sending, a reply came back for us to meet a certain man at the box office between 5.45 pm and 6 pm where we would then be taken to meet Shayne!

Okay, so I am almost 48, and I screamed, did a little dance in the kitchen and jumped up and down several times and hugged my sister! Little Sophie looked quite bemused! Mum and I were like teenage groupies! Dear, oh dear!

Even had his management not replied I was so touched that Claire had even tried to get us to see him. Again the thing that is cropping up all the time - ASK. The worse they can say is no.

With that we had some lunch and watched Sophie playing with her Mum's original dolls buggy which Dominic had brought over a couple of days ago.
I then received an inquiry for me to speak at a conference in May - another little dance!

I needed to put petrol in the car - I had come in Clive's car because I feel him in it. I feel close to him in it. I nipped out, still excited. Pulled into the petrol station and burst into tears - I could not undo the petrol cap. It was too tight. With my hand on it I realised that Clive had been the last person to fill it up. There was no way he would have realised that was the last time he would ever do so. I thought of his hands. I loved his hands. So big and powerful yet they would caress me so tenderly. But no more. I was about to ask for help when the cap just turned in my hand. I filled up the tank, replaced the nozzle and cap then paid, all with a tear stained face! I sobbed and wailed driving back to Mum and Dads.

Mum gave me a big hug then I washed my face and painted on a fresh one! I decided that perhaps that was today's huge cry done with. En route to Wolverhampton we listened to Shayne's CD's. It is uncanny how many lyrics refer to 'heart, 'dying in your arms', 'Heaven', 'breathing'. Or is it just because I am sensitive to such words at the moment? Mum was rather wary as to how I would manage when the show started.

It took us just over an hour get there, then park and as we walked out of the car park another Mum and daughter duo asked us where 'the town' was. We explained we were from out of town too - they had come up from Devon. We pointed them in the right direction, or so we thought,  and surveyed the perimeter of the Civic Hall - no sign of the Box Office but we could hear a sound check going on. We then nipped for a drink and a cake - we were too excited to eat!

At the pre-arranged time we went back to the venue and discovered that another couple of ladies were also due to 'Meet and Greet' Shayne. The four of us got chatting as we were told to 'wait'. One of the ladies, Michelle, had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time and had various things on her 'list' that she wanted to do. Friends had organised this for her. We explained how we had managed to be included too and spoke about the pros and cons of sudden deaths like Clive as opposed to being faced with a potentially terminal illness. Our conclusion was that we all have to make each day count as if it was our last.

A question for you - if you knew today was to be your last, would you actually be doing what you are about to? Are you spending it with people you really want to be with, doing something that you want to do?
If not does this mean perhaps your life needs some tweaks? I am not suggesting that everyone goes on the mutiny today, but maybe if you are in a relationship or job that brings you unhappiness then maybe it is time to decide to take a different route?

The time was ticking by and more and more people were milling around. The Mum and daughter who we had seen earlier came over to chat to us. They were called Tina and Lisa. We explained we were actually going to meet Shayne. Lisa pleaded 'how?' I know she didn't envy either reason why Michelle and I had been given a 'special' pass but she admitted she was envious. That prompted a mini-keynote from me about the programme Clive and I have been putting together called 'Don't Envy - Aspire'. It is a seven point plan to help you achieve, starting with taking responsibility of where you are now.

Lisa had been given the tickets for tonight by her boyfriend as a birthday treat. Her Mum had got the day off work to bring her but Lisa had been told she could not take the day off. As she had been honest as to why she wanted the time she felt she could not then say she was ill and 'take a sicky'. So she had negotiated to take the day off without pay. We chatted about being authentic and having integrity - two of Clive's main values.

We had been getting cold but Tina commented that since we had been speaking about Clive the temperature had gone up - incredibly it had! Lisa still was saying it would be a dream come true for her to meet Shayne. We pointed out where his cars were for her perhaps to spot him after the show.

Finally a man appeared with a list and said he was looking for a Michelle, a Debbie, a Maureen and an Elaine.
We acknowledged who we were and there were two other ladies who we didn't get chance to speak to. I grabbed Lisa's arm and just ASKED,  'and can we include Lisa and her Mum?'
The reply was 'oh, go on then!'
Lisa nearly collapsed! We were escorted into a corridor and Shayne appeared!

We then had 10 minutes or so of photographs, autographs and chatting. What a truly, lovely guy he is.

I was absolutely thrilled that Lisa was there! She was stunned I had asked if she could come in. All I did was pass on the spirit of kindness and abundance that Claire had started. When Shayne went Lisa's gratitude for me was huge and she said I'd made a dream of hers come true and that she owed me. I denied that but suggested that one day she 'Pays-it Forward', as in Clive's favourite film.
Just look at her face!

Boy does it feel good making someone happy!
The rest of the pictures are here:-

The four of us had a drink in the bar and were so star stuck we missed the supporting artiste! Sorry!  We also commented that because Lisa had been open and honest about her absence from work she now could enthuse about meeting her idol. Imagine if she had lied about being ill? How on earth could she have then gone into work and kept quiet about this? Values of authentic and integrity spring to mind, ey?

Then we finally got in our seats - front row balcony about 6 feet from the stage. I checked did Mum want flashing bunny ears like some in the audience and was given an emphatic 'No! I don't want to look like Madge in the programme Benidorm'! Remind me to tell you all about actual Benidorm some time.
The chants for 'we want Shayne' grew louder and louder - then he appeared!

The audience went wild! The tour is called 'Up Close and Personal' and that's how it felt. On his last tour it was glitz and big production. This time he has gone 'forward to basics' - the man and his music. He seemed relaxed and so pleased to be there.

He began with 'U got me so' - he certainly had the audience from the second he appeared!

(All the lyrics are here and you can find many tracks on YouTube - too many for here!)

'Stand by your side' has counting in it. Did you know that Clive had numerical OCD? He could not help himself from counting! We would pull up at traffic lights and he'd say '16', 'What?', '16 spokes on that wheel on the car next to us'. Watching television he would say '7', 'What?'. 'She just knocked 7 times on that door'.

He could not help himself! I found it amusing and one of his endearing qualities. He had brilliant mental arithmetic - learnt through darts and betting. He believed it would be a great way to teach children maths.

The words 'I will stand by your side' reminded me of standing next to his coffin at Headingley.
I felt him with me tonight and smiled.

Next was 'Foolish' and the lines about a broken heart stung. I closed my eyes and let the booms and vibrations of the massive speakers a few feet away go through me. I completely focused on the sounds and feelings. It was comforting but I did begin to cry.

As if on a rollercoaster Shayne then made me smile with 'If that's okay with you'.  The lyric about liking you without make-up reminded me of Clive as he said this about me.

'I'm gonna make you feel like Heaven on earth,
I'm gonna saint your mother just for giving you birth,
I just wanna hold you in my arms when you cry,
If that's ok with you, if that's ok with you'

....... were words which were all very poignant. 

Next was 'Melt the snow'. Well that took me straight to the fun we have had in the snow the last couple of years including snowman escapades with the neighbours!

Mum commented that she felt that it was just Shayne, me and her in the room. He has the knack with his little waves, pointing and eye contact that does make you feel that way. He also was very humble and made a point of thanking his fan base and his band. There isn't a shred of arrogance in him.

He explained that he had been away from music for 3 years but was now back. He went on to say he had been listening to other music and would you believe it! He sang Bruno Mars 'Just the way you are'!
See the significance of this here
Mum grabbed my hands and sang 'You are amazing' to me! Brilliant!

Next was 'No you hang up'. As we often had to be apart Clive and I relied on texts, emails and phone calls so this song was one we could relate to. You know when you want to slide down the telephone lines to be together? When your ear is red because you have been chatting for so long about nothing? But still you don't want the call to end?
The lines 
'And baby, you still know just how to blow my mind
And after everything we've been through it still feels so right
And I know that I can't picture living my life without you'

rang so true. When I would text Clive before I left on a journey he would always reply 'drive carefully - you have my whole life in your car'. He had begun more and more to say this. He was so scared of losing me. On arrival at home he would hug me like I had been gone for weeks when it may only have been hours. He did cherish every moment and always made me feel appreciated.

The lowest point for me was 'Breathless'.
As he sung 'you leave me breathless' all I could see, feel, touch, taste, smell was 8.50 - 9.05 pm on Saturday 19th February when I had rushed up to our bedroom on hearing what had been Clive's last breath. I had found him blue and unconscious. I had put the lamp on, dialled 999 and spent those minutes trying to give him CPR. All the years of First Aid training cut in and automatically I tilted his head back, breathed into him, then pumped his chest. Again and again I tried. Too desperate to stop. Too scared to accept that he may have gone. Too frightened to wish I had taken him to A and E. Too worried that my worst fear had come true. But it had.

Clive often told me I took his breath away. Even scruffy in a supermarket he would tell me in the milk aisle that I had this effect on him. Why, oh why had my breath not been enough to save him? Mum saw I was sobbing HUGE sobs. She held me tightly and swayed with me. The comfort and closeness of my darling Mum prompted me to 'change the thought'. Instead I took myself back to the gentle swaying of the cruise liner - up on deck where we had done the 'Titanic' Jack and Kate pose, cuddled and just listened to the swish of the waves and the evening breeze. Bliss.

I thought of how happy we both had been on that holiday and how much were were looking forward to the next one.

All I can do now is look back on those memories.

Luckily Shayne took a break at this point - I needed one! His female vocalist stepped up to sing 'What's my name'. Sadly I didn't catch it.

He returned wearing a pale grey leather jacket and sang the title track from his latest album 'Obsession'. Steamy! I confess that as he moved his hands down the microphone stand I felt a shiver down my spine!
Shame on me! Clive is the only man that has called me 'Baby'. Some women may find it patronising. When he said it, I melted. Likewise he had a way of cupping the back of my neck in his hands and my spine would tingle. As Shayne sang 'Baby' and slid effortlessly up to his high notes I shuddered with pleasure!

This lead onto 'This Close to Close'

That's when my magic moment engulfed me. The overwhelming feeling of how lucky Clive and I were to have found each other and completely and utterly experience the depth of relationship that all these songs depict. I looked around at the audience. How many REALLY have felt this with a partner? Magical. The warmth of the audience for Shayne by now was at fever pitch.

He then threw in a track I didn't know called 'Sweet Disposition'. It had a good bass and beat and I liked the repetition of  'Won't stop until it's over'.

Next was 'Must be a reason' (I am still looking!). Yet the bouncy rhythm was a 'feel-good, want to dance' one and culminated with shouts of 'off. off' off' for his jacket - and T-shirt! Shayne teased with a quick and slow flesh flash!

Onto 'Waiting in the wings' which made me think of my future. Will I ever move onto another relationship? Or will I always be wary of this huge pain again? Dare I ever get close to anyone for fear of this hurt? How can any man compare? I know Clive didn't intentionally hurt me but this has been the biggest pain I have ever experienced.

Almost as if he was reading my mind he sang 'Gotta Be Somebody'. There was someone out there who I thought I'd spend forever with and the feeling was mutual. Clive has gone. I have so much love to give but right now I cannot contemplate another man in my life. Yet long term I know Clive would not want me to be on my own. He used to tease me that all he had taught me should not go to waste!

For his encore Shayne delivered 'No Promises', holding a rose given by a fan. As he sang 'I just wanna die here in your arms tonight' he gave a huge smile. I like to think it was for me so it made me smile instead of cry.

He ended with his classic 'That's my goal'. He sang his little heart out!

'I'm not here to let your love go,
I'm not giving up oh no oh,
I'm here to win your heart and soul
I'm here to win your heart and soul 
That's my goal, that's my goal.'

Well Shayne, as far as Mum and I were concerned - you scored your goal!

The drive home was  very mellow, accompanied by Shayne's tones again.I felt Clive's arms around me as the miles glided effortlessly passed. I loved late night driving after one of our engagements or social things. We would chat, sing or just be.

Yes I have stayed up to a ridiculous hour to type this all up but I have enjoyed every moment.
Today has shown again how Clive's values and my Hanzak principles can get you through:-

Choice - I wanted to go to the concert instead of being sad at home
Life long learning - always worth asking for what you want
Integrity - Lisa being honest about missing work
Vision - Her dream to meet Shayne
Enthusiasm - Too right - I have no voice left!
+ Abundance shown by Claire, Shayne's management and myself

Hope and Honesty - We had wanted to get Up Close and Personal - and we did
Attitude - positive
Needs - all met apart from sleep now!
Zest - so much sensory fun
Altogether - sharing our fun made it even better
Kindness - a whole day of it!

Thank you to everyone who made today a very special one - I love you all.

Elaine x


Hannah said...

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Anonymous said...

oh bless you elaine! im going to see shayne on friday in manchester and i just know i will be even more emotional after reading your blog. take care x