I admit that I have had some pangs of "Get a grip Elaine. You are far from the only person in the world ever to have been bereaved. People will be getting bored of your wallowing now. Just get over it and leave people in peace."
Yet it appears not! I am being literally blown away by how my writing, which is theraputic for me even if no-one else reads it, is changing people's lives! For example:-
Just watched the You tube footage of the Celebration of Clive with tears rollng down my face listening to you but with a quick transition to a smile because boy you did an amazing job and YES you did him proud ! You have both made a difference to the way I wake up in a morning and pull back the curtains and kiss my son and kiss my husband and how I walk into work and speak to my colleagues and how I say hello to the bus driver and how make sure I ring mum and dad to say good morning and how I buy someone a treat and how I plan something nice for the weekend and the weeks ahead. XXXXX
Elaine, I have religiously read your blog ever since the first time I saw you speak at a postnatal depression study day in Birmingham. You inspired me at that moment, I was further inspired once I brought your fabulous book and this past week I have seen a complete vision of exactly what I would want for my Celebration day. I think you are such a remarkable lady and have such a talent and flair that enraptures people that meet you. I sit tonight with goosebumps because you have made me think in such a deep profound way - exactly what you did when I read your book. I have a vision and I thank you xxxxx
I am stunned! These are just two examples of the effects I am having out there, ranging from small acts of kindness to the realisation that you have to take responsibility for you. I am being told that there is now an expectation of 'how's Elaine getting on'?
Thank you for these beautiful messages. I REALLY appreciate it. Every now and then with my postnatal depression work I hit a wall and think it's time to stop. My son is a young man now; what do I know now; aren't people bored of listening to me? Then I get messages like this and I know I have to carry on!
So how has today been? In a word - tough.
As you know I didn't sleep well last night and I think that contributed to my wobble from strength today. After I woke just before 6 and did the Monday morning positive blog and went back to sleep only waking when my alarm rang. I was booked this morning for a pamper - nails and massage - part of a set of sessions Clive had treated me to at Christmas. I could quite easily have rolled over, pulled the duvet up and not gone. Yet I got up. Why?
1. I did not want to let Emma down at 'Heavenly Glow'. No pun intended!!!!
2. I did not want to let Clive down - he knew how I enjoy such things. The last time I went was a few days before he died and he was really pleased when I told him that Emma had said I was about the most relaxed person she had ever massaged. He also loved the bright red nails - no shy, pale pinks would do!
3. I knew that I would be pleased afterwards so that little bit of effort would be worth it.
4. I want to be touched. Clive and I were so 'hands on' and I know we sickened others for it sometimes. You know the roll of the eyes and the 'get a room ' look? But I thrive on little gestures. It's not about a full on grope, but just the way I would place my hand on his leg in the car; he'd stroke my cheek; in a crowded room he'd brush pass me and either trail his finger across my back or gently pat my bottom.
When we met or were departing we'd always do so with a touch of some sort. It wasn't insecurity. We just liked to touch. To be. To acknowledge and delight in ecah others' presence. To know we were truly loved.
5. I checked my stats on my blog - still going up! I'll have to do something as people are waiting!
I dragged myself to the bathroom - blimey I am pale. Also a couple more pounds lighter. That makes 16 less since Christmas. I am not even trying now and it is falling off. One thing I am pleased about is that my digestive system is working! In the past if I was worried or upset the whole thing shut down and I would feel like I had a lead stomach. It's just flat now.
I drove towards Leeds and much of the ring road route was the one we'd driven along on Wednesday, following Clive. I had the radio on and to be honest I put all my concentration into driving as I knew I had to. My mood was a flat as my stomach.
In the back of my journal (replaced by this blog for now - what? I am NOT Superwoman you know!) I have my 'Feel Good' list of sensory things which serve as my emotional First Aid kit. Things that lift me.
One note is 'freshly cut grass'. At one of the roundabouts the first cut of the year was being made - I love that smell. Today though my eyes were pricked by a scattering of what felt like tiny darts and I had to fight back the tears. Clive took increasing and great pride in his garden since I have been here. A fun, healthy rivalry developed with lawnmower wars in the cul-de-sac! I suspect we are now having to wait for Mark, Simon or Derek to start first this spring. Well guys, I bet Clive would have done our lawns by now this week! The thought just made me sadder this morning though.
I arrived to see Emma and just clung to her. She admitted that she didn't know what to say to me. I told her there was no need to say anything. I am sure she won't mind me sharing that she lost her Dad when he was 32 in a car crash. Her Mum had to manage with a young family and a broken heart. I am fully aware that it's not just me .....
For the next couple of hours I had a glorious 'me' time. Nails freshly painted. Decided to have a facial instead of toe nails painted (so was it worth doing my legs yesterday? YES). I warned Emma that I might cry, to which she replied 'Go ahead'. Somehow that meant that I didn't feel the need to. I just lay and let the music wash over me; I felt warm and cosy under a fluffy, fleece towel, I soaked up every tiny movement of Emma's expert hands and breathed the aromas of the creams she applied. She left me for a while to let the masque take effect. Then she asked me to roll over and massaged my back. My mind went to the cruise Clive and I had last year. he would leave me sunbathing whilst he went to write a bit of his book 'It's not your time, it's the time you have'. I know, a very meaningful title now. Clive had huge but soft hands. He could cover my back in three strokes with suntan lotion but for some reason took about 30. I smiled at the memory and just for a few seconds I was back on the ship.
I miss him so very, very much.
With every effleurage I felt strength being pushed back into me. I had arrived as an empty vessel and left with a full cargo of energy. Just before I got up from the table I 'held that moment'. I shall endeavour to get my body into a calm and relaxed state like that tonight in bed.
I had asked yesterday for suggestions on sleeping. A couple of ideas that came back were to take a hot water bottle to bed. Another was a cat! I would like a kitten but not just yet so in the meantime I reckon I need one of those microwave pets in the shape of a cat! Let me know if you see one anywhere. I passed a garden centre that may have had one but I came straight home as I was hungry. For lunch I ate the remainder of my meal last night with Michelle that I could not eat. It was even tastier today - thank you!
Next on my agenda was 'office stuff'. Admin. Emails. Sorting Clive's paperwork, appointments, etc. I had the concentration of a flea. I picked things up only to put them down again. I made a couple of phone calls. I flitted from one thing to another. Normally in a couple of hours I would fly through a list at my desk. Today I felt like a bored teenage girl in a physics lesson. I just could not be bothered with anything.
A final message came up for a NW perinatal mental health meeting in Manchester tomorrow. The thought of either driving or even catching a train to just seemed like a mission to the moon. So I decided to be good to myself and offer my apologies. I have contributed at other stages and I AM NOT INDISPENSIBLE! I am also pretty useless if I am exhausted, worn out and prone to burst into tears at a 'Clive' moment! Once I had made that decision I felt calmer and decided that I had done the vital office jobs, for today, and drove into York 'roof down, shades on'.
It was the meeting I was not looking forward to - at the solicitors. Yes I have lost my darling Clive but I also now have to face up to the financial and other legal situations. It's not good. Let me just ask you this question,
'If you didn't wake up tomorrow what would you leave behind in place for your loved ones?'
Clive had not known that just over two weeks ago he would be tucked up in bed and that would be it. So many times we had spoken about 'what if' but just hadn't got round to sorting the legal paperwork. It's too late now and I shall have to do the best I can. It isn't too late for the rest of us so what excuse have we?
From there I chatted to my Mum. She and my sister are avid readers of my blog! Her suggestion was that I write for Mills and Boon! Maybe I could based on the 'Way to win a girl's heart, the Clive Gott way'.
There are many more snippets to come! Here is one for you ... at the Joe Bingley Memorial Foundation Charity Ball the theme was Gangsters and Molls. On the table were big white and black feathers. The following morning I woke with an amazing sensation on my back - I hadn't noticed Clive bring a feather home but was woken with it delicately caressing my back. Mmmmmm.
I drove to Lynn and Rod's for tea. They have taken time off this week to be and spend time together. Great! Sue, Scott and the girls called and it was nice to have cuddles - and ice cream!
Yes I had some tears. There is no escaping that my wonderful Clive who made every day Valentine's Day is not going to walk through the door, wrap his arms around me and reassure me that everything will be fine. Part of me is angry at him and myself for not sorting 'matters' out. I have a choice again - I could take the easy way, pack up and go back to my parents (again) or do I get myself into 'take full responsibility at where you are now' (as Clive would say) and tackle this head on?
Clive used to say 'Motion creates Emotion'. When you don't feel like doing anything, do something. I guess that is how I have got through today. It might not have been with my usual enthusiasm and my va-va-voom is none existent but I have done something. I got out of bed for a start.
I want to stay in this house that had become our home. I shall have to work hard to do so and fully intend to give it my best shot. I feel am am bursting to get on platforms to share the lessons I am now learning.
But first I must sleep and allow myself some rest, mustn't I?