I have just persevered two nights trying to sleep without the need to take tablets. It hasn't been easy but I have managed it. Sort of. Last night I looked through all of Clive's notes in his Filofax. I am just hungry for him. I just ache for his touch. I want to find him. This morning I have woken with a massive sense of loss. The reality that he really, really has gone has hit me like a sledge hammer this morning. I sent some invitations last night through Face book for a charity golf day in his memory in August. This morning some of my friends have replied that they didn't know he had died.
You assume with Facebook that once you have posted people KNOW. But they don't. If they are not on regularly people can miss out on your news. It also dawned on me today that some of my friends may not know. Perhaps I need to get out my Christmas card list?
For some reason when I woke up this morning, cuddling pillow Clive as now seems to be a 'new normal', this song jumped into my mind:-
Clive and I LOVED to dance together. I have always loved to dance. From the age of 2 I went to dancing classes for ballet and tap. My parents have remained friends with my dance teacher and her husband, Sandra and Jack, ever since! Apart from relatives they have been constants in my life. I know they and other of my parents' friends have been concerned about me but also for my Mum and Dad. They have supported them through another of my failed marriages and with my roller coaster of a journey with Clive. We all thought the ride had evened out and happiness was on the cards for us all. So thank you to those who are helping support my parents too.
Last year one of my Mum's friends and colleagues had a stroke suddenly at home having gone to bed earlier than her husband. Like I found Clive, he found Ann in bed. She lived a few days in hospital but never regained consciousness. I have often thought of her husband Brian and very much appreciated a card from him. I have found huge empathy and friendships formed through my experience of postnatal illness. In bereavement a bond also is formed with others. You join a 'new group'.
Back to the dancing. The very first time I met Clive was at a Professional Speakers Association conference in 2007. I had heard of his name and reputation before I met him! When we were introduced I remember our eyes meeting for the first time. I had thought he was a loud, somewhat arrogant and foul-mouthed Yorkshire man! Yet there was something that intrigued me. Later on that evening on the dance floor I was loving being surrounded by fellow speakers. I felt I had come home to kindred spirits. I know he kept looking over at me and I wanted him to come and dance with me. He didn't. A group of us chatted in the bar until the small, wee hours but absolutely nothing happened other than a new acquaintance. He did confess months later that he would happily of taken me to his room that night! However, we were both glad that did not happen. I would not have gone for starters and it would have cheapened us both. Looks like a flame was lit though.
As the months went by we met again at other PSA events. We both wanted to go to the National Speakers Association convention in New York in the summer of 2008 and Clive encouraged me to find grants, etc. to get there. We had met in Leeds for a coffee during the spring and I he had made me write down:-
'I am going to NSA New York'. He told me the 'how' would take care of itself. With work, effort and a positive attitude I got to New York.
It was there we danced for the first time. Wow! We just clicked! Clive had been for some Ceroc lessons and had a few 'moves' he was keen to share. He spun me round, twirled, smooched and hand-jived until sweat was running from us both. Our kinesthetic awareness of each other was incredible, i.e. the ability to know where one's and others' bodies are in space without looking. We just fitted. At times the floor cleared around us but the only person I was aware of was Clive. Looking back it was in New York we fell in love. Heavily and hopelessly. We knew it was wrong (I was still married but very unhappy) but it was a force so powerful that it took us both over.
From then on we would dance wherever and whenever we could! We danced in the car. To soulful tracks we'd just touch, either him holding my hand placed on his lap, or the now infamous cheek stroke. In our minds we were smooching. We'd dance in the house, especially in the kitchen. At concerts we would be the annoying ones on our feet! At a Lionel Richie concert we did a full smooch in our block to 'Three Times a Lady' - just lost in each other. The stadium disappeared. All I was aware of was my head on his chest, enveloped by those strong arms, the feel of his heart and mine beating together and swaying perfectly together, in harmony with Lionel. When I opened my eyes so many were on us!!! Even when not on stage we had the ability to attract!
Mum and I have been going to Lionel concerts for years. I love his music. It makes me feel like the woman I want to be. The dance track 'All night long', 'Dancing on the ceiling' bring out the party girl in me. Clive and I embraced this together. All his ballads from 'Stuck on You' to 'Endless Love' brought out the true romantic in me. I just love to be loved. I thrive on attention and affection. I have been described as 'emotionally high- maintenance'. I am. Once maintained though I can conquer the world. At many concerts I went to with Mum we had a fabulous time and they remain in my top 10 of best memories - I will scan in the picture of when we both met him! However, I often would watch couples who were besotted with each other and envy the closeness and warmth they had to share it with others in such a way at a concert. I know now that they don't do it to annoy fellow concert goers. The music and the moment 'gets you', and you just savour that moment.
So the next time you see such a couple - instead of rolling your eyes and thinking 'yuk, get a room' - just think how fortunate they are to have found each other. A few months ago Clive and I attended an event at a church in a deprived area. A young couple were there together. By their mode of dress they did not appear to be rich. She was disabled and needed sticks to walk. She was also overweight. At one point she leaned forward exposing too much flesh of her back and bottom but her partner so tenderly and discreetly covered her up. He brought her some supper and they sat, hands held as we listened to the speaker. I was watching them. They had that special bond with each other. And my, were they rich for it.
Clive and I had our first waltz lesson when we were on the cruise. I melted in his arms. He just took naturally to the steps. I wanted to cry with the relief that at last I had a man who would lead me onto the dance floor. One of his main reasons for his knee surgery was to dance better. He wanted to put 'love in pure motion', he'd told the consultant. The last time we had dance on the agenda was at my charity Joe Bingley Memorial Foundation' Ball a few weeks before he died. Unusually he did not dance with me that night. He said he was enjoying watching me dance. I glanced over at him several times to see his eyes firmly fixed on me and smiling. He said he liked to see me having a good time with my girl friends. He loved this picture of Dinah and I taken that evening:-
He said us two should go dancing together! Dinah that's a date!
This morning has passed me by now. I started this blog in floods of tears. In the interim I have spoken to several people, made some new dates in my diary, finally had something to eat and am looking forward to the rest of today.
I guess I have to accept that Clive is really gone. But my memories have not gone. In my heart Clive will always be dancing with me. And when I do dance again, which I will, I know he'll be watching. And smiling.