Last night I got attacked by one of the worst waves of grief so far.
I had taken myself off to bed early with a cup of Horlicks and snuggled up to read through a bag of greetings cards I had found in the office.
There was a bundle from his 50th birthday. He had a party that night at a club in Tadcaster. There were friends and family from all over. Clive was on sparkling form and so pleased to share it with us. Food was fish and chips from a van he'd ordered! He had put months of planning into the night, including Clive themed games and quizzes!
Next I found Christmas cards. He'd kept one from a dear friend of his .... It had a message about being in a wonderful world. I opened it and it 'sang',
This was the music he had been carried off the pitch at Headingley too. If you missed that look here
That produced the first tears.
Next I found Valentine, Christmas and birthday cards to each other. That was very, very tough.
Comments from him like 'I truly adore you with every sinew of my being', 'Just when I thought we had reached our highest level you step up even higher', 'To Elaine, My beautiful, amazing, caring, sometimes too busy, sensual brave Princess, You are truly my 365 Christmas baby, I adore you', just brought the massive waves of grief and emotion cascading through my mind and body like an avalanche. Huge. Terrifying. Out of control. So very, very powerful.
The empty space beside me where I had tried to bring him back to life became a hole that I wanted to fall into. The pain was indescribable.
Instead of telling myself 'enough' I was on a mission to fall deeper. I found an email I had sent him in the early days of our relationship. We both would send each other 'epics' as we called them. I read of the dilemmas I was in at that time and how worried I was of hurting other people due to our relationship. But then I read how I described how I felt about him, as I'd listened to this:-
'I feel that is what I have found in you. I did need rescuing. I need to feel like you make me feel. I love the way you make me tremble when you kiss me; I want the pain kissed away; you do take my breath away; I want to be wrapped in your arms; I want you to celebrate my successes and be there for me when I cry; I want to dance with you at a masked ball, in a steamy night club, an exotic beach; I want to be treated to expensive things but I want to share beans on toast on a Tuesday teatime too; I want to be hugged on escalators: I want to feel the sexy, dynamic, alive woman you make me feel when I with you: I want to build up a circle of friends together; I want to have a Sunday roast with you; I want to do business stuff in coffee shops with you; to get fit together and eat healthy foods; I want to get tipsy and walk home with you from somewhere: I want a snog by the front door; I want to share a stage with you and get a standing ovation; I want us to make a difference to many; I want you and Dominic to be good friends; I want to share my life with you.'
I sobbed and howled. Again the question 'Why did he have to go' smacked me time and time again. That was how he made me feel within weeks of our friendship. The amazing thing is now I look at all that and do you know what? We DID nearly all of it. I should and will take comfort from that.
One line sticks out - I want to share a stage with you and get a standing ovation. I want us to make a difference to many; Last weekend when I spoke about Clive's death to the 365 hairdressers I got a standing ovation. I have a strong vision now of a huge audience somewhere with me on the platform with a gorgeous picture of Clive behind me - and us both getting that standing ovation and making a difference to many. We did have work planned together with us sharing a stage. I guess we still can, just in a different format.
The sobs and tears continued until I found this card with this quote by Wilferd Peterson,
'Let your light shine.
Be a source of strength and courage.
Share your wisdom.
I read it over and over again. And again. Clive had sent me this as a message a few years ago. It actually sums me and my purpose up beautifully. It's what I have been doing for these last six years as a speaker and writer on postnatal depression, through my own experiences. Maybe that is what I am doing now? Maybe that is part of the 'why'? Maybe because my light is one of communication, by sharing my pain perhaps I can help others through theirs? I feel strongly that the ways I coped with depression and now bereavement are valuable lessons to us all faced by loss, crisis and challenges? Would you agree?
Throughout all of this I had two very dear friends texting me. Although the loneliness I feel as regards Clive is immense (there isn't a word big enough) I do not feel alone. One asked me what I would be saying to Clive if he had been the one to be left behind. What a fabulous question.
She responded 'There's your answer then. Plain and simple. And for tonight, which is all you need to worry about for now, that's your guide. You live for him now just as he would have undoubtedly lived for you, no matter what strength it takes. His love is in you. It's the strength you need.'
With that I took a sleeping pill. I just wanted to be switched off, just for then.
I slept well until that bloody bird woke me! Rod - let's get that sorted today!!!
I look scary - I am very, very pale. I feel like a bath must when all the water has drained and there is a rasping noise with that last bit of water going down the plug hole. (Okay, so I know baths don't have feelings ... but just play along, ey?)
I now have just over half an hour to get myself moving and out. I am off to meet my parents and Dom at Birch services on the M62 and bring him back with me for the rest of the weekend. Hooray!!
Perhaps as the weekend progresses with him we shall begin to fill in a little of the hollow, fragile, delicate egg shell I feel right now. (Just re-read that before posting. Pathetic Elaine, pathetic!!)
And I must focus on the first of my 'Hanzak' principles - HOPE.
Let's have a great weekend - and as Clive said 5 weeks ago today - 'let's make it count'.