Next was off to pick up Dom for the morning. It was sunny so 'roof down, shades on' time. I picked him up and we froze in the car for a 15 minute drive from Helsby to Widnes and into Rivendell Garden centre. This used to be a regular place I took my pupils from school and is still as pleasant all these years later. It's my sister's birthday next week so the mission was to sort her present out. Yesterday Mum was telling me all about the membership she has taken out there for free drinks, discount etc. Dom and I had a drink in the cafe and planned the next few weekends (always good to have things to look forward to). We chose some cards and presents and made our way to the till satisfied with our choices. Then I realised - no discount card with us! I even have my son well-trained to make the most of vouchers, etc. and as the saving would be sizable we decided to put it all back and either I would call back or my Mum would!
With that decision made we walked back to the car. As we did so I apologised for 'not thinking straight' at the moment. All of a sudden the tears flowed!!! As the roof of the car went down so did the tears. I blubbered how difficult even everyday tasks are; how I try to put on a brave face; how I don't like to moan around people; how sorry I was for all the upset I had caused by moving to Yorkshire - Dom was in danger of drowning in a tirade of wailing and self-pity! Bless him, he was wonderful. He consoled me that I was doing brilliantly, that it was very early days and I should give myself more time.
With that I cheered up and we headed back towards Runcorn to pick up his friend. En route Dom suggested that we called at B and Q for something he needed. More wails!
'That was the last shop and place I ever went with Clive'!
Dom reassured me that we didn't have to go but I insisted we did. Chris's advise yesterday was to accept the challenge of revisiting 'last time' places asap. So in we went. I think Dom was rightly wary of my reaction. No need. I began to feel a bit excited. On mine and Clive's plan for Easter was to decorate our bedroom. The wallpaper, curtains, pictures, bedding have all been bought from our Ebay sales of unwanted items. So Dom and I are still going to do it. I have never been 'in charge' of decorating before so I am looking forward to learning. Again 'forward thinking' lifted my mood instead of dwelling on the last B and Q trip literally hours before Clive died. I wandered around visualising the strong, independent, great role model as a Mum, successful speaker and writer and inspirational woman I shall be. I walked out of B and Q taller than when I had gone in.
As we can out and put the roof down again I looked up and saw ... Vapour Trails! If you were lucky enough to hear Clive's main keynote this was the title.
Basically he described how he wanted to inspire others and make vapour trails that others wanted to follow. I think we can safely say he succeeded in that. The continuing cards and messages I receive tell me that. Today just looking up was a comfort to see them. When we were together and spotted some Clive would often say 'I wonder how many people look at those and think of me'?
Well, are you one? I know I shall be until my dying day. How many people in your life have been so successful at giving you an image and message that is so powerful?
Maybe I am creating Vapour Trails that others will now follow in dealing with devastating challenges?
Soon I had the car with three teenage boys in, all excitedly talking about the film they are making.
I was thrilled - even if it was just for a few minutes. I dropped then off at Dom's home and drove away happy that he was busy with his friends and not worried about his emotional Mum!
I had my lunch with my parents and their friends Pete and Angie. My Mum and Dad are very sociable people and often make friends when they are on holiday. Clive and I aspired to a retirement like they have. It was good to see them and also enthuse over one of their stunning granddaughters who models for national companies - currently on the front of The White Company brochure.
He went on to talk about the blame culture and negative thinking - that by reacting to anger with anger we limit our progress. That instead of blaming others for their reactions to us that we must take responsibility and ask ourselves what we are going to do about it. Resentment, jealousy, bullying are ways that people with low self-esteem tend to react. By mirroring that behaviour we create more negativity which is damaging. That is where I am now too. Basically the worst thing possible has happened to me, in losing my darling Clive. In contrast nothing else can or will ruffle me. I refuse to think negative thoughts. The sadness that permeates every atom in my body will not go away. I cannot control that and I suppose that is the grief I have to live with. But I can and will control what I think about and how I react. As Clive often said 'it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you deal with it that matters'.
Today coming home was so much easier. There were daffodils in the window from Michelle. Rod had been and sorted me out with a proper aerial for the television in the bedroom - and Clive's smiling face greeted me on the hall table. I smiled at him and blew him a kiss (no empty stair scenario today!).
I am thrilled today to have more messages about women in new underwear! There is an 'uplift' revolution going on out there. Have you joined us yet girls? What are you waiting for? And forget the need to save it 'for best'. You deserve the best everyday.
Next check - new BT internet hub which I had left 'connecting' on Thursday. Aaargh! Still flashing red/orange. Blast! Oh well - no time then to deal with it. No point getting angry. I will look at it later.
Then I went to pick up niece Sue. I had a quick hello with her girls Ruby and Emily and husband Scott. Off to rugby - a birthday treat for her! I wittered all the way to Leeds as I was in 'invigorated by CD mode'! Poor girl! We had a tasty meal in the Premier Suite with Pete Evans and son Sam then went to watch St. Helen's Saints play our Rhinos. In our seats in time for a rendition of 'Nessum Dorma'.
With the final high notes I crumbled! I clung to Sue and said 'See! I am all brave and then this just happens!' I feel so close to Clive whilst I am at Headingley. It's not just because that is where his Celebration was - it's because we had so many happy hours there.
The tears soon passed and I got into the match. The first half was fun especially as we seem to be surrounded by fans who weren't sure which team they were supporting and a very loud spectator! The second half wasn't as fun as we lost!
Later on we joined Lynn and Rod for a drink at The Coach and Horses. Yaayy! Another 'old haunt' that I did without a tear!
Back home to lights on and curtains closed - Michelle is a true star. Still no Internet! Oh no! People are waiting for my blog! So 'Ms Positive Head' got out the Quick Start manual ... a few minutes later .. BINGO! I have Internet at home sorted out by ME!!
This reminded me of this ....
So tonight I am going to bed in a happier place.
What have I learnt?
- To be brave to face the 'last time' venues
- To continue to be inspired by Clive's Vapour Trail message
- That as a woman on my own I CAN install an Internet connection
- That building in ways to ease the tears is good
- The power of positivity
Tonight I shall close my eyes and feel proud and thankful. I will always be proud of Clive and the Vapour Trails he created and has left with us. I am also thankful as I replayed his final day and hours that he did not suffer - it is those he left that did! I am very proud of my wonderful son and my parents. I am proud of Lynn, Rod and Sue. I am proud to have such a brilliant neighbour. I am also proud of myself and I know Clive would be.
I am thankful for my life - even without Clive physically in it.