Saturday, 5 March 2011

When do you change the bed sheets?

The last couple of days bits of 'normal' have started to emerge in my life without Clive.

I actually put some washing in the machine yesterday and hung it on the maiden to dry. It was a thrill to do Dom's washing too as normally his Dad does it as he lives with him the majority of the time.

I also finally began to open drawers and files in the 'office'. Hmmmm. Clive's filing is not as pristine as mine! There were a few areas in our home that were 'off limits' to me!
  1. His desk drawer
  2. His two drawers in the filing cabinet
  3. The 'man drawer' in the kitchen

Oh yes, and the loft!

So I have begun to sort and file.

I have also taken control over the spatula situation! Dad commented earlier in the week that ours was a health hazard, so I have binned that one and got two more wooden ones! In Tadcaster we have a hardware shop that has been here for over 100 years. It still has the original wooden drawers and is a goldmine of 'stuff'. Clive always liked to support the local shops and this is becoming a favourite of mine. Dom was impressed too.

I went into the Tadcaster book shop to enquire if they might like to sell some of Clive's books as being a 'local lad' there may be interest. As if to prove a point as I was chatting to the owner a man came in and said he'd been at school with Clive! He admitted he'd had sleepless nights since he had heard the news of Clive's sudden death - I guess there are a few of us questioning our mortality? I have also become impatient with those who are abusing their bodies with junk food - currently I have a BBC programme on 'Dance for Comic Relief'. They are featuring a couple of so called comedians who flaunt the fact one is skinny and the other isn't  - they seem to be glorifying the fact that it is funny to stuff your face and be obese. I wanted to scream at the tv! I don't know if diet could have prevented Clive's death. In recent months his diet had been great and we both had been feeling good. But maybe the years of muffins in the car; boxes of Maltesers; too many take-aways, etc. contributed to his arteries furring up. I just want to shout at people
"Don't abuse your body - it is precious and you only get one. Even if you don't value yourself, what about your loved ones? I ask you this, if you knew that NOT eating that junk could add even one more day to your life, would you do it?"

I am sure if Clive and I had had just one more day we would have spent it together. I would have put my knitting down and just cuddled him. He would have switched off his laptop. We would have gone for a walk to soak up the wonderful sights and sounds of nature. We would have reminisced about happy times and many special moments. The day would have ended with a snuggle on the sofa and a warm, tender cuddle in bed.

We didn't get 'one more day'. Yet perhaps the rest of us could?

Late last night after Dom had gone to bed I 'got busy'. I naturally am a 'night owl' but curbed it as Clive wasn't. We had learnt to compromise though as some mornings he'd be up and writing at 6 a.m. Equally if I ever got a late night 'buzz' on he'd just let me get on with it. However, there is truth in the fact that I really don't like going to bed any more. It used to be my favourite time of the day, until two weeks ago. I at least managed a solid 6 hours last night - without a sleeping tablet. It was a relief not to have seen 3 or 4 o'clock.

This morning it made me think that perhaps I should change the bed sheets. But I don't want to. Life IS carrying on without Clive. The beautiful flowers around the house are at that 'dying but still almost okay' stage but past their best. Slowly the last items we bought two weeks ago in the fridge are being used up. The grass is growing. Time is passing. I want to 'hang on' to things. It's like a fear of time passing too fast as with each day it is one more without him. One more without his hugs. One more without him bursting loudly into song. One more without him talking about what he wanted to put in his next newsletter. One more without being wrapped in that wide chest. One more without him telling me how much he adored me.

My Mum as a retired school librarian can always be relied upon for a source of information. She gave me a book entitled 'What to do when someone dies'. It is easy to change details on documents (supposedly) but where are the 'rules' for everything else?

Is there a check-list of when to do things? Does changing the bedding let him down in some way? Does that mean I am saying that I don't care any more; time to sigh and move on? Or is it just that I am trying to cling onto the 'last' bits of what was normal? That I find it a comfort to lie in our bed and know that he slept in these very sheets? That this is where he literally breathed his last two weeks ago; where I tried my best to breathe and pump life back to him; where I clung onto the final bits of warmth from his body before he was taken away?

Or do I just decide that they are only bedding! I have a wealth of happy memories to keep me warm. Perhaps clean linen will freshen the room and make me a bit happier to go to bed? Clive used to say 'you can't help the poor by becoming poor yourself', so on that vein what use is it to anyone, least of all me, if I sleep in a grubby bed?!

To be honest I don't like the bedroom. Never have. Clive knew it was a relic from his single days - yellow and brown and boring! Last year he fell in love with a painting of a 'Love Tree'. It is bright blue with pink and shades of orange! On the branches are quotes about love, but you have to look closely. In the corner of the guest room the wallpaper, curtains, photo frames, lamp, new bedding are all waiting to be used to create our new bedroom. Two weeks ago we had been looking at BHS for a light chandelier to complete the new set. The plan was to decorate it at Easter.
I intend to do it still! Yesterday Lynn arrived with a big, pink bag for me - inside is a pretty box in the new bedroom colours for me to keep some memories of Clive in.

I guess grubby bed sheets don't need to go in there!

Excuse me for now though - I have sheets to change!

Elaine x

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