I have just watched ‘Top Gun’ with Dom and had a couple of glasses of wine. I am now in bed and have a head full of ‘stuff’ which I may or may not share.
Not long before Clive died, the film ‘Top Gun’ was mentioned and he was aghast when I said that I didn’t think I had seen it. I got the exact reaction from Dom tonight when we saw that it was on and I’d suggested we watched something.
So after I’d brought washing in and he’d watered the front garden for me we settled to watch the film with wine for me; Bud for him and chocolate and nachos to share. Very cosy. I used to love watching television with him when he was younger, before he preferred to be in his room on his own I.T. We have come full circle and it’s lovely.
We got cosy and the film began – very predictable but fun. Apart from the hairstyles, it is timeless. I was stunned to hear the line ‘take me to bed or lose me forever’. So many nights Clive had said that to me and I never realised where it was from! He often used lines from films but I hadn’t recognised this one until now! No wonder he’d wanted me to watch it. Clive was so ‘smooth’ at times and I fell for it, hook, line and sinker.
Initially it made me smile as I thought of our cosy nights on the settee when eventually he’d say that line. Sunday nights were our favourite. Especially watching ‘Larkrise to Candleford’ or ‘Downton Abbey’. He used to say I’d converted him into costume dramas. I just loved being with him. What we watched was immaterial. I loved the way he would just fiddle with my toes or stroke my legs. Why has he gone?
As Dom and I appreciated the humour in ‘Top Gun’ again it broke my heart to know how much he and Clive would have shared things. Dom’s Dad is great with him and Clive never intended to replace him. Yet he would have shown and shared with him different aspects and interests in life. Why has that been stolen away?
I was doing okay until a character was killed in the film. The tears flowed; Dom hugged me as I said I’d never realised what loss meant until I have lost Clive and it hurts so much.
I now have so much spinning round my head.
14 years ago tonight I was heavily pregnant and finally began to go into labour. See my book ‘Eyes without Sparkle’ for the full account!
I was so very, very excited as all my dreams and wishes to be a mother were about to come true. They did but several months later I was a psychotic wreck in a psychiatric hospital. Following that in 2005 I was an author and appeared on BBC Breakfast telling my story of recovery from extreme postnatal depression. Three years later my marriage and family was in tatters and I met and fell head over heels in love with fellow speaker Clive Gott. For a while my beloved son would not see or speak to me and I rode a massive rollercoaster for a couple of years between my ‘love nest’ in Yorkshire and my worried family in Cheshire. By late 2010 all was falling into place with the acceptance of my Yorkshire life, my son and partner getting on well and my life in a very, very happy place. Then on 19th February my Clive’s heart suddenly stopped beating and my life, as I knew it, stopped with it.
9 weeks later where am I?
I am still alive. One choice I could take was to have joined Clive. I can understand why some people decide to also die. The pain is indescribable. The empty space next to you in bed; in the car; as you take a walk; as you shop, is like an black, endless void. Nothing is there. Zilch. Diddly squat. No matter how your mind conjures up and remembers what they looked like. Smelled like. Felt like. Tasted like. Heard like. They are not there. Gone. The pain is so sharp that alcohol, morphine, compassion, empathy, money .... nothing will alleviate it. You hope, pray, wish for all those senses to be stimulated by that person but you know you have to accept that they are gone. No more will they stroke your cheek. Call your name. Look at you so your very core melts to be in their presence. Yet what would be the point in joining them?
Clive once said that because of the love we shared, if ever we lost the other, we could not join them as it would make a farce of every single thing we had spoke or written about to others. About being strong in the face of adversity. Of keeping going. Of putting one foot in front of the other. Of difficult times passing and making us stronger. There are two main reasons why I will not intentionally join him – he would be so cross with me on the ‘other side’ and I could not put anyone through the pain of grief like I am feeling. I do also have many special people in my life who I want to share it with.
As we drove to the rugby match Dom read me his school report. I know it is a mother’s prerogative to be proud, but I swelled with it. His grades are brilliant but the comments by his form tutor that he is a happy and friendly young man mean a great deal to me. I was so proud of him at the meal before the match as he chatted to new people at our table and many topics.
I am so pleased that he has chosen to spend his birthday with me here in Tadcaster. We plan to shop, eat and go to Xplore at Castleford. They are all places that I went to with Clive and we’d said we would take Dom. It will be hard for me but I shall do it.
I could pack up and go back to my parents in Cheshire but I don’t want to leave what had become mine and Clive’s home. In order to stay here I shall have to work hard. I want to be in front of many audiences to inspire others. But then I get scared with the negative self-talk of doubt which quickly gets binned by the positive!
I then wonder why so many of you tell me that I am inspiring you with what seem to me like even worse scenarios. Am I not getting boring with my ramblings? Up one minute? Down the next? I have lost an amazing man and the most stunning of romances and rosy future. So what? It happens all the time, across the world. What’s so special about me and Clive?
I have looked back in my journal for this time last year. Clive was speaking in Ipswich, I was also due to drive to the same area after having seen Dom briefly for his birthday. Little did we know the differences that would have taken place 12 months on.
I still love my son more than anyone (Clive knew he would always play second fiddle), but he has gone. I am in what was his home but now in a freshly decorated room in the soft furnishings and decor we chose together. I have gifts in the room from people I had never heard of 12 months ago (Dinah and Hannah) who I now would consider good friends. I cannot help but speculate what my life will look l like in 12 months time again.
I would like it to be
· Still with a wonderful relationship with Dominic
· Affording comfortably to still be in this house
· For my speaking career to be firmly established to inspire others through difficulties
· To have other income streams – writing, my PND advice telephone line, a lodger, supply teaching, mini-speakers agency, Forever Living Products retail sales.
In my sensible moments it is crystal clear then I suddenly panic and all I want is Clive back. I yearn for him. I ache for him. I am cross with him for leaving me with a mess. I adore him even more for all the enrichment he gave me. I wonder if he left me this situation as a challenge to overcome knowing one day I shall feel so proud of myself, especially when on my 50th birthday on 4th August 2013 I can have my red Audi A3 convertible because I have earned it.
I get all strong and assertive with a goal like that then I panic and want an easy option. There isn’t one.
I have learnt that in life there are possibilities and potential. I want to explore both. I need help though as I cannot do it alone.
So what do I have?
1. A tremendous family – both my own and Clive’s
2. Amazing friends
3. A pride and determination in myself but also to demonstrate that Clive put me on his best workshop ever in teaching ‘just keep putting one foot in front of the other’
4. My health and a trimmer body than I have had in years
5. Several financial opportunities to investigate
6. A wealth of memories and experience from sharing almost the last three years with an incredible man, who told me that I completed him. Maybe I was the final piece in his jigsaw puzzle of life?
The pain which has followed the pleasure of that is worse than anything I have experienced in my almost 48 years of life.
Somehow I have to carry on. I know I shall but it is a tough ride.
What has changed in your life in the last 12 months? What do you hope will happen in the next? And what are you doing, no matter how small, on a regular basis, to get you there?
For me for now, I guess it is as Winston Churchill said, ‘when you are going through hell just keep going’.
It is also about acknowledging the many positives around me – the main one for the next 24 hours is to ensure Dominic has a wonderful 15th birthday with his Mum. And that alone is a brilliant, happy thought on which I shall go to sleep.
Life is about making new memories and that is what I intend to do.