Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Does an angel contemplate my fate?

Yesterday my Mum and I went to Sunderland to see Take That in concert. Clive had booked the tickets the day came on sale purely because he kept seeing the scramble on Facebook about those who were struggling to get them! He tried and, bingo, got two! He was like a big kid with a new toy!

He had thought about using them as a 'golden ticket' idea with his new book 'It's not your time, it's the time you have'. Order form here . But then he got worried if it was a valid website as the stories of 'fakes' hit the news. The last conversation we had about them was that he wanted me to go and take a friend.

In the end my Mum was the other person! I know I have said before about my Mum and me going to concerts together. Over the years we have shared many magic moments. My parents may be in their mid 70's but are superb examples of how to spend your retirement and Clive said he aspired to be like them. Their unconditional love for my brother, sister and I plus our children knows no bounds. Here's Mum jet skiing a couple of years ago!

Mum got the train to me over to York and I collected her from the station. Her companions had consisted of two families - one who allowed their toddler to pick his nose and wipe the contents on a table, followed by another family who then allowed their child to eat crisps off the same table! Yuk!

We drove to Sunderland and having read the blurb that came with the tickets 'Sunderland was full of bars and restaurants'. It was if you counted Greggs and wanted a pie in the street! After ages of fruitless searching we did find Nandos where the queue was out of the door. It was a long wait but they gave us free nibbles in the queue and we were both extremely impressed by the staff in there. Considering they were literally run off their feet, each customer was dealt with politely, with warm smiles and a commendable calmness. We told the manager what a wonderful team he had to which he replied 'I know'.

At the stadium we joined a huge queue, which was dealt with very efficiently only to be told we were in the wrong one when we got to the barrier! We had joined the 'standing' crowd and not seated ones. We sat on the second to back row of the second tier, half way down the pitch. It was a great view and we happily people watched. The crowd spanned the generations and there were plenty of men there too.

The special guests were The Pet Shop boys. Their set was amazing with very unusual dancers, costumes and brilliant use of video and camera shots of the audience. I don't think I have ever seen a supporting act so well received.

Take That came on (minus Robbie) to huge roars. What a stunning atmosphere! The staging was spectacular throughout, as were the costumes, dancers, everything. There was so much going on that you didn't know where to look!

Robbie came on. Sorry, but he spoiled it.  He came over as arrogant but mainly his foul mouth was totally unnecessary. Why spoil so much talent with it? Every other word was an expletive more suited to a rough, back street brawl rather than a mixed audience of almost 55,000.
However, this reduced me to tears. Big sobs. Huge tears.

Mum grabbed my hand, hugged me, pulled me to my feet and holding me tightly we sung and swayed with everyone else. The pain was stabbing me like a 1,000 blades. Why has my Clive gone? Why is he not here enjoying this spectacle with me? Why has he been taken?

A few years ago I was in a shop in a Cheshire craft village. As I purchased a card the assistant looked up, gasped and said 'Wow! Do you know you are surrounded by so many angels watching over you? You have a special role to fill'.
I was taken aback at the time. Maybe that role is now unfolding? 

As we swayed new thoughts warmed and comforted me. I could sense him hugging me too. I felt his approval at us being there. His words of 'take someone who would really appreciate it' rang in my head. I had. My Mum and I were part of a massive crowd and enjoying a special moment. One that I will always treasure. New memories are being made now all the time. In future I shall think of my Mum when I hear that song (as well as Libby in a school play many years ago). I shall think of her love protecting me. I might be 47 but I know I am still the same little girl she would do anything to protect from hurt and pain. She and Dad feel useless in my current situation. They can't bring Clive back and they know how besotted I was. I often say it's enough to 'be there'. That was a wonderful example. I appreciated Clive so much at that moment for making it possible. I appreciated Mum more than words can say. As a little girl I remember once crying to her about what would I do if she died. Her reply was 'don't grieve for the living'. I have never forgotten that. Yet is is only now I understand fully what grief is and it's not a nice experience. However, it has made me appreciate the living more and being 'in the moment' with them. As I have just logged on to post this a comment on my last post tells me how my blog and openness is making them do this too.

It took us over an hour to get out of Sunderland and was after 2 when we got back home. We were frozen! Somehow the word' stadium' on the tickets had not translated in my brain as 'open-air, potential to be cold'! I was thinking of 'arena - light clothes and not much space for things! Brrr! Mum and I decided to sleep together complete with furry blanket!! A  perfect end to a special day with her. I remembered the last time I had slept with her days after Clive died when grief literally tore threw my body. Take That's tour is called 'Progress'.

I acknowledge I am making it too.

Elaine x



Sue Abbott said...

I have been following your blog with great admiration. You adored Clive so much, it was so unfair for you to lose him like that.

Well done Elaine, for not sinking under the blackness of bereavement and carrying on inspiring and helping people.

I wish you well, and will continue to follow you.

Mike Bradley said...


What a moving tribute, youre an inspiration to us all.

Mike x