It's been a strange week. After the emotions of last week with three presentations I was both thrilled by the amazing feedback on my new keynote presentation and also the workshop on postnatal illness. As It was half-term I also decided to go and spend time with my family in Cheshire.
After Mum and I had been to Take That on Monday we came back to Tadcaster and I did a few local chores before I took her to a cafe where Clive and I regularly put the world to rights, at Thorp Arch. Lynn works in the shop next door and as it was her birthday I also wanted to give her a hug.
I wasn't too emotional as we ate a chunky bacon sandwich even if I had chosen to sit where we used to! I reflected on how much stronger (and more sane!) I felt I was becoming. We noticed an elderly couple in the opposite corner and we both commented that the lady was very much like my late Grandma - the hair, cardigan and bright blue eyes. As we were leaving I noticed that she was looking at me so I 'did a Clive' and gently took her hand and told her that she had reminded us of Grandma who we both missed so much. Her previously bent posture instantly straightened, her bright blue eyes sparkled and a huge smile spread across her face.
'Ooh, love, you have made my day! To be honest I was sitting here feeling grumpy and bothered about what to do the rest of the day. You have really cheered me up.'
Within the next 10 minutes we had exchanged family details and I was close to leaving when she asked about the Guinness T-shirt I was wearing. Apparently they had been debating why I was wearing it! That prompted its history of being bought for me by Clive when we were at the Irish Village in Dubai. Mum told her what had happened to Clive. She was shocked and saddened to hear that and made the point that she and had husband have been married 6 more years than he had lived. We left them looking far happier and probably with renewed conversations for days!
It does feel so good to make someone else feel happy! Give it a go!
We drove back over the M62 and nipped to our favourite knitting shop on Langdale Road in Runcorn. It's a few doors down from where Nicola from Girls Aloud used to work in the chippy! I have finished the Aran cushion I made over recent months and could easily have given up on as I was actually doing it when Clive died. But I have lots of wool left and as part of my 'time to relax' at night routine wanted to knit Sophie a cardigan. Pattern sorted and something constructive to do!
Back at Mum and Dad's a very poorly Sophie had just been dropped off by her worried Mum! Claire has started a new job and Sophie had been to nursery but they'd phoned as she had become unwell. Over the next few hours we were all mortified to see her sink heavily. Poor little mite had conjunctivitis so her eyes were all puffy and sticky, a raging temperature and so miserable. Her only comfort was to be cuddled. The doctor sorted her with eye drops and antibiotics but Mum, Dad, Claire and I were all so upset to see her so ill. Apart from slight colds and a bit of sickness she has been a very healthy baby.
As the evening progressed we almost contemplated taking her to A and E but by morning her temperature had gone down and little by little she perked up. We were all shattered though. It reminded us of when Dominic was in hospital at 4 months old with viral septicemia. Being ill as an adult is awful but seeing babies suffer is dreadful because they don't know what is happening. My thoughts went out to those who have constant problems with their child's health. For those of you who have commented how much my blogs help you through then Sophie's bug reinforced how important care is for the carers. Who do you know that is currently caring for someone? What can you do for them?
Dom and I spent a few hours around Cheshire Oaks outlet village. He was busy this week with revision and also filming more of his movie 'Gone' so preferred I went over to him. We all had a family tea at Mums with Sophie at last beginning to eat again.
I came back to Tadcaster on Thursday as I was so worried about my PC. Over the weekend it had been freezing and I was unable to use the mouse. I had hoped it just needed extreme technological treatment, i.e. stroke it nicely, switch it off, try again and if no luck smack it! On my return I tried both of these strategies but no luck. I had much appreciated help by phone and remotely but it seems serious surgery is required!
I had one of the worse return journeys back. I felt worried about Sophie still; I had hardly seen Dom; I wanted to help Mum and Dad more but instead I was driving back to life without Clive. So much of me wants to 'move on' but equally I am scared of forgetting how happy we were. Scared of forgetting mannerisms of Clive. Just before I had left I had asked Dom to download some little bits of film I had discovered on Clive's Flip camera. Hearing his voice made me crumble. The tears fell like peas. I was disappointed too because the rest of the time I had been so positive with him and he had been pleased with my speaking successes. I felt I was letting him down. I miss having someone to check have I arrived home or to my destination safely. Someone to care. My mind cart wheeled all the drive back. I would like a new relationship and probably one day that will happen. But how will I know if I am ready? I have so much love to give. Clive brought back the 19 year old in me and I don't want to lose her. The thought crossed my mind and I actually shouted out 'Clive is dead but I don't want to die with him!' Just as he would not want me to.
In that frame of mind I then had the computer disaster. Just as I am now ready to work on a new profile and follow-up the talks! Not to mention hundreds of emails still to be attended to. Lynn and Sue then arrived to take me to the opening of Clive's sister-in-law Yvonne's new Bead shop in Leeds. As I got in the car Lynn asked if I was okay. WHAT a tirade she got!!! I was like a loaded gun exploding!! I actually said I felt like I had an extreme case of PMT but after my hysterectomy that isn't an issue! Seeing Malcolm and his family at the impressive new shop was good and I calmed down. I shall put a link to the website when Yvonne has sorted it out. Her jewellery and beads are very reasonably priced. Well done and much success with it!
Back home I was a little more calm and watched Britain's Got Talent. I would have blogged but my tiny laptop would not connect either! I gave up on technology and went to bed. I have been sent a CD of music designed to help me sleep - it has got lost in the post! Do you ever feel that stuff is going against you?!!
I had a couple of meetings yesterday and lunch with a friend who wanted a bit of help over dealing with her PMT!!!! Talk about being able to advise with empathy. When I spoke out in Sydney I heard an amazing presentation stating that PMT can be reduced by 'alternative thinking and changing expected patterns'. The theory was that because you are expecting to be tense you will be. Others around you will also be expecting the worse from you and the vicious cycle begins. They weren't saying that PMT does not exist because hormones certainly affect mood BUT you can control your behaviour by building in some support systems. In a nutshell be nice to yourself. In helping her I helped myself! I have to practice what I preach!
With that the 'rock chick' came out to play. One of Clive's favourite outfits of mine was white jeans and a green 'designer top I'd got in a sale'. Over the last 18 months I avoided the whole outfit due to the extra weight I'd put on. I easily slipped into my jeans; tousled my hair as opposed to straightening it and waited for my friend Angela to arrive (from Cheshire). She too has lost weight and we were both chuffed to be smaller versions of ourselves. As we were going to be standing at a Paolo Nutini concert flat sandals were required! We had fun swapping big handbags for tiny 'across the body' ones.
En route to York we called in to see Lynn who has moved house. I swear it shifted as I drove up the drive because somehow my front bumper got too close to the brickwork .... ooops! Sensibly I left it there and we got a lift into York.
What a fab evening! It was hot so we had a jug of Pimms before a very tasty meal at an Italian restaurant called Toto's across the road from the venue, the recently reopened Barbican centre.
I had half expected the audience to be teenagers but it was a mixed crowd. Angela and I found our spot centre stage about 10 people deep. It filled and filled. I had never been in there before but I knew that one of Clive's many jobs had been as a bouncer here and every time we drove past he would tell me of how he had 'protected' the Chippendales! As Paolo Nutini began I just dissolved into tears, sobs, the lot!! I even danced crying! Angela, bless her was an angel and just kept me sorted with hugs, tissues and sways. What a party pooper! I don't even know what I was specifically crying about. Perhaps I just needed to let all the tension I had been feeling out? Because my verdict was that I had enjoyed the show!!! Yes we were surrounded by loved-up couples. Yes I knew that Clive and I would have gone because we both played his CD in our cars. Yes I had been robbed of that. Yet I was having a wonderful night with a girlfriend, something I had let slide. So of course it wasn't all bad - quite the opposite.
We walked across York when it finished and I felt so much better than the last couple of days. Back in Tadcaster we had a couple of drinks in The Queen. It just isn't the same without Clive. Even some of the locals were telling Angela that I should 'move on'.
What does that mean? Does it mean forget? Does it mean sigh and just carrying on living? The silence in our home is increasingly deafening. The expectation of Clive walking into the lounge has diminished. The expectation of him at the bar in The Queen has gone. Life is carrying on without him. Yet the love I had remains as does missing him and our life together. Today I have an enjoyed a 'not doing much' day.
But for me perhaps my 'new life' is beginning? I'd just be glad of a computer that works!
But for tonight it's Britain's Got Talent .... and knitting!!