Wednesday, 6 July 2011

1st holiday without Clive Gott - part 4

I slept more soundly than I have in weeks and woke with a mission - blog!

We had another leisurely breakfast and settled down by the pool.

My thumb couldn't type fast enough and the morning simply 'went'. It was actually good to have a record of what had gone on here - so far.

By early afternoon Mum and I felt peckish and chose to eat at the poolside restaurant. We had a jug of white Sangria and sardines with french fries. We chatted and soaked up the whole experience. Our conclusion was that it wasn't the same as sitting in the garden at home with McDonalds fries and a glass of orange juice.

By the time we'd finished the sangria we both needed a lie down! I put my headphones on and before long I was sobbing with a very wet face. The drink, the sun, the memories of Clive and the 'should have beens' engulfed me.

Sometimes I feel that grief is like a toxin. A poison to be let out. I hear Clive's advice 'just keep putting one foot in front of the other'. 'You can't do it all at once'.

So each bout of tears I accept as part of the needed healing. Each bout is one less that has to come out. Each one is one step closer to 'recovery', whatever that means, one day at a time.

Back in our room later as we got ready, I plugged Mums iPod into the sound system. After a giggle at a Mark Knoffler song which started 'I got shot off my horse, but I'm up again', I found something a bit more upbeat.

It was Enrique 'one day at a time'!

I wore the cream dress that Clive had taken off a shop dummy for me! He had said he wanted to marry me in it. I could have left it at home but why?  Had Clive been here I would have worn it so why not now?

We met Nip and Ellie in the lift. She looked exceptionally gorgeous! We posed for pictures at the front of the hotel and got the shuttle back to the Marina.

After a Pina Coloda at The Watering Hole Sports bar we went to a restaurant behind the marina. Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed fillet steak on a hot stone.

We wandered back to the 19th hole in the hope of another dance but it was very crowded. We got a couple in but then a group of girls invaded our space; they closed the front doors and the heat rose too much. I looked at all the people. All ages, all 'types'. Some looking happy with their partners; some desperate to be noticed; some eyeing anything that moved.

How on earth will I ever find another partner? So much hard work to find that special someone. What if I never do? What if I do? There will only ever be one Clive Gott. There can never be another relationship like we had.

I wasn't looking for Clive. He just came into my life. So I won't look now. I will say 'yes' to invitations and just let life happen. I have people to call on and I don't need to be on my own if I chose not to be. For now that suits me fine.

Just as we stood outside the door to finish off our drinks a young man pebble-dashed the pavement! Time to leave!!

The four of us returned to the hotel laughing, after another good evening.

All too soon it was our last breakfast here. I packed a little first and the thoughts of returning home were okay.
However during breakfast I got tearful:-
1. We'd spoken about 'the boys' first golf holiday abroad. Clive often spoke of how special it had been with Nip, his son Mikey and friend Ricky.  Nip agreed it had been the most memorable.
2. The disappointment that Clive isn't here to stop on with Nip and meet the other players later. We all agreed that for Clive his sudden death was kinder for him.
3. The thought of going back to an empty house and that he will never be coming back.

I felt rotten for spoiling the meal but it was better to acknowledge it all. I shall probably be fine when I get back as I have lots to do.

I finished reading 'life lessons' by the pool. The main messages I have taken from it is that we grow from life's challenges; that it is important to focus and appreciate 'now' and that although we may face loss we will never lose love.

I know I have grown from the loss of previous relationships; I know I have emerged from past challenges; I have generally appreciated 'now' but I cherish it more; I have a huge capacity for love, both to give and receive and I treasure that.

So am I glad I made the decision to come on this holiday? Too right!

Yes I have cried and allowed myself to wallow in memories of Clive. When we were here two years ago we had much to learn about each. Since then our love had grown and grown. Vilamoura will always be a very special place for me.

This visit I have loved being with my Mum, Nip and Ellie. Our relationships have grown and developed. New memories have been created for us all.

Soon we will go to the airport and leave Nip with the golf boys. I hope the spirit of Clive is with them as he has been with us.

So my tips at the end of my first holiday to those facing that choice?
  • Make it short yet sweet. It is better to be leaving now happily than wishing it to end.
  • Go with close people who will understand your tears but celebrate your smiles, laughter and dancing too!
  • Consider somewhere you have been before but also change aspects, e.g. a  different hotel.
  • Take photos and maybe replace one of your lost loved ones at home.
  • Have people to meet and things to do planned for your return. An empty diary can lead to holes of grief but leave some bits for just you.  
If still in doubt if you should either continue with a planned holiday or book a new one, consider this:-

If you had died, not your loved-one, what would you say to them? What would you want them to do?

I know Clive would give me one of his huge loving hugs when I say that my three highlights have been the beach walk with Mum, dancing with Ellie and asking for the Leeds Rhinos match to be put on in the bar!

Now excuse me as I have the last couple of hours 'to be HERE'........

Elaine x


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