Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Films and fun at the seaside!

After the PSA NE summer BBQ on Saturday I drove home and packed up for a few days away. I did a talk around 18 months ago 'in the spirit of abundance', not expecting anything in return. The outcome of that talk is a support group for postnatally depressed mothers, which should run and run. That was worth it but then I was offered a holiday cottage at Flamborough, near Bridlington, on the east coast by David who had asked me to speak. It is his family's way of 'giving back'. What amazing people I have around me!

Last summer Dom, his friend and myself had a very happy week there, walking, cycling, cooking, etc. The last conversation Dom and I had before Clive died was about making plans for the three of us this time at the cottage this year. It would have been our first holiday together.

I had invited Mum and Dad to join us for the weekend. They had arrived ahead of me. Meanwhile I drove to Bridlington, with memories of Sunday mornings with Peeka and Clive. He would be like an excited child 'taking doggy to the seaside'. We'd be up and out by 7.30 a.m. and on the beach just over an hour later. We'd walk on the long, sandy beach in sun, wind and cloud just talking, playing and being 'loved up'. We would be first in the queue at a cafe for a sausage sandwich 'and one without the bread for Peeka' and eat outside. The journey on Saturday proved a difficult one as the memories and the familiar route lay in front of me, unfolding like a roll of green wallpaper over the Yorkshire landscape.

To ease my pain I spoke to Lynn en route and we chatted about plans for the next few weeks. Both my birthday and what would have been Clive's are on the horizon. People tell me that 'the firsts' are especially poignant so I need to make sure I have something good arranged for them. Talking to Lynn did help immensely and by the time I was driving the final stretch to the cottage I began to feel excited! Family time for me!

Dom, Mum and Dad had settled in well and I followed suit. The four of us went for a walk around a very chilly Flamborough village! Very pretty but not exactly warm. Mum even had gloves on!

Over the years we have played cards as a family. Tonight was no exception and I won at Rummy!

I slept on a top bunk bed - not done that for years! I was happy to be back here. Clive had never actually been here with us but I continue to miss the constant texts from him wherever I am. This time last year he'd have wanted a constant bulletin from me! Sometimes his lip would be out if I was with my family (or others) having fun and he'd gone to bed before I said 'n nite'! 

Next morning 'the big event' was the local car boot sale. Last year Dom and his friend had a ball there! They had got a small skate board, other bits of 'kit' and a pile of out of date food from a white van! Did we really want 48 bags of Nik Naks?! So that was first on the list.

Oh dear! As it was still so cold and windy only a handful of sellers had turned up (who can blame them). Unless you wanted some cassette tapes, a doll with an eye missing and a book of wildlife themed knitting patterns, then it wasn't your lucky day!

We returned for a warm! There isn't a television at the cottage so Dom had brought his laptop and I had my projector that I use for talks. Together we created a 10 foot wide screen on the lounge wall and our own mini-cinema! We both had plenty of DVDs too.

All of us were happy just to relax so the rest of the morning passed watching 'Sherlock Holmes'. Very good film.

We made a snack lunch then decided to get some very fresh air on the beach at North Landing - a cove just a few minutes away. Dom and his friend had spent hours here last year climbing on the rocks and in the caves. Today though the wind and waves were far too strong to risk anything other than safely sitting on the sand. Dom, ever the optimist, kept suggesting that it 'would settle soon' and in the meantime we just wave and people watched. After a while I realised how relaxed I was. If being relaxed is just letting your mind wander, without any focused thoughts, then I was there. I was neither  very sad or happy. I was content just to be, with my dearest family with me.

We gave up on the waves and went back to the cottage for a drink, then set off in an easterly direction to the lighthouse at Flamborough Head. We had a lovely meal at The Headland restaurant there.

Dom at Flamborough Head

From there we walked down the cliff path to the beach.  I soaked up 'the moment' - waves crashing, seagulls squawking, wind on my face and blowing my hair, warm sun on my back, taste of salt in the air, a small selection of families exploring the cove as mine were.

Then wallop! The memories of the same beach this time last year crashed down as me just like the ferocious waves on the rocks. This time last year I had been there with Dom and his friend Sam. If I had known then that Clive and I had only months together I wondered if we would have done anything differently? We would have got married for sure - he had asked me to spend the rest of his life with him when we were in New York just before his 50th birthday. I did. Other than that, probably not. It is probably good that we don't know what is 'round the corner'.

Dom spotted I was crying, standing alone by the shoreline. He smiled at me and without saying a word just hugged me for a few moments. We didn't need to say a word. What an intuitive and wonderful young man.

That was all I needed and then focused on 'now'. I watched my Mum and Dad and Dom, as he scampered off again. Appreciate 'now' I told myself. 'Love the ones you're with'. As we climbed the steps back up Dom scampered ahead. A man on his way down told my Mum that her son had just passed him! Made her day!

Back at the cottage I posted Sue's blog on her stay with me the previous days and the 'cinema' was on again - this time 'Keeping Mum'.

The traditional cards were dealt and as we played we listened to Dom's choice of music. I cried at several tracks but what was so lovely was the accepted 'it'll pass' from Mum, Dad and Dom!! That is when you know you are loved so much - I can be 'me' without the need to pretend or 'better not say'. That way my emotions are brought out and hopefully I shall 'heal' quicker. I know they feel helpless though but by just letting me go with the moment it really, really helps. A couple of times Dom said 'oh dear' and suggested he changed the track but I said not! This one reminded me of Clive in his car, roof down, shades on, beating a 'drum' on the dashboard. I so miss being driven by him. I have to drive myself now - and not just in a car.

'Is your heart still beating?' - hmm, a sensitive line in that song!

Clive made my heart beat very fast when he was alive. And I know I did his. That thought made me smile.

Sunday was about 'now' and my family. It was a good day.

How many people will be currently on holiday feeling annoyed with those they are with? How many will be moaning in some way? How many counting the days until it's back to normal'?

My simple message is to appreciate your loved ones. Each day is a gift with them. Concentrate on making happy memories not bitter regrets.

Elaine x

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