When I dropped off Sue at the airport on Saturday my next port of call was to the PSA NE Summer BBQ hosted by President Richard McCann.
It was another 'test' of my new approach to life without Clive - choices, connections and caring.
I could have chosen not to go - being with those who knew us both could be an ordeal. In fact I find it a comfort to be with those who are willing to speak of him and listen to me rabbiting on about him!
As 'recently bereaved' our society can often feel awkward and embarrassed to be with you. That is another stigma I fight these days! If I can show others that I am at ease, then I hope it makes them feel likewise.
I could have chosen not to go because I might get upset. Again being with Clive's contacts makes me miss him even more and could upset me further. I chose to go because if I do get tearful, so be it. It will soon pass and better to go and risk it than become a hermit in fear of showing emotion!
I could have chosen not to go because I would be on my own.
I chose to go because I like company. I chose to go because they are friendly people.
I chose to go because another area that is important to me is to connect to others. Social media is good but you cannot beat one to one contact! If I went I would be renewing existing connections and possibly making more.
Thirdly, caring is another aspect that matters to me. I know I have to care about myself so that I can care about others. Getting out does help. I care about my friends and I like to see them - hopefully if they see me 'in the flesh' they will be relieved and pleased. I also care about the speaking profession - supporting PSA events is part of that.
Clive and I probably would have gone to this together. Going alone hurts. All it needed though was my sat nav and one foot in front of the other when I arrived.
After the wet and cold spell we have had thank goodness it was dry - yet windy. Hmm - Clive said he'd be around 'in the wind'. The afternoon was very pleasant and I chatted to existing friends and met some spouses that I hadn't before and their children. Every conversation had Clive in it! He is genuinely missed by more than just me! I LOVE to hear others speak about him. I felt he was there with us in spirit.
The food was very tasty; the live music relaxing and the ambiance just right. It was lovely to see the garden full of people and children of all ages.
Richard has three small children who are all remarkably like him! His son Ellis is a mini-Richard. At one point I was sitting on my own on the swing seat just breathing in the afternoon. Ellis climbed up beside me, gave me eye contact and a smile which made me melt, and proceeded to climb even more. He then share with me the scratching effects of smooth and rough bits on his Frisbee and we went on to discuss favourite letters and numbers. He was part way through telling me about the frogs legs he intends eating on his holiday to France when his expression changed dramatically. A frown and grimace followed and a little comment before he scurried off - "Oooh! I need a poo!"
Oh the innocence of children! I did ask his Dad's permission for that story by the way!
As the afternoon came to a close I was so pleased I had been.
I had made the right choice to attend and I had made new connections and improved others.
I had shown I cared but the overwhelming feeling was how much others cared for Clive.
That is comforting.
Thank you Richard and team for a wonderful afternoon.
What event are you making excuses not to go to? Why?
Perhaps just give it a go - you have a choice to leave early when you get there, but just sometimes it is worth making the effort - I am pleased I did!