Sunday, 21 August 2011

6 months since Clive Gott died.

Yes it is really 6 months since Clive died. In some ways it feels like a long time ago but in others still so fresh, new and as shocking.

After spending most of the week over in Cheshire with my family I decided to come back home. En route I called at IKEA to get a bookcase for my office. Did you see the programme earlier in the week called 'My Mum's a hoarder?' Well it prompted me to begin to sort the piles of 'stuff' that currently are in what was our joint office. I had felt that it was a huge task and one that was too much to handle. Seeing the amount of 'stuff' that the lady in the documentary had made me realise that I had made a mountain out of what really is a molehill! It was another task I was avoiding and in doing so has made many tasks twice as long because I was having to wade through bags and boxes just to find sellotape! A big bookcase would at least mean I could begin to make sense and organisation for some of it.

Initially In Leeds IKEA I felt sad. Last time Clive and I had been here together. I got a free drink (thanks Dad for the loan of your Family card for there) and sat where Clive and I had sat, remembering how charming he had been with a young mum and baby who had been next to us. The tears pricked but I chose to change them into focus on the new bookcase. Mum and Claire had given me birthday money and this seemed a good use of it. I wandered through the store with happy and sad feelings at the same time.

Then began the 'I am on my own' dilemmas! First was being unable to lift the bookcase on the trolley. Getting an assistant to do that was quite easy. I thought of how Clive's strong hands and arms would have done it an an instance! Check out was easy but then I wondered how I would get it in the car! The assitant told me there were trolley boys outside. I stood for ages and then spotted then having their lunch and was too polite to expect them to stop for me! The other option was to put the trolley in a locker whilst I got the car but I didn't have a pound coin! Other idea was to ask a kind person to keep an eye on it for me. But who do you trust? So I chose to go in the lift and take it to the car myself.

Once by my car I then wondered what on earth I should do! In this day and age there is the concern that someone will not help in case of injury! If I asked a man on his own would they take that as a 'come on'? If I asked a man with a wife/partner would that cause trouble? Finally I asked a guy with two women! The reason I gave was the trolley boys being at lunch. He helped no problem. I did resist the temptation to declare why I was on my own but didn't! Mission was accomplished.

Back home there was then the issue of getting it in and upstairs! There wasn't a neighbour in sight and I sent a few SOS texts but no responses! In the meantime I began to sort the mess! I moved the wardrobe from my new office to make room for my bookcase and sorted out a cupboard which would also be of use. Finally Simon next door came home and he helped me upstairs with it. Within an hour I had not only built and managed to put in place my new 'Billy' bookcase but it was also filled! What a sense of achievement.

From there I was back into Leeds to go to a BBQ and Ann Summers party. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go but decided I would. Initially I felt rather alone and it turned out to be a 'Man Summers' night as men were there too - although they didn't come into the sales bit! It was nice to find people there that I already knew and some who had known Clive. The Ann Summers part was a bit uncomfortable because it made me feel sad to think of what I have lost. I won a book called 'How to be a bad girl in bed'!!!

I took the invitation to stay overnight and so had a few drinks, a dance and generally a good evening! Another morning I have arrived home in the same clothes as the night before! Yesterday I was a sloth! I went back to bed for a while then watched York races on tv. I did at least clean my bedroom.

I settled down last night to watch the start of X-factor. That was another big step as we had watched it last year and Clive had built up a regular following of his comments on Facebook each programme. I wasn't sure if to avoid it or join in - I chose the latter. I posted a message on Facebook and got plenty back! Perhaps I should take over where he left off? I was sitting on my own with a glass of wine but certainly did not feel alone.

As 8.30 pm came I recalled how 6 months ago I had kissed and tucked up Clive in bed and told him how much I loved him. At 8.50 pm I went back up in response to what had been his final breath. My mind relived the horror of that night. At he same time a sweet Irish girl sang about 'Your song' on X factor and I focussed on the lyric about someone being in my life.

Clive Gott was in my life - he always will be in my heart and mind. I am so grateful for all we shared. He was an amazing, incredible man and he left the world better for him having been in it. That was what he wanted in life.

So on reflection 6 months after he died I can honestly say that this time has been the worst of my life (so far, as he'd say). I have never known the pain, loss, emptiness and shock like this before. I have felt bereft, robbed, angry, alone, sorrowful and anxious. On the other hand I have never felt so much support and love from so many people. Clive I did feel we were true soul mates. We had marriage and our lives to look forward to.

I still have my life to look forward to. I am on a new journey now but with all the support around me, self-determination and responsibility plus the deep gratitude and multiple memories of Clive in my life, it HAS to become easier and happier.

When Clive died I asked for thank you cards not sympathy ones. Six months on I need and wish to send those thanks and gratitude back out to all of you who have helped and continue to help me through this.

And I know Clive would be there too, giving us a big hug, saying 'it's happened and you ARE dealing with it'.

Ladies Day at York races
We miss you Clive but are so glad you were here.

I leave you with these thoughts ..

  • What task are you putting off? Just tackle it!
  • Do you appreciate who and what you have?

Elaine x


Steve Wright said...

Elaine, you are such an inspiration to everyone in the face of such personal loss. Clive would have been so proud of you, your strength, your dignity, your compassion for others, your ability to laugh when inside you must still be crying. It was a great pleasure meeting you on Friday and I hope our paths cross again soon

Tor Mackenzie said...

"Do you appreciate who and what you have?"
No, I don't but this is only going to be a short message, because I am going now to tell some of the people I appreciate, that I do :-)
God bless.
Sorry I missed the Ann/Man Summers evening - sounds "interesting! :-)"

barbara R said...

you are doing well to talk about Clive as you do.
Take a day at a time. Some are good and we move on. Some are bad and we dont.
I am divorced after being married for 53 years. It feels like a bereavement but it isn't. I cant close the door. But nearly 4 years since I left I am getting used to the loneliness and the isolation. Cry when you must and sometimes lock the door and have a sad day.