I had taken up Chris's kind invitation because he also knows how it feels to lose your soul mate in your 40's. My Mum had suggested I spent it with who I felt best with - Dom was walking so Chris was next!
His parents were also there plus the gorgeous Emily, who soon went off for bath and bed. Then our friend Dinah arrived with her son James plus a delightful couple from Austria. It was warm enough to sit outside so we passed a couple of very pleasant hours, chatting, drinking and eating banoffee pie!
By the time they had gone the initial idea for champagne in the hot tub had waned so the day ended with watching comedian Michael McIntyre. Amazing for one guy to fill Wembley like that. One of Clive's goals was to have a 'one man' show and play in large halls. I will never forget one of the last performances he gave for Forever Living Products in January at Cheltenham racecourse. He was outstanding and I swelled with pride for him. He said it had been his finest hour and felt that everything in his life had built up to that moment.
What a loss to us all.
But it was a happy birthday! Thank you so much for all those who sent me messages. They really did make me feel less alone.
My tips for 'first time' bereaved birthday?
- Keep busy - even clean a toilet!
- Remember past birthdays with your loved one
- Arrange something where you can be yourself, surrounded by understanding family and friends.
And for those who have a recently bereaved friend with a birthday - just let them know you are thinking of them. It REALLY helps!
Next morning all my strength and enthusiasm for everything had drained! As Chris, his parents and I chatted I bemoaned how hard everything seems and came out with some pathetic suggestions! He calmly informed me that even if Clive wasn't around to slap me then there enough others to do so! That was me told! A true friend tells you what you need to be told!!
His Mum also stressed that when you get low like I was - the only way is back up. I was determined to do so! I had a few hours to sort some admin and emails and I got on well with them. My 'reward' was having my hair done.
I always get pampered in Genesis and felt better again.
Next motivation to get things done was to be collected to go out at 7 p.m. Tonight would be the first on my own for a fortnight and I wanted to avoid a slump so I had made plans.
Do you set yourself targets and rewards to manage your time and get through a day? I find they help.
I had arranged for some of my girlfriends to go into York for a meal. There were five of us - none of the other four knew each other but by the end of the evening they did!
I purposely chose the white outfit and denim jacket that Clive had wanted me to have last year.
|Juli, me, Ellie, Lee and Mandy|
Not what one expects in a civilised place! I was just glad my friend Sue from Southampton wasn't with me in there this time! She would have gone back down south with more than saying how cold it is up north!
It added to the humour and fun of the night. I thoroughly enjoyed my girly night. Clive often said I should have more.
Juli, Ellie and I went for another drink in a couple of other places then just Ellie and I went into a nightclub called Flares for a bit of a boogie - carried on from Villamoura a few weeks ago. Not quiet the same!
I went home with Ellie and stayed with her and Nip. It felt very naughty getting up next morning and wearing the same clothes to go home in!
They brought me back and we had McDonalds en route. The gardens are crying out from attention but the weather couldn't make up its mind so I ironed Dom's clothes. A rare treat for me!
Nip had commented that it was the type of day to sort things. I decided to organise all the photographs on my PC. When I think of one for my blog it takes me ages to find. Once I got started there was no stopping me. I was so pleased that I managed to do it without tears.
Lynn, Clive's sister, called for a chat -I hadn't seen her since baby Kyle's funeral so it was good to catch up.
Once she left I continued with the photos. I was so immersed that it was 10.45 pm before I realised I hadn't eaten all afternoon or evening. I wasn't hungry so just settled to bed - first time in my own for a couple of weeks. Lovely!
My friends James and Sue from Southampton have written a musical about the Titanic. Listen to some of the incredible music here. When we met at IAPH conference in May I said how I was struggling to sleep. James is an incredible pianist. He offered to send me his relaxation CD of music which he did a few days later. It arrived on Saturday morning! So last night I was able to drift off listening ... to James' work.
So if I mention again I've taken James to bed you will know what I mean, won't you!!!!