Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Take pride in how far you have come .....

I remember a conversation with my friend Chris Bingley several months ago as we shared our respective journeys of bereavement. His for his wife Joe (see her foundation details here) and me for the loss of my partner, Clive Gott. He said that you never 'get over' them but you do learn to carry on. Also that when you least expect it - wham! - grief gets you right between the eyes. Well right now this is one of those moments! (Oh dear, I hear you say!)

Using my analytical thinking, why today? Why now? I have written over the last two months how much happier I have been, having moved back near my family. I am excited that son Dominic is coming for his tea with me later; that I shall be looking after my niece for a few hours in the morning then having coffee and toast with my parents. I love my new cottage and my new car. I have learnt to focus and concentrate again - currently working on getting more workshops booked with Children's Centres. I am meeting up with old friends and new. So why this morning has a real pang of grief over Clive hit me?

Part of it is the realisation that almost a year has passed since he died. I have started to ask myself and others have how will I spend 19th February, the anniversary of his death. I really don't know. I watched Dancing on Ice on Sunday night, cosy and happy in my cottage with wonderful company. One of the acts danced to 'Summer of 69'. In an instance I was back on the pitch at Headingley ...

I felt all the sensations. Since then it has been just a thought away again. I have been reminded of the pain. The shock. The dismay.

This morning began with a call from our friend Molly Harvey. Her career is riding high and next week she will present for Forever Living Products at the event that Clive did last year. It was, in his words, 'his finest hour - it was what he had been working for his whole life'. He truly was magnificent that day, as those who were in the audience would have agreed. He had his new book out; his new keynote sussed and successful. He had lost weight using their products and sheer determination and drive. I am thrilled that Molly will be there this year instead. I felt the grief for what we all have lost.

I have finally got back into watching the news - for so long I could not bear to be brought down by so much doom and gloom so avoided it. Of course the last few days it has been headlined by the cruise liner disaster. My heart goes out to all those involved, as I am sure millions of us who have had the pleasure of a cruise will have empathised. Having loved our cruise a year last September, that has also brought back memories.

I still receive messages from people who knew Clive and they tell me of how he impacted on their lives. For the support, inspiration, friendship and laughter he gave. The last few days I have had some of those too which have affected me. As I attended to emails this morning from out of nowhere the tears flowed!

I decided that I needed 'a dose of Clive' and watched this for the first time in months.

Incredible. That's where I am today - content yet unhappy 'in the moment'. I loved to hear him say he had 'enough'.  I do feel a great deal of comfort from the fact that when Clive died, he felt he had all he wanted. He was working hard to maintain what he had. He didn't have enough of one thing - time.

It was good to hear his voice and hear his laugh. It was good to be reminded of the amazing man he was. Being apart from my family when I lived with Clive was tough. I now am back with them but without him.

I was at a workshop on Friday and a comment was made that I was now at a position of 'stability' upon which to rebuild my life and grow. I have been feeling that. It's just shaken a little today.

For a moment I hesitated if to share these feelings. I took the decision to do so because I have to acknowledge that it is okay to feel like this. It is completely understandable. Clive meant a great deal to me and many others. I know that we all will 'have our moments'. He wasn't a saint. He had his flaws as we all do but he was a man who has left his mark on the world. By sharing I hope it helps others to realise that even though your general direction is upwards and strong, sometimes it is okay to have a little wobble. Go with it and then move on again. Be kind to yourself. As Clive would have said 'stop shoulding all over yourself', e.g. ' I shouldn't feel like this after 11 months'. Who says?

Our good friend Paul McGee would say this was a 'hippo' time. A little wallow every now and then is okay.

So what would Clive be saying to me now? For starters it would be 'get dressed'!!! I still have my dressing gown on in the office (something he would be very cross about)!  He would then give me a hug; let me cry and point out I had a very red nose! He would then ask what was I going to do about it or simply say 'this too will pass and make you stronger'.

Clive often told me that I needed to believe more in myself and what I am capable of. On reflection this year I have done many things I previously would have doubted. I feel now he would be reminding to consider all of that. As I type my eyes just noticed the card I keep on my desk:

'Take pride in how far you have come, and faith in how far you can go!'
(Christian Larson)

I guess I need to remember that. Smile at what we had and continue to plan for the future - including a way to celebrate his life on the 19th February.

So what are you beating yourself up about? As I say to people - be your own best friend and be kind to yourself.

For me that starts with boiled eggs and soldiers!!

Elaine xx

P.S. Clive's brother Malcolm read this and reminded me of this lion which Clive bought for him .... thank you xx

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