I had one of those uplifting email exchanges with authority. To summarise the 97 million message trail.
Why have you ticked the box marked WIDOWED
Because I am and no other box seemed to apply
But you weren’t married so you don’t fulfil that definition
In my books I am
Your form will be invalidated if you use it
We were a couple living together for over 20 years. We had a child who and we were formally registered as joint parents living together.
That’s not recognised by the Government
So which box should I use as the other boxes don’t apply
Clearly you should tick the OTHER box
Well that’s good to know…..
Things do need to change. I remember talking to someone from the village. He had been partners with someone since the 70s. When his partner died a couple of years back he was denied much needed support as he was classed as being single. Single even after living together for over 40 years. 40 years of looking after each other.
In Britain (and many other countries) if you are not married, if a partner dies you are treated differently. Denied financial support. Penalised with additional tax claims. And even more hurtfully – denied the right to call yourself a widow and classed as being single.
That has to change.
The sun setting on another day. Another day of putting some things off.
Was it really 2016 when my partner died. Doesn’t seem like 4 and a bit years. But here’s the thing. I can’t work out if that time has dragged by or gone much quicker. 4 and a bit years just doesn’t seem right.
But 4 and bit years it is. That’s a long time putting stuff off.
The ashes are still sat on a cabinet with a view of the garden and fields. Not been scattered yet….
Her cds are still in a there in the corner of the room. They won’t ever get played. Doesn’t seem right to play them and we had completely different music tastes. Hawklad never plays cds and shares my music tastes. One day I should move them….
My partner’s photo albums are sat on the sideboard. I started sorting through them back in 2016 but stopped…..
I did quickly take her clothes to the charity shop. But then I found a few more items. These sit in the airing cupboard. Sat there waiting for me to decide what to do with them….
I sorted through her work papers. These are now sat waiting for me to have a bonfire to burn them. These are sat on the floor next to the desk. Just doesn’t seem right still to do that yet…
I could go on but you get the picture. Whether 4 and bit years seem like a long or short time. It just shows that loss and bereavement takes time. Each persons time will be unique to them. For me it’s definitely a long term journey. It’s also about Our son as well. What works for him. Long term means that we can take my time. Do it at our own pace.
Can you spot the photobombing bird…
Can you spot the grassy hill that on every single step you sink 3 inches into the mud…
We put the Christmas tree up the other day. And it was another CAN YOU SPOT moment.
Hawklad put the decorations up after I had disinfected them. Then I spotted it. A tree decoration with writing on. Three names. Our names. I had forgotten about that one. That was a link to a different time. A different life. A very different feeling Christmas.
Every day it’s amazing what you can spot.
Mud glorious mud. If only we could sell mud then we would be quids in.
Sometimes it feels like life is just a constant trudge through waste deep thick, clinging mud. Much harder than it was supposed to be? Was parenting supposed to be this demanding? Was the bank account supposed to be that empty? Was the career supposed to abruptly come to an end? Was my social diary supposed to be as empty as my bank account? Was I supposed to be this out of synch with life? Was grief supposed to hurt that much? Was I supposed to be walking these fields on my own? Why did depression and anxiety have to come knocking at my door?
But wait. Mud is good for the complexion. It keeps you grounded. Walking through it makes you stronger over time. You learn things about yourself. You grow. So……
Does a large bank balance matter – NO IT DOES NOT. Is living rather than following a career a better route to happiness – YES IT IS. So is parenting supposed to be this good and rewarding – YES IT IS. Is grief just another way of saying you love someone – OH YES IT IS. Do your real friends and those who truly love you always stick with you – YES THEY DO. Can I overcome my demons – YES I CAN.
Is it still a wonderful life – YES IT IS. It most certainly is.
I slept badly. Not much sleep. Too many random and confused thoughts. Anxious. Then just as I got up one clear thought settled in my nogging. Maybe many of the doors I am hopefully and expectantly stood next to are in-fact permanently closed. They ain’t opening. Not for the a few days over Christmas, not for New Year, not for a Vaccine, not for counselling help when it turns up, not for as much dream power as I can conjure up. They are shut. So if they are shut is it not time to accept the reality. Move on. Set a new course. Whatever that might be.
Reality has to bite at some stage.
So what is behind those doors. Parts of my life. Things I have experienced. Things I have enjoyed doing. Things I have hoped to do. Things I want to start. Basically- Parts of me.
Can’t even blame Pink Floyd or Leonard Cohen for this mindset. Not been listening to them over the last few days. Not sure KISS are supposed to take me into those mindsets.
Life happens. It’s like those Harry Potter Hogswarts staircases. They randomly shift. Take you in directions you weren’t planning to go. You find that you don’t have a viable route to some of your planned destinations anymore. Depending on your mindset this is either liberating or monumentally pants.
So my mindset changed. Maybe the penny dropped. Some stuff might never happen. BUT Other doors may open. Need to think about that more.
However if I am bunkered down. Largely physically isolated well I had better make it comfortable. So I went on Amazon and took the plunge. I bought a bean bag. I’ve always wanted to try one. Never been on one. Never had one. So I bought one. My first bean bag. Now I’m a realist. I know that like most things it will be lost to Hawklad and the pets. But at least I can say I have had one. It’s a first. Its maybe not a new door. More like a new letter box. BUT It’s a start.
It’s Sunday so it must be time to spend a few moments wandering one of this planets most beautiful countries. A little piece of Alpine Heaven. Let’s visit Switzerland.
2015 was our last family holiday here. The world has changed since then. Many things for the worse. Loss, isolation, anxiety, confusion. I won’t be the only person to experience this. But there are special things that keep me going. Things that I hold close to me. Give me hope for the future. One of those things is Switzerland. It’s still there. Still beautiful. Patiently waiting for our return.
There is always hope. There is always places like Switzerland.
Life can be tough. We all go through tough times. It’s certainly feels that way with me. A few too many lows. Times when I felt that was it. Not getting back up from this one.
But I’m still here. Working out ways to really live again.
But one change I have noticed is that I notice the small things now. Those little things that I would so easily have missed before I went through the tough times. Little things that never fail to raise my spirits.
Yes big things can have such an impact. But they often need such an investment and are so difficult to deliver. That’s why it was such a mistake to ignore the little things in life.
Winter is coming.
A time for wooly jumpers, gloves and warm hats. Sliding on ice patches. Snow ball fights, sledging and snow angels. Steaming hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Writing names of frozen car windscreens. Fires and hot water bottles. Crisp winter walks with stunning moody landscapes. Long dark night skies filled with the wonder of the cosmos. Warming soups and stews. A perfect time to cuddle close to those you love. A time to feel alive.
Winter is coming.
A cold, bleak time. When the frequent bad weather forces you inside. Cuts you off from the world. When the darkness and howling winds matches the mood. When loneliness echoes around the surrounding walls that makes your home feel like a prison. A prison where the sentence is solitary confinement. Memories filled with loss and grief send shivers down your spine. Counting the long days until Spring returns. A time to survive.
Winter is coming.
I have experienced both. I know the opportunities and the threats it can offer. Which one will this Winter be?
LOSS in whatever form it takes stays with you. It shapes you. It changes you. It can become you. It can define you.
For a few years it did define me. It did become me. It stopped me living. I basically just existed.
But time moves on. The journey is ongoing.
Loss still stays with me. Yes it’s changed me. But hopefully for the better. It’s taught me the importance of time. Loss made we realise the importance of life.
The next stage of my journey is to move from existing to LIVING.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to alpine heaven. Time to visit Switzerland.
It’s Sunday so it must be time for a little wander down memory lane. Back to 2015. Our last family trip to beautiful Switzerland. Last week we looked at the last long walk we did as a family of three. A walk at the Gonnergrat. But we had one more walk. A much shorter one but still memorable. This would prove to be our LAST walk with my partner.
I give to you that walk. I give to you one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
Thank you Switzerland.