Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Tough Lesson To Learn

Another painful day.  There is no other word for it, it is just painful.  The day started OK I guess, I was up and about but didn't leave the bedroom, I busied myself tidying and sorting, I don't know why, i just wanted to.

I got a phone call then from a friend to see what I was up to.  I wanted to go out and buy some picture frames (again),  so I agreed to collect him from home and we would go.  I got to his and we went out, probably around 11.30, we went to a few shops but he was home just after 2.30 and I drove off.  Just as seems the 'norm' of late when I have had enough then that's it, no pleasant cup of tea I just need to go.

I drove for a while and pulled up, probably about 20 miles away but near a canal.  I took the camera and set off for a walk along the canal, it's the Leeds and Liverpool canal so it will be one I hope to get quite familiar with when I live on a boat.  I walked for around 2½ hours, maybe more.  It was nice being alone.  Not a lot to photograph but still, somewhere different for me to walk.

I felt in a daze again, for no reason, obviously Steve was in my thoughts but I didn't just think about him.  I got home and cooked some food, I'd not eaten all day but was still not hungry.  I ate though as I know I should but even that seemed tasteless.  It wasn't, it was packed with so much fresh veg and good stuff that it was bursting with flavour but it all seemed bland and pointless.

This evening I have been sat at the PC, not doing anything productive, I have not done anything productive since Friday.  I was trying to find other people in the same situation.  It was difficult at first, so many stories of a husband lost, so many wives now having to deal with their own loss whilst looking after the children.  That's not relevant to me.

Then I found it, I found a few actually, gay guys like me who have lost their partners.  Partners lost to cancer and two who have lost their partner to the SAME type of brain tumour that killed Stephen.  So many stories of people who have found their soul mate only to have him snatched away cruelly at a young age.

Reading their stories I understood, it was like the mist cleared and I realised I was not alone.  I have got SO tired of trying to explain to people that losing a partner IS NOT THE SAME as losing a Mum, Brother, Son, Aunty, Granny or Cat and, until you have lost a partner then you will never know and never understand.  Hopefully you will be lucky enough to be the one to go first so you don't know this pain. 

Also, people underestimate the word "partner" is is not just someone you are married to because it is convenient, because you felt you should for the kids, because you have been together for 20 years.  My partner was like part of me, half of me.  We loved spending every minute of every day together.  How many married couples do you know who can't bear to be in the same room or who each live separate lives under the same roof only to curse the time they "have" to spend together on holidays etc.  Steve and I were not like that, we loved living together, working together, socialising together in fact just sitting in the park watching the world go by...TOGETHER as the friend who led Steve's funeral said, like two halves of the same coin.

I have learned today that no matter how much I try to eaplain people will not understand until they have experienced it, no matter how eloquently or bluntly I put it no matter how much they want to and no matter how much they truly care.  It seems like i am being ungrateful, I am not, I really am grateful for all the love and support around me but I have decided now not to stress about trying to help others understand.  It is difficult enough for me to get my head around it without having to explain it. Again, i really am grateful for all the love and support around me but I have learned the discussions I have about my feelings and thoughts need to be with people who understand, not with people with whom I have to explain each minuscule detail before they can even begin to understand.

There are a few friends I can talk to and, talking to one of the ladies at the party last night and chatting to a few gay strangers tonight who have also lost their husband or partner has made me realise that no amount of wanting to understand will help.  I know my friends care, I appreciate that more than they know and they care for me in so many other ways but they do not need the burden of having to try and understand me or my feelings, I know they want to help but sometimes just a brew, a hug or a text is all they need to help me most.

I saw this yesterday, it struck so many chords with me, I have hesitated over posting it.  I didn't want my friends to read it and think I was pushing them away or that I am in the slightest bit ungrateful for their love and support but after realising I have learned a tough lesson I also realise that my friends will understand I do need them and want them in my life and I do need them and want them around and I actually like the odd messages I get and strange pictures but their love cannot take my pain away, only I can let my pain go and right now I am trying to do that.  I know my friends cant do it for me but they can cheer me on, and they have done and I hope they will continue to do so, as I said I know my friends will understand...

Don't Tell Me...

Don't tell me that you understand, don't tell me that you know,
Don't tell me that I will survive, how I will surely grow.
Don't tell me this is just a test, that I am truly blessed,
That I am chosen for this task, apart from all the rest.
Don't come at me with answers that can only come from me,
Don't tell me how my grief will pass, that I will soon be free.
Don't stand in pious judgment of the bonds I must untie,
Don't tell me how to suffer, don't tell me how to cry.
My life is filled with selfishness, my pain is all I see,
But I need you, I need your love, unconditionally.
Accept me in my ups and downs, I need someone to share,
Just hold my hand and let me cry, and say,
"My friend, I really do care."

Author Unknown


  1. My friend, I really do care xxxx

  2. Dear Mark,

    My name is Lee Hawn. I live in San Francisco California. I happened across your blog via a comment you left on another blog called "Dan In Real Time." Like you and Dan, my partner Randy died in November 2010. For me it has been a difficult journey thus far. I recognize the thoughts and feelings you express in your blog. They are all too familiar. I too write about my feelings and my journey. I invite you to read what I have online. Here is the link:

    I write every day but I post only once each week. I hope that you may find some comfort in what I share. That's one of the reasons I do it. If you feel inclined, please share it with your friends, family or colleagues.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to email me directly if you want at

    My thoughts are with you,

  3. My friend I really do care xxx

    Brew and hug sent by text :)