Well what a day it has been today. I knew it would be a tough one anyway as it was my first full day in work since Steve's death so it was an early(ish) night last night and three alarms set for this morning, just in case.
I got up no problem and just pottered around slowly, not usual for me as usually when I am working it is a mad flit around to iron clothes, get dressed and get out ASAP but this morning I had loads of time to spare.
I got to the office and got settled in my new place, I was not happy, sat in a draught in a corner on a dodgy desk, I felt like a spare part, like I didn't belong there.
I busied myself with a few things and my mobile rang for the third time, unusually it was my Dad so I answered as he was away with my Mum visiting family in Wales and it's unlike him to call.
After hearing his opening words..... "now don't worry....." I knew I wouldn't like what came next. He proceeded to tell me how my Mum had been driving, (again this was unusual as she rarely drives as my Dad likes to drive) and she has crashed the car, quite badly, and could I give him his insurance company details.
You can imagine how I felt. My heart sunk. If it's not one thing it's another and again, why do I keep hearing the phrase "you don't get sent anything you can't handle...". I was told they had crashed into the central reservation at a junction, I later saw it was a traffic island and it was actually a lamppost that they had crashed in to.
I got the details he needed from the Internet and a few quick calls and sent them through. The Police were called and an Ambulance and I'm relieved there were no serious injuries. The car is another matter.
They tried to move the car but it wasn't for moving, the recovery truck had to come and take it away. It will be delivered home in the next few days and then the insurance assessor will need to view it. They have no idea if it is repairable.
Until the assessor has seen the car they can't get a courtesy car either so, they were left stranded in Wales. Shaken up, with luggage and miles Fromm anywhere.
To cut a long story short they were collected and taken to my Aunt's house and I drove down to collect them, a 400(ish) mile round trip. My first day back to work had been cut short and I got to go for a long drive instead. I am not sure if that was better than a full day in the office.
You will recall though I mentioned I knew today would be a tough one. I didn't have a crystal ball and the first day back wasn't my only concern. Today marks one year since Steve was admitted to hospital.
One year ago today was the first night we had spent apart from each other since we had met six years previously. We had met on a Friday and by the following Thursday Steve had moved in and we lived happily ever after, or at least until 8th September 2010.
Following on from his lengthy assessment the previous day Steve had been asked to return to the hospital at 10am for a CAT scan. He went to work as usual and told his boss he would be an hour or so as the appointment to discuss the results was set for the Friday so he went on the bus to he hospital but, following his scan he was asked to return to the clinic. He did so and was told immediately that he is being admitted. He was shoved into a wheelchair and carted off to the medical assessment unit and given a huge dose of steroid
He was annoyed in particular because he had a mountain of work to complete and felt pissed that he had been forced to sit in a wheelchair. Two minutes before he was well enough to walk to the clinic but now he was not well enough to walk from the clinic to the ward allegedly. He felt fine. The only explanation he was given was that he had a growth behind his left eye.
Steve called me at work, I was shocked to say the least but, as they were still doing tests he reckoned I was best not coming to the hospital until later ithe afternoon as by then he should be ok to go home. He was very wrong.
I of course spent the whole afternoon googling "lump behind the left eye". It came up with all sorts including brain tumours but, the most scary thing I could find then was some sort of condition which meant he would lose one eye. Because if the condition the socket would be damaged too and he would be left with a horrible hole where his eye once was and would have to wear an eyepatch.
This was the worse thing I could see at the time but I sort of figured he could still perform and do all the same things with one eye but his mascara for stage would last double the time. I didn't share this with Steve at the time but I did many months later, we laughed about it afterwards and wished that that was what he had instead.
Later that day it became clear he was staying in hospital, he thought it would be for one night so I came home and packed the necessaries, waited for Steves Mum to arrive as she wanted to come too and took off to hospital with his stuff. He was well, bored and frustrated and scared to be in hospital but otherwise well. We all joked about how he was being dramatic.
He was angry and kept insisting there was nothing wrong but he was just humouring the doctors. Remember, up to now he had not been suffering from any symptoms, a few migraines now and again but he got those as a child and he was in the busiest period of the year at work and was operating two computers at his desk so assumed the migraines were more due to eye strain. A change of prescription was ruled out after the optician had said his current prescription was fine just a few days before.
I remember the journey home from the hospital with Steve's Mum. I shared what I had learned and also mentioned brain tumours. I remember saying, there isn't a lot behind your eye other than your brain so what else can it be? Neither of us wanted to dwell on it.
When I got home some friends called to check on how Steve had been, we had updated people through the day by text. Most of our friends were concerned, there was one notable exception but that's another story.
When I got in I cracked open a bottle of Vodka, I needed a drink. I was home alone so after just one drink I trundled off to bed, my head was swimming with more thoughts that I ever imagined possible. Below is a picture of Steve on his first night in hospital, made to wear a gown so he got the idea he was staying.
Re-living this just 12 short months further on feels odd. It's like recalling a film but, I am sat here in bed, alone. I know it is real. I know he has gone. I look at his picture and he smiles at me as he always has, tonight I just can't smile back at him. Just 365 days ago I had my first taste of what life is like now. A cold and lonely bed crying myself to sleep and waking up knowing I have to do it all again tomorrow.
Now you understand why today is a tough day.....