Friday, 30 December 2011

All ready for a New year and a new start...

My apprehension for new years eve is still there but, theres no point worrying about it as it will come and go this year as every year before.

As usual Steve has been in my thoughts a lot but in a good way not a bad way. Today more so than ever, I've been to get a new tattoo today, it's a memorial for Steve. I wanted it around my birthday but the tattooist was shut for Christmas so now I have it for new year. A fitting tribute I think.

My appointment was at 11.00 am this morning and I finally got out at around 3.15 this afternoon.... its not the biggest tattoo I have but it's the second largest, this is on my arm, I have three other tattoos too, the largest one is on my leg, I have one on my upper arm and the "bracelet" I had just after Steve died is on my wrist. This new one is on my forearm. I like it a lot and will post a picture in the next few days and will also explain it.

I feel better having this, as odd as it may seem, its just another reminder of Steve I will have on my person at all times.

The new year will bring a new start, new challenges and hopefully a few other new things too, all in all I am feeling pretty positive about it. I know it's going to get off to a good start, not intuition but more a "secret shared" but I will continue to keep it quite until it's allowed to be public news. It's really quite exciting.

I've decided tomorrow I will be avoiding the festivities by going out for the evening on my own in the car, avoiding people completely.

Well, not a lot else to report so, I shall take this opportunity to wish you a happy new year and that 2012 brings all you can hope for.

Love to you all,
M x

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Yay! Blog time again...

What a busy few days it's been, well quite a few busy days really. Looking at this my last entry was when I went to Edinburgh, it was lovely there and I have already booked to go back in February. I will be going to London in January for a day trip too.

After Edinburgh I spent most of the week leading up to Christmas being extremely busy. I worked every day and then most nights ended up doing a little shopping for the festive feast.

On Friday I got home for 3ish and tidied up a little, all my shopping was done so on friday I started prepping for my day of cooking.

On Christmas eve I continued and cooked for most of the day, all in all I made:
* Carrot soup with roast pepper and onion
* Pate with cranberry, orange and whisky
* Cranberry orange and walnut stuffing
* Baileys cheesecake
* Christmas pudding ice cream
* Sausage rolls
* Mince pies
These were all of course part of the meal I made for 8 of us on Christmas day.

I spent a large part of the day alone, with christmas music on and crying continuously as I prepared and cooked and reminisced about Christmases past and thought about how much Steve would have loved to be in the kitchen with me . I suppose I did feel better for having my meltdown, the huge outpouring of grief I experienced was not then offloaded on to others. I know some find my grief unpalatable.

I cooked the 9 kilo turkey on christmas eve and after finally emptying the oven at 11.30 pm I decided not to cook any more and to make a start the following morning so got to bed just after midnight.

Before I went to bed I decided to light the chinese lantern I had prepared. I wrote a letter to Steve on it's fine rice paper shell and lit the fuel before watching the warm flickering, glowing lantern float gracefully skyward and in to the far distance. I watched for a long while as it faded in to the distance like a golden star, much different to the white ones which were residing in their usual location. I have another for New Years Eve and have shared some with family and friends too so they also can send messages to their loved ones. Although I know Steve will not get to read my message and cannot reply I found writing him a note and sending it in this way helped me feel more connected, at least for a short time.

Christmas Day. All in all the day was OK. It started slowly and peacefully at home with my parents, we were all mindful of Steve. We relaxed with a cup of tea before our guests arrived.

Steve's parents, Granny and two friends arrived around noon and we cracked open the wine. The lunch went without significant incident, everybody ate well, the conversation seemed to flow and all in all it was quite pleasant. There was obviously one exception, one glaring absence but, although we all felt it we didn't labor the point, perhaps for my peace of mind or perhaps to spare the discomfort of others. After dinner conversation flowed too but by 8 pm our guests had all left. I snuggled into my lounging clothes and watched TV.

On Boxing Day I was up early and cooking again, a Thai Red Curry and a Korma, an easy choice really as there were 9 of us for Dinner in the evening so it was a simpler choice. My Sister arrived with her husband and two more friends around 3pm, presents were exchanged, (they did an excellent job of choosing them) and the alcohol flowed again. It was lovely to catch up and sit, relax and chat.

I got to bed around 3am as after everyone went to bed I emptied and loaded the dishwasher again and tidied up a little. I got up before 8 the morning after though (yesterday) so last night I was in bed early, around midnight, and today has been a relaxing day. I've 'tidied' my computer up and spent time catching up with a few things online.

I have not decided what to do tomorrow. I will decide when I get up. It's odd, although I still think of Steve a lot I am finding my "level" I think so although the past few days have been tough I don't feel like my grief is out of control. I'm dreading new year but I am looking forward to January 1st, the significance of a new year and a new start.

I hope to write again before the end of 2011.

Love to you and yours,
Mark xxx

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Travelling again

Yay! Another blog entry, it's because I'm sat on the train, have read my magazine an have some spare time.

Today I've been to Edinburgh. In part it was my treat to myself for my birthday, it's somewhere Steve and I loved so would like to think he'd have arranged something similar.

I set off from home before 6 this morning and, (because of power failures at carstairs, didn't get to Edinburgh until 11am! I was supposed to be there at 9.20! Still I guess that's just the way it rolls sometimes.

My first item on the agenda was a trip up Scot monument, 297 steps up to the top of the tower all on a spiral staircase!

There were 3 or 4 'landings' on the way up which afforded photo opportunities but it was VERY narrow when it got to the top! Oh, did I mention too that I HATE heights, my knees wobble and I am just not comfortable with it. It this was something I did for Steve.

When we were together in Edinburgh last out friends ended up climbing the Monument, Steve wanted to too but, as we'd done a lot of walking already and he was about to start month 5 of his chemotherapy regime he was far too tired to do it. We said we'd do it next time we went when he was better. Today I did it for him, it was well and truly out of my comfort zone but I did it for Steve.

Following that I wandered up to the castle, it's sort of a ritual I guess, something we always did. On the way back down I called in at Steve's favourite chippy and had haggis and chips with salt n sauce, (it's a Scottish thing which Steve introduced me to).

After that I made my way to Jenners. It's a department store and again, Steve's favourite. He loved it there at Christmas, they have a large atrium so always have a huge real tree which is easily in excess of 50 ft. I bought a few small bits and then ventured out on to Princes Street.

The buzz of the city was lovely today, they have the European markets there much the same as they do in Manchester but in addition in Princes Park they have a small fairground with a big wheel, (not as tall as the Scott monument but standing an impressive 115ft (which is 35 metres, I'm not a geek but the info board mentioned it).

In addition to this there was a "fair trade" marquee and another selling ethically sourced goods. There were reindeer, a samba band, choirs, a ski slope and ice rink and a whole host of other things. I enjoyed the atmosphere and it did go some way to Making me feel Christmassy, that was until the brass band started.

As the band started I felt the mellow tones of the brass instruments envelop me and with it the grief came too. In that moment of good cheer and festive spirit I was consumed by the loss of my soulmate. I can't explain why or how this happened it just did. As tears rolled down my face I walked on and away from this magic crying music.

Until that moment I had been enjoying the trip down memory lane, the celebratory atmosphere and just the feeling I'd had of having made progress and being able to do something positive for myself but still with Steve in mind. I guess I'll just have to accept that this is how life will be from now on.

The journey home has been good, trains were on time and it only took a little over 3 hours to get back to Manchester. I'm off the train and on the tram now and should be home in 20 minutes or so.

I'm going to sign off for now, it's been another day of mixed emotions but, overall, I think it's been pretty positive.

Until next time,

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Significant Six?

Hello, well I didn't promise I would get back to daily blogging I just promised I would try. I guess I failed, well this week at least.

As usual I have not written as its not been a great time. Last weekend my Mum decided to decorate the house for Christmas. Usually I would love it and so would Steve, in fact after he was diagnosed last year we all offered to cancel Christmas for Steve as we understood he may not feel like it. He was horrified! He loved Christmas and loved Christmas here even more as it's always been great here.

The tree decorating usually takes a while and that's with Steve and I joining in. This year I went out, I didn't feel Christmassy at all. It took my mum from 9am through to around 7pm just to do the tree and the staircase. Usually I do the three fireplaces, I didn't this year.

Instead I went out and bought a small tree, I knew Steve would have been disappointed if I didn't do something and after all, I spent ages making Christmas decs.

I decorated it once everyone had gone to bed last Saturday. On Sunday Mum asked me to do the garlands over the fireplace as I always have. I declined, I really felt mean but I was just not feeling the Christmas love, (and am still not). I feel I have done well, buying the rest of the Christmas prezzies, wrapping them, buying, writing and sending cards and even putting a tree up so I don't feel guilty about not going that extra mile.

After Mum spent the day on Sunday finishing decorating and doing the garland over the main fireplace time was called on the other two so what's done is done and what's not is not.

I spent Sunday wrapping the last of the Christmas presents so everything is done apart from the festive food.

I guess in a way getting sorted last weekend has left this week open for me to do other things. I've caught up with friends and had a very busy week at work. Partly a conscious decision as this week was always going to be tough so, with enough distraction I have managed not to crumble today. Not yet anyway.

You see today marks six months since Stephen died. Not a great milestone but one which I dreaded. Six months is a long time and although time has gone quickly there are some things that surprise me.

It surprises me that it's six months since I saw Steve smile and held him in my arms, my memories are so clear and it seems so recent at the same time I feel like I have been carrying this weight of grief on my shoulders for much longer.

The months have gone so fast, it's been a blur but there are bits which I play over and over again in slow motion in my mind.

I don't really know how I feel right now, numb, detached and tense to name a few emotions but it's just dawned on me, I should have perhaps opened some wine, not to mourn his passing but to celebrate the life we shared. Maybe later and maybe something stronger.

For now I think that's all I can write, I'll light a candle for Steve again tonight and will cherish the memories I have of a lovely life shared but lost too soon.

Goodnight, xx Mark xx

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, 8 December 2011

It gets harder

I know it's been a while since I've written but things have been tough but not sure why they would be more tough now than previously and I don't really think that it's due to Christmas although it may be.  

I think there is apprehension there but perhaps approaching Stevens anniversary too as it's almost 6 months since he died that's quite daunting. 

Since my last post there is not really a lot to write about although I have written my Christmas cards  I did that last week, they have not all been posted yet but that was very tough it was difficult just writing from Mark on the card instead of from Steve and Mark.

Sitting at my desk I was again overwhelmed by feelings of grief, as I said I just think its the realisation that there is just me now.  It was the same a few days before when I was wrapping presents and writing the tags, Steve helped choose some of them but many he didn't.

The general buzz around Christmas is difficult too.  Many people fussing over what to buy their loved one this year. I can't buy mine anything.  People are whizzing about trying to cram as much as possible in to their time before Christmas and worrying about what to buy, they forget that they are losing the best gift they could ever give a loved one, time.  

Time spent chatting, sitting or just watching the world go by is what memories are made of.  Who wants to be remembered for being busy all the time and not having a minute to spare?  It's good to be productive but not at the expense of precious time with family and friends. 

How many times have you prioritised work over your family or worse still, spent time with your family in person but not in mind as you are too drained from the pressures of work to be able to enjoy that time?

For that I am grateful to Steve.  We always had time for each other, yes we worked long hours but we knew out limits and we often opted out of our routine for a night of togetherness in front of a movie or an evening out.

These past few weeks have been difficult, I don't know when they will get better but I am confident they will.

I came home last night and after cooking I settled to watch a film.  I saw the first 10 minutes and the last 20 and fell asleep in between.  I missed a few phone calls, text and emails in that time though.  I must have needed the rest.

I am at a meeting this afternoon and it's due to start in 10 minutes but I was very early so have used the time to blog... I will write again soon I just don't know how soon xxxx

Bye for now,
M x

Sent from my iPhone