Monday, 30 April 2012

A New Box! A New Rant!

I am sure many of you will look at that title and wonder... “what the hell?.....” So, here goes. Anyone that knows me now or who has known me over the years knows I have a bit of a thing for boxes. Not the cardboard variety but just nice boxes. I have special boxes for cufflinks, obviously one for jewellery and another for watches. There’s some with photos and some for photos which are in frames, (I tend to move pictures around). There are some full of trinkets and bits and some that I may not have looked in for many months but in addition to those I have memory boxes too. I say boxes as in plural as there are a few. The most recent being obviously one which has a lot of Stuff from Steve’s last 18 months or so in there. In short, I have bought a new box, I will explain.

You may or may not be a friend with me on Facebook, it doesn’t matter if you are not because I will explain. This weekend I got more than a little frustrated with Facebook. This was because I realised how very restrictive it can be. These thoughts were brought about as I looked at the pictures I had just had delivered, they were pictures Jonathan and I have taken since we have been together and there was one I had printed so I could frame it. I really like the picture and it’s a nice memory, taken just a month after we first met.
To go with this “marker” I thought it would be nice to update my relationship status to “In a relationship”, not for any other reason than I think it is quite positive to be able to show that there can be life after bereavement, for others who are facing difficult times such as I have endured and for family and friends who are, on times, afraid to comment on how “happy” you seem as they don’t want to cause offence or appear disrespectful to the lost loved one.

To me, a relationship status of “Widowed & In a relationship” would sum up exactly where I am at. Unfortunately Facebook disagrees as I can only be one or the other. Now this puts me in a quandary. I would and could never deny I am a widower but at the same time I don’t want to deny I am in a new relationship. At what point do I make the change from Widower to whatever is next? When I re-marry? When a specific period of time has passed or just when the wind is blowing in the right direction? Even when I do re-marry then surely I would still be a Widower all be it a re-married Widower? Am I holding too much emphasis on that status as the surviving spouse? I think I know the answer, I think it has to be when I am ready to make the switch.

It is true that for a period of time when first bereaved you automatically gain a certain amount of understanding, sympathy and tolerance from people around you, “Oh, he’s just lost his husband.....” etc but I am sure that fades over time as people become used to the new ‘norm’. By keeping my widowed status am I preventing others from moving on? Does this make seeing me with someone else more difficult for them? Already it’s been mentioned that getting used to saying Mark & Jonathan feels odd especially when they are used to Mark & Steve. The top and bottom of all this though is that I don’t have an answer, there is no right and no wrong. I feel truly blessed to have met Jonathan though and, even more so when I see and hear how comfortable he is with Steve and his memory. I even heard him chatting to the Cat yesterday asking her if she missed her Daddy Steve?! Clearly the cat didn’t reply she just continued to purr but I am happy that Steve seems to have become a part of Jonathan’s life too. In an odd sort of way I wish they had both been able to meet, I am sure they would have got on fantastically. My relationship status will change soon, in the meantime I have sent an email to Facebook to note my disappointment and suggest this may need re-thinking.

Back to the new box though. Because I am at this new and exciting point with Jonathan I want to enjoy it and I want to be able to look back and remember all those fun things we did together in the early days. I have bought a new leather box, it’s quite big but, I hope it will fill over the years with many tokens, scraps of paper, tickets or any and all manner of things which will probably have no monetary value just a sentimental one. I’ve started with a few ticket stubs and a photo album which I have started to fill. I’m also taking the time to add dates to the pictures as it can be tiresome to try and recall when a picture was taken. I hope Jonathan will add bits to it too as it’s as much his memory box as mine now.... It is empty and waiting to be filled in just the same way as those megabytes of web space I have waiting to be populated and the blank pages of Jonathan’s diary he has yet to fill.
So that’s it, that’s all about the new box. I will tell you a little about our weekend though before I go. Friday night was lovely, just the two of us and two cats, sat in with dinner, a few drinks, soft music and plenty of chat. On Saturday we got up and after a light breakfast headed out to meet friends for afternoon tea in Manchester. Well, as you may expect, tea led to beer which led to further beer, we stayed out for dinner though and another drink and finally left Manchester after 10.00pm. It was a lovely relaxed and spontaneous day with good company, good food and good drinks too. I am very much looking forward to doing it again. Yesterday was a busy day, we had a late start but a friend called in and met Jonathan then we headed out to see family before coming back so more friends could meet Jonathan. He is becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction, I guess it may be the bunny pictures that did it.... hmmm did I post that here? Well here goes, he will hate it but I think he looks cute!
We relaxed last night and again just sat and chatted over a few drinks. I didn’t want to get up this morning but when I did I was smiling! This was because Jonathan had got up just a few minutes before and showed me his “Alarm Clock Dance”! I have no idea how to explain this but it is suffice to say I have never seen anything like it and it’s the first time in a long time I have chuckled as I got up on a Monday morning.

Well I hope your day has been a good one and I will be back to write again soon.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Birthday and a Funeral

Here goes, I thought this blog post may have been drafted through teary eyes, I am sure you will understand why when you read on but, I am pleased to say that I am doing OK and whilst tears have not been consciously excluded from my life they tend not to feature so much anymore. I am happy with this change and, I must admit, somewhat surprised too. I’ll explain.

On Monday I woke up and felt awful, I doubt it is more than a cold or a virus of some sort but I ached all over, I had a fuzzy head and a sore throat. I’ve used past tense but I still feel the same now, it seems to come over me in waves, I felt awful earlier between 3 and 6pm but feel slightly better now. I’m self medicating when I remember to take the tablets etc but I hope it has all cleared for the weekend.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was, or would have been, Stephens 33rd Birthday. He was desperate to get to 33 as it would signify him beating the doctors diagnosis. Here is what Steve wrote about it last year. (CLICK HERE) Reading this brings back a lot of memories, I still miss Steve but I talk about him still almost every day, (really it probably IS every day), and Jonathan is fine with this. He understands Steve was and is still a part of my life and I appreciate that so much, the fact that he is so comfortable with Stephen. He says he feels he knows Stephen even though he has never met him as he has heard so many stories from Me, from Family and from friends. He also understands though that Steve is not a threat to our relationship, in fact, because of Steve I now have a different outlook on life and this will have certainly helped us grow together as a couple. Life is too short so take that happiness and never let it go and, if you love someone make sure they know it.

As for yesterday though I anticipated earlier this year that it may be a tough day so I booked myself on to a charity fundraising training course yesterday morning. I did that months ago as I thought by using the day productively to learn how I could help others then I would be paying tribute to Steve and not letting the cancer win. I then spent the afternoon and early evening at a work event with a load of children aged 6 – 10 and their excitement over the activities we were running was lovely. I forgot all my worries when I realised how tough these kids lives had been and their laughter and noise made me smile.

Last night when I arrived home Jonathan was already here, it was lovely to come home to him being here already sat chatting and supping a brew, it felt right and cosy and it made me smile inside and out to see that he is now feeling more comfortable here. He probably won’t thank me for saying it, but he was initially a little less relaxed here (and I understand this), but now, he really seems to have settled. I like that and it seems other members of the family, including the cats, like that too.

After a quick drink it was off out for dinner and a film. Last night we saw Mirror Mirror it was a good film, the cinema was really empty so we snuggled up together and just enjoyed each others company as well as the film.

Today has been another tough day. Jonathan and I attended the funeral of the father of a close friend. This is the second funeral I have been to since Steve’s but, given that yesterday could have been a very emotional day Jonathan wanted to show his support not only for our friend but also for me and came along too.

I have to say it isn’t how I would imagine a day out with a new partner and I hope that it is many years before we do that again but, it was lovely to have Jonathan with me, I really appreciated him being there and caring for our friends and of course for caring how difficult the situation could have been for me too. The funeral went off without a hitch and was as nice as any funeral can be. We were not able to stay on and drink a toast to him though as I had to get to the office for a meeting which, I managed to get to moments after my guest.

The rest of the day has been busy but tonight Steve’s Mum visited. She brought a local delicacy for dinner this evening, Potato Hash, it’s a sort of stew type thing and is apparently quite “northern”. Steve used to make it too and it is the first time we have had it since he passed away. I think he had a hand in this too though as in true Steve style it burnt a little in the pan, it really was delicious though and now I know she is almost as good as Steve at making it I might ask her to cook it again. Steve’s Mum shares her birthday with Steve so yesterday was tough for her too but, on advice, (pushing) from me she went with Steve’s Dad to see Phantom Of The Opera in Manchester last night it has had mixed reviews (SEE HERE) but they said it was fantastic. I am pleased that they enjoyed it though, not least because I had suggested it and it was Steve’s favourite musical too so a fitting way to mark his birthday too.

So there you have it, you can now see why it could have been a difficult blog to write but, it’s done and it has made me feel happy and smiley. I keep saying it but these feel like the happier days I had hoped for all those months ago.

Until next time, goodnight and take care xxx


Sunday, 22 April 2012

I think I win the great dressing gown debate!

As another weekend draws to a close I need to update my blog again I think. Since I wrote last I have been really rather busy. On Wednesday I was back at the exhibition with work. There was no significant highlight on Wednesday as I had no special visitors. The exhibition did close an hour early though so I guess that highlights how quiet it had got. Despite closing early because we had a vehicle indoors we had to be one of the last to leave so as not to offend the lungs of those around us with our stinky 30 year old bus and associated fumes!

Thursday was a busy “catch up” day at the office, being out for two days doesn’t help with the backlog of work. I also had an offsite meeting to attend but, on the plus side again Jonathan had a meeting nearby so called in for a coffee, it was a welcome and pleasant surprise. After work I called to his office, for no good reason other than he had said it’d be nice for me to. I was pleased as I wanted to see him too. The gaps between us seeing each other seem to take forever and time together is lovely. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it is right now. I really don’t know how it will feel being away from him for two weeks when I go away in May but I guess I am going to find out.

After a visit to the takeaway on Thursday evening we sat and chatted to my parents for a while. I was nice as we sort of chatted about how my parents feel about “us” too. I am pleased to say they have been supportive as has Steve’s Mum. Even though I am not really seeking approval I am pleased they, and my friends are all happy for me and us. I can imagine the nagging thoughts at the back of people’s minds but, I am sure none of them would be unfamiliar to either Jonathan or I and we have discussed those too.

I have not had a single doubt so far. I guess because I have experienced such difficult times and have lost a true love forever then I appreciate life is too short to be unhappy. I recognise these feelings that are making a welcome return. You never really realise how unhappy you were until you are able to compare it to real happiness.

On Friday I dropped Jonathan off at work and went back to trying to clear my backlog of work. On Friday evening we visited friends and then sat in with a nice homemade curry and did our best to empty the alcohol cupboard. We certainly did our bit for recycling this weekend by giving them plenty of bottles to smash up and make into something else. I have no idea what vodka, or whisky bottles get made in to but I am sure our contributions will be appreciated by someone somewhere.

On Saturday, following a late start we visited family then headed off for an early dinner at Chaobaby with a few glasses of wine and then to the cinema to see The Hunger Games. It was a lovely day as we then came home and watched Chicago together as we snuggled on the sofa in our dressing gowns, or “housecoats” (if you are from an older generation).  I think this definition though proves it is a dressing gown not a housecoat!
Today has been a lazy day, a lovely lie in this morning meant a late breakfast and a relaxing day. A friend visited this afternoon whom I’ve not seen since January. Apart from that I have meddled doing some crafty type things which will eventually make their way into gifts for a number of different people.

Tonight I have a night alone hence blogging but, I have a heap of other things I want to try and get done too.

Before I go though I just want to say again, thanks for reading and, thanks for commenting too. Some of you email others comment here or elsewhere but it’s nice to know that I am able to give hope to others. Please feel free to share my blog on Facebook or Twitter too.

Goodnight and Bye for now,

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Not giving up.... Not now, not ever!

Well it hasn't been that long since I wrote last but seeing as I have time right now I thought I'd get a few words jotted down.  Today I am at a business event, there are over 3,000 visitors expected over two days but, I have to say today has been very disappointing in terms of quantity of visitors but what it has lacked in quantity I would like to think we have made up for in terms of quality as I have had quite a lot of decent conversations today.

I am not going to dwell too much on work and that really is as positive as I can be.  I have learned a lot today though.

On a different note Jonathan came over to the exhibition centre and that really made my afternoon, finally someone I REALLY wanted to speak to and someone who I wanted to smile with not have to smile at if that makes sense?

It's been a really long day so far and it is only 17.30, this event is due to finish around 19.00 and then I'm back tomorrow.

I've been thinking today though how much I have really changed in the past few months.  I noticed after chatting to a guy today that he had been very nice and seemed very interested in what I had to say.  The level of interest he showed was almost the same a Jonathan when I met him but clearly the difference was I wasn't interested in him and, I don't think he was interested in me as a person but more as a representative of the organisation I work for.

We discussed a few weeks ago, Jonathan and I, how our sub conscious is able to pick up on "vibes" that our conscious mind misses and that is why we felt fate has brought us together as the spark was just there from that very first hello.... I wanted to talk to him but, I didn't know this until he turned to me and introduced himself.  Then I realised he was warm, friendly and handsome too.  I wanted to know more about him and, I am pleased he was happy to talk too, even though at that point we could never know what the fates had in store for us.  

The reason I think I may have changed though is that in general I am connecting with people in a different way, I am certainly sensing different "vibes" and I like it.  I guess having a difficult life experience has truly changed me so not only do I believe life is too short to be unhappy, but perhaps I am projecting that too and therefore people want to be close to me and enjoy the positivity I try to draw around myself?  Yes I still get down days but, I see hope in things around us.

I see hope in the leaves budding on the trees, hope that tomorrow those bright green leaves will unfurl and unleash the first days of summer.  I see hope in the clouds in the sky, hope that tomorrow or the day after may be a sunny day with  a bright blue sky.  I see hope in myself too, hope that after such a difficult time I can use my experiences to help others and show them that the future  may look difficult but it will be worth it.

That really; I suppose is the point of my blog today, I took a long time to get there and I didn't know where it was heading when I started out but hope.  If I can leave you with anything at all I would like it to be hope.  I know many people are facing difficult times, some facing days and weeks ahead much like I experienced after Steve's passing but, now I am here and things are 'happening' I can see I am experiencing those brighter days I had hoped for.  Don't give up hope.

Bye for now,
Mark x

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Monday, 16 April 2012

A busy week, dance routines and big smiles

Phew, hasn't time gone quickly. It's been a week since I posted last. It's been a great week too.

I know in my previous post I eluded to why I have been very happy of late and that happiness and smileyness has continued. and, I hope it will continue for very much longer too.

Back to last week though, on Tuesday Jonathan invited me to see Steps. I knew it would be a late night but, it seemed even later after being woken at 3am to be told my Dad was being taken to hospital with "Chest pains". He's had a heart attack before so obviously your mind thinks the worse. As it turned out it was an angina attack but still, being woken so early meant I was sapped of energy for Steps.

Before I went I would have insisted that I knew very few of their songs and knew none of their dance routines. By the end of the concert, whilst I could re-confirm I knew none of the dance routines, I knew all of their songs, well at very least all of those they sung in concert.

It was a lovely night and it was fun to see that Jonathan knew all of the routines as well as the words. I watched in near amazement of every perfectly choreographed move and gesture, as I said though it was also fun to see. In part because his energy and enthusiasm was extremely contagious!

My week seemed to be taking a turn for the worse on Wednesday when I received a call from home saying there was water leaking in through the bedroom ceiling so off I went to sort that too. On Thursday I was up and out early for a breakfast meeting, it started at 7.15 which is really not when I function best, I prefer evenings. I had a full day though of meetings and things to sort for work but, fingers crossed, they will all fall in to place later today ready for an event I am working on tomorrow and Wednesday.

Friday was a long day at work, fighting tiredness from the week I struggled to get through the day, so much so that when I got home I dozed off whilst watching the news. After J arrived home we decided to go out and have a few drinks. We headed off into town and had a lovely time. There was no agenda, no plans to meet up with anyone but, we managed to bump into some friends and ended up being out until the early hours of Saturday morning. It was nice not to have an agenda.

Following a late start on Saturday it was nice to see some more friends and then head out for dinner and a browse around the shops before a relaxing night in. I think that has been something we have both enjoyed over recent weeks. The chance to relax with no agenda or timescale to work to.

On Sunday we had another lazy morning but then called to visit family, and friends before heading into Manchester to attend a party. Steve's Mum got to meet Jonathan along with a few other friends too, so again it was just nice to be able to spend time together with no agenda. We ended up snuggling on the sofa again last night with a bottle of wine and a film before a reasonable early night. I was up for 5.30 this morning so it wasn't a late night.

I think, in part, that’s what has been nice about the past few weeks, the chance to sit, relax and do very little other than being happy in the company of someone that makes you smile. It sounds sickly sweet, I suppose it is, but it's still been nice. We've made each other happy and I hope it continues for a very long time to come. There are still a lot of things to sort for us both but those will sort themselves out in time, for now we're just enjoying life.

Well, that’s about all my news for now, I'm off to sort a few more things before I dash off to collect some things from a supplier for work so I will write soon, I hope you've had or are having a lovely day wherever you are and whatever you're up to.

Xx M xX

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Another weekend has passed, this one was a long one.  I have been in hibernation though for most of it, in a good "taking time out" way not in a "woe is me" way.

Friday was a very lazy day, I felt ill all day and whilst I was inspired to be a little creative, (that's something I will blog about properly in due course), I still managed to spend most of the day relaxing and part of it dozing whilst watching dodgy TV.   I did feel better in the evening though but had a reasonably early night.

On Saturday I was up at a decent time and then, after I sorted, packed and posted a load of eBay stuff I headed out to the shops.  After a spot of lunch there were a few Easter deliveries to sort, then, with that all done it was off home for a relaxing night in front of the TV.  Some classic films.

Sunday was great, yet another lazy day, (you may be sensing a theme here).  A lovely lazy day not bothering to get dressed until 4pm, ready for dinner with friends at 5pm.  It wasn't really a boozy night, it was a lovely night though.

Today has been yet another lazy-ish day.  A walk in the rain along the canal before a hearty roast dinner.  

On reflection it has been a great weekend.  Back to work tomorrow though and there's loads to catch up on as I have a big event planned for next week at work so I'm just pulling the final bits together, flyers and staff uniform etc

Well , that's me done really for this post,  I will be back soon 

Xx M xX

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Just a quick update before bed.

Today has been a lovely day, the weather has been glorious and, following a late start to the day I went in to the office and got a few things sorted but felt awful.  I was happy but physically I felt really groggy with a thick headache.

I rarely have a headache but I did today, I took a couple of pills and left the office just before 3pm.  Fortunately I live close to work so was in bed for 3.10

I had called Jonathan on the way home and he said he was tired too.  He called around late this afternoon before going to see his friend and it was lovely to see him, it wasn't planned and I like that, I have never been 'stand offish' if I like someone then I enjoy and appreciate our time together and, I am pleased he seems to feel happy to just enjoy the spontaneity of life too.

When he left this evening I called to see some friends too, on the way home I called into the express store to get something to eat.  I ended up with a sandwich and a bar of chocolate, I really couldn't be bothered cooking and a takeaway was of no interest to me.   

I've slouched on the sofa tonight with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea, I'm on to my second cup now (woo! No work tomorrow and celebrating with Tea! This really IS the high life!) and the Adele concert is being aired on TV so the volume is almost full blast and I'm singing along despite trying to drink tea and type at the same time.  I think she is beautiful, both in terms of looks and such a soulful voice.  Oh, and I even managed a little dance with myself (I could fib and say I danced with the cat),  on my way back to the sofa with a brew.  Right now I am doing a sort of chair dance as I type and sing.... 

Well that's about all for now, I still have a fuzzy head so after Adele has finished I think I will head off to bed and have sweet dreams of sweet dreamy things.

M x

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Again, it's been a few days since I updated my blog and a lot has happened, well, it feels like a lot.

On Saturday after my last blog was published it generated quite some interest and a fair amount of feedback too.  Not all of it welcome or positive.  I understood the reasons though.

If you've read the last few entries you'll have noticed my complete change in focus.  This is quite simply due to meeting someone who, I am surprised to say, has completely turned my world upside down.

Many people since Steve passed have said I would meet someone else and I was dead set against it.  No way, never! We're my initial thoughts but over the months my views have changed to yes,  maybe one day.

After meeting Jonathan I now think that the 'one day' I envisaged as a long way off is here now.  Jonathan is a great guy and I am already very happy with him and am looking forward to a bright and exciting future.

Unfortunately, as we know not all things in life are straight forward and this story is no exception.  Jonathan has split from his partner, it's not for me to discuss here but clearly Jonathan adjusted to his situation quicker than his previous partner.

I don't need to elaborate on the situation as its not my place to discuss their business but I am pleased to say that what was turning in to a stressful and highly charged situation has now cooled somewhat.  Whilst I have no desire to be caught in any 'crossfire' I will still be there to support Jonathan.  Fortunately now it seems things can be resolved in an amicable fashion.

Both parties want to remain friends as they have a lot of history together and this can be achieved, it can be difficult but I am pleased to count at least two of my previous partners as friends now.  The latest being as a direct result of Stephen defending my ex! Typical Steve, always the peacemaker.

Anyway, moving on from that tonight (Wednesday) I am cooking for Jonathan.  I really enjoy cooking for someone else and Steve was always a willing guinea pig for my trials.  I hope Jonathan won't object to being a guinea pig too, I sort of guess he won't.  Right now whilst I am typing this I have some things simmering on the job and I am supping Babycham.  Things are good and I am happy.

 Well I've just had a text from Jonathan, he's been texting me all day, 11 hours to go, 9 hours, 5 hours etc all on countdown to being here and collecting the huge hug I have waiting for him.  I love his excitement, it is very endearing and I mean that in a good way not a patronising way.

I'll no doubt update over the weekend, I am actually also going to let Jonathan read this before I post it as I really don't want to rock the boat for him and cause any stress but I really do want to shout from the rooftops about how happy he has made me and how lovely I think he is.

Bye for now,
M x

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