On my way to Leon to meet a friend, Chris, I remembered very precisely how it felt to be sitting next to Mark on the bus, the feel of his hand holding mine, the pressure of his arm next to mine. Immediately came the stunned realisation that someone who once sat so solid, substantial, tangible, next to me was no longer here – and wouldn’t be again.
It’s the relationship with what once was, and what is now that absorbs me at times. What do I do in relation to that past that was so precious, light, joyous? I miss it, but find myself becoming more and more willing to begin to accept that that is no longer my life. Letting go seems essential for rebuilding, but I also feel the need to identify the strands and threads of life with him that I want to carry forward and incorporate into the present and the future I am beginning at least to think about building.
At other times I like to think it would ‘suit’ us both better if I can try and stand up taller in the knowledge that I loved, and was loved by such a remarkable man. Trying to find ways of continuing to live joyfully, simply, beautifully, seems a good hearty way of celebrating the completeness and happiness that being part of ‘us’ has given me.
Of course, the broken-hearted me struggles with that. Sometimes it’s impossible to do anything other than grieve the loss of him, of the life we shared – it comes in waves over me, when I’m in a shop queue, walking home, making a cup of coffee. Sometimes, though, I find I can brace myself, withstand the wave with a sense of my own strength and resilience, a growing reassurance that I can get through this.
Times have changed is a truism, of course, but with the loss of Mark, they really have. How do I hold on to what is precious and valuable from the past while embracing the present, the future even, no matter thorny and pain-filled it may seem?