The day after I wrote the previous post, on 15 November 2014, my husband Mark Arram died. It was as sudden and unexpected as that.
In many ways, the person who wrote the last post doesn’t exist any more – and I have learnt there’s both beauty and pain in the word ‘once’ – a word that struck me as so profound reading Dylan Thomas’ poem This Bread I Break.
I once was married to a brilliant, deeply funny and original man whose love transformed my life, a man who helped me connect to the deeply important things in it. I once was very happy, living a simple, rich life with him – walking, talking, sitting in cafes was the thing we loved most – and it was Mark who once suggested it might be an idea to connect my blog to the cafes I liked to work in.
Since his death I have been stumbling blindly in the dark and have understood, like no other time in my life, how dependent I am on others, how in need I am of someone to take me by the hand and guide me. I don’t think I’m out of the darkness yet, although I am making small, stumbling efforts to accept the unacceptable, and reluctantly, sometimes screaming, to begin to rebuild myself and my life. I feel I know so little – in the early days I felt profoundly that nothing I had thought before, no narratives I had constructed, no approach to living I’d developed was sufficient for getting through – and that feeling hasn’t gone away. It seems that only a root and branch approach to reconstruction will be enough.
It’s two months later and I am in Athens. I’ve come back to the city we spent five truly wonderful days together less than two weeks before he died. I had been here before twice, but it was a delight to share it with him and encounter his reactions to the people and the city that had already got under my skin. I was thrilled that so many of his responses mirrored mine, that he was as profoundly affected by being here as I was. And it’s here that I’ve decided that I’m going to start going to cafes to write again.