A year and a half...
It has now been a whole year and a half since Rich left us, a whole 18 months. I keep thinking it was last year that he died, but it was the year before. 2020. Yet it still barely feels like just a few months ago. Life has gone on around me, people getting on with life and moving on. I have found this quite difficult. I know I will never ‘get over it’, it will never be ok that Rich went through the nightmare that took over his life, and eventually took his life. There will never be a moment when I ‘move on’. I will move forward, and I have, slowly. Adapting to this new life without my soul mate. A quiet life. I keep myself plenty busy with teaching and studio work, exhibitions, seeing family and friends, and walking with them. I’ve been so lucky to be surrounded by so much support. And the dog. Of course the dog has been my constant daily company.
Last month I started meditating again. My practice pretty much stalled a couple of years after Rich became unwell and I kind of fell off the wagon. Then I picked up a book last month (something I haven’t been able to do since Rich died, the widow brain is really foggy and struggles to concentrate) that I had read when I was meditating several years ago. Re-reading it helped me to reconnect with my practice and I have really enjoyed the gentle and wholesome moments every day when I tune in. When I meditate, I feel I have this space where I can allow myself to slow down and catch my breath. I’m looking forward to going on retreat again in a few weeks, something I used to do quite regularly. Rich went to the pub and I went on meditation retreats, each our own form of nourishment for the soul!
The other day I had this intense moment when I was getting ready for bed, tidying things up and turning the lights off. Then I froze. Standing in the sitting room. And Rich was there, his full presence was there in the exact place where he died. I haven’t felt that before. It took my breath away and of course it brought on the tears. How can it be that he is not coming back. He loved life so much and he loved living more than anyone I have ever met. He was such an amazing human being. I have moment when something might happen at work and I instantly think with a smile ‘oh I can’t wait to tell Rich, he’ll think its hilarious!’. Then, just as I think that, I remember that I can’t. And I never will. Never. Its so final. Never.
Life without him is quiet, but I fill the spaces with things I find helpful, being creative and mindful. Living a gentle life. I have learnt a lot about life since I’ve been on this solo journey, I’ve learnt a lot about myself too, being in situations which would normally not happen or where I would have Rich’s support. Its been a steep learning curve and has been a bit messy at times. Learning this new life. But I am doing ok, I think I’m doing ok, getting from day to day, week to week. Slowly building my life again. Maybe I’m even learning that I’m a bit stronger than I ever thought I was…
And I’m grateful for those I have in my life. Thank you.
PS: This photo was taken when we were heading out to Sri Lanka for our magical holiday in 2016. The happiest of times just before cancer came crashing in. The grins say it all. AND we had extra legroom seats!!