Love this word.
Likely to be more to say on this matter…….
As you know, I’m a little bit in love with three or four of the female columnists at The Guardian.
Hadley is Anglo American, from Manhattan, and writes about fashion, feminism and social justice – as far ad I’m concerned, a perfect combination.
Read this and giggle.
Monocles: the latest made-up fashion trend
How long is a man’s life, finally?
A thousand days, or only one?
One week, or a few centuries?
How long does a man’s death last?
And what do we mean when we say “gone forever”?
Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification.
We can go to philosophers,
but they will grow tired of our questions.
We can go to the priests and the rabbis
but they might be busy with administrations.
So, how long does a man live, finally?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret and ask so many questions –
then when it comes to us
the answer is so simple.
A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
for as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
for as long as we ourselves live,
holding memories in common, a man lives.
His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch;
his children will carry the weight of his love.
One friend will carry his arguments,
another will hum his favourite tunes,
another will still share his terrors.
And the days will pass with baffled faces,
then the weeks, then the months,
then there will be a day when no question is asked,
and the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach,
and the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased,
but will have ceased to be separated by death.
How long does a man live, finally?
A man lives so many different lengths of time.
– Brian Patten
To my husband
If we were never going to die,
Not hug you quite as often or as tight,
Or say goodbye to you as carefully
If I were certain you’d come back to me.
Perhaps I wouldn’t value every day,
Every act of kindness, every laugh
As much, if I knew you and I could stay
For ever as each other’s other half.
We may not have too many years before
One disappears to the eternal yonder
And I can’t hug or touch you any more.
Yes, of course that knowledge makes us fonder.
Would I want to change things, if I could,
And make us both immortal?
Love, I would.
– Wendy Cope
Thought this was beautiful. Was on the front of The Guardian today.
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountainside,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go – so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, remembering him.
by Edna St. Vincent Millay, feminist and superb poet
This is one of those that the unbereaved may find frustrating, hard, boring…..I don’t know….maybe some eye rolling, some impatience….
I’ve been discussing with a widower this whole “does it get better” question…….as he says, what can feel like a sanctimonious question….because “better” is an absolutely ridiculous and so very wrong word. Everything in me resiles from this word……I don’t look physically hollowed out anymore (yep, put on around 10lbs over the past year), I don’t cry every day anymore, I don’t wake up feeling physically sick. So, that is all “better”. But is it close to February 22 “normal”, do I feel joy or happiness every week, do I look forward to the weekend, or to holidays or feel excitement at some point each month, can I yet hear the daily question “how are you” and not have some part of me still want to scream “how the fuck do you think I am?”….. Nah, not even close to “better” that way.
In the whole dating thing, and in gentle or not so gentle questioning from friends, the unbereaved talk about “being ready to move on”…I don’t think this is what it is either. Surely the question is “are you ready to love someone else? To give yourself to someone else? To put someone else first from time to time? To make space in your heart, soul and life?”. None of these things require me to leave Jonathan behind and to move to somewhere else – in fact, I would assert that the healthy thing is that he absolutely “comes with”, for he is part of me, part of the boys. But he is part…..and my life going forward is to make room for someone else to form part of this too, for us to squish together to form the “different” me – and for that matter, the different him…..
And yeah, I’m ready for all of that – and would say that I feel I’ve been ready for some time. Another widower was talking with me about whether 10 months a widower was “too early” to be dating. I said that he has to work out what is right for him and go with it. As for the judgement of others who have never walked in his shoes – well, he has to work out if avoiding that judging is more important to him than dating……and if it is, don’t start…..school gates, village gossip….oh yes, people have views about us widow[er]s and our sex lives (well, they have views on most aspects of our lives that have been made public in a way that we never sought – and yet, I’m writing a public blog aren’t I….).
“Too early, too late, irrelevant, there is no time frame…..go with your heart”, she roars softly…..
I defy you to read this and then not be inspired to do whatever it is that you might be putting off doing….. Let’s not live life in the herd. … Let’s lead and coach and inspire others to live their dreams. … life is way way too short. So short and at the same time, every day is long, so long. …
Turns out that Freud said much the same thing – “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” was his version…..
Loved this line, it made me smile. As I recall *er, yeah…* sometimes sex is just sex. And a blog post is just a blog post, sometimes a tweet is just a tweet, sometimes sad is just sad…… Not everything has to be a big deal. Not everything has some deep hidden meaning. Sometimes things are completely face value…..
As some of you know, I’ve been in the dating world for a number of months now. Haven’t blogged about it for a number of reasons. Initially because I didn’t think it was “fair” (to the blokes involved) and also because it was such a strange and new world, I didn’t want to write about it. I was processing it all too much to share my thoughts about it (although the “you should write a book about this” chorus has been augmented since I joined the online world of dating….).
Now, I’m in two minds. Partly because, as I discovered in the most amusing way, the blokes are looking at this blog………….had a first date where the guy casually mentioned half way through dinner that he had found the blog and read it………..the look of absolute horror and shock on my friend Kate’s face when I went home that night and told her….priceless….She said “but he has seen into your soul…..you need to stop blogging NOW”……. At the point he told me, I remember feeling totally thrown and then almost immediately deciding that the fact he still turned up for the first date having read the blog said something……and I went on to have a number of dates with him, in fact. I figured that a) he had some idea about how much I loved Jonathan and b) that my grief was raw and painful………..and yet he could still see me as the vibrant, smart, slightly crazy, vulnerable woman I was in real life. Well, that is all good.
And I’ve thought about what Kate said – is this blog “my soul”?…..I don’t think so… these blogs are snapshots in time, like photos. They capture an essence of something, a glimpse of something, at a specific point in time. They are not “me” but part of a part of me. They may be “true” today, or they may not be.
Sometimes, a piece of writing is just that. Sometimes of course, it isn’t. But the only way to tell which is which is through conversation, no?
And of course, sometimes sex isn’t just sex at all.
Today I’m wearing a necklace. Not a fancy one. It’s just a loop chain. From my touchstone Adolfo Dominguez.
Today is the first day I’ve worn a necklace since Jonathan died.
Other than a pair of earrings that Em bought for my birthday this year (worn 3 times), I’ve worn the same pair of earrings since Feb 23, 2012.
It took a long time to be able to smile into a camera. Probably only really started this summer.
I’ve no idea why jewelry is so difficult for me. It’s not like JD bought me much of it! Something though about the “look at me” nature of it that I’ve resiled from I think.
I took the necklace out last night. Made a conscious decision to wear it. And like so much “progress” (a term the unbereaved use. Not us bereaved.) I feel sadness today, wearing my necklace. That I’m leaving JD behind somewhere.
And I feel at the same time, a modicum of strength from myself – roar on T, you can wear jewelry. …….ludicrous. … yet the truth….a ludicrous truth…