Yesterday was some strange kind of anniversary. It marked three months since my husband died. Three months – where has that gone? Who would have thought I would have survived three months without him. Well I have, I am here, and although I’m getting by I’m certainly carrying round a huge, huge sadness that Roger isn’t here too.
I didn’t really think about the date until the morning to be honest. I mean I knew it was coming up, but I’m not one for marking sad times, I’d rather not dwell on dates and just focus on the good stuff. Three months feels like a fairly long time to be without him though, and it just makes me feel further away from him and the time when he was here, at home.
I’ve been reading a few books about widowhood lately. Widow is a word I don’t really like to use. As a journalist I’m used to it meaning just a single word on a line – but now it refers to me, at 38, who was only just getting used to the word wife when it turned into widow.
Anyway, back to the books. I wrote about one of them in my post on the laziness of grief, but since then I’ve got quite a collection.
The latest was a gift from my friend Bridget, and is called A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I’ve been reading it on the train to and from work, and parts of it have really struck a chord. In particular it was a section about how she couldn’t give her husband’s possessions away after he died, because what would he do when he came back? if she gave away all his shoes, what would he wear then?
It dawned on me that I’m thinking exactly the same thing. I know theres no rush, but I’ve hardly moved any of Roger’s things from their place.
His clothes are still in the wardrobe – his wardrobe – his winter coat may have moved from the peg but it’s stored upstairs with all the others. After all, he’ll need it when it gets colder won’t he?
His phone contract may have ended but his mobile still sits next to our bed – on his side – just in case he needs to check his messages. The radio on his bedside table is still set to Radio 5 Live – not 6 Music like I always choose. I turned it on yesterday and realised it must have been for the first time since he was here that I’d done so.
I know I can do it in my own time – whether that be next week, next year, or longer – but I wonder when it will really sink in, and I accept that he isn’t coming back?
Will I ever really feel that? It’s not just me who has that sense either, the kids do to some extent, especially Florence, our youngest, who still asks me if she can see her daddy most days.
When she asks for juice she calls it ‘daddy’s juice’, as when we visited him at the hospice he always had a bottle of cordial on the table in his room. We’d put some in her cup as a treat and it became known as ‘daddy’s one’. I wonder how long that will go on? I hope it’s forever.
She and her bro have been my little saviours today. They’ve hugged me when I’ve cried, and Sam hasn’t even asked me to stop like he usually does. Flo has kept telling me how much she loves her daddy, how he’s her best friend, and how he’s very poorly and he died.
Sam has spent the day dressed as a cat in his new halloween costume (no surprise there as he’s always loved dressing up), but he’s suddenly taken an interest in football and bought his first Match Attax cards today. What this is I’m not entirely sure, but it involves football cards and swapping them (I think) and I just wish Rog were here to play it with him.
‘Do you think dad would be proud of me if he is watching me?’ he asked tonight. ‘Oh I know he would,’ I replied.
‘Do you think he’s watching us?’ Sam asked.
‘I’m not sure, but I hope so. I sometimes feel that he is,’ I said.
‘Dad, you’d better be watching, and not in bed,’ he said.
How could he not feel proud? I really hope he does.
‘A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty.’
― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking