I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be. --...
I apologise if this comes off as self-indulgent. I'm not have a good few days and writing this has helped. I'm also not entirely sure it's in the right place so please do move if needs be.
Goodbye then. I think we both knew this day was coming but it was always going to come too fast, too soon - I would always want one more day, one more stroll in the woods together, one more evening snuggle by the fire.
But in the darkness of loss a whirling, glittering constellation of memories shines brightly. The first moment I saw you in that badly lit, chilly ferry terminal, you were all wobbly and woozy from the boat trip. You never did get over that travel sickness, despite everything we tried. All the first times, all the adventures, all the unspoken moments of connection between us.
I remember running around the garden together as summer storms drenched the thirsty ground, yelping and laughing and soaked to the skin by hot rain. Eating raspberries fresh off the cane for breakfast as the dew sparkled on our toes. Lying quietly by the fire as the party slowly died away. The awful long, hot, car journeys to far-away places where your eyes would light up with joy at the sight of a new beach, a new hill to climb, new people to meet or a new place to explore.
The time we clambered over the rocks and you terrified me with your boldness, seemingly unafraid to fall. The time after we were first apart for days, overflowing with happiness and relief to be together again. The time we went camping and you were not sure about it but discovered the wonder of waking up with the dawn and being outside all day. The time you first saw the snow, the sheer amazement in your eyes as we stepped outside to a blanket of white just waiting to be played in.
The time, all those years later, we first brought the baby home and you were so gentle, as if his tiny body might break at your slightest touch. Don’t think I didn’t notice you quietly taking guard over him, for all your gruff standoffishness, I know you loved him and wanted to protect him as much as I did.
And the worst time of all, the blackest star looming large in my mind’s sky. The nurse taking you away as your life drained from you, tired and afraid and so far away from me. I’ll always regret I couldn’t be there with you at the very end, but such regrets are dwarfed by the enormity of the joys of all that came before.
The small things stand out more than the big. The little rituals of the day that I get partway through before remembering you’re not there any more. The patterns are broken - getting ready to go to bed, getting up the next day, preparing food or finding our cosy places in the evening. All those familiar shapes to life are gone, shattered like ice, the shards of how we lived together destined to quietly melt away, as unstoppable as the tide.
You touched so many people’s lives, brought so much joy and love to the world, but to no-one more than me. Those days when my back hurt so much I could barely bring myself to do anything, you gave me the strength to at least go for a walk, and that always helped. Those dark nights when I felt alone and afraid, you’d always notice and come over with some love to make me feel better. It might be too much to say you saved my life but it might not.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you as much as I could have been for the last year, we’ve all struggled, we’ve all been tired and I know now you probably needed me more than you could tell me. Neither of us knew the cancer was taking you from the inside, not until it was far too late. If I could have the last few months again I’d be by your side every day, I’d be more patient with your struggles because they were so much more than I understood.
Goodbye, old friend. The pain is over now, and the life before it was beautiful. I love you.