In four hours it will have been one whole year since I saw your face my Bear. It’s an agonising thought, that I haven’t touched your face for one whole year – photos don’t count, if you were wondering.
I don’t have to try very hard to remember that morning, when you died. I can play that movie reel in my mind in vivid detail, with absolutely no effort at all – in the beginning it was very hard to stop it playing, and there was a sort of horrible comfort in it. I wish I could have said more to you – it seemed important that I spoke the forty years of I love you’s I wouldn’t get to say into those minutes we had left. You had no voice left, but your eyes were locked on mine so intensely that I know you were saying yours too.
How am I doing without you after one year? On the surface, I’m fine. I handle things ok. Sometimes small things still rattle me. I was filling out forms the other day and the blank space for ‘marital status’ shook me a bit. The technical answer is no of course, but I still feel married to you. I still wear my wedding ring, and I still call myself ‘Mrs’. I ended up leaving it blank, because they didn’t have a tick box for ‘not physically married but emotionally very much attached’.
It seems so unfair that we are not together my darling. I was asked if I had planned anything special in your memory today, and my answer is no. I miss you as much today as I did yesterday, and I will miss you just as much tomorrow. If the phrase ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ could be applied scientifically, there would be an exponential graph of my missing you stretching upwards into infinity.
No, the special things I am doing today involve taking our biggest girls off to the first day of school and trying to set them up for a good year. I haven’t reminded them that it’s one year since you died, because I don’t think it would be helpful. Our little bird is having enough trouble with the idea of being away at school after six weeks at home without rubbing the salt of your absence into it, and our biggest girl has her first day of high school, an unknown animal that she feels needs to be approached cautiously until she understands its quirks.
I hope you’re not offended my Bear, but we don’t need a special day to celebrate you – we do that every day. We did that a few days ago when the girls and I found a new Korean restaurant and decided unanimously that you would have loved the fried chicken. We did that yesterday in the city when your little bird shared a memory of how you would take her up to visit the ‘story clock’ in the QVB when it chimed the hour. I did that last night when I stroked the pictures of your face on the fridge as I was locking the windows before turning off the lights. You are always in my thoughts my Bear, and will never truly die to me.
Until January 2015, we were a happy rambunctious family of five, a loving hard-working dad, a crafty stay at home mum, and three wonderful girls. Then the Bear was diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer, and everything changed. After his death in January 2016, our family of four is still trying to make sense of the cards we’ve been dealt.
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