Trigger warning; grief, loss, suicide. Go easy people x
For those of you who love me; I am safe and sound and surrounded by friends who offer me comfort. Still, I am floundering a bit.
Yesterday my first husband, the father of my Daughter Number One, was farewelled at his funeral. Even as I write that sentence it still seems totally unreal.
The pictures in my head are of us when we were very young. Me, in a borrowed dress I loathed but didn’t feel I could say no to and him in his grey tux and pink cummerbund – so very Eighties! I was seventeen and he had just turned eighteen and our wedding photo’s picture us as the babes in arms we were. So young. Before life had really touched us, or before it should have as much as it already had but never imagining how much more there was to come. Neither of us having had a stellar childhood and both of us hoping to create with each other what neither of us had ever known, but what were the odds of that? Well, we didn’t beat them. A planned unplanned teenage pregnancy and wedding photo’s that sincerely look like high school class pictures. And we’ve all seen a lot of life since then. And we’ve all seen too much of death.
The two friends who were my bridesmaids on that day stand by me still. Have been there for me through all years in between. One of them attended the funeral and told me afterwards that I was mentioned in one of the eulogies. Not just Daughter Number One but me as well and for some reason that blew me away and just kills me. And hearing it was like a portal to another life, in another chapel, so very long ago.
My head is still spinning. Random, ridiculous thoughts. One of my dearest friends, an ex-lover, a kindred spirit of the highest order, died seventeen years ago on the 30th of May. The anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death is the 1st June and now her father has died on the 31st of May. I mean REALLY? Really?
The services for my Kindred Spirit friend and Daughter Number One were held in the same chapel and for reasons I cannot explain I felt SUCH RELIEF when I read that her father’s service was to be held elsewhere. Stupid, right? Like it even matters. But I felt relieved and goodness knows I’ll take it where I can get it at this stage of the game.
Mostly I think of his three sons. Of how they are now the fatherless sons of a Dad who killed himself, just like my sons. These boys I have never met who were also my daughter’s brothers. And they’d already lost their elder sister, my Daughter, so they have that in common with my own sons too. And then blackly, bleakly I think that at least their Dad didn’t kill their older sister when he killed himself so at least they have that much over my sons. And they got to have their Dad for twelve years longer, which has to be a bonus? But there are no winners here, just losers and HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? It is so, so desperately sad. He was 45 years old. They played ‘So Far Away’ at his funeral. AT HIS FUNERAL. His poor sons! His poor wife!
I know I bang on about my friends a lot here but the reality is that I wouldn’t still be here without them; I couldn’t be. When my world is spinning faster than I can handle they are the anchor that holds me fast. With their kindness and their grace, their humour and their acceptance. With their ability to love me, just as I am.
Within hours of hearing the news and my distress one friend had brought me across the country to be with him in a place that I feel safe. I am here still. The response from another friend when I remarked that two people I once married and another ex-lover have all committed suicide was this:
That Tinder comment right there? THAT’S why that guy is my friend. My friends don’t just talk the talk with me. They walk the walk and take the piss out of me along the way.
More kind words:
And I’m letting my friends speak for themselves and these examples speak for all the others because I only have so many words at the moment and not many of them are good. And I’m really trying to hang on to the good. I wanted you to see and to know how blessed I am.
There are lots of things I’m not ready to hear at the moment and many things I can’t acknowledge. I don’t know much at all right now. But I know that I have the very best friends. And I can believe in them even while their belief in me astounds me. I wish I could see me as they see me but for today the fact I know they do really see me and they do not turn away makes all the difference to me.