Friday, February 26, 2016

The New Roo

Hello everyone,

I have made a new blog called NewRoobeedoo

You are welcome to visit me there!

Please update your links.

The old blog will still be here but I will not be updating it with new posts.

Bye for now,


Sunday, February 14, 2016

At Peace

Two weeks have passed.

Your kind and lovely comments have poured in, and I want to thank you all so very very much.  FL would have raised an eyebrow and smiled a wry smile to read them all.

I found this photograph of him from the late 1960's while I was excavating his desk, in search of vital documents.  Although I did not know him then, it captures him perfectly.
I have framed it and put it by my bedside so I can see him first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

It is so hard, this business of missing him.

You might remember his grand plan to leave his body to medical science?
Unfortunately, when the time came, he was assessed to be "too thin and ill" to be of benefit to students of anatomy.
We did not have another plan.  There had been no need to think about a funeral or a memorial service, as he believed adamantly that The End was The End and he did not want a fuss.  However, he had drawn me a map for his final resting place, for some point in the future, after he had served his educational purpose.
This was rather sooner than expected.

Last Saturday I collected his ashes.
The Boy, a friend from golf (who visited him every evening while FL was in the hospice), the dog and I walked to the highest point on the hill, with a view towards Bennachie.
We buried most of his ashes and planted a tree at the spot.
Hero stood guard.  I know he knew what was happening.

The friend took the remaining ashes to scatter in the woods at the golf club.
At first I was reluctant to allow this, but I thought it through and had to acknowledge that FL did not belong only to me, or to the farm.  He was loved by many and they had just as much right as me to mark his passing, in their own way.
I expect a few drams were drunk in his memory.  He would have liked that.

And now?

I need to gather myself.

I have spent the past two weeks on an archaeological dig to uncover essential paperwork in the two rooms he kept as "studies".  It has been exhausting work, both physically and mentally.  He kept everything... but not in an ordered way.

The Book must have been written a hundred times over the years:  on the backs of envelopes, in a myriad of notebooks, and in no identifiable sequence.  I have no idea if I can salvage it.  I have no idea if I want to.  For now, it is all together in one place.  And that is all I can bear to do.

Today I shut the door of the downstairs study, satisfied that at least I now know what is in there.
There is a diary for every year since 1963.  Oh my.
Some day I might read the letters I wrote to him over the years:  he kept them all.
I need to shelve the books and sort the photographs.
But not right now.

I have started spinning again.
Still knitting Vivid blanket squares.
I am reading and drawing.  I was thinking I might sew something sometime soon.
I need to come back to the present.
I have spent the past two weeks immersed in the past.

I was thinking that I might need to start a new blog.  It feels wrong to carry on in this space without him.  I'll let you know, I promise.

In his own words, I need to be at peace now.

Monday, February 01, 2016

The End

August 2010

My First Love died last night at 6.15pm.

I woke yesterday morning knowing that I had one last task to perform for him, before the end.

So I settled down beside him and I told him our story.
I started at the beginning. A very good place to start.
We drifted in and out of each other’s lives for over 20 years before I came here.
It was a mess.  I was a mess.
I reminded him that 12 years ago, almost to the day, he had written to me that we must end our connection.  That unless I broke free of him I would never be happy.  That I owed it to my children to stay with their father.  That I should move forward, instead of trying to rewrite the past.

I was so weary, so worn down by the emotional turmoil of the preceding weeks, months, years that I agreed.  I let him end it, finally.  Again.
Except... a few days later he wrote to me.  He was angry, he was bereft:  did he mean so little to me that I would give him up so easily? 
There were tears.  Of course.
We made a plan to be together.
And I gave up all that was good and safe and secure for the madness that was my First Love.

And here we were, 12 years later.
Against all odds we made a go of it and we have been happy together, so very very happy... but now he was dying...
I told him that it was time for him to go and for me to move on.  
I told him about my plans for the future:  about the little terraced house in Yorkshire with the cat and the chickens.
That there would never be another man for me, because he was The One.
That now it was time for him to let me go, time for him to let go of life and leave me.
That I would be fine.
And he must be at peace now.

And then I played him a recording of Stephane Grapelli and McCoy Tyner:  “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. 

It was a song that meant a lot to him.  He had told me many times of a farewell party held in honour of a jazz pianist friend who was dying of cancer, and how he had persuaded his friend to play one last time for those he loved.  This was the song that was played that night.

FL had been lying all this while with eyes closed, breathing unevenly.  As soon as the music began to play, he jerked his eyes open and he seemed to be trying to speak.
I held him and stroked his forehead and told him to be at peace now, be at peace.

He seemed to fall asleep.

The day passed.
It was time for me to head home.
I decided to play the song one more time, as I gathered my things ready to go.
Almost at once his breathing pattern changed.  He was breathing so hard and fast the bed was vibrating.  I called a nurse and she confirmed that it would not be long now.
And it wasn’t.

That was yesterday.

Today I began the hideous process of administration and sifting through his things.
Slowly uncovering the past and realising that I was terribly terribly naive all those years ago, thinking I was the only one.
But you know what?  It doesn’t matter anymore.
We had 12 good years together and now... now he is gone.

Let’s remember the good times.  Because what else can we do now?

Be at peace, FL.