13th November 2022
It’s Remembrance Sunday today and last night I watched the Festival of Remembrance televised live from the Royal Albert Hall. It’s not the sort of thing I’d usually watch but I dozed off earlier and when I woke, there it was.
It was incredibly moving but the strange thing is that Tim wasn’t in the Armed Forces and yet the memories of him bowled me over. They sang his favourite hymn, Jerusalem. There was a beautiful rendition of The Wind Beneath My Wings which left both the singer and me in tears. You see, I once told Tim that he was the wind beneath my wings. It wasn’t the sort of thing we did, being all mushy. But it was before he was diagnosed with the brain tumour. We were on our way to York for a weekend to see the Christmas market and I had booked a 1:1 with a literary agent. I think we sensed that we were on the cusp of something big. I think about that weekend a lot.
This morning I am eating toast in bed. Something Tim absolutely hated. I can hear him tutting and mumbling about crumbs in the bed. And, yes, he is right. There are. But sometimes it’s easier to think of him being grumpy with me than the loving things he did. Somehow that’s easier to bear.
Everyone’s gearing up for Christmas. I’ve started early because I know that I can only do it in small chunks. I have to measure out my time because I know that I will be bowled over by grief. That tidal wave is hanging perilously close. Funnily enough, two people in the last week have told me that Christmas isn’t for everyone. I don’t think they understand why I can’t get excited. Why my son and I will be spending it alone and I will put something in the slow-cooker and we will take Molly and go out walking for the day. We are not spending it on our own through choice. I used to love Christmas: the planning, the cooking, everyone around the table. But that now, has gone. I suppose they are right; Christmas isn’t for everyone. Christmas isn’t for me. But it hurts.
In the meantime, I shall keep on walking, keep on writing. The former helps me to see that I’m moving forward, not getting caught in the slipstream and going under. And the writing? Well, that helps me to try and make sense of it all. I don’t think I’m an easy person to love. Tim was the best of me and without him, it’s hard to fly.
‘Did you ever know that you’re my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle
For you are the wind beneath my wings.’
(Jeff Silbar and Larry Henly)