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We had a lot of wedding photos taken on our wedding day, thirty years ago, as you do.
I think this one, while not very traditional, captures the joy of that day.
From left: Keith Lang, myself, Juliet, Toby Musgrave, Jeremy Thorp, Gavin Nelson.
And (almost) seated, Robert Lindsay.
Margaret and I visited the park today, 7th August. There’s a fence around the tree now.
I wasn’t at work, I’m two days into my retirement and four days away from my first wedding anniversary. Life has changed a lot.
“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra.
Juliet died six years ago today.
This is an extract from a book called “Life Lessons: Things I Wished I’d Learned Earlier” by Lesley Garner:
Don’t expect to go from shock and misery to happiness overnight. depending on how deep your relationship went, it could take a year or two. But you can create islands of happiness in your sea of despair. And those islands become stepping stones on to dry land. Dry land is where we look back at the sea of despair and our lost loves like so many boats on the horizon and wonder what we saw in them. Then one day, another boat may come along and, even if we’re not ready for an ocean voyage, we can set off for a trip around the lighthouse. We’re getting ready to sail again.
Well I saw a lot in Juliet and she’ll always have a place in my heart. But in a few days’ time I shall be newly married again. I’m ready for another voyage.
I had a short Facebook exchange with my dad today. He posted a rather dull photo of some trees and I remarked that it was very “Klimt-esque”. Klimt was a painter chappie who painted forest scenes among several other subjects. Juliet loved his work and she got this print for our lounge where it still hangs today:
On the opposite wall is this embroidery & textile work by J, clearly inspired by him:
We also both loved “A Forest” by the Cure. J introduced me to this haunting, classic punk-Goth song in the first days of our courtship, back in the early 1980’s. I still have her 7″ single. You can hear a slower, slightly distorted version of it below. Give it at least two minutes…
And on The Cure theme, here’s another of their later songs which J quoted in a posthumous letter to me, the day after her funeral:
That last one is far too upsetting. I’m going to have to stop.
Rubik’s Cube because it has 54 squares and J would have been 54 today.
Happy birthday Juliet.
Today’s title is taken from a piece by the comedian Isy Suttie that appeared in today’s Guardian:
I sent it to my girls: I’m concerned they don’t talk about their mum much/at all/to me.
In my work as a counsellor (actually a bereavement support volunteer), the most difficult cases are those where the person hasn’t grieved properly, sometimes having bottled it up for years. The first line of the above story says: “ Prince Harry said that he wished he had spoken more about losing his mother when it happened.”
My girls have now both left home, Alice in the last week or so, and are well established with flats, new jobs and even a boyfriend. And yet as the article says, “…[bereavement is] probably magnified for children, because so much about living hasn’t yet been cemented. You may have only just learnt that unicorns don’t exist, and suddenly you have to get through life without the person who gently told you that fact.”
I re-read J’s instructions for household cleaning today, a small notebook that she had started when she was ill. I noted that the writing and spelling deteriorated in later entries. But I read it and thought “I know all this. I know how to sort clothes for the washing machine. I know how to hang them up and how to de-fluff the tumble drier. I know how to clean the kitchen.” I guess I didn’t five years ago though, and J was leaving nothing to chance. She even wrote me some instructions for when I met a new woman, and I remember thinking then how bizarre that seemed. Well, I did meet someone new and this time next year we should be married. D and I have almost set a wedding date, just got to re-jig it slightly before confirming it and just yesterday we put in an offer on a new house in an area far removed from our local areas. I have her to gently coach me but I worry because the girls will never have their mother back. You never stop worrying about your kids do you?
I spoke to J’s mother this evening and we both noted that today’s date didn’t hold as much dread for us as it once did. She had visited J’s park in Oxford this afternoon while I had run a 6-mile race at Hook Norton this morning and was driving home shortly after midday. I didn’t dwell on the moment, just noted it, as the CBT lady taught me to do. I’m pleased to report that these days the happy memories are doing a better job of crowding out the awful, awful events of 2009 – 2011. There’s many new events to look forward to now; maybe not unicorns, because they don’t exist, but all the happy things that do.
Juliet would have been 53 today, January 2nd.
Just a few random pictures. There’s plenty more.
Happy birthday love.