Four years and still counting. It still hurts, not too much these days if I’m honest, but just enough.
One of the sobering things about bereavement is that time marches on, regardless of the bereaved person.
We had holidayed in the Australian paradise of Dunk Island, ten years ago in August 2005. I only recently discovered that it was almost destroyed by two tropical cyclones in 2011, the year of J’s death. We had no idea – I guess we had other things to worry about back then. It would have upset Juliet greatly. I was upset that she wasn’t here to be upset about it.
Similarly, a few months ago I re-visited an old quarry in our area where our family had long collected fossils, but was unexpectedly saddened to find it almost completely overgrown and derelict. It’s normal for that to happen to old quarries (and tropical islands) but it’s still a sad reminder that tempus fugit.
Lots of other tragic events happened around this time four years ago. At random: the shootings on the Norwegian island of Utoya, the death of Amy Winehouse and the Tottenham riots that spread across the country. When they occasionally come back into the news, I’m always reminded of the year 2011 when we lost Juliet. Also lost that year: Habitat stores, cheque guarantee cards and the Daily and Sunday Sport newspapers.
I’m still running and counselling. At the beginning of the year I left the big, huge IT corporation and transferred to a smaller version. Lucy recently qualified as a primary school teacher. Her mum would have been so pleased and proud of her, as am I. Alice is coding, or computer programming as we used to call it.
And I’m engaged. As of Valentines Day this year, to D, also widowed. We often speak about her late husband and of J, we think of them, mention them, wonder how they would have reacted to things. Not too much, not too little, just enough. The Goldilocks principle.