Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary since Greg died. I can barely believe five years have passed. I used to hate it when he was away from home for more than a few days. Occasionally we might have the odd week apart if I went away on business or he had to go off with the BBC to cover something for a report. But I could never have envisaged I would ever spend five weeks without him, let alone five years.
Till death us do part. Vows taken thirty-nine years ago with hardly a thought that they might one day actually mean something. That death would us part. I mean, honestly, who thinks about death on their wedding day? I suppose if I did ever think about it, it meant that we'd grow old together until one of us was struck down by sheer old age. We'd totter about in our carpet slippers in our double room in an old folk's home until one of us simply fell off our zimmer frame. The reality was far from that. Twenty-eight years of wedded bliss, another six of alcoholic hell ending in his death and now five as a widow.
Surely, I'm too young to be a widow? I'm often told I look even younger than fifty and I feel it too. Somebody told me the other day I don't even look old enough to have a 24-year-old daughter. (If you are trying to envisage what I look like, I am a cross between Twiggy and Lulu - I kinda look a lot like Twiggy in this picture - here (
I have a photo of Greg on my study wall behind my laptop. I look at it daily. Sometimes I talk to it. I might tell him what he's missing in the world's news; or in our own life; or how Kay's getting on; or how bloody lucky he is to have got off scotfree with some of the problems I'm facing with the house at the moment. When we were together, he would help put the bins out or unload the dishwasher (both jobs I absolutely hate - in fact owning a dishwasher at all was Greg's idea - I actually much prefer the therapeutic hands-in-sink option). Now it's me every time that puts the bins out and unloads the dishwasher. He smiles down on me from the photo frame beatifically, as if it's all the same to him. "You're on your own with this" he seems to say. "Not my problem any more".
He will of course eternally be the sixty-years he was when he died, but at the same time he will have missed out on the experiences I or Kay or the world have had since in the last five years. He will never see Kay graduate and take her first steps as a doctor; nor will he take her down the aisle and see her married with a family. So, on this wooden anniversary of his death, touch wood, wherever he is now, I hope he is happy and his suffering was worth it. As for me, I shall never ever truly know why he chose to go down that path, but it's time I moved on and stopped looking back, counting the years, or I'll never see the wood for the trees.