05 March 2015

Wood

The appropriate gift for a fifth wedding anniversary is wood apparently. Quite who in their wisdom first decided on this is anyone's guess. Why wood, for heaven's sake? But then again why paper for the first and tin for the tenth?  Champagne might be a better choice or a long-service medal. But wood? What are you supposed to do with that? Bash one another over the head with it?

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 (from the neck up obviously, though to be fair less sticklike from the neck down!)   I don't feel old. The very word "widow" makes me feel a hundred years old. It's one of those words in the English language that immediately has negative connotations. 

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.

 Greg
1949-2010

11 comments:

K Ville said...

5 years, seems to have gone so quickly and at the same time seems so long ago.

If we knew in advance the path we would tread, I wonder if we would slip the same shoes on?

Rethink Street said...

5 years eh? Wow. It sounds like you still miss him - although that's not surprising, after all those years of marriage and so much shared. Wishing you love, strength and optimism xxx

the veg artist said...

Interesting! Wood is about growth and strength, but can also be about creating something beautiful, practical or just useful after the initial life of the tree.
So. In what direction are you going to move forward and shape your life? You sound ready.

lucy denny said...

I recently contacted a doctor named Ekaka i find his email: ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com on the internet so i decided to contact him for help in my relationship he ask me to send him my details which i did after that he told me that the gods revealed something to him and he told me everything that was revealed to him and he told me what he was going to do that after three days my relationship became sweet again and the person that was behind my problem came to beg me for forgiveness which was my mother in-law. i and my love are happy again including my mother in-law and we are planning to have a party for this Easter... thanks to Dr. Ekaka

Nota Bene said...

It doesn't seem like five years ago to me, it must still be so raw for you. He has missed out on many things, but you have had many new experiences (long may that continue).

nappy valley girl said...

We will never know, will we, why they chose to go down that path (I have the same feelings about my mum). But you are here and you have your life to live and there is plenty left to do. I can't imagine life without my husband either but if it ever happens, I hope I have the strength that you have. x

afterthefire1964 said...

Wow - my thoughts exactly on my husband who has now been dead for 2.5 years. Whenever something happens that I know he would have loved/found interesting (most recently, a big ice storm!) I always think about how much he is missing. But - he is at peace and he was quite tortured while he was alive. Take care.

auntiegwen said...

x

Flowerpot said...

Life does go by so quickly doesn't it? But I think as you said it's so important to look forward, not keep looking back. Take care xx

Ellen said...

What a beautiful post! I can't believe its 5 years either. Thinking of you.

Emily Griffiths said...

My name is Emily Griffiths and I live in South London so I know what your going through! I can't stop drinking wine even in the morning when I have to feed my kids! I think it's time I got some help

Your story really touched me