The other night I was looking through my photos. I do this often. Maybe it's not a good thing but I crave reminders of the way things used to be. Of being a family of three. It sometimes feels like it is slipping away. I don't want to feel sad all the time but I want to hold the memories close. To remember what it felt like to belong with Gerard, to be loved, to be held up, to do things and plan things together. And you know, to love someone back. Even if sometimes I wish I'd been nicer to him. Kinder and more appreciative.
Anyway, this day we went to the art gallery, to meet Gerard's aunt. It was a great day out. We saw modern art, we had afternoon tea together. There was clowning around. I sat and watched this pool of china plates in water. I loved how they collided and the sound they made. It was peaceful and mesmerising. Grace and Gerard loved the water wall. I love the water wall too. That pose of Gerard's is so him. It really was a very good day.
The next day which was Sunday, my stepfather came and found me in my study and told me that my mother was in hospital with suspected lung cancer. After that things got worse and better and then worse again. And now Mum and Gerard are both dead, gone forever. I'm glad that the last day before everything started to change was a good day. I look back to that day sometimes and there is so much to hold onto.
So I was trying to think of something to put in the card for my friend who is getting married. And I can't quite put my finger on it yet. When you lose part of your family I think you realise how big they were in your life and I want to say something that speaks to that but isn't trite or advicey. Something suitable for a joyous occasion.
I'm not full of regret for things undone. When I look back at the photos it's clear that we did things together, family dinner, hanging out with extended family, camping, seeing friends, outings and just hanging out at home. The stuff of a life together, it is all there. I remember when Gerard and I were first together and in love, I had that big fear of losing him too. I dismissed this fear at the time, but even though I wouldn't want to have lived with that fear, it was actually quite rational. Love is a huge investment. You wouldn't not do it because the rewards are big too but the stakes are high. I envy couples who get to be together for fifty years or so. And yet, as I saw in grief group, the loss there when the first one goes, is often immense. I don't think many of us escape from grief forever. Not if we have loved ones. I still don't know what I'm trying to say but there you have it. The last day when everything was alright. (In this round. Everything will be alright again. I'm holding onto that.)