You can pretty much see my December journey by following the Billy Blagg Advent Calendar of Christmas Songs for 2018. I’m proud of that blog; I did what I usually do, so that those who enjoyed it in previous years got what they usually had, but it was done with a poignancy and love that kept me going right throughout the month.
Admittedly, this is isn’t something you may want to sample if you’re reading this in the summer, spring or it’s Easter or May Day but I hope you will return to it. The posting for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the additional posting for New Year’s Eve just nailed how I felt.
Every day was a different trial. Made unbearable because everything was as it was – in terms of my health, ability to get out, do things, enjoy places etc. – but nothing was as it was because Gail wasn’t there, and the hole she left threatened to suck me in every day.
I stuck at it though and eventually surprised myself and I guess it’s things like this, the subsequent trip to stay in the London hotel I’d booked the previous January and the later journey to Hong Kong that made people tell me that I did or was ‘doing well’. It certainly didn’t feel like that at the time though and, to be honest, it didn’t feel like it much later either.
I do think within that though is the nucleus of grief. If it’s not happened to you then you can only feel empathy for the other person and imagine how you may, or may not, cope. You can never actually know for certain though until it happens to you and when it does, you find there’s nothing that you can do other than what you feel comfortable with. For me, it was just do everything as if Gail was with me.
Others may see this as me ‘coping’ or ‘getting on with life’ – the inverted commas are deliberate as these are just phrases that others drop in to try and explain what they see – but they are actually nothing of the sort. For me, they were just other places to be, other things to do because I could still do them. I didn’t feel any better for doing them I just – to paraphrase the old joke – felt more miserable in comfort.
I don’t think that will ever change.