I’m currently in the strange (unique I think? I don’t know of any others in this position but maybe I’m just not worldly wise) position where I’m separated from my husband but still fairly close to his family; probably heightened by the fact that my family are across the water, so near yet so far. It’s not just that, one of his sisters minds my children whilst I work and another sister’s eldest daughter is my god daughter (and my she’s growing into such an amazing, polite, caring, considerate young adult). Separating every single strand of your life you’ve shared with someone for so long isn’t always easy and isn’t an overnight clean break as much as he wants it to be that way (and I guess I’ve felt that way too on numerous occasions in the past). It’s also heightened by the fact that we live in a small town – we’re in each other’s lives on a daily basis.
Towards the end of last year his mum passed away suddenly. An aggressive form of cancer took this amazingly warm woman who never took herself too seriously and always clicked on the kettle or reached for the wine glasses when you walked into her home. My feelings were so mixed at the time and still remain so. I miss her fiercely. At any time I can burst into tears when a memory is triggered (that first sip of ice cold sauvignon blanc immediately takes me back to many an evening round her kitchen table). I still think I’m going to bump into her at the shops (she shopped daily for groceries and could spend at least 3 hours ‘up the street’ stopping to chat and make time for every person she met) and when I see a wee red car for a second I can vividly see her behind the wheel driving in a scarily erratic fashion. Yet in the last three years of her life she stood by her son despite the reality of his betrayal, lies and generally unacceptable behaviour. I was so cross with her and felt betrayed that she didn’t reach out to me when I so desperately needed help and my mum was so far away. I’ve recently learnt that she felt she couldn’t express how she truly felt about his behaviour for fear of losing him, as other members of his family have, and that on her death bed she uttered ‘as long as she doesn’t get pregnant’ time and time again. Alas my partner’s girlfriend is indeed pregnant and I pray on a daily basis that they didn’t announce their happy news before she passed.
With Easter weekend beckoning I find myself in a turmoil of mixed emotions. Easter Sunday was such a huge deal for her. All about family – mass in the morning, an Easter egg hunt for the kids round the huge garden and then a feast with egg mayonnaise edging into lasagne on your plate and dry ham boiled within an inch of life (cooking was not her strong point but the wine and craic made up for it). For the last few Easter Sundays the kids haven’t been with me and I’ve been busy in work entertaining other people’s children (mostly ungrateful and demanding – chocolate for breakfast perhaps?) and I think this has taken my mind off the activities I’m excluded from. This Easter Sunday I’m not working and it’s the first without her. During a recent trip to see my soon-to-be-ex-father-in-law (many hyphens) he announced that he may, for the first time, hide the chocolate eggs in the 19 rooms of his huge house. He obviously felt that a change was needed so that Easter was a celebration for the family rather than a time of sadness. I felt acutely aware of how my feelings of loss must pale in comparison to his. If I’m missing her how must he be feeling? The idea of a soul mate is a cliché I know but he was with this woman for close to 50 years. I’m sure at times his memories and feelings of loss must be overwhelming.
I think I’m still grieving as I’ve had no one to grieve with and haven’t been given the time or space to work through my feelings. I didn’t feel welcome to grieve with the family and was basically kept away from the house before the service. The funeral was horrendous with my ex’s girlfriend (a woman detested by my mother-in-law and the rest of the family) front and centre at the funeral procession holding my daughter’s hand as she entered the chapel. My daughter could see me crying and was desperate to come and sit beside me but I have again since learnt that my ex’s girlfriend told her to ‘stay put’. Nice work eh? Anyway, like many things in my life it’s happened now and I guess I have to work through how I feel in order to move forward. I will continue to pay frequent visits to her grave and lay flowers (how she loved flowers) when I can as I think this helps me. This Easter Sunday will be tough I’m sure but I will be nice to myself and get through it the best I can. And I’m seeing my parents and brother on Monday. Me and the kids are getting away for a few days so I will look forward to that and try not to be too maudlin. I will finish now in tears. Tears are good right?