Sorry, I know it's been a while since I blogged, partly because I have been so incredibly busy and part because we are and have approached and dealt with so many firsts.
5 days after my birthday was stewarts and although the kids wanted the day off school, I felt it would be better to keep them busy and therefore at school. So the day before we visited stew taking with us balloons with notes from us all and some flowers. It isn't really the custom to take flowers but the kids really wanted to take something for his birthday and Gemma has had it in her head since Stew died that she wanted to do a balloon release so we tied these ideas together. Mind you, I am sure stew was laughing to himself watching me try and get helium balloons untangled and tied to the relevent wrist so they didn't blow away in a very strong wind. It was a surreal feeling walking down to the grave with 8 brightly coloured balloons but we managed it. However, because of the wind, the release was sort of different with the balloons floating off straight towards the motorway and with us shouting at them to go up. For a split second I thought we were going to cause a pile up on the M62.
However, it has helped us all I think, just a little bit.
stew's birthday was spent quietly - I had taken the day off so I went back to the grave by myself for some "me" time and then to visit the stonemason to sort out his headstone. Not what I thought I would be doing on a birthday, that's for certain. However, I have chosen the headstone and done the wording which was difficult to say the least. Without going into too much detail, the situation between his mum and I and the kids hasn't really changed from the 20 years I spent with stew but I know I want to do the right thing and have her and his brothers mentioned on the headstone. I think I have found the right compromise but to be honest, bollocks to her if she doesn't like it.
We then spent the evening with his aunt and uncle who made us dinner. It was a lovely evening where we laughed and cried together. They have been an amazing support to us over the last 7 months and I can't imagine life without them.
We also had mother's day, which to be honest we have never made a big deal out of so I worked that morning and then when the kids were all home Jamie gave me one card from them all. At first I was quite miffed he hadn't got a card each for them all but then realised that if I had had 3 cards, the one that was missing (stew's) would have been more obvious. So bless my son, for thinking like that.
Mum and dad returned from 3 weeks away and hopefully it has broken my wonderful mum's habit of ringing 4 times a day. well, actually it has broken it and now she forgets to ring me at all ....................... well sometimes LOL. I needed the break from them to try and show myself and them that I can manage on my own and that although i want them by my side, i need to stand on my own too feet.
Work has been manic with some difficulties and problems with the "bosses" but I think I have finally sorted it out, just not something I needed on top of everything. It has become difficult because although they have been amazing with their support with time off etc, it is now becoming standard to prefix any difficult work request with "we have been good to you so..........." which is more than irritating me. They have told me that I am being inconsistent in how I am in the office and that as I am front of house I must be cheerful and welcoming and always helpful no matter what. HELLO ................ do you think I may have a reason to be inconsistent, and with respect some people that come in just come in to annoy me and upset me so poo to them. It doesn't help when I get emails that are sent to try me and therefore wind me up - there is no need for it and I told them that this week and actually got an apology.
This weekend has been another wonderful but trying weekend. we had Stewart's cousins bar mitzvah (coming of age) and as it was the first "do" it was hard. I plastered a smile on my face for Saturday's event (something I am becoming very good at I must say) and got through that and then again through the party last night. My amazing sister, brother and their partners were amazing and got me through the night along with the kids and I even was persuaded to get up and dance. It wasnt the same without stew but we did it, another box ticked.
However, it has left Jamie and I on a real downer today. It has really hit us how much he would have loved to have been there so much part of a family occasion and that we missed his grumblings at dancing, the food and everything else. To top it all today, although I worked and was in a fairly bouyant mood to start with one of our elderly members came in to pay his bill and told me of his sorrow of losing his wife, the story of how they met and how much he misses her. I managed to hold it together whilst he was in the office but I blubbed when he left. Bless him, I don't think he realises that I have lost my husband too and that although he is only a year ahead of me, he had 60 years of memories. Half of me wanted to tell him how lucky he'd been and the other just wanted to run away and cry.
Now we have other boxes to tick. This week is Pesach, the passover, which is a huge family occasion and with lots of work to get the house ready for it. It means swapping all our pots, pans, crockery and cutlery over for 8 days and although the kids are great it really isn't their thing and it has been left to me to do the preparation. Even the shopping was incredibly hard as I kept picking up stuff that I have bought every year for 20 years and realising that I only ever bought it for Stew. I have 10 over for the first night meal and again I realise how much stew would get involved. He would help me cook, lay the table, move stuff around, carve the chickens, cut up the fruit for the platter and this year I will find it so hard to do without him. Tonight was the first night it has brought me to tears over it but I will have to dig deep and find a way to smile through the next 4 days.
To top it off Saturday will mark 6 months. I can't believe how quickly this half of the year has gone and how long I've been without him. The pain hasn't diminished at all, it's still there just under the surface waiting to come up and hit me at the most obscure moment. I miss him so much, yet sometimes I can't remember him and that hurts even more. I desperatly need to hear his voice, to talk to him, to hug him, to kiss him. I want to laugh with him and to shout at him but I can't do any of those things. I try and be positive and practical but at the moment I am having to shut off that side of my feelings otherwise I feel I will go into meltdown. Maybe once the year is up, the consecration of the headstone is completed and I can find a little time just for me to take this all in, I will be able to really grieve for him but at the moment I need to carry on being strong for the kids and ensure that their lives can go on.
On the positive side of things, I have booked to go on the Sarah's cards retreat next march. It took a lot of courage to press the "buy" button for the retreat, not because of the money as I can save for that, but to leave the kids and go away with total strangers (well ok, not total strangers because we all chat on UKS) is a huge thing. It's not too far away if I need to come back and although I have been offered a lift, I think, on this occasion I might drive myself just to be safe in the knowledge that if I need to come home I can. I am really excited about this and the LPD retreat in June but also very very nervous. It is going to be so hard not ringing Stew like I did last time I went away but I suppose I am going to have to get used to things like this now.
Right, I'd better skiddaddle and get back to the cleaning and sorting of the kitchen for the passover.