It is nearly two months since hubby died. The rawness of the first days has slightly softened, but the pain is still sharp and frighteningly unpredictable. My brain computes the loss, my heart waits for the key in the lock and the heavy clump of walking boots as hubby makes his way to the kitchen having returned from the plot.
The paperwork seems to be never ending, not helped by the postal strikes and the bank who seem to make one cock up after another, then there is our internet supplier who can’t master simple requests and many other myriad facets of family life that need to be informed, then often, reinformed as one finds out that it wasn’t sorted and needs yet another phone call, These often involves three quarters of an hour listening to music. I spent three hours one day this week listening to piped music having been passed from one office to another. It beggars belief on how elderly or sick widows who are not internet savvy cope, or those deep in grief but who can only take a few days off sick because of financial implications. There is no doubt that the Tell us Once government wrapper to tell most of the important organisations helps, but that seems to be a sedentary beast, nearly two months later and I’m receiving a phone call asking to speak to hubby from a council office.
The plot, very productive with a good range of both late autumn and the start of winter produce, seems to be drowning. The warm weather of which we are all grateful brings swathes of heavy rain filled clouds which then prevents one from continuing the tidying up process for winter. Off course this means that I have plenty to eat, of which I then don’t. It is a complicated process to cook and eat for one when deep in grief, especially when much of our life together has been taken up with cooking and then learning to grow fruits and vegetables. Hubby and I bonded over our love in the late 80’s of Keith Floyd and Ken Hom and spent many a happy Friday evening/Saturday cooking meals we had seen that week on the latest chef TV series and then showing off our new found skills to happy to sample and very eager guinea pigs. This was our happy language, until all of the problems of eating that oral cancer throws at you, my own needs put on the back burner having very much concentrated on hubby and Dad. Now it is very much an emotional process, to enter the kitchen and look at the lovely ingredients to decide to then cook, with love, for just me. And dear reader, often I have just grabbed a packet of crisps and walked back into the living room, having very firmly closed the fridge door, and that has happened more days than I care to mention.
So after the annual blood tests, which highlighted that my diet was definitely adrift, I am working as hard as I am able to get myself back into the groove of eating and sometimes enjoying, (although everything remains tasteless – without joy) green leafy vegetables and nourishing soups, with the occasional ragu, and memorably the spark of happiness when I baked a cut and come again Irish tea bread. It is not much, but it’s a start.
I remain resolute not to have the central heating on until Christmas and not even then if I can help it! A couple of weeks ago I had the coal fire on which is a far cheaper way to warm the house and as long as this weather remains warm I can save my pennies for when we get a cold snap. At about 13 or so pounds a day to warm this house, that is the way it is going to be this winter. I have found the use of an electric throw invaluable. At a cost of five pence per hour, it is great to warm the whippet, not the room and I then have one which I put on whilst getting ready for bed and it is all toasty as I hop into bed where it remains on for an hour while I read. It really is brilliant and I thoroughly recommend them.
I am thankful for good friends and family. They know who they are. That check on me, sometimes twice a day, just to make sure I am okay. I say I am, they know I’m not, it’s an unwritten farce we play. They give me just enough space to try out my new widow fairy steps, whilst giving a gentle tug on the imaginary reins to remind me I am safe, that it is going to be okay. I am grateful, thank you.