So here we are. There are no more firsts left. The last of them was on 20 April which was the anniversary of the funeral. The second most painful day I have ever experienced. I had him brought home the night before so I could spend as much time as possible with him and so he could leave from the house we made our home in, to make his final journey. I had decided that night that I wanted to carry him into the Church the following morning and although it was incredibly hard to do, I am so pleased I did because its one of the things I take comfort in when I am having a bad day. I also know he would have been laughing at me almost walking on tip toes to try and keep him straight.
Everything about the service was beautiful. Chris, Paul and Gill stood brave and proud to deliver the most moving eulogy I have ever heard. The church was packed to the rafters and when we said the final goodbye at the crematorium, Dave’s request to me to make sure “Burning Down the House” was played as his Liverpool red coffin disappeared, left everyone in no doubt that Dave would always have the last laugh. That was so typical of him. His final song was “You’ll never walk alone” which of course, was synonymous with his beloved Liverpool FC. No-one could stay seated and we had our very own “Kop” moment in memory of Dave.
So where am I now? For a few days last week, I felt like I was in limbo and a little bit lost again. There has always been the next “first” to get to and although I always dreaded them, now there aren’t any, its just something else that is different and I have to find other things to focus on. I suppose this all goes hand in hand with “moving forward”. I do feel like I am moving forward too. I smile a little more when I go through my pictures of Dave and remember the good times we had. There is obviously the stab of sadness when I think of the memories we cant ever make, but that wont ever change and I know that.
I started to go through his things yesterday. Most of them hadn’t been touched since he last put his clothes away but rather than feeling a desperate need to hold onto everything now, I find it more painful to see them there every single time I open the wardrobe. I have over the last 12 months taken most of his favourite shirts and had them made into teddy bears for me and his family. They are beautiful and can be kept forever. His other things, well most of it will go to cancer research. He didn’t buy clothes very often but when he did, he always dressed well and he would want someone else to have use out of them and. I only managed one part of the wardrobe as every time I picked something up I’d recall where and when he wore it or bought it and did I have any pictures of him wearing. I put things in different piles and realised the “keep” pile was just as big as the donate pile so I went through them again and was a bit more sensible about what I should keep. By the time I was finished, I was completely red faced and snotty and felt emotionally drained. It had done me good though. Sometimes, finding the time to have these moments where I can just remember “us” can be really difficult but they are something that I really need now and then. I think I would just explode if I didn’t.
I feel that it helped me move forward a little and I know these are things that need to be done. No one said it would be easy, and it bloody isn’t but now the firsts are all gone, it seemed like the right time to start. I have learned that grief doesn’t get smaller, your new life just grows around it to help make it more bearable and being able to smile and laugh at the memories does actually come a little easier.