Wednesday, December 01, 2004

MOTL

Michael was a huge music fan; we met through our love of music, especially live music. His tastes were a lot more diverse than mine, he introduced me to bands that I had never heard of but grew to love. His main group of enthusiasm was Fairport Convention (motto: we haven’t heard of you either!) They are a British folk-rock band that has been going for over 36 years. They were formed the year he was born.They are fantastic people who are accessible to their fans, which is more than you can say for most successful bands. They knew Michael, and even more, they really liked him (who wouldn’t?)

I planned the scattering of Michael’s ashes on their concert field at Cropredy village (near Banbury in Oxfordshire) on the one weekend between their international tours. I made sure they would know it was taking place and when, just in case they wanted to attend the proceedings. Of the five band members, three attended the scattering where I gave a speech (about them, in front of them!) It was very emotionally charged but I managed not to cry. It didn’t end there…. It was suggested that we went to the pub and raise a glass or two to our good friend Michael. Dave Pegg (bass) and Rick Sanders (violin) came back to the pub with us. Simon (lead vocals) left, he was quite upset.

All friends and family went back to this tiny pub in the village…. And there we sang all of Michael’s favourite songs to guitar, mandolin and violin. I have never experienced an atmosphere so emotionally charged or so full of joy and sorrow. It was a true celebration of Michael and the music he loved.When the pub was closing and we were about to be thrown out they played that one song that they only play at the end of concerts. Their signature tune and Michael’s (ironically) favourite song, Meet on the Ledge…

We used to say
That come the day
We'd all be making songs
Or finding better words
These ideas never lasted long
The way is upAlong the road
The air is growing thin
Too many friends who tried
Were blown off this mountain with the wind

Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledge
When my time is up I'm gonna see all my friends
Meet on the ledge
We're gonna meet on the ledgeIf you really mean it, it all comes round again

I love you Michael, we were so honoured to have known you!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Coping at work?

I tried to go back to work 4 days after the funeral. I lasted a week, then asked for 2 weeks unpaid leave "just to sort my head out". The problem is that I only started this new job in July, Michael got sick at the beginning of September. I couldn't NOT be with him at the hospital, he was so sick, but so courageous. I needed to be with him 24/7. There was simply nothing more important, nowhere else I could be.

So after being in a job only six weeks, I was off for the 16 days that Michael was in hospital. Then when they sent him home, basically to die.... I was with him for that last 4 days at home too, until he died on September 27. Then the funeral was a week later... now we are into October.

I've been back at work full-time since 1st November but I just don't want to be there, I have no heart for it and no interest. I am in sales which makes it even harder. I need enthusiasm and attention to detail to get my job done and I just can't. I am just not functioning. My boss has been brilliant, he has paid me right through even though I asked them not to. They even sent a bridal bouquet to the hospital where we got married, 5 days before Michael died.

I think I am being so unfair to them, I am not performing and have only brought in one new account THIS MONTH. How can I just quit after how good they have been to me?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Buying him things

I don't know but I think I'm loosing my grip on things. It's 2 months today since I lost my Michael to cancer at age 36. He was due to get some back pay from work before Christmas so he had made a list of things he wanted to buy for himself, for us and our new home. We only bought our house 2 months before he died... his death was so fast and such a shock.

They just released this money to me yesterday and I went out shopping with HIS list. I bought the TV he wanted, the lens for his camera, some new things for the kitchen. We both loved to cook. I spent over £600! There were things on that list that he wanted to buy for me, but I didn't get those. That felt like a selfish thing to do with his money.

Two months and things just feel blacker than they ever did. I felt good buying these things for him but afterwards I thought, what a bloody waste! Why am I shopping for him? I rarely watch TV and I haven't cooked myself a proper meal for myself since he died. Everything is toast or TV dinners with a whisky chaser. Cooking was something we enjoyed doing together... I miss my "kitchen kisses".

It seems I have been sliding downhill rather than getting "better". I spend more time crying now than I ever did. I talk to him all the time and am always asking for signs that he can hear me. Is he OK? Of course he's not OK, he's dead!

I miss him so much and now I am going crazy!

Monday, October 11, 2004

2 Weeks Already

It's been 2 weeks since my Michael died. I thought things would get "easier" after the funeral and all the fuss had died down. It just doesn't get easier though, does it?

We had just moved into the area 3 months ago, so no friends locally, no people we know close by. This was our fresh start. We both had new jobs and Michael had a big promotion to bring him here. We were also tied into a 2-year, capped, fixed term mortgage. If I leave here now it will cost me a fortune in penalties. Plus I couldn't afford to buy a new place on my salary alone.

There are no casseroles on our doorstep, counsellors that were meant to have called me haven't. I was meant to go back to work this morning but I couldn't step out the door. Two weeks ago, this minute, Michael was taking his last breath.

There were so many people around before and after the funeral, but the next day everyone was gone, and now I am alone in our house. I miss him so terribly and can't stop crying.

Everyone at the funeral complimented me on "how well I was coping" and that I would be “feeling better soon”. Coping? I am functionless. Better?!? I will never be better.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

I can't forgive myself

I was only married for 5 days when my husband Michael passed away this Monday. He died from what had started as a suspicious mole on his back that was ignored by the doctors for too long, even after repeated requests to have it removed. By the time they took any notice it had already spread to his lymph nodes. I kick myself daily for not intervening. Michael didn’t want me to; he said he could handle it. He always valiantly defended the rights of others but was never particularly assertive when it came to defending his own.

We actually thought, three months ago, that this “thing” was beaten. He had been given the “all clear” and was supposed to go back and see his doctor on September 29. (He died two days before then!) All through August he was calling them because he felt so sick, but they wouldn’t see him, they were “too busy” with new patients. They told him to go and see his GP to help with the side effects of the anti-cancer drugs he was taking.

By the time I finally intervened and called his oncologist and demanded a closer appointment…. it turned out to be too late. His oncologist said “Michael, you should have come to see me sooner”. This was after he had called them half a dozen times to try and bring his appointment forward. It wasn’t the anti-cancer drugs that were making him sick, it was the fact that they weren’t working at all and the cancer had come back with a vengeance. It had already spread to his liver and right lung. My Michael was dead two weeks after that appointment.

I simply cannot forgive myself for not stepping in sooner.