It was the first anniversary of my wife Nicki’s passing on Thursday last week. A whole year, the worst of my entire life.
I took some flowers to the cemetery in the morning, spent some time sat at Nicki’s graveside, talking to her, then slept most of the afternoon at home. I had been invited to dinner that evening at the home of some good friends and their two young boys. Dinner was very enjoyable, first time I’d sat at a table for months, and they’d even made me a sponge birthday cake and given me a card (Nicki passed on my birthday). I was laughing and joking and behaving pretty normally, but the entire time there was always one thing on my mind, and that was “I wish Nicki was here”.
In the late evening, my friend walked me the mile or so back to our home and we said goodnight on the driveway. I unlocked the front door, switched on the light in the entrance hall, and closed and locked the door. I was home, safe again in my familiar surroundings where Nicki and I spent the majority of our time together. Then it hits again. Brain working overtime. Knowing that you’re truly on your own, no-one there to welcome you, no-one to ask how things went, no-one to accompany you in the first place. I switched on the TV with the remote and sat down in my armchair, picked up my laptop and browsed through Facebook and the Sue Ryder website, trying to distract myself from the loneliness and emptiness. This is the real me now I’m home, not the me I put on display earlier to make others feel not so sorry for me. I know many others have commented in various threads and posts about the “public” and “private” faces we have, and I’m no different. It’s like living two completely separate lives. The public one where we appear to others to function as almost normal human beings, then the private one, where we can get lost in our own thoughts and feelings and try to recall details of the life we had with our loved ones. I can say in all honesty that I prefer my private life, even if it causes me pain to think of things I - we - will never do again; or spices in the kitchen cupboard I’ll never use; Nicki’s vitamin drinks and spreads that have been in the fridge for over a year; her wheelchair in the dining room with a small pile of her clothes; the constant worry over finances, mortgage and bills, hanging over my neck like a guillotine. I’m exhausted. I just want it all to stop. Maybe God will answer my prayers tonight and let me be reunited with Nicki. But I doubt it. He still has tasks for me to complete – that’s what I believe. Strange considering I was never very religious, how things have changed.
I didn’t cry on Nicki’s anniversary. I wanted to, but didn’t. Well not until just before I went to bed and that was way, way after midnight, so that doesn’t count. I’ve cried most nights at bedtime for the last few weeks, but not on her actual anniversary. I know I’ve gradually been getting further and further down over the last few months, spiralling around the plug hole again, ever so slowly. It’s getting harder, not easier, wearing me down a little more every day. I still don’t care about anything, my existence is still as pointless, and my desire to carry on is negligible. My branch of our family tree ends with me, no offspring, no-one to be responsible for or to except myself, freedom to choose my destiny. It will be a race between God and me to see who makes that choice first.
Sorry to sound so depressing. Seems to be my default mode nowadays, just in varying degrees. I can only hope each and every one of you is having better days than I.