It’s was a year for me on Wednesday. I went to the area where we lived for 20 years, where we had so much fun, and sadness, and a life! I’ve passed through it often in the last year, on the bus, head buried purposefully in a book, fooling no one. It’s not like I can stop the glance towards smiling ghosts on every corner, the thrill of falling into memory, shimmering together, laughing through other windows, her and I, then the jolt, focus zooms out, back on the bus.
So I decided it was time to go out on those streets, to own my penny lane. Shops have changed, pubs have developed in the way that pubs do, kids went home from school, cars drove around. Greggs had a queue. My wife and I had never really mattered to this place, other than through our own telling of it, it’s memory of us, we just moved in it, together.
I wandered into the park, chose a bench and sat looking at the moon through the winter trees. Our friend called me, and broke down. “It’s Just Shit”. And it was me sitting in that park listening to my friend cry, trying to think of the right thing to say. It happens to us all. I have no monopoly on grief, people need the love we can give.
Then to a pub, a pub we love a lot, a drink, light of summer in November, sitting there in us, in the moment, not giving a thought to any of this, remembering what we had, what I still have and realising it was always going to be enough to get me through. Our love, our time.
Out again on the street, wait for the bus. Back past all those places I feared this year and knowing that I own them again. She would have been happy about that.
I have had a year of these thoughts, but what’s a year got to do with anything? A period of time in which the earth moves around the sun, tilts and gives us summer turn winter, cycling on. Spring will come and I’ll think of my wife. I’ll cry again and know I’ll keep learning to understand, ask questions, look for the answers, more ways to change, more ways to love life.