Life Happens When You Are Looking The Other Way

Warning: This is a rambling, at times incoherent, semi-depressive stream of consciousness that just had to come out of my head. Congratulations if you read to the end!!

In a few weeks it’ll be 18 months since my Mum died. It’s also nearly 10 months since I walked away from a career, a workplace I’d known for 15 years & a handful of friends.

18 months as a description of passing time in our modern world perhaps means more to parents than anyone else, as their child goes from birth, to 6 months old, has a 1st birthday, then is 18 months old. From there age becomes expressed in year and month increments; something only children do “I’m 6 and a half”, although the other day I referred to myself as someone who is 36 and a half, the realisation dawning on me that in August I will be 37 and just 3 years short of my 40th birthday.

So for me 18 months is a landmark for me to remember my Mum, longer than a year but not quite 2; I doubt this time next year I will reference 2 and a half years, I’ll be waiting for the 3 year anniversary.  When She died I marked time by how many days it had been, then a week, 2 weeks, a month, a month and 2 weeks, I would also try not to be doing anything at 17:50 the time she died, I would even chastise myself if I missed that inconsequential moment in the day; strange what grief does to a person. I continued to mark time like that for nearly 6 months before eventually and naturally drifting away from the measurement.

Now I rarely think how long it’s been, I know when the 6 month interval is as I passed my driving test almost 6 months to the day before she died; an unhelpful reminder to wasted years of putting off driving lessons. In the days after her death a friend, who herself has suffered parental bereavement told me ‘it gets better’, I’ll admit now at that time I appreciated the sentiment, I just didn’t quite believe it, but as I was rightly told I does get better, it just never goes away that’s for sure. For a long time, maybe the first year, my memories of Mum were nearly always of how She died, recently though that awful memory has been replaced with much happier ones.

In those first few days I contemplated all sorts of dark thoughts, and yes I do mean joining her wherever she was. I admitted this to a few friends just this weekend (this’ll make sense later!), I would never have acted upon those thoughts for three reasons; It would have been disrespectful to the woman who gave me life, I knew deep down I wouldn’t feel like this forever and lastly I’d probably do it wrong, admin was never my strong point…various managers over the years can attest to that.

Much milder versions of those thoughts rear there head now and again; I walk a bit now for exercise, I drafted this sat on a bench by the lock this morning and wondered if I should just keep walking along the tow path until I found something better, but I didn’t have any food and it felt like a long way to the nearest shop, so I headed back into town to get some lunch, and anyway I didn’t have my iPad with me…as if I’d leave that behind.

At this point I should stress: I’m not sad, mad or depressed, I’m just a bit lonely and more willing to publish what’s going on in my head than other people (for better or worse). I’m sure there are reclusive pensioners who speak to more people on a daily basis than I do!

Most of my contact now comes from either Facebook or Twitter, the latter I have used more frequently in the past few months than ever before. I made some ‘friends’ that share the almost fanatical interest in film that I have. I have enjoyed conversing with them and occasionally flirting (it’s all one way but that’s fine by me).

Most of my trouble is that I spend way too much time on my own and in my head. It’s one of the things I considered before I made the decision to leave my job but perhaps I didn’t give it enough thought. Don’t misunderstand me I’ve enjoyed the past 10 months, it just would have been nicer to talk to people about where I’d been or what I’ve seen.

Communication with others is something I’ve always had trouble with. That makes me seem like a loon! What I mean is I think that what I have to say isn’t interesting, I’ve always been very quiet, especially so in social situations where others are talking, I’ll sit and listen but rarely interject. This may make more sense to those reading, who have been at work lunches that I’ve attended. I also think that people don’t want to hear from me, or that I would be bothering them. I don’t know where it comes from though.

Keeping myself locked away is my fault and on the weekend I took some tentative steps to rectify that, it’s just that I woke up the next day feeling as though I had taken more backwards steps than forward ones.

I was quite drunk and I rarely drink so it doesn’t take much to get me there. Alcohol affects people in different ways, for me I don’t get supremely confident, I don’t suddenly gain the power of small talk (I’m the King of awkward silences), nor does it make me a great dancer, the affect it has on me is to remove the filter between my brain and mouth, the filter that keeps all my thoughts, opinions and secrets locked away suddenly disappears and everything flows freely. I could never be a spy as I will happily answer any question I’m asked.

The filter was removed quite spectacularly at my leaving lunch when I threw out a few home truths to some people and on Saturday night things were said, that once said could never be taken back, nothing nasty about anyone else (well not much), just really and I mean really, personal to me. It was a night of secrets being spilled, revelations being made and actions erm…being actioned. Things that I’m finding difficult to reconcile back to the person I thought I was. Thankfully I trust the people I was with but that doesn’t stop the mortifying embarrassment I continue to feel, it’s even worse than that time I took off some of my clothes and sang karaoke at a party in The Gremlin a long time ago.

So to recap: I’m not sad or mad or depressed, just a bit lonely and I still have an extremely low alcohol tolerance. I will go out again; I believe a date has already been set; I just won’t drink as much as I did so that the filter isn’t completely removed, I also have to steel myself as I face those people who know my secrets!