20th April 2013: PROMISES and an end to this story.
Every year we do things because it is done every year. The last game of the regular football season involves a post-match crawl around the same pubs every year and 2013 was to be the same as every year and will be repeated a few weeks from now. This year, however, was different. It was a watershed day for me and my relationships with things that needed relationships. The 20th of April is Fiona’s birthday. She would have been 52 on this day and no doubt we would have celebrated it with a pub crawl somewhere other than in Bristol.
The Facebook timeline gives the bare outlines of the day.
Saturday, 20 April 2013 at 13:28 UTC+01
Today has started with a couple and food @VolunteerTavern and on to Coach and Horses. Post-match trip to Clifton to come.
Saturday, 20 April 2013 at 19:23 UTC+01
Post-match to Beaufort and now Coach and Horses in Clifton. Sat by piano, may be a big mistake.
Saturday, 20 April 2013 at 23:12 UTC+01
Home via Jersey Lily, Black Boy, W.G. Grace, chip shop, train and taxi. Good day with good friends.
For today however, Rose had joined us as usual and we were happy and contented. I say that as if I could read her mind. What I really mean is that I was happy and contented. The trouble is, of course, that reflective contentment breeds melancholy and resolutions that need addressing. I was on the train going home and change was once again on my mind. I had taken her for granted for too long. I was planning things in my head. I needed to stop this and stop it now. We were talking about the usual post pub rubbish and she reminded me of some dates and times in the last few years when I was far from happy and contented. In truth my mind in 2013 was addled and puddled and I felt as if I had lost years of my memory. I had to ask myself simple questions of when I went to live up north, where was the place we visited before such was and such an event. I recounted times and events as truths but I was never sure they actually happened any more. I worried myself. I wasn’t going mad but I had big gaps that I needed to fill.
On the Monday I had a routine Doctor’s appointment. By routine that means routine for them and far from routine for me other than being held every sixth months. During the conversation that always followed I was asked again if I had ever taken the bereavement counselling I was advised to do. I always lied to this question. I was always honest about my drinking numbers but when the bereavement question arises I felt I had it covered. This time however, was different. I left and resolved to take myself through the process, on my own, in secret and to a time scale that worked for me.
The process started on the 21st of April 2013 and finishes on the 20th of April 2017 with this post. I guess people who are regular readers expected I would be writing this up to 2017. I always planned to stop it when I had nothing more to say. Now is that time.
On the Sunday I started to write a poem. I didn’t finish it. I will today.
I got as far as this.
Inspired by the inscription on our sundial where the anonymous poet wrote something that became ours. Using the words I got as far as:-
PROMISES (Part 1)
Love gilds the hours,
Casts light on strips of sounds wished captured but now gone,
Paints images of smiles best glimpsed in isolation,
Distorts time, mind is left untrusted.
Unfolds the flowers,
Promised and pressed to remind of long time commitments to life together,
Poisons the hopes in a diagnosis short and breathless,
Lays scent of Lily, stained intentions.
Of passing days,
Long lost and muddled by alcohol wasted adventuring,
Confused in need of realistic interpretation,
Too long and short, ultimately countless.
The poetry wasn’t working. I needed and wanted a plan. It started with a programme of self-occupation. The thing that I most had was time. In September I would be 55 and promises had to be kept to myself and Fiona. I also wanted to make some promises to Rose.
These events may sound trivial to the reader but all were important milestones leading up to today.
September 2013. Retire .It was part of the condition we made to each other. At 55 we would retire. The pension planning of two teachers with no kids meant we would commit to retiring at 55. No more teaching for me meant no more working in my eyes. I could afford it.
Make a programme of home improvements:-
- Fix the roof on the outside lean to – TICK
- Re-carpet the house – TICK
- Improve the kitchen – TICK
- Change to windows – better double glazing – NEXT WEEK
- Re do the bathroom – TO DO
- Re plan the garden – TICK
- Redecorate the house – TO DO
Create a time line for myself to do some selfish things
- Start with recording all the events for which I have a record. Books, mark books, diaries, accounts, letters, social media imprints etc.- TICK
- Football Programmes – catalogue and arrange with dates and times. – A sixth month project – TICK
- Re organise and date all our photographs – combine with timeline of events.- a sixth month project – TICK
- Write a personal history of my youth in Severn Beach but making it location specific – A yearlong project – STARTED and ABANDONED
- Write a Village plan – A three month project – COMPLETED and FILED for never time use.
- Read and commit myself to reading Fiona’s diaries – TICK
- Let Rose in to my life properly – TICK
- Rose to come and live with me – TICK
The point of doing these blogs was all about the process. Just one day a week devoted to thinking of her and concentrating my mind on the positive, the fun and the creative. If things were not fully clear then I would allow myself the creative spirit to fill the gaps with inventions. I now have a timeline, imperfect and complete with massive holes left untouched and now to be abandoned.
The second half of the poem has been written today.
PROMISES (Part 2)
Where Love is all,
Signs are lost in the simplest of selfish inactions,
Rose’s scent and sound found by accidental purpose,
Grows when opened, fateful rediscovery.
No shadows fall,
On clouded days when clarity craves gentle clearing,
When times and dates make history not to be repeated,
If she agrees, plans are made around her
The Sunshine stays,
When Rose is centre of my thoughts and dreaming,
In rooms of her not past but future polished,
A promise made to be kept forever.
So what is next?
In the next year:-
- Remove all but the essentials of Fiona from my home.
- Put Rose at the centre of that process if she wants to be. Make it our house, not my house. Close the door on the blogging and find another project that is less of a confessional.
- Get fitter and better at being at home on my own.
- Write some proper poetry
- Do that bathroom
- Get the paint brushes out
It starts with getting Rose to read this before I publish it. – TICK
ON THIS DAY:-
1972 Swansea H 3-1
1996 Peterborough A 0-0
1997 Notts County H 1-0
1999 Chesterfield A 0-0
2002 Rochdale A 1-2
2012 Cardiff MCCU
2013 Accrington H 0-1