A friend of mine buried his Dad last week. I sent him a text message on the morning of the funeral, just a short one to let him know I was thinking of him.
And then had to pull over on my way to work because I couldn’t breathe.
I’d been thinking about Dad’s funeral. Waking up at HWSNBN’s house on the morning and him not even remembering what I was doing that day. ‘Have a nice day’ were, I think, his parting words as I left the house.
Driving home. Getting showered and ready, doing my make-up. New waterproof mascara. Hair up or down? Putting my carefully chosen new dress in a suit cover thingy and driving to my brother’s house.
Us all getting ready there. These shoes, or those? This bag, or that?
Getting a taxi to Dad’s house. Waiting outside with all of his friends, drinking caps of whisky. The horse and carriage arriving carrying Dad – black horses, black plumes. Travelling behind in the limousine. Stopping traffic.
Getting to the crematorium to find pandemonium. Cars and people everywhere. The biggest funeral they’d ever held. So no-one has gone inside, and everyone watches us as we get out of the cars. Respectful silence. All eyes on us. Horrible.
In the crematorium. It’s so full. So hot. Dad’s best friend reading out words from me and his friends. My brother finding the strength to read for himself. And Dad’s voice, singing to us all. As if we could use any music but his.
At the wake. Pandemonium of a different kind. The ambulance arrives for the first casualty of alcohol at about 6pm. Standing in the bar at about 11pm, totally alone in a crowd, crying my eyes out. A little hand slips into mine. The teenage daughter of one of Dad’s friends. She leads me to the dance floor, and we dance. An actual angel.
How the FUCK did I do all of that? Make decisions about my hair, for fuck’s sake, remember to buy waterproof mascara. How on earth did I bury my Dad? I couldn’t do it now.
And different yet the same, seeing myself sobbing on the kitchen floor, the night my ex-husband left me. How the FUCK did I get up off that floor? He left. I asked him not to go, begged him to come to counselling with me, and he went anyway. And then 2 minutes later, came back. I thought he’d changed his mind. He’d just forgotten something.
How did I ever pick myself up off that floor?
People are stronger than they think.
It would be Dad’s birthday on Tuesday. I went up to see him with my brother today. We had a nice walk among all the gravestones, choosing one for Dad. It’s time. That marble, that typeface, NOT that gold lettering, those engraved flowers are actually quite nice, one vase thingy or two?
The decisions you have to make when you’re a grown up.
I have put myself under intense scrutiny over the last 6 months. No-one has been more self-absorbed and self-obsessed than me. And while I mostly see a tangled thorny knot of horrible things, there are bits of good too. The best bit being that I am essentially good.
This doesn’t mean I’m nice. I can be a real bitch. I have a temper. I’m not especially straightforward. But I *am* quite good. I am honest. If someone gives me too much change in a shop, I’ll tell them. I could never make a false claim on my home insurance. I understand why other people can, it doesn’t bother me, I’m not sanctimonious – I am just physically incapable of doing it myself.
I will do anything for anyone. I might instantly regret agreeing to because I have too much on, it might take me a while if I’m busy, but generally I am generous with my time. And I am generous with money, too. I wouldn’t think twice about lending my last £10 to someone else.
I look for good in other people. I am more tolerant of abrasive personalities than most people I know, because I ask myself why they are being so abrasive, and it generally comes down to insecurity, and I can relate to that. In my industry, there are a fair few abrasive types. I’m probably one of them. I cut people slack.
I trust people, unless I’m given reason not to. I am loyal, and I believe that people have my best interests at heart until evidence proves me wrong.
And I think all THIS is why I have been so… taken aback by HWSNBN. I spent a long time making excuses for him. He’s depressed, he’s emotionally inarticulate, he’s never been in a proper relationship so this is all new, he’s busy, his Mum died at a formative age, he’s practically bankrupt… And all of these things are true. He has a lot on his plate. He’s complicated.
But… And this is an important ‘but’. A watershed ‘but’: This doesn’t mean he’s a nice person who just happens to be going through a shitty time.
Nasty, manipulative, selfish, rude, cruel people also go through shitty times.
Shit doesn’t discriminate (although it could be argued that bad things happen to bad people purely because they aren’t putting any effort into nurturing genuine reciprocal relationships with the family/friends/customers/suppliers that could get them out of the shit and into the clover…). I digress.
It’s entirely possible that everyone isn’t like me. That everyone doesn’t assume the best of everyone else, and give all they can to them, expecting only… decency in return. Some people’s motives aren’t pure. Some people just aren’t GOOD.
I don’t know why this has come as such a huge surprise. The really stupid thing is, I asked him. On our first date: are you a good man? And he said yes, I don’t believe I’ve ever deliberately hurt anyone.
And I believed him!
Because in my fluffy, decent world, you can take such things at face value. Ask *me* a question and you’ll get an honest answer. Any question. I’ll answer it. Hell, you don’t even have to ask me; I’ll tell you anyway. This blog? You asked for none of this.
I am SUCH a twat.
I went to Center Parcs with my boy the other week. He is a good person too. He waited his turn for the water slide. Waited, and waited, and waited, as bigger boys just barged past him and charged on down. And then turned to me with a look of mute outrage. But still he stood there, until I went up and made sure he got his go. And then later on in the week, he sat in a ball pool while a bigger boy repeatedly threw balls at his head. He’d still be sitting there now if I hadn’t bawled the little ball-throwing shit out.
It worried me. He needs to grow a backbone, stand up for himself, find a way to still be that lovely good boy without letting other people take advantage of him.
It would be good if he had a positive role model, right?
I have nothing to report other than my continued, deepening hatred of myself. Being able to turn your own stomach is impressive.
And I need to write about it. I get self-harming now, I get why people do it. All of the… anger, the hot anger that rolls and twists in your stomach and rises up to form a solid wall of rage from your chest to your throat… It needs to go somewhere. It needs a release.
And so read these words and know that they are silver lines tracking my arms and the tops of my thighs. They are red scratches running down my cheeks and chunks of hair in my sink. I’m not there, but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to stop hating myself. I can’t get away from myself. I’m here, all the time, going round and round in my own head, and I am SO FUCKING ANNOYING.
I tried not writing, using the same logic that not writing about He Who Shall Not Be Written About makes him less tangible. It’s not the same. I haven’t seen HWSNBWA for months and months now. I’m looking back at me from my own mirror every bastard day.
I want to get out of my head. I don’t know how.
And God, life is tedious at the moment. Work is manic, The Boy is beyond exhausting, I don’t get a minute to myself and then I do, when he goes to his Dad’s, and there is nothing in the world for me to do. I don’t have a place, and I have never, ever felt so lost and irrelevant, so alone. Without my boy, I don’t exist. I’m sitting here in tears and there’s not one person I can ring to come and see me and tell me to stop feeling so fucking sorry for myself. Everyone I know has made their life now, made their family, and I’m starting again and I just don’t know how. I haven’t got a clue.