I was invited down to Cambridgeshire this weekend for a family get together for my great-niece’s Christening. It’s the first time I’ve been back for about 6 weeks I think, might even be more than that.
I must admit the drive down was much harder than it had ever been before. I spent the journey thinking of Mark, of all the good times we had, but the image of his face in the Chapel of Rest kept returning and that made me very sad. I wasn’t so much crying in the car, but tears were escaping from somewhere.
As I reached the A14 I remembered that there was a plaque remembering him in the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Garden of Remembrance. The thought of seeing that upset me, but I decided it was a place I needed to go. Alone. So as I reached Huntingdon, I left the A14 in search of the HQ site, which I’d visited with Mark a number of years ago when he was based there.
It was very emotional and upsetting, as if it was another reminder that yes, it was true and he had gone. I cried a lot, but was glad I made that visit.
I then went on to see the bungalow. I wasn’t going to do that alone but again decided that I needed to do it, to exorcise those demons. Actually it wasn’t too bad, Tracey and John had continued on with the work and finished the other bedroom and the bathroom. The place no longer has Mark’s smell (although I retrieved some towels to cushion some garden pots I decided to bring home and they retained the smell – in the washer as I type) – it looks like a new home again. I’m really looking forward to someone new moving in and it becoming somewhere they can enjoy as much as Mark did.
I retraced my steps back to Huntingdon and off to stop with Tracey up in Great Stukeley and had a pleasant evening there.
Yesterday (Saturday) John and I spent much of the day working on the bungalow. I had a good go at the front garden, which had ‘benefited’ from the wettest British summer in a century, but this also allowed me to pick up lots of bits of the hedge clippings which I’ll try to set as cuttings. 24 hours in a pillowcase in the car might put pay to that plan, but they’re in compost now, so they have 2 choices. Likewise, more rosemary clippings were harvested in the hope one day I’ll get a bush growing as well as they seem to at Mark’s.
Today was the day of the Christening. The service was OK (I’m agnostic so pretty much have to go through the motions of that sort of thing) and it was good to get together with all the family again. Mum-in-Law pointed out the aspect that it was the 1st get together without Mark (admittedly that puts a slightly weird slant on his funeral) but people got on and it was a nice event. Great to see the youngsters (Daniel decided to sit on my knee for most of the church service whilst Emily was trying to wave to Lily (I’m struggling with their relationship link here – a niece waving to a great niece from my point of view) across the church) and all was jolly as I left to drive north. I even spoke to Diana who rang up from Florida, which really made the day complete.
So that’s the weekend I had. A rollercoaster of emotions, but most of them telling me that life does go on and that this is not a bad thing.
Maybe one day I’ll believe it.