Bunny who?

Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

Astrocytoma

About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

Generic update

17 July 2012

I am struggling to think of things to write here at the moment. It feels like my life is in a bit of limbo. I'm just passing time until I start my university training for Adult Nursing at the University of Northampton in September.

Things with Girlfriend are going very well indeed. We went to The Netherlands together where she spent more time with my parents, my sister and her kids. It was lovely to see them getting on quite well. it was also very lovely to hear Girlfriend speak Dutch. She really is quite amazing at picking up this new language. It is a matter of keeping things moving now, because she improved dramatically in the week we were in Holland. It would be a shame if that progress was lost.

Girlfriend has not been abroad much, other than Belgium so I made a point of driving instead of flying, thus giving us the opportunity to spend some time walking around Dunkirk in France. Also important was the experience of the French hypermarche such as Super U, Intermarche or, in this case, an E. Leclerc. I love spending time in those. No idea why but they epitomise the concept of a holiday in France for me. We bought cheese and Croc'Sec.  I can not wait to go back to France next year and do some proper camping there.

A new relationship is very exciting. It is new, it is full of hope, it is scary.  All of that is great. It is part of building something lasting with someone. You have to go through that phase. I enjoy it immensely. But sometimes it is also exhausting. And sometimes I find myself wishing that we were a year further on. When we have hopefully reached the kind of unspoken understanding between us that allows us to relax, to know, to trust, to not worry so much. But on the other hand, there is so much joy in building something new that I don't actually want to skip this phase, really.

I mean, why would I want to skip the butterflies in my stomach when Girlfriend opens her front door, even when it has been only a couple of hours since I last saw her. Why would I want to skip the phase where I think it is perfectly normal to leave my house at 11.30pm, just to bring her some roses and then go home again. It is fun, wanting to do that kind of stuff for someone.

We have some great stuff planned over the summer. We are going to the Edinburgh Fringe for 5 days, and then we go to Wales to work at the Green Man Festival in exchange for free camping, food & tickets. I am incredibly excited about this. So far, the trips we have made together have been great fun. It is a joy to be with someone and do things, share the joy of seeing new things, or the joy of showing Girlfriend something I *love* and finding that she likes it too.

And Jane, I hear you ask? She's still here. With me. Less prominent now, obviously, as time goes on. But still here. In fact, she pops up in my thoughts a bit more at the moment, now that this relationship with Girlfriend is getting more and more established. Not that I think about Jane when I am with Girlfriend and wish I was with Jane instead. But we are now doing more things as a 'proper couple'. And for almost a decade, I have only been a 'proper couple' with Jane. So it feels strange and yet exciting, to feel like that with someone else, to do those things with someone else. Like that wedding invitation for both of us. Or that night out with mutual friends. It feels positive. But inevitably perhaps, I think back of the things I did with Jane and I miss my friend. I no longer miss my wife or my partner. I have a new partner now. But I sure miss my friend Jane.  However, the most frequent thought I have about Jane is not so much that I miss her, but anger and sadness about the loss of such a bright person, the injustice of all the things she will never get to do, the pain of thinking: I wish I could show this to Jane, she would love it.

Jane Daniel Memorial Prize for mathematics
Early in July, I went to Malvern to attend the annual prize giving ceremony of Malvern St James (previously known as Malvern Girls' College), Jane's old school. I have donated a prize in Jane's memory: The Jane Daniel Memorial Prize for Mathematics. The inaugural prize was awarded to Daisy Zhan, a smart young person who is going to study Engineering at Cambridge. She was chosen by Jane's old teacher. I attended the ceremony with Jane's mother. They put us on the front row. The Deputy Headmistress, Jane's old Maths teacher, announced the award with a moving little introduction. I was determined not to cry but when Daisy walked on to the stage to pick up her prize, I burst in to tears. Not sure why, but perhaps it was the reality of this being a memorial prize. A prize to commemorate a dead person. A young woman who lost her future. And here was this other young woman with her future ahead of her.  This prize should not even exist. Jane should not have been reduced to a memorial prize, no matter how fitting and touching. I felt awful sitting on the front row and crying for everyone to see. 

I also went to see the roses that Jane's old classmates had planted in the memorial garden back in May. It was very touching to know Jane is the first person to be commemorated with her own roses in the garden. All in all, the afternoon was lovely. Many teachers came up to me and Jane's mother, for a chat, to see how we were doing, to say something nice about Jane. It felt strange to be in this place that is so closely related to Jane. I could almost feel her presence all around me. I felt quite comforted by that thought. As long as there are people in that school that remember Jane, she will be there.

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