Updated on July 29th, 2020
Being Everything, Malaga, Spain – May 2014
In my experience there are very few people that you mean Everything to. These are your parents, your children (although they don’t always recognise this) & your husband, wife or partner (marriage is of course not the be-all-&-end-all). To everyone else you are Something, and in special cases Something Important.
I am conscious that I am no longer Everything to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am Something to a lot of people & Something Very Important to a few however, it’s a strange & frightening revelation when you suddenly realise that you are not Everything to anyone.
I haven’t had children (see No kids, no pets, no houseplants), I lost my Mum 17 years ago (see My Tribute) and in 2014 I had a double whammy when I lost both my 84 year old Dad & my husband, within 9 months of each other. I have no idea how you even start to process & cope with this but unfortunately it’s not one of life’s choices. I am not blowing my own trumpet when I say that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I was Everything to my parents (of course along with my sister) & Everything to Terry.
The moment I realised all of this was fundamental. It was back in the summer last year & I crashed, uncontrollably overcome by grief & desperation.
I had spent a lovely day at the 40th birthday party of my friend Vicky’s husband Sam. Vik & Sam now live in Sydney, Australia & when they got married there I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of her bridesmaids. Terry, me & various other members of their friends & family travelled to Australia, where we got to know each other over the course of the week-long celebrations. I have also spent a lot of time with Vikky’s UK friends through the years – when we were all in various states of being single & drunk. It was great to meet their partners, see their kids & have the opportunity to relive tales of our many antics together.
Although it was lovely to see everyone again, I felt very much alone. Not only without Terry, but seeing families together brought it into even bigger focus. Despite how I felt, it was an enjoyable day & I performed brilliantly! I held it all together (for the most part at least) & made it back to my B & B in one piece. Then it all came crashing down around me. The realisation of reality & the deafening sound of being on my own.
I didn’t sleep well that night & woke up many times crying. The next morning, as is tradition in a B & B, I went to breakfast (because I’d paid for it!). I took my weapon – a magazine to distract, bury my head in & separate me from my fellow diners. I was welling up constantly but I don’t think anyone else was really interested or noticed. There was an elderly lady in the corner, obviously there with her daughter. When I had successfully negotiated breakfast & packed as quickly as possible, I went to pay the bill. As I was at the counter I had to move out of the way so the old lady could get past with her frame. The owner then told me how amazing she was – she was 94 & had just lost her husband last month, at 99.
When I hear stories like this I would like to be the person who thinks “Wow, what an amazing life & a fantastic love story”. On this occasion & many since I’m not that person. On this occasion I couldn’t get out of there fast enough & I couldn’t control how upset & angry it made me that some people get such a long amount of time here generally, & together in particular. I felt sorry for her on a widow to widow level but she was lucky – I hope she realises that.
That day I was the bravest I had been since I lost Terry. For the first time I didn’t go to an event (a get together with Terrys extended family), I knew it was one step too far for me that day. I sent my apologies & explained why (superficially at least). Everyone of course understood. I also told people how I felt & what had happened, which I hadn’t done before, and the world didn’t collapse (at least no further than it was already). One of my friends called later, concerned & even said to me “You’re not going to do something stupid are you?” Of course not, & I would like to say here that it would never be something that crossed my mind. In my opinion there would be no bigger insult to Terry – a man who fought tooth & nail to be here & who I have since been told (by his surgeon) that every day we had together was a miracle. I won’t give up, I will “Suck it up” because I have no choice & I will continue to fight to create a life for myself that tries to feed the passions I have & maybe at some point in the future it may make me happy again.
But it does raise a question on my original point…if you are not Everything to someone, are you Anything?