Updated on December 6th, 2022
Whitsunday Islands, Australia – Dec 2015
I made it through the 1 year anniversary on 16th December. I didn’t melt, I didn’t spontaneously combust & I didn’t collapse. I was with my friend Vikky, in Australia, on a road trip driving from Port Douglas to Airlie Beach. I knew I didn’t want to be alone that day but also didn’t feel I would be comfortable to be in any public situations. I had a few moments, but it was ok. I have found that it’s a weird & unpredictable process – when you expect to be functional, sometimes you’re not & when you expect to spontaneously combust, you don’t.
At 11 months I found I was particularly emotional. I hadn’t realised the impact it would have not being able to say “This time last year” & for it to physically not be linked to something with Terry involved. It sounds like a really long time but feels like no time at all. I spoke to my counsellor about it with the comment that physically I feel I’ve moved on – sorting out the house, especially the office (to create an actual bedroom now I tend to have people to stay more often) & the kitchen (strictly Terry’s domain). Emotionally I don’t feel any further forward. I have had counselling and never expected it to “fix” the situation. I always saw it as an opportunity to express how I’m feeling to someone who isn’t emotionally invested in either me or Terry & for that it was a great help.
It’s interesting that after I’d made this observation, I went back home & noticed all the subtle things – Terry’s boots still by the door, the jackets on the rack, the drumsticks by the chair, the drum magazines by the bed. It made me realise that I haven’t actually moved on at all. I have coped & I find all these things a comfort. I’ll know when it’s time to move them, & it doesn’t feel like that’s any time soon. My counsellor said that after a year people have a tendency to think you have started to “move on”. If you know someone in my circumstances, please don’t assume this – for me at least, it’s very raw & still a long way off.
So to mark the first anniversary, Vik & I drank mojitos in a rum bar in Airlie beach, & of course had many toasts. The local curry wasn’t up to much so we had a burger. We then somehow ended up in a private party, an opening night of a new club/cocktail bar where it was locals night only as a launch. I think this was definitely appropriate & it felt right – bending the rules & being somewhere we officially weren’t supposed to be. I know Terry would have approved of that!
The official anniversary (I always feel its the day of the op but officially Terry made it into the early hours of the morning on 17th), I got on a boat for 3 days touring around the Whitsunday Islands to distract myself. I find it’s weirdly comforting being in the company of strangers who don’t know my “situation” although it does mean I’m always running the gauntlet of “what happens if someone asks?”. In fact, nobody asked & I left as much of an unknown quantity as I arrived, just as I like it at the moment. However, I was always conscious that Vik was by my side watching my conversations in case I needed help. That’s what friends are for & I am hugely grateful for everyone who has been there, done the same & looked out for me over the last 12 months. You’ve got me through – Thank you.