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Is the postman in your universe more reliable than ours?

Carlingford Lough postman more reliable

Is the postman in your universe more reliable than ours

Day 109

Hi Handsome,

How have you been. You must be so fed up with me talking to you ALL the time, so I figured another letter might be nice for a change.

I hope the postman in your universe is more reliable than ours. A birthday card for you arrived yesterday. It got delivered to the wrong house (together with some pretty vital stuff) and it took more than 3 month to get here. I’d make that a speed of less than one centimetre a day. That is slow. Even for Ireland.

UCD is asking for a donation. The phone bill. I probably should change the name on that one. But then, you’d vanish even more? A bit more of you would just go. That scares me.

Living on in our memories

People say you’re living on in our memories, which is true. But is it enough? Even a piece of paper with your name on, even if it’s just a bill. It is proof that you existed. That you lived here, just a short while ago. That you are still here with us. The physical side of losing you is the hardest to take. Does that make sense? So hard to put it into words. When I see you standing in the kitchen and I can’t touch you. That. The pain is beyond words.

So, how was your week? Mine was mixed. I got hurt, emotionally and physically. I had good news, a shoulder to cry on (well, two actually), oh – and a new family member arrived.

We are 6 (!) girls in the house now. That’ll go well! Katie and I are now hopelessly outnumbered by pets. Mad cat and greyhound lady comes to mind. Well, lady, not so much…

You remember when we talked about getting another hound? Well, Kayla arrived yesterday. A beautiful brindle girl, 11 month old, too shy to race. (I wonder, do people ever think, when they go to the races and they see 20 or so hounds racing, what the hell happens to the ones that don’t make it to the track?)

Following me around everywhere

Anyways, looks like she’s a keeper. Within 24 hours she went from having her tail stuck between her legs to following me around everywhere.

Elvis and Eliza are not impressed. Elvis hiding behind Cora when Kayla is around. Yep, Evil Elvis, who hits Cora on the bum when she walks past.

Your friends are coming over by the end of the month. The last weekend in August, we finally will be scattering your ashes. Well, some of it. I’m not ready to let all of you go. Damn, I’m not even sure anymore if I’m ready to let you go at all. The day Greg, Talibah and Chris confirmed that they’d booked their flights I had the panic attack from hell. ‘No, that’s only 3 weeks away. Way too soon.’

I know, we’re only talking about half your ashes, the other half will stay with me, as agreed. But what if we scatter the wrong half? What if you turn up, an arm and a leg missing the next time I see you? Bad enough that I left you without socks!

And! It turns out lots of people from the area are scattered in the Lough. What if you don’t want to be with all the local gobshites??? I’m pretty sure, you wouldn’t want to.

Turn the other way and you get to France

So, Philipp and I came up with an idea. You will still end up in the Lough, eventually. Because, rivers ending in the sea and stuff. But hopefully you’ll meet some nice people on the way. And once you get out of the Lough you’ll be fine. Well. It’s only the Irish Sea, but maybe you manage to get the corner towards the Atlantic? Or turn the other way and you get to France. You’d like that.

Am I ready to let you go? I don’t know. I am preparing myself and I think I will be, because you’d like it. You’d be free. And you’ll enjoy it. I envy you.

What else? Oh, I dared to go through your stuff again. Daring, in this case, has nothing to do with not being allowed to, but with ‘can I take it?’.

You left me all your passwords and, yeah I know, we talked about it and I have your permission. But it still feels wrong somehow. So, I’ve made decision for myself – I won’t look at anything, yet, from before I met you.

Last weekend I came across our Skype conversations. You recorded them all! What a treasure, what a find. Snippets of our lives. Just every day life, nothing special. But oh so special, so precious.

Sentimental You

I knew you were sentimental. Hell, you kept receipts from stuff you bought in 1987. You kept every single credit card statement, from 1989 onwards. How often did I ask you, why do you keep this stuff, who cares? Now, I’m looking at those things and I can see you going to the shop, buying a vase and being proud of your purchase. I imagine your emotions. Often, I don’t need to imagine, I know! I can see you!

I also found minutes of family meetings I don’t even remember we had. You saved it on the hard drive in three versions, one general, one for you, one for me. Why? But it makes me smile in a way nobody will ever understand. Because reading through them makes me see us sitting, in Austria, in London, wherever, around the kitchen table, you were quite possible the only one who took those meetings seriously.

You remember watching ‘The Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind’? To be without memories? Oh, how wonderful that must be. How awful that must be. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss you for the world. To be without memories! Seems like such a wonderful option right now. Feelings on a roller coaster.

Our last two weeks are haunting me. Someone of the palliative care team said I moved mountains fighting for you.

Well, I didn’t move them fast enough.

Drifting off again

Oops, I’m drifting off again. That’s how it always is. It starts out with nice, warm, beautiful, sometimes painful, rarely angry ( no, not the right word, I haven’t been angry at you in ages, even reading through the stuff of our darkest times), so, sometimes slightly annoyed, mostly at myself for wasting precious time.

Something I was told from the beginning: at least you’ll have time together, time to say goodbye. And, yes, it’s true, in some ways they are no regrets. You didn’t just leave the house and died suddenly in an accident. When you left, there wasn’t a grudge, we said how much we loved each other, we even cleared our pet peeves out of the way, one by one. Oh, you remember the one where I don’t put the shopping away? Katie does that now, as soon as I get home. Yay!

On the other hand I would give the world for having your bleedin’ coffee stains on everything. Helping you find stuff you’ve misplaced for the umpteenth time? Please let me help you! Disagreeing with me??? Go on! You forgot something vital? No problem! Rolled up socks in the laundry? I miss them. Asking in the middle of a movie what was going on because you fell asleep? How could I ever get annoyed at that one?

One more time

Telling me how much you love me? Pretty please! Kissing me? Just one more time!

Holding you? Just one more time? I’d give everything. I’d give my life!

Love you. So much. Always. You remember the shite we went through? And boy, there was some big shite! Divorce kinda shite. (No, you nosey people, we didn’t cheat) But we made it.

Yes, we were lucky because we were in a good place when you became ill. Does it make it easier? No. Does it make me feel less guilty? No. Not ever. Guilt. Grief. Kinda the same, don’t you think? Or at least – they go hand in hand. No. it wasn’t my fault that you had cancer. It wasn’t my fault that you never had any symptoms. Could you have lived longer if I’d fought harder? Yes

Susanne

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About Susanne Breen

Widowed in April 2016 after her husband died from cancer. A social worker, translator and accidental writer. Mother of two with one living at home plus 3 mad pets on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Originally from Berlin but now living in Ireland a number of years. These days she's learning to adjust and cope with widowhood.