Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Til Kingdom Come

Today as I pulled into kindy to pick up the Elfling a song started playing and as I switched off the engine, I sat there, in the rapidly heating up car, my chin on the steering wheel unable to move as I listened. It was hot and sunny, and through the windscreen I could see my caramel pigtailed Elfling dancing like the sprite that she is. When the song finally finished, I pulled the key out of the ignition, shook myself, and went to collect the light of my life.

It hit me then, in an avalanche of sorrow and grief and absolute pure emotion how much I love her, and her sister, but above all else how much I love their father. In the last few weeks I have made analogies to being in a turbulent sea that I couldn't get out of. But today, I ran out of the water and straight into the arms of the man I love.

We buried Grandad today, in a ceremony as simple, understated and shy as Grandad was himself. No frills, no tizzy bits. Basically the opposite of Nana's choreographed funeral last year. Even the bouquet on the coffin was pure Grandad - Mum had arranged some boughs from the jacaranda tree, some avocado leaves, some red roses, some red gums all from Grandad's garden and tied them simply with a plain ribbon. And it was so beautifully fitting. A simple good bye.

Grandad laid to rest next to his wife of more than 50 years, calm and peaceful and never alone again. Til Kingdom Come. As the celebrant said the last meaningful words, I stood with my head nestled into LH's shoulder, in that perfect way that we fit together as he gently caressed my back and I was so grateful that he was there. No tears fell there at the cemetary - it was so peaceful and warm with the most beautiful lilting breeze and the trees overhead swaying gently.

Afterwards we wandered around the park that I played in every year of my childhood, smelled the intoxicating perfume of the state's rose garden, and eventually sat and ate and reminisced. Afterwards LH and I wondered around the overgrown garden of my childhood, before sitting under the jacaranda tree surrounded by green with the breeze playful around our feet and teasing our hair. And sitting there, out the front, where my grandparents had sat so many times before, I flashed forward 50 years, where my LH and I would be the ones sitting in the breeze, with our grandchildren dancing in front of us.

I have written before about how much I love him, but today I fell in love again. 9 years almost to the day that I met him.

From June 06
I haven't really talked about DH on here and don't mention him nearly amuch as he deserves to be - usually only when I'm angry and frustrated.

I met DH during my second week at college. I was barely 17 and excited to be living away from home for the first time. I was meeting so many new people and was enjoying my freedom and independence and the fact that no one knew me and hence I got to "start over" with regards to how I wanted to portray myself. The only thing that was slightly difficult was that I had no money and that I didn't drink. Both of which are a bit of a social issue when you're at College.

But I quickly made friends and found myself hanging around a specific wing of college where most of my new friends lived. DH was a second year and I met him in the corridor of Merrington Wing in second week. I would love to be able to say that my first impression of him was love at first site but that would be lying . I thought he was very weird. But he must have made an impression on me because I can still remember meeting him more than 7 years later.

I obviously made an impression on him as well because from that date on he would often spring up beside me wherever I was. He also made it abundantly clear that he was "interested" in me. And being a typical nonsensical teenager I found his obvious interest a complete turn off. Plus he was weedy and weird... not cool boyfriend material. (Ah the shallowness of youth )

As the year progressed I started going out with someone and spending time with our large group of friends (DH was part of the group). I can remember thinking at one stage that I was the happiest I have ever been in years. I was social, I was skinny, I had a job, I could buy my own things, I was happy, I was popular, I had a boyfriend and life just felt fabulous. I think I embodied joie de vivre. And DH was still there. Always around, still making it abundantly clear that he liked being around me and that he wanted more than being friends. And I remember thinking of him like an annoyance, someone nice enough that just did not get the hint that I was not remotely interested.

One night we were watching TV and he reached over and held my hand. I can remember feeling, the spark that flew up my arm and rendered me mute. At the time I brushed it off as annoyance that he was still harrassing me when I had a boyfriend! But even then I remember my subconscious whispering that I should have been more angry at him, and that I could stil feel the pressure of his hand around mine for hours afterwards.

After that incident I tried to avoid DH. Even when my "relationship" with the other guy ended messily and tearfully (I was still very seventeen) I still stayed well away from him. It wasn't just his keen-ness, or hiw weird-ness. There were things about DH that just bugged me like his propensity to say complely inappropriate things at the worst moment and his social awkwardness. He was still a very nice person though and I couldn't bring myself to be mean as others were.

At the end of that first year he left to go to the USA to teach skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. And before he left he basically let me know that he was still interested. And I brushed him off.

So the new year started much as the first year of uni had. Fun, exciting and full. With the added bonus that I was now 18 and could go out on Thursday nights with everyone else and get stupidly drunk, dance and sing around the piano bar at the top of my lungs. I was also in the grip of a pathological desire to make my ex-"boyfriend" fall in love with me and spent far too many hours wondering about how he felt about me. I corresponded sporadically with DH with light, fluffy and inconsequential e-mails and life just moved on.

DH came back to college but I saw him much less as my popular friends and I had moved to a different wing of the college and life was full on with the social whirl and studying and classes etc. Wasn't quite as happy as in first year what with the unrequited love and all (looking back I still have no idea what I was thinking!) but still enjoying life.

Then Nana got sick. At first it was just sick, something that happens when you hit your late 60s, things get worn down, colds and flus can be serious and Nana was always healthy, it obviously wasn't a big deal. Life continued on pretty much as normal.

Then she started deteriorating. She was sick, she was in pain and there was no diagnosis. Her face changed as it became thinner and paler. Her mannerisms changed, her very person seemed to be ill, her stuborness and opinions began to be less prominent. To me that was when I knew she was sick. She just didn't seem to be Nana any more. And suddenly my light fluffy social world didn't seem quite so fun any more. And my friends were for the most part as light and fluffy as my life was at that point, that was one of the major reasons I loved being around them - they were so happy and positive.

I withdrew a lot. My friends to be fair didn't abandon me or anything, but they didn't understand and to be honest they had their own lives. They helped, or at least tried to, but they were still having fun. And their grandmother's were either fine or had died, afterall - it's kind of an expected thing.

Then Nana was diagnosed. I was still living in dream land where even though she had metastatic, indolent, late stage T cell lymphoma that you treated that and she owuld be OK. Only a month or so ago she'd been fine. She was going to be OK. That's why we have doctors and hospitals.

It got worse.

Then on my 19th birthday my Aunty called to let us know that Nana was in palliative care. I didn't really understand what that meant - they were giving up? How does that work? Does that mean that she was going to die? She was perfectly fine3 months ago...

She died 3 days later with everyone there with her exactly as she would have wanted.

I was a mess. The day of her funeral I barely remember, but I turned to one of my (male) friends to try and cheer me up. His method of cheering me up is one that I will not talk about here. The fact that I still had my virginity afterwards though is something that I will thank God for for the rest of my life however. My brain was not in gear at all that evening.

After that day, I was very flat. I associated with my quieter, more empathetic friends. And one night while I was wandering around at some stupid hour I noticed DH's light was still on. I chatted inanely for hours with him while he maintained a somewhat bewildered expression on his face. But I had not felt so safe and at home as I did that night in months. I eventually fell asleep on his bed - and unlike my other "friend", DH tucked me in and kissed my forehead - aside from that he didn't touch me.

A few weeks passed with DH and I spending more and more time together. I didn't think that we were starting a relationship at all - just that he was such a good friend. And that I just relaxed in his presence. He made me feel happy again. He made me smile. And he made me feel special and important and loved.

Our other friends were watching this with smug amusement and waiting for the moment when we'd announce that we were "going out" (Hey we were only 19 ) but I still was just coasting and enjoying feeling comforted. Til one day another friend pulled me aside and asked me how I felt about DH. Until that moment I hadn't honestly thought about it. And it wasn't until my friend smugly declared that I was in love with him that it dawned on me that I did care about him. And not just as a friend. I will never forget how surprised I felt at that moment. IT felt like the twist in the plot that king hits you because it was so glaringly obvious.

And from that day we were a couple A very cute, very highschool couple. I didn't sleep with him for months. We did fun things like go to the beach and build sandcastles. He took me to meet his parents in northern Qld and we went fishing.

And I have never felt as at home as I have with my DH. He is the most beautiful person I've ever known in my life. And he loves me. Deeply, wonderfully, completely. He is my safe place to fall but he is also the one who lifts me up and inspires me. He is the one that makes me shine. He held me as I brought the most precious light into our lives and will be there when we go through it again in September.

I could write for hours in here and I still could not convey how much I love my husband. And right now I miss him so much it hurts.

1 comment:

candi said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. :(


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