Thursday, 25 June 2009

In Sypmpathy

Thinking about my dad so much has made me feel a bit low over the last few days.

It's the reason I couldn't bring myself to take up Matt's offer to go round to his flat on Monday. When he asked again yesterday, I felt that I owed him him an explanation and ended up talking for ages about my dad. Surprisingly, he listened to me. I mean he actually listened (as opposed to putting me on loudspeaker while he got on with other things!!) and seemed to be sympathetic. He told me how sorry he was and that he couldn't imagine how he would feel if anything happened to either of his parents and that of course he understood and would "leave me be" for a while. I couldn't quite believe this was the same Matt I was used to talking to.

This morning I came into an email from him:
"Hiya. How are you feeling? Is there anything I can say or do to make you feel better? I don’t like thinking of you being so down, it's so unusual for you. A face as beautiful as yours should always be smiling. xxx"

I have to say it did make me smile. What is going on with him? Why is he being so nice - so thoughtful, compassionate and unselfish ??
"You're a sweetheart!" I replied "Thank you but I'm fine, honestly. xxx"

I had hardly sent it, when his reply pinged back:
"Good! You can get yourself round to mine then as soon as possible because I want to make every tiny bit of you the sole object of my total and utter sexual pleasure. xxx"

Deep sigh! What was I saying about unselfish compassion ......

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Father's Day

On Sunday it was Father's Day and it was also exactly ten years since my Dad died.

I can't believe I have lived a whole decade on this earth without him, as it just doesn't seem possible. I still haven't really got used to the idea that he isn't around. I often find myself thinking that I must tell him of a funny event that I know he would appreciate and then suddenly remember that he just isn't here to tell. He was so wise and I used to ask him for advice all the time. Even now, I feel lost when I realise he isn't around to double check something with.

I was always his princess. There is something special about growing up knowing that you are so adored. It's probably what gave me such confidence even when at the same time, I lived with the fear/threat that my mother could withdraw her love from me at any time if I didn't do what I was supposed to do. He knew that and although it was never mentioned, he made up for it by always being there for me and comforting me whenever she shouted at me. He never undermined her - he just let me know that he would make everything all right.

One of my favourite photos is one of him with me when I was a tiny baby. It was taken in the garden and I am on a mat on the the grass and he is lying next to me on his side completely absorbed by me smiling up at him. The complete love, awe and wonder in his face is unmistakeable and after he died, I couldn't stop looking at it.

We did a lot of things together when I was young. We often went cycling down to the park to feed the ducks or we played chess or tennis. But most of all we talked. I used to love telling him things as I would make a big dramatic story of everything complete with different voices and accents. I could always make him laugh even while he was rolling his eyes and begging me to please, get to the point.

I remember once, when I was a teenager and very angry with mum and determined to make her suffer, I decided I wouldn't eat anything. It didn't bother her and just made her shout at me all the more but I kept it up for a good few days. And then Dad came into my room where I was sulking and asked me if I would please come down and eat because he had cooked dinner. I said no and complained bitterly about how wrong Mum was. He said he would sort things out but please would I come down as I needed to eat. I refused again and bless him, his eyes filled with tears and he told me that he was worried about me and that not eating wasn't the answer and that he was concerned that I was already losing weight and would I eat something, just for him. Looking back, there must have been something else going on for him to have been so emotional as he wasn't really that sort of man but I couldn't bear seeing him so upset. I hugged him really tightly and told him it would all be OK and then went down and stuffed my face, just to make him happy.

I only ever wanted his approval and so tried never to behave in a way that could let him down. God knows what he would think of me now, if he knew about Matt. Even the thought of it makes me feel vaguely sick.

Perhaps he can see me, I don't know. After he died, I noticed a very bright star in the sky clearly visible from our bedroom. I told Ewan that I was convinced it was Dad and that unnerved him considerably - said he didn't want to think my dad could see what he was doing to his daughter !

Actually my dad liked Ewan a lot. It was surprising how friendly Dad was with him as up until then he would barely speak to my boyfriends. On our wedding day, after Mum and the bridesmaids and everyone else had left the house it was just me and Dad for a few quiet moments. He told me he had never seen me look so beautiful and that he was so proud of me. It took all my strength not to cry and ruin my heavily mascara'd eyes !!

He had a massive heart attack about a year after my wedding. It was touch and go for a while but he pulled through. After that though he was a different man - still wonderful but very frail and careful and much more spiritual. I think it was my children that kept him going for so long after that. He was the perfect grandad and I still spend a lot of time watching the home videos of them climbing all over him and him singing them songs and making them laugh. They both remember him and how he always had sweets for them.

Ten years ago, out of the blue, he had another huge attack and died later in hospital. I got there in time but he was already unconscious and on life support. I watched as he slipped away, holding tightly on to his hand, listening to my mother wailing away but making sure my own tears were silent and dignified, just as he would have wanted.

God, I miss him. I really miss him. I was privileged to have him as a father but I feel overwhelmed with grief all over again as I realise he really is gone and whatever anyone promised me, it hasn't got any easier over the years.

Friday, 12 June 2009

And Still It Goes On

I was going to call Matt yesterday and see if we could meet up for a chat. I was dreading it because I just don't know how to do the whole "it's over" talk. And I wasn't sure if I even needed to given that he hasn't been particularly communicative with me recently.

However, when I came into work today I found a long email from him saying that he was sorry about the way he has been behaving recently and that he didn't want to lose me and that he was disconcerted by how he can't get me out of his head and that he's never felt like this before and could I call him because he really wanted to talk.

So I rang him. He told me again he was sorry and asked how pissed off I was with him. I told him that I wasn't, just confused and he said he was too and he didn't know why he was behaving in this way.

I suggested that maybe we should let things take their natural course and bring things to a close and he went very quiet. He asked me if that's what I really wanted and stupidly, I said no. Why did I say that? Here was the perfect opportunity to finally end all this and bring my life back to some normality and I said NO!

He then said that he didn't want things to end and that he understood he had come on a bit heavy and that he knew he had to take a back seat to my family and that he would try and be more understanding of the rest of my life as well. He said that one of the reasons he liked me so much was because I was such fun to be around and so of course he understood that as a result I had a wide circle of friends who also wanted to be around me. I couldn't make much sense of what he was saying as he was talking away at ten to the dozen.

He finally said that he was sorry for being so grumpy recently. That he knew my friends were important to me and that he would accept that but please could I understand that he needed to see me regularly and that he knew it was a cheek to ask but could I make him a priority sometimes.

I should have been angry but there was something so pleading, so child-like, so needy in what he was saying that I just felt I didn't want to be the cause of his upset. I told him we should just carry on as before but I warned him that I was finding it difficult and that guilt was taking its toll. He said he understood and that he would try and cool his "jets" and not pressure me too much.

So! I don't really know where I am after that. This still seems to be full speed. I'm such a fool. I don't know how to stop all this. I clearly don't want to.

Really, I just want to sail through life, setting my own course and following my own mood but that is so incredibly selfish. It means I'm heading for trouble and I seem to setting a course to get there fast.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Wedding

Just as I expected, the wedding was lovely and as predicted, I spent most of the day in tears !

I think actually it was one of the loveliest weddings I've ever been to. It was so unlike any of the hushed stuffy, pompous weddings that we usually go to. Don't get me wrong - I love a bit of sumptuous ceremony. After all it's what I had and I already have great plans for Sasha's wedding which will definitely be in the huge abbey-like church that we have near us so that she has a lovely long aisle that she can glide along with her father, probably to a bit of Handel. Oh yes, I have it pretty much worked out.

But this wasn't anything like that. Gemma's wedding was perfect in it's simplicity. The church was a tiny, beautiful medieval building and she wore a simple ivory dress with burgundy red embroidery. Her little sister came in first wearing a similar dress that was burgundy red with ivory embroidery, scattering burgundy red flower petals along the aisle.

And the service itself was so relaxed. There were no hymns but they had a band in the church that played christian rock through the service which sounded amazing and when the couple signed the register everyone got up and started chatting away to each other. There was a real feeling of joy in there amongst all her friends and it moved me more than I can say.

I was emotional for most of the day to be honest. I started when I saw Gemma standing at the entrance of the church; then joined Ashley who was crying as she watched her husband accompany her beautiful daughter up the aisle to her proud groom; carried on through the vows and was still crying at the reception when Ian couldn't finish telling his bride how much he loved her in his speech because he was so overcome. And then when they both had their first dance and looked so ecstatically happy, that was it for me. I had to disappear into the loo as I was bawling so much! Honestly, all my carefully applied make-up was pretty much gone by the end of the evening and I had made such an effort to look nice!

It really was a special day and I felt so honoured to be a part of it. I don't normally feel like that at weddings but this one was truly something different. I think they're going to be OK. They're both so young but very sure of their love for each other. They'll grow together, build a life together and if trouble comes they'll face it together.

I genuinely wish them true happiness.

Friday, 5 June 2009


I've tried to make things right with Matt but he hasn't cheered up much. We had a chat yesterday but it was really hard work. He's still in a mood and after a while, I got tired of trying to make him laugh. I think it's time to bring all this to an end. Maybe we should have a proper talk next week, like adults. I need to gear myself up for that and work out what I'm going to say to him.

For now though, I'm going to put him out of my mind because I have been looking forward to this weekend for so long. My oldest friend's daughter is getting married tomorrow and it's going to be great.

I've known Ashley since I was two when our mothers became friends. They only lived in the next street so we saw each other all the time. We went to the same school and although I was much cleverer than her she had her first kiss before me, got her first boyfriend before me, passed her driving test before me and basically grew up long before I ever did.

That may have been because her father died suddenly when she was just fifteen. It was such a shock. He was a lovely, quiet man and suddenly he was gone but she never cried. I tried to get her to talk about it but she never did. Even to this day we've never spoken about how that affected her. It was as if she locked it away deep inside her. I often wondered if she ever dealt with it. Her younger brother got into a lot of trouble after that which I'm sure was a direct result of losing his dad but Ashley just carried on. She became quieter but I remember she suddenly took against me swearing. She would get cross everytime I used the f word and would tell me it wasn't impressive. Even now, I never hear her swear.

She never went to university but I remember one hols when I came back and she said she was going out with this guy Barry who she met at her church. I didn't take much notice, but then soon after, she wrote to tell me they had got married! Very quietly and quickly and she was sorry that she hadn't invited me but they couldn't afford a big wedding and that she hoped I would forgive her and wish her well. And then she moved away with him to live on the South Coast.

About a year later she had given birth to Gemma who I saw for the first time when she was just a few weeks old and I completely fell in love with her. I couldn't believe that Ashley was so grown up - married, running a house and now a mum and still only 22. And Barry was actually a really decent guy.

He's about five years older than her but it has always seemed much more than that. He worked in a furniture shop and he's still there now. They can't have had much money but as far as I'm aware they have never been in debt and never taken any loans apart from their mortgage which I think is pretty much paid off now. I'm so in awe of the simple, happy life they lead in their small village where they are well-loved and where Gemma and her sister Maisie grew up so innocently.

A bit too innocently as it happens. A few years ago, Gemma went to stay with Barry's mother in Manchester to help look after her as she wasn't well. On the train journey there, she met a bloke who chatted her up and flattered her. He lived in Manchester and so saw a lot of her during her stay. She hadn't really had a boyfriend up to then and yet within the week they were sleeping together. When it was time to go back, she announced that she was moving in with him, much to her parents' distress. It wasn't long before she stopped calling home and her mobile was always off. She wouldn't see her parents when they went up there to talk to her and just said she was old enough to make her own decisions. I remember having long conversations with Ashley who was almost out of her mind with worry and I didn't know what to say to make things right because I was also pretty scared. The police said that it wasn't a cause for concern because she was not missing and old enough to make the decision to cut off contact. What they didn't seem to care about was that it was so out of character.

Anyway a week or so later, Barry's mother called him to say he had better get there fast. And when he did, he found her all beaten and bruised and hardly speaking - apart from saying she didn't want the police involved. Ashley was just happy to have her home but she kept telling me she had lost her little girl - she had completely withdrawn.

Over the next month or so, she got a bit better but still never spoke about what happened. And then one day, I called to speak to Ashley and Gemma answered. It was the first time I'd spoken to her since her return. We had always got on well so I just tried to be bright and breezy and funny and we talked generally about everything other than what had happened. We talked of her athletics (which she loved) and a job that she had applied for and films she wanted to see and a dress that she had seen that couldn't get in her tiny size. I seized on that one and told her to come and stay with me so we could do girly things like find that dress and go to the pictures and just be silly and surprisingly, she agreed. Ashley was thrilled and said it was the first time in ages that she had seen her so animated.

So she came for a long weekend and although she seemed quite fragile at first, we really did have fun. And more importantly for her, she finally opened up and told me what happened which was basically that this bloke came home drunk one day and laid into her until she managed to get out and find her way back to her gran's house. She didn't want to say anything because she thought basically it was her fault for being so stupid and she hadn't wanted to talk to her parents about it because she knew how upset they would be - especially her dad. I think it did her good letting it all out. I told her to talk it through with them because it would help them all.

I remember Ashley was so grateful even though I hadn't done anything except give young Gemma a shoulder to cry on. Anyway, she went from strength to strength after that and it wasn't long before she met Ian. He is lovely! She came to visit me just so that I could meet him and it was fabulous to see her so happy.

And so tomorrow, we'll see her get married. My little Gemma - daughter of my dearest Ashley. I'm going to have to take lots of tissues ........

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


It seems Matt is not very happy with me.

I think it started because we didn't get together last week. I couldn't see him Monday because it was a Bank Holiday, then on Tuesday I went to see Sean and after that I was in no fit state to do anything, let alone meet up. I did try and explain to him on Wednesday that I was quite emotional from what had happened but he didn't seem to understand why I wasn't in the mood to go round. He tried to persuade me again on Thursday but got quite snappy when I said I couldn't.

I didn't hear from him after that so yesterday I thought I ought to give him a ring. He didn't answer so I left him a voicemail saying I hoped he was OK as it had been a while since I'd heard from him. I got an immediate text back saying that no, he wasn't OK. I asked him why and he said he was tired of not being a priority in my life. I was a bit stunned to be honest but told him to call me so that we could talk properly. He went quiet for a while but called in the afternoon and sounded really fed up.

I asked him what he meant by his text and he said that he knew he had to take a backseat because I was married but that he was fed up of always coming second to my friends. I tried to explain again that actually I was in still in shock and grief over what was going on with Sean but he just dismissed it and said he didn't really know anything about me and that he wasn't sure how I felt about this relationship and did I know how strongly he felt and didn't I think I owed him something more than just seeing him when it suited me.

I told him I was sorry if he felt like that and tried to placate him. To be honest though, I was a bit confused about his outburst and still am. I suspect it's one of his games but more, I'm irritated that he's trying to make me feel bad about putting Sean first. What sort of person would I be if I hadn't? Mind you, what sort of person am I for having an affair in the first place?

I don't see how he can dictate to me how I should behave or who I should see or ...oh I don't know, this whole thing is ridiculous.

He finished the conversation saying that he couldn't explain how he felt but that he was grumpy and it was down to me - end of story. I don't really know what he wants to me to do and at the moment I'm inclined to do nothing. Mainly because I don't have the energy but also because this may be the ideal opportunity to disentangle myself from all of this.

I know what I'm like though. I'll start worrying that he's thinking badly of me. I wish I was secure enough to rely on myself and not give a toss what he or anyone else thinks about me. Why should I care? After all, he's the one being irrational here.

The thing is, I haven't heard from him since he put the phone down and now I'm starting to feel cross..... and upset !