Monday, 2 April 2018

All of this time I've been talking about a man who has no face. So i thought i would give the name a face. This was taken in the last year we were together 

Sunday, 1 April 2018

April 1st, Easter Sunday ... it is still dark outside. This is a day i've been dreading. It is a day of anniversaries. April 1st is when Jon and I got together. And it was on Easter Sunday last year that our relationship finally broke beyond repair. I think this may be a dark blog. Although i may refer to events that happened before Jon left me my aim is to focus on the four years when we were apart, sometimes unconnected and sometimes not. It may offer explanation for why i am grieving so hard. A grief that often seems foolish and incomprehensible even to me and i'm living it. 
Here just for a moment i'll flick back into our time together as lovers and say that from the beginning of 2010 our relationship became incrementally worse, 60% good, 50%, 40%, until by 2013 when Jon left it was really at best a mean 10%. I held to that 10% he held to the 90% bad i think and that determined the outcome of our relationship. 
In 2013 when we broke up, it could easily be said and seen that we were flogging an almost dead horse. My hope was that after i graduated we would spend time together playing after years of intense work, that we would soften into our successes, his and mine, give ourselves time to hang out, hang loose, i felt that the world was our oyster, that we could work through our problems, make new memories (jam for the cupboard), and so and so on into a benign old age that would see us glowing and happy at the end of a long and fulfilled life. My hopes were played against his reason, things had gone wrong, it was not worth fixing, it was better to bail and get a brand new life. Was he wrong ? No. My hopes were fantasy, romantic and dreamy, they required work to make them come good, but without that work they would never have come to anything. His reasons were valid, our relationship was awful at this point, if we had gone to Gozo together our problems would have surely come with us. There was no escaping the reality our relationship needed work and determination to survive. I wanted to give it time and space in the sunshine, he wanted time and space in the sunshine but he wanted it without me in the picture. 
The fact is a relationship is a mutual agreement and if one party does not want to be with the other it's a pretty much done deal. This is a dance we are all engaged in all the time, with everyone, at work, at home, in our everyday lives, to a greater or less extent depending on how close we are to those we are dancing with.
So there we are, Jon's reason trumped my hope and he left in a blaze of virtuous glory, off to a new more glamorous and exciting life. I too had a brand new life because all my hopes and dreams and plans had been taken from me, i too was starting anew but not out of choice.
At first i was like a bird whose cage door is open but who quietly sits starving on the floor unable to take the freedom it has been given. I didn't know what to do. For a while i was furious and behaved very badly. I wrote emails, raging, yearning, pretending i was fine. I sent some emails, no doubt as deranged as the ones i sent Jon, to his family. Of course I wish i hadn't, they didn't reply, i was Jon's godawful lunatic ex that he was well rid of. I didn't understand. I didn't understand anything. Jon's departure from my life had wrenched my heart from it's bearings. I didn't care what his family thought of me. I wanted him/them to see me. I couldn't stand the awful cool superiority any more. I imagine it just made his family feel more cooly superior. This is a hard thing to say, but looking back Jon's leaving could be seen as an act of kindness. He let me go.  
He let me go, and yet he didn't. His response to my crazy fuck-mess weirdness was magnanimous, his new happiness vindicated his decision, "you are the love of my life" he said "but things hadn't worked out". I, in my heat, thought "damn you, if i am the love of your life and you are the love of mine, why aren't we together loving each other". I wanted to know that all the other women in his life had been called the love of his life so that then i could discard the notion, put it in the box marked "empty words". Who knows what the truth behind those words was, maybe one day i'll meet one of his ex-partners and they'll say "oh yes, he said that to me too, it's just a string along phrase he threw out to keep his options open". 
And so and so and so on. I drive myself mad with my round and round thoughts. I don't really know where i'm going now. There are parts of the four years when Jon and i were apart where our stories do not link. Our lives went their separate ways. I know my life but the details of his that i know are few and sketchy. I know that at some point between our parting and our reconnecting he began to drink again. I don't know when it became problem drinking but i'm guessing it was a fair time before he and i reconnected in 2015 because he was hospitalised not long after we began a fragile exploratory friendship by email in early summer that year. I think he had injured his foot which had stopped him walking, he said that his girlfriend had wanted too much commitment, his sister in law said that his girlfriend had not been able to cope with his drinking. None of that belongs to me, it is his life with another woman. But suffice it to say by the time Jon and I "re-met" he was not well. 
I had continued to email Jon while he and i were out of contact but he had not answered and so i assumed that my emails went straight to his junk, or that he had a new email address. I don't know when he stopped responding maybe around autumn 2014 when i briefly was kind of seeing someone, kind of not really, walking and kissing and touching and eating together, a thing, but not a thing which lasted maybe a couple of months. Jon had informed me that he was seeing someone new the summer before which had put a full stop and a capital letter on to the end of our lives together. We were both moving on, as you do, as you have to. 
But in the summer of 2015 i was burgled and Jon was one of the first people i messaged. And he got back to me. Almost immediately. At first i didn't know what to do about his emails. For so long he'd been out of my life, and i'd begun picking up the pieces. I loved him still but i was scared. I was at that point volunteering with a support group for recovering addicts led by a gentle and generous woman who in lieu of wages got her volunteers on to a host of courses about addiction. This learning was eye-opening, i'd gone into my relationship with Jon in a state of innocence. When he'd told me about his past life i took him as tabla rasa, a blank page, not realising that the rest of his life was written on the back and sometimes the pen had been pressed so hard it had forced it's ways through to the front. So it is with everyone but to a greater or lesser extent the marks on the back of us make more or less of a difference to our life ongoing. I had not taken into account how Jon's life before me as a drinker, an alcoholic, would affect all the other relationships he had that were important. Naive to be sure. 
Back to the moment his name appeared in my inbox. I was grieving him. After i was burgled one of the things that i struggled with most was finding, a day or so later, the bundle of love notes he'd given me scattered and tumbled out of a draw that the burglar had rummaged through. That and the loss of my dad's camera made me feel sad everything else was replaceable. But there in my inbox was the name "Jon H" it brought me out in a muck sweat. 
I didn't open it immediately, fear and longing wrestled within me. I had spent two years getting over him. Earlier in the year I had submitted a proposal to the curator of the Waveney River Sculpture Trail for a piece of work that had taken me back to the early days of our love affair, making the piece had involved me re-treading the footpaths and life that we had shared. I was still in love with him. But I was also deeply wounded. Did i want to reconnect with the man who had left me so callously two years ago. In the end love got the better of me. I opened his email and so began the next stage of our knowing each other. 
He made no mention of his drinking at this point, i think he thought he could hide it. But just weeks after he fell down in the street and was taken to hospital. I emailed his sister-in-law to let her know. They didn't know. She got back to me told me he'd been ill, ill how ? drinking again, and so i found out.  
So that was the deal. Jon was in hospital for a few days, i think he then discharged himself, decided to go to Venice, asked me to meet him there. I wasn't going to go to Venice to meet a drunk ex who had dumped me without care even if i did still love him. That he thought I would pick up the threads with him just like that as if nothing had happened is a sign of how out of kilter with reason his mind had become. And anyway my son Richard was once again off to foreign lands, Singapore for two years, i was making the most of his last days in relative proximity, and also the WRST was up and running and i wanted to keep an eye on my work to make sure it stayed good and to watch how it weathered. He had built a new life, and i too had built a new life. 
Jon went to Venice, and came back very shortly because he got bored. We emailed. We emailed more. He made a will. Went to his barbers to get his hair cut. After his death an old colleague said that he'd said we were back together, we weren't we were just emailing but the intensity of our feelings for each other was still apparent. Our relationship had picked up, but how was still ambiguous, i asked him to come to England to meet me for coffee, for a walk, i knew my family would hate it but we had unfinished business, i was offering friendship, my trust had been broken, i loved him, i wanted him still, but i was wary, very wary, and needed him to meet me in my space. 
Over that summer i'm guessing he was drinking but maybe picked up a little, we emailed regularly, did we speak on the phone ? i'm not sure, it was still all quite tentative on my part, i was there for him but i needed to know he was there for me too. By autumn i think we were likely emailing most days. Both of us often up in the small hours of the morning we would check in with each other, we'd talk about life and love, it was flirty and sweet, there was old tenderness and new tenderness too. Our relationship at this point was still rooted in our love affair. There were times we'd argue i remember  but distance meant that our fights were more quickly resolved,  his silences were not so commanding, and his spite more easily repudiated and what could he do that was worse than leaving me and taking up with another woman ? 
I remember Jon as someone physically well. We never saw each other after he left. In my head he is still the man who left me, strong, handsome, lordly. He sent me a photograph of himself that summer, well two in fact, a selfie of him in his mirror, face obscured by the camera but wearing shorts and looking ok tho' in shadow. The other, he sent while he was in Venice, it was a picture of him on his balcony with a chameleon on his shoulder gazing lovingly at someone, not me, i didn't look at that picture long, I didn't want to see it. I thought it was probably taken by his last girlfriend and was their affair and not mine. Later when my friend David took pictures of me i didn't send those to Jon, not the good ones or the ones where i'm gurning or looking fat. My relationship with David was as friends not lovers but Jon was funny about our friendship. He was cross about me going for walks and visiting churches with David. I thought he had a cheek being jealous quite frankly. 
But I skip forward. There must have been a point in our re-acquaintance when we re-connected as something more than ex-lovers catching up. That he was drinking was clear, we had occasional phone calls that year 2015 when his speech would be slurred, and sometimes his emails were obviously the hand of a drunk, mis-spelt, mis-worded, sexually gross. I had known Jon as someone very careful, sober his spirit when dark erred towards mean-ness, drunk it became base but also sometimes i'd catch a glimpse of the light that i'd known when we were first together. Lux lucet in tenebris. It was this light i sought to reflect back at him. It was a dangerous game perhaps to have entered into but not one that i thought about. Our relationship was rooted in our love affair, that we talked about sex was not weird it was part of our knowing each other, it wasn't the focus, i would flip him pictures and songs and articles, names of bloggers i liked, we talked about books, films, life, walking, art, poetry, Jon was very clever. I'd tell him about going to the library he started going to his library and i think this was a life saver for him. And our relationship became a meeting of minds, in a way it became deeper than it had been before, without the softness of shared physical experience, touch, taste, sound, sight, smell, we were forced into an etheric connection, a meeting of consciousness if you will. We merged as we had when we were lovers but our merging was spiritual, he'd been my soul mate before and that soul bond became more entwined. I gave him my light, he gave me his darkness. Sometimes i gave him my darkness and he gave me his light. 
All this time he was drinking heavily, he said that he was living on vodka and milk. We emailed every day, quite often i emailed several times a day, not long emails, images more often not, not stuff that required a reply just nudges to let him know that someone was thinking about him and cared if he was alive or dead. Later after his hospitalisation in 2016 he said that my emails had kept him going, that otherwise he'd have had no human contact, and likely be dead, he said he was eternally grateful but Jon's eternally grateful never did last long. 
After his hospitalisation he seemed to plateau. He was still drinking, sometimes a lot, but he seemed to be out of his hole. I knew that the last hospitalisation had come after he'd given up drinking cold turkey, and i knew from the courses i'd done that he could easily have died and that he hadn't had been a lucky chance. After his death i read the term kindling which is used to describe the effect of these near misses, each time they happen the nervous system gets more broken and the chances of survival slimmer. Dark matter. 
But there, so Jon did survive that hospitalisation, that was the one where his family told me not to bother them again and that it was up to him to stop. I had thought that if only we could have pulled together and got him into rehab i could have got him long distance walking to take his mind off things, maybe that was my saviour complex kicking in. Maybe Jon needed and wanted to die, maybe he had stopped coping with life. He said when he left me that we couldn't fight our demons, i was cross with him about that i thought "i'm fighting my demons lets fight off our demons together" but maybe he knew that his had got him and that he needed to leave life as he he had led his life prior to our knowing each other drinking and sleeping with women who gave him no mental distress. 
I'm diary-ing. Am i being very boring ? I think i may be. But I'm getting out of me that which i am no longer able to carry, or carry alone, releasing by recording, and in so doing giving space in my being to life after Jon. There is no way i can set down the whole of the ten years we knew each other or put on a page the intensity of our connection, the page would burst into flame. But the little i set out may one day serve me as a memory jogger when the life we shared is trod over, invisible and overlaid by new experience.
I had begun this blog with the intention of taking it up to Easter Sunday last year which is when we lost contact again. But I realise that the events that led up to our losing contact are still too close for me to give form to. I suppose in all truth i am thinking of the year and half before he died really, from his hospitalisation in 2016 to Easter Sunday 2017 and then to his death later that year on October 11th. I have three unopened emails from Jon. One from Easter and two from about a month before he died. And an unheard voicemail on my phone. The emails sit ticking in the folder marked Jon, buried under the mountains of emails i have sent him after his death and the emails i made myself not send him and so sent to myself in the months between Easter and the time i knew he was dead. Will i ever read them ? will my regrets and my sadness ever be soft enough to let me witness the last few scraps of time he gave me ? The email from Easter is likely to be unkind. The two from the month before he died charming and sweet, tho' I cannot be sure of that. All of them will hurt i think. I have a feeling that one day i will hear the voicemail by accident and that it will drop me to my knees. RIP Jon. RIP Fella.  

It is gone 11am now  

Friday, 30 March 2018

New blog. I have words battering up against the side of my head and they have to come out or else i'll go mad so here goes again. There are two chapters in the story of my love affair with Jon that  i need/want to write before i go to Gozo so expect another one to follow this shortly. I do not know which one I will write at this moment. This is the moment i make that decision. And that decision is ...
2009 was the year i look back on as the year Jon's recovery broke and our relationship began to break down. When i met Jon in 2007 he was in recovery, he had just bought a house, he was working in a workplace that supported him where he had friends and most importantly a boss who knew about his drinking and took care of him, way over and above the care that most bosses would. We met just as his mother had fallen ill, his father had died the year before and his mother died six months after we began seeing each other. That is another story and one i will save for a later date because this blog is about 2009.
In 2009 events in both my life and Jon's meant that both of us lost stability. In truth that stability was wavering as we ended 2009. In the autumn i had begun an art course that would take me to university and to where i am now. I give credit to the teacher for the skills i learned from her. But that teacher was a bitch. I am not a confident person and she razed my confidence to the ground in the two years i spent learning from her. Thankfully i met with two other art teachers within that time who were more flexible and open to forms of creativity that deviated from their own and it is they that kept me afloat creatively during that two year course. But suffice to say my confidence was on it's back foot. Add to this a momentous change. My middle child, Richard, decided to move to China. I baulked and that caused a row between us, thankfully now mended, but at the beginning of 2009 he left for China for eight months and tho' we maintained contact our relationship had hit a serious wobble. On top of that over the christmas of 2008 i experienced flashbacks to the violation perpetrated on me by my first sexual partner (i won't call him my lover tho' he was my boyfriend for about two years). Jon was amazing while i was struggling with these flashbacks, his sympathy and kindness went far beyond anything i'd experienced before. He responded with care that was healing and generous. 
But in 2009 the fates threw their lot at us and both of us being fragile and tender we were unable to hold our ground. It began early. Maybe new years day, i think it was new years day or maybe the 2nd or 3rd of January but i couldn't vouch for the date tho' it will be on record somewhere. It will be on record somewhere because the day that i speak of marks a death. First thing that morning Jon decided to walk to the supermarket to pick up a newspaper, i think, and maybe some breakfast things. That wasn't our normal pattern, normally we'd go together but he took that decision and i stayed in bed waiting for him to come home. I waited, and waited, he took a long time. When he came home he was in shock. This is the story he told me and as i can remember
As he had been walking he passed an old lady who was sat on a stone looking frail, he spoke to her and asked her if she was ok at which point she keeled over. He began to practice CPR on her and i think some other passerby or maybe two came soon after but he was the one who saw her die and tried to save her. I assume ambulances were called and after she was passed to their care he came home. An experience like this would knock anyone off their stride but bear in mind Jon was a recovering alcoholic. And also someone who was aware that as an alcoholic and someone with a prison record he was vulnerable to accusation. Actually the family of the woman were grateful to him and sent him a letter thanking him for the help he had given their mother but i know that he felt his position in life was precarious because he had spoken about it before. 
He did not speak much. Jon was not a talker but that his boat was rocked was clear. Later that day we went for a walk as was our wont most days when we were together. I said that i had a feeling 2009 would be a difficult year and that we should book a holiday to keep our spirits up. When we returned my daughter called to tell me that i was going to be a granny. 
I love my grandson, but i was overwhelmed at the thought of being a granny at 42. Actually being a granny is completely amazing but at that moment it made me feel older than my years. I was worried she would find herself alone as i had done. And i was not sure at all about this new role that sat on my shoulders. To say that i felt my life had spun out of my control is putting it mildly. 
So we booked a holiday and i got used to the idea of being a granny, it took a week or so, but when my daughter came over, not long after she had told me, i put my hand on her tummy and felt my grandson flutter under my hand and loved him and i have loved him ever since. In fact my love for him saved my life. And he and my granddaughter who followed not long after are bright lights in my life. What nobody tells you about being a granny is how much you will love your grandchildren, how incredibly great it is being a grandparent. 
But, so, back to the year as it happened to me and Jon. Me, reeling with the huge concrete changes in my life. And Jon drawn in after his brush with death. To add to it my mother, bless her also reeling with the changes happening in my family, threw weight at me and that further unbalanced me. 
I knew that i needed a job and an ad for a part time shop assistant in the local whole food shop came up in the window and i applied. I  got an interview, but was not their first choice and did not get the job, but then after the owner called me to tell me my application was unsuccessful he rang me again and offered me a job covering someone's maternity leave which i gladly accepted. I was green going into that job. I have spoken to people less green than me and they too have struggled with it as a workplace but with no work-skin on me at all, my work had mostly been self-employed or childminding prior to that so i was not prepared for workplace politics. To say it threw me is an understatement, it sucked the life out of me, and i didn't feel able to quit, as a job is a job is a job and i thought the problem was me. Thinking the problem is me was then my default position. You can see now how helpful Jon's statement "no one cares what you think, want, need or feel" was. Poisonous yes, and not said kindly. But it kind of takes away a person's self importance which whilst deflating is also blame-defeating because your lack of worth makes your being mean less, for good or for ill. 
But that's that, let's go to March 2009. Before i got the job as a shop worker Jon and I had booked a holiday in Cornwall. I had always wanted to go to Cornwall, it was where i hoped to escape to, had built up as an elysian paradise where i could run away from all my troubles. Jon and I had played the right-move game of looking at houses in Cornwall, in France, all over the place, it was part of our relationship this plan to move elsewhere, to go journeying. 
Our holiday in Cornwall was incredible, we did what we did, made love, ate and walked, all week the sun shone and we were both wildly in love, it was the sweetest, easiest, happiest holiday i have had to date. We were as one with each other, no-one can take that feeling from me, the memories i have of that week are beautiful. I loved Cornwall it was much as i had imagined but going there also made me appreciate the seas i'd grown up with, the big norfolk skies and expanses of sand. Cornwall was wonderful, Norfolk was wonderful, anywhere could be wonderful in the right company. And for me that right company was Jon. I adored him and would have done anything for him he made me feel like anything was possible. Driving home, he was thoughtful. It's a long drive to Cornwall. He had started to see his daughter one to one over the past year for the first time (i think) since he and her mother had broken up, and he was enjoying getting to know her. After a while maybe halfway through our journey home, he said "i can't move to Cornwall, i need to be close to ********* (his  daughter)". Now, i love my children and his needing to be close to his daughter was an eminently reasonable need that needed to be met. It clipped the wings of my dreams but was a need that had to over-ride all other needs. A parent's bond is special and incontrovertible. And so our lives as a couple changed. They changed to revolve around his family life. The day that he was given every six weeks or so to spend with his little girl. I will say at this point that having altered course and accepted a confinement it was somewhat bitter pill when he upped and left for Gozo. But that is a different story. The reality is that he stayed true to ********* up to the point when her mother told him that she and her partner was planning to move to Orkney for a job taking ********* with them, thus rendering him once again powerless. At that point his resolution to stay was made irrelevant. In fact they did not move but the die was cast. 
Aagh, and so it goes on. Long blogs. Lots of words, are you still with me ? We come back home after a blissful holiday, life continues i start work, it's new learning and all the while i'm doing my art course and my son has moved to China and my daughter is getting more pregnant and Jon is working and seeing his daughter. He starts to complain that i'm working on Saturdays, our weekends are more broken up because my older son is not about to look after my cats and so we spend time hithering and thithering a bit and i'll confess sometimes Jon feels like a burden and i get tired of watching the same t.v programmes and never going out, and Jon starts to place new rules on us, he doesn't want to drive on Sundays because he drives every other day, again not unreasonable but another curb on our freedom, and when we go walking he tells me, as we wander under great skies bathed in skylark song, catching sight of hares and other creatures, that there is no god, i think "this is my god, please don't destroy it" but he is determined.
Life begins to get grimmer. Jon starts sniping at me. Our relationship which had been about 90% good drops to maybe 70% but 70% is still good isn't it and everybody has grumpy days and you work round them, no relationship is perfect, i commit to staying with it, i know Jon is worth it, I have known the best of him and the best of him is brilliant.
But I begin to get unhappy. I am studying under a teacher who is unable to veil her dislike for me. I am working in a workplace where the backbiting comes down from the top and is non-stop, i am always anxious, i stop sleeping. My son, who is my funny guy, is away and we are still not communicating well. I am beginning to lose the plot. I have no sanctuary, I didn't know then as i do now, that i need time alone, all my time was being eaten up by other people and I had no time to myself to rest and recharge. I was pouring out energy to other people. Haemorrhaging happiness and getting not much that was good back.
In June there is another major hiccup. My three month probationary period at work comes up, i am kept on but i wasn't sure of being kept on, my grandson is due. And simultaneously an issue arises with Jon's family. Over the months that Jon had been seeing his daughter he'd started to take her swimming, this was one of my suggestions to him when he first started seeing her, that and canoeing. Initially he'd been scared of the time he would spend with her asking me for advice but by 2009 they had got their groove on. Her birthday was coming up in June and he was looking forward to taking her swimming in Woodbridge where she lived and buying her cakes as he had done before. But his ex-wife and sister in law decided to use that day for a family get together. I remember him telling me how he had picked up the email from his brother informing him and how he'd been watching the Chelsea flower show and when the music came up at the end he had burst into tears. I think he knew that he had lost control. Up to then he was doing it, he was sober, he felt loved, lovable and loving, he was proud of himself for his degree which was going well and his relationship with his daughter was going well too, he would say "I wish my mum and dad and nan could see me now, happy in love and doing well". 
The family get together not only broke him (i believe) it also broke me. At this point Jon and I had been together for over two years. I had yet to meet his daughter which i was sad about but understood that he was building his relationship with her and also as he said building trust with his ex-wife who had reason to feel guarded and mean after his years of drinking and more than one infidelity when their daughter was small. I was shocked not to be invited. I know, maybe that is silly, i took it initially. It hurt and it resonated with a wound in me that came from my family, a deep feeling of being left out, it triggered my outsider complex if you will. Perhaps it did not help that instead of holding me softly and saying that he understood that my lack of invite might be uncomfortable he started to take out his temper on me, began picking at me and belittling me. 
After he told me of the re-arrangement we went to see a plot of land he was thinking of buying. This was his latest whim, he thought he might buy a plot of land or tract of woodland, we looked at loads, it never happened. As we were coming home we passed the Bathstore near Sainsbury's and he seemed to be about to say something, i asked what he was going to say and ... wait for it, it's another Jon gem .. he said "i was wondering which of your friends i would fuck in the shower" .. it was not the moment to pull that line out of the bag, I was feeling snubbed and humiliated, he had form with infidelity, and his family had not invited me to a family gathering which made me feel like a cheap slapper rather than Jon's fairly longterm partner. The irony is that i was working the day they'd arranged i'd already changed my work days with another woman at her request knowing that Jon was seeing his daughter. And even if i'd been free I'd have asked if he wanted me to come, and he'd have said no it's not worth it and would have regained some control. I wanted him to speak out for me but he didn't and in hindsight i can see that he didn't want to make waves with his ex-wife in case she stopped him seeing their daughter. But the whole matter escalated, both of us had been triggered, and it was really the beginning of the end of his recovery and our relationship. All for the want of a horse-shoe nail. 
And tho' that seems like a little thing, sometimes it's the little things that set the ball rolling. We never really recovered. I nagged because i needed him to make good and he couldn't. And he withdrew because I was nagging. We did have happy times after but they got further apart and we'd eaten the apple from the tree of knowledge and our time in the garden of eden was over. 
And so there is more. We did make up, we still did beautiful things, skinny-dipping at Thornham sticks out, he had never swum naked before he said. But in the autumn of 2009 he developed a back, or shoulder, ache (i forget which) and unknown to me began self medicating with the morphine based medication his mother had been given when she was dying at the beginning of our days together. The upshot of which was that he landed up in hospital after taking an accidental overdose. He had driven to work in a bit of a haze and then driven back home and i think then called an ambulance. I am so glad he survived but i knew from that moment that he was not well, that his alcoholism was not licked, I knew i could not safely tie my lot to his, particularly as he refused to talk. I was isolated with this information because his family had, i thought, made it clear that they did not want to know me and i had no contact numbers for them anyway. I still loved him but from then i guess i was aware that he was unreliable. I realise as i write that I have blocked out this episode, likely because it was so out of my normal i couldn't take it in, so it has floated around like plastic in the sea of me, alien information that is not of me, or part of me, and yet belongs in me. 
Is that the end of 2009 ? Not quite. The sequence of events as i've relayed them is pretty much accurate as i recall, but it's all a long time ago, and mostly held in until now, the year whilst dotted with specific dateable events also has a moving felt layer. Now Jon is dead i need to release some of my story of Jon into the world so the world can take back what once was ours but now is just one more soon to be forgotten history, to tell that part of my history so that it is out of me, out of my body, returned to the ether from where it was begat. I think if i had companionship in my grief, my grief would be contained within that companion group but i don't so the page is my witness.
Is that the end of 2009, it isn't, i neglected to speak of my beautiful grandson who was born on June 12th after a long labour (three, maybe four days, it was worrying but he came out alright and my daughter too), my grandson was the light in the darkness in 2009 always bright and happy, his star kept me alive as i suspect Jon's daughter kept him going. And because of Jon's overdose i realised that i needed to give up my job in the whole food shop because it was making me unhappy and i wanted to give Jon more of my time and attention. Actually the shop pipped me to the post and got rid of me first which stung and left me smarting and ended up being another hiccup, rejection sucks, but that belongs to 2010. I also put in my university application which i'd been umm-ing and aah-ing over, it is sweet sad thing perhaps that i only recall now as i write, such is the grace of putting words down, Jon said to me that he wanted to support me through university, he didn't really, but i think the intention was there in him, his darkness took him over i think, but for those wondering why i stuck by a man who really wasn't treating me right and why i am grieving now, it is because i knew him as someone extraordinary, someone of rare and wonderful beauty, and i feel honoured to have shared some part of my life with him, and broken hearted that the beauty of him is no longer a part of the living world except in those who knew him.   

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

It's time for a rambling blog, i mean rambling words, a walk through my mind rather than a walk through scenic landscapes, tho' i suppose a walk in a mind is not so dissimilar. I'm not quite sure how this blog will go tho' because the weather has not been good in my head of late, there've been heavy storms, torrential rain, thunderbolts and lightening, lots of grim grit-your-teeth grey and only occasional glimpses of sunshine. Is this a new stage of grief i wonder ? Is this how it goes ? Or is this not grief and just how my life is from now on ? Is this where i am stuck forever ? I hope not. 
So where do i start ? How do i manage this story ? Here i am, in a couple of weeks my daughter and grandchildren and i are going to visit the island of Gozo off Malta which is where Jon chose to move to about 5 years ago, he moved in the autumn of 2013. I booked this trip when i was deep in grief just before christmas, his family had still not told me the name of the cemetery he had been buried in and i was looking for something to hold on to, some concrete grasp on the reality of his death. They did tell me somewhat begrudgingly after two months of my asking. 
Now i don't really know Jon's family. I met his brother and sister in law and nephew twice. The first time, they seemed ok, Jon and i had only been together for four weeks so meeting his family felt a bit like being thrown in at the deep end but i liked him and went with it. I was surprised when his sister in law told me, in a very definitely private conversation, that "Hardy men don't have feelings". It felt peculiar, not warm, and certainly didn't seem to apply to the Hardy man i was getting to know at that point in time. That phrase has stuck with me ever since. It felt like an absolute, and that there was no negotiation with the statement.
Much later in 2016 when i begged his sister in law and, through her, his brother to help Jon after he had been hospitalised for the second time in less than a year. I said to them you need to help him or he will end up dead or disabled. They refused saying it was down to him, that they'd rung and he'd said he was fine, and that it was his choice.  It made me recall that phrase. I guess having no feelings allows you to wash your hands of another suffering. They told me to not get in contact with them again unless it was important i.e he was in hospital again. I asked them to tell me if he died. Credit due, they did do that. I did not get in contact with them again until after the sister in law told me of his death. 
Ugh why does all that matter ? I suppose it is back story. I am in a funny space, dreading going to Gozo if i'm honest, i don't know what i'm hoping to achieve by going. Initially it was a sense of closure, but closure is such a peculiar concept. It feels like locking in or locking down and i don't know that i want that. For sure i can't spend the rest of my life mourning Jon, but i have a feeling that the sadness i feel now is always going to be part of me. A something broken. Something that is always going to hurt, not least because our relationship wasn't all sunshine and roses. Because he did let me down big time and his family were nasty. Nasty in the way middle class people are nasty. Painfully polite and absolutely correct but clearly cutting dead. That's how it goes. I'm middle class i know those manners they are about control. Social exclusion and a certain kind of tone in this case piety that smells of contempt, a pulling of rank, these are ways in which dominance and disregard are administered. Anyone who has been on the end of it will know what i mean. It's a monkey game. 
So away from the loneliness of that, what do i hope to achieve from visiting Jon's grave and the island where he spent the last four years of his life ? A part of me is cursing myself for giving a damn. I mean, why ? He left me years ago, sure i loved him, and i knew him as a completely brilliant man, but i also knew him as a lousy jerk and he was nasty when he left. 
I have over the past week been filled with a grief that is ugly. I described it to a friend in text last night as foetid and globby and mean. It is related to his family who consistently feel like a secretly administered punch in the belly, a casual foot in the way as we pass "oh sorry", a huddled "you are not welcome" clique conversation, a curled lip, a stare through. Maybe they are lovely people, they have told me how lovely they are, it's just that it isn't how they feel to me. I could be wrong. In fact I am wrong on some level because i am sure they are lovely to those that they deem of worth. 
Anyways, well you see what i mean about globby, i keep coming back to Jon's family and really what does it matter. I suppose it matters because they broke in to our love affair. They broke in and took what they wanted and left me to sort out the pieces. And i dd it, i did it for six years. For six years he was dry, he wasn't always well, but he was dry. And being dry meant that he was able to sustain regular one to one unsupervised contact with his daughter, meant that he got a first class degree with the OU, meant that he could fulfil a long held dream of volunteering as a resident at Strumpshaw Fen, getting himself a chainsaw certificate whilst he was there. I think that period of time was the longest he was dry and what pisses me off quite frankly is that his family behave as if it happened by accident. They have told me how happy he was when he left me and arrived in Gozo but he began drinking not very long after we parted company and was surely drinking heavily enough to be hospitalised less than two years later. 
Maybe it is arrogant of me to think that, but while every other one of his partners that his family mention is described in sympathetic terms, i have never met with any real compassion and the strength of our relationship and what he achieved in the time we were together has never been acknowledged. That is a bitter feeling. It's an ego thing i guess but also a "fuck you for not helping him", a "fuck you for your self-satisfaction that  allows you to speak the way you do, think the way you do, act the way you do" ... oops, see, globby and mean. 
I wonder if i will "publish" this blog. Publish is the tab i click to make it go public. It's not the same as having a book published, a book that's been selected, and overseen by a publisher, an editor etc. Self publication is a much more degrading form of public exposure especially if the only censor is your self and the wits that you have the day you decide to put out there whatever it is that you have written or made. The bottom line is who cares what you think, need, want or feel ? 
That line is one of Jon's. He would say this to me repeatedly while we were together and he re-itterated it to me in one of the last emails he sent me in a slightly different form. While we were together if i was struggling with something he would say to me "no-one cares what you think, want, need or feel". Understand that is bad language from a lover. But by the same token turn it over and understand that if no-one cares what you think, want, need or feel it is a liberating statement because if no-one cares what you think, want, need or feel you have license to think, want, need or feel whatever you like. I think this where the self comes in to play, this is where we are guided by our self, our true self, our core being. Now that core being may well reference that which is outside of it's self, that reference is i guess the ability of the self to connect with that which is outside, to understand that it does not stand in isolation. But that capacity to interact with the outside as well as the inside is really born out of the life we have had. 
I've talked about this before in previous posts, the nature of being, of how experience teaches us our place in society, and how that place determines the possibilities available to us. Or maybe i've not talked exactly about that but words along those lines. The poor tend to stay poor and the rich tend to stay rich tho' there are exceptions they are not so common. It's like reading, or climbing trees, or dancing, or playing a musical instrument, or whatever, if you grow up in a culture where that is the norm you are more likely to find yourself engaged in those activities than if they are alien to your environment. 
Maybe now i will get on to an interesting bit of the blog. Recently i've been thinking about goodwill. We live in a world in which money is the big be-all and end-all god. But money in itself has no worth at all. A coin is  gesture of goodwill but it's worth is only the worth we give it. For a supposedly intelligent species it's a weird thing that we have given so much power to God-Money. I guess in a world that loves money, money can buy goodwill. I guess this is why the rich are so anxious about their wealth and holding on to it, it negates genuine goodwill. Let me return to goodwill. Goodwill that comes from the heart not the counting house. Real goodwill stems from inside of us. If our currency was goodwill then i think the playing field would level a little. Because goodwill has to be earned. Actually that's not quite right, because goodwill is also a gift that we inherit and that stems from the company we keep. But keeping it simple-ish as a running thread. There are some who are naturally benevolent and they are likely to hold greater sway in a world that leans towards goodwill. And there are some who are more inclined towards malevolence and they achieve order through ill will  Goodwill is nourishing. Ill will is not. Where am i going with this ? I don't know but i have an image of a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung. I guess that image is coming to me because goodwill feels like flow and ill will feels like interruption. And the picture of a beetle rolling it's ball successfully seems to represent a kind of harmonious beetle/dung/planet relationship. Maybe that's how goodwill as currency works. And maybe that's why ill will is so life and joy sapping. I don't know.
I've got in a muddle with this train of thought. Cut and edited it and made it no better so i'll stop. It's as far as it goes for now maybe, a random thought just splatted in the middle of a raging blog about Jon's family, raging because their manners feel hard and make me sad. I guess maybe the connection is goodwill. At how you spend goodwill, the goodwill gifted to you by another, is it re-invested in that other or spent elsewhere, is it received with thanks or demanded, taken, as a right. 
I was chatting on sunday to my son Richard about selfishness, the ideas we were playing with were not well formed enough for me to transcribe them to this blog but it was a conversation about the nature of selfishness and how it plays out and selfishness of individuals and individuals when they combine as couples or groups; and about the need to balance the inside and outside (that's my line); his thoughts were more interesting to me than mine because i already know mine and his were new to me and will surely shift my consciousness a little as i assimilate them into my being. I guess this is another example of goodwill in action, the sharing of thoughts and ideas which is a very close to source kind of goodwill. The sharing, the giving and also the receiving.
Hmm and i flick back to Jon's family again. They shared nothing with me in the time i was with Jon. And yet they took and took and took and after they had taken he would be tired and mean, and because i loved him i would try to fill him up, in the end it took it's toll on me, i got worn down and worn out, and when i was worn out he left taking the best of us and giving our life, the dreams we had made together to another woman. That was his prerogative, i forced myself to trust him right up until the last email he sent to me before we broke up, the break up email in fact. I didn't have to, i did it because i loved him. Trust is an act of massive goodwill. To put your trust in someone is a heart matter. Jon broke my trust, he took my heart and wasted it. Maybe i am going to Gozo to see if i can find a little of the heart he stole from me in 2013.  

Postscript - evening 27th Mar .. i'm adding this because i wrote this blog this morning and it's a weird blog but having made it public i want to leave it as it stands testament to feelings that i am struggling with. Hurt feelings. It may be that Jon's family did not realise that their manners came across as unkind or hurtful. My hurt was not allowed voice when i was with Jon .. "no one cares what you think, want, need or feel" ... and being always quashed they now seek outlet. I think this is often the way with pain that is unspoken or denied. It will eventually make itself felt one way or another.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

I have been trying to nudge myself back to life over the past few months. One of the ways i've been doing this is quietly working in my studio. It's process work but i needed to work on projects that are not all about Jon. I probably have too many balls in the air at the moment and some are sat on back burners simmering away, the smell of them mingling with whatever i am giving more concrete focus to on any given day. 
At the beginning of the year i decided to give myself one fairy tale a month to play with. This month's fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. With the two previous months i have used the time to immerse myself in the stories i have picked. I have made bits and pieces of work but nothing finished. I am ok with that at the moment as getting myself back on my feet feels more important than meeting a strict or heavy weight done goal. If anything my heavy weight goal is to stop spinning and re-find my still point so I can know and begin following my yearning again. 
Yearning i think is something i will be able to explore this month with this story. In many ways I was here before Jon died, wondering where i was going contemplating if and feel directionless. The time i am spending now in my studio with no deadlines and only my will and heart to follow is a parting gift. A gift maybe not wanted, but maybe needed. 
As i'm thinking about mermaids it seemed like the right moment to go to the sea. I had unfinished business to attend to in Southwold so that's where i went. The sea is always a comfort to me. I walked from the pier to the end where the river runs into the sea where  I met a lovely man who said that two metres of beach had been lost in the recent east winds and that tonnes of sand had been lost. His job was to put the sand back. 
I can't step on a beach and not beach-comb, i have so much sea treasure sometimes i feel a tad silly for picking up more but there is something meditative about the process. And it's funny what catches the eye and curiosity. This time it was wooden beach pebbles, and scraps of cloth, primarily. I think I know what I will do with the cloth, not so much the pebbles they may just end up in a bowl until i find a use for them.
For a while I sat and gazed out to sea. I hadn't been to the sea since my daughter and i had been to Dublin before I knew about Jon being dead. Of course i cried. There was no-one to see me cry and  who cares anyway. 
And I came across two gorgeous broken statues in slightly ramshackle garden. A marble man, a god or hero, grotesque in his broken-ness and a wooden woman, headless and legless.  Both useful and beautiful research figures.
I guess that yesterday was me picking up my threads, yes saying goodbye to Jon, Southwold was where we had our first proper date and our last, but also recomposing my world as it is now. Letting myself be soothed by the sight, sound, smell and feel of the sea, letting it lullaby me back into a walking life.