The film I adore above any other, ever, has now suddenly become my nemesis. I am living it out (with the roles reversed), including the spanish connection.
Bereavement. Why does no-one want to talk about this? It’s probably going to happen to most of us at some point. And because of that, using my number one tenant – write only what you know about – here are some tips, nobody needs to suffer like I have.
The first week was like nothing else. If you have ever had proper influenza, the one that confines you to bed for weeks so afterwards you have to learn how to walk again, you’ll have some idea. During the fever stage if it was possible to just let go and die you would without hesitation. The moment a loved-one dies is like that, something inside switches off. All but the most essential stuff (like breathing) stops working and effectively you become a zombie. Physically it is impossible to do anything, even walk, and you certainly don’t want to eat. At the same time sleep is impossible too. And you lose all connection with the normal everyday world around you. I became just the shell of who I had been, just hours before, and that sense of being me hasn’t returned yet.
It’s like living in a nightmare, and the only thing on your mind is fear, that there is no way you can survive this. If I had known I would have arranged to stay with someone and let them look after me totally, at least for a week, longer if possible. I would have also taken sleeping tablets to knock me out.
When I returned to my house, the same day Maureen died, it had changed. Utterly. It seemed crazy to be living out in the middle of nowhere. And inside it was cold/ tiny/ extremely basic/ and not at all like what a home should be. That sensation continued for several weeks.
Money became a massive issue. The UK is probably the only country in Europe that refuses to recognise equal rights. A woman can get a widow’s pension for life, the man gets nothing. Spain doesn’t have the same blanket of Social Security either. Maureen had always done the earning for us so ergo I would starve. I still might but that worry has now worn off, but only because I have finally chosen to live each day at a time. This sounds very sensible, but is really only possible because right now the only place I want to be is where Maureen is, so survival and staying healthy is no longer important.
My relationship with Maureen was that we were both people who had vital bits missing and therefore could never live alone, yet had found in each other what we each lacked. We work as both as team and as individuals, for 35 years. Since that state no longer exists I cannot function fully anymore. That can only happen when I find another person who can fill her place.
Mood swings. These kicked in after Maureen died and five weeks on they are still just as bad. One moment I can be talking to someone in a shop/ office, and the next curled up on the floor sobbing. Sounds embarrassing but I am lucky to live in a pueblo that has a lot of experience and empathy for those who have lost a loved-one, they just let it pass.
I’ve also changed as a person. So much that friends here are amazed at the transformation. For example I am lot calmer. I respond to invitations without question. My spanish has improved daily. And I have a new interest in other people, along with a confidence to talk to them, which never existed before.
CANCER. Why is it that someone who has chosen to live healthily all their life gets it and those who don’t, get to live full-term? I actually have the answer for that. We are thinking about cancer the wrong way. It isn’t something we need to find a cure for, because even if that were possible, something worse would then come along to take its place. We have think bigger, on both a global scale and over a greater span of time, because this isn’t a new phenomena. Nature is what is killing us, and the reason it is doing this is because it needs to restore the natural balance. All other species obey the fundamental law of balance, and because of that we get clean air to breathe, fresh water to drink, and everything else in order to live. The natural balance is where each species has a fixed population level, and that is dependent on the food source. So for instance, if there is a sudden loss of a food source species dependent on it will breed less to ensure survival. If there is a glut they increase the birth-rate. And in turn their natural predators will feed better too, until eventually things go back to how they were. This is the natural law of population. The problem for us is we started to find ways to outwit this process. Starting about 30,000 years ago, when we first began to live in groups and settle. And this is precisely when Nature began taking its revenge. Up ‘til then our population level had remained stable for millions of years. We suffered from disease, and then when that didn’t cull sufficient we started making war with each other. This will continue and multiply in unnecessary slaughter, regardless of research and invention, until we realise that the only answer is to reduce our population back to the levels before we started to settle. Maureen therefore died unnecessarily, just because others felt it was their “right” to have more than one child.