If you are one of my loyal El Pocito “followers” please feel free to skip this blog, I’m sure you’ve heard enough of my moaning already. For the newbies though, here is the latest instalment of my attempt to survive the death of a goddess I was lucky enough to share 35 wonderful years with.
March 1st this year marked the fourth month since Maureen left us. Has life after all this time returned to normal? Not one bit. In fact mostly it’s got a lot worse, particularly the mood-swings and the tears.
I’ve been trying to work out how you describe to other people what this feels like, because until it happened to me I obviously hadn’t a clue, despite many of our dear friends recently suffering the same. I think I’ve got something that might work. Imagine all of the following, happening simultaneously. Bill Murray in GROUNDHOG DAY, but where for me it’s been 123 mornings waking up right back on that same day (the day after Maureen died). ROBINSON CRUSOE, stuck on his uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere. Almonaster la Real might as well be an island. It’s completely foreign (in every respect), 200 kms to the nearest city, 25 kms to the nearest town, and 2 km to encounter another human being. The last time I enjoyed a proper conversation was just before Maureen fell into her fatal coma. It is so isolated here that often I don’t speak to anyone for as long as a week. INFLUENZA, not the “flu”, but the one where you go into a fever for a couple of days. I feel totally disorientated and like in a bubble, where everyone else is on the outside. Often I can walk or cycle into town and have no memory of doing it. I am physically debilitated, the slightest exertion leaves me exhausted. FRIGHTENED OUT OF MY WITS. Not by any particular thing but just fearful all the time. And then during the night it’s the worrying, when my brain goes into overdrive and stops me from getting any sleep. In the last five months I’ve only slept right through once, and that was only because I was utterly shattered. Normally its worry/ nap/ get up for a pee/ worry/ nap/ get up for another pee and so on, as many as five times a night. The current major topics of concern are: “how am I ever going to find another partner”, “where am I going to find the money to live”, “and should I sell up and go somewhere else?”
Oddly enough I have made a LOT of new friends since Maureen died, which is strange because I didn’t think I had ANY before as they were all of Maureen’s making, people naturally loved her. Most of these are widows too. One or two have found new partners, though it took several years. All live where there are lots of other people of the same culture. The ones who haven’t found anyone are resigned to being single, and their days are exactly like mine, awful. It is essential I don’t become one of them.
The good news, spring is here, so I can be outside in the garden more, because after 57 years I have finally realised that is where I belong, my natural place, and I hope the sun and physical activity will heal not only my soul but my shoulder too which is still weak and giving me pain. The experience of “having a job” again (after 25 years), from November to the end of December and then all of February, was not a good one, stuck in a windowless box all day, alone. It not only used up all the daylight hours, which I needed to do all the chores that a simple life requires, but was totally pointless, as most jobs are. Now I can catch up and maybe even get back to trying some creative work again. I was reminded of this (what I used to do before all this happened) by a book sent to me by two new and amazing friends, who seem to know me completely, yet we have never met. The book is called MARK HEARLD’S WORK BOOK. Mark Hearld is an illustrator like no other, his work is pure magic. And the book not only contains hundreds of examples of his art but explains the processes too. It is also, spookily, exactly the kind of style I have been attempting to perfect my entire life.
Finally I’d like to mention a homeopathic remedy I have recently discovered in the amazingly useful NEAL’S YARD NATURAL REMEDIES book. It’s for anxiety/ depression – ACONITUM NAPELLUS – and I’ve just started taking it (the 30CH dose) to try and help stabilise things. If you know of any other natural remedies, either for sleeplessness or depression, please get in touch immediately. If I wasn’t living so far away from other people (and therefore at risk of hurting myself) I would have long gone down the conventional path of getting myself prescribed anti-depressants, it has to be easier than living with this kind of pain.