Here’s what I think it should be like: a constant sense of sadness underlying everything I do, with stronger waves that sweep me into tears. Those tears should come when, for example, I sort through Matthew’s belongings, or when I find myself in a place he loved. That’s what, emotionally, would seem to make sense.
It isn’t like that.
This weekend I’ve been in Worcester, surrounded by Matthew’s life. I’ve seen his friends and colleagues. I’ve begun to make decisions about what from his many collections I keep, and what I jettison so that I can move forward. I haven’t been overcome by grief. I haven’t even cried. I have chatted, and laughed, and been a whirlwind of efficiency activity.
It may be that I’m back in denial, telling myself I’m kindly doing for him while he is away the house-clearing he won’t ever get round to himself. (There’s certainly an element of that.) It may be that at six months into this new life the situation is getting easier; belongings are becoming ‘stuff’ and not a way to try to conjure him back.
I imagine it’s some of both. I imagine also that the balance between the two will become clearer over the next few hours as I relax and as the undercurrents of my brain find their way to the surface. Either way, this isn’t is what I think it should be.
It is instead, as the wise continue to tell me, exactly what it is. And what we do regardless (I’ve added this bit) is that we go to the hills. So last night with Lucy I faced into the gale, and looked down as darkness fell on the floods and on the the bright lights of Malvern. We’re into March now. On we go.