I’m reporting back feeling just a little proud, having survived my first day in London without meltdown. I visited work and held a couple of half sensible conversations without the outbreak of showers. I met friends and saw the distances shrink to the stretch of a hand. It was a good enough day.
Of course the city threw me a few curve balls. The ticket machine bore a personal grudge. Then came the hour long bus diversion, which dumped me back at the stop I’d got on, late and more than a little irate.
My battle plan was simple. I told myself tears were ok but each time I felt something stressing me, I would ask myself ‘is this worth getting upset over? do I need to cry for this?’. It turns out that I’m a little sturdier and a bit better at catching serenity than I’d thought.
It was good to laugh, forget for a while, and remember myself in other things, my old world. It was good to feel known.
I spent the evening with an old friend who, in his words, is also a member of ‘the dead dads club’, though his loss was several years ago. I was glad to see him, concrete proof that life does come back somewhere on the other side, even though I know his life has never been quite the same.
It was a relief to talk about the things that usually stay unsaid, that make other people wriggle; the moment of death, how it had felt to be there, how the body looked, the awkward moments of misplaced laughter, the grim humour in the face of death, the things we do to cope.
It was incredily freeing to laugh at these things that have been my very private horrors. In the shock of laughter something tight and painful got just a little looser.
We sat on the bus and grin-grimaced at the lighter darker side of loss, ignoring the ‘that’s not funny’ funny looks and letting the night slide by, tapping gentle fingers on the glass..