Monday, 5 March 2012

He is gone.

This man:

this, most wonderful, loving man, is dead. This girl, safe against her Dada's heart, has lost her father. These typing hands will never hold my husband's again. He is gone.

I thought I would wait until I knew what to say. That day may not come and I find myself averse to hesitation of all kinds. Life is now, and that may be all. Life is now, and it is beautiful.

The pounding silence of NO THOMAS reverberates through every nerve, every minute. I think I have calmed, then in an unguarded moment I am folded by pain. So often it comes silently, even tearlessly. Tears can only encompass so much.

Or something beautiful happens and the tears flow until I wonder if they will ever stop. The days after Thomas died there was a rainbow every morning. I've never known that happen before. And then snow, on the hill where we married.

The beauty brings solace, but not enough to smooth the spike of, 'He would have loved this.' My consolation is that his corneas live on. Two people saw the snow in his stead. Two people can see their loved ones in his stead.

Some things keep moving on. Pickle learns new tricks daily. For all Thomas's devoted parenting, he missed hearing her say thanks (well, 'shanks') by a couple of days. And he never heard her say 'I love you', at least, not in words.

We're still out stomping. In fact, there's more running now, which feels right. The sun warms us and the wind inspires us. I look at this land and am flooded with gratitude. Nowhere else could I be the warrior Mama I need to be.

And not just the land. The florist gives Pickle her fallen blooms and buds. The newsagent wouldn't accept payment for chocolate. The Courtyard Cafe closed for Thomas's memorial. I had to put the word out that there was no more room in my freezer for soup. Every day, flowers, food, cards, money even, little toys for Pickle, arrived on our doorstep. So many offers of help, childcare particularly, but I couldn't bear to part Pickle from her Mama. I still can't for long. My neighbours have been amazing. My family have been endlessly loving. My friends have been everything I could wish for. Gratitude just doesn't cover it. This land, this community, have made happiness possible for me and my girl. We still have great times. Dozens of people have stopped me in the street to say, 'I'm so sorry for your loss. I didn't know Thomas well, but he seemed such a kind man...' and I am thinking, 'I am so sorry for your loss. I had five years with him. He was 1 in 8 billion and you've missed your chance.'

Pickle's birthday was one of the hardest days of my life, but not for her. Surrounded by grandparental love all weekend and swamped in presents, she had a lovely time. Her Gappy (who raised Thomas alternate weeks with his dad and has always been his staunchest supporter) and I took turns to make salty tea in the kitchen while the other faked delight as she opened yet another gift.

Pickle herself is the colour in my future. She shapes my days and nights, gives everything purpose and hope. I am working so hard to save her, but in reality it is quite the other way around.

I will tell something of the celebrations another day, when I have the pictures and my keyboard has dried off.
A thousand thanks to you who have sent love to me. Miles matter little to hearts - death has no hold on love, so geography doesn't stand a chance.

I am grateful it is spring. As I say goodbye to my beautiful little family as it was,

something new and wonderful is always beginning,

and we just keep on swinging.

Postscript: If your tea is still warm, or you have warmth enough without, Rima has written a most beautiful, most true, most heartful tale of The Elf with the Upside-Down Heart.
Terri Windling has discussed Thomas's many talents and contributions to folklore and mythic arts In Memorium.
Rachel has written a lovely piece For Thomas and one about his journey into the Earth.
and our good friend from everywhere, Manjree Khajanchi, has written a poetic Eulogy: For T.H.
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