At the weekend I celebrate my brother-in-law's 70th Birthday with my big sister and all her family in a beautiful part of Somerset draped in autumn gold and bronze. I had been planning to go anyway but would have been on red alert to come back if Robin was failing.
Instead I share the loss of him with them.....engulfed in the bright sweet energy and aliveness of youth and tiny people.
Sunday afternoon, to bring myself back to my odd single life I walk in the park. The first time since Robin died. There are so many first times now.
This grieving feels like an illness... a thing taken possession of me....an invasion from inside....waves of nausea and dizziness.....of disbelief ... the sudden stabbing pain of realising I will never see him again...which fells me at the knees.
I keep upright on my feet all day with the help of our dear friend who is leading the Thanksgiving service. The kitchen table is covered in papers and photographs and cards and folders of Robin's writings. We are trying to find a way to access this man .......his life and loves and work...the whole complexity and mystery of him....to distill him into 15 minutes. I feel light headed with overwhelm.
We stop for lunch - spicy pumpkin soup, roasted tomato bruchettas - sitting at the picnic table in the autumn garden, leaves falling from the apple tree, unbelievably hot sunshine on our faces.
In the middle of this I make and take phone calls from the caterers about the menu for the food at the wake and ask a dear friend to work out and order the right equipment we will need to feed and serve our guests.
We call the funeral directors with questions about parking and flowers and the keyboard at the crematorium.
In the end we make an outline ...a mind map of all the threads of Robin's life.... reduce it down and down....to themes .....to headlines...to summaries.....I'm not sure if we have captured him or lost him in the process.
I'm so grateful to her....and wrung out with the enormity of the task. I want to ask him,
What do you want me to say about you?
But I know his answer .... it's what he always said in the end ....when I asked him,
Where do you want to go today?
What do you want for supper?
How am I going to get through this without you?
He would just smile at me and say,