Saturday, 23 September 2017

Happiness without you...

I want to write this because, a brilliant thing happened and again, you are not here for me to tell you about it.

It's Saturday, I would probably have called you already, talked about how I don't have a hangover and I really, really deserve to have one, and you would just tell me to be careful -  you would be concerned about my vulnerability to embarrassment more than muggers and rapists. But I'm fine, Mom. Honestly, I did a gig on Thursday where I went on stage after an act who had, beyond his own credulity, somehow managed to get the audience to chant, "Rape, rape, we want rape!" And they found me "adorable". I am beyond all doubt, a survivor as Beyoncé would say.

But last night I did a gig for the Arts Lab, and I made people laugh, even though I started talking about dad's accident on stage and forgot to tell jokes for a bit. And then Robin Ince was talking about his mom, and his passion for art and there was so much I wanted to be able to tell you about. If you were there I'd have nudged you at various points. And I wanted to talk to Robin as well, who lost his mom a couple of years ago and talked about it in his show, about the grief - all this well of utter sadness and despair you left me with. How it was there on my wedding day. How it has been there for every book launch, every party, every time one of my friends hugged me and said they were proud of me. The ridiculousness of the grief... how, you think it is going to get smaller, but it bloody well doesn't, it just stays the same stupid size. And happiness. That speck of light in the big black pit. I knew I was happy. I just couldn't feel it. Not for ages.

Anyway, I didn't mention it to Robin, but I wanted to tell you about it. I have friends who are still in the pit, and they can't even see the speck. No one goes through this uniquely, but we all do.

I'm feeling guilty these days because I can say I'm happy. We have barely anything: a van that could do with fixing; a car with no nose; a washing machine that will boil and/or dampen clothes indefinitely; very dodgy windows. But I'm happy... There have been points in my life when I should have been happy but I wasn't. There was no happy without you. There is happy with OH now. He has been in his own pit for ages and ages and ages... but I think he's working towards happy too. We are beyond content.

Robin was talking about the Lucifer statue in Birmingham art gallery and sensory art exhibitions. I won't mention the Lucifer story I told him, because you know it anyway and he might use it. But I did want to apologise for constantly dangling the carrot cake of a nice sit down and cup of tea under your nose for keep dragging you round art galleries. Remember the Fluid exhibition when Wolverhampton re-opened? We'd only just been to the Dudley gallery wartime memories exhibition which was all 'lift this flap'/'touch this'/'sniff this' so I think that was the sort of thing you were expecting.  I didn't tell you this was an exhibition about body fluids  - not so cute. And you and babies and dolls! So when the first installation was a cradle you made a beeline for it and I had to tell you, "Stop, Mom! It's made of vials of sperm!!!"

That and the piss flowers. I'll never forget your face.

Were you listening at your funeral when the reader said "Kath loved to paint. If you've got one of her pictures, treasure it, because there'll never be another." There wasn't a bloody first one, was there, Mom? What the flip had dad told him...?

Oh, she loves to doodle on the newspapers  = Georgia O'Keefe.

And then when they started to move you before I'd done the eulogy... oh, I'd have loved to have seen your face, you'd have been so mad we'd have laughed. Why is it the best people are the ones in the boxes?

I went to the Holly Bush a couple of weeks ago with Bec. You are now not the only member of the family to have been given a banana in that establishment, as Al Grant needed to dispose of the fruit for a joke and gave his to my sis. I remember you haranguing Paul Savage for his banana you'd seen him use on stage in a trick. I now can't see Paul without thinking of you shrieking, "Where's the banana?" at him. He finally gave you the  - now much bruised - banana, and you wouldn't accept it because the one you'd seen him destroy had been pristine. You absolutely refused to believe it was the same one and told him he was keeping the best banana for himself - which he would have been much entitled to as it was his banana. Somebody was hungry! I think we had to go and get you a curry after that. Too much lager!

I remember you being so proud of telling people I'm an editor. I wanted you to also be proud to tell people I'm a comic, but I think me knowing Paul Savage was enough for you.

I'm sorry we can't meet anymore for tea and cake or go for a mooch round M&S or the market. I'm sorry I can't hug your bony body. My god, you were 100% shins. I'm sorry we can't talk about your love for Ed Norton, or Princess Diana, or Jonathan Rhys Meyers from the Tudors, or The X-Factor which I wasn't watching anyway. I know there's a chair thing now and you'd probably hate it as much as I hate the whole show. I'm sorry I'm... happy. It has been a long time, and I don't know when it lifted, but it did a bit. It doesn't mean I'm not crying as I type or that my love for you isn't still bigger than the entire planet. And that happiness would be 500% more intense if you were here and that's probably a bit too much happy for anyone. But happiness... happened.

And that's what I'd tell them, the people still living in raw grief. Nearly six years it has taken for me... but I think I'm going to be okay. And so will they be.


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  2. Wow. I found you blog looking for Frugal Queen. I never expected to read the above post, but I did, and it struck such a chord with me I couldn't just go without leaving a comment. You see, I'm crying as I type this, because for me it'll be six years in February. There is never a day that goes by that I don't miss her, but somehow, it's getting easier to bear. There is more of a sense of peace alongside the grief, and you do just keep on keeping on. So there you go, the empathy of strangers can be a funny thing. Best wishes.

    1. Thank you, Susie. Hope the new year brings you things that make you smile. x