Monday, 20 June 2011

A bittersweet birthday

It's been a tiring week. 

Where my tears have stopped the rain has begun in earnest. No, not bad poetry or heavy-handed metaphor but literal, pouring, sobbing rain. It's been fitting if not a little obvious but the melancholy weather has suited my sentiment the last few days as I've slept, pondered, remembered and grappled with the complete sense of unreal that her passing has brought. I can't bring myself to say the D word because I can feel her still here - in the sense that I remember her touch, see her in my Mum, know what she would say and continue to receive emails and cards from people who met her and loved her. I just still can't quite believe she's gone. Perhaps if I'd been at home it would seem more real but for now it just feels strange. 

Hyde Park Corner between showers and after dinner.
And so my birthday on Thursday was bittersweet. LB made the day very special with thoughtful presents and cupcakes and dinner at our favourite Spanish restaurant and a haircut and pedicure improved, if not brightened, the day also. 

On Friday I had lunch at Hix in Selfridges with my lovely, dear friend before we amused ourselves with the cosmetics counter and a spin through Gray's Antique Market in search of wedding accessories. The inscribed dessert at lunch was another small, special moment. Last Friday LB, Tor, The Hungry One and I went for dinner at The Corner Room in Bethnal Green - a joint birthday dinner - that was delicious, delightful and very good fun. I think it was a good idea to get some birthday celebrations in early this year as I haven't much felt like celebrating since then. Don't get me wrong, I'm not disillusioned or anxious about 31, I'm looking forward to a year in odd numbers, but frankly, between work and grief I am completely shattered. I slept until 3.30 yesterday and woke at half past one today so I'm glad the urge to celebrate en masse completely passed me by this year. 

Some of the decor at The Corner Room...

So much has happened in the last 12 months - some serious Life boxes have been ticked: incredible job, impending wedding and yet adulthood still feels relative. I'm glad not to be 30 anymore, with all its significance, but mortgages and babies are as foreign a concept to me as ever and I continue defiantly to understand grown up as the right to drink wine on a Tuesday and book an overseas holiday online using my own credit card. Each to their own I suppose but there was something quite serendipitous about my Wednesday morning Oval tube station philosophy lesson which I think sums up everything the last week and last year has thrown at me, from the mouth of Muhammad Ali no less:

And so another year begins. 

Thursday, 16 June 2011

84 and a day and 31 tomorrow

That phone call came yesterday at 1.13pm and now she's gone and the rest of us are left to juggle feelings of relief, sadness, bewilderment, gratitude and loss - all in overwhelming proportions. The day before was her birthday in fact and for me it was a sad, tearful day - so tearful that on Tuesday I felt the kind of dehydrated that is usually mistaken for a hangover. Too many tears and too much grief, if such a thing as grief can ever be quantified.

I've had a lot of time to think about this moment. In the last 18 months I've said goodbye to her three times thinking it would be the last and now I struggle to try and contain the panic because I can't remember the details of our last conversation. Because I didn't know it would be our last.

Today has been a quiet day. I feel tired and sad but philosophical. I've never really understood what rest in peace means, not really, or perhaps I've never given it a lot of thought, but when I think about my nan and the incredibly strong, dignified, practical, loyal, good woman that she was, amazing in so many ways as a person in her own right as well as a grandmother, well fits of tears seem ill-placed and even a bit selfish. I can close my eyes and hear her voice and I know exactly what she'd say and more than anything I want her to be at peace. But fuck I miss her. And of all the things I inherited from her, emotional restraint doesn't seem readily apparent in the mix. So there will be tears. But there will also be love, reflection, respect and quiet admiration, and tomorrow, on my birthday, some champagne perhaps and a toast. To an amazing woman who I had the privilege to call my Nan.

Friday, 10 June 2011

A recent launch and an imminent departure

I'm going to try and get in one last naval gaze before an inevitable phone call this weekend about my resilient in mind if not in body grandmother. Wanting someone's misery to end and not wanting them to die are two difficult emotions to reconcile and grief frankly scares the shit out of me it's so huge. But that's another naval gaze.

Mat Collishaw, Ryan Gander.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Tooth hurty

It's quite difficult to get an RSVP to a pity party for root canal therapy when you're competing for attendees with advanced cancer, kidney failure, a serious sinus infection and now a knee reconstruction. Not such a fun week for the family on any continent really...

I'm off this afternoon to the dentist in Clapham for some conscious sedation and dental brutality and I'm looking forward to it as much as... root canal? Yep. About sums its up really. According to the nifty brochure they gave me I won't remember much of the procedure but LBB is my designated responsible adult so he has to bring me home and iron, cook and drive all the heavy machinery in our house for the next 24 hours. I'm hoping I remember that.

Work has been capital B busy this week, with the website launch looming like a dentist's needle and Quite A Lot still to be done before next Thursday but I'm reasonably confident we'll get there. As long as the internet at work stops crashing, our email stops breaking and the site glitches get resolved. Not much to ask for really? In the interests of expediency I worked from home yesterday and was non-stop but it felt good to be getting through things after a stultifying few days but I'm hoping these all powerful drugs this afternoon will clean swipe my brain of after hours work thoughts. It is exhausting.


I'm not sure what the weekend holds - I imagine not much. I wanted to go to a jazz festival at Strawberry Hill on Sunday, Horace Walpole's 19th century gothic castle, but after the cashspew that was Greece I can't quite stump to 25 quid this month so we might console ourselves with the Taste of Spain food festival that's overtaking Regent Street instead. That still too though is dependent on how much or little I'm involuntarily drooling after this afternoon.