February 2nd 2015 11:13 am.
The time zone is irrelevant. It is the brutality of the memory of the moment that matters. Whether acknowledged at 11:13 CET or 11:13 EAT matters not. It is the brutality of the memory of the moment to the person remembering that matters.
I’m a deadline kind’a gal. I accept that now. I’ve only lived with myself for enough years to see the Rolling Stones emerge onto the music scene, become world icons in the industry and launch their 50 and Counting anniversary tour in 2012.
Yeah Ok, I’m a slow learner. This deadline of today has been significant in my mind for many reasons and I have marked the deadline publicly to seal it in veracity (ok truth! But I love purple prose)! I have told family and friends that the never-ending saga of Gill’s first novel will be finished, as in my writing the two words THE END at that moment and that has happened.
An aside for my lovely friends that mistakenly think that means the book is now available in WH Smiths. No. It still needs editing, beta readers, polishing and … oh yes a publisher!
What does this deadline really mean?
It is significant in that it marks the end of a major chapter in life.
I wrongly thought it would mark THE END of the grief process as well as my novel. A bit like when I was twelve and I spent the entire year fantasising about the magical moment that was approaching, April 2nd 19??, my entry into the much talked about and infamous club – TEENAGER – wow that was a flop too. I awoke that morning, as I did this morning, expecting something momentous. I would feel different, look different, people would treat me differently. But no, it was just a birthday like any other and to make things worse my friends didn’t get my disappointment, they had known it was just a “figure of speech”, a stereotype applied to all young people of “a certain age group”. What a let down.
I have learned over the years and I didn’t expect a fanfare this morning. I did know in advance there is no END to the grief process but I hadn’t faced that knowledge. Like most times I find it easiest to face facts here at the keyboard. This blog has been my vent for so long now it is only natural to retreat here. Like I’ve said a million times on these pages it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.
But I am right, it is significant and my focus on the achievement of those two small words, THE END has not been without meaning. It is the end of one aspect of grief. I have now, after three long years finally lived through every memory of the trauma of illness that we endured together, I have finally faced the memory of today, three years ago and I am and will survive it and put it to bed where it belongs. I don’t need to carry it around any longer. But it is my vision of the future that leaves me feeling deflated, just like the teenage me all those years ago.
I now accept I have a future beyond weeks, months, even years and it frightens me because it is a future alone. Whereas before I couldn’t face that prospect I can now. Thanks to the awesome support of family, close friends and the kids and people I’ve met in Tanzania, I have achieved what I set out to achieve. I have discovered the new me, the one that can survive in her skin on her own terms. But now that I can see over the brick wall and recognise there is a long and even happy future ahead, it scares me sh******!
So folks, if you decide to stick around, watch out cos the journey could get bumpy from now on in. But the overriding good news of this day is that I accept there’s gonna be a ride and anticipate it being a long one. Thank heavens, god, Allah (as featured heavily in the novel), the universe, karma, buddha or whoever or whatever is your particular hook to hang your faith on. for me it is a nameless force.
I thank that force with all my heart that I am here, in Moshi Tanzania, today. Here amongst the humility and generosity of the people of Tanzania. I’m not quite ready to face this anniversary back in the world that represents the old me, the Morecambe to his Wise. Maybe next year who knows, stick around if you want and find out.
My final message today, on this highly significant day in my life is to the kids of Good Hope. You better watch out guys and gals ‘cos you’ve all got a big job over the next few months, helping me face my future.
With love and thanks to a whole bunch of people, all of whom know who they are. And to Den, my Big Man, always with me in my heart. xxx