Canadian friends, if you are not up-to-date on Coronation Street and/or Eastenders, you may want to skip this post until you are!
Over the weekend, on Saturday actually, it was 11 months since Mark died.
In less than a month now, he'll be gone a whole year.
Almost completely unbelievable. I see photos of him, and I'm so glad I took so many photos of him, and I think, well that wasn't so long ago. And really, it feels like 5 minutes and a million years all at the same time since he died.
This past month, I felt a lot better physically and emotionally than I did last month. I've been really busy over the past few weeks. When I moved into the house in January, I left a lot of stuff in the two spare bedrooms and knew that eventually I would get around to sorting them out. Well the time for sorting, or at least organizing the piles, finally arrived. I found a roommate, someone to rent out the extra space I wasn't using. This meant a lot of boxes needed to be either unpacked or moved to the the basement. A good number were unpacked, some were moved to the basement and a whole pile of stuff was removed from the basement and shed and carted away by a junk dude.
It felt good to start the purge. While there is still so much to do, I've made a really good start on it all. The activity was probably good for me too. The distraction of it.
Looking back to last month again, I felt physically ill and emotionally drained around the monthly marker of Mark's death. This month, that didn't happen but I had a couple of really sad moments over the weekend.
This is where the spoiler alerts kick in - if you're a fan of Corrie or Eastenders and are not up to date with the UK broadcast dates, stop reading now!!
Kylie and David
I knew that Paula Lane was leaving Corrie. I didn't actually care. I have never really liked her, well I'm sure she's a truly lovely girl, I didn't like the Kylie character. No amount of late-breaking redemption was going to change that. David I've never ever liked. I'm not supposed to, I know that. The two of them together just grated on me. I had read that there was a plan in the works to kill off poor Kylie, I just didn't know it was going to happen on Friday. I certainly didn't expect to happen in a quick(ish) and violent way.
I sat in front of the TV with the dogs, shocked when I realized that the end was close. As she lay on the cobbles, in front of the Rover's Return, struggling to breathe while she bled to death (from a stab wound in her chest), she had an opportunity to tell David all of those things that you hope you'll get to say to your loved ones before you die. Now, after losing Mark last year, I know better than to wait until I'm on my deathbed to tell the people I love exactly how I feel about them. I tell them all of the time now. You don't always get an opportunity for a dramatic bedside goodbye. I know we didn't.
Watching the scene triggered something inside of me and I started to weep. I cried hard. A fucking ugly cry. I didn't realize I was doing it until Gracie started scratching at my leg but I was actually wailing out loud. At one point, after the paramedics arrive and pronounce her as well and truly gone, the camera pans over her face and they have one of those plastic breathing tube things in her mouth. That took me immediately back to the emergency room, Mark had one of those in his mouth when they let me in to see him after he had died. Watching how calm David was as he walked away from Kylie's body, reminded me so clearly of how numb I felt... of how calmly I walked away from Mark's body and out of the hospital. You are in shock, I know that your body does that to protect your brain from just exploding. The whole scene was really well done and after the episode was over, I had a horrible headache and felt completely spent, drained, cried out. Gah. Television is supposed be an escape, right?
For those of you who watch Eastenders, you'll know that they recently killed off beloved landlady and Mitchell Family Matriarch, Peggy Mitchell. Phil came back to the square for the funeral, looking jaundiced and frail. His liver is failing and the research that they have done on what that looks like is spot on. It has been increasingly difficult for me to watch Steve McFadden sit, crumpled on the sofa, holding tissues to his face while his nose bleeds. Mark suffered with horrible nosebleeds during the last few days of his life. I know now that it was caused by his liver shutting down but at the time we thought (and were told) that it was a side effect from the steroids he had been taking to try to help him feel better before he started chemo up again. Again, watching this made me cry. Not as hard or as ugly as when Kylie died but it was really hard to watch it. It just seemed unfair that my attempt to clear my head and escape for a little while, just bit me in the ass, hard.
Everyone who knew Mark also knew that one of his heroes was John Lennon. Since Mark died, I've had a really difficult time to listening to John or the Beatles. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can't and until just this weekend, there were certain songs I couldn't hear. They just reminded me too much of Mark. I had this old playlist I was listening to on the weekend. It was something I hadn't listened to in a long time. In the middle of it, was a chunk of John songs.
Mother came on, I listened to it, didn't cry.
Isolation started up, I let it go and got through the whole thing.
Working Class Hero, God.... Gimme Some Truth, was able to listen to each song, in it's entirety and not have to flick it off or grab a bunch of Kleenex. This was huge to me, massive. It felt really good to be able to enjoy the music and think about how much Mark loved those songs and just be peaceful, not sad.
That is progress my friends. I've learned that baby steps will get you where you need to go, it just may take you a little longer to arrive.