Not mine. Ma deid Irish mammy would have been 90 today so I’m actually glad she had the courtesy to pop off before I could feel guilty about not visiting her in the home she would have been in by now.
She was the first person not to like me and bearing in mind I’ve been around over 50 years now and had over 30 jobs across 3 continents, the fact that in that time I must have met countless thousands of people and amassed exactly 1 friend speaks volumes. And she married me. The wee scone. Of course she wisnae right in the heid either. The kindest, most loving, funniest, strongest person I ever knew. But a daftie.
Anyway, this blog is probably growing near to a close so I’m just putting down some thoughts / stream of consciousness as to why it’s time to go. Some of this I’ve said before, some mebbe naw. And this isn’t a wailing “poor me” diatribe. It’s a bit like people saying “it must be terrible being partially blind”. How would I know? I’ve always been half blind and I’ve always been unlike-able.
When Linda died I had 27 Facebook friends. That was enough and they were all actually people I knew. And not from the olden days. Strange to relate I don’t actually know anyone from the first 37 years of my life. Most of the FB lot are ex colleagues from the last ten years or so..
They all knew Linda had cancer. Most of them knew she’d went into the hospice. She died on a Wednesday and on Thursday morning I posted a brief note along with my favourite picture of her. Now, when you’re 100% on your own, the first few days after a death are a bit of a blur. As she inconsiderately chose to die just after 5pm, there was no-one to certify the death. So I had to go back in the morning for the death certificate. Then I had to go to the funeral directors, register the deaht, deal with the paperwork.
So it was the following Monday when I first had nothing to do. And that was when I noticed that no-one had been properly in touch. There was no “I’ll nip round after work to see if you need anything”. No, “come away tae mine for your tea”. Nothing.
Now I know I’m weird and no quite right in the heid but these were people I thought I’g to on OK with. A couple of months later Christmas came around along with two months of silence. That was actually the closest I’ve come yet to topping myself.
Mrs H was always mystified by this. When she was on her death bed she made damn sure I knew exactly what a good husband I’d been. I ken she had her own demons but she reckoned me the kindest, most affectionate, strongest, most protective, funniest person she’d ever met. She said I always put her first and that I never even needed to think about it. It just was. I should point out that was when the medication was working, not when she was suffering from paranoia and delusions.
So she wanted me to try. She made me promise to reach out to people. And I loved her so I did. I managed to tot up 20 or so people I’d met over the last ten years or so that I thought I’d got on with. I was wrong. Half of them issued standard platitudes, half of them offered to meet. Soon that was down to single digits. By the start of this year that was down to half a dozen. Now. Well now it’s 3 folk who’ve moved me into the socially obligatory twice a year breakfast category.
Well fuck that. Breakfast is when you don’t want to give up a valuable part of your day and comes with a finite timeline. Lunch can spin out over 2 or 3 hours. Dinner is a whole evening. Breakfast. 60-90 minutes tops and a free day.
I knew the doors were closing back in April. Astonishingly enough I went out in the evening. For a meal! First time in years. With a girl. And on a Friday. A proper day. Now I had a nice time and I remember looking round a crowded restaurant thinking “so this is what people do”. But I was the only one having a nice time. Now the shrink came up with the whole RAD thing and I think there is an element of truth there. But really, folk just dinnae like me.
But I decided I owed it to masel to have one last whirl and got back in touch with everyone. I reckon 80% were “yeah but I’m really busy right now, I’ll get back to you”. 10% blanked me, one person actually went to the bother of unfriending me on Facebook Two people did agree to meet up and both cancelled late on the night before. It must be some kind of anti-pheromone. Now I should point out I don’t moan about my wife being dead. I’ve never burst into tears and rended my garments. I’ve done my best but it really has reached the point of no return. I’m back to being alone. And bearing in mind the amount of booze and pills I got through the first time, there’s no happy ending. Well there is. Because I want it to end.
The thing that really pisses me off, though, is that I still can’t shake that tiny nugget of hope. I know it would only take one really good thing to happen and I reckon I could try and forge on. But I’ve only ever had one good thing happen in my life and even though I know that lightning can strike twice, it’s unlikely.
Which is why I’m disposing of my assets and girding masel to sell up in the New Year, go off grid and hopefully find somewhere where the guilt will diminish enough to take care of business.
I’m oddly at peace with the whole thing. Yes, I’m sad but not in a mad, depressed way. I’m just as sad that all the qualities Mrs H saw in me went unrecognised everywhere else. It’s not like I’m high maintenance. A “come round tae mine” or a “let’s watch Strictly and have a laugh” a couple of times a month would probably have kept me going.
But I know what the future holds and there’s no fucking way I can thole that. So a farewell tea in October, a winter of throwing my life in the tip and then, hopefully, come the Spring I’ll take a huge wad of cash, find a beautiful sea view and wash off what’s been a long, hard, painful life.