....I know exactly what I was doing this time last year. It was a Friday and I'd gone over to Nick's to spend an evening with him and make his dinner. Nothing special, actually there wasn't that much in the cupboards, but carefully assembled to feed him slowly so that he could swallow without a coughing fit. He fancied fish with mushy peas and for some reason I grated some cheese into the pea mash and started grinning to myself remembering The Fast Show and their Cheezy Peas sketch. I put a little quip about it on Twitter and got a snowstorm of responses. I told Nick why I was laughing but he didn't remember the show. He just wanted his dinner. Afterwards I thought, I wish it had been a nicer one. Something he absolutely adored, his very favourite - but how was I to know?
There wasn't a dinner the next day. A year ago tomorrow afternoon, he suddenly tipped backwards in his chair at the pub and died. And somehow a whole year has gone by, has gone so quickly - and over the last few months, so oddly.
I'm surprised at how emotional I am feeling, how tender. No regrets; we had spent so much time together and my only real regret was that it could have been more. But the sudden killer blow of loss is a thing that gets you at the weirdest moments, long after you would ever expect it. It stabs you in the heart, punches all the air out of your sails and leaves you winded. And it's a sad and uncomfortable feeling but at the same time as it should be. Grief is the B side of love, the side of the record you didn't plan to play.
I drove home last night listening to a CD of Nick's that we had last listened to together, and imagined him in the passenger seat so vividly that I wished I could tell him, oh I heard your voice so clearly today. Had a little cry. Felt better for it.
And all I want to say is this: if you are grieving, or missing someone, I am sorry. It's a pain like no other, or maybe no pain but an overwhelming dullness and lack of joy. It's horrible. And there is nothing much that anyone can do to help except to say, I hear you. And, believe it or not, that one day - maybe not now, but soon - you'll look up, and life will go on.