Today, a friend of mine wakes up without her mother.
I got the message last night to ask me to phone my mother, on her behalf, and let her know. She wants my mother to perform the funeral. We've known that bit for a couple of weeks, and it was a relief for my friends mother to know that my mother had said yes, that her Celebration was in safe hands.
Today, another friend of mine buries his grandfather. His daughter is asleep upstairs, his son and daughter will be coming back to ours for tea tonight. Again, it was a long and painful illness that left a strong proud man as a gibbering husk.
Today, Wootton Bassett will stand still yet again, as a boy comes home in the flag draped coffin of the military dead. Another girlfriend will cry, another set of parents and siblings will stand, stiff-lipped.
Today is 1 year and 22 days since Rich died. 1 year and 21 days since I woke up without him for the first time. 1 year and 21 days since the AC slept at someone else's house for the first time. 1 year and 105 days since I stood, stiff-lipped, the AC's small hand in mine, watching as 6 of the truest friends a man could ever have received his flag draped coffin and bore him with pride into his Celebration.
I couldn't imagine being at this point. I couldn't imagine what I was doing the next day, let alone over a year and 4 months later. I couldn't imagine what we were eating, let alone the idea of loving and living and working in the way that we are. I want to reach out to these people, to tell them that they can do this, to tell them to keep on keeping on, that it will happen for them.
There is no point though. They won't want to hear the platitudes any more than I did. The mere words that "Time is a great healer" or whatever just made me want to thump someone.
All I wanted, was him to walk in the door.
But I kept on, keeping on, I keep on, keeping on, secure in the knowledge, as these people who start the rest of their lives today are also secure, that the man I love died full of love, that I couldn't have made him happier, and that, to paraphrase Wu Han, whilst we had many great adventures together, into the great unknown mystery, he went first.
I'm now at the stage where I can thank him for the adventure, and go and have one of my own. It doesn't mean I don't miss him, or cry for him, or want him to walk in - he was my best ever friend as well as my lover after all - but it means I can celebrate his life with love and laughter, and not be a bitter and twisted woman, spending my life trying to cause those around me as much pain as I'm in. That would be selfish and stupid, and I love him, the AC, J, my parents, my Godchildren, my friends, too much to turn into that.
I choose to *live* my life, because he loves me.