All I've achieved is mess. The mess of cleaning out one house for sale, the much worse mess of filling up the other house with all the stuff I swore I wouldn't bring home. The awareness that this is the only goal I have - to somehow get rid of the mess.
Belatedly, I read Joan Dideon's book The Year of Magical Thinking. I didn't read it when it first came out but a recent article in The Age about the stage version struck a chord and I immediately acquired and read it. Her husband died in circumstances almost the same as did my own. Suddenly, shockingly, unexpectedly. Two things she wrote resonated with me enough to make me quiver: the deep belief that of course he would come back, the total inability to believe that he was gone forever. The second was the daily assumption that later she would tell him things, report on the day, laugh with him about something that struck a chord. I do that still, eleven months later. There is a kind of undersong, a constant hum to use Alice Bishop's phrase, in which we talk and laugh and confer and nod, simpatico as always. That sly glance across a room to each other when the same thing strikes a chord with both of us, the telepathic nudge. 'We'll talk about it later'.
But of course we won't. Maybe Joan Dideon should have called her book The Year of Delusional Thinking.
She too dreaded the new year rolling over because then she'd have to say, he died last year, which seems so accepting, so ordinary, such a long time ago.
One of the many consequences for me is the disappearance of any vestige of creativity. Not only have I written nothing and have no ideas for doing so, but all the projects that used to fill my time and my thinking have disappeared. Once I was forever seeing all manner of materials in terms of what I could make but this year, nothing. No interest, no plans.
I don't buy anything. I've given away mountains of 'stuff and things'—even precious objects I've had for decades— with no regrets. Yesterday I farewelled my last crop of sweet peas which thrived every year in the beachside northern sun. I have no regrets about leaving them. That was then, this is now.
My friends have been precious, constant supports. Some of Philip's friends have been so kind to me it's hard to fathom. And it's high time I crawled out of this hole and became me again. I will travel with my women friends again, I will be lured back into my garden. I will get back to being a transporter for Starting Over Dog Rescue, those extraordinary people who've let me off the hook these past months as I cleaned out a whole house and sold it. Now that's done I hope I can soon be useful again.
Of course I dread Christmas and moreso, the New Year, where Philip was famous for his music quiz, which he spent weeks devising. I won't be there.
But almost by accident, I did somehow grow an impressive crop of hollyhocks and cornflowers just recently, a first for both. That was gratifying.
Long may they endure, along with the friends and the friendships that have so faithfully got me through. To them I give my love and my thanks, my deepest appreciation for your patience and your kindness. 2020 can only be better.