Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Today I was your girlfriend again

Today was a weird day. It was your mum's funeral. I guess you already know that. I hope that you and she are already reunited somewhere and that you were looking down on the crowd of people crying and smiling. Perhaps you cried and smiled too. And perhaps you saw me there. Perhaps you watched me take a deep breath as I walked up the steps and saw me looking around like a lost child wondering where her mum was, or where your mum was or where you were. It wasn't right to be going to your mum's funeral without you. You supported me when my mum died; I should have been there supporting you. Or maybe I felt you should have been there supporting me. I have come to love your mum and I will miss her greatly. It wasn't right to be going back to the place where I last said goodbye to your body or my mum's body either. It wasn't right to be saying goodbye to her body. Today was all wrong. As I said, it was weird.

I didn't think that I would know anyone there apart from your family and I didn't but, of course, a lot of people knew who I was. After all, I gave the eulogy at your funeral and your mum's friends would have been there. After all, they had watched me then, this strange being, this non-widow that no-one knew, standing shaking at the pulpit telling them how wonderful you were, how safe you made me feel, how much I loved you. They had probably seen me hold it together until I'd finished speaking and had watched me crumple back into my pew weeping. They will have watched me as I stood by your coffin on the way out too and seen how I kissed it and held onto it, wanting to jump on top of it, wanting to scream, wanting to drag you back to life. I remember afterwards, that your mum told me that her friends had said they admired her dignity for not crying at your funeral. I guess they felt that I'd lost mine. They didn't know that I felt myself being held there by a magnetic force, that I'd lost the use of my limbs, that I didn't know where I was, that all I could see was that box and a lump of oak separating you from me. They will have watched as my friend strode down the aisle and pulled me to her sobbing, as she steered me outside, away from you.

Today, as I stood outside the crematorium the tears came even before the funeral cortege. A woman had just introduced herself to me. I can't tell you what her name was but she had a kind face. 'Can I sit with you?' I said having lost my social skills again, remembering the same moment at your funeral when I had suddenly grabbed the arm of my most motherly friend and asked her to stay by my side. She was kind. They were all so kind, like your mum. There was a lot of kindness in that room. It was a lovely service.

Still, it was a weird kind of day, a sad day. Sad to be saying more goodbyes, sad to lose another connection with you. The strangest thing though was that, just for today, I was your girlfriend again. Perhaps today, I was your girlfriend for the first time. I'm not sure anyone has ever introduced me as your girlfriend before. You certainly never had the chance. It was weird to be ushered around, being introduced to people: 'This is Paul's girlfriend,' they said. 'Oh, you're Paul's girlfriend, aren't you?' they said. It was nice to be your girlfriend again, just for a day. I wish you'd been there to see it. I hope you and your mum saw it. I hope you both know how much you are loved.

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