a young widowed father opening up about living with loss
Tomorrow is the eight year anniversary of our first date. We went to see Desreen’s friend’s boyfriend playing in a band at 93 Feet East. Typical of us to go on a date surrounded by loads of other people, because both of us were probably too scared of being alone and not liking each other as much as when we first met.
It was memorable though. I couldn’t hear a word she said over the music so I just smiled and laughed when she did. To be honest if the room had been silent I wouldn’t have understood her anyway because she talked absolute nonsense really quickly in an accent I wasn’t yet familiar with. I was still calling her Des’ree for a couple of weeks after.
She wasn’t too bothered about the banter though, just whether I was coming back to hers. It was a Sunday night, I had work the next day but I had no change of clothes nor contact lenses. She sorted my eyes. Turned out we had the same prescription i.e. almost blind. My flat mate sorted the clothes – biked to me at work first thing.
It was the start of something beautiful, stimulating, hilarious, hedonistic, volatile, loving and ultimately bonding.
It’s days like this that are, in many ways, the hardest. When you have a child you adore it’s almost impossible to put yourself before them. This makes grieving your wife whilst raising a toddler complicated. You’ve never felt sadder or more lonely but you’re often happy too because you still have them and they say things like, “Well done, Daddy!”, when you wash their hair, which makes you melt.
But days like this take me back to a time I met a girl by chance when I wasn’t looking for a relationship. They take me back to a time when I didn’t realise I wanted children yet. They somehow make it okay to be selfish and self-centred because that’s what I was back then and anniversaries are usually about reflection.
Memories hurt like hell right now because they can’t be shared with the person with whom they were made. But when I see myself buzzing the way I was eight years ago tomorrow, I know that I’ll learn to enjoy the memories again and the smile won’t become tears in a split second when I’m trying I work out in the gym.