A story of grief by a man and a boy

eating out

Without even realising it, I’ve taken to eating out alone. I’ve just been on my second lunch date with myself in a week.

The first time I was entirely alone, just me, my note book and my thoughts. The second I was with my son who wanted to see some fish but who then fell asleep soon after we arrived at the aquarium.

So having hardly seen any, I decided I’d go and eat some. Shellfish to be precise. Prawns and squid to be specific. Well after hearing hoards of happy families screaming, “It’s Nemo! It’s Nemo!” and then, suddenly remembering the opening scene where an as-yet-unhatched clownfish loses his mum-to-be to the jaws of a barracuda, I thought the best way to deal with things was to take the little aquatic buggers down one-by-one.

‘I’ll teach my son that fish are evil little bastards, that they should only appear on the dinner table and not in children’s films’, I thought to myself, ‘Help make sure Finding Frigging Nemo doesn’t find its way onto his Christmas list.’

Anyway, where was I? Memory of a goldfish recently.

Oh yes, eating alone. Lots of people have invited me to lunch recently (thanks all) so I really needn’t be on my own, but I’ve suddenly realised that I prefer not to always have company. That sometimes, when it feels like my wife should be sat across from me, I’m simply not looking for a substitute. So when I confirm that it will indeed just be me dining today, I don’t feel lonely, desperate, inadequate or like I’m cutting a sad figure just sitting there alone. I just feel like I’m not with my wife.

And I feel like I want to see the empty space across from me. That I want to take this rare opportunity to be alone to think about her, remember her and really really miss her.

6 comments on “eating out

  1. macrothings
    March 6, 2013

    Words fail me, emotions do not.

  2. Sarah Pointer
    March 6, 2013

    I think from my own experience that what you have described has a lot to do with just realising you are still you underneath all the grief. This takes a while to discover. Yes it was great and necessary to be surrounded by family and friends at first and sometimes it still is. At first I almost felt i needed to add people on to me and my kids because I felt a huge void. Now I realise that these people are still there for us but that we now must face the world as a three and some sort of normality emerges from this, such as eating out with no one else.

  3. Deborah
    March 6, 2013

    Ben, keep eating those fish as yes, they are indeed evil little bastards. You have a wonderful way with words to let people understand what you are feeling.

    Love to you and Jackson x

  4. lesley
    March 6, 2013

    My mum in law Julie died last wednesday and we have been worried about my dad in law geoff being on his own.they were together 56 years and I couldnt begin to understand how it must feel for him to not have Julie there. The funeral is tomorrow and I was sure he would need us to stay with him tonight.however he insisted that he wanted to be on his own.he sent a text a short while ago to let us know he ok on his own with his memories of Julie. One of the things I found hard after losing my brother was people not giving me space to be alone with my thoughts.despite that I have been worried about geoff being on his own.Tonight I realised he also needs space. I also realise we cant fill the gap left by julie. We will let him know we are there for him when he needs us and that he can have all the space he needs

  5. Emilie Adams
    March 7, 2013

    As I approach the dreaded one year anniversary, I still need those quiet lunch dates with myself too..just me and the fish! Emilie x

  6. sharron
    September 11, 2013

    you have a gift of writing which I can only describe as amazing…. bless you both, and bless all the supporting friends and family around you x

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