The title probably sounds mad but I do have some memories from the last few weeks that I will treasure for the rest of my life and I want to document them, to make sure that they never fade.
When David was very ill I felt I'd lost him for a while. Nobody knew for sure that he was going to die until he had a catastrophe in intensive care but he seemed to shut himself off from me at one stage. I knew he'd come back to me when he woke up early one morning. I'd been sleeping in a chair next to his bed and he said, his voice full of concern "You look awful!". I was so grateful and thankful that he was able to notice and care again that no compliment could ever have sounded as wonderful.
The night before he died he asked me to give him a hug for five minutes then get him off to sleep. I hugged him and, after about two minutes, he said "Right, your five minutes is up now, you can get me to sleep and go home to see to the dogs." I told him someone else was looking after the dogs and I wasn't going anywhere and, hooked up to machines left, right and centre as he was, he said "Oh good, it's just like being at home again." I was never more certain that he loved and needed me than in those last few days and, ill and confused as he was, he was a joy to be with.
Two of my friends, and one of their nephews, have spent long hours at weekends getting the farm under control and presentable, so that I can manage it as a non-tractor driver and make new plans for earning a living here. The place was a tip and I have never learned to drive (I am now!) and most of the work needed diggers, tractors and trailers. There were some things that required manual labour too and I worked alongside them as much as possible, loving every last moment of it. We laughed, teased and joked with each other and I felt like a teenager who'd been allowed to join their gang. I now understand that feeling totally worthless, hopeless and frightened comes with the territory of what I've been through, and I've done loads of all of those, but never when I was working with them. They were knights in shining armour, arriving on tractors instead of white stallions and wreathed in diesel fumes instead of mist, and my gratitude to them for those memories is beyond words.
Another friend is helping me with the paperwork, probate and the accounts. It's a thankless task, as I'd much rather be working outside, but she chivies me along tirelessly, even though it's her day job too. She, like the others, must have the patience of a saint, and although I will treasure no memories of the task, I will always treasure to fact that she is helping me through it, spends time with me and bolsters up my confidence at every possible opportunity.
Another is meeting two friends I have made through my old blog and the support and care they have given me. One has phoned and emailed me daily, showing care and concern every step of the way. It was after a telephone conversation with her that I remembered that David had said I was tough and could cope with things that most people struggle with, and I came up with my plan to save my own sanity and dignity. She has given me strength and believed in me. She too has my undying gratitude.
There is also the memory of some pride in myself. I have come to realise that, throughout the time at the hospital, I did everything anyone could possibly have done and handled it all in an exemplary fashion. I never once thought of myself until after David had died and he never saw me lose hope. Every time he looked at me I was always smiling. I may have tried too hard on his behalf at the end but I can hold my head up about everything I did and everything I said to everyone involved, and I know that David was really proud of me in there. I've held onto that in moments of despair and intend to try to make sure that I can always say the same about everything I do in future.
My gratitude to Alexandra Kurland herself. Without her books and DVDs I wouldn't be in the shape I am now, positive and hopeful. I emailed her to thank her and she sent me a wonderful reply just yesterday, which I will always treasure.
The patience, gentleness and softness that my horses have shown me in the last few weeks has kept me going too. They love their work and have had precious little of it lately but have shown joy and enthusiasm each and every time I've felt able to do anything with them, and waited patiently for me between times. My heart is still not totally in it but I am getting back to them slowly and surely.
The last memory I treasure is from yesterday. I had been trying to keep happy but was wavering slightly and some people had tested me to the limit. I kept my composure with some difficulty and, just as I closed the door behind them, not knowing whether to laugh, cry or hang myself, my main inspiration tentatively and apologetically text me a dirty joke. His timing was just immaculate and I have felt happy and serene ever since.
With the time, effort and care that everyone has invested in me how can I possibly fail?
This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......