Sunday, May 19, 2024

Just writing

It is over three weeks since Ray died. I seem to be doing ok. There seems to be plenty to occupy me, with dealing with matters related to his death, looking after myself, working out food for myself and general life matters.

Ray used to iron my collared shirts, which are the only shirts I wear. I am working out the best way to wash them and not iron them and still be presentable. Ray used to change his clothing often and now there is so little to wash now. 

I am using the dishwasher every third day instead of daily. Heating up bought meals does not produce much in the way of dishes. Even this third day, the dishwasher is hardly full but I am getting short on glasses. I cleaned the burnt on fat from the gas hotplate rings a few days ago, which left Steelo soap blocking jets. I turned on all burners on and the range hood fan to clear them. A glob of oil fat from the exhaust dropped down onto the hotplate, so the filters went into the dishwasher today to make up a load. 

Friends, and I am not sure that is the right word as while we have a long history, we've only seen them about twice a year since our friend David died in 2017, invited me for a home cooked lunch, which I did this Friday as I write. It was nice and they live in a stunning apartment on the beach front in Port Melbourne. overlooking the sea and Station Pier. I left home at 11.00, stopped off at shops in Port Melbourne, looked in the Reject Shop for some kind of container to send some of Ray's ashes to his sister in England. I am not paying for some posh urn. I found nothing but I did get a thought. Use a click lock food container from home and firmly tape it up with a freezer bag inside containing some of his ashes. I bought one of those multi size screw lid jar openers at the shop. I no longer have a strong man at home to open stubborn jars.

I bought a bottle of chilled Sav Blanc to take for lunch. 

We just talked and talked over lunch, continuing on after his partner had to leave for work. His first partner died from hepatitis related liver failure at the age of 69, M being ten years younger than him. He really struggled after his life partner died.   

Sometimes Ray would say I am like my mother, an only child, spoilt and she was probably spoilt for much of her life. She could get sympathy and help from anyone at any time. I never quite realised how much Ray spoilt me. However, I did say to him at times how I recognised what he did for me. I became extra spoilt when he retired and I was still working. He started to clean my ensuite and iron my shirts. But he didn't stop doing those things when I retired. When I was working, he cooked and I would do the dishes, that is load the dishwasher but and clean up mess, along with sorting out left overs, generally for my consumption. Once I retired for some reason Ray took over cleaning up the kitchen after cooking the meal. Cooking is one thing, but I can iron and I will push myself to do so. 

Anyway, it is all down to me now. The furniture hasn't been dusted for four weeks but I am not noticing any dust. Through our Mr Fixer in our building, I have cleaners coming on Monday to clean my ensuite and clean the balcony windows and balcony railing glass. They are cheap, Mr Fixer assured me. If that works out, I might have them come once a fortnight to clean my ensuite and once every four months to clean the balcony glass. Ray tried to clean the balcony glass, and only got as far as doing two panels of glass. He just couldn't do it anymore and while I was once the balcony glass cleaner, because of my arthritis, I can't do it.

I am spending money as normal and I know I will have an adequate amount to sustain me with my inheritance from my mother and now Ray but I am paying for everything on my own now. It costs so much to live in the building we live. Mind, I think we get value for what we pay. I paid the quarterly council rates, around $300. I sent some of Ray's clothes, two collared shirts, two polo shirts, two at home track suit pants and one pair of jeans to his English sister, who will cut up the fabric to make teddy bears. I almost fainted when Post Office staff said the standard postage price would be AU$87 plus $4 for the box. His clothes are in flight as of 12.15pm today.

While I've pretty well always be in a relationship from a young age, I am also kind of loner. I am quite happy to do things on my own, and I did many things on my own when Ray was still alive. 

Three times this week I've had to answer to shop people, where is your friend or where is Ray. We had a small Tatts prize to collect, $12. I did so and the woman said that Ray's card. You are not Ray. I told her every Thursday he would put the Lot gambling. It cost me $17 a fortnight. We had the same numbers from a very early years, so while the choice numbers increased from 40 to 45, our original numbers are only up to 40. We've had a couple of decent wins but we would be a long way behind financially. Most weeks, we get a small prize, less than it costs for the tickets, but it is always exciting to get something back. The Lot woman seemed unsure. I showed her a photo of Ray on my phone and she said, "Oh no. He was here last week". No hon, he was last here on April the 24th when we shopped a day earlier than our normal Thursday because of the public holiday, Anzac Day on the 25th. My voice cracked when telling her and my eyes welled with tears. As everyone is, she was so kind. 

Otherwise no tears, until this Saturday night when for some reason I cracked and said out loud, Why the fuck did you leave me. More tears as I write but don't worry. I am doing ok.

Life feels a little surreal at the moment. I feel a little like an actor on stage. But I am living a good life, with an adequate income and secure housing. So much more than many have.   

I am sure this needs a good edit, but I can't be bothered. 

I kept a ledger of the home expenses kitty and Ray kept a ledger for our shopping kitty. It is pointless now. 



Later edit: The Lot prize was $12. There is a presentable youngish man who is often sitting on the footpath outside the supermarket with an upturned cap in front of him for people to make a donation to him. He is unobtrusive and never asks anyone for money. Two Christmases ago I was going to give him a donation but he had disappeared, not returning until very recently. I gave him him the $12 prize. 

48 comments:

  1. It does sound like you are doing ok. Be warned. Grief is a tricky beast and will sometimes bite hard at unexpected times. Huge hugs.

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  2. Andrew, I wish I could be there to give you a friendly hug. You sound as though you are coping well. It will still be hard for some time to come though, I expect.

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    1. JayCee, that would be nice. People have asked if they can give me a hug, which is polite but by my account not necessary. All hugs are welcome.

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  3. One step at a time, bit by bit, not expecting too much of yourself. With both my dad and mum, I went through all emotions, including anger.

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    1. Tasker, there is an amount of anger involved, but practically I think I am coping with at least the admin matters better than Ray would have if the situation was reversed. He would become frustrated and angry. I just work through the process and don't fight against the system.

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  4. Yikes. This post is sad. I know you're ok, but I don't like when friends suffer losses.

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    1. Thanks Strayer. I am attempting to fill a hole in my life.

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  5. thecontemplativecat here. One foot in front of the other, taking up the slack, getting through it all bit by bit. Grief is like wading in the ocean when the tide is in. When the water flows back to the sea, the sand under your feet takes away your balance. That is how I described grief to students.

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  6. Right now you're doing fine, deciding on what to do, adapting, learning new skills. It's a rollercoaster and you might suddenly have a harder day. It's normal, though hard. We're all here for you.

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    1. Boud, I'm am so well aware of your and the care from others. These are not hollow words, that I love how the blog world is so supportive.

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  7. Making teddy bears out of Ray's clothes is a lovely idea. Will she send you one or don't you want one?
    One day at a time, my friend, you will be OK. Keep writing even if you don't publish it. It helps to clear the head and the heart.

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    1. Merlot, yes. She asked me if I wanted one and I said yes. Anything written on my blog is most likely to be published. I like publish and be damned.

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  8. I think you are doing as well as can be expected. There are going to be those times when grief catches you by surprise, but you are getting through it, one step, one day, one problem sorted at a time. I am glad that you are finding kindness.

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    1. Anon, I've experienced a few of those moments, mostly when telling people who didn't know Ray had died, like the man in the apartment behind us today. My voice quavered, but I kept it together.

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  9. You'll do what you can, when you can, and you'll be surprised how that changes; time heals.
    I still have moments when I catch myself picking up the phone to call my father, who passed away in February. It's a process.

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    1. Bob, and then you have a laugh at yourself for doing something so silly. I understand, having my mother die last year, a mere nine months ago.

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  10. You're reinventing your life and I think you're doing a great job of it.
    Before you mentioned the clip lock container for ashes, I pictured one. Great minds and all that.
    You mention the feeling of being on a stage and I remember each time I had a baby it took weeks and weeks before I felt like it was really mine. It was like everything would surely go back to normal soon

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    1. Kylie, yes, I think that container will work well.

      I can't imagine what it is like to have a baby. I am fairly confident I would not have made a good parent, but Ray certainly would have with his love to give.

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  11. Bless you Andrew, you are a very kind person. Do hope that young man spends the money well.
    Seems you are doing o so far. What EC says is true.
    Take care.

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    1. Margaret, there are so active beggars here and I don't respond to them, but this guy just sits there without pestering anyone.
      I am mostly doing ok. I am making decisions on my own now, without Ray to discuss them with or act as a sounding board.

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  12. I read through most of this just fine, then I read "Why the fuck did you leave me" and now I'm crying. I can't believe it is over three weeks already! I'm glad you are getting help with the cleaning of difficult areas. As for screwtop jars, go to a kitchenware shop and buy a "jar key", you use it to pop the lid to break the vacuum seal and then it opens easily. I'll email you a picture of one.

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    1. River, I read your first sentence, and had to take a 15 minute break. Tears and snot happened. That apparently is not a bad thing. I feel better now. Ok, I get breaking the seal thing. That would work.

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  13. Ray would have been pleased with your generous donation of the Lot money. Three weeks already! You are doing remarkably well but it will hit you when you least expect it to. Give yourself time.

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    1. Fun60, as it just did twenty minutes ago. But I can do this. Onwards.

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  14. You can cancel Ray's Lotto card and get your own, the main reasons for having one is if you lose your lotto ticket no one else can claim your prize without the card and after about three weeks they credit the amount to your bank account. Also if you win the big prize (division one) they'll phone you.

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    1. River, Lotto was Ray's thing, not mine. He got a kick out of it. I didn't. At times I would ask him if he 'received the big phone call?' I think in about 1992 we won about $1000. That was great, but still I know we are behind.

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  15. Finding our way in the world, take care of yourself.

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    1. Thanks TP. I'm sure you last holiday was terrific and I treasure the memory of our holidays.

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  16. Just as everyone above has said, you're doing so well. Adjustment takes a long time but the loneliness is hard to bear.

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    1. JB, I don't feel lonely in a general manner. I just miss his presence. The always being there factor.

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  17. Three weeks after the initial shock of Ray's death, this blogpost reveals that the surface of your pond is now more still. You can weigh things up and see the way ahead. Thanks for sharing these reflections. By the way, there must be YouTube videos that that teach blokes like you and me how to iron collars and sleeves while humming "The Teddy Bears' Picnic".

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    1. Thank you YP. I perhaps paint myself more helpless than I am. I have been cooking basic food and I can iron. But they seem like such a waste of time. Teddy Bears' Picnic would be lovely to hear. I'll do that once I retire tonight.

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  18. you seem to have everything under control but not that great hole in your life of your companion. But I see you have counted your blessings and that is no bad thing.

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    1. Thanks Thelma. I feel like I am doing well enough but I feel like I am just observing myself. It's strange.

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  19. Your post tells it like it is and does not need editing. Loss of a life partner is surely one of the hardest things ever to go through. You are coping and managing but physically Ray is absent, in your heart and mind of course he's very much present.
    BTW isn't air mail a horrendous price these days? But those teddies will be very lovely.
    Alison in Wales x

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    1. Yes Alison. He is with me, just not physically. It's some years since we've posted an parcel to overseas. I couldn't believe the cost. Mind, it did travel very quickly.

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  20. When my mum was getting older and I realized that I would lose her one day, I became increasinly irritated with her and even angry. Mum was a lovely lady but I couldn't even stand to listen to her breathing at one point, until I realized I was angry that she was going to die. Once I told her that, my anger just disappeared, although I don't know what she thought of my confession.
    It hurts so much to be left behind those we love. It's not rational or logical, it just is.

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    1. Pixie, indeed rationality and logic can be in short supply. I'm trying. Though it was quick, I would have hated to see Ray's slow decline.

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  21. It's tough. But it's a reality. Everyone has a story to tell about a departure like this. Acceptance of this reality will help us cope in such situations. Take care, Andrew.

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    1. Thanks Pradeep. I tell myself this has happened billions of times in the world and people cope.

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  22. Thanks for your honest account of this period of adjustment. I know there will continue to be plenty of ups and downs. I'm glad you have friends to visit and things to do to stay busy -- even if cleaning the ensuite is not one of them. :)

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    1. Thank you Steve. No doubt you too think about future if and ands. We all seem to as we age. I seem pressed for time, and that's perhaps a good thing. Perhaps if I spent less time typing and more time doing....

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  23. You are doing remarkably well keeping sane throughout this, Andrew. I think I might have fallen apart. My other half had a bad motorcycle accident almost 2 years ago and recovery continues for him but I still suffer the anxiety even though he will be alright but I keep functioning somehow. It is the sudden change that hits so hard. I'm glad you have friends gathering around you.
    Mailing to England is so expensive from here too.

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    1. How awful Pat. I've been following you for a long time now. I know your blog is not about personal matters, but I don't even remember a gap in your posting. I hope to keep going was good for your mental health. It must have a very rough time for you.

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  24. You have a wonderful attitude despite the painful loss. I can only imagine the ups and downs. ~hugs~ Do take care of yourself.

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    1. It's not easy Darla but I seem to be doing ok Thank you.

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