Toughness, pain, strength, determination, loneliness, stubbornness, support, numbness.
I look back at July and wonder how I got through it. How did I weave my way through the many obstacles? Did I do the occasions justice? Was I hard on myself? What did I gain from my head-on approach to birthdays, anniversaries and other landmark moments? How will I do it all again? What would Liane think? What do her friends and family think?
From my birthday on the 7th it was clear what a difficult month lay ahead. I decided to spend that weekend with my brother and some friends in Clonmel. We'd a really positive weekend - lots of fun, some gigs, a couple of great (and bizarre) boozers and good time spent with each other talking and reminiscing. It brought home how much I enjoyed Liane's company, how easy it was between us and how comfortable we were together. There were many times I turned and felt her absence so keenly and times I went to call/text her... I wonder when that will fade or if I ever want it to fade.
From that weekend the month just seemed to barrel through me. I went out west for our wedding anniversary and spent time in Galway before staying in the inn where we got married. It was a beautifully sad experience, part gut-wrenching, part comforting. I wandered through the town of Clifden and memories cascaded back - shops we'd been to, meals we'd shared, the excitement of the wedding planning, the late night wanders full of Guinness, the early morning strolls, all the guesthouses we tested in the months before our marriage. It's a place that will be forever in my heart.
On her birthday a week later I went swimming with a big gang of friends and ended up having 25 people to dinner for Indian takeaway. She'd have loved it. I spent time at her grave reading to her, talking to her, listening to music with her. It's a beautiful place - serene, natural, pretty. She'd love to see it. Her 3 month anniversary came and went. How can it be so long? It feels like it was just yesterday and at the same time it feels like I've done so much without her. I miss her every day - its like a constant part of me now - the rawness of her being not here.
People told me I could prepare for occasions. That they'd be difficult but you can line them up and see them coming. Brace yourself I was advised. I waited, I braced, I planned and I wasn't ready. I couldn't process it all - not mentally, not physically. It was all so much and all the time. I left July shattered - a numb, drained and underslept wreck. I survived it but with scars. This journey is going to be long one.