Since Louse's death my laptop has barely left my side. It has become my constant travelling companion. Even when away from home it has been the first thing that I have packed. I have long since discovered that the only effective balm that can applied to my wounds when they are at their most raw is writing about them. Whenever my emotions overwhelm me I therefore reach for my laptop and write, either in my private diary or here on this blog. Indeed it is the very reason for the existence of the blog. Somehow the discipline and structure that writing requires of me helps both to process my thoughts and to calm me. And this evening, sitting in a hotel room in Stockport after a family wedding party, I really needed to be calmed.
No doubt the hotel reception staff thought they were doing me a favour when they upgraded me from a single room to a double. They weren't. Hotels used to signify holidays, happy times spent with Louise. But I suddenly found myself in a double room on my own, remembering all that has gone before and been lost. Worse, much worse, I briefly allowed my mind to stray into areas I normally manage to keep firmly locked, the very darkest of places; The moments Louise experienced after she kicked the stool away.
I try to be as open and honest as possible in these blog posts. Its therapeutic to confront my innermost thoughts in this way and I hope that in doing so I can somehow help others struggling unsteadily down a similar path. But here I have to exercise discretion. I can't tell you what I imagined, the scene I pictured, of Louise's final struggle. Its not fair on me to have to imagine it and its not fair on anybody reading it to share that vision.
I really have no adequate words for the impact of that vision. It pierces my soul, creates a sense of helplessness, torment and despair like no other to think of the person I love so much, with whom I had shared so much, and who I wanted to support, protect and nurture, in the dark, on her own struggling and suffering in unimaginable ways. My greatest fear of all is that in the moment she had changed her mind and no longer wanted to die, but too late to do anything to save herself. I keep on re-imagining that evening, creating scenarios in my mind where I get home from work in time to save Louise, holding her up, allowing her to breathe until help arrived. Somehow that only makes things worse, allowing me almost to believe that there was a very different and much happier outcome.
Every time that I look at a photo of Louise, laughing, smiling, loving life, I cannot help but think of the way she was when I found her and how she got to that point. From a selfish perspective it's as if the happiest 4 1/2 years of my life have been taken away from me, expunged. The wonderful memories which I thought were mine for ever wrecked by what was to come. But far, far worse is the knowledge of what Louise herself suffered.
I'm assured that I'm dealing with all these issues well. The Clinical Psychologist to whom I had been referred, for reasons which neither of us could quite understand, after I had simply asked for some bereavement counselling, quickly told me that she had no grounds to continue to see me because I was 'coping remarkably well in the circumstances'. Maybe I am. But however strong I may appear to others, and however normally I may apparently continue to function, it doesn't make the pain go away and it won't prevent me carrying that same pain for the rest of my life.