As I've recently moved, and subsequent events have taken up a lot of my time, I'm only now getting round to sorting out the last of the tedious utilities, bills, changing of addresses and general yawningly dull activities that follow doing pretty much anything in our bureaucratic society.
I've spent an hour tonight looking for my TV licence. I know that the TV licence people are generally rabid about making sure everyone and their dog pays. And to be fair, I do love my TV and I do love the BBC so I pay with no particular beef. But I can't find it. And without it I can't change the address. And their website asks for the email you signed up with, so I gave the address I use for everything. It doesn't recognise it. I find it difficult to believe I would suddenly have used a different email address but I must have done. Ten minutes on an automatic phone line and finally I get told to call back in normal working hours. Bastards.
So I'm looking through every pile of paperwork I can find. And I can find a lot. And then something flutters down to the floor. It's a printout of an email my dad sent to a friend. It's not dated, but it wasn't long before he died. An email from an account that doesn't exist from a person that doesn't exist. I printed off all the emails I could find after he died, desperate for some reminder of his words. His actual words.
So I read it.
And there it was. All over again. The twisting agony of grief remembered. Because that's all it takes. A reminder of his voice, of his essence, him. And I could scream. I miss him. I miss him. I miss him. I seem to have fostered a life spent mostly alone, on the outside, looking in. I don't spend Christmas with my family. I don't even see most of my family. I don't want anything to remind me of what I had, what I lost and what I wish more than anything I could have back. And what a pointless, pathetic wish that is. To bring back the dead.
Is there anything more pathetically human than grief? Why not live in the now, Deb? Why not embrace, fully and completely, what's right there in front of you, rather than living 11 years in the past?
Well, I'm trying. And I'll keep trying. And maybe, one day, I'll be able to see something of my dad's and not want to scream in pain. I wish I could get to the stage of ruefully looking back at the good times. But I can't. All I feel is loss. And pain. And loneliness. And, quite often, a real sense of nihilism.
Someone - a therapist probably - went through the cycles of grief with me. They put a time limit on it. After 12 months you're pretty much back to normal, apparently. I don't seem to have followed that pattern. Although I can look like I have most of the time. And that'll have to do.