Occasionally I read the stuff I write. Usually drunk.
For sure, I'll read this little story some time in the future, with drink in hand, and will recall how it came to be.
As I read this stuff, it makes me grin, and it brings a tear to my eye, and it makes me swell with pride, and it makes me cringe, and it makes me happy. It moves me. If it reaches my heart, long after it was penned, or typed, or scrawled, or whatever, then even though I'm the bloke that lived it, I think it was well worth pouring it out.
Over the last few years, you grabbed but a glimpse of my everything with Judy, and my sincere apologies to you, and to myself, for not writing more of the tale of Princess Crazy Curls and I at the time. We were a bit busy living it. I also lament not writing about us from the day my heart was captured by her movie star looks, and spunk, and honesty, and gentleness, and strength. Every experience with Judy was worth crying from roof tops, not just the cancer induced shit.
While enmeshed with her in the last hundreds of her days, my writing spirit was free, with her blessing, to tell our tales of her illness, whatever they were. To tell of her mighty battles, and micro battles, and also our secret hidden snippets of daily joy and shit.
I felt I was like a minstrel at times.
Unlike a medieval minstrel following a warrior into battle to gather great stories to perform later for entertainment, I was certainly not poncing about on the payroll, with puffy pants and believed delusions, a lyre in hand, and a percussionist in service (for the toe-tapping numbers), to sing some bullshit sunshine up my beloved's beautiful arse.
My writing was of the everyday living with metastatic cancer. It was real. It was impassioned writing. It was lovingly hand crafted to be the best story telling that I have ever done, to share, and update, and at times keep myself sane. It was from the heart. Well, really it was from a pair of full, yet heavy hearts, both of them beating strong.
That writing has become one huge pile of remembering, and I cherish it.
Now there is just one heart left beating, with no more joint stories to make.
Sat here at our kitchen table, where a family of four came together for many meals, at the place where the most weighty of my writing was laid down late at night, at the place where Dr Rob softly explained to me, with heartbreak and anguish in his eyes while sat in "her spot", that Judy's time was almost up, I think today sat here: was that the best writing that I will ever do? Was it? Is pain, and anguish, and longing, and hope, and passionate connection required to be one's best?
I read back on my stories and oftentimes am left in awe. We did those things. We climbed those heights, and dealt with that shit, and did it all with a love that few get to revel in. We did the best that we could, and we fucking rocked.
So is a writing spirit now broken in two?
Yes, I am alone now with my memories, but I am fuelled by them. I see Judy's cheeky grin every day in our boys. I see her fighting spirit, and humility, and empathy, and caring, and loving in their eyes. I feel her in everything they do.
And yet I dread that more stories will fail to come, one day in the future. I dread a dulling of memory, as seems to happen when time beats forward. Sure the big events in life we recall, sometimes with incredible clarity burned into our neural pathways, but it's the small things, lived day-to-day with a soul mate that are far more volatile. Those small memories are so precious to me now that she is mortally gone forever, flying where angels fly.
The strongest of those memories are the feelings, and they're impossible to record with pen and ink.
So what is writing for?
For sure it is to tell a story once, and to tell it well, that it may be re-told a hundred times, or one thousand times. Or maybe millions or billions of times.
Writing can never replace living it, though.
Even if future stories dry up, I'll still have those that are written to read. For you they are just stories, but for me they allow me to recall not only what happened, but also to trigger recall of the little bits of untold detail locked in the recesses of my mind. They bring recall of precious feelings.
And joyfully, beyond anything that could be written, and anything that might be felt because of it, Seb and Al are my living link to the afterlife, and are living our most precious of memories. Their presence in my life every day yells far more loudly than any written word could. I love those two with the strength of two beating hearts.