Moaning Moody Men Day

Is there something I’ve overlooked today? Some sort of masculine celebration? ‘All men be moody, aggressive neanderthals’ day? Or maybe it’s ‘Male appreciation of PMS’ day?

Maybe I just opened my mouth too soon and jinxed everything.

Where to begin…?

My son has had a few low days. He doesn’t know why. Weird because I recently commented how positive he was, talking about college and his future. Then WHAM he’s low. He messages me earlier to say he’d had a row with his father and wanted to leave his Grandad’s birthday early as he was about to cry.

I tried to give him some strategies and advice, but in the end had to go for him. On the way, I was shouted at by a particularly aggressive white van driver because apparently looking at the on coming traffic and not seeing him beckon me out immediately from the opposite direction, is not a good thing.

I arrived to get my son and we had a one sided conversation. He told me he wanted to go to his female best friend’s for TLC. I dropped him off and went home. I messaged him some encouraging words but, having had no reply 20 minutes later, decided to call to check on him. He was fine and was being subjected to a face mask.

I put the phone down and tried to get my mind off my son by reading for a few blogs whilst waiting for Wildcard to call. After 10 minutes and seeing the time, I checked Messenger to find that he’d actually tried to call me twice whilst I was on the phone to my son. I’d had no notifications.

I called him, and cheerily apologised. After all, we have been getting on really well the last few weeks – every call full of laughter and love. Even though it’s Ramadan, bar the first two days, he’s been great – I even told my sister. Yep, spoke too soon.

He was moody. Couldn’t understand why I didn’t call him back sooner if my call to my son was so short. Didn’t believe that I’d had no notifications. Was passive aggressive for the rest of the call, answering in short clipped answers or being surly. And no, I didn’t get my ‘I love you’. But, according to him, he’s ‘not angry.’

He said goodbye – scowling – and I tried to remember that the first week is always the hardest and he’s probably hangry. And, I’m the same when he doesn’t call back straight away, although perhaps not so passive aggressive.

Within 10 minutes, I heard the front door open and my young son had arrived home with his dad in tow.

Of course, my ex was moody. He showed little understanding of our autistic and AdHd diagnosed son’s inability to cope in social circumstances, even though that’s been the case for 10 years plus. I mentioned his low mood but that was ignored also. I commented that he should know he is like this, to be cut off mid-sentence and be told that ‘he could have at least cracked a smile’. When I asked whether being shouted at was ever going to help put a smile on his face, he ended the conversation rudely and walked out.

I was then informed by my youngest that he’d been told by his Dad that he would meet Wildcard ‘over his dead body.’ Apparently my youngest had mentioned the plan to one day watch a film with Wildcard when they finally meet. OK, perhaps saying that at his paternal grandad’s birthday party was not the best idea, but hey – Wildcard and I are nearly on 3.5 years of relationship.

So all in all, a successful day for the male participants of this mock celebratory day.

And me? I await my last call with Wildcard with bated breath and wonder if you can buy armour against hangry surliness.


Trip 6, Day 5 – waiting

Today has been a little different.

It started the same although Wildcard came to me a little later. Not that I was clock watching or anything. Whilst still being his jesting self, I’ve noted that he is paying attention to my needs with a keen eye and held me much longer today when he saw I needed it.

After breakfast and his departure (apparently my half hearted suggestion that he stay with me was something out of a romantic film. Boo.) I sat and did a bit of home housekeeping with emails and checking my online banking. No sooner had I done that, than my ex messaged asking for money. I said OK, as I usually do, but then sat stewing for half an hour before sending a rather long irate text. His attempts to pacify me were poor to say the least. My attempts to be calm even less so.

I need to cut more ties. I know it and so does everyone else. His need for financial support still, five years later is now just frustrating. Even more so because for the past 18 months, I haven’t had the same money I used to. Frustratingly of course, I took the leadership job in September to help with this situation: higher pay to get to a point where he can be taken off the mortgage I pay, and therefore he has no hold or threat over me anymore.

As one of my New Year’s reflections was a real desire to get a much better handle on my finances, I spent some time this morning in subtle planning and exploring. I want to get to a point where no penny is uncounted for.

Wildcard’s beautiful inscribed gift with ‘my wife’ on has given me some more hope that some point soon we will finally marry. I’ve thought this deep down for a while, and it’s not that he hasn’t already said this, but I think he has probably considered me his wife for some time. For him, the paperwork is a legality only needed if and when he decides he is ready to move to the UK with me. I suspect for the time-being, he’s actually quite happy with the arrangement.

And I understand why. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen with his mother. She showed me how she cooks some of her amazing, traditional dishes. We talked, albeit stiltingly, of her traditional role. He is well looked after and cared for, is providing the role of an elder son exactly as his culture and religion state. He has a career, a car…a life. I’m part of that life every single day with the multiple calls we have. He is not after a visa – whilst the UK is appealing, he has much more to lose here than many of his fellow natives who seek a foreign marriage. He has little desire to leave his parents, potentially give up his job and car, and move to a cold wet country where the culture is so different to his.

But I do know he loves me. I just still don’t know if it is enough, if I am enough, for him to give up on what he has.

His parents are wonderful and I love them dearly. I can’t pretend I don’t feel pangs of guilt at my hopes of dragging their son away. I wish there was another solution but there isn’t. In the past I’ve suggested us marrying but waiting some time for a visa – for me, it will give us more flexibility on our visits and I am happy with that for now. He doesn’t see it that way, so I will have to wait a little longer.


I wrote this earlier with some resigned acceptance. Whilst it is not what I want – I want to be with him as closely and as often as I can – I do understand the situation and ironically love him for it

Unfortunately, subconsciously, this must have lodged somewhere. Like an annoying sticky bob seed.

Later that day – a day that passed by so quickly as I talked with his mother – he came home and there was joy in his voice as he greeted me. We ate and then I watched his daily ritual of preparing the sofa to relax – moving cushions, getting his water and phone charger, getting the warm blanket – and was heart warmed as I noticed him prepare my area too.

I soon joined him, his feet in my lap as always, my hand touching his skin. He plays on his game, I read on my phone. The last few nights, his mother has joined us too – making her own little snug opposite us blanket covering her and phone in hand. We’ve laughed as Wildcard has danced or done one of the many jesting things he does that makes me love him. During this time, he turned and asked what time I was leaving on Saturday. A simple question and no doubt as they were discussing plans as Wildcard is hoping to take the day off.

But it lodged in my heart. It found the sticky-bob seed of resignation and inflamed it. I started counting the days left, particularly as I had calculated that at best he would only work Thursday morning and take the rest off.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t.

I worked out that, with his brother coming Feb and Ramadan in April, I would not be seeing him until at least June. Five months away, again. And that thought, along with “I don’t want to leave him” is like an automatic push button on my tears. I turned my head and tears fell.

I was careful. No sobbing or weeping. No body heaving. But he knows, as he always knows.

“Are you crying?”


“Look at me.”

I moved his strategically placed pillow and crept up so I was now resting in my place, on his chest. He asked why I was upset and I explained. He hadn’t considered how events would prevent my visit until the summer. But he spoke of us traveling again, south this time if I wanted. He joked I could try to fit him in my suitcase but then remembered his gift and reminded me that was what it was for.

(My waterworks have started again)

And then, I just lay in his arms and he held me – longer than I thought he would – until I was calm again.

Once in bed of course, I started again. I messaged my friend and she reminisced on the times she had felt this way when her relationship was long distance. It’s normal, unfortunately. There’s nothing to quite compare to the anguish of knowing you will go back to waiting. Even when you are soul brimmingly happy, as I am.

Along comes the fool

This post was written six days ago

Sobering, heart wrenching reality. Wow, it hurts.

The last few days I’ve really tried. I realised how much I had let myself go. I’ve started my face care, pampered myself. Even put makeup on when the furthest I’ve gone from my house is the coal bunker. I’ve tried to install some pride and self esteem in myself.

But the puzzle pieces have slotted together this afternoon. And I realise just how ridiculous I am.

My family have long teased me about how I act around Wildcard. They’ve joked about my constant laughing and smiling, and even how my voice changes. On Christmas Day they laughed as I practically ran to pick up the phone as I hadn’t spoken to him all day. My sister mimicked me by grabbing a Barbie doll, and copied how I flick my hair and laugh like a school girl, taking great delight in showing him.

I laughed with them, although it stung a little.

Today, when my daughter got up, I exclaimed how much she looked like me – I had braided her damp hair last night and today it is hanging in chocolate waves like mine. She laughed and said, “not quite”, before pulling the expressing I apparently make when I’m talking to Wildcard – engaging my natural pout and widening my eyes. She joked again at my voice and laughter. And it stung a little bit more.

Just then, Wildcard called as he was on his way back to work. Determined, I kept my voice neutral and said hello. He was part way through his usual sing song “hello daarrrrling” when he stopped in his tracks.

“You didn’t say it.”

“I didn’t say what?”

“Hello darling, you just said hello”.

Then it dawned on me. “ when you say ‘Hello darling’, it’s not you being affectionate, you’re laughing at me.”

He laughed at that and continued with his impression of me. I told him what my daughter had said and he laughed again, “so she has noticed too?”

My eyes filled up. I thought he was doing something nice. He was laughing at me all along.

He was about to show me something else I apparently do when I kiss him, when he was interrupted by a work colleague. We made a hasty goodbye.

It doesn’t matter that he messaged immediately to say he was just laughing with me, and that he loves me. The damage is done.

And so, the puzzle pieces slot together and form a picture of a clown, an idiot, a fool. Something everyone laughs at.

So, after two years, why do I do that? I pondered as tears streamed down my face. I don’t realise I am doing it, but clearly everyone else does.

Because I’m trying to be something I’m not. I’m trying to be the beautiful, sweet young thing..when actually, I’m an average, overweight 41 year old.

I feel like such a fool. Who am I trying to kid?

The reason he doesn’t show me the affection I want is because he doesn’t feel it.

The reason he doesn’t give me compliments is because he doesn’t see anything worth complimenting.

The reason he hasn’t proposed or bought me a love token is because he isn’t sure he wants me. I’m not worth celebrating or treasuring or championing.

I’m just entertainment. A nice girl. A fool.

Superstition and change.

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly superstitious but I’ve realised these past few days that is exactly what I am.

And the reason, you ask?

I’m superstitious because I haven’t written my blog for one reason only: things were going well with Wild Card and I was scared to jynx it.

So what happened?

Well, in my last post I acknowledged that things were not good. I considered why that might be and although I had thought of some reasons, I didn’t actually know. I decided to take a step back from the clingy but to keep a loving, reassuring presence. Well, that was what I was aiming for.

I won’t deny that I was hurt. I’d hoped that my attempt at honesty-without-fear would come good but it hadn’t with ‘that’s your problem, not mine.’

I’m reality, I would like to think that me telling him that I wanted him to ‘try harder with our communication’ and that ‘I just wanted to be with him’ had some impact – the next day he suggested I download a game we could play together. We have never done that before and it has really helped. We’ve played it on and off over the past few days. It gives us something to talk and laugh about, allows us to show some playfulness and competitiveness and we are spending quality time together.

The other thing that happened was that a couple of days ago it all just got to me. I was sad, melancholy. Not angry, or jealous or pretending to be anything other than I felt – happy to see him but so sad that things were not right. And I don’t think I could have hidden that from him if I tried, so I didn’t.

After one particularly acerbic conversation, I actually ended the call. He was surprised and asked me why. I made up some excuse but I could tell it bothered him. By the next time we spoke he had already started to mellow.

That day he asked me multiple times what was wrong. Eventually, keeping my honesty-policy in mind and thinking that I could hardly make this much worse I told him: I was sad because I missed his love. I missed his face when he looked pleased to see me. I missed his ‘I love you’s’ and his kisses and our laughter.

From then on, things have been pretty good.

So, for now, I’m keeping up with my plan. Stick to my routine, remind him I’m here and love him, but give him space and end calls – nicely–if he appears out of sorts. I’ve learnt that I don’t have the ability to pull him out of that mood, so why try?

Ramadan ends this weekend. I have just over a week left until I am back in work full time. Things are about to change again and I hope that this time it is for the better.

The sharing, the look, the love.

The share… A mixture of feelings. Intrepidation as I walk through the garden because I try to see it with fresh eyes, their eyes. I want them to love it which is bizarre in itself as they may never get to see it in person. A sobering thought.

After, I hastily show them as it was: pictures of long ago, of a time when my father would be seen daily with his hoe or his wheelbarrow. His mother smiles and compliments and I am happy.

What are they thinking? Why does it matter so much? Why did he want me to show them?

The call ends, for now.

The look… Later, we are laughing again. He pauses in his mimicry and mischievousness to look at me, eyes crinkled in a smile. I know that look, love that look, as I know it mirrors mine. He disappears for a moment and then when he returns I watch him. I’m always watching him.

He’s preparing some food and whilst he does, a look of such intensity passes his face. In the hours and hours of my study of his face this look is new. At first it excites: it shows off his deep dark eyes well, his full lips pursed invitingly. But, within moments, my attraction is forgotten. I sense that this face is not as it should be.

I ask if he is OK, and he says yes but I know better.

We walk to his room and he lies down, his head resting on his hand, on his pillow. There is sadness on his face.

And so the dance begins… The to and fro, the questions and answers, the hiding and seeking. Eventually he tells me.

As he was talking with me, he had remembered something he had watched on the news earlier that day. It had come to him and replayed in his mind and had made him sad. He asked if I wanted to see and I agreed because I wanted to understand this transformation in him.

I watch. The boy, small and slight, frightened and alone, is led out of the house. The picture is fuzzy but you can see the little mask on his face. The paramedics are gentle, caring, as he is lifted into the ambulance. Another follows with his bags. Despite this care, there is the knowledge that this little boy is now alone, at 4 years, carrying a virus that he may not survive.

My heart aches for the boy. As a mother…as a human being, you cannot help be touched by that video and all its implications.

But my heart aches for my man too. For his grief. For the way the memory of that video could transform him, so quickly. My heart fills with love for this affectionate and compassionate man and I wish, more than anything, that I could be with him so that my love could pour into him and soothe his pain.

Another day, another ending.

The share… He is lying on his bed again and we are talking. His mother enters and sits with him. He begins to translate. I watch his face as he turns to her, listens, concentrating, and I can hear the lilt and tumble of those words and sounds that I can not understand but love so much. He turns to me then and translates and I write down his instructions.

This carries on for a little while. Occasionally I ask questions, sometimes he mimes to clarify. I’m filled with pride for him as he explains in a language he claims he is not good at but I know better. Hours of us talking every day have helped him and I am proud of that too. Equally though, I can see the concentration on his face and the occasional frustration too.

“You know I get nervous when I have to talk like that and I am trying to listen to my mother and then find the words to tell you. It’s exhausting.” He sees my smile, my laugh and says “but you like it though, don’t you? You like seeing me like that?” He laughs himself but the chance to reply or explain is taken from me as the call has to end abruptly.

The look… Later. Another call. Laughter, laughter, laughter. My sides ache, tears run down my face… And yet, I still see that moment. The moment when he is laughing too, uncontrollably, so much so that he pauses his performance and we just laugh together.

And although he is laughing too, I know this is all for me. I see it in the way he watches me, his smiles at my laughter. He continues until I can barely breathe.

But then he tires and so do I. The joking slows. His head rests on his hand, on his pillow. And at that moment I am overwhelmed. He looks at me with such intensity and love. My heart fills with love and it aches to be near him, my body to touch him, my love to pour into him. I’ve never wanted him so much in all our time together… Our bodies and souls to connect physically as they have just done mentally in our shared laughter.

“What’s this face? I’ve not seen this face before. Tell me what’s on your mind..” and the dance begins, the to and the fro, the questions and answers. I don’t tell him but the explanation is not needed anyway. Within seconds he tells me: knowing me and reading me with ease, as he always does.

As the day before, the call ends with love.

“I love you, so much baby” His voice is soft and a little gruff and the sound and sight of his kisses threaten to overwhelm me.

He watches and waits for mine and I send them, my heart and soul willing for the magic to transport the gesture over time and place so he may feel just a little of what I feel for him.


Today, my heart aches.

A knot, a pull, a pain –

My head resists

but the knowledge will not be buried


Today you are gone.

The truth has simmered,

and boiled and now overflows

in hot tears of disbelief.

Today I cry but

I miss you



A month

Thirty days of sadness.

Thirty days of pain.

Thirty days of knowing things will never be the same.

Thirty days of crying.

Thirty days of numb.

Thirty days of waiting for someone who’ll never come.

Over thirty years of tenderness,

Over thirty years of care,

Over thirty years of knowing that you always have been there.

Over thirty years of laughter

How I wish there were thirty more!

Over thirty years I’ll keep hoping you could walk back through my door.

Thirty days of missing you

each and every day

Thirty days of wishing..

you were here

to hear me say:

How much I truly love you, and how I always will,

You are so irreplaceable Dad and you’re my hero still.

From the heart

And so I continue on, heavy hearted. At the moment all I want to do is sleep but that’s difficult with three children and a funeral to arrange.

The funeral is tomorrow. It still doesn’t seem real at the moment. When I knew that there was a chance Dad would die this time, I spoke to my sisters about his home. I asked that we didn’t move or change anything, not for a while.

As I have written before, I have found this a comfort. All three of us have sat thoughtfully in his chair. We can contemplate the gift of his life whilst looking at the many photos we have laid out.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to wonder if this has something to do with my lack of acceptance. I don’t feel like he’s gone.

Added to that is visiting him in the Chapel of Rest. I feel like I’m visiting him in hospital again and he’s asleep. He looks so peaceful. Yes, all of this is a comfort to me but it feels like a big stopper that is holding in my grief and at some point it’s going to explode.

Last night, my eleven year old son came down stairs crying. He was pretty inconsolable for about an hour. He sat on my knee and I soothed him but I didn’t shed one tear. This is not me! I have a very high emotional awareness and empathy and struggle to hold back tears when I see others upset (which can be particularly tricky when I’m at school) and yet there was nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m not right. The exhaustion, the malaise, the physical heartache, the fear of loneliness swinging into irritation of company; I recognise that these are all symptoms of a grieving person. Part of me just wants to run away. The last time I felt like that was when I was depressed earlier in the year but this feels different because it is different. My heart is heavy and my world is dull but my head seems clear unlike my breakdown. But I also know that my head is doing a great job of protecting me from the truth and the memory of the truth as it happened.

One of my regrets is that I didn’t complete Dad’s cross stitch while he was alive. He was so impressed with my Jane Austen cross stitch and asked that I did one with little birds. I kept putting it off, and putting it off. I wanted to do it: I thought I’d do it for Father’s Day. But I just didn’t.

Last night I stayed awake until I finished a little design. I had no plan or pattern to follow, and just made it myself. At first, my plan was to put the cross stitch in his coffin but I’ve now decided to keep it. Instead, I replicated one of the little birds I had stitched on to another part of the same fabric which ties them together. He asked for a little bird and I have finally made him one. The rest of the design is the first line of an E. E Cummings poem that I read to him in the hour after he died when we were alone. I’ve then stitched hearts and a robin and a blackbird. Robins are Dad’s favourite garden bird but we all noticed the cheeky blackbird that appeared when Dad died. Blackbirds seem to be everywhere at the moment. Dad gave me a handmade blackbird for Christmas and months ago my sister engraved one onto a wooden heart he had made. The last part of the cross stitch are forget-me – not flowers.

It’s far from perfect, I know that. But I also know my Dad would have loved it. I’ve poured love and energy into that wobbly little design. I hope it will be of comfort to me when my mind finally allows me to accept the truth.

My friend once told me that if she could have any dad, not having had one herself for most of her life, she would choose my dad.

He has been a perfect dad in so many ways.

Teaching us to catch a ball, sat facing each other in the living room: throwing and catching, throwing and catching. Teaching us to ride a bike. Teaching us to swim. Then there are the things he made us. Wooden stilts, swings, a tree house. Beautiful carved models of the things we love. My garden – just the way I planned it.

The animals we (he) cared for… Rabbits, Guinea pigs, horses, dogs.

Experiences… Walking through the woods with his gundog. Making the same dog pull us on a sledge over the snowy ground. The annual walk to the ‘haunted house’ at Halloween. Caravan Holidays. Vegetable picking. Flower picking. Going with him on ‘the round’: helping him as he delivered his produce to greengrocers.

The endless conversations as we have grown up: Dad was always there to listen, advise.

Our handsome, strong, caring… Perfect… father.

How do you cope with losing someone who has been a huge part of your life for 38 years? How do you manage without that person being in your life every day?

What will my days look like? What will happen in the evening when I no longer go to sit with him, listen to him?

You cannot predict how you will grieve. For me, my grief has been a bubbling stream: constantly moving, changing, present. Then a dam burst and I can’t breathe, think… The pain feels like it will tear me in half. Then, numbness… so ice-cold that I don’t feel alive.

Dad’s only been gone five days. I still haven’t accepted it. I go into his living room and it’s like he has just stepped out for a moment. Every night, I pick up his jacket just to smell him… Pretending in my head that I’m hugging him goodnight. Am I losing it? Is this normal?

I’ve found my journal to be a good companion and a comfort. I started it five years ago when Dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer. I’ve written lots of memories; at night, when I couldn’t sleep; at his hospital bed with tears streaming and his hand in mine.

Dad’s funeral is a week tomorrow.

A letter to my children

Dear Princess, Buddy and little man, 

First of all, before I say anything else, I hope you know how much I love you. You are the most precious things in my life – my reasons for living – and that will never change. 

I know you are sad about me and your dad splitting up. I know that this sometimes makes you angry too. Believe it or not, it is hard on all of us. 

There are lots of reasons why I think your dad and I shouldn’t be together any more. But this doesn’t stop me from caring about him and it definitely does not stop either of us from loving you. I have made this decision because I think it is the best thing for all of us, not the easiest. 

I know it’s not easy at the moment. It takes time to accept that things have changed. Soon, hopefully, your dad will have his new house which will mean that you will get the chance to spend time with each of us more equally. 

You dad and I may be apart, but we will always be together in being your parents. We both want what is best for you and we will work together to make that happen. We want you to be happy and although you feel sad at the moment, this will feel easier in time. It’s OK to talk to us about how you feel – it is important that we understand what you are going through. 

Keep remembering that we love you – living at different addresses will never change that. 

Love you always my babies,