Former London Socialite Managing Life on a Budget and a Prayer

Autumnal Blues

This time of year is particularly a rough period for me. 18 September 1938, my parents got married, 11 September 2001, I was in Greenwich Village in New York City when the second plane hit the World Trade Centre Tower 2; 4 November 2011 (or somewhere around there), my decree nisi was issued, 18 November 2011, hyper-acute liver failure and it was game over with four days given to live, 4 December 2012, back to hospital with septicaemia, given another four days to live and under the knife I went again. Christ almighty (forgive me), it’s a lot to digest and now my digestive system is even more precarious than it was before all this happened.

I live with the weight of ten tons of brick on the top of my head and it feels as though my head is being pushed into my neck and it aches. It always aches. I don’t sleep. I wonder why I didn’t die in those months in 2012. What my purpose is now and why did I get to survive when so many don’t. Why my good friends went when they were so very fine and I was so very sick. A friend once told me she never said ‘Life wasn’t fair.’ She had cancer and was happy to announce she had seven years clean when I was in hospital waiting to die. The she passed two years ago; came back with a vengeance that took her too quickly. But it wasn’t about not being fair. Life was just life. You take it as it comes. She was a hero to me and whenever I think of her smiling at me in the chair of my room, my heart aches for every smile I’ll never see again except in my mind and for everyone that knew her. Life to her was every minute of every day. But for those she left behind, she kept us all up there. I wish I could have adopted her mantra more than lived by my own even just a little bit.

Never Ask Why

I recall the days leading up to the divorce and the day that he returned after the divorce to say he wanted to get back together but needed to get a divorce to make it better, crying in my front room for three hours about missing his family and saying how sorry he was. Followed up shortly thereafter by his marriage to someone else. Ouch. What exactly was the point of that? I’ll never know. One learns not to ask ‘why’ when someone else has issues, but sometimes it is not so simple. Sometimes the why just naturally rolls off the tongue.

Almost dying. Twice. I said to myself when I started this new blog, that I would not discuss it or my divorce. This blog was not about that period, full stop. It was about everything else but the divorce and then my near death experiences. But these events are what they are and it is autumn after all and now I have my yearly Autumnal Blues. They are forever a part of me and to avoid them, or to pretend to avoid them, is like doing what I’ve been doing for the last eight years really. Lying about how I feel about it all.

Blame? or Blame!

For a very long time, I denied the hurt and damage that we suffered from my former marriage and his new marriage. Another area that’s touchy, difficult, off-limits for fear of repercussions, but I am not ashamed of my marriage; I am ashamed of his behaviour, I am angry at it and I am angry the new wife for not giving us the chance to fix it. But to blame her isn’t fair either, well maybe it is, why not blame her? She is not innocent at any rate. But to say she stole my husband is not right. Who wouldn’t want the life I had. It was great. We were rich, happy, stupid. I’d want it. She did so she took it or he gave it to her and away it went from us and so the cycle started. But that’s not the only cause of my autumnal blues.

It is the culmination of all of many events that causes me so much heartache and casts doubts on how I can make it into December without staying in bed for three months. So, I drag myself out of bed, half-heartedly, and I just go through the motions of every day life. Doing the grocery shopping, taking care of the animals, getting on my son’s case, cleaning and doing the laundry (my favourite pastime, by the way) until tomorrow and then I do it all over again. New rituals, new routines.

Good Times

I do miss my old life. I miss the good that was in it. It was a bit of a lie for us but it was my life and for most of the time it was a really great life. Can I say ‘a bit of a lie’ or is that like being a little pregnant?  A lie is a lie is a lie I suppose. But, I miss the times before we were rich, when things weren’t that easy but we had our chicken in cornflake crumbs and rice followed by watching 24 and then playing Halo on the Xbox together until bedtime or going to a local bar and pretending we were just meeting for the first time all over again; getting to know each other again and again. The calla lilies that he bought me after he had his dentist appointment only to realise afterwards that he bought fake ones by mistake, the power of gas! Those calla lilies lived with us for a lot of years and they were a reminder of the happy days in New York. Doing the laundry and him coming home and finding me singing whilst folding the freshly fluffed towels that just came out of the dryer smelling like perfectly fluffy angel clouds or what I imagined fluffy angel clouds would smell like. I think Yankee Candle has a fluffy towels smell or clean linen, but it’s really not the same and I think they should add one that is fluffy angel clouds for good measure. Better Man by Pearl Jam; he used to say that was an appropriate song for our song; that I always deserved a Better Man. I used to argue that there could be no better man until I found out who he really was. I loved him anyway. That’s what love is; unconditional, even if it was all a big mistake. Now I like to think of Many Shades of Black by The Raconteurs as our song. Sad that I still give ‘us’ a song.

London brought us a lot of happy times, too. We carried on with the cornflake chicken and rice dish for awhile, watched East Enders nightly instead of the Sunday afternoon omnibus, dinnertime around the dining room table with the dictionary and teaching our son a new word nightly. The new routines. But we had them. Routines. I lived by my routines. I loved my life. I really loved my husband and my family. I finally admit that now. It took a long time but I think I am allowed to say it. To write it. To write that I actually did love my husband. But for so long now the new I had myself pretty convinced that it wasn’t allowed. I wasn’t allowed to grieve for those memories, for that life, for my family. I was eradicated and replaced by a younger, prettier, probably smarter, version of me, with way better hair, I’m sure. Although I have never met the new me in person and I have had only in the early, early days of the divorce, snooped on her social media account. Too painful, gave it up and didn’t peak again until I was asked to do it. I reluctantly complied. Who wants to see someone else living your life and your memories? Strange that they needed to relive our memories instead of making their own but maybe the routine was just as much there for him as it was for me, but in a different way. He was awkward so mimicking behaviour is probably easier than devising his own reality. Or maybe that weird part of him wanted her to behave the way that I did and he was just as much in control with her as he was with me. Either way, it doesn’t really matter now. They are hopefully creating their own new memories; doubt it. Routines.

Very Bad Times

My son had a nervous breakdown after the divorce. He was 14 and totally loved his ‘dad.’ His hero. His everything. I was a mere tool there for him to cook his dinner and make his lunches if he wasn’t interested in school lunches. But his dad was his everything. ‘Worlds Best Dad’ according to the mug he bought him. That stayed behind after he left. In the freezer, for his cold beers at night. It finally got thrown away when I sold the house. The only house I ever loved and I sold it like an idiot. Convinced that it was somehow cursed because of the bad divorce and my almost dying thing and my ex telling me I’d be better off in the country, more isolated, more alone. Yes, definitely a way better idea than living in London where all my friends lived.

My son. The breakdown. It was hell. He didn’t want to live anymore after he left. He cried himself to sleep every night on the night’s that he did sleep; mostly he stayed up and played video games to avoid the reality that he was living without his dad there every day, waking him up, picking him up from fencing on a Friday night and sharing dictionary dinners every night, with the weekends filled with travelling, cooking, and BBQs. The emptiness he felt was exactly what I was feeling but he was just 14. He didn’t know why it happened and blamed himself. School was a nightmare. He didn’t want to do the work, be around his friends, do much of anything. He was in detention almost daily for not doing his work, falling asleep in classes, and avoiding classes altogether, spending his time in the library. He lost his things on a regular basis; no concentration. The doctors wanted to put him into an inpatient facility. Imagine that? Your fourteen year old son needed an inpatient facility because his dad walked out on him and didn’t look back. He supported us financially until he decided he didn’t want to do that anymore either but back then, he was still doing it. But the money didn’t matter. He was missing his life. His dad. We agreed that medication and daily sessions with the psychiatrist would do instead of inpatient care but he was closely monitored and couldn’t miss a session. That year was hell. The medication helped only with sleeping. But the sleeping was even worse in classes and he walked around like a zombie most of the time, feeling flat instead of having any emotions whatsoever. I had my own grief, but it had to wait, my job was making sure he didn’t see that and only saw me trying to make him feel better and get him through the year and school. He made it but he has never been the same. We have never been the same.


This is not a dig at my ex-husband, although he would likely say that it is, this is simply some of my thoughts on how it was or is. It’s not meant to hurt him, but just help me and here I am justifying my feelings and thoughts again. Still afraid of who is lurking around the corner and ready to pounce on any words I might utter that show a glimmer of what our lives were. For that person, they did not exist and I am just a figment of my own imagination.

Today and More Tomorrows

I think one of the hardest things is when you love someone so hard and so deep and they disappear, it doesn’t just leave a hole in your soul, it destroys it. More than that, you think you’ll never have that again and you don’t trust yourself ever to let it happen. At least not in the last eight years for me anyway. I thought I had found it again once or even twice, but it’s still too hard and with my new health issues (not so new now really), I find myself making excuses that nobody wants to take on such burdens so I’ll just live out these years on my own, mourning my losses and sleepless, lonely nights wondering what will happen to me in two years time when the money runs out and I’ve got nothing — no job, nobody to love, and my children have moved on. I want them to move on, of course. But my own fears of my own mortality and my middle-aged years do frighten me and this is what keeps me awake at night. Almost like sleeping a whole eight hours is a reward and I don’t deserve a reward for living through the nightmare; or putting my son through the nightmare; or reliving the nightmare night after night. One day I will wake up and stop punishing myself I think. I am not weak; just still wounded. I put off being wounded for so long that now that I finally recognise it I think the time will come for me to change. I can not be who I was. That person doesn’t exist anymore. I admit I don’t like ageing but it’s not age that’s changed me. It’s all of it. It’s seeing the hurt, feeling the hurt, seeing death, saying no to that but not understanding what living would mean. It’s not easy. Life. It’s never easy. But come December, my Autumnal Blues will disappear and this page will be filed for another year and then I’ll write about something else more mundane like politics, the conflict in Yemen or the big orange buffoon sitting in the White House. Nothing as exciting as my little pity party for sure.

Time to say TTFN. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my moaning. It’s been fun. I feel better already. Okay, that’s a lie, too. One day. Just not today.

Miss you mum and dad. You don’t know how close we were really were to seeing each other again. I think the wait will make it even better though. I don’t know what I’m waiting for but I am sure I’m not finished here yet. Sorry for the ramble. It only makes sense in my own head, but that’s okay, too…one day my thoughts will make sense to everyone.

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