Yes he has. He is away, away in another dimension…
And he did it magnificently, slipping away peacefully after six and a half weeks in hospital from early January. He’d been increasingly poorly since the autumn, but we had Christmas and New Year together at home, unaware of what was about to happen. In hospital after a fall like a felled tree and seizures, he was in another world, yet seemed to be working through the last of his soul mission before letting go. He waited until after my birthday and Valentines Day and passed on 21 February.
Paddy’s funeral mid March was fabulous. Despite storms and a covid resurgence, friends and family from Scotland, Devon and Cornwall, old and new, gathered to celebrate his life. Our dear friends Mark and Christina (who had also helped officiate at our wedding in 2003) hosted the service beautifully.
For the three weeks after he passed, I had poured all of my love into creating a service, life story, music, visual tribute and reception that did him proud. And Paddy contributed during the process – switching on motion sensor lights, and the CD player off, and changing the screensaver on my laptop – at various points to illustrate his favour or otherwise of my choices.
My niece Karen’s choir sang A Thousand Years outside the crematorium as we arrived – a song I’d just been learning at Rock Choir and I’d sung to Paddy in his last weeks. Knowing he was close, I asked the nurses to play it to him an hour before he passed. “One step closer. Don’t be afraid. I will love you, for a thousand years.”
Paddy has been showing up frequently as a single rook – the first time wheeling and squawking directly above my head, then following me along the seaside road, despite the wind being so strong it was almost blowing me over. A spirited rook appeared at the funeral too, seen hopping and flying around through the floor to ceiling window behind his coffin at the end of his life story then visual tribute. We were all amazed!
Immediately after I’d said farewell to my last funeral visitors, I contracted mild Covid. The next 10 days was a forced retreat of illness, isolation and grief. It was harsh, yet fast-tracked me through so much. For most of the time before the funeral I was in a kind of supernatural state of sublime love and connection with Paddy, but the more ordinary part of me was waiting to be felt, bereft. Most of the big heartbreak painful tears were shed in those days.
Paddy and I were somewhat prepared for his passing as his health has been poor for some years and we’d discussed the eventuality of it happening before me many times. (He was also 12 years older.) As the thoughts, feelings and reflections poured through me when he was in hospital and after he died, I saw with great clarity that our relationship was complete, our soul contracts to one and other totally fulfilled. (And Paddy’s personal purpose in this life also complete.) And so there feels to be a perfection that he has passed and that I continue, that it was meant to be. It’s a comforting realisation.
For the last couple of months I’ve been gradually recovering from fatigue – post viral, grief induced and chronic exhaustion from four years of intense caring for Paddy. However I have been hugely supported by my dear friends and family and by the fantastic Scottish island community I am now a part of. And by nature and beauty and freedom and the joy of being able to do things I haven’t been able to for many years. I would say my energy is 90% recovered now.
And my grieving has become softer, gentler. Tears and chats with Paddy are quite frequent, but flow easily and beautifully without pain. My new friends and activities have poured into my life and I am recapturing so much that has been abeyance – not only through 20 years of intense focus and devotion to Paddy and our life together – bringing up my son Jamie and creating Thrivecraft – but also during the 18 years before that when I was involved in a semi-monastic Buddhist lifestyle, being a devotee of another sort.
So I am singing (with Rock Choir), dancing, sea swimming, cycling, walking (lots!), gardening, resting, meditating, writing, taking trips off island, having a stream of visitors stay over (including my dear friend Angie from Senegal for the summer), friends around for dinner or joining them at theirs, lunching out, exploring my incredibly beautiful locality and neighbouring islands. And continue to make amazing new friends and deepen relationships with existing friends and family. I am feeling so much joy, appreciation and love and am sooooo expanded and energtic – a whole new lease of life.
Inspiration for relaunching Thrivecraft (paused these last years while caring for Paddy) bubbles up frequently and I am delighting in those delicious creative impulses quietely gathering power beneath the surface. I am giving myself until the autumn to recover and restore and simply enjoy my new life, friends, family and places, and then I’ll be back with some wonderful Thrivecraft offerings. I can’t wait to see you then!