After M died, I was awarded a moderate sum of money – a ‘death in service’ benefit from those kind people at the pensions company. The consolation prize, as it were.
Don’t get me wrong, I am hugely grateful for the support (many widows, I know, are left financially as well as emotionally bereft). In a perverse way, I am fortunate.
But the money presents a dilemma. I hate the fact that my beloved M had to die in order for it to come into my bank account. And I hate that when He was alive, we couldn’t afford to buy a home of our own, yet now my daughter and I are financially stable, He gets nothing. It’s what He would have wanted, I know; it is why He nominated me to receive it in the event of His death. But the money is tainted and utterly without joy.
There is, in fact, a large degree of guilt in spending it. I try to think, ‘What would He have wanted us to do with it?’ I have tried to invest. Not be too outlandish in purchases. Reserved part of it for my daughter’s future. But they are all investments in a future in which He will play no part – except for being generous enough to die in the first place of course.
Profligate spending is apparently a well-documented reaction in grief, together with excessively drinking (guilty as charged), recklessness (also guilty as charged) and a host of other destructive behaviours (*coughs*). Whilst I haven’t been particularly extravagant – the £150 boots were an investment and I need the £600 cocker-poo for company, OK? – I have surrounded myself with things I wouldn’t previously have been able to afford in the belief that they would somehow make me feel better and life more liveable.
The new Louis V armoir is sensational, but Christ, I’d give it all back for just one more minute in His arms.