“The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday…”
For me, it was 8.15pm on an idle Saturday, but Mary Schmich’s advice to the Class of ’97 has stayed with me since I first heard it read by Baz Luhrmann in his song ‘Sunscreen’.
And I continue to be blindsided on this road I’m on; ambushed by grief when I least expect it.
Last night in the pub, M’s mother showed me a photograph she had on her phone. It was of M when He was in hospital in 2008, 21 days after His emergency heart surgery. He was smiling (He was always smiling), yet He had the pallor of a man who was seriously ill. He too had been blindsided (6pm on an idle Sunday), when His aorta ruptured, spontaneously and inexplicably at the age of 33.
Seeing the picture, I fell apart. Right there in the pub, dirty great tears plopping into my Rioja! (To be fair, it wasn’t a particularly good vintage).
And I couldn’t stop. His mother desperately implemented her tried-and-tested ‘grief diversionary tactic’ – that is, to begin a conversation about their bathroom extension – but this time it didn’t work. The grief would not be vanquished! My lip wibbled like Sue-Ellen Ewing on speed, and we had to sup up before the barmaid threw us out for upsetting the emotion-free equilibrium of the pub. (Being full of North East workmen, it had flat-lined).
Even despite liberal applications of emotional sunscreen, sometimes the just grief gets through.