Beverley Ward writes fiction and poetry for adults, children and young people. She facilitates a wide range of face-to-face and online workshops as well as working one-to-one as a coach for creatives. She is a single parent who lives in Sheffield with her two children. In 2015, her partner, Blacksmith Paul, died suddenly and she frequently writes about loss.
When my new partner, Blacksmith Paul, died just twelve weeks after my last remaining parent, it was to writing that I turned in my despair. In the darkest of days, writing gave me a purpose. The blank page listened when there was no-one to talk to. My laptop understood when no-one else could fathom the degree of my heartbreak. Writing was my best friend.
So, I met someone. It seems almost too perfect for words. I grieved fully and completely for a year, then on the 13th March, three days after the anniversary of Paul's death, I re-wrote my grief narrative to include the possibility of loving someone new and, just a month later, someone appeared.
You were by far the best mother-in-law I've ever had, even though your son wasn't there to see it. I want to thank you, Pat. I hope that you are with him now where both of us so longed to be. I hope you look down and see that, it is partly because of you that I can still smile and live on with your memories in my heart.
'Two lovers, destined to be together, miss their chance repeatedly, spend their lives apart having a pretty miserable time, finally unite and then, just when things are going great, he dies and her life is ruined'. Maybe it makes a good weepy but it's certainly not an easy story to write a sequel to and, left here without you, that is, essentially, what I have to do.
This time last year I was mostly amongst friends and holding it together pretty well in company until, one evening, one of the participants didn't come down for dinner and I found myself drowning in panic thinking that he might be dead. I stood up, excused myself and rushed sobbing to my room and didn't stop crying for hours.
I started gently, casually, by reactivating Tinder and adjusting my personal statement to reflect my change in circumstances. I made it clear that I was not ready for a relationship but would like some male company. It was a clumsy beginning. The first person who approached me got short shrift when he asked me about my taste in books, films and music.
I can still see him standing in my front garden that night writing messages to Hephaestus the blacksmith god with them, releasing paper lanterns into the sky. They loved him. I loved him. He loved me. And that was the last time I saw him. Five days later, he was dead.
It's that time of year again. The shops are awash with red, the streets suddenly lined with hearts and flowers and teddy bears. Love is in the air. Love is on air. Love is everywhere. Valentine's Day is looming and there is no avoiding it.
12/02/2017 21:56 GMT
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