Today marks my wife and my 9th wedding anniversary, and I am once again in the beautiful Lake District surrounded by the fells, the water, the inevitable cloud and everything that makes this place so special.
I say marks rather than marked because ever since she died I have always found myself in the habit of speaking in the present rather than past tense and despite her tragically no longer being here on this earth, the 27 October will still always be that day of ours. It will never cease to be.
Understandably I know many people, my fellow widowers included struggle with wedding anniversaries and the loss it reminds people of. The days that should have continued, the further memories that would have been created.
That my way is different is not a criticism. It's just my way with this date.
I struggle to see that day in 2007 and each anniversary since, even those without Mair as anything other than that it was awesome. A casual feel to a special day surrounded by friends, scattered around the lawn of Briery Wood Hotel as we made our vows, the eerie yet beautiful sound of 'She Moves Through The Fair' on the garden speakers. In the midst of that still autumnal day, a solitary gust of wind brought golden leaves down on us which was Mair's Daddy silently blessing us with a whisper :) No pomp and ceremony. No stress or worry in planning the day. Just our day :)
Yesterday as I stood on the pier in Bowness with Martha and Merlin we looked across the water and out of nowhere a sudden gust of wind brought a scattering of little golden yellow and brown leaves onto the water surface and my mind was instantly taken back to that moment 9 years before. I smiled so much I had tears in my eyes and I then explained to them as they watched it, that just the same happened to us. They both looked out at the water in wonderment and it was yet another magical moment shared.
A year ago, as much as I again focused on the memories of a fabulous day, I otherwise was not in a very good place at all. I was beginning to feel very lost, unfocused and really just unsure about a lot of things. Amongst other things, the Lakes had become a place I couldn't bear to step foot in because it was simply too painful. It held too much time spent there for it to be shaken off and become bearable again.
Here I am though in my hotel room in Newby Bridge, the children fast asleep in the bed behind me and we're looking forward to a lovely day. I just booked it without much thought and maybe therein lies the secret. To not think too long or hard but just do what my gut says.
A year has made a huge difference. It has brought clarity of mind, a realisation that living in the here and now doesn't mean forgetting. I have the most incredible love in my life who has made anything feel possible again where once things were ruled out. Overall an outlook of positivity and excitement in regards to everything. A perfect balance between remembering and treasuring what Mair and I had, and at the same time looking forward to what the future holds in store :)
Maybe it was just that small steps were needed in order to for me to feel able to venture back here, maybe it was an open mind, maybe an amount of hurt was actually needed in order to aid the healing. Who knows.
What I do know is that even though I don't spend an awful lot of time here anymore, the Lakes will always hold a very very special place in my heart