I once travelled happily alone. Then the most beautiful thing happened and suddenly I was half of two; two became one. But before I could start to document our life together, his life was tragically gone. My darling Ems is now in the bright lights of Heaven and I remain. This is the story of my journey from here. Gratefully a journey that One whose ways are above all of ours takes with me. One day I'll reach those bright lights for myself but until I do, join me on my journey, keeping memories close.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Memories of a year ago

GarethJonesPhotography, 2009

I've thought about it and I cannot possibly let today go by without blogging. Today. Today is a massive day. Today is the 27th June. Today would have been our 1st wedding anniversary. If Ems was still here we'd probably have cooed about how wonderful the first year had been, how it had flown by, yet also how it felt like we'd been married forever.

Time doesn't fly anymore but it really did feel like we'd been married forever. It feels so wrong that such a depth of love, such a brilliant partnership, such a beautiful marriage, only lasted 5 months. It truly felt like we'd been together all our lives. It still does. Many have commented on how we had a whole lifetime in our 2 years. We did. Yet I am still here, I am still living life on earth, and I am nearing the end of what would only have been our first wedding anniversary, and he's not here.

And on this day, I have known immense grief and brokenness. On waking I thought 'so this is it' and it wasn't long before well-wishing messages and reflections on my beautiful husband and the phenomenal day we married last year, had me broken. I am so grateful for those messages. Brokenness of course, as you'll have seen in my last blog, is something I had longed for this weekend. There was no way I wanted to pass this milestone numb. I had to feel, I had to remember, and I have.

Today being a Sunday has meant I have kept in my normal routine of attending church. It didn't make the anniversary go away (I wouldn't have wanted it to - 27th June, 2009 was the best day of our lives) but it meant I had something 'normal' to do.

As I travelled to church this morning from my parent's house, I thought about the same journey I made there last year in the VW Campervan that Ems had inspiredly chosen as our mode of transport for the day. I was broken remembering the emotions bubbling up that I had tried so hard to hold in as I made my way to the church that day.

As I parked outside the church, I remembered all the people that had gathered outside to watch the wedding and the smiles and excitement they shared with me as I arrived in my wedding dress that day. It was very different this morning. Just as the emotions had built up as I saw their excitement for us that day, the emotions built up as I walked alone towards the church where one of the loveliest people I know greeted me with a hug and such a genuine welcome on the door (as he does every Sunday).

As I walked into the church I remembered walking down the aisle towards my beautiful man, my proud father at my side, thrilled with my choice of husband. I was alone this year, the man that had walked me back up that aisle as my new husband, no longer at my side. I did my usual Sunday glance around, quickly looking for an available seat next to a friendly face before the panic kicks in. Two beautiful friends had the foresight to save me a seat between them and were ushering me to it. I am so grateful for this thoughtfulness.

As I sat in the seat on the back row, I remembered proudly standing at the front with my Ems. We wanted to share that moment with the whole world and the church was packed. Today I was at home on the back row which has been my resting place each Sunday these past 7 months, no longer confident sitting near the front as I would have while Ems played the guitar, only for him to join me afterwards. One thing that hasn't changed - I still want to share our love with the world.

As the songs begun I thought over the time and effort we'd put in together to choosing the 'right' songs, readings, etc for the service. One of the obvious choices had been a song called 'Blessed be your name' by Matt Redman. The band had picked it for this evening's service. It had been a song Ems had mentioned hearing when I hardly knew him. It was to become our song as it talks of God in the light and darkness, so relevant to our walk together through his SAD. We sung it with gusto at the wedding that day, 'when the suns shining down on me' we sung, as it did. 5 months later we'd sung it at his funeral, 'when I'm found in the desert place', which I'm still in. Today we sung it, both the light and the darkness so clear in my mind.

Following our vows last year we knelt down as the pastor (minister) prayed for us. Today, it was I, and not us, who was included in their prayers on this memorable day.

When I left the church I remembered so clearly our excitement that we were finally 'Mr and Mrs Davies'. We were thrilled. We were excited. We were so in love. Our friends and family showered us in confetti. Two days ago I'd stood at Ems' grave, picking the heads off the roses that I'd left there on his birthday, and one head at a time, breaking off the petals and scattering them across his grave. It was my confetti for him, remembering that moment where we'd stood together under it the year before, now somewhat symbolically showering rose petals, and my love, on his grave (not that he's there). There weren't the smiles and the cheers but the love was just as real, just as tangible, just as beautiful.

And of course, as I drove away, I remembered driving away with my lovely Mr Davies, choked with emotion as we embarked on married life together. We were both so proud, so deeply and madly in love. Today, I drove away alone, something I am, because I have no other option, becoming all too familiar with. Still madly in love.

Just as I was overwhelmed with emotion on the 27th June, 2009, I have been overwhelmed with emotion today, 27th June, 2010. Last year the emotion was excitement and sheer joy at coming together with the love of my life. This year the emotion is deep sadness that the love of my life is no longer here.

I know one day I'll see him again where there'll be no more parting. Till then, I will go on remembering with immense gratitude that Ems was mine, Ems was mine, oh how truly blessed I am to be able to say such words however agonising it is that my boy isn't here.

On a side note, and somewhat ironic as the first anniversary is represented with 'paper', this blog featured in the press today (see link below). It wasn't actually on paper but in an online article, the link to which is below. I just want to thank all of you that have kept encouraging me to write. This journey has a long way to go, my whole life, however long that may be, and I am privileged to be able to share it with you the reader, whoever you may be. View the article here.

The same article was later (28th June, 2010) published on The Huffington Post website too. View the article here.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


Holding hands while practicing our vows at our wedding rehearsal (26th June, 2009)

I slept for 11 hours last night and am still well and truly exhausted.

Today is the 26th June, 2010. This time last year I felt exhausted too. It was the day before our wedding. After a week of getting 3 hours sleep a night and spending every waking minute preparing all the details, large and small, for our big day, I was exhausted. I almost passed out as my friend manicured my nails before our wedding rehearsal began. I'd been living on toast (another toast linked memory we shared!) and rushing around like crazy trying to make everything perfect. Who needed sleep when you were marrying the man you loved that weekend? Exhausted, yet full of excitement for the big day ahead and the beautiful days as a married couple that lay before us.

Today I am truly exhausted. I have been for weeks. It's not because I've been sleeping 3 hours a night. In fact, late nights aside, I sleep pretty well. It's not a lack of sleep that's tired me out.

It's that feeling when you leave the house and every day, feel that you've left something behind.

It's that longing to share the things that happen each day with someone you won't see again for all your days on earth.

It's the continual frustration of desires.

It's having had your other half, a part of your very self, die. There's only half of you left now to make it through each day.

It's beginning to do things that 'normal' people do with half the strength.

It's learning to walk again, to breathe again, to be again...no wonder babies sleep so much with all the learning they have to do.

With exhaustion comes a horrible sense of numbness. It's horrible. As much as at times in the past few months I have almost willed myself not to feel, that I might escape the heartache and frustrated longings for my sweet, darling boy, to feel numb is to not feel at all; And to not feel is perhaps the most tragic sense of being there is. We're designed with hearts that sense and feel, that love and hate. Feeling numb makes me feel inhuman. I feel detached not not just from the things that surround me in the present, but from my memories so full of feeling, too.

I've dreaded this weekend, our first wedding anniversary, so much because of the memories it brings (sweet memories of course but echoing Ems absence even louder). Yet somehow, I've longed for it, hoping that as I remember the huge excitement we shared in planning, and the memories of the sweetest day we could have hoped for, it would break this numbness that I've been experiencing.

To choose to feel too much or to not feel at all? Great as the pain may be, I could never choose to not feel. To choose to not feel and experience the love, however much it means the reality hurts, would be the most tragic choice of all. It's not even a choice we can make for ourselves - however hard some people try.

Even though the beautiful object of my affection is in beautiful pastures new, the love we shared can never die. Just like Ems, our love will never grow old. I choose to feel it with every ounce of my being because it was the sweetest human love I could ever have experienced and a love like that is not one you let go.

[Memory #19 the "lavender" episode
I can remember so clearly the week leading up to our wedding. It was frantic but we were both so excited that it didn't matter. We'd enjoyed suit fittings, marquee decorating, gift preparing, etc. Ems had been involved in every detail (dresses aside) before the big day, the most amazing partner and help, and now it really was all go. When we arrived at the 26th June (the day before the big day), we had most things covered and Ems and I met at the church to decorate and clean together. We managed to have a moment together before others arrived to help. We couldn't wait for the wedding. Everything felt, everything was, just right. Ems spent the next 2 hours scrubbing every nook of the church's toilets (so if you were a guest at our wedding and went to the loo that day you can thank Ems that it was so clean!). I'd given Ems a bowl of lavender to put in each of the toilets. A few weeks after the wedding, I noticed the bowl of lavender, hidden away in the ladies loo. I mentioned it to Ems, wondering why anyone would have hidden it since the wedding. Ems expression gave away immediately that he knew something about it (his transparency was beautiful). He said that he'd hidden both of them away from the start. When I'd given them to him and mentioned that they were to "make the place smell nice", he took it literally and so hadn't realised they were also decorative! I loved that day of preparations and excitement with my lovely boy. Battling with emotions at the wedding rehearsal, I had no idea how many tears were to come.]