I get up after a sleepless night. I catch sight of Hugh’s watch on the dressing table and the tears come again. After yesterday, I thought there couldn’t be any left, but of course there are.
Today passes in a haze. From time to time there are phone calls from Kathy, Claire, Dad and information begins to feed in. Before going to Liverpool, Claire and Chris had gone to Hugh’s house. She reports that it felt very peaceful and the visit seems to have comforted her a little. Some of Hugh’s belongings are still in the house. When they look, they find the boxes his medals were kept in. The boxes are empty. When Kathy meets with the army captain, he says they can be replaced. She knows that Hugh wanted them to go to Paul, his six year old son.
Keith is quiet, keeping a close eye on me. He alternates between being upset and being angry.
“How could he do something like this, ruining so many people’s lives? He had so much to live for.”
There are no answers. Probably there never will be but we try to make sense of the incomprehensible. We are pretty sure that the acrimonious break up of the relationship with the mother of his son is the main cause but he also had a huge amount of debt and a tremendous foreboding about his approaching tour in Afghanistan.
The post mortem is today. They find that he did die from hanging. There had been uncertainty over this as one foot was on one of the stairs and there was a possibility that, due to the level of alcohol, he had stumbled and been asphyxiated.
By two o’clock in the afternoon, I am still in my dressing gown and Paddy, has not been walked. From time to time, he lays his head on each of our laps in turn before retreating to curl up on his chair. He senses that all is not well. Even his cat-watching through the window lacks his usual energy.
By the end of the day, there is talk of the funeral being held on Friday 28th, which would have been Hugh’s 30th birthday. I am comforted by this thought and hope that this will indeed be the case.
It’s my birthday today. No-one remembers until later in the day, but that’s all-right. As I have got older, I have elected to pay little attention to the passing of the years, so birthdays have been low key. Today, I realise that all my future birthdays will be sad.
I ring the counsellor that I used to see for my personal therapy during my training and book an appointment for 3.15pm. I can talk to Keith of course, but he is hurting too. In my counselling session I can go through it all again and it helps tremendously.
I feel so much better that I tell myself I can see my own clients as normal next week. I know this is not the case and that I must not see clients at the moment but it is a way of clinging to the normal, everyday life which is outside this nightmare. I can’t face cancelling my appointments yet.
My friend calls in the evening with flowers and a card for my birthday. I haven’t told her. On Wednesday I was at the hospital with her as she had her pre-operation assessment for the breast cancer operation she is to have, also next Friday. She realises something is wrong and I tell her the sad news. I was to go to hospital again with her on Monday morning but she assures me she can call on another friend instead. I put the flowers in water and leave them on the dining table.