Tuesday, 29 December 2009
The first Christmas
After you have lost someone, they say that the first anniversaries that come round during the first twelve months are the worst. I'm not sure if that's true. Maybe things gradually get less painful and poignant but life is never quite the same again, however much easier it becomes to live the daily routine.
Last Christmas was spent at Kathy's, with her and Mark, then Claire and Chris came over from Chris's parents' home in the afternoon. This year we did the same, the difference being, of course, that last year Hugh had been staying at Kathy's too. It wasn't a good time for him. His and Debbie's relationship had recently come to an end and he was already having problems gaining access to Paul. He was suffering then and it didn't get any better over the following months.
Claire, Keith and I went to see Paul on Boxing Day. We saw him and Nathan, his half-brother, for half an hour to give them their presents. This time, we went to their home. I wasn't looking forward to seeing Debbie. I hadn't seen her at all since she and Hugh split up, apart from a couple of brief glimpses in the car when she had dropped Paul off to see Hugh.
I imagine she was feeling awkward too. I didn't talk to her much. What I really wanted to know was how she is feeling now about Hugh and the whole acrimonious ending of their relationship. Part of me wanted to tell her not to blame herself for his death, if indeed she does. That decision was made by Hugh and must be his responsibility, but more than anything, I wanted her to know that she does bear responsibility for manipulating him and taking advantage of his feelings and that is something that will stay with her for the rest of her life.
I want her to understand that it is not all-right to play with other people's lives.
But of course, I didn't say anything of this.
We walked out into the icy road and I said good-bye to Claire. I heard a tap on the window. It was Nathan waving to us.