During the morning of March 14th, David - my partner and husband of a very long time - was putting the final touches to our ebook version of The Magic Skateboard.
Before the end of that afternoon, he would be dead. Death had nosed at us, with its unpleasant breath, on a number of occasions before. There was the time we'd driven back from a long weekend in Cornwall when David had forgotten to bring his blood pressure pills, so when we came home late at night, he took some, along with a small whisky. We ended up in Casualty.
David raising a glass
There were ominous happenings at the Bronze exhibition at the Royal Academy in October last year, when he complained of feeling unwell (the lighting at the exhibition seemed to disturb both of us, but David especially). Then, in one of the rooms, a man suddenly collapsed, and couldn't be revived. Neither of us could recall that exhibition without the image of the man falling.
In November, David had a mini-stroke - a TIA. He was fast-tracked into UCLH, and survived. I even blogged about the experience. He was going to be fine.
Then, on that afternoon in March, we between us made some small, but erroneous, decisions which would prove fatal. We were visiting a late friend's exhibition, mainly to please his widow, and, instead of driving, we decided to use public transport, then walk. We misjudged the distance and the steepness of the hill, and as we entered the exhibition, David suddenly fell. He'd died of a heart attack.
Nothing had prepared me for the physical brutality of the attempted resuscitation, or for the shock and subsequent numbness of my reactions to his death. It's May, and I'm still numb. Friends have recommended books. I've been reading Joan Didion's 'A YEAR OF MAGICAL LIVING'. Her writing, as always, is wonderful, but I could find nothing magical about her year of extreme distress and loss. Books on the subject of grieving abound. They tell me nothing I don't already know. Poetry helps, as poetry always does. Emily Dickinson's 'Because I could not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for me' seems to say something, and also anything by Yeats. I even find myself researching mediums, so great has been my need to communicate with him. Our affair began with a conversation at a party, and went on from there - conversations which ended for ever in early Spring 2013.
My first picture book comes out later this year. This has been a new departure for me, and we were planning to celebrate. Thanks to David, I became an Electric Author, with eleven of my out of print children's books re-published as ebooks. We were working towards indie-publishing a number of unpublished children's and Y/A texts, and at least one adult novel. David had a professional IT background, and was meticulous in his work. I can't imagine doing this for myself.