I went to a Nadfas lecture this morning, the local one – I belong to two societies. I only got to one lecture last season, because I was so busy, and I had a warm welcome – dear friend Jenny hadn’t seen me since Russell died and hugged me, said very kind things, she was a relatively young widow too … kind as it is, this is very hard to cope with, especially in a public place. After the lecture, I went to say hello to the Area chairman, who wrote to me only a month or two ago, having just heard that Russell had died. This was immensely kind, most people would have thought it too late to write – I would have myself, I think.
I was half-listening to a programme on the radio on Saturday, so I don’t know the background, only that a man was talking about his experience of being widowed, from the aspect of how people spoke to him or otherwise acted towards him. He was very critical – I turned the radio off, after a while, because I so disagreed with him that I didn’t want to listen any more. Sure, the man who sent him books on grieving was not tactful. Other people were clumsy – but they tried. Would he have preferred to be ignored? I think not. It really is the thought that counts. Quite apart from our clumsiness, fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, misjudgement of what is consoling or uplifting, there is also the matter of how fragile and over-sensitive people might react, which might be quite unreasonable. I read, in the paper some months ago, a letter from a woman who was upset at receiving Christmas cards addressed to herself alone, which she felt rubbed in the fact that she was, in fact, alone. But what did she want? Cards addressed to her and her dead husband? No cards at all? Meeting someone who clumsily says the ‘wrong’ thing – better that they cross the road and not speak to you?
Oh dear. I didn’t know I was going to write this. Ignore me, darlings. No one has said the wrong thing to me – that is, I didn’t take it amiss – apart from the man who phoned to speak to Russell, was duly shocked when I broke it to him that Russell had died, then – after some conversation – let out that he’d heard but couldn’t believe it. I think I blogged it at the time. I was too startled to be indignant at the time, but I really was afterwards. One chap, over-keenly, said “so you’re a woman of substance now?” a week after Russell died, which was pretty tacky, but I didn’t react to that either, just confirmed that yes, Russell and I had left each other everything in our wills, so I was worth twice as much as I’d been a week previously. I think that a straight and dignified bat is the best way to play it.
I seem to be ranting, but I don’t mean to be. Let’s change the subject.
I was in bed by half past nine last night and, though I woke several times in the night, once for over an hour, I slept for a good eight hours, maybe nine. I was in no hurry to get up this morning – I love my bed. I also love my Aga, it’s great to have it on again. I feel rested, which is lovely.
The little chick is feeding well, but can’t walk. Its left leg joint is swollen, I don’t know if it’s a break or a sprain or what. I’m so sorry for the little thing, I hope it recovers but I’m not going to get too attached.
I’d put the rest of the hay under cover and the kittens pulled it onto the ground. Bless them, they clearly need more comfort. I’m going to make a sheltered space for them and buy them more hay. They need somewhere comfortable for the winter – they can go in the barn, of course, but I don’t know that they do. They are very dependent on the food I give them, which isn’t at all in accord with my idea of barn cats.
My darling daughter-in-law Dilly’s birthday today. I managed to get the day wrong, I knew the date but somehow thought that was tomorrow. I phoned her at 4 o’clock when I caught on and hope to see her at the weekend to give her her present. It’s my son-in-law Phil’s birthday on Saturday and Dora’s birthday at the end of the month – all my in-laws’ birthdays this month, which at least is consistent. And it’s Pugsley’s birthday this month too, and Ro and Dora’s first wedding anniversary, and the day of Russell’s funeral – all happening this month. And my birthday too, now I think of it.