One month tonight since Nige died. Tick tock, tick tock.
Last night Eva asked me if she could draw a picture for me, she’s become a fantastic artist. I said “sure, can you draw me a picture of a tiger and a rat together?” (See pic). It may seem like an odd request, but you see in Chinese astrology I was a tiger and Nige a rat. I always thought that was kind of funny.
When you look at Eva’s picture of the tiger and the rat, you’ll notice that the rat is hitching a ride on the tiger’s back. And maybe that is all you’ll see. The tiger looks powerful, and like it’s carrying the rat through life. However, what no-one can see or hear is the rat whispering encouragement and wise advice into the tiger’s ears, essentially directing them both through life. The tiger and the rat are friends and they are what they are. They have accepted each other and there is so much love and respect there, despite their obvious differences and weaknesses. Not just despite them, but because of them.
Which leads me on to how I’m feeling right now.
Nige, I think I’ve just realised I will never see you again. EVER. In the first few weeks it was easy to pretend you had gone away for just a while. Now comes the realisation that I will never do certain things with you again. There is no future us.
This may all seem obvious – and it is. But to the grieving mind it’s slow to creep up on you. I was wondering why I was feeling OK. It is because I was so distracted with all the comings and goings, the endless conversations about YOU that kept you alive Nigel. When I talk about you, you live. When I look for you, you’re dead and gone, never to return.
What will I miss?
Just having you around. Talking to you about anything and everything. Bouncing ideas around. Asking your advice. Giving you my advice. Planning for the future, even if it was just a trip to the shops in the weekend. No more travel plans. No more dreams for the future. No more pep talks, no more crazy talks. No more “aren’t our kids amazing?”
No more “What movie shall we watch”, no more “The Chase” or “Millionaire Hot Seat”. No more MKR. No more watching me play Playstation, bored out of your skull. No more sitting side by side on our phones cruising Facebook. No more Snapchat cats.
No more “What the hell are we going to have for dinner”. No more “let’s get a movie and some good food and have a night in”. No more yummy dinners out, no more understanding each other’s fussy eating habits. No more bakery runs, to far-reaching suburbs because that’s where the good stuff is. No more cooking together, no more hosting the family with huge quantities of food and laughter. No more coffee and cake. No more pig outs at Chow, or Co-op or Cafe L’affare or Bluebelle. No more sitting in the sun eating fish and chips.
Hugging you, kissing you, touching you, smelling you, seeing you, hearing you.
No more excitement as we prepare for Christmas/Easter/Birthdays/Anniversaries. No more lighting the fireworks, and having more fun than the kids. No more waking the most excited on Christmas morning. No more well thought out gifts from you. No more theme park rides. No more Christmas lights, no more Boxing Day rest.
No more back seat driver. No more non-sporty dad trying to encourage the rest of non-sporty family to come out for a bike ride, a game of soccer, or cricket. No more running around the block training for mud-runs.
No more whinging to each other. No more whinging about each other. No more stealing the duvet, no more midnight cuddles. No more flowers.
No more choosing stuff for the house and always having exactly the same taste. No more disagreements over yet another TV, or buying a gas-guzzling V8 car. No more complaining when I want to shop for 30 seconds but being able to spend an hour choosing clothes for yourself.
No more joy on your face when the kids get home. No more “Hey buddy” or “Hi sweetpea”. No more watching you soak up the rays, listening to 80’s music and adding songs to your “Dad’s Best” playlist. No more walks along the Kapiti coast.
No more “yay it’s the weekend” excitement and enthusiasm over us doing something as a family. No more Staglands, no more picnics. No more monopoly. No more spoiling the kids, no more strolls in the botanical gardens. No more carrying in the birthday cakes. No more drinking bourbon and listening to music. No more bad dancing and singing at nightclubs, where we look like grandparents these days. No more Nitro Circus, no more airplane trips, no more air balloons, no more luft balloons. No more bagpipes, no more GNR, no more AC/DC.
No more, no more, no more.
No more yelling at the cat when she scratches the furniture, and the dog when she goes into the rubbish. No more forgiving them instantly, but secretly.
No more camping, no more road trips. No more long walks, no more fishing, no more swims. No more “stinky town” (Rotorua). No more Orion. No more laughter. No more proudly smiling at the cuzzies playing together, no more Vegas.
No more naps on the couch. No more being up for anything. No more knowing exactly what you want, and then doing it, no matter what.
No more remembering to take photos because I forgot to, and hence always taking selfies “to show I was there”.
No more catching up with friends, no more hard at work. No more coffee and toast in bed.
No more hospital visits. No more cancer, no more struggling to breath, no more effort walking. No more steroids, injections, pills, needles, chemo. No more brain radiation mask. No more oxygen machine, no more wheelchair.
You are no more. Yes, you were, but that is not enough right now, nor will it ever be. But, I am grateful. For a life without you at all would not have done.
I know I can do all these things still, but that’s the point. It’s not the things you do, it’s who you do them with that makes it fun. A like-minded soul that you enjoy being with, wherever that may be. I could travel the world looking for that connection and never find it. But I had it, and that counts.
I’ll miss my rat til the end of time, but this tiger must carry on, as it has a monkey and a golden pig to look out for now. Recalling the whispers of encouragement and advice she used to hear from the rat, and remembering with a smile the adventures they had together.