By Patti Bradshaw, 5th November 2017
Wednesday is his birthday.
He will never be 52 years old, my Tony.
I've grown up with him, but I will never grow old with him.
I've had children with him, but will never have grandchildren with him.
I wondered if one day I'd leave him, but instead he left me.
Wednesday is his birthday.
How do I mark it? How do I get through it?
Do I carry on, as if it's just another day? Do I curl up in my bed and just cry all day? Do I make a birthday cake?
Oh, Tony. I don't think I told you enough that you were good. That you were the glue that held me together. That you comforted and calmed me. That no matter what happened, I knew you'd be there. But now you aren't. You aren't here, and I can't tell you how much it meant to me to always know you would be. I said "I love you" every day, but did I show you? Did you feel my devotion?
We had rough times, yes. Sometimes I was SO angry with you. Often I was frustrated and annoyed by you. But that is what life is.
We also had beautiful times. You made me laugh. You were there when I needed someone to bring me back to earth, whether I was too high, or too low, you stabilized me.
I never imagined that you would simply.... go.
In my heart, you were forever.
You are forever.
We were together for so long, that every song on the radio reminds me of you. Music was air to you. And although I was the dancer- you moved. I can still see you moving to "I can't sleep" or "Been around the World" or... so many others.
I remember clearly that last morning. I know I brought you your cup of tea (as always) and kissed you on top of your head, as you sat on the edge of the bed, not yet fully awake. I know that I called out "I love you" (as always) while I walked out and pulled the door behind me to go to work. I know that when Connor left a message saying the police were trying to reach me- that there was a "traffic incident" and asked me what I'd done, I laughed, not concerned, at first, not imagining that my life was forever altered. We, Connor and I, were trying to work out what I had done on my way to work that had caught me on camera, or had caused another driver to complain about my terrible driving. We never speculated it would be you.
I remember how the realisation crept up. How at first I said to Connor, "but the car's in Dad's name, if I did something, they'd call him." A clue that went unnoticed, at first. But insinuated itself. I tried to call your mobile. There was no answer. Connor had told me the police were looking for me, and were coming to my work. A clue. The police don't turn up to your work if you are caught on camera speeding, or running a red light. Why didn't you answer your phone???
Connor and I both came to the conclusion, in different places, together. We spoke again on the phone- I've no idea now who called who or how it progressed; it's a blur. "Dad's not answering," He told me, "something's wrong with Dad." I knew. I knew it was serious. I knew you were gone.
You were supposed to always be there! I was supposed to leave you! You never made the big changes in our lives. Yes, you were the final word- but I was the impetus for change. But, again, you had the final word. You rolled your brand-new car over in a ditch, and you left me.
My tall, silly, sensitive, moody, lazy, frustrating partner, friend, husband. My Tone.