It was yesterday lunchtime I started to come to the conclusion I must put all this business (or non-business) with Owen behind me. Yes, I know I’ve said as much before, but this time I shocked myself into meaning it.


It was the hollow emptiness that did it, the tiny knife with the pearl handle twisting into a space just below my heart. It happened just after Owen cancelled our meeting, and it scared me shitless. I hardly heard what he was saying on the phone; something about changes to the series of articles I’m preparing and I couldn’t grasp it at all. He must think I’m an idiot.


And he would be right – but for all the wrong reasons. He doesn’t know the real reason, thank God, because it’s just too embarrassing. The real reason is that I was just a pencil shaving away from falling for him big-time. Luckily, I recognised the feeling in the knick of time. Luckily, I have the inner strength to do something about it.


The first thing I did was to take a couple of deep breaths. Next, I plugged my iPod firmly into my ears and played only upbeat songs all the way home. And finally, I knew I had to give myself space to grieve.


Grief is perhaps a strange word to use, but grief is close to my surface this week. It’s what I’ve been feeling for my father, a year on from his death. It isn’t a logical thing; I don’t miss him any more or less because it’s a year; I don’t even necessarily want him back; it’s just that I’ve felt especially fragile inside, in a way that’s been hard to pinpoint.


Of course, I haven’t really been allowed to grieve for my father. My mother didn’t expect it from me, after all that had happened between them. And anyway, when he died I had to deal with all the practical stuff. Sure, I had a little weep when we sang ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’ at his funeral, but that was about it. And this week I wasn’t allowed to grieve either; when I called my mother on his anniversary she didn’t even ask me how I was.


There are various stages to grief, aren’t there, but I can never remember in which order they’re meant to come. I think perhaps disbelief or denial comes first. I have certainly been denying anything stronger than friendship and flirtation with Owen, so I’ve been doing that in spades.


And then there’s anger. I do feel angry; a vague, undefined feeling of kicking myself hard on the shins because I even allowed my imagination to wander. I didn’t realise my heart would follow so easily, or I’d never have given my mind such free rein. It is jaw-droppingly scary, what I could have put at risk, and I am furious with myself. (Rather irrationally, I am furious with Owen too – but I don’t think any of this is his fault).

  1. Perhaps your mother is trying to block out his memory in coping with his grief?

  2. I think it is very hard to stay away from temptation for both married men and women. The point though is that that is the whole point, to stay away if you value what you have anyways. Sometimes though when what you have becomes a little umm stale these things might occur.

  3. i believe u are displacing the anger and resentment that you feel towards your mother, and projecting it on owen – the situation you have with him is a minor one..yet the feelings bubbling to the surface are much much stronger in intensity than they ought to be. and , you yourself have identified that, that you are being unfair towards him…

    As for your mother not asking you how you are – the fact that she called on that significant day shows that she does care, and she IS concerned for u..even if she may not say it…this is her way of reaching out to you..she needs you just as much as you need her.
    If you feel fragile…go on a long drive…or sit on a beach…or anywhere where you feel calm and be alone..and cry. because the more you bottle it in, the stronger your repressed feelings will be everytime ur confronted wit a situation – and each time they will threaten more and more to overwhelm u.

    Take charge of the situation – first of all – take a pen and a paper , and write. write the situations that bother you, write WHY they bother you, write what feelings you experience – and write if there could be any other logical epxlanations for those situations . THEn call up owen, and ur mother
    and CALMLY, logically confront them. tell them how you feel. STop pretending all is well, stop pretending like everything is ok … talk, communication is essential…. cry… let it all go

    you will feel so mcuh better

  4. or just have a drink…and then another…and then another.. and pretty soon it will fade.. all of it.

  5. Wow. A great deal of advice to consider and follow. Batster is uncomfortably close to the truth – I don’t cry very much – I’m something of a cold fish really. And maybe there is some subliminal stuff going on between Owen and my father’s death, because although I hardly knew him at the time he was terrifically supportive, and I always felt I could talk to him.

    Think I might grab that pen and paper… don’t think I’ll talk to anyone except myself (and you guys!).

  6. well writing is the first step…
    once you’ve written it, you’ll find it easier to talk to them
    because u’ll be able to organize your thoughts and be able to identify your feelings better

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