Trinkets…a poem 

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Trinkets

The desperate search begins

to piece together the jigsaw, 

But I’m standing in a room,

And somebody keeps switching the lights off, 

I can’t find everything I need, 

There’s half a bottle of wine & spa receipts 

and you put them there, 

you touched them last, 

so you can’t be gone,

it can’t happen that fast…

The cards are held at arms length,

For if the tears hit the ink and the writing blurs, 

you’ll be gone,

and there’s nothing to prove where we came from, 

It’s all so important to keep, 

train tickets, place cards, memories, 

Building this picture of you & me

and the life we lived, 

that precious gift. 

The dream catcher hangs on display, 

The Valentine bear from a wonderful day, 

The photographs frozen in happiness, 

that doesn’t portray this horrible mess,

Of a life that’s been wasted, spoiled, broken, 

Can I shut my eyes tight and those words stay unspoken, 

He’s gone. 

And I’m putting together these pieces of us 

so I can hold them close & still feel the love,

Is he gone?

No…he’s here in these pictures & trinkets & words, 

that I’ll treasure for as long as I walk on this earth 

He stays here. 

In a heart that loves to the moon, stars & sun 

Because he was the future, he was the one, 

So don’t judge me, don’t pity me, don’t take them away, 

These trinkets are what’s left, to make him stay, 

with me. 

❤️

Birthday

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Dear Carl

It’s your birthday on the 22nd of June. You’ll be 50. I had plans. A party. A celebration of you. I love making the ones I love happy & I’d hoped hard that I could do that for you. 

However, all I can do is love you from here & hope you’re with your mum & Atos. And I wrote another poem for you. 

For your birthday ❤️ 

I want to celebrate, 

The day you were born, 

When you arrived on this earth 

In your perfect form, 


I imagine the joy, 

Your arrival brought home, 

And the happiness that followed,

As they watched you grow 


You lived life so fully 

In your own vibrant way 

The colours of you 

Richer every day, 


You lived for your loved ones,

Brought loud music to our ears, 

Worked hard, and so brave, 

So much achieved in your years 


Many thought you a hero, 

Bringing greatness to the cause, 

A role model, a true friend

A credit to the force, 


But the you on the inside 

Is the one I most treasure 

Your love & your laughter

The simple pleasures, 


In the span of a lifetime

Our love was still new, 

But it counted to me, 

I know it counted to you,


So I’ll raise a glass for your birthday,

And I’ll smile through these tears 

We had some wonderful days 

But just not enough years 

❤️
Still your girl. Always your girl. 

Caroline xxx 








‘Because of him’ – a poem

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If you catch me crying

It will be because of him

For the love we shared

And because I’m scared

Of the future as it is 


If you catch me on a bad day

I can only apologise 

I carry on,

And appear to stay strong 

But my heart is full of ‘why’s’


If you catch me looking distant 

It’s perhaps because I am 

I’m back in the past 

Where my heart was last 

I hope you understand 


I know this all seems hard to hear

These things the eye can’t see, 

Just let me talk, and speak his name 

He’s still so present to me, 


If you catch me smiling 

It will be because of him, 

The memories are dear 

And though he isn’t here 

His love is still within 


I love you Carl. 

Always your girl

Caroline xx

Dear Carl 

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Grief has altered who I am. I’ve become a master of avoidance. I avoid places, people, music, memories. I avoid thinking, feeling and talking.  It’s like a cruel game of emotional dodgeball. The memories fly at me at speed & i am permanently ducking & diving to avoid feeling them for fear of the pain hitting me as hard as it did in those first few weeks & months.  Because those first few weeks and months I wasn’t sure I could survive the grief – yet here I am almost 8 months post losing you, still alive.

But I’m lying to myself permanently. Some place inside me doesn’t believe you are gone. Sometimes I get this pang of disbelief, like…’no…it can’t be true. It can’t be.’ Still after all this time, some part of my brain still hasn’t comprehended that you’ve left. And you chose to leave. You opted out despite everything you had to live for. 

‘I just can’t beat the illness’ you wrote. In the book, in the church. You said you were sorry & you would try. But behind closed doors, both emotionally & literally – you planned your escape from this life & those demons that tortured you and made you believe you weren’t good enough to stay alive.

I read somewhere that when a limb is amputated you can still feel it. It’s called ‘phantom sensation’.  It can last months after the loss of the limb.  I think it’s a good analogy of grieving sudden loss. That is how I feel. I still feel the same sensations as before. I can walk into a room & the lighting is just so, a smell, a shadow… and bang, you’re there. Or the phantom sensation is there at least. I could almost allow myself to believe that you could call me…that my phone will ring & it will be you. Or my door will open & you will walk in & nothing has changed. I’d put my arms around you & you’d put your arms around me….and the world would right itself again.

I want to be ready to move on but something holds me back. Everyone thinks I’ve moved on, I give a good show. But it’s all pretend. At night I sleep in your t-shirt. I don’t feel like my relationship status has changed. Nor will it ever. And in a way I accept that? Because nobody could be you? Nobody would give me the butterflies like you, nobody would be my friend like you. I can’t envision being who I was before with anyone else. I liked who I was with you. I loved our relationship. I loved the gigs, nights in by the fire. Family nights. Camping. Rock music. My hand on your leg in the car. Your solid body next to me in bed. Sharing a bath. Cooking you meals. The feeling of being joined by heart to somebody. 

I love you. And nobody & nothing can change that. You were my someone significant – and I doubt in a million years I could be lucky enough to recover & meet someone while I’m still young enough to have a life. 

But even typing this, I’m numb. You’d think I’d be crying writing these things but I’m not.  In a parallel life somewhere you’re still here, still with me – and life goes on. That parallel life walks beside me like a shadow. The should’ve, would’ve, could’ve sensation. The part of my heart & brain that still believes we could’ve made it & imagines that life instead of this empty one I live now. Too frightened of the future to believe something good could happen. Too frightened of the past to remember with a smile. Too frightened of the here & now to do anything other than exist like some kind of robot programmed to survive extreme conditions. 

Will life begin again? Or is it really over. Can the emotional self die years before the physical self? 

This seems to be what’s happened here. 

Still your girl, always.

Caroline ❤

A new kind of normal

Dear Carl 

So yesterday marked 5 months since you left me. I don’t know when I stopped waiting for you to come back. To walk in the door, to ring me, text me….all the normal day to day communication we had. I don’t know when I stopped expecting it to carry on but somehow I have.  A friend told me that grief is like a piece of a jigsaw that doesn’t fit…well I imagine it like that old fashioned game of Sadie’s – the one you said you had at your dads I think. A wooden box with a maze and small silver ball bearings & you tilt the box until the ball bearing falls into the hole…but you have to manipulate the maze to do this…so you’re tilting left & right, up & down. You hit dead ends. You go in the wrong direction. But eventually in it drops.  There’s no prize at the end. There’s no satisfaction or sense of achievement for manipulating the maze. Only the sense of…ahh it’s over.. the ‘Acceptance’ phase is over – ✅  box ticked.

So what phase am I in now? I still cry most days. I still painfully miss you. Desperately sometimes, and those are the hard days. But a lot of days it’s a more of a dull ache in my heart that never leaves. I’m conscious of it, but I function. I smile, I function & make jokes at work..I make jokes with the kids. I speak to people about their lives & problems & give advice.  I hear you in my mind telling me how perceptive I am. How I could read you like a book, read people.  I know I could. I chose I think, to skip some of your chapters because I know I wouldn’t have liked the content.  I wouldn’t have liked knowing that my messy life made you doubt us. I wouldn’t have liked knowing that sometimes you ached to go back to your old life. But I knew anyway really. I think I always knew, deep down. I just chose to believe that I was enough. Or I could eventually be enough, to make you happy. 

So this phase is a different acceptance. A new life. A new chapter of a book I didn’t want to read. Remember, I told you that if I didn’t like a book within the first few days I’d bin it off.  Well that’s how I feel. It’s all so tough. I just want it to stop.

I’m very tired & I need to sleep but I want to revisit this…the stages of grief. I will do it next time. 

I still love you very much. I always will. 

Caroline xxx

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Dear Carl 

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I wish writing here felt more like writing to you but it doesn’t. And nothing really makes me feel close to you, nothing except visiting Marlesford.
I drove there last weekend, 3 and a half hours to get there, by myself. By far the furthest I’ve ever been alone, and for the saddest reason. I stayed in a room i booked in someone’s house, it was strange but it suited the requirement which was to just get there & home as cheaply as possible. I visited your dad. He seemed very receptive, and wanted to hold my hand & cuddle me. We drove to the church & I saw where you are. I saw the cross on your grave, with your name. And with this almighty crash I felt like the bottom in my world dropped out again. It was real. You’re there. I felt close to you there. I wrote in the book in the church. And sat with your dad in a pew, in the most peaceful place. If you have to be anywhere I guess I’m glad it’s there, with your mum. But I want you here. 

I can still picture you so clearly. I can see your face in my mind, the shape of your head, the shape of your ears….the colour of your eyes. I can picture you sitting on my kitchen side & imagine standing between your legs hugging you. The rough feel of your jeans on my hands. The way you shaved your head but hadn’t shaved as far down as your neck so the spiky little hairs poked over the neck of your tshirt.  Strangely enough that’s one of the things we did in that last week. I shaved your head for you. Standing in the kitchen I shaved down your neck & it was smooth & fresh. You were ready for a shower after having been running. Your running shoes were on my kitchen floor. 

How are you not here? 

Things have been tough, I won’t lie. You may have noticed I’m coping. I am coping. I get on with life, with my kids, my job. I have a dog now! He’s called Chase & you knew him. He’s with us because you know i always wanted a spaniel & somehow he became available…I found out about him on the day of your memorial. And he came home just after new year. He belonged to your sergeant, and you’d trained alongside each other. But he failed & now he’s here with me.  I like to think he was sent by you….a last gift. A consolation prize of sorts in a black kind of way. A sorry for the way you’ve blown my life into pieces & taken away not only yourself, our love, and every ounce of self worth & belief I ever had. Which as you know was never much!  Do I sound bitter? I’m not. I’m not angry. But in doing what you did you took away my future too. The only future I wanted. You. Me. Happiness. I never wanted much & now it’s all gone. 

Your family don’t believe in us. I know that for certain now. They told the FLO when Chris had to make his coroners statement. They said, that they believe, you didn’t want to be with me. 

It suits them to believe that. So they don’t feel bad about cutting me out of their lives & pretending I don’t exist. 

On hearing that I looked at your text messages in those final weeks. You were adamant you loved me & you wanted to follow your heart and live the life you dreamed of with me. I’ll never know the truth now. All the things you said. 3 years & 10 months of loving you with not a moment of doubt – you loved me openly, fiercely. I saw it with my own eyes, felt it with my own heart. Yet they refuse to acknowledge it. 

Their behaviour has been cruel. Their opinion has cut like a knife, so deeply. It was ok while you were here to reassure & love me as you did. As I was used too. But to take that away as they’ve done. To take almost 4 years of feelings, memories & love & reduce them to a ‘mistake’ in his life. That’s horrific. 

I wish you were here. So badly. 

I love you. So very much. 

Your girl still, 

Caroline xxx 

Before & After…

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Dear Carl 

I’m trying to figure out where my life is heading. It has no path now, other than being mum, and I know one day they won’t need me anymore & I don’t know who I will be then. I’ve got friends but they have their lives. My job. But it’s tainted forever now with its connection to you & the pain that brings. 

I have a heart full of such confusion, I blame myself then I blame others. Fleetingly I’ll feel like you’re still around & I have imaginary conversations with you in my head. I speak for you using words & phrases you used in the familiar way you did, making you real. I imagine you’re proud of me for the January running challenge. I imagine your laugh when I see something funny. I imagine the text messages I’d send you to make you smile. 

I can’t bear to think back to September the worst month of my life.  It was a nightmare from day 1. September will always scare me now. I’ll feel that same impending doom you did & the pain you left me with will just swell until I’m nothing but a walking mass of grief again. 

I just want my life back with you in it. I want the chance to change things. I want the love you gave me. I know it sounds selfish but I want you back all to myself. And I’ll never have you. I miss your touch & your voice in a way I can’t even describe. And everybody treats me normal now. They forget already. They’ve moved on & I’m stuck pretending I’m ok for everyone’s convenience, when I’m just not. I’ll never be ok. Ever. 

I love you so much & I wish I could tell you or you’d come to me in a dream & just tell me it’s ok. You forgive me?! I feel like I just let you die. 

Your girl still & always 

Caroline ❤

I’m still your girl…

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Dear Carl 

I wonder if I’ll ever feel like I’m ‘single’ again. What’s the word for someone who’s partner has died…you weren’t my husband, you weren’t legally bound to me. So what am I? One thing I feel with my heart & soul is, I’m still yours. 

I’m still your girl.

I’m the one who knows your quirks & sayings, who loved your goofy laugh and your hazel coloured eyes…the roughness of your hands and the feel of your shaved head under my palm. I’m the one who loved your joy at facetiming like you couldn’t get your head round technology and it drove you mad, but yet the quirks of it meant on nights we weren’t together you could still see me. 

Being someone’s partner isn’t just a word it’s a way of being & living. The other half of me, that’s what you were to me, you were the other side of the penny. You made sense of things for me & without you I’m just like….a scribble on a piece of paper. If you looked at it, amongst all the beautiful drawings around me, you’d just screw me up, put me in the bin. I feel pointless, like scrap. 

It’s hard to comprehend that someone I love so much still (and always) could cause me so much pain. You always said you’d never ever want to hurt me. But you’ve hurt me deeper & harder than anyone else & the wound stays raw and deep and sore, and salt is poured into it every day by watching people live their good happy life & wondering….what happened to me. Am I bad inside is this why? Am I everything I always feared, hopeless, worthless, meaningless? 

I wish you’d come to me in a dream & just speak to me. I need your voice and love more than I’ve ever needed anything, yet you stay away…you don’t visit me when I’m sleeping & tell me that one day I’ll heal or you’re watching over me. 

The uncertainty and the hurt is killing me. Or at least I hope it is. Is that wrong? 

I love you so much ❤ 

Your girl, still and always x

Caroline 

You loved….

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Dear Carl 

I know you. All the things you loved. And I wanted to take a minute to remember the you that wasn’t your illness or your guilt or your mistakes.  You loved gingerbread lattes extra hot. Chorizo…and you had to have a beer when you chopped garlic & chilli. You liked a toast with Woods Rum. You were all EXCLAMATION marks & long text messages…you discovered emojis with a passion for a technophobe but you loved an emoji.  Here was our emoji….🌜🌟🌛 it meant ‘love you to the moon & back’. 

You liked rock. LOUD ROCK. Black Sabbath, Shinedown, Rival Sons, Biffy Clyro, Muse, and you loved Alterbridge. You liked guitars, playing your guitar…singing, gigs. You loved a good rock gig. 

You like real ale. Sunny days & ‘shirts off weather’. You loved your dogs even tho they drove you mad at times. You loved home cooked food, family time, games nights, snuggles on the sofa nights. Holding me close in bed nights. Kissing. Holding my hand. Pub lunches & cosy pub fires. Time just ‘me & thee’ we said.  You loved being loved but you loved back deeply & showed it. You never didn’t text or ring when you said you would.  You liked our sayings, comforts, familiarity. Love.

You. I loved you and all the bits of all the above that made you. All the bits you’ll always be to me no matter where you are now. You’ll always be my first really truly deeply first love, despite our pasts. You showed me love & partnership & I will cherish that to my dying day. My love for you is frozen exactly as it was & will never change no matter the path my life takes. 

Believe me. I knew you. Thank you for giving me the most amazing gift of being loved by you. 

Your girl always 

Caroline ❤