movie poster from What Dreams May Come
Due to onset of rubbish cold I didn’t leave the house all weekend. I managed to drag self to work on Monday to sweat and sniff miserably through till 5pm before collapsing slightly deliriously into bed. Yesterday was mostly made of dozing, with my greatest achievement watching Barneys Version (I <3 you Paul Giamatti). Inevitably Science Guy contracted the snot-filled joy and so today we are both at home, causing non-trivial levels of excitement amongst the furrier members of the household. Meh. But I am SO grateful I feel this crap now. Because the wedding is next Saturday. That’s only ten more sleeps people. One Zero. Ten. And pausing the ceremony for a titanic sneeze/nose blow/sit down would be a bit pants.
I am still waiting for the Last Minute Freak Out. Where I go all WHAT THE FUCK?! And panic about all the things that could go wrong, the ways it could end, the Awfulness and the Sad. Months ago we decided that the rules for our marriage would be quite simple: no cheating and no dying. Made partly in jest, but mostly because the end of this love is too big to comprehend. Just as we are getting started. It probably doesn’t help that he is an atheist and I am agnostic: the Proper End feels quite final for us. I don’t expect the ‘after’ to be reminiscent of What Dreams May Come. I have always found more solace in Ms Rossetti’s idea: that all flesh is grass.
But having watched Sir Terry Pratchett’s documentary ‘Choosing To Die‘ I hope that I am wrong: that heaven turns out to be entirely real and exists as a painting/a reunion party/where it all makes sense. Peter Smedley a man in his seventies, afflicted with Motor Neurone Disease, ended his life at Dignitas and the BBC filmed. It was a compassionate, dignified, pragmatic end: when asked if he was sure he wanted to die he responded ‘yes, quite sure’ in lilting cut-glass English. His wife of forty-odd years, Christine sat next to him and stroked his hand. Afterwards she wept quietly and then went on with the business of calling the family. It was sad. Horribly sad. But then goodbyes always are.
I found his final moments somehow easier to watch than when Peter and Christine slowly crossed the threshold of the bright blue house on an industrial estate with a view of the Alps. Because he didn’t pause to take a final breath of the outside air: cold Swedish, snow-filled air. That felt so wrong to me. And then again after he swallowed the medicine and fell asleep, Ash said quietly ‘now she is alone’ and I felt so broken.
There is another line in that Rossetti poem: ‘Where love is, there is bliss; That will not pass‘. So I guess we’ll just have to fill our lives, however short, with love, purpose, fucking good wine and many belly laughs. And hope.
Its the only thing for it.
Updated to add: its probably a good time to get my Bucket List on then.