When I was in my twenties a friend of mine was killed in a car smash. We were all living together in a shared house in Sheffield then – cooking rotas, kitty, house meetings, telephone tree, open relationships the lot. Laura hadn’t lived with us for long when it happened. Looking back it was a kind of orgy of grief. We all bonded like mad, sat about all night weeping and smoking and hugging each other. All our friends told us later they’d felt completely excluded – lovers faded into insignificance, felt like outsiders when they came to our House of Grief. We talked and smoked and wept and snuggled like puppies and felt profound.
And I ended up shagging the man who had appeared out of my past the week Laura died, to scrounge a bed for a few days on his perpetual wanderings. I had a good weep on his shoulder and a cigarette afterwards of course, talked about how death made one randy in a life affirming kind of a way. How we wouldn’t tell our partners because they just wouldn’t understand. I never admitted it to myself before but, my god that time was sexy. When the parents showed up I remember being secretly shocked at how much more upset about it than us they were. Devastated – ruined – broken. Whereas we were having the mournful time of our lives.
Now my grief is entirely mine - the anger too. And I’ve even laughed at the irony: my husband, the professional Futurist, no inkling in advance of the heart attack that felled him, oh so so suddenly, unprepared, uninsured, mid-stupid tiff about getting the car fixed.