After leaving Posillipo, I walked with Amanda for a way. We headed for Oare. It was such a pleasure to have her with me, and she was very kind about my emotional departure from my beloved family and friends. Even parting that is planned for and desired has this bittersweet edge, I think. By the time we reached the Western link road, I realised I had forgotten the badges I wanted to bring with me – I always forget something! Hopefully Mr F will get them to me along the way. He tried at the Uplees Rd, but I had gone past by then. Amanda and I stopped in East Hide, which is astonishing if you’ve never been in one, and I haven’t for years. The light is gorgeous, perfect for Amanda’s portrait, and the Swale is glorious framed in the panoramic window frames.
Amanda turned left and headed toward home and I, right and to the coast for Conyer with Gerry.
I had been in touch with Gerry before by email. In one of our first correspondences, he told me that his wife Tricia had died very recently, after a short and unexpected illness. He said his moods were variable, but he also liked company, and he wanted to let me know before I arrived what his situation was. He has started a blog about his experience, and it is a mix of things, rage and grief, memories and love and loss, and bird watching, and EU policy opinions…much like our conversations during my visit with him.
One of the things he wrote about nightingale song, and this was the final piece of music played at Tricia’s funeral. After the BEST shower in Kent (he says everyone says this and it’s true!) we went in search of them in an evening walk before dinner. It was too late in the season as they sing to pair for mating, and we had missed that window of opportunity. One day perhaps.
Gerry prepared Sea Bass and vegetables for dinner, which we had in the garden. Bruno and Boris, Tricia’s and Gerry’s Burmese cats were never far away. Bruno misses Tricia terribly. We talked until my eyes were closing, about too many things to list.
In the morning, Gerry gave me a hug and said he hadn’t slept until 5:30am since Tricia died, but he had that night. He thinks that talking helped, I’m inclined to agree, and I was happy to listen. I hope, honestly, to not truly understand Gerry’s grief and loss for many years to come, because I don’t think you can understand a thing fully without experiencing it. But I can listen, and be with feelings that make me uncomfortable, and talk openly about death, which Gerry pointed out most people avoid because it is hard to know what to say. I don’t think you need to find the right words though. Almost anything is better than nothing.
Gerry has a year of first things ahead of him. I’m sorry not to have met Tricia, but I felt she was so present in her absence for Gerry. He will share his thoughts as he goes, so I won’t speak for him further, but I want to thank him for his wonderful generosity. Thank you Gerry, it was a pleasure.
Amanda at East Hide, Oare Marshes
Amanda goes, I am alone
On the way to Conyer
On the beach
Evening walk with Gerry, searching for Nightingale song
Dinner, sea Bass from Blueys, new potatoes, broccoli
Listening for Nightingales in the evening light
Conyer's post box, and my favourite ligustrum
Pollen of the white poplar
Bruno and Boris
Gerry's pentagonal shed