By Kathy Martin…
On Sunday 1st November 2015, Alistair George Martin (born 19th August 1947) died in Lefkoşa / Nicosia State Hospital. We were almost married 40 years (our anniversary was due on 27th March 2016). To say I was devastated would be an understatement.
Met with Chris Elliott and Margaret Sheard, the dynamic team behind Cyprusscene.com, on 20th October 2016 and Chris suggested that it might be a good idea to write an update of my career as a blogger for Cyprusscene! This voluntary career (if that is the right word for the fun I have!) started in November last year, when I began to issue Alistair’s life story.
Had already been mulling over writing something, for my friends, about my first year as a widow and so decided to combine both and this is the result.
To give those of you who don’t know a (VERY) brief history of events leading to Alistair’s death. He was extremely unwell with pneumonia in June 2015 (five day stay in the Near East Hospital, Lefkoşa) and never really recovered. This led to his admission to the intensive care ward in Lefkoşa State Hospital on 27th October. After a short spell in an ordinary ward on Friday 30th (the last time I saw him) he was moved back to intensive care until the Sunday, when I received (at 12.41) the WORST phone call of my life, informing me he had died of a heart attack.
Here is something I wrote on my Facebook (FB) page on Thursday 27th October 2016.
“What’s on your mind?” asks FB – well I will tell you!
A year ago today, 27th October 2015, at about 21.30 my darling man Alistair suddenly started gasping for breath and I told him (not asked him!) we are going to A&E NOW!
That was the beginning of the end ….. as much as I have tried over the last week or so to STOP looking in last year’s diary the more I CANNOT stop!
I would like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE THANK YOU to the innumerable messages I have received from friends checking on what I will be doing on 1st November.
I will be spending my lunch with my VERY BEST friends (sorry to the rest of my friends but as you will appreciate the word BEST cannot mean more than one!) Gill and Ivor Moon, at one of my favourite (spot the difference, not necessarily the best, BUT up there with the best) restaurants, Alesta.
This photo was the last one of my darling taken on 14th October 2015, at another of my (and our) favourite restaurants, Happy Valley, run by that lovely man Riaz.
After his death I discovered his life story on our computer and Chris Elliott (amongst other family and friends) read it, suggested I published it through Cyprusscene and the rest, as they say “is history”!
Over the months the enjoyment gained from this blogging activity is wonderful!
Comment made to me by an acquaintance, when told that “No, I don’t get paid”
Said: “Why on earth would you do it then?”
Shook his head and could NOT understand when I said: “It’s fun and keeps me out of mischief”!
Over the months, following up from suggestions from Chris and Margaret, I have written reviews on restaurants, charity events, among other things and really enjoying re-publishing the “Random Rambles” Alistair used to write for another forum. In the process, learning to use a programme called paint.net to change photos into a format to be uploaded into the articles.
After Alistair died, as I was uncertain about my financial situation, I upgraded from a dongle (which is all we used to access our emails and internet banking) to a Vinn, which gave me a little bit more online time (approximately 3 hours a day). This meant that I was regularly seen at various restaurants, with my laptop, (latterly at Alesta) using their WiFi to upload my documents to Cyprusscene.
However, in the last couple of weeks I have upgraded to Extend internet provider, my financial situation is secure. My UK State Pension will start in early November, taking over from my Widow’s Benefit. As I have said to friends that it is a pleasure (after Alistair and I struggled all our lives, sadly he only had a couple of years of financial security) not to have to worry if I can afford something!
But this DOES NOT MEAN that I am open to con artists!
Loving the fact that I can afford to sponsor the various charities here and that I am very happy with my life, which has occasionally made me feel very guilty. However, several friends have said, and I have to believe them, Alistair would NOT want me to be miserable and just hide at home. Sometimes, in my daily chats with Alistair’s photo, in my head, I can hear him replying!
As the first anniversary of loomed ahead, I was wondering how to pass the day, when my friends began sending me messages asking how I was planning to spend the 1st November.
At the end of September, a lady who had also become a widow here, had asked if I would like to go with her to see our husband’s graves?
Always been reluctant to go for two reasons, the first purely practical, in that our car is an old Suzuki Swift and the one time we had attempted to attend a funeral, failed to get the car up the extremely rough road; At one point the wheels just spun around and we had to abandon our car and get a lift from a passing 4×4!
The second reason
was far more emotional, in as much as I did NOT feel the need to visit the grave to talk to Alistair, as he is always with me in my heart, as a photo at our daughter, Sasha and Jon’s wedding in 2000, as wallpaper on my phone and PC, not discounting the beautiful portrait, of us on honeymoon, my very good friends Gill and Ivor gave me (after having a photo turned into a canvas picture by Magic Touch) and have it facing me as I type!
So the reason, if I am honest, was just to accompany another widow in her desire not to visit her husband’s grave on her own! But the week before, when discussing my reluctance with some very good friends, they gave the strength to ask one of them to contact the lady and tell her that I REALLY did NOT want to go.
Instead, I will have lunch at one of my four favourite restaurants with Gill and Ivor Moon and discuss my wonderful man.
One HUGE way my life has changed is that I’ve become a stronger person with all the wonderful love and support received from friends and for ANYONE who says that your Facebook friends are NOT real friends, quite honestly, DOESN’T know what they are talking about!
Have been VERY LUCKY to have met lots of friends from Facebook in the real world!
Long may it continue!
What does my future hold?
One thing for certain with my Multiple Sclerosis (MS), even though it is in remission at the moment, means I need a stick to walk and cannot walk fast, I have no plans to travel anywhere! The thought of going through an airport, even in a wheelchair, DOES not appeal!
I am looking forward to getting more involved in Cyprusscene, as Chris and Margaret are finding that it is generating more and more articles from people wanting to share their activities.
Finding myself being more aware of situations that just seem suitable to share on Cyprusscene.com!
I ended my blog published on April Fool’s Day (i.e. 1st April 2016) this year by saying:
- Do not be afraid to cry and shout and lose your temper with your departed husband/wife. It helped me to come to terms with my huge loss. Rage is a normal part of the grieving process. I am still having the odd bouts of rage, recently JUST lost it completely when I read a post of Facebook about having a bad dream and shouted “I want to wake up now!”
- The best advice I was given – do not turn down invitations from your friends. Now, I have the confidence just to accept those I really want to attend, rather than everything!
- Ask for help – I found so many people were very happy to assist me. Help has come from so many different people, in so many different ways!
- Come to terms with your new life, accept that you will hopefully have many more years to live and no-one can grieve forever. Now the raw pain has diminished and I am getting on with LIVING!
- If it feels right for you there is nothing to stop you forming a new relationship – cannot see myself ever doing it BUT we are all different and you need to do what is right for you. STILL can NEVER see myself being with another man EVER! To all those friends who have told me “you can never know what the future holds” ….. I KNOW myself and it will NEVER happen!
After all I was with Alistair for 41 years (from when we first started dating) and thoughts of “training” another man fills me with utter horror!!!!!!!!! Ha! Ha!
To read more
- Chapter one Click here
- Chapter two Click here
- Chapter three Click here
- Chapter four Click here
- Chapter five Click here
After Alistair’s funeral I wrote the following to read more
- My memories 1 Click here
- My memories 2 Click here
- My memories 3 Click here
- My memories 4 Click here
- My memories 5 Click here