Steve would have been 63 on Sunday, October 13th. As the day drew closer so my feelings started to intensify. I had distractions planned for the actual day starting at 8 am with the Rugby World Cup game, Wales were playing Uruguay in Japan and ending with a night of live music at my local theatre
But the Saturday night before, the 12th of October, I felt sad, very sad. I was feeling deeply sorry for myself, the day before your partner’s birthday should be a night to celebrate. But when your spouse has passed away and you’re at home on your own, imagining a world full of couples spending a cosy night in together, the sadness is very real.
That Saturday night I drank a few glasses of wine and through my tears, I decided to re-frame my life. I asked these questions.
What have I gained over these 2 years?
What new places have I visited?
How many new people have I met?
What new experiences have I tried?
This re-framing technique is used in NLP and it works. I was still emotional that night, ready to cry at any moment but the next day I was able to move forward with renewed purpose.
When you see life more positively, more of the same comes your way. One week after my intense sadness I spoke to my son, he’d flown to Australia from Japan for his best friend’s wedding, a flying 3-day visit. His trip coincided with International Steve Day, a tradition he’d started to mark the anniversary of his Dad’s birthday. I was so warmed by this idea that I will be planning my very own special celebration of International Steve Day in 2020.
I wanted to keep remembering Steve that week and arranged to meet my sister-in-law a few days after Steve’s birthday anniversary, at Highgate, London. We went to Highgate Cemetery where lots of famous people are buried. Perhaps you’d consider this a morbid activity but no, that trip brought home to me the commonplace nature of death, we all die, it’s natural. Grief is natural too but how you deal with it is very personal.
And another revelation that came to me. I’ve always felt that Steve lives on through his children and his grandson, but through his sourdough starter too? That was a revelation.
A few weeks ago I joined a fermentation workshop, the teacher shared a loaf made from a sourdough starter that she’d been using for years. The bread was delicious and reminded me of the bread Steve used to make. He was always very proud of the starter he’d grown from just the natural yeasts in the air.
I posted the sourdough picture on Facebook and several friends said that they still have Steve’s starter and they regularly make bread from it. Knowing that Steve’s starter lives on is a great comfort to me and who knows one day might even attempt to make sourdough bread myself.