This is my first Elsewoman post since Harvey died in the early hours of Christmas Day. From now on I'm going to put my feminist posts mainly on The Hand Mirror and use Elsewoman to write about the experience of learning to live on my own for the first time in 65 years.
The most difficult thing is exactly what I expected - not having anyone at home to talk to about what's going on in your life each day, and tell you about theirs. So I'm hoping that writing here will to some extent serve as a way of doing that. After all, what I'm now having to deal with is something that many people go through, as some of their comments on our blogs have already shown. Eating on my own is really hard too, but I'll write about that on my food blog.
Given Harvey's situation, I'd already had to work out how to manage parts of my life without his company. He wasn't able to climb the stairs, so I had the two upper rooms and bathroom to myself. So that was a help - at least I was used to sleeping solo. He'd stopped going out, too, except to the doctor and the hospital, so I'd built up my own social life. It was really sad not even being able to go out together even just for coffee or to visit friends. Still, he'd become expert at managing his Fatso DVD list, and usually managed to get a movie we'd both enjoy for Saturday nights. I'd make a nice dinner and we'd settle down to watch.
Now I need to ask people round to watch with me, or go out. The weird thing is that the DVDs Harvey ordered have kept coming - he had three here when he died, so when I sent them back unwatched, three more appeared. (Soon I must cancel his subscription - I won't have time to do it justice, he used to get through about 15 a month.) He had obviously set out to get ones I'd like for the holidays - there were two movies related to France, and a documentary on modern art.
So this Saturday Pam and Geoff came round for fish and chips and we saw "Paris When It Sizzles", made in 1964, with William Holden and Audrey Hepburn (Harvey adored her). It turned out to be an astonishingly post-modern, satiric take on Hollywood conventions, with Holden as a blocked scriptwriter whose fragments of ideas came to life on the screen, only to get stuck and have to be reworked, sending up every movie cliche in the process. Noel Coward appeared (and helped write it), and Tony Curtis had a brilliant cameo as a dim "method actor". I enjoyed it, but Harvey would have loved it, and I would have been so pleased about that.
Then I spent today sorting out his room. My son and his friend arrive on Wednesday, and I'll need papers for the lawyer this week (the office has been closed until now), so it had to be done. It wasn't as bad as I'd imagined it might be, perhaps because it had a real purpose apart from just tidying everything away. But it still all feels quite surreal - how can I be doing this?