And how do we feel today after a visit to Madame Toussourdes? Remarkably unfazed! Iím glad Iíve been to see Caiís body, but it bears little resemblance to my son and offers no extra in the way of closure. The biggest wish for most people who say the body is why they couldnít see his hair; his trademark! Personally I wondered why any sane person would dress an 18 yr old manís body in a white satin cover, with a frigginí bow at the neck. Poor lad, he had so much more style when he was alive.
A day where I didnít break down into uncontrollable tears is surely one to be noted. I knew it would be hard coming home, no more so than meeting Caiís peer group. Iím not doing my head in with guilt, but seeing them made me wonder if I should have been more protective at that initial stage of our riding America. Not that it matters now, to late for all that sort of crap! There ainít no actions, money or thoughts that can turn back the clock. So the only way is forward. Bit of a shame my forward thinking capabilities seem to be a wee bit skew-iff at present.
The funeral is tomorrow and weíve got just about everything sorted at the venue for after. I was so worried it was going to turn into a tacky show for all, a load of false sentiments expressed by people of no import. But a bit of trust doesnít go amiss; people donít want the obscene or absurd. Now isnít the time to question the needs of others; now is the time to help them achieve their needs, offer whatever it takes to help them through this time of grief.
I have to admit though, Iíve been so tempted to pull off a stunt to raise a few smiles. I just canít think of the ONE thing that would make EVERYONE laugh! I suggested kidnapping the body and legging it with the pall bearers, theyíd all have to be in collusion though. Of course, thereís the fake customs and excise raid to take the body into custody on suspicion of being used to smuggle drugs from the Americas. But really, I donít want a laugh, or just a body, I want Cai back! And of course, he ainít coming; so I might as well let people get on and find some closure. I canít pee people off with ďCai would want this and Cai wouldnít want that,Ē this isnít for Cai: its for those he mattered to. I thought filling display boards with hundreds of photos of Cai was too much, too bizarre. But after looking and crying every time, they sort of grew on me. It was then I realised I wanted to minimise those reminders that might be too much for me. So why the f**k should I want to do that, Iím so proud of the strength of emotion I have for my son. If losing him makes me feel like crying; Iíll cry unashamedly. Iíll be grateful to share those tears with all available.
Stiff upper lip? Putting on a brave face? WHY?? Why shouldnít I show my emotions publicly? How pleasant it is to be amongst those who can understand, those who care; I only hope their support for each other will continue for many moons still!
In a horribly selfish way I just wanna get back to California and start my ride. I canít walk around my village without feeling cut up by memories. Its sensory overload! I have plenty of memories, I can take them with me and do my grieving, on the move. Let it mean something; not for it to be the end of a dream, just a small hiccough!! For my own headspace I need to go away, much as I hate to cut and run; I canít take it at home!
Thank you, to all those whoíve sent their messages of grief and support. Thanks for the huge presence at my home and at Gabeís. This event obviously means a lot to many people, so lets shed some tears, smile some smiles and let the memories of Cai light up our future efforts in life.
My head is scrambled and my emotions are in tatters! The numbers present at the crematorium were staggering, and so many people attended the wake. It was heart rending to meet friends of Caiís whoíd only just found out. What a nightmare, get back off holiday to meet news like that. So many I didnít get a chance to talk to and so many I could find no words for. Thank you, to all of you; for the tears, the hugs, your looks of sorrow or devastation. Thank you for showing up; or your thoughts, if you couldnít make it. Most of all Iíd like to thank everyone whoever meet Cai and shared in his life. It was a great life! Maybe short, but great all the same. Very few people have the opportunities to experience so much, in such a short time. And Iíll be eternally grateful I got to share so much of it with him. Here's a photo of us two doing fire poi back to back.
I canít remember the personís name, a woman I think was called Julie, gave the nicest memory I could have. She is agoraphobic and was talking to Cai about the travels heíd done abroad. He told her all about our proposed trip and that Iíd ridden my bike around Turkey last year. She was really jealous, saying how sheíd love to visit Turkey. The way I remember her relating Caiís words was, something like, ďwell go on then, donít be an old ladyÖgo and do itĒ. Despite her agoraphobia, she did! She went to Turkey and achieved something she never thought she would do. Not only that, she came to the crematorium alone, on the bus and also made the wake at Hendre hall. I didnít get to talk to her again, but it was the topic of many conversations I had. Thank you so much for that memory! It is wonderful to find how special my son was to people. I wish I could meet you all.
Funerals do funny things to people, all too often the biggest fuss is made by those whoíve no reason for it. Seeing people upset is expected; but acting as if the deceased was their closest and dearest can be hard to stomach. Am I being too cynical? Maybe guilt is the bitterest pill to swallow! Maybe death is good for bringing people together, it certainly seems to allow people to forget differences between them. Shame it has to take death to achieve, but better than never, eh? Cai certainly didnít hold with harbouring bad feelings, a true advocate of the "live and let live" philosophy. So thanks for anyone who shared their grief, even if thats all they shared.
Another thing said to me concerned Cai's idealistic enthusiasm. More importantly, it recognised that Cai will not have to endure getting his idealism kicked out of him by our society. He was optimistic, but not always. At a very young was pessimism endured and overcome. He was only about 6 yrs old when he worried about our planetís future, seeing no escape from our apparent doom; all due to my truthful answers to a constant torrent of questions. He was all gloom and doom over it for some time. I think he always carried a little of that despair, deep down; but carried it he did, and learnt he could make a difference. All I ever saw in his last years was a greater and greater resolve to get somewhere and make a difference. Well, he got many places and made a lot of difference to those he meet.
Now the organising is over and a new life must begin. Never again will I get to hug Cai, never again will I hear his voice, wash his clothes, cook him a mealÖÖ.. Shit, this just isnít fair; a life without Cai isnít really much of a life!
Its strange to say things in an open and honest way, the wrong people have this bad habit of thinking its making a point about them. I could so easily swear with frustration. For anyone who has doubts about their actions in connection with Cai's death: DON'T BE BLOODY STUPID!!! We all need to deal with death in our own way. Giving support to those left alive is just as important as grieving for Cai personally. Helping a grieving person is an admirable thing to do; so don't be paranoid. Its only hypocrits and voyeaurs my angst was aimed at.
Amazement is felt at how quick the initial pain can be overcome. I can get through days without breaking down, read items and look at photos without crying. How amazing is the human system for redirecting our pain? Seems to filter it out so we can cope easier. In one way I wish I could open the flood gates and let out all the pain in one foul swoop. Could I take that much all in one go? Probably not!
Today is the first time I've enjoyed riding since getting back to North Wales. Partly due to how much better our new bikes are than Cai's bike (which I've been riding whilst back); but also not being focussed on the road. Actually, riding has not been the relaxed, easy going experience I'm used to. Hardly surprising, but it has always allowed me to focus and clear my mind under almost any circumstance. Even riding 150 miles straight from Cai's death bed calmed me down. Strange though, being home makes me feel everyone who sees me riding down the road knows what's happened and is looking at me with pity. I know they can't all be, and I shouldn't give a damn anyway, but I hate being seen in that way. Its a double edged sword as well; again allowing people to express their sorrow without allowing it to aggravate mine. Ain't no easy answers really. Of course people want to offer condolensces, but it makes me feel awkeward; for me and them.
It seems so short a time since arriving home, its actually been twelve days. Though I'm certainly ready to go back! It has been good for me to come home, but more so for all those who cherish Cai and me. It seemed to upset people that I felt going to the ashes spreading was more for others than myself. It has been very important for me to be there for others; not just to revel in the attention and support heaped upon me. Its been important for me the support and grieving is a reciprocal thing. It should work both ways, it ain't healthy for life to be one sided. The last thing I should allow to happen now is to waste too mcuh time wallowing in self pity. See for those who meet me, slap me if I've succumned.
Numb and empty sounds such an awful way to feel, but its not! They're much better than devastated, guilt ridden or angry, but so far from happy, joyous or even content. So I guess being somewhere in the middle can't be too bad, however precarious that balance is. Trouble is how easy it can be for the crap feelings to flood back again, yesterday it was seeing the latest report in the papers, today a tear rolling down a friend's face. I expect this will continue for some time! I'm not afraid of my tears or ashamed of my grief, so let 'em roll!
I really appreciate the support and encouragement over my return to LA and the continuation of the trip. Why did I ever think people would think it weird or selfish? Oh well, I reserve the right for moments of temporary insanity. Being at home is hard, I don't think it would be easy to move forward while staying here. And I don't feel like I'm running away from anything. My grief is with me at all times, where-ever I go. Always just a short step from reducing me to tears, or worse. I used to scorn people claiming they had panic attacks, I thought it was just a sign that someone was incapable/reluctant of handling something. I thought it was an excuse, a ploy! Not any more; ain't I glad for all that meditative and other methods to relax. I have to say I think physical pain is so much easier to handle; so long as its mine.
I'm struggling a bit with imagery from the accident. Not just what I saw, which is bad enough, but what I imagine. Scenario' keep running through my mind trying to decipher exactly what happened. Or what could have happened if I hadn't let Cai ride at the back, or have the red bike, or ridden the bikes back. And I know full well none of this matters to Cai, it can't change anything; especially helping me feel better. But I guess 'its all part of the process' (shit, that's a Morcheeba line, is that from the funeral track?) and I need to go through that, and lots more before I can start to envisage a life without Cai. That is the hardest thing at present, imagining any sort of life that doesn't involve Cai. Attempts to look ahead get lost in an impenetrable void. Drifting off into such voids have become a normal part of life, it'll be nice when normality means more than this.
Time's getting short and its only days before flying westward again. A new start, with a heavy heart! I look forward to riding again, just been too damn wet and blowy to enjoy it round here. Plus, I've been lent a car while some friends (thanks J&A) are away.
Only another few days before I return to LA. I'm not exactly anxious about going off and doing the trip on my own; I think its more a worry about my sanity. And NO, I'm not losing it! But spending long periods of time riding alone tends to create your own reality. Greater appreciation for your surroundings and complete freedom, its heartbreaking I won't get to experience Cai discovering this. Being exposed to nature, whilst on my bike, with all my gear strapped on and no-where I have to be must be one of the best ways to travel. So why the worry? I know I've got a lot of heart-ache to get out my system! Shit, last year I was riding through the Turkish mountains with tears streaming down my face. And that was just thoughts of missing Cai once he went off to university. I know I'll get really lonely, and want to seek company at times. I also know the tears will flow, probably for some time yet. But I also know I have the strength and will, not just to do the journey, but to gain a hell of a lot from the experience. Wouldn't it just complete the picture to be able to see some poor folk, in a piss poor village, get an unexpected bit of charity, raised by people in memory of Cai.
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