A Heartful of Why – The End of The Beginning? 

“I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well, he just drove off – sometimes life’s okay
I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?
Well, you just laughed it off and it was all okay

And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on anyway, well…”
(“Float On” – Modest Mouse. Clip courtesy ModestMouseVevo)


I didn’t mean to write another “Grief” post. Truly I didn’t. Over the last 5 months I’ve learned to consider what I say (and write) far more carefully than I did previously. So those who know me, know that what I said above was true at the time that I said it.

But then, I always say after ISBF that each one is the last. And look where that gets me.

But things (read “posts”) tend to be inspired by little things. Like Sunday evening.

The day was like any other. By which I mean we ended up at Chateau Matriarch – Gerry’s house. Our second home – and safe haven. I’d left my glasses in The Brink on Saturday evening and the plan was to see the Sweet Sweet Records folk showcase, have a couple (literally) of beers and retreat. We’d had a bit of a racist incident the previous evening and a quiet one was the order of the day.

Dinner was delayed, so unfortunately, we missed Alex’s Sweet Sweet artists, but we still went along – on the off chance of a couple of tunes. After a couple of beers, we were about to leave. When I received a text.

“Are you still in The Brink?”

So two lovely people – who only came into our lives just over a year ago – arrived unexpectedly. And we stayed. And started singing some serious 70s tunes that were almost cheesy enough to be fondue. And we laughed.

I’d not laughed like that for months. And I felt lighter. If only for a couple of hours. We had a good time. And that was down to two lovely beer people who shall remain unnamed. But who mean a lot to both of us.

It felt like a small step. If not forward, then at least staying still, rather than drifting. And drifting has become natural. It takes an effort (on some days, quite a large one) to leave the sofa and walk out of the door. But that effort needs to be made. That simple thing that I have referred to previously about “putting one foot in front of the other” is essential.

I’ve read – and been advised – about the grief process. And recognise that it will never leave us. Life will never be “normal” again. That each year presents a series of hurdles that need overcoming. Fionn’s birthday, Christmas, family gatherings, the date he left us, trips away – not to mention returning to work (next Monday), all of these events will present challenges that need to be met. And overcome. But the hope – which we are encouraged almost to the state of “belief” – is that, year on year, millimetre by millimetre, those hurdles become ever so slightly smaller.

And I’ve stopped wondering why. I simply had to.

We are helped by some simply wonderful friends on a daily basis, with calls, visits, invitations, which I’m sure are their way of just checking on us. Making sure we’re “OK”. In other words, caring. There are too many to name individually, but Gerry and her partner Paul and Kelly and Rob (and their families) have been utter anchors, ensuring that our personal ship doesn’t hit any rocks.

That’s not to mention our lovely son and daughter, keeping tabs from a distance. Daily.

The support from the beer community has also been immense and heartwarming. And also – to me – unsurprising. As I’ve said on many occasions, they’re good people round here.

To all of you, be you drinking associates and friends, brewers, hosts, Thank You.

And to those two lovelies who chained us to the chairs at The Brink on Sunday evening with songs, laughter and drink. A big hug.

Back soon. J.