Things happen so serendipitously, I often don’t even wonder about them anymore. And, cynics, stay or leave; but know that I right this whole post with the lingering knowledge in my rational mind that out of thousands of events, its easy to place emphasis on a few, scattered over a period of years.
But does it surprise anyone at all to know that Tony loved rugby, played it when he was younger? That he taught me the rules to it as I watched it with him, curled up on the lounge…? It was mostly in those first few years, before pure first child begun walking, if truth be known… before we both got to busy to do that often, before I got too busy to do that, ever.
Drink after the Shield game are just so warm and lovely they make my heart ache in a way that’s difficult to explain.
So many blokes, just like my husband. So many wives, just like I used to be. Couples chasing tiny toddlers, mothers nursing tired bundles of restless children. Football on the TV, laughter and lough voices.
I miss my husband so much I could weep from the inside out.
But I can see him, in another reality… it plays in front of me like a movie.
Tony’s sliding door story, instead of mine.
I can see him. Standing at the bar, ordering a drink (OP rum and lemonade, a double if they serve them). Wearing a blue shirt that he nearly lived in permanently when we first met, that had become an oil stained rag by the time he died.
I can see him, clearer than I have been able to picture him for months. I can see him order a drink. I can see the way he used to touch his mouth when he did something that made uncomfortable, like opening his wallet with a lot of cash in it in public.
|Tony, in that blue shirt, with our tiny, four week old son.|
I can see him make a passing comment to a bloke standing next to him. I can see him look over the bar, catch my eye, and wink… just like he used to do Just like I was the only person in the room.
I miss him so much… I can see him. I can feel his prescience, smell him… I can feel the happy jump my heart used to do knowing that at some point soon he would come up behind me and wrap his arm round my waist, so proud that he was mine and I was his.
It hurts like scalding water over my lacerated heart… but at the same time, it’s a comfort, a blessing.
You see, a funny thing happens when I actively relive the events of that horrible, fucked up afternoon– say, when I speak of them in detail, as I did for an interview recently. My mind burns all over again with that picture, that wicked posture of a person already unconscious and being held up by their neck; that vivid torture drumbeat of blue shirt, orange rope.
And it burns so hard that it stays there, behind my eyes, like an optic picture from staring at the sun too long; it becomes the image I see every time I think of Tony.
I can’t tell you how disgusting that is, how much my soul shrivels into itself every time my mind draws that picture up.
How badly I need some other, equally vivid image to replace it with.
I got that, Friday night. I think of Tony right now, and I see a bloke standing a bar in a warm, small, well lit club that caters to families and serves nice food. I see a good looking guy, stacked with a few extra pounds since he became a dad, ordering a drink.
I see the man I know, the one I loved… not the one I lost that horrible, hot January afternoon. And that’s a blessing like no other.
That, if nothing else, will be enough to make me take a pilgrimage to Canberra every year, something special for me to honour the man I loved. And I’ll be taking my kids too.
I know, I know, I keep saying this…. but words are failing me. Thank you so much to Darrell, who organized all this– the good you’ve done is immeasurable.
So many people have asked me if there is somewhere they can donate to the Shield Appeal online– I can’t thank you enough. Just under $1000 was raised on the night. All donations through my PayPal account for the next two weeks go directly to the Tony “Toz” Dwyer Shield Appeal– you can donate right here.