I have been meaning to write here for a long time now, but it seems everything is scheduled for soon these days. This weekend I am back in Torino at Laura’s parents’ house, and things are unusually peaceful, so I’ll grab this moment.
It’s been a month since 70k and it was such a good idea to go. I guess more or less all of you saw me in a bad state at some point, but I think most of you also got to share a drink or a laugh with me when I was enjoying being onbroad. I came home with a lot of good memories, an incredible amount of nice things were said, and being re-united with friends from all over the world with my brother at the steering wheel was exactly what I needed. It is impossible to escape, but there are moments of light, and you guys sure know how to provide them. As you know I am very proud of my brother, but I was also very proud of you all when I introduced Tobias to our 70k family <3
Coming back to our apartment after the cruise was not bad. I found myself looking forward to being home again. Some friends picked me up at the airport and stayed the night.
Later that week I went to Italy for the ceremony with the ashes. I went there early to prepare. I had been very scared of this journey, and I spoke a lot about it with my therapist. Because of this trip I decided to go back to work the week after. I figured I would be a wreck after Italy, and hoped that I would be more easily distracted going to work, which is the only thing I am already used to doing without Laura.
As it happened, going back to Italy was a great experience. I had made myself very nervous beforehand so arriving in Milano airport, and taking the bus to Torino was dreadful. But as soon as I saw Laura’s father, I felt very welcome and loved. I was not nervous about meeting Laura’s parents but I was surprised that I was THAT glad to see them. Friday morning Laura’s best friend arrived in Torino. She is Italian, and also speaks perfect English, and on top of this she has a lot of experience from “live translation”. So I could speak “fluently” with Laura’s parents without trying to find the right words, or struggling to understand what they say. We get by when it is about “normal stuff” but discussing our feelings and memories takes a lot more. Laura’s parents had a lot of things they wanted to ask me, and we had a good talk for several hours that was very helpful. It helped all of us prepare for the ceremony the day after.
On this day I also decided I wanted to talk in the church. As you know, ours is the pagan way, so I had had to make my mind up about the church. To me, the real ceremony was in Copenhagen. So Laura and I had already done what we had to do ceremony wise. To me, taking the ashes to Italy, and doing a ceremony in a church, is only one thing - a gift and a favour from Laura and me, to Laura’s parents. This is also how I feel now.
But while in church I felt a bit uncomfortable when hearing the priest talk. I had brought some photos of us that I kept looking at, and I also had our brave little Warrior, Arcibaldo, with me, wearing his Viking outfit and the Finnish kilt that Laura made for him. This kept me “in place” while I waited. And then at the end of the ceremony I spoke. I said a few words to Laura in Danish first, to find my voice. And then I spoke in Italian.
It was a very epic moment, for lack of a better description. I could barely speak, because I was crying so much. And speaking directly to Laura made it feel so private. And yet, I was very aware that there were over a hundred people in the church. Many of them had never seen Laura and me together. Some of them had not seen Laura for 10-15 years. It was painful, but in a good way. It felt so good to tell everybody what Laura and I have. I didn’t mind crying so much in front of all these strangers. I just wanted them to know about us. Pouring so much grief out at the same time actually felt good.
The best thing about the trip though, was that for the first time I had a few short moments where I found myself thinking about our sweet things unprovoked. It is difficult to describe, but I still find it very difficult to enjoy and return to the good memories. Photos, stories, and things like that can bring some joyful memories up, but when I am alone, and I really need them, they are too far away.
But in Italy I had these moments where I just had a quick picture, or a sound, flash by in my head. It is somewhat comforting to get reminded that the “real us” is still in there.
So I went home from Italy and felt that I had actually found and experienced something that can help me.
Unfortunately this was too optimistic. I am thankful for that beautiful weekend in Italy, but after that things have been very difficult. Going back to London was a trauma. I thought I was going to a place where there would be fewer “reminders”. Instead, I ended up in the only place where I was already used to missing Laura, and subsequently used to looking forward to going back home to Laura. Walking the streets of London I sort of realized what all this actually means. It was the first time I was not surrounded by people who know what is happening, and the “normal world” seemed so cold and unforgiving. I have been in bad shape the whole time I guess, but being in London made me feel so left behind. It’s like I didn’t understand how much I miss Laura until then. Overseeing this risk was a big mistake. I had been so focused on Italy beforehand, so I didn’t speak to anyone about going to London.
In the beginning I had some “unspoken” sense way down inside myself, that said that Laura will come home again one day. I didn’t speak or think about it. I didn’t even notice it was there. But I felt it when it disappeared. And now I am much more aware. I cry less, even though I want to cry, and instead I have long spans of some kind of emptiness that I still haven’t been able to describe in a way where I feel that I can share it.
I have been working for 3 weeks now, and the week in London was the worst. After that I have been in Baarn in Holland and it was less traumatic. Work in itself is actually ok. I am good at it, so it is not that stressful, and I have some good colleagues. Problem is that I “miss” my grief when I rest. If I get distracted for a few hours, those hours have been added up in the background so the backlash always comes sooner or later. On the other hand, working makes the time go a bit faster. This matters a lot right now. I cannot believe it has been less than two months. Most of the time it feels like it has always been like this. It is very difficult to go further back in time. Hopefully those moments I experienced in Italy will start happening more often.
Next week I will go to our beloved Finland and meet all our friends in Helsinki. I have been nervous about this too, but as I write this I feel confident that it will be a good thing. A lot of grief of course, but that happens everywhere. I look forward to seeing our friends again, and I hope that the city of Helsinki will still feel like Our City.
Meanwhile, there have been good moments too.
I have had friends from Stockholm visiting me.
An incredible out-of-the-blue phone call from someone I haven’t talked to in three years helped me see things from a different perspective for a short time. On top of that it convinced me to stop smoking (successfully so far).
My brother Tobias keeps calling me several times a day, delivering love, advice, comfort and some truly hilarious moments.
A friend in Copenhagen gave me some beautiful big prints with Laura and me that are gracing our walls now. I love to look at them.
The therapist I go to is very good, and easy to trust.
This forum’s official stats man, Dallas, wrote to me and told me that he had caught Petri’s guitar pick from when Ensiferum dedicated Lai Lai Hei to Laura, and he wanted to send it to me. Which he did.
Tobias had recorded the Ensiferum dedication which I though was a beautiful thing to do.
Our own Memnoch, Ville, offered to go to Switzerland with me to see Moonsorrow and Primordial. In the end I decided I could not do it, but this resulted in me going to Finland next week.
And how about this? Today, while having lunch in Laura’s parents’ kitchen, we watched an Amon Amarth DVD, and I taught Laura’s mother how to do the fork sign properly. “No, the thumb stays inside the sign, mama”.
I miss my sweetheart so much. I feel angry and cheated. I have mornings where I don’t remember at first, and the moment when it all comes back is impossible to describe. I feel so friggin’ lost. But sometimes I remember how much help I am getting, and that feels good. I wish I would remember it more often, but at least I am aware of it sometimes.
The last few weeks have been harder than before, but today, here in Torino, I feel closer to Laura. Compared to how things have been the last few weeks, this makes a difference, and I am thankful for that.
Drinks at the Twilight Tavern. Pays with Tokens of Time.
wishlist: Ensiferum, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Heidevolk, Chthonic, Entombed, Finntroll, Heavy Metal Perse, Powerwolf, Primordial, Grand Magus, Monster Magnet