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November 4, 2012 / angelavbolton

A Year and a Month

Angela and Bob, ‘Ireland’s Own’ bar, Escondido (San Diego) California

Yesterday – the 3rd of November 2012 – I bought my first car. You may think it’s strange for a 49-year-old woman never to have had a car of her own ~ I’ve simply never needed one. Being driven around can be lovely: you get to look at the scenery and into people’s houses, and don’t have to worry about traffic or parking.

When we lived in San Diego I used to sleep in the car on the way to and from gigs while Robert did all the driving. We had a Lincoln Continental – the bonnet alone was about six feet long – and I swear, if we could have fitted a shower into the thing I could have lived in it. We loved that car. The lads in the band called it ‘The PimpMobile’.

I was learning to drive in the States – not in the Lincoln, obviously – but never got far enough to get a licence.

So, if you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know that I’m getting driving lessons from Louise Kavanagh. She’s a smashing girl and I’ve grown very fond of her.

And yesterday I bought a 1999 Mazda Demio which I hope also to grow fond of. Already I like it because it represents independence from public transport. It will at least see me through my first year on the road and if I prang or ding it, it won’t be the end of the world.

My colleagues here at Fanagans have been of immeasurable help to me in the search for and purchase of the car. In many ways I’m very fortunate.

It was a year and a month ago yesterday that Robert went in for surgery. I can’t believe it’s been so long. And he’s come so far in that time even though it may not have looked like it when it was happening. It’s still happening, and I’m so proud of him. What enormous strength it has taken to overcome such extensive physical trauma: the surgery, cardiac arrest, pneumonia – and he has fought it all off. He is my hero.

One of Robert’s therapies is music therapy, and part of that therapy is something called ‘musical markers’ – pieces chosen to be played at particular times in his day: sitting out, going to bed, etc. The therapist asked me to choose music that would mean something to Robert, suitable for the time of day. The bedtime piece I chose was ‘Clair de lune’. I didn’t realise how it would affect me when I played it for him the other night: those first notes on the piano evoked an incredibly clear memory of Robert sitting at the piano playing ‘Clair de lune’ – such a strong image, my heart thudded hard. Took me a while to recover myself.

It’s times like that I find it hard to not buckle: seeing someone else sitting behind the wheel of his car, coming across a card from him in a pile of paperwork, a piece of music that meant so much to us. When your heart is broken you think the pain is constant until it intensifies because of something unexpected. I guess I’ll have to learn to live with it.

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One Comment

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  1. Tamara / Nov 18 2012 10:07 pm

    Angela, I know what you mean by that extra burst of pain when you weren’t expecting it. I got the same squeeze on my heart strings while watching Finn watch YouTube clips of music we love. Watching him glued to the screen, then starting to lightly tap out a rhythm and start tapping his foot. My throat just seized up and the tears started to flow completely uncontrollable. Of course it was wonderful to see him engaged and taking pleasure. The pain flowed though from all that we have lost. Memories are so powerful.

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