For those of you that have followed my blog for a while you’ll be wondering why I haven’t been writing. Many that are friends with me on Facebook will know…
I recently suffered the loss of my partner Marc.
I am writing this as a testament to what a wonderful man Marc was and how the grief has affected me.
I first met Marc through facebook and having mutual friends. Last October I was in North Wales on a solo trip. Marc and I had been in touch on messenger previously just chatting about tattoos and mountains. He contacted me the evening before I was due to leave. He was meeting his friend Glenn to do Moel Siabod. He invited me along. I explained to him in a message that I suffered with anxiety and struggled with meeting people. He reassured me I would be fine and that he’d look after me. I decided just to go home. I left Betws-Y-Coed and headed for the A55. I battled with my head to make myself turn around.. As I got to the A55 the traffic was stationary… I persevered for 20 minutes before turning round at Conwy and headed back to Betws! I checked myself into the Ty Gwyn Hotel. I’d always wanted to stay here as it was my mums favourite hotel.
I messaged Marc to say I would decide if I could come in the morning! I forced my breakfast down feeling sick with anxiety. It was time to leave… I got to the Bryn Glo carpark and sat nervously waiting. Eventually Marc rolled up 20 minutes late! M60 terror!
We instantly hit it off. He (and Glenn) made me feel relaxed. We had such an amazing day. It was just brilliant. I messaged him when I got home to thank him as I was so nervous and he made me feel completely at ease.. He messaged back to say he had also felt nervous, I asked why? He replied – “well you are a rather attractive lady”. I laughed to myself.. 2 nights later I asked what he was up to for the week, he said he was just at home in the evenings with no plans.. I hopped in my car and messaged him when I was at the M61 services on my way to see him!!! He actually thought I was joking until I knocked on his door….His face was a picture. The below picture was taken the next morning.
For many years now I have found my peace and happiness in the mountains. They have bought me resolve, contentment, healing, laughter and comfort. In recent months since meeting Marc I got to share some of these nights (and days) with somebody who brought light into my life. We shared sunsets and sunrises in complete happiness. We had snowball fights on top of the mountains. We held hands and gazed up at the stars (finding our star Vega) and watched satellites wheeling across the night sky, we made wishes when we saw shooting stars. Marc was witness to his fist cloud inversion…All amazing memories..
Since Marc has gone I have been back into the mountains on several occasions for bivvies. The one thing that used to bring me complete happiness has left me feeling sad. I have laid alone in the depths of night staring at the night sky; watching Vega twinkling at me.. Instead of contentment I have found hurt, sadness, grief, loneliness and emptiness.
When Marc was alive I would send him pictures of evenings and mornings, He was there even when he wasn’t. The first person to message me in the morning and the last person to message me at night. It always brought me comfort.
As many know I have always been a bit of a loner and rarely spend nights in the hills with anyone as it helps my anxiety to be alone, but knowing you have someone you love only a message or a call away kept me stable. This was sometimes difficult for Marc but he took it in his stride and was always supportive and loving.
I was lucky I got to spend the best night on the hill ever with him. Mid winter on Swirl How. His first proper wild camp. It was perfect.
I often wonder if I will ever feel happy in the mountains again. I guess the trouble is when you meet someone that you connect with you take them to all your favourite and special places. That’s what I did with Marc. On Wetherlam last week I laid on the grass where we pitched our tent only months before. I cried until it hurt, talking to him through the tears and wishing he was still with me.
I just don’t know how you move forward from this.
We would always start our days going for breakfast at The Meadowdore café in Coniston; I haven’t been able to go here since his passing.
Even being at home is tough. The cottage is filled with memories inside and out.. All the plants he bought me in the spring time are now dying as autumn takes hold. You pray for them to stay alive as another piece of him the grasp onto.
I have done quite a bit underground alone and with friends to try to focus my mind, it offers short term relief as you have to be focussed, but even here, when you get off the ropes the memories creep back in. I took Marc to all the areas of Coniston you can access without ropes.
I went to North Wales last week as we both loved it there, I was hoping it might help with the healing process.
We had a holiday here in February. I thought it would be really tough spending 24/7 with somebody but we had a blast. Not a crossed word all week. He thrived on my knowledge of the history of the mines and joined me for a several hour underground trip in Maenofferen Slate Mine. He absolutely loved it. We went up Cnicht; my favourite welsh mountain, we did the snakes and ladders trip at Dinorwic. Every evening returning to our little cottage to snuggle up in front of the fire, content and happy. (with Rum!)
I had every intention of visiting the places we had been together… I lay in my tent crying. I drove home the next morning. The memories were just too painful.
People keep telling me time heals…. This feels like it will never leave me. I have had some very dark days. Grief takes you to places that you never you imagine your mind will go.
I think that the hardest thing about this is, is that I feel like my future has been taken away. When you’re older you know one of you will sadly leave. When you are both 45 you think you have all the time in the world. You talk about all the things you will do together. The places you want to experience and the adventures you want to share, the climbs you want to do, we wanted to do Corvus on Raven Crag-a route I’ve done several times, I really wanted to have that day with Marc as he would’ve loved it. Holidays that you would plan in front of the fire on wet and windy nights that will now never happen.
Where do you go from here? My future is shadowed with a vail of grey that won’t seem to lift. My future was Marc….
He was the funniest and kindest man. We even shared a love of tattoos. He was in awe of mine and I of his. He would lovingly moisturise my dragon (Kada) as I couldn’t reach!
We both understood pain, me with my back and him with his knee and back! We were a right pair after a long day in the mountains.
Since his sad passing I have had the pleasure of meeting his dad, (step) mum and sister Jenny. Malc and Kathy are the most wonderful people. You can see where Marc got his manners, kindness and fantastic sense of humour from, He was simply the most amazing man.. He was clearly a pretty awesome brother too (and uncle).
One real testament to Marc is that I have never heard a bad word said about him. He was loved so much by his friends and family. You couldn’t not like this man. He was kind hearted, hilarious, empathetic and above all loving and patient.
His close friends that he climbed with now have his climbing gear so his spirit will live on in the hills. His oldest friends who I sadly only met after his passing have been lovely. He was loved and respected.
I loved the very bones of him. The saying “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is now etched in my heart. I can honestly say that despite it not all being perfect (as real life never is) I found my match. The person who understood and embraced all my faults.
I don’t know when I will be able to write properly again. Until I start enjoying the mountains again; which could take a while.
Below are some pictures from our adventures together.
Rest now sweetheart. Until we meet again.