I find writing these blogs therapeutic and over the last six years it’s been part of the grieving process.
It feels like putting the words down on paper helps me to process my feelings, reflect on the significance and then move forward.
In September 2018 I wrote about A Brown Trainer Box https://purplerainbow.co.uk/a-brown-trainer-box/ it was about some 8mmm films which had been unwatched for years. At the time I had purchased an old 8mmm video camera and had watched a couple of the tapes and it evoked such emotion.
For 18 months the trainer box remained unopened, it was as if the sight of the two films I watched were so overwhelming that I didn’t have the strength to continue watching. So, the video camera was placed in the drawer and films remained in an old trainer box.
Then during local down, I decide to take action to send off the box to a processing company and get MP4 files made so that I could make some compilation films. The box was sealed and taken to the post office and 2 weeks later an invoice arrived asking for payment, I paid the bill and a few minutes later I was sent the links to over 30 films.
There was a feeling of trepidation, could I bear the pain of watching the films ? but equally I knew there would be such joy and I would be smirking, broadly smiling, laughing out loud evoking familiar feelings of belonging
I was correct, as predicted, over the weekend I watched some of the films with a big grin on my face but with that inherent feeling of great sadness that constantly obscures my heart. Many of the films were packed with footage of historical sites, films of roman ruins, Versailles, French Cathedrals if anyone else watched them they would say they were boring. However boring is simply perfect for me because in between the films of “boring” sites were gems of familiarity, hilarity, and intimacy. The gems featured Seth.
As I watched the films it struck me that there were so many ways that my heart was heavy and equally light because
- I loved to see the uneven gait of Seth’s walk
- I loved to hear the sound of his footsteps in the gravel as he moved around and recorded the films
- I loved our mutual appreciation of being able to make the trip
- I loved to see, hear, and feel the familiar ease of our connection
- I loved the way we looked at each other
- I loved how we used our nicknames for each other….. Blanchard, Lucy Ann, and others not for sharing publicly.
- I loved to hear Seth’s shallow breathing as he made his recordings (a sound so familiar so reassuring)
- I loved to hear the funny little noises that he made as walked around, little noises that were so well known.
- I loved to hear the timbre of his voice
- I loved to the various rucksacks that we used over the years as I always had the view of them as I walked behind him
- I loved to hear his tuneless little songs and ditties as he walked around
- I loved to hear his little historical sketches usually roman and usually including some reference to a slightly rude Latin names
- I loved to hear his comments that he made as I walked in front of him something pithy, witty and something that at the time I would have been oblivious to.
- I loved all the places we visited together
- I loved the shared passion for history and the idea that something others might think was boring we absolutely adored
- I loved the sense of belonging and love that our little conversations unconsciously caught on the audio which demonstrated a warmth, love, a cosy, private familiarity which I long for.
- I loved watching him move
- I loved that although I remembered all the trips and places from the labels on the films, I had forgotten some of the things that happened.
But with love often there is a deep regret ………I hated the fact that I loved them so much…… I didn’t want to watch the films, I didn’t want to love them, because I knew that would make me want to be back in the presence of the man who made me feel so precious, who was so funny, who had an insatiable appetite for history, who was so quick to turn the ordinary into a moment of hilarity with his quick witted quips, to be back in the warmth of the most imperfect perfect relationship.
But all that longing doesn’t make any difference, Seth is dead and have my memories, which have now been enriched by the gems between the “boring” bits between the historical footage.
After Seth died and I was involved in sharing Seth’s story I made the conscious decision to only share two photos publicly the one of us both on our wedding day and the “flock of Seagulls” https://purplerainbow.co.uk/a-flock-of-seagulls/ picture of Seth. Many of my friends didn’t get to meet Seth, because many of those people I have met since Seth’s death and many others were my friends rather than our friends. Most of those people will know Seth from the one dimensional familiar photos, and the words I have shared about him, but they won’t have gained a sense of the person, of why he was so funny, so endearing, so Seth.
After watching some of the films, I decided to share video clip of Seth on Facebook and the reaction was priceless. In the film clip he shared how hot it was in the South of France. It’s a short clip with Seth standing there with a red face, in sunglasses, shirt and shorts. He approaches the camera and he shares an impromptu monologue which includes the following as a description of how hot it is.
He says he feels as hot as a person who has …..
Spent 10 hours in sauna
Eaten 1000 jalapenos peppers
Followed with 3 vindaloos and 1 madras
Then used half a pound of curry powder in a bodily orifice (unmentionable here) and finally
Shrink wrapped himself in cling film and then gone for a 10-mile jog
It was one of the gems between the boring bits of historical sites …
Many people who knew Seth were reminded of his humour and many commented on how nice it was to hear his voice again and for those people who didn’t know Seth they said that they felt that they did… these comments really touched me…
“Hello Seth!!! Lovely to meet you”
“His voice is so warm and lovely thank you for letting me hear it, he’s so funny!! I would have liked Seth Like I’ve said before”
“He looks so lovely and such fun”
And my oldest friend sent me note saying “very strange seeing your Seth and I see why you miss him so much. I’d have liked to have met him; you seem perfect for each other.