I feel such pangs over such small, unexpected things. They are things which mark change.
I put clean sheets on the bed. It now has winter blankets on. The weather is likely to get colder yet. I think about that happening, and about adding the big tiger rug. Then I realise with a pang that this will probably be all I need.
Andrew, with his circulation problems, sometimes had a lot of blankets on. We didn't have the tiger rug then, but we had various good woollen blankets, which each of us contributed to the household when we got together. Over the 20 years of our relationship, those blankets became our good friends, part of the family. Now, it's probable I'll never use them again — not on my bed. I have a moment of wishing for my friend Helen's ruthlessness in decluttering, but then I think I might need them for the spare beds, if at some time I have visitors in winter. They're doing no harm, stashed away in the bottom of the linen cupboard; they're not taking up space that I need for anything else. I may as well keep them.
I straighten the big brown blanket which I'm using as a quilt at the moment. Andrew was the one who brought that into the marriage. I don't know its history prior to that — as I suppose he never knew the history of those chequered ones which I look at and remember my kids when they were little, and houses we lived in then.
When I see the brown blanket, I remember that when we lived up on Pinnacle Road I looked at the orange-gold satin ribbon edging it, which was worn and frayed and missing some sections, and decided the blanket itself was too good to be allowed to look like that any longer. I unpicked and removed all the ribbon, and got out some thick, deep red wool. You wouldn't think that'd go with dark brown, but it looked and still looks marvellous. I bound the edge all around with blanket stitch, using my big wool needle. Then I crocheted a fancy edging, hooking first into the row of blanket stitch. That must have been in 1995. It still looks good, and it kept us warm for the rest of those 20 years. Last year he was under it with me, and all those years before, every winter. But not this winter. Another pang.
I must stop dwelling on the memories that hurt. But they sneak up on me. They reside in my household goods, the familiar things we shared and enjoyed. So many memories! Good ones mainly, and occasionally I can dwell in them with pleasure. But, mostly, not yet.
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