15th January 2014
v. late night finishing off Bridget Jones’ latest diary. I laughed loud and cried buckets, even had to put on reading glasses for last few pages to make blurry words big and bold enough to read properly - v.g. book!
I remember reading the first two books and watching the films but I’ve always had mixed views about Miss Jones. I’m not sure if we’d ever have been friends back then although I love her easy to read chatty style her shenanigans often made me despair.
Things we have in common
- We both write a diary.
- We’ve both experienced the heartache of being single, wondering when the “one” is ever going to turn up in our lives.
- We both have a tendency to be over dramatic.
- We both do stupid things - my latest is washing my jeans with my mobile phone still in the pocket! I still might blog about that another day.
- We both have a great network of friends who we rely on.
- I don’t have quite the same preoccupation with my weight – well I don’t weigh myself and record it every day! And despite her protestations to the contrary Bridget is NOT really fat, I’ve always been several pounds heavier.
- I don’t smoke at all and never have.
- I don’t drink even a fraction of the amount Ms Jones consumes.
- I have a definite Christian faith whereas Bridget’s belief system appears to be loosely based on whatever self-help books are currently fashionable.
When the first two books came out I was already what Bridget would describe as a “smug married”. In fact the books arrived on the bookshelves in the same years as I gave birth my two handsome sons.
No I don’t think we would have even mixed in the same social circles back in the nineties.
But moving the story on to the present day and we have one more essential thing in common.
We are both widowed - suddenly, unexpectedly, devastatingly and that has thrown us both into a whole new world of being a single parent, alone, often floundering but trying to do the best we can.
I desperately wanted to read the book to see how Bridget was coping with her loss but I confess part of me was worried that this part of her life was glossed over in favour of a racier storyline. Being a widow isn’t sexy until that is you add a toy boy into the mix.
OK I confess another part of me wanted to know how Bridget had managed to entice a younger man into her life, I hoped to gain some tips, I’m hopelessly out of touch with the whole idea of dating. Although I doubted it would be the best self-help book I could read on the subject.
I had visions of throwing the book across the floor in disgust that Mark Darcy’s memory wasn’t honoured. I didn’t want Bridget to move on too quickly, I wanted to know she felt guilt and regret and the whole range of emotions that bubble up out of nowhere where grief is concerned.
I needn’t have worried, yes Bridget still annoyed me at times with some of her irresponsible behaviour but there were moments when I cried with her and my heart ached. The most memorable time when her mum came alongside her and told her how marvellous she was doing in the circumstances. I’ve had the very same conversation with my own mum. Some people look at you in awe but you never see it yourself.
You see as a widow you feel vulnerable, you are broken and floundering. This is not the way your life was meant to happen. On top of losing your soulmate you have to contend with being a single parent, it was not something you chose, you had no part in the decision process. One moment you were whole and the next shattered and putting those pieces back together in any kind of order is incredible hard.
For Bridget it was five years since her beloved Mark Darcy died, I’ve only been a widow for three, so I do look up to her, slightly ahead of me, knowing she’s made mistakes, she’s laughed and cried and sometimes she barely scrapes though moment by moment, one chocolate button at a time!
It was good to remember that. All too often I judge my own journey too harshly thinking I should have already moved on to a different place. I should have more of the jigsaw puzzle completed by now. Meeting up with Bridget again has assured me I am doing OK too.
Finding the toy boy might take a bit of work but I think Bridget might just give me a wink and a smile at that one, tip a big heap of chocolate buttons into my hand and then we’d giggle…
…you just have to read her diary too and maybe you will understand! I really don't want to give away too many spoilers...