A quick hello from the home renovation trenches. I'm about to hit another peak in this roller-coaster ride I've been on since March. What looked on paper to be a few simple alterations and refurbishments, have totally taken over our lives, not to mention every room in the house. I think there could be the faintest pinpoint of light at the end of this tunnel, so I'm aiming for that. Meanwhile I have what seems to be about 5 miles of woodwork to finish glossing and a few acres of wallpaper to scrape before tomorrow, so better drink that tea and get moving. xx
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
We went to Canada.
Exactly a year ago, we set off on our first inter-continental journey to visit my sister and her family. It was a daunting prospect - multiple stages, overnight stays, meetups with relatives in airport cafes in between flights - finding our way through the maze of terminals at Heathrow, but, miraculously, everything worked out and we arrived safely. It was wonderful and different, and yet so familiar. I hadn't seen my niece or nephews since they were teens, and here they were all grown up with jobs and partners and homes of their own - how I loved the adults they have become. It was good to spend time with my sister and brother-in law in their beautiful home in the woods. I spent many hours sitting outside chatting to my sister - catching up with where we are, and looking back at where we've been.
We did amazing things - sightseeing, eating, shopping, relaxing in stunning surroundings, and just celebrating being there. My daughter, son in law and grandchildren came over to join us half way through our trip. By then, I had screwed up my courage, hired a car and hit those freeways. That was a major achievement for me, I can tell you. The magical summer continued - picnics by the lake, flip-flops, barbecues, sitting out late on the back porch, and a never to be forgotten road trip to Niagara Falls. It was all so special - every moment.
It was the first big and really new thing we had done without John. And how he would have loved it. It was sad to think that we were making memories that he wasn't going to be part of - but I guess that in itself brought him along. I wondered if I might have taken more of a back seat - literally - if he had been there. Would I have driven the 401 in my flip-flops? I don't know, but I did it, clinging on to that steering wheel in terror and desperately keeping track of all those traffic lanes!
It feels a bit like a betrayal somehow - this sense of enjoyment - this expansion of myself, when he is no longer here. And I think that is the point - it is my Self that needs to expand into the space left by my husband, It is a place that contains him and the love we had for each other. Not moving on and leaving him behind, but using what we created in our life together to move forward - flip-flops and all.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
If the path before you is clear, you are probably on someone else's.
So - where to start - what to say? I really don't know what I want to do with the blog this time around. Everything has changed and yet it all seems much the same. What made me log on, last week, type a few words and hit the publish button? Not a clue - and yet, here I am, sitting in front of this screen again. I guess I will just have to keep going and see where I end up. It might be a bit of a disjointed mish-mash (very like that metaphor), but I'm really just feeling my way right now, so thank you for bearing with me.
It's over two years since John died. I miss him.
James and I are still here, with no plans to move anywhere else. We are ok. We have been living in a kind of bubble really - just getting through the days as best we can. We now have a puppy, a rescue barn cat, and we are renovating the house. I had a lot of work done on the garden last year. We have been to Canada and Norway. I have a new grandson. My elder son and his fiancee are getting married in less than a year. I have so much to be thankful for - so much to look forward to.
My first year as a widow was hard - but in a way, I was protected by the numbness that accompanied the grief. We faced all those first times, and were relieved to 'get them out of the way'. I felt the loss of his presence every single day, so I was surprised at how difficult it was when we faced the first big anniversary - a whole year without him. I thought it was just another day, like all the other 364, but it was different. Almost as if my body knew something had happened on that day and needed me to properly acknowledge it.
This year was equally hard, in a different way. It is harsher, somehow - more real. I've had more days when I have felt utterly alone. I think probably because I have been moving on with day to day life, dealing with the problems and decisions that come with that. I am more confined to home too, as I need to be around for James. Most of the time, I am fine - I've always liked my own company, and I'm not lonely. There is a difference.
Coming up to the two year anniversary was sad. It seemed as if I remembered the events of John's last few weeks with such clarity, almost reliving them, moment by moment in my mind. I recalled things I hadn't thought about before in amazing detail. The difference this time was that I knew what the ending was going to be...
So, that's in in a nutshell really, those last couple of years. I'll keep drifting on for now, although I do feel stronger, and a bit more purposeful lately. I know I glossed over a few happenings there - new babies, puppies and kittens - I'll get back to those in a future post, once I get back into my stride. Meanwhile, thank you all so much for such a lovely welcome. It felt good to be back.
Sunday, June 4, 2017
What country, Friends, is this?
So - two years have passed. It's been a hard, intense and sad stage of my journey. I think I can just see the faintest shadow of a coastline out there on the horizon. I wasn't prepared for this voyage, so, obviously I have no map or compass to hand. I have no idea what the terrain of this unknown land is going to be - whether I will find smooth white sands, or jagged rocks. Will I rise serenely from the surf like Botticelli's Venus, or drag myself painfully over the shingle? What else will wash up beside me on the shore? I don't know. But, here I am. I feel the tide beginning to turn and it is pulling me back in.