Island Blog – Keep Going

The Sadness has come to visit. I’ve felt it all week long. At first, I berate myself, tell myself that my inner talk needs a thwack on the butt and a strong invitation to leave. But that doesn’t work. I busy myself with small chores, checking them off my check list, as if I was an early wife with no clue what to do next. But the small chores do not fill the aching black hole, nor do they last very long. I am efficient in my tasking skills and they are all completed by 10am. Good lord, now what? I watch my hands as they thread wool onto a needle, my fingers gnarled as old oak limbs but still they know their way. I rise from my sewing chair and walk through to the kitchen. I could cook something but don’t want to; I could change the sheets but I just did that; I could sweep the floor of pepper brown larch needles that come in without invitation and all the Autumn time. I could. I could. But with the Sadness heavy on my shoulders, as if I was carrying boulders in a rucksack, I am bent down, weary of the weight.

So, what to do? I ask this out loud and rather aggressively into a nothing space, empty and somehow consuming. The Sadness says not one word. Okay, I rise, swing around and face the nothing that is definitely Something. What do you say I should do? Standing there, uncomfortable and weighed down, I feel foolish and it’s not because I am talking to nothing. I smell the metal air and notice the lack of geranium fragrance within the sunroom. I swing round to them. Where did you go? I ask the salmon pink blooms, still salmon pink blooming even now. They just look at me and continue blooming. I do not know what to do with this Sadness, I confess. Just keep going, comes to mind and those are wise words indeed. Be thankful for everything. What? I interrupt rudely. Everything? Even the Sadness?

Well, yes, even the Sadness, because if you keep batting it away when it comes, it will just come back again. In fact it will come back again whatever fixing you fix, whatever you do because you are grieving and there is no end to that state of being. Just think, the voice goes on, is there ever a way to rub out a life, to pretend, now that life is gone, you can just forget all shared history? Oh, well, no, maybe not. I sit with a cup of tea and try not to think because thinking is just white noise in my head, no, not white noise, not ambient, but sharp needles of thought, of memories, switched and twitched and foundering on the rocks of my Now, my silent now, my empty now. Metallica sort of thoughts. I shake my head to clear it but that doesn’t clear my heart and as my head comes back to base, the thoughts scurry back in like ants when level re-levels. All week my wee dog has noticed. She follows me everywhere, looking up, those chestnut eyes wide and questioning. Her normal distant behaviour has changed. She comes to bed when I do and watches me from the floor until I flip the light. I can’t explain her intelligence but I am glad of it, nonetheless.

I walk out, me and the watching dog, in between rain showers, a short one today, too tired with all those boulders on my back. Then I shower and change my frocks. Now, this is a weird one. Showering, for me, symbolises change, as does the frock thing. It betters me, sloughing off old skin, old thoughts, old grief, old frocks. I come home to a warm fire and a darkling sky. I watch the garden fade into night and find a new sense of peace. I am accepting the Sadness. Sit down with me, I say. Welcome. I lay down the boulders and they turn to dust. I decide to let it be, whatever it and be means. I don’t need to understand, nor explain. This evening I think. There are those who just watched their loved one die. I look back up the track I have already walked, knowing they are out there right now, at the beginning. And, although I am thankful I am further into the wilderness, I can turn around to see them coming and I can smile and lift some light, saying Keep Going my friend. Keep Going.

Island Blog – And….Rest

I remember that being the end game in some ballet practice. It was always a relief. All that agonised teetering en point and those two words meant heels to the floor and the exhale of tense breath.

Much like it was as we lowered the big man into the earth. Wouldn’t want to have fallen in. It looked dark down there and a hard landing, but not for the Admiral, Popz, Dad, Fairbs, Grandad, Topz et lala. I am relieved that I only have 3 names, my own, Mum and Granny/Gaga (that’s Lady Gaga, not gaga to you).

Today we all feel a great sense of relief. After many years of angst, intensified over the past 2 or three and racked up to a state of nuclear fission in the last 3 months, we can all breathe again. Father James said to us that this time heralds the freedom of a new beginning and it sounds right to me. Although nothing and nobody will fill the hole he left, nothing and nobody needs to. We will all grieve at times, for times; in the lyrics of a song, the kindness of a friend, a view and, for us in particular, out at sea among the wild things because that is where they are, and out there was music to the Father of Whales.

Today we all meet at the shore with a flask of tea, a barbecue and sausages, music and the wreath we ordered for the purpose. We pick an ebbing tide for obvious reasons, We don’t want it to end up stuck under the village bridge but, instead, floating way out where the wild things are. Perhaps someone will spot the colours through binoculars, or pass by it in a boat and they will wonder. We like that, for we are all wild things too.

Yesterday was made perfect by so many people and so much thought. Even a pair of sea eagles flew overhead as we walked from the grave, as if they knew. We all know his spirit left him with his last breath. There is no sign of him here and that feels fine. I believe that he is safe now, out of suffering and doubt, fear and pain and in a world which isn’t even a world. It is way bigger than that. Bigger than anyone could ever conceive. Bigger that our imaginations. He has done his work on earth. He has grown five extraordinary wild things and they their own. This house is a-bubble with chaos, laughter, goes on the chairlift and the electric chair. They play the piano, laugh loudly, call out like birds, paint pictures on the windows, run free. There has been none of that for years, perhaps for always. We like it, we wild things.

Farewell Big Man. Rest Easy. We have this now.

Island Blog 76 – Webcage

Spider web

 

This morning, early, I took my camera outside to capture what looked like froth covering everything.  Trees, long grass, bushes and the fence.  Closer up I recognized the froth.

Spider webs.

They got me thinking.

Yesterday, in the hot bright sunshine, I saw not one of them. They were all invisible until this morning’s heavy dew painted them clearly for my eyes to see.  And that is the whole plan. If I was a fly, this could be dead dodgy.  I could ping into one of those sticky tendrils and be lunch in seconds.  If I was a wasp or one of our honey bees, I might be dinner instead, for no spider will attack things with stings immediately, for very obvious reasons.  And they always know, the spiders.  I have watched, many times, a stinging thing fly into a web and become part of it whilst the spider dashes out, stops dead and dashes back again to wait.  Things with stings have more time for an escape plan.

In life, we all know the feeling of being caught in a web.  The ‘spider’ in charge may be bigger and more powerful than us, or half our size, but this fact matters not one jot in the end.  Once we are trapped, and held fast by the web, we can either struggle ourselves into an even tighter fix, or we can work ourselves free.

It might be our job or aspects of it that spins an invisible web to catch us.  It might be a relationship, or aspects of it.  It might be habits, contacts, colleagues or our own mistaken need to repeat old patterns.  Whatever is holding us, weakening us so that we ever so gradually dull our own wits and lose purchase on our freedom, we have to recognize it, and therein lies the rub, for we will blame anything and anyone as our wings grow weak and our fears take control.

As a result of becoming trapped in a webcage, I might take on and develop bad habits.  I will probably grow fat or I will grow thin.  I will become a bit manic (if it is possible to become a ‘bit’ manic) about a fitness routine, or my own private space or the way I like things done until I can no longer see anyone but myself in relation to the rest of humankind.  What I will not see is that, if I just rest a little, I can probably work out an escape, because resting means dilemma to me.  I cannot stop moving, because if I stop moving, I will have to think and the inside of my unhappy head is the last place I want to spend any time at all.

But this is exactly what I need to do.

Someone, possibly more than one someone, once said that in order to find a way out of the pain, we have to stay inside  it, engage with it, to accept it, and to move on beyond it.  It sounds ghastly at best, but from experience I know it to be true.  The alternative is a lifetime of running, and not from one bad situation to another, although that is exactly what it will be, but from our own self.

What we all need to do to free our wings is to stop and say…….ok, Pain, talk to me.

If our job/partner/lifestyle is slowly killing us, we must find the courage to acknowledge it and take action.  Yes, it is scary, but I have done it and felt terrified in a strange land, one I now know well with views and spaces and light and fun; not one of which I saw before I acknowledged the dark pain and fear, reminded myself that I have wings and a sting,and rose myself up and away into a new sky, trailing a strand of web.