I am having one of those rare days when, out of the blue and for no obvious reason, everything seems pointless. Empty. Void of meaning or purpose.
I saw an old man earlier, barely able to walk slowly up the street with the assistance of his walking stick, and I suddenly felt as though I was going to blink my eyes and be that old, with most of my life behind me – and what will I remember then about today? What will it matter, these small emotions that feel so overwhelming, in the overall picture of my life, let alone anything greater than that? And whilst I thought of a life already lived, I simultaneously faced the reality that I might just as well be dead tomorrow, cold and gone, and soon forgotten.
I feel like I might just disintegrate into shards on the next knock. Sometimes I stare into an abyss of hopelessness I know I can’t explain to anyone who hasn’t seen it for themselves. It can’t be rationalised or reasoned with. It is not measured or calm.
People carry on, walk away, wait for me to be cheerful and happy again, and my anger and resentment simmer. I am too harsh, becoming ever-more unforgiving, and retreating increasingly into myself. Today, I am too brittle.
My post on Halloween prompted the following response from a fellow blogger, WritingMS: “Why are we humans so compelled to claim the goodness of our lives, in order to try and justify our expression of sorrow or pain? I think it must be our western culture and our adherence to the ‘stiff upper lip” approach. Yes, balance is always healthy……….BUT……expressing pain is not necessarily unbalanced, Laurel. Let’s all just take a communal deep breath and say “My life is good. I have many blessings. AND I have pain. Deep, devastating, gut-wrenching pain. And here, in this forum, I am going to talk about my pain, my sorrow, my confusion. And I will do it unapologetically.” There, how’s that for a disclaimer?Laurel, you know that I am in the same tippy-boat as you are and that this disclaimer is as much for me as it is for you. But how about if we give it a shot??”
The timing of this comment is particularly pertinent in light of a recent email conversation with a friend, who, in response to my expression of pain and anger that friends may have been reading my blog (and I of course have no way of knowing which friends they may be) and yet not been in touch for months, wrote “I have some how taken away from your blog the idea that you were doing OK. It seemed like you were coping.” Continue reading →
Yet another milestone today, on Halloween when the kids are excited about pumpkins and trick-or-treating, and my reflections on death are far more mournful. Five months, and a whole summer has passed since my mother’s death. Five months that seem the blink of an eye, time still frozen, yet containing enough sorrow and loss for a lifetime. My sister Tabitha wrote in a recent email, ‘I miss [mom] so bad, and the loss and length of time she is now gone for is unbearable. I think I was just “holding out” till she got back. And now she is not coming back. Ever again. That thought is only sinking in. And is horrifically big.’ I think this sums up some of why it seems to feel more painful then ever sometimes. Continue reading →
Walking down to the station this morning I was feeling light and carefree. It is the first beautifully sunny day for a while, and I am wearing my mother’s summery orange dress, which she brought on holiday but never had a chance to wear as it poured with rain most of the time. I was listening to The Beatles, stepping in time to the beat of ‘Revolution’, singing along with ‘Don’t you know it’s gonna be (dum de dum) alright’, swinging my bag and laughing with delight that last night’s anger seemed to have evaporated. Continue reading →
Dirk emailed me two photographs this afternoon, saying that “Tessa had been inspired by Nan Shepherd’s book “The Living Mountain” to try and capture the clarity and sweetness of the water in streams on Skye. These were her last two photographs (in Coirie Lagan, Cuillins) – taken perhaps three hours before she died.” Continue reading →