Looking at my blog for last year I found that I wrote nothing at all in April. That's no surprise. April was when it became clear that everything was about to change, when it did change. I started writing again in May and continued intermittently during the year. What I wrote was honest and true, and reading it now, I see how truth is as momentary as anything else in this life. What I felt at any given moment would not necessarily be reflected in the next.
The world does not care about us. It keeps on turning. And as the world turned so did the year.
They say it takes a year and a day to heal. A year to wander in grief through all the shared anniversaries, official and personal, a year to experience each new season alone, and a day to begin again, a day to think about ok, I can do this, so what is it, this 'this' that I can do, this new life that I am building? What is this new chapter going to be all about. Of course, the answer is: I have no idea.
There are people who plan out their lives. Just as there are people who when they sit down to write know exactly what they are going to say. I learned in exam rooms a long time ago that I am not one of them. I learned that if I just start writing, then what I am going to say, will somehow get said. I found that I think better in print. I often joke that I can't think without a pen in my hand. It's not strictly true: I can think with a keyboard under my fingers as well.
But just as I have only a vague idea of what is to come when I start clicking the keys or spilling the ink, so I have only the vaguest of ideas about what this next chapter of my life will be. And just the same, I know that the only way to find out is to start living it.
The past year has been a strange one. There were unexpected joys among the sorrow – and then, to be fair, unexpected pain that brought some of those joys to an end. It was not the year I expected it to be….she said, as if any of them ever are!
I honoured the anniversary of losing my soul-mate by remembering his last four days. I gave myself over to remembering…and to writing about it, capturing what I recall now one year on. I noticed how things fade already. I notice that in one space I have done all of the clearing away that needed to be done and started to rebuild. I am renovating the bungalow that he left me, and I am so much looking forward to moving in, to making it my home, bringing it back to life. It will take a while yet, and the gardens will be a project for next year…but the gardens, derelict now, are beginning to give already.
A straggle of forget-me-nots sits on my hearth in my current abode: a link between my old life and my new one: a symbol of Spring, of Eostra goddess of the dawn and new beginnings.
At the same time, in other spaces I am only beginning the dismantling. My old home is larger than the one I'm creating, and I know there are things that have served their time and need to be released. The garden here has been neglected for the last year and is turning to wild. In every sense I have let that go. I no longer worry about bringing it back into line. In time, its new guardians will do what they choose with it, for the next few months, I will try only to stop it running too far to ruin. On this day of new beginnings I have been out grasping nettles, with the still-stinging arm to show for it, cutting grass, pulling weeds that would be pulled and simply cutting back those that fought hard enough to stay. I no longer need to worry that they will return.
Every time I walk into a room I wonder: what in here will come with me and what will I leave behind?
Every day, I am finding things that I won't be taking with me…and seeking ways to send them on their way. A set of chairs I was given when I first moved in were collected, to be sanded down and painted in pastel colours and given to a local café. A picture that has hung on various walls since I was eighteen years old has been bought as an affectionate joke for a wedding anniversary, a reminder of someone else's past. Books going to charity shops earn me warm praise for what good condition they are in: 'as new' most them: one careful reader. I sometimes wonder where these things will go that I am releasing into their own new beginnings: who will touch them, who will they touch?
It's a thought that makes me smile, not least because it also reminds me that I am simply creating space for new things, people, experiences to touch my life.
A year ago, I had a small idea about what was coming, and I was hoping I was wrong. Today, I have much less idea about what is coming, but I'm much happier about it, the future is wide open…and the sky is forget-met-not blue.
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