Another postcard from the land of grief
Occasionally in this new land of mine, I catch sight of the suitcases I used to use when travelling. They are far more than I shall ever need for one, and I look wistfully at a sunhat perched on top of them which no-one will ever wear again. These are bags for those who travel, not for those who stay.
There are other bags, though, which I have packed many times in these past five months. I pack them in a hurry, like a character in a film storming out of their life and heading for the airport. I pack them as if I have had enough of living in this strange place called grief and I would like to go home, thank you very much. This experiment in living alone has been interesting, and on some days I have survived it better than I thought possible. However, enough is enough, and now it is time to go back to being married, just like I have been for the past 30 years. I crave the easy familiarity of routines honed over the years and a companionship so deep as to be instinctive.
Thoughts trailing like a stray sleeve caught in the suitcase lid, I head for the border of this land and demand to be let through. Sadly, I cannot pass. The border is sealed, the guards are impervious, and my ticket was non-returnable and one way. I live here now. Bag tucked under my arm, I head disconsolately back, and stow it away for next time.
This is a process which is likely to repeat many times, I think – like a dog running time and time again at a high fence before realising it cannot be jumped. However, as with every trip away from home – it looks slightly different each time you return. Each time I come back from the border with that suitcase, ready to stash it away, I see the house just a little differently. I move things around, I update old things, I act like I am intending to stay here. Like a person with no passport, I start to think how I can make a life here rather than pining for there.
Family are a huge help – constant in their love, and unchanged from the way they were. They live here, as well as there, it turns out. Friends are a blessing – kind, patient, standing by but never pushing in. The value of my faith is incalculable – lending light to the darker days and hope to the deeper valleys. Even if I did not choose to live here, there are ways to make it work and people who are willing to help.
Not ready to pack those ‘go-bags’ away quite yet – but maybe one day.