Saturday, 17 May 2014

A journey

Two months ago, on the 11th of March, my husband of 11 years told me he was moving out. I watched his mouth form the words while slowly, slowly, the life I knew collapsed, spinning silently to earth in a million kaleidoscope pieces.

His story is not mine to tell. 

What I can tell you is what the last two months of my life have been like. I haven't been able to blog because I feel ashamed that my perfect life has fallen apart, and posting perfect pictures of a perfect family is simply not true. And above all things, I would like to stay true to who I am, and the things I believe in.

He moved out.

In the beginning, I felt small pieces break off me every minute of every day. I picked them up and put them back as best I could, because having a 4 year old to look after means there is no luxury of curling up in bed for a week without eating or showering, even though that's what I wanted to do. But I fell apart, slowly, silently, bit by bit. My friends and family did what they could. But at night, after I'd put Immy to bed and collapsed with the sheer relief of no longer having to put on a brave face, I had to face it. 

The fear was overwhelming. Fear of the future. The desperation to hold onto the life I knew, the life I had always dreamed of, the future that I ignorantly thought was so secure. I was struck over and over by how life can change in a nanosecond. A single conversation and everything I had believed to be rock solid became shifting sands. I was adrift, lost, confused. I phoned friends at 4am. I watched TV. I read poetry. I did anything, anything, to distract myself from the reality. And the pain.

But on weekend afternoons, in a house filled with a lifetime of memories, when Immy napped - I couldn't run. So instead, I sat. Sat with the pain. Inhaled and exhaled it, feeling like the sheer weight of it would crush my ribs and certain that at any moment my heart would simply stop beating. But it didn't. And I focused on getting through the next minute, the next hour, the next day.

And slowly, slowly, the pieces came back together. And just when I was feeling like I could breathe, something else. It hit me like a sledgehammer. And I realized that the pain, the sheer agony I had been going through - that was only the spoiler for the real thing. Pain that breaks every single thing inside of you, that keeps on breaking you, relentless and unforgiving. Inescapable. Questions with no answers, whispered into the dark night from the darkest and most afraid parts of my soul. 

It's been two months, roughly. There are many decisions to be made, and awful things to face. Things that two months ago would have knocked me down to the ground, and kept me there, thoughts swirling and laughing and mocking me in my misery.

I am standing today. Because the brutality of what has happened has changed me. Not into something harder, but into something stronger. There are good days, and there are bad days. But there is life. There is hope. There is always the promise of a new day. And I am profoundly grateful for that. 

**

The Journey - by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice -
though the whole house 
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
'Mend my life!'
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried 
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen 
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn 
through the sheets of clouds, 
and there was a new voice
which you slowly recognized as your own, 
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do 
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.