Posted by: Louise | September 25, 2011

change

And suddenly it is nearly four weeks later. The leaves are curling at their edges and turning varying shades of brown and red. The sandals are tidied away and the garden is a mass of tangled, dying overgrowth.

We have dived headlong into the school term and an expanding range of activities which, combined with work, require a level of organisation that even I find challenging. Not so much the organisation as the constant energy required to maintain this organisation. Every so often I have looked at my computer and thought “I must write…” and then got lost in pinterest or ebay or amazon, and suddenly it was past my bedtime and so on and so on and so on.

So the conversation with the Giraffe Princess about odds got left behind as did the post about the boom in baby girls amongst the mothers at the school gates and all the other places my mind has wandered to this past month and here we are now.

It is the day between our 12th wedding anniversary and K’s birthday. K and the Little Boy Racer have been out harvesting our apples and the last of the runner beans before they shrivel up on the plants. Astro Boy is hanging out in some virtual world or other and the Giraffe Princess is appearing behind me at regular intervals trying to persuade me to clear out the cupboard under the stairs so she can make a club house. A few years ago she decided this dank hovel was the scariest place in the entire house and soon after could be found there quite regularly curled up on top of all the debris with a book. Nothing like facing your fears full on. Or maybe it is like the LBR who has a cuddly lion that he insists sleep right beside him because, if it is away from him down at the bottom of his bed, it scares him too much.

Before we returned from our trip down West we wandered the ‘big stone’ beach one field away from Laura’s spot. We both knew this would be the place to look for Laura’s stone. LBR had spent the fortnight presenting me with heart shaped stones – he even spotted a heart shaped pot hole – but all his stones were pocket sized.

In the end Laura’s stone was oval and grey. We were both quite certain it was the right one.

Laura’s cousin, who was holidaying with us, found a quite perfect purple heart shaped stone and we settled on two stones that will some how sit together. The finer details haven’t formed themselves yet.

I took a picture of them before we secreted them away, all too keenly aware of how taking stones is frowned upon. But somehow I don’t think anyone would challenge us on this…

And so it is a new term, a new season, new courses beginning. It is the same, but it is different. I am the same, but I am different. In this time of change and return I am watching to see how I am in this place, 2 years and 4 months out. Maybe not watching, but noticing.

I am different. I notice it. I am less afraid of life, less afraid of people. I am broken, but I can laugh in my brokeness. I used to be fiercely independent. These days I like being able to call upon people. I like needing people and the connectedness that comes with that. I am less tolerant of people. I am learning to speak my mind. I guess I know the answer to “Well, what is the worst that can happen?

I am searching for the words, not right this second, but always. I want to make sense of Laura’s death, to find meaning in it, but mostly I am wandering/racing forwards through life alternately swimming or drowning in whys, what-ifs and what-nows.

I think that death is people’s biggest fear – avoid it at all costs. That is how we all live our lives. Don’t think about it. Don’t look at it. Avert your gaze and it won’t happen to us.

It hurts like hell, but there is something freeing in staring death in the face. In all the darkness, a new light on life…..

***

I am guest editing Still Life 365 for the month of October, exploring the Everyday after losing a baby. Please come and visit and send in a photo.

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Responses

  1. “I am watching to see how I am in this place, 2 years and 4 months out. Maybe not watching, but noticing.”

    This line especially resonated with me. I remember getting to a point where what I thought I’d feel in different situations wasn’t how I felt, and I’d kind of poke around and prod myself to see if I was really ok in the situation. I’d notice myself enjoying a moment, notice that I wasn’t thrusting myself into the past. Now, I do that even less. I find I’m living more, noticing less as how I am becomes more just how I am.

    I love your project idea at stilllife 365.

  2. Oh, and I love how you found her stone. We thought about doing that, but weren’t so convinced we wouldn’t be challenged/prosecuted for it. In the end we chose a stone from a friend’s yard from the town where I grew up, known for its granite, so that my baby might have a bit of my hometown that he never got to visit.

  3. I love the final few paragraphs of this post. I think you are right, in a strange way constantly averting your eyes from death is rather exhausting. When you have no option but to stare it right in the eye then it can be rather liberating.

    I love both of the stones that you covertly carried away. They are beautiful and even more lovely together. Really looking forward to seeing what you are going to be doing at Still Life 365.

  4. Ok.. one- I need to find you on pinterest (lol).
    Seriously though I am so glad that I am not the only one wondering how it is that the last few months have flown by in 4 week increments. Time can be such a mind warp.
    The stones are all beautiful.. such soft and soothing shapes.. it’s as though the oval one sat there waiting for it’s new role in honoring Laura.
    As to being different and not fearing death.. you already know that I second your thoughts. Could we ever, in a million years, have thought we could face life in this way? Certainly not, but now that it is here so be it I suppose.
    I no longer avert my eyes from death, and gone are the days when talking about death made me uncomfortable. In many ways I feel I have become a veteran for handling painful news.. grief, loss, death. All of it. In learning how to accommodate those who walk this journey I have learned how to handle my own grief. I don’t apologize for it, and in a way that has been as freeing as facing death itself. I just wish it did not come at such a massive expense.


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