I’ve talked about how my bereavement journey has moved on. I’m not stood next to that permanently locked door anymore. Life has to be lived. That’s something I didn’t think I would ever say in the early days. But approaching 6 years after the world changed and now I can.
But what about Hawklad.
Losing a mum is devastating. Losing a mum at 8 years old is beyond words. I did what I could but there is a limit to what anyone can do in those circumstances. If he wanted to talk, we talked. If he wanted to forget, then I shielded him. Understandably he found it tough to talk about his mum. He found it distressing to hear references to death in TV shows and Movies. Professional Grief counselling has been slashed by Government cuts, so he is still waiting…. So we muddled through.
Roll on 6 years. He still finds movie references to family death tough, so we still try to avoid. But here’s the thing. Now he can openly talk about his mum. He asks lots of questions about his mum. He wants to learn more about her. He smiles and laughs at the memories. He is getting there.
Virtually every day for over two decades I have looked at this landscape. Looked at that tree, stood alone in the next farmers field. The occasional trip away, the all too infrequent Swiss day broke those years up. But definitely for 6 years, every day I have looked upon that view.
After my partner died, I couldn’t contemplate making changes to the house. It just didn’t seem right. Then a few hesitant steps. Clothes, shoes, handbags and some books taken to a charity shop. But her cd’s are still sat, untouched, in the same place. Her ornament largely in the same locations. But now the mindset is changing. Time for change if Hawklad is ready.
A start will be my partners cd’s. A quick scan revealing a taste for 80’s pop and dance music. They are never going to get played in this metal and rock house. Music is such a waste of its not played. Time to move them on to a better home. Ok I might keep the Dido cd…..
I’m looking at a sofa that is over 20 years old. Cats, a mad climbing dog, food and drink spills, my enormous backside has taken its toll on the poor thing now. It’s really time for a change. Well kind of. Hawklad would appreciate some more comfort but is kinda attached. So we have plan b. But a new sofa, finally change the living room look. But the old sofa can find its way into the conservatory.
That’s still change.
Life has moved on.
I’m not stood by that permanently closed door anymore.
Switzerland is a country that means so much to this little old Yorkshire family. So many holidays there, so many memories. It’s a special place.
But things have changed. The next time we travel there, it will be different. It’s a much smaller family now. It will just be the two of us. It will be the first trip to The Alps without Hawklad’s mum. But how different will it be. We would always have the same holiday base, Spiez. The Hotel Seegarten, just a few feet from beautiful Lake Thun and it’s marina. We would arrive Saturday night and then on Sunday morning we would always take the boat across the lake to Interlaken. Hawklad loved the relaxing boat journey, he would spend his time on deck. Then a walk round Interlaken. A hot chocolate sat outside a beautiful hotel watching the brave souls landing paragliders after an exhilarating trip from the top of the local mountain. Then a bit of crazy golf, the Swiss do like that sport. A pizza them a trip to a beautiful gift shop. A shop with the most elaborate Swiss Clocks and most importantly a huge selection of Schleich Toy Animals.
The question is….
When we do go back again. Do we stick to the Sunday tradition or do we go for something completely different. Those Sunday mornings were definitely fun and memorable but life has changed. Would it feel the same for Hawklad without his mum. We have talked about it and wow do I regret that….. He’s minded to keep the tradition but add one new thing. Paraglide from that mountain. I think I need a Jumbo Jet size glider to carry my most un-aerodynamic body down to the ground in a controlled manner.
Out for the daily mad dog walk and we bumped into a couple who have lived in the village for decades. Even more decades than I have. I have been in their house. They know me, they did know me. But that was in a past life. The door has been closed on that life for nearly 6 years now. A pandemic hasn’t helped, but I don’t think I’ve met them since the world changed for our little family.
The wife recognised us, the husband didn’t.
Do you live in the village, have you just moved here….
More and more questions before the penny finally dropped and he was mortified. It’s not his fault at all. With the usual British stiff up a lip, I never mentioned a funeral that he attended. I don’t look like George Clooney anymore, well unless George looks seriously old, gnarly and has a beard like a cheap sandpaper strip. Plus Hawklad is not 3 ft tall anymore, now he is twice that size. Why would he recognise me.
The North Yorkshire Moors late on a cold January evening. This is truly an amazing planet with so much staggering beauty to be experienced and enjoyed. It’s really there, we just need to remember to lift our gaze upwards.
Back in 2016 that was an alien concept. Gazing upwards. Why when all I could see was never ending emptiness with no sign of light. Robbed of dreams and a way forward. Refusing to move from a door which had abruptly slammed shut and as long as I waited, would never open again. I felt like screaming but what was the point, who would hear, I’m not even sure I would have heard or even cared.
But now in 2022, as I watch the setting sun cast a golden light over the moors, my gaze is lifted once more.
Yes life might still be tough somedays but it’s good to dream again. Different dreams, bigger dreams. It feels wonderful to want to experience the world and what it has offer again.
Well the most has gone. That might even be the smallest patch of blue sky.
Can you spot the bird of prey gatecrashing the photo.
No zoom on the mobile, so this is the best I can do. The Gatecrasher.
I meet this gatecrasher every morning when I come down this lane, usually sat on the overhead power line. Such a thrill.
Soon we were on the road to the local wildlife park. A New Year Day Tradition which went on covid hold last year. This year we will arrive as it opens, wear masks and keep our distances. To protect others. Make sure we leave before the crowds arrive. The two of us have done this every year since Hawklad was a toddler. Just the two of us. His mum always decided to give it a miss, preferring a day at home. Maybe TV. Maybe catch up on sleep. It is an early start and a 90 minute drive. A quiet house can be very appealing. If she had realised time was so limited would she have stayed at home. Put things off repeatedly for another year.
I think I know the answer to that…..
Some choices you don’t get a second crack at them.
The amount of time I used to waste on the roads. Rush hour first thing, then rush hour on the way home. Travelling distances for meetings. Rushing here and there. Grabbing a sandwich while scurrying to my next appointment. Surviving on ever increasing amounts of caffeine. Time I could have spent truly living, doing things that truly matter. It wasn’t until single parenting forced me out of the rat race that I finally managed to see this. Time passed me by and I didn’t even notice. You don’t get that time back. What was I thinking about.
Now it’s a different life. My priorities have changed. Being a Mum and Dad, Single parenting, homeschooling, housework, trying to keep a part time job going. All mostly done without reference to an appointments diary AND NO TIME LOST in the rush hour, work madness.
When the world changed I kinda assumed that it was just about putting my career on hold. Maybe somewhere after 2023 the career would live again. It doesn’t work like that. I now realise that old life has gone full stop…… Other priorities, other commitments, I’m a different person. A new realisation.
Life has to be about making the most of precious time and not letting it slip through my fingers stuck in permanent traffic jams and never ending meeting cycles. Now the stuff I do MATTERS. If I don’t do it then it doesn’t happen. Can’t do that as a parent. Contrast that with the rat race. Do they even know that I quit my career. Did anyone notice one less driver stuck in the traffic queues.
YES, one person most definitely has.
YES my son. I’m there for him when he needs me, that doesn’t happen if I’m stuck on the M1 somewhere near Junction 42. I’m not there for him if I’m chasing my career.
The first signs of the next storm heading our way. Cold, wet, bleak and punishingly windy. Not a day to be outside. Problem is when I’m stuck inside, that feeling of being hemmed in just gets ramped up even more. Never suffered from claustrophobia but I have done since the world changed back in 2016.
Over those 5 years I’ve learnt that the best strategy is DISTRACTION. Focus on homeschooling. Housework, more housework, even washing the windows. Wow washing the windows. Kinda worked. But they don’t work as well as some four legged distractions.
I have a new movie franchise.
It’s the action movie this time of year has been waiting for since Die Hard. Fearsome beasts meet the festive holidays.
That’s one hardy leaf. Some would say ‘mad’. Coming out now, just before the Yorkshire winter commences. When all it’s buddies will give it another 5 months or so….
Or is that Mr Lazy Leaf. “Sorry chaps, I think I overslept, oh pants did I miss summer. Big pants, missed Autumn as well……. Anyone got a hot water bottle and a warm blanket.”
Must admit I kinda feel like that most days. Kinda feeling out of synch with life. Not been in synch for years. I’ve heard this from quite a few people who have gone through LOSS. Your time slows down (even feels like it stops) while the world keeps spinning without missing a single heartbeat. Initially I found that hard to deal with. If my world has stopped why hasn’t the world stopped, actually does it even know what’s happened.
Over time I realised that life has to keep going. Why should the world stop for one person. But even now that feeling of being out of synch still won’t go away. Maybe the more I live, the more baggage I shed then maybe, just maybe, I will start to find that synch again with the big bad world.
So yes I feel like that little green leaf is a kindred spirit.
It’s just turned Sunday here in Yorkshire. Time for a trip down me,pry lane. Back to family holidays to beautiful Switzerland. The family has changed over the years. It’s currently a much smaller family which can make the next trip. Hawklad and I.
Maybe next year……..
Whenever we do get to having holidays again things have to change. Things that worked before just won’t seem right anymore. So new places, new adventures, new experiences. Yes maybe some new countries. But one country will keep being the destination we head back to, time and time again. Yes it has to be Switzerland. Switzerland is a part of us.
And when we arrive in Switzerland it will be time to explore new wonders. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t find time to revisit some old family haunts. Definitely time at one particular lake. Lake Thun. We have a real connection to that one stunning part of The Alps. We have family ashes scattered there. More to scatter on the next trip.
Just one lake, but it is such a part of our history. Just one lake yet so many memories.