Monthly archives "September 2015"

Leaky Lunar Eclipses

halfwayWhat a momentous week.

We’ve seen (or slept through) a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse – the last time we saw that was in 1982, the year of Miners strikes, 3 million unemployed and the Falklands war.  The next time we’ll see a Supermoon Lunar Eclipse will be in 2033, and for all we know Kanye West may be President of the United States, we may have started living on Mars and the mullet might have come back into fashion.

But what about this Supermoon Lunar Eclipse, this week – what’s that been about?  Supermoons and Lunar Eclipses can be seen as times of high emotion, times to let go of the old, so we can make space to usher in the new. I’m not sure it’s felt exactly like that for me.  Although, this week has definitely felt a like a turning point of sorts, albeit a very small one.  If you were looking at your SatNav it wouldn’t even be a turn, maybe just a gentle dip or curve.

Nothing has happened to make me feel that way, except maybe the slightly momentous (for me) fixing of my leaky shower and leaky bathroom taps.  The shower has stood unused and unloved for two years, but I suddenly found I couldn’t live with it like that any longer.  And after two years of not working, it’s only taken two days to tear out the old broken fittings, and put in shiny new ones.

Apart from the shiny new shower, nothing has changed. I haven’t suddenly won the lottery, I haven’t been given a three-book deal, and I haven’t met Mr Right (or even Mr Alright for Now).  I’ve been doing what I’ve done for the last two months.  I go to work, I come home, on rare occasions I see friends, I cry when I think about Simba, which is almost all the time and I still miss him, more than I will ever be able to explain.

And the insomnia, which was pretty bad before, has shifted up a gear. If I get more than four hours it’s a reason to celebrate.  Coffee has become my new best friend.  So there have been no visible improvements in my life.

Despite this, and for no reason in particular, I feel lighter, more hopeful, and…well, happier, than I have for a very long time.

So at this Lunar Eclipse I am very glad to be letting go of the leaky old shower, and letting go of some of the heaviness I’ve been living with.  And with a slightly lighter heart, I’m ready to embrace change, whatever form that change comes in. I’m not going to waste any more time looking for the reasons why I feel more optimistic, I’m just going to enjoy that feeling.


Sturm und Drang

Sturm und DrangDo you know what Sturm und Drang means?  I only found out today, in the process of writing this blog. It originally comes from the title of a play by F. M. von Klinger(1752–1831), a German dramatist, and it means ‘storm and stress’.  The reason I was thinking about it is because I was looking for the right way and the right words to describe the current state of play.

As I’ve started waking up from the hibernation I’ve been in since Simba passed away, I’ve started catching up with friends and family.  In the last two months I have missed promotions and new jobs, trips away and birthdays, impending wedding celebrations and new babies.  There have also been some heart-breaking losses. New unfillable voids caused as a loved one has passed away. My heart aches with and for those gone and those left behind.  And I inevitably thought about my own recent loss and hibernation.

Hibernation is a cosy sounding word, to me anyway.  It conjures up images of cuddly furry bears burrowing away in a deep yet gentle slumber until the cold and the wind and the rain passes away.  They come out again into sunshine and spring.  The last two months have not felt cosy or gentle.

The first sentence of Wikipedia’s description of hibernation is probably more accurate – “a state of inactivity and metabolic depression.’  Which sounds much more familiar.  But that’s still not quite right.  There’s more to it.  Which is where the ‘Sturm und Drang’ comes into play.  Sturm und Drang – the stress and the storms that rage through your brain relentlessly, every minute of every waking hour of every exhausting day as you relearn the painful art of living with the void.

It’s funny isn’t it – all that activity, all that breaking down, falling apart and cracking up going on, mostly on the inside.  And on the outside, nothing.  Just hibernation and inertia. With the rest of the world continuing to move on and up and around you as if nothing has changed.

It’s odd when you’re the one coping and hibernating and standing still, because you can’t comprehend the movement going on around you.  You wonder how everything keeps flowing and shifting. It’s not that you want the world to stop.  It’s just that you can’t understand why it hasn’t already.

As I slowly rejoin the movers on, someone very dear to me is becoming a hibernator. It highlighted the heartrending quirkiness of life. We each move from one side to the other, from mover to hibernator to mover.  All the while everyone else is simultaneously doing their own side to side shuffle. Our combined planetary efforts probably look like some weird cosmic group dance.

I found this too…

This is where reality lives. In the epicenter of the paradox. Right at the meeting point of love and loss and life and leaving and beginnings and grief and joy. In the sweet sticky spill of that rough slice and in the invisible moments when heart is stitched together again. Anonymous.

I wish you a wonderful week of cosmic shuffling.

Bell curves and blossoms

Bell curves and blossomsTwo days after Simba passed away, a very kind friend left me a beautiful card and a plant with tiny golden coloured blossoms.  The colour reminded her of Simba’s golden fur, which made me cry (everything made me cry). It was a very thoughtful gesture.  The plant became something to look after and nurture in the absence of the furry one.

So I watered my little plant with zeal, making sure the soil was never too dry, never too wet, just slightly damp.  But the flowers starting falling off.  Maybe it needed more water than I was giving it.  So it got more water.  But not only had all the flowers fallen off, so did all the leaves.  Maybe I was watering it too much.  I stopped, and let the soil dry out a little bit.  Now even the branches themselves were decaying, turning from a lush green to a dull dark brown.

I had every sympathy with the plant.  I felt pretty much the same way – dull, dry and forlorn.  Since the furry one had moved on, the only people I saw were my family and my work colleagues.  And at work I could easily go a day or two without really talking to anyone apart from the obligatory ‘good morning’ and ‘see you tomorrow’.  I kept my head down, counting down the hours until I could go home and spend my time crying, looking at old photos, crying, looking at videos, crying, wishing I’d taken more photos and videos, and crying.  There were days when I cried so much I genuinely thought there would just be no more tears left.  My friends were amazing – the texts and messages and cards kept coming, even though I replied to none of them.  Replying somehow meant it was more real.  Ridiculous, right?  But there you go.  My parents and my brothers were and still are exceptional – I don’t know how they’ve managed to deal with their own grief and yet somehow take such good care of me, from the hugs and listening and wiping away tears to spider-proofing the house now that I don’t have a furry accomplice to calm me down when I see the pesky little things.

A few weeks in, and there might be a whole day where I thought I was doing ok.  Where I thought I’d kept it together, had an almost normal day.  Until something happened, something ordinary, that hit me like a gut punch from a heavyweight.  Like the time I was chopping vegetables and went to throw a piece to Simba, but he wasn’t there, or the first time I went to work with a skirt that I didn’t have to brush golden fur from.  But still I didn’t want to see anyone, or do anything or participate in life.  I was stuck.

What I wanted was to rescue my plant.  So on my Mum’s advice, I repotted it.  The new pot, bigger and stronger, and with new compost in it, wouldn’t fit in the living room where the old pot had been sitting.  The only place the new pot fitted was the empty space in the kitchen where Simba’s food and water bowl used to be.  So that’s where it went.  I wasn’t sure at first whether it had made any difference.  It didn’t look any different.  But a couple of weeks ago I noticed a tiny little green leaf in amongst the dark dull branches.  And when I looked closer, not all the branches were dull brown.  There were some green ones there.  Now, two weeks after the repotting and the move, in the place where my greedy boy guzzled his food three times a day, the plant seems to be thriving.  There are green leaves, big and small, all over the shop.

Like a little bell curve, the plant started off thriving and healthy, dropped to near death, and now seems to be making a gentle but steady recovery.

It’s funny how life works in synchronicity when you most need it to.  Just as I feared I was turning into a sad loner and feeling as though I didn’t know how to rejoin the world, I had two invitations that helped me take a few wobbly, wavering steps back into the fray.  An invitation from my fabulously wise coach, Judith Morgan and a text from a lovely friend inviting me to dinner at hers.

I also came across this graph. grief_curve

It helped me validate what I’d been going through, and gave me hope that although I might be mooching around at the bottom of the curve right now, there’s every chance that it’s not a permanent fixture.

So although we’re heading into Autumn, where nature shuts down and leaves start falling, I’m hopeful that when the time is right, my little plant and I will blossom again.