Monday, 26 January 2015
We're nearly a month into the new year, and my first Christmas without Suzie has been and gone. We enjoyed a good time of family fun and fellowship, and it was heart-warming to hear Suzie's name slipping effortlessly into general conversation. I missed her physical presence immensly, but her spirit and her memory were never far away.
New Year's Eve was, by choice, a solitary evening of quiet reflection. As I contemplated the hugely significant year that was drawing to a close it was like carefully wrapping up a precious treasure and putting it somewhere special. Knowing this precious chapter of my life was now safely stored away I was able to open my heart and mind to embrace the new year that was going to unfold. There were no tears that evening.... Just a peaceful acceptance of 'the way it is', and a prayerful trust in God for whatever is to come.
As January now approaches February, I find my mind inexorably drawn to thoughts of this time last year. These were the weeks when hospital and hospice wards were our home as we faced the final part of our journey together. I have learnt during the last ten months that trying to fight these difficult phases of grief is futile, and so I simply acknowledge the painful emotions and withdraw a little. Right now I feel extremely sad and alone. These next few weeks will be tough, but I know that 'this, too, will pass'.
In the midst of this time of sadness I have some special family celebrations to embrace. My precious daughter and my darling niece both celebrate 'special' birthdays in February, followed by my sister and brother-in-law's wedding anniversary and, not least, my own birthday. Life is a rich tapestry where often it's the most dramatic contrast of light and dark colours that produces the most beautiful picture.
I'm trying to embrace new experiences.... even if it's only driving to the sea front with my free Waitrose coffee or discovering new kinds of TV programmes to watch. I'm pushing myself to go out and try to do a few things that are seriously out of my comfort zone. I've installed a SatNav app on my phone, which I'm hoping will give me the confidence to drive a little further afield. My fight against depression, OCD, and anxiety, is a constant battle, making even seemingly basic activities difficult, exhausting, and often, not even possible. Some days I can push myself harder than others, but there are days when I just have to recognise the need to be quiet and alone. How I miss Suzie at these times. Every so often I'm engulfed by a feeling of being as if on the very edge of a cliff.... that sense of looking down at a vast expanse of 'nothing', and paralysed to the spot. Never before have I faced a new year with such a huge sense of walking into the unknown. It's scary.
As 2015 unfolds I'm sure there will be much sadness and much to celebrate along the way. There will be times of joy and new experiences, and there will be times when days are long and lonely. With God's help I will continue to live each day as best I can, trusting that the dark places are all part of something beautiful in the making.