I’ve needed to spend some time in reflection as I’ve raced around what feels like these past months in a downward spiral of emotion and fear. I have been surrounded by the most incredible friends, men and women, young and not so young alike. I could not have survived as I have without their constancy. I thank you all.
So, a new dawn sounds a little dramatic, yet in a way that’s exactly how it feels for me right now. Certainly another new chapter in the book of my life.
Within the last 10 days I have had my signature witnessed on my divorce papers, my eldest son has celebrated his 21st birthday, my daughter has departed for West Africa and my youngest son has just turned 13.
I sat in the garden on Friday 1st July, a momentous day, coffee in hand, sun shining. I sat alone quietly crying, tears streaming down my face. These were tears of pure, raw emotion. I wasn’t sad or depressed. I was emotional and I was releasing this emotion in the way that suited me.
July 1st was my son’s 21st birthday. 21 is so different to 18. At 18 he was a boy just finishing his A levels and preparing to head off to University. 3 years later he has a first class degree under his belt, his parents have divorced, he has witnessed his father’s illness and recovery, he has experienced his own life and those of his friends as they move from teenagers to young people. He is embarking on his life as a man, forging his own path finding his life’s work.
July 1st was also the day I was taking my daughter to Gatwick Airport for her flight to Dakar in Senegal. The beginning of a journey of a lifetime. I sat quietly crying as I cast my mind back over the past few years, from the day she was diagnosed with anorexia to this day when she was leaving the UK to experience something entirely different. I cried as she came to join me, quietly sitting next to me with her arm around my shoulder. We talked. We spoke about the days back then when I wasn’t sure she’d make it. The days that she said to me it was too hard to eat, it would be so much easier if she could give in to the illness……. This young woman sitting next to me inspires me daily with her strength, her fortitude, her courage not only to fight her demons but to really experience life. To choose to go to Senegal for a month alone, to live with a family, to spend a month in a different culture and language to her own, to work in a nursery to witness a different life, essentially to give back to the world.
I’ve just had a long phone call with a friend in South Africa. He asked how I was. I replied, tired, in fact more tired than I’ve felt since having my babies. Now is the time to look after myself, to nurture myself and be gentle, to make no demands on myself just as I’d do for a loved one who has been on a long and painful journey. The mud that has encased my boots has eased and I can now feel movement in my feet again.
I am ready to take those first slow tentative steps forwards into the next phase of life with a renewed sense of being alive and having done more than merely survive. Who wants to join me?