Friday, 13 December 2013

Smiling and crying

This week has brought my past and present to a sudden and stark reality.

There is the Christmas card from an old university friend with news of his son and a new country which has me looking back and grateful for our days of adventure and decisions, finding our feet in the world and embracing the privilege of education, freedom and camaraderie.

The death of the final goldfish last night who I've done my best to look after for my nephew during the three years since my brother and his family moved away. My nephew who sends the fish postcards and whose face smiles from my fridge door. He is my favourite and ever changing, ever growing person.

The farewell emails and chat from a group of much loved colleagues and the fantasy world of the theatre where we are transported from the everyday. A world I'll miss but that isn't as important as the call to action from an old friend, whose friendship stems from the values and early work experiences  that drove us both to work towards social justice and equal life chances. Next week, we begin again to work together to help create platforms from which those that need it can build strong roots and make their own way forward. A place where everyone has something to give and where together we can all do more. 

The email from the former lover, former friend that is pleasant and unexpected. The man who bore the brunt of the deepest, most difficult days in the form of my unpredictability, tears and neediness as I struggled to stay afloat. He had the ability to make me feel like a goddess and, laughing, read me William stories in bed. He gave much, and got little. And, eventually gave up. I don't blame him.

The phone call with a friend during which we both cry as she tells me about her mother's death and the haze she is trying to find her way through. There is no true preparation for this loss. No handbook for knowing that your parent will never meet their grandchildren or walk you down the aisle, or for the fear of forgetting what their laugh, their voice, their smell was like as you clutch at memories. Next week a funeral. 

All these reminders and reflections of times not so long ago are abruptly very real and very present. Sadness and fondness mixed up in them all.

And, I realise I am lucky. Yes, there is much I will never have back. People who have left my life. I do know though I am happy to think about them and grateful that I have still people to love, work that matters and a small dog to keep my feet warm in bed. There is no doubt a present and future that will bring more of it all. 

Monday, 22 April 2013


I have allowed many months to pass without writing a thing here. Maybe I needed a break, maybe I needed not to think too much and just embrace living after a very long dark few years.

I've found myself thinking about this place again over the past few weeks. A long train journey and modern technology bring me back again in a rare moment of peace.

Life has changed so much over the past year. As my train speeds through the countryside that joins Scotland and England I listen to the music of a friend I met four years ago at a little folk festival not so far from here and I read these words of the past.

I could cry, but I don't. I am grateful that I can only remember quite how sad and tired I was. Grateful that this is no longer true.I am lucky. This year has seen me move back full time into the Arts, buy a dog, clear out the family home, embrace life.

It's scares me how low, for how long it was possible to be. I am not that person any more. I am not the person who crys everyday because she is struggling to hold it all together while holding on to the vestiges of her father. I am not the person who is quick to anger, and quick to push anyone away who gets too close.

I am busy, and satisfied, and responsible for a small furry friend if not for anyone else, and live my life surrounded by music and creativity. And - dare I type it? - happy.