With all loss begins a new timeline. It’s not on the same trajectory as the one you were previously on. Everything has changed. The path behind you has been swept away, certainty is gone and what lies ahead is cold and unfamiliar. Grief is the sensation as you look down this dark and forbidding route and it burns.
When I wrote Hopes and Wishes I was still processing what had happened. I was looking down this new path, with its pain and its desolation, realising that what we had planned was gone. The writing of it became part of the catharsis I needed, to get through the worst part of the mourning.
What came after was spring.
From the moment I pushed the publish button, I started to receive little messages in bottles, or at least in various messaging apps.
The messages in the bottles were sometimes thoughts of shared grief, of the comfort of kindness that is drawn from experience, the sweetness of understanding. Sometimes they were carefully considered consolations. Sometimes even they were just the inconsolable thoughts of not being able to articulate the level of support and care intended. Suddenly I – we – didn’t feel alone in our grief, others had been here too and they were talking.
With each message the world, which had been rendered small by our private grief, expanded and grew large once more. It was a world where change and development are possible. A world in which not all wishes are granted in the way they are hoped for. Sometimes the wish grants the lesson needed, not the gain hoped. This is the reality of this world.
My boy managed to get us an allotment and together we have started work on digging, preparing the earth and making ready beds. The house is now full of trays of seedlings, tools and chitting seed potatoes. Thoughts are turned to planning crops and considering equipment. There is no dwelling on the past here.
In my need to make change I’ve scanned around for ways to put good things out into the world – as a result we now have another child to support through World Vision – a little girl in Uganda – we want to bring her hope in a way we cannot for our Hope. I’m also looking at ways to do some good closer to home – I will update you as soon as I do.
Now it is clear that the shoots of new growth are springing forth for me. Life never stops moving, neither should we.