I finally had a break through with my writing yesterday, but I had to buy more tissues to soak up the resulting flood. I’ve been reading a memoir (H is for Hawk) about a woman (falconer) whose father died suddenly. She found herself wallowing in grief, so got herself a young goshawk to train, a species that is notoriously difficult to work with. Then she wrote a book about that time in her life. Part way through my reading, something clicked and now, finally, I have a structure and starting point for my own memoir. I’m well into the first chapter now.
A metal & stone sculpture from Japan just outside my window
What I realized at that moment of ‘clicking’, is that during my own journey over the past 20 months or so, I’ve been holding back a lot of my own grief, beginning with my dad’s decline early in 2016 and subsequent placement into an Alzheimer’s unit. My ailing 89-year-old mother, a difficult person at the best of times, insisted I care for her in her own home even though I lived 1000 km away. In the midst of these crises, a struggle to save my 40 year partnership failed, then most recently two sudden deaths – a beloved dog and my long-suffering mother. I defaulted to my usual pattern of avoiding the scary things piling up in front of me, trying to stay detached, calm, continue my plans for Tasmania, arrange and attend a funeral and simply get by day to day. It was time, finally, to face the grief and live with it.
A half box of tissue later, I’m on my way through the looking glass…. I am relieved and grateful that I can move ahead, even as I grieve my losses. I have experienced so many beautiful, surprising, spectacular moments over the decades that I know the work ahead of me will sparkle and intrigue as I thread each story-bead onto my memoir necklace.
Sailboats 101 practising manoeuvres, making me gasp as they keeled way over in the brisk winds across the estuary. Nobody dumped, not on my watch!