Friday, 26 June 2009

Why can't all days be like this?

On Wednesday I took a little day trip.
Not far. Only to the coast near Aberystwyth.
I met up with some online friends from a (non grief-related) forum that I frequent, with a view to visiting a garden that was open under the National Gardens Scheme.

As so often before, it would have been easy to make my excuses and not go. I could have pleaded pressure of work - indeed I have had to work extra to make up for my day off.

But perhaps it was the sunshine, perhaps I just decided that I needed a treat. Or maybe it was the fact that the day before I had made a long-overdue visit to the hairdresser and was looking GOOD! (Hey. There's no one else here to say these things now, so I have to give my own compliments!). Whatever the reason, I waited for my car share to turn up and off we drove towards the coast.

And what a day it was. Our host's farm was a stone's throw from the sea, and the views were stunning. As we sat under a tree eating lunch, the conversation flowed easily and I realised that I wasn't wearing my usual fixed grin, willing myself to look as though as I was enjoying myself.
I was enjoying myself.

The rest of the day continued in the same vein. The garden we visited managed to be calm, informal, wacky, impressive and beautiful all at the same time. Even so, it didn't leave me with that feeling of inadequacy that many, more formal gardens seem to instill in me. The owners were gentle and welcoming, and I even negotiated the memorial to the daughter they lost in childhood without losing it.

We then returned to the farm for a joyful half hour bottle-feeding cade lambs, followed by tea and cake. Sitting there under the tree, it suddenly occurred to me that this unfamiliar, warm feeling I was experiencing wasn't solely due to the late afternoon sunshine - it was one of genuine happiness.

Yes, for the first time since R died, I can honestly say that I was feeling happy.

Even very recently I am pretty sure if I had found myself in a similar position, I would have automatically pulled back from the feeling. Whether this was because I would have felt guilty that he wasn't there to enjoy it with me or out of fear of allowing happiness in and thus running the risk of having it snatched away again, I don't know.

It's almost like starting a new relationship with myself (and I'm certainly nowhere near being able to start one with someone else). Risks have to be taken and you have to give yourself permission to be happy. I am starting to truly believe that enjoying myself doesn't mean that I have stopped loving R.

After so many months of willing myself to feel as little as possible in order to keep the pain at bay, this is another little breakthrough. I know that there are many, many more peaks and troughs still to negotiate, but I am starting to believe that I will get through this in one piece. However long it takes.


  1. a garden a stone's throw from the sea and friends. i am glad you had this opportunity. there should be joy in your life. he would want it like you would want it for him.

    i smiled for the first time today and it was for you.

  2. So happy for you! It's good to know that a real feeling of happiness is possible again. Thanks for the hope!

  3. @ WomanNshadows: Thank you, what a beautiful thing to say. I am glad I helped you to smile today.

    @ Debbie: These moments are still very elusive. Mostly I travel along with my feelings switched off. It is not very long now until the anniversary of R's death, and I can already feel the thought starting to tug me downwards again. But the good days help. They really do.

  4. J - it made me feel warm to know that you had felt happy, at least for a while. Isn't it strange that we were happy pretty much all the time, and now those moments are almost thought of the way a bird who has had its wings clipped might remember flying?

  5. Boo: I love your bird analogy. That is just how it feels. Today, in contrast, has been a 'keep smiling through gritted teeth' sort of day. I don't think anyone realised, but it has been a hard slog and now I'm so glad to be home and not having to pretend any more.

  6. I'll just say, hasn't blogging been good?
    I revel in your happiness.

  7. I'm glad you are back in your sanctuary/home. The relief upon seeing my own front door sometimes, so that I know I can shut it behind me, is immense. Why is it that when we have an "up" day, that the crash back down is akin to a heroin addict going "cold turkey"? Thinking of you today x

  8. Big first step. The road has lots of turns from here, but you're on your way.

    There's no guilt in being happy -- and as you say, it can be quite a novel relief from all that misery. At the simplest, most minimal level, it's good to mix up some different emotions, for a change.

    Spirits up.