Thursday, 10 September 2009

Home again

I guess that is another milestone ticked off. I survived a holiday without him. And for the first time in over a year, I even put on a couple of pounds!

My friend Jane has very severe arthritis, and finds it difficult to spend long periods on her feet, so she and her husband tended to stay at the apartment in the mornings. As I am a bit of a fidget and don't really do sitting around doing nothing, it meant I had a lot of time on my own. This was actually a good thing. I got to do a lot of thinking and wear myself out, pounding the streets and climbing the hills of the little mediaeval town or walking for miles along the river bank.

I had a major wobble on the first day.
Dinan is a town R and I had visited several times. Indeed it was the place we bought our engagement present for Jane and Keith.
On the first morning, I went out to buy breakfast as the other two were still in bed. I was fine until I turned a corner and started walking up into the town. I had such a sense of him walking beside me, it almost took my breath away. I remembered so vividly every shop front, the windows we looked in, where we held hands, the conversation we had.

My feelings of anger at the unfairness of it all were so overwhelming that I did something that I very rarely do - I went into a church and sat down for a while. Normally I get my comfort from nature, from climbing a hill hard and fast so that the ache in my legs matches the ache in my heart or from sitting quietly by a river and watching the fish jump to catch flies on the water's surface.
But that day, the peace inside the ancient building was just what I needed. The beauty of the stained-glass windows and sheer majesty of the high vaulted ceiling served their purpose and put me back into my place in the great scheme of things!

The rest of the week passed without major mishap.
There were many moments of sadness that he wasn't there, but Jane, in particular, is very good at making me articulate my feelings, and I think I was able to work through with her some things that have been holding me down.

The sun shone. We went sightseeing. We drank some very good wine and sat and talked. We ate rather too much of a lot of excellent food.
I didn't quite have oysters every day, but they were so good that I probably could have done. And choucroƻte de la mer was a revelation; with its buttery sauce and choice pieces of fish it surprised even those in the party who were convinced that they didn't like sauerkraut!

If I had been able to bring the dog, I would have been so tempted to stay on for another week.
Just being away from home has allowed me to think through a lot of issues that have been bothering me. I have been able to release my lingering resentment from being let down badly by some friends, and I have rationally drawn up a mental list of commitments I need to let go so that I can concentrate on what is really important.

Moose does actually have a passport so he can travel out of the country, but on this occasion it wasn't possible to take him. Although I knew he was in good hands, I was starting to feel edgy not having him there with me so I had to go back, even though it would have been possible to stay on alone. And picking him up first from the friend who looked after him made going back to the empty house a little more bearable for once.


  1. welcome home. i love your photos. i love old places. simple histories of places and lives that linger in the stones and the land.

    your writing sounds so strong now. you seem to have a firm grasp on yourself, your wants, and expectations. i envy you a little bit, your ability to travel, the strength you are coming into, and the friends who have been there for you.

    the spiritual closeness you felt while walking where you'd walked as a couple must have been blessedly bittersweet. i'm glad you got to go. i'm glad you drew such pleasure, strength, and memories from your trip.

    again, welcome back.

  2. Oh J, the tears prickled my eyes when I read the piece about you "turned the corner ... sense of him ... took my breath away". Sometimes I wonder if we are too scared to breath lest we make the moment vanish.

    It's GOOD to hear that you have expelled most of the resentment ... I have too ... it's so destructive (to us more than anyone!) but it is very important to remember not to leave ourselves open to more of the same treatment (note to self more than to you, I suspect :-).

    The food must have been truly excellent if it managed to add a couple of pounds on you. The "misery diet" normally ensures that that does NOT happen ;-)

    Like you, I rarely go inside Churches, but I know that when I am next in Europe, I probably will, and I don't know why.

    Jane is a good and wise friend to you - they are so special, these ones who manage to GENTLY coax stuff out of you, help you to channel/flip your focus. Godknows we need all the help we can get on that.

    I (as well as Moose) am glad you are back. Selfish? Yes! But, I am over the moon that you had a good time.

    Well done, as you say, another hurdle crossed.

    Boo xxxx

  3. @ WomanNShadows: Yes, I do think I am stronger, at least at times. That strength is a very elusive thing - sometimes it flutters way out of my grasp, but mostly it seems to be there to take hold of if I reach out for it. I hope you are starting to find it too.

    @ Boo: Thank you for the welcome. Even though I enjoyed the trip, it's nice to be back too. Even if I brought back with me a rather nasty bout of stomach 'flu, which has kick-started the misery diet quite nicely!