Something huge happened from my coastal visit. I felt myself taken deep into the dark moistness of the past and all of the pain I was in and all that I put my husband through, only in my battle to be free and feel my true feelings from the past. I felt the love of my Mum when she came down at the point I decided to return to the UK alone for 6 months with only a few days notice and baked an apple pie. I felt the tearing of the time when we had come back to the family again after trying to establish a new life in the UK, the land of my ancestors and how I went against the grain of feelings leaving my husband all alone in the house we had brought. I remembered the emails in which he told me he felt scared and alone and how I blew his feelings off and then I remembered the letter of apology I wrote after he decided to leave me 18 months after I returned to Australia under duress.
I unpacked those four boxes yesterday and found a beautiful photo of Jonathan taken in our coast house in a floral frame, I found other albums of our time in the UK, of us cycling through the fields near to Newnham, in Cambridge. I remembered our little terraced rented house with the long narrow garden, the willow hurdle I made at a workshop at my job at the Botanic Garden and the little squirrel that used to run along the fence, but I also felt the ache of being so far from home with all my traumatic past finally rising up after 6 months in analytical therapy with my therapist Wendy.
I also had to feel how it was to be left back at the coast again, then over run by my Mum and sister who were only trying to be close, I felt the pain of the head injury I sustained on my second attempt to go overseas and how others around me wanted me to go back to family and how impossible that felt. I felt all the pain of the struggles I had there in the next relationship that started 3 years following the end of my marriage.
All this now, most certainly lies in the past. I can change none of it. My ex husband is no longer in touch, he has moved on with his new life and I know this was meant to be, why blame myself? I was going on an inner journey and sadly the ancestral pattern that drove me was to do it all alone. I did not know how to reach out to him, but something did turn around at the coast for me over the long weekend when I could share the pain of that and other secrets from my past with my sister and this has led to a change of view around my sister too, who is much softer now. I see how hard she tried to support me down there and what a big thing it was for her to take me down, something that at this time last year when she was almost immobilised with depression and anxiety could never have seemed possible. Last night when I danced to the Randy Crawford song I am going to share below (on an album from the 80s that I found at the coast) that I felt all the love and the sorrow of it. But also in some strange way the opening up of joy and possibility too.
It was so hectic yesterday unpacking all of those boxes but I managed it. I also managed to get all the stuff to make big signs for the garage sale and got two of them up after dinner, and the loveliest thing was that when I was struggling to put up the second sign on the major roundabout near home a gorgeous young guy with tatts just appeared out of nowhere to help me as I was struggling with the packing tape. How wonderful was that? It made me feel so happy.
It seems to me that I had to travel deep into all of that pain at the coast. I had to face the reality of it and stop blaming others for the way they reacted to me in trauma, not knowing what do to. For in a way it was also me that blocked the love that wanted to come to me. I remember my sisters’ two sons made such an effort to be there for my 40th birthday, when Jonathan put on a surprise party for me at the coast and that there is no way they could ever have known what I had been through. I feel a bit guilty and sad writing this now. I would like to make amends as her oldest son, turns 40 in 10 days time and I can understand things I write in my blog may all be from my point of view.
The truth is I struggled so much in our family with all that went down. But then so did my sister, but in a different way. I have been sorting through some old photos lately and I came across one taken at my older brother’s wedding in 1969 when I was 7 and my sister 15… My sister looks so uncomfortable and unsure with a huge beehive hairdo. I look sad and unsure as I stand on the step just below my older brother as he holds my hand, I remember the torture of the hairdresser, we had to have stylish coif’s for this wedding and my second cousin told me a few weeks ago that Mum had to ring and apologise because my sister in law didn’t want her father and mother at her wedding, apparently they were considered beneath my sister in law.
I would often fight with my Mum and sister when they spoke out against what they saw as my sister in law’s, snobbery and standoffishness but it most probably just came out of insecurity and the fact she lost her mother at 12 years old and had to go to boarding school. Her two sisters were her other bridesmaids and they are softer. I believe the youngest is now gravely ill and my sister in law goes to see her so often. I see people judging each other and never knowing the depth of things. I no longer want to be like that. Why not show curiosity and compassion? Why not ask what happened instead of judge.
Sadly the breach between my sister in law and Mum never mended. Mum did some horrible things like reading her personal diary and finding out about something deeply private and personal I will not share here out of respect. My sister in law and brother also lot a baby due to still birth which I only found out about a month ago. It related to some other ancestral deaths of infants and I felt so sad for both my brother and his wife when I found out.
I know now why in Al Anon they say not to let gossip or criticism possess us, for who amongst us knows the true sufferings and trials of others they may have had to bury? I for myself will not judge as I know I struggled and make mistakes while doing the very best I could with no ill intent. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but none of us is perfect. I will end this post with two pertinent quotes that sum things up :
“To err is human, to forgive divine!”
“I will love my crooked neighbour, with my own crooked heart.”