This evening as I sat nursing my swollen, recently tattooed hand I got on to thinking about the past couple of months, the past year and beyond. One of the things about my Instagram account is that I tend to document almost everything that life throws my way; whether good or bad. So scrolling through my feed can become a real walk down memory lane and a reminder just how quickly and seemingly randomly life can change.
On the day my Dad died I posted this bright, floral picture I had taken a few weeks back at Kew Gardens. I alluded in my caption that it was a ‘big day’ – but I didn’t realise just how big of a day it would become. At the time I was talking about viewing a house. My ex and I had recently split up and I was going to a house viewing in Essex, in preparation of me moving out. I never did get to view that house though because en route to Essex my mum called and told me the nurses had advised my dad didn’t have much longer left to live because he had fallen really ill. I changed course and headed home – my dad died just a couple of hours later.
Why is this still relevant now?
It’s relevant because it was unexpected. I could not have anticipated my dad dying that day. I was so focused on the house viewing and finding something to distract myself afterwards with that something so impactful and life-changing could never cross my mind.
Which is kind of scary.
One minute to the next your entire life can change. Of course we often go for months on end travelling down familiar roads where nothing completely out of the ordinary happens. We can easily be tricked in to thinking that life is boring or unspectacular. Sometimes that’s comforting. Who needs the drama?
But the truth is, at any given moment something can happen that blows the world as you know it apart. You can have the best intentions and the most well-laid plans and suddenly everything has fallen to pieces – slipping like sand through your fingertips.
When I think about my life over the course of the past few years I see nothing but change. From my Grandad dying to buying a house, to my long-term relationship ending and losing that house, to my dad dying and having to move back in with my mum etc etc. The list is truly never-ending. I look back through my Instagram feed and I see it all laid out like some kind of twisty thriller. There have been good times sprinkled in too – laced with lots of optimism, hope and bravery. I would be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t feel hurt for myself – to read the messages I wrote about trying and picking myself up only to scroll further up and discover another big change that I was not anticipating.
You can’t live your life on the edge though. You can’t live it just waiting for the next bad thing to happen – nor the next good thing. Through my experiences I see now that you simply have to live it, and ride the wave, dealing with things as they come – both good and bad – as they happen, in the moment.
One thing I will say is that you can’t have growth without change. As I look back on what has been a very difficult time for myself I can see that I have grown as a person. I can see that I am resilient, open and honest, I can see that I have made so much effort and although I have been unkind to myself in the moments that I really shouldn’t have been – I can finally feel empathy for myself and wish myself some more of those good changes – knowing without question that I am deserving of happiness, kindness, love and stability. I am deserving of so much more than I have allowed myself to experience and it has taken a lot of loss and a lot of hurt to reach that realisation.
Over the past few weeks I have taken a break from a lot of things in order to focus on myself and my healing. I have cried a lot. I have spoken a lot and written a lot about my feelings. I have meditated every night. Taken the meds given to me to help calm me. I have worked on doing things for me – like driving to new places, getting tattoos I love, taking days out to places I have missed and finally buying myself some new clothes. I have allowed myself to dress colourfully with bright makeup and I have allowed myself to lay in bed, dressing gown on and unwashed hair spilling over my pillows. I have allowed myself to be – with a little gentle push in what I feel has been the right direction. At times I have tripped myself up but always I have picked myself up again with the important gift of forgiveness.
No, I do not feel completely free of pain or healed of the things I have had to go through. I still look through my Instagram and feel flummoxed at the challenges I have had to face. I don’t think these things happen for a reason. I think they just happen. Life is.
I’m not waiting on or wishing for any more changes. I can accept now that they will happen when they happen. I will deal with them accordingly.
I’m living my life as I can, one day at a time and riding the waves. I may struggle at times but I am a stronger person now; made up of all the love and loss I have ever known. My spirit can not be broken.