I submitted this to Womankind Magazine as part of their writing competition. I didn’t get selected but the process of taking time in nature each day, reflecting and writing was beyond therapeutic – it helped a grieving and healing time that’s still happening.
Shit Mary – how long will it take before I don’t miss you being alive?
I want and need you in my life as new adventures unfold.
I need and want your wonderful enthusiasm and creativity.
I need and want your unstinting love and support and all the fun we had and could have together.
Life just isn’t the same without you in it
Day 1 – Dog beach South Fremantle
I haven’t been here since way before you died Mary.
It feels like a bookend in time.
A few hours before you found out you had leukemia we’d sat on this beach and you talked about slowing down and learning how to loll like me.
You loved this beach, the dogs and the people because it has such a sense of community and connection and they were part of your life’s purpose.
You felt at peace near water.
The last time you were conscious [with me] we hatched your escape from the ward in a wheelchair and rolled on down to the lake beside the hospital.
We didn’t talk much as you tired easily and I watched as you breathed in the fresh air and watched the water fountains play with the ducks.
You closed your eyes and I could feel you taking in the sound, taste and texture of everything around you – you loved beauty in all its forms.
I kept watch, loving you and so glad I could share the quiet and the space with you.
You kept thanking me for being there and for being such a good friend.
I told you that it was my deep pleasure and privilege and that time with you was always a delight.
You smiled and said ‘ can we stay 5 more minutes?’ and I said ‘ we can stay as long as you like’
I told you that lolling was my talent and after 30 years of friendship we could at last share it!!
And now 3.5 months after you died I’m here at the dog beach again.
Bookends in time.
People chatting, waves wooshing, dogs doing doggy things, sky blue and sun shining.
Being here brings me peace in the sadness.
Miss you hon.
Day 2 – Cloud watching and gum tree dancing
Up at 6am and driven to write.
I finish reading Anne Deveson’s gloriously moving book ‘Resilience’.
The book is a beautiful blend of research/thoughts on resilience and a heart breaking story of her life and what resilience means when people you love struggle and die.
To say there are resonances in my life would be an understatement as I quietly marvel at the nature of loss.
1pm before I have 5 minutes in nature – today it’s a courtyard full of plants, a huge gum tree and a cloud scudded sky.
I end up writing a proemal – a mix of prose, a poem and a journal entry!
The gum leaves move like lots of grass hula skirts
Dancing in the susurration of the wind
Gum tree wind kissing the air.
The bleach white clouds are so still in a blue blue Aussie sky
Mind racing, curious, making creative connections
Heart momentarily calm after months of sadness
Sun seeping into my skin as I stretched and lay horizontal
Mind can’t finish a sentence
Peace and calm at a physical gut level
Creative eye fascinated by the dancing gum leaves and the still still clouds
I need this
Day 3 – Mother Nature’s Winter Cycle
It’s dark and listening to the rain fall I realized that Mary died as Winter started here in Freo.
Winter is a time for slowing down, and mourning my best friend has matched Winter’s pace.
As the rain fell and the sky stayed dark I felt like Nature understood how I was feeling.
Winter in Freo is a mix of sunshine and really really fierce storms with gale force winds, thunder and lightning.
The rain really does lash the windows and makes a noise like falling crystals.
My grief for the loss of Mary has mirrored this hard rainy Winter with torrential tears and gale force gusts of mourning.
I’ve spent a lot of time in a safe cave [my bedroom] watching through glass as Mother Nature stormed and the wind had a ferocity of its own.
Bears hibernate and so have I for the last 3.5 months as I mourn Mary.
There have been glimmers of Spring this week – sunshine days and brighter mornings.
I’m still mainly in Winter mode and don’t have the burgeoning energy of Spring.
My heart’s too broken and heavy and the hole in my world from Mary’s death is still too huge and raw.
spring has its own slow quiet momentum and I will mirror it
teeny tiny steps
small seeds sown
maybe a glimmer of emerging hope
& a new kind of life without my dear Mary
For now, the rain pummels the glass and I weep for the loss of my dear friend.
Day 4 – Cloud Dreaming
It just kept on raining today so I viewed Nature from the cosy of my room.
The sky’s like a constantly changing pattern of moving grey and white.
Ever watched clouds and made up stories?
Right now there’s a big cloud and a dark small cloud moving slowly across the sky.
I imagined that the small cloud was a child following its mother – tagging in the wake of her protection.
There’s a long cloud that made me laugh because it looks like a crocodile moving backwards.
And when I first started looking at the clouds there was a heart on its side – open and slightly broken.
Just saw Marge Simpson floating by on her back.
There’s a tiny island with one palm tree and it’s own cloud in the sky.
Maybe what we see in cloud dreaming is a rorschach test that hints at deeper meaning.
I’ve certainly been feeling alone and lonely on my own little island with a broken heart since Mary died.
Marge is laying down because it’s all too much or maybe she’s mourning, re energising and healing like me.
The croc represents a movement to clarity and some form of harmony with yourself and that’s partly what these 3.5 months have been.
I’m foraging and exploring how I want to rebuild my life at 57.
My gran sent a message to my mum after she died
‘’ Tell Liza to watch the clouds.’’
Whether I believe in ghosts/spirits is irrelevant.
The message was about slowing down, cloud dreaming, exploring my imagination and trusting myself to find my own way.
I do a lot of cloud dreaming these days and I truly wish ghosts were real because Mary could come haunt me anytime.
Day 5 – How does your Garden Grow
Busy cleaning the housesit until 5pm and went looking for food and wine.
Dark rain clouds made me walk faster and feel slightly panicked.
I nearly turned back but listened to my intuition saying ‘keep walking’
My 5 minutes with nature turned into a 30 minute walk along a busy road.
On my left – gardens.
On my right – Sunday traffic.
Like most things in life where you focus your attention has its own impacts and results.
I looked at people’s front yards – some neatly groomed and others full of wildly rambling Aussie native plants.
I felt myself relaxing even with the traffic sounds on my right.
I remembered doing a meditation class over 20 years ago in Dublin city.
The guy teaching said that we don’t always have the luxury of meditating in gorgeous nature with balmy breezes and the swooshing of the waves.
We need to be able to hear the swooshing of the waves in traffic sounds.
As I walked I enjoyed the feel of my sturdy body, my even breathing and strong relaxed stride.
I am blessed with extraordinary good health and at 57 I’m grateful.
Watching my best friend Mary physically fade from life to death broke my heart.
I haven’t found peace with the hole Mary left in my world but the last 5 days helped me begin to reconnect out into the world again.