Wow, so I haven’t blogged for a month. So much has been happening and I just haven’t found the time to sit down and muse. In exactly three weeks Susan and I will be at Heathrow waiting for the first part of our journey to Nepal. I’m hoping that we’ll be sitting in a bar discussing the excitement that lays ahead, mostly because a) I’ll be all sad at leaving hubby behind with borrowed cat and b) I have an uncanny knack of watching Aircrash Investigation in the lead up to any flight I take, resulting in an anxious mess for the 24 hours preceding any air travel. This will need medicating with good humour, excitement and possibly a large glass of wine.
‘Are you ready?’ is a question that I’ve been asked about four times a day for the past week or so. In short I have no idea. I have my kit pretty much there, largely because I’ve been up and down mountains since the age of nothing and I had most of it already. I’ve been training to the point my knees have started complaining, so I’ve backed off a little to let them recover and stepped up the kind of yoga that confuses the brain between left, right, up, down, which foot is actually mine…
But what to take as a compact ‘creative kit’ is something that confuses me to the point of ignoring it and my anxiety disorder has started getting the idea we’re going somewhere and is kicking in with panic attacks at seemingly ridiculous triggers (running out of peanut butter being one – I mean I love the stuff, but seriously?!!) and giving me 4am wake up calls on a pretty much daily basis.
This milestone is not the only thing playing on my mind. Recently we lost a friend incredibly suddenly, incredibly sadly. I’ve had a few chats with his widow and it made me realise that these depths of grief, of total and complete loss are not just life-changing, but the grief in itself is a driving force for change, a building block.
It reminded me of my own ground zero. I don’t really remember the days or months after Wiz’s death. I don’t really remember how I got through them, except for the amazing friends and family I’m blessed with. I don’t really remember where I went, what I did, nothing. What I do remember was the depth of the physical pain. I remember being angry at time passing because it took me further from a memory of Wiz. I remember being dazed and angry that in losing him I also lost part of my identity. I remember the anger of losing an entire future planned. And I remember the white noise of the realisation that anything now was possible. In losing everything the slate had been wiped clean and that if, somehow, I made it through (again my friends and family were the ones that pulled me through) I could try to rebuild in a positive way, not just for me but for everyone that had helped me and everyone who had lost Wiz too.
A good friend of mine told me at the time that the gaps between that crushing pain get bigger until one day you realise that you’ve been a few hours, a few days, a few weeks without thinking about it. I didn’t want to hear it at the time because I just couldn’t see a way out but she was right. It’s 12 years on now and while I can’t say it gets any better, those gaps between have indeed grown. And I have been beavering away, rebuilding like a crazed lego addict (surely they exist right?), I can now turn round and be proud of some of the things I have achieved, the people that I’ve helped, in those gaps. And while I still have a lot to work on – not having peanut butter-induced panic attacks being one – I can see that in losing everything I have actually found everything I had been looking for all along.
To my friend; there is hope.
If you want to find out more about what I’ve been doing, the BIG walk I’m about to embark on and to support the cause, please head on over to my crowdfunding page for more. You can also follow my journey across Instagram and Facebook (wifi and big bloody mountains depending).