Diary of a New Life: Day #4

I am on my own.

Today, that really dawned on me. I know I have a huge amount of help from friends at the moment, and will continue to do so. But today, I suddenly realised that, in terms of parenting, I am on my own. Something inside me seems to have plummeted like a stone.

My kids are really stressed out right now. They are fighting, screaming, crying, hating. I am finding it incredibly hard, as I have so many things to do before I leave. I want to just cuddle with them for the next few days, just shower them with love. But I can't. I have to do the paperwork, make the calls, ask the questions. There is no-one else to do this apart from me.

I had better get used to it.

I recorded an Audioboo earlier. I don't really know why. Maybe if I hear myself talking about things I get just that little bit further towards accepting them. There is still that sense, when I am explaining to someone what's been going on recently, that I am describing something that is happening to someone else, even a fictional character in a book.

My biggest fear amongst the next few days, is how I am going to feel finally saying goodbye. Not to him, because although I am saying goodbye to him as a partner, he is still going to be in my life. It's the nature of our relationship that is changing. Yes, it hurts, but I can cope with it. I have to. The "bit" that's killing me is leaving Switzerland, our friends, our connections, leaving Skye's favourite swing, the playground, the beach and "my lake".

This place has healed me. But suddenly now it's as if I am broken again.

People have said to me, quite rightly, that I should be thankful for my experiences here, and that I enjoyed my time in Switzerland. I am incredibly grateful. I am just not so grateful that I am suddenly being plucked out of my life here without any warning and dumped into a place that, at the moment, I don't want to be. I will adjust, of course I will.

I am dreading watching him say goodbye to the kids. I can't even write about it without tears pouring down my face. That is all I have to say about that part.

I was proud of myself last night, proud of a little bit of strength I found. I went to see a friend, so that I could get some space between me and the kids and also so that he could spend some time with them before we leave.

I stepped out of the apartment quite tentatively at first (I have been reclusive and have only stepped outside once since this whole thing started). Down our road is a bridge over the railway. At the top of the bridge you can see the Old Town of Villeneuve, and Les Dents du Midi to your left, down the Rhone Valley. This mountain range is one of the most visually stunning in the region, a jagged ridge that seems to plant its teeth into the sky, as if trying to tear it apart. Les Dents du Midi translates as "The Teeth of the South". Opposite this ridge is Les Diablerets ("The Devils"), another stunning ridge that resembles a kind of devilish horned animal, presiding over the valley. It's breath-taking.

Les Dents du Midi

I always carry my camera with me, so I took some photos. I decided that this would be my last walk alone in this area, I decided at that moment that I was strong enough.

I carried on into the town and took more pictures, walking along Le Grand Rue (the main spine of the town) and finally walking through one of my favourite archways to the lake. This was the part I was really dreading…

Tears came instantly. This stretch of water has almost felt like a living, breathing thing to me for the last three and a half years. It has been my friend. I know it sounds mental, but when I have felt under pressure it is the first place I go to. It heals me.

Never had I seen the lake looking so beautiful. Fucking typical, really.

I took off my shoes and sat on the steps into the water, so that the water was nearly lapping at my toes. If I am totally honest, I felt right at that moment…."if I didn't have kids, if I were alone, I could just walk in and let it wash over me". That sensation, that momentary feeling of hopelessness, held no fear for me, only a kind of acceptance. I would have happily died in this place.

But I do have kids. So instead, I took some more pictures.

And then I cried some more. I "howled into the wind", as I call it.


It's a kind of primal process for me somehow, letting gut-wrenching, noisy sobs come forth from within a deep, hurt place inside of my body. In fact, it goes deeper than the physical me, it comes from my soul.

It is something I have found to be utterly necessary in these situations. When I broke up with my husband back in 2004, every lunchbreak during work, I used to walk for an hour. I'd climb a little hill in rural Suffolk and when I got to the top, I'd stop and begin doing some really weird things. I would ask questions, I would shout, I would cry, I would whisper, I would laugh, I would scream. I don't know really who I was talking to. But at that time, that stretch of sky at the top of the hill was my friend.

And then, a year later, I would do the same. But this time it wasn't a hill in Suffolk, it was Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath. Yes, slightly more populated; I got used to getting some odd looks.

And then, four years later still, a hill in London where I watched kites dancing on the wind turned into a gigantic stretch of water in Switzerland, where I watched paddle boats on the water, and when the water was warm enough, took my babies in for a dip.

When I used to travel extensively, particularly in Ecuador and Peru, I used to love the Quechua word "Pachamama", the literal translation is "Mother World". In Inca mythology, "Pachamama" is a fertility goddess who watches over planting and harvesting, birth and growth. Another translation is "Good Mother". People of the Andes usually honour her before every meeting or festivity by burying food, burning incense, in some cases, even performing ancient rites of passage to bring the good will of the goddess, such as sacrificing animals.

This has resonance for me somehow. I think that the times when I stand on my hill and scream, or sit by my lake and howl, I am talking to the Good Mother, the Mother World.

I am finally sacrificing myself somehow. Giving up on a time in life that is obviously over. And trusting in something that is infinitely bigger than me.

It's as if I'm saying:

"You have me now… my flesh, my heart, my mind, my soul. I cannot go on. I have nothing left. Now I am trusting in you to plant the seed of me again, of whatever I represent, and nourish me; help me grow and flourish in a new place."

I will flourish again. I will put down my roots into the soil once more.

And I am lucky. I know where it is I am going.

This morning, my friend, my wonderful friend who is opening her home to us over the next few days, sent me a message with a picture attached that simply said, "I know you'll miss your lake, but your river is here waiting for you! x"

I am going back to the source, to the place where I was born.

I am going home.

The River Deben

4 thoughts on “Diary of a New Life: Day #4

  1. I am very relieved that there is someone on the ‘other end’ to meet you. I hope the river is as healing as the lake.

  2. Wish I could help, I really do. My heart goes out to you. Jealous of your ability to howl at the wind but not that you have to, if that makes sense. Gaea bless & Gaea keep.

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