This week just gone was the hardest week of my life. There were revelations that rocked me to my very core. There were conversations that shattered me into a thousand sparkling pieces that I have been careful to sweep up and put in a soft cotton bag and tuck in a drawer – for careful reconstruction at a later date. Everything I ever imagined, everything I wanted. Everything I dreamed for has disappeared into a cloud of smoke and been washed away with tears and cider.
I will write about what has happened slowly and carefully over the next days, weeks, months, years, forever. But for now what I say must be carefully crafted. The shock that I am in, I must be careful not to let it cloud my judgement. The screaming and the guttural groans that pour from my body must be done in the privacy of my shower, when I am alone, when no one can hear me. In the moments I am not mother or daughter or friend or writer. In the moments when I am just me. For regardless of how public parts of my life are through this medium, there are always things that do not need to be shared. But then there are things that should be and will be shared. Because as much as this pain is mine, this experience, it is not mine alone.
When faced with losing something as enormous as your great love, when faced with the indescribable pain that comes with betrayal, some people turn to God. I am not religious, even though at times like this I wish that I was. I wish I had a higher power to guide me. But I do not. So instead I have turned to the highest power that I know. My humanity. And I have, and will continue to let my humanity guide my reactions, my words and my pain until the deep still sound of calm surrounds me once more.
How I handle myself in the face of such grief is so important. How I choose to talk about what has happened. How I care for myself and my beautiful, unknowing daughter will set the tone for the new path that I must forge toward our future happiness. Kindness to myself, to those around me and to my husband who I love regardless of his choices, is vital. Because without kindness, without humanity, what do we have?
In this time, this heart wrenching time, I am thankful for the strong women in my life. The women who come together to support and to nurture. The women who even though distance and time and space exist. Are on the other end of the phone. Talking. Helping me breathe. Helping my find answers. All you have to do is be true to yourself. My beautiful friend and doula-for-life (because lets face it, life is like labour in so many ways) told me. It’s that simple. Just be true to yourself. Then the answers will come easily. This is the easy part. The hard part comes next.
I am thankful for my mother who without her I don’t know where I would have been or how I would have been able to do what I had to do. For my sisters, who just love and hurt for me, their own hearts breaking with mine. For my beautiful 16 year old niece who has no words but has the softest, strongest hand for me to hold. For the women generations ahead of me who feel my pain in their own guts. Who know the loss. Who see me no longer as a child even though they first knew me as one. And for women all around Australia, most of whom I have never met, who have sent me messages of love and strength and solidarity. Reminding me that although I have never felt more alone in my life, although my pain is both private and genuinely unique, it is also universal and that on this wild and rocky ride that is life and love – we are never truly alone.
Respecting ourselves and being kind is the only place to start. Where we go from here? I have no idea. How we come back from here? I have no answers. All I have is tears and love and dreams and… and… and…