The comments you left on my rather blue post really helped so a heartfelt thank you! There are days when your words help me not to give up on not giving up.
I went away for the weekend to a hot air balloon festival. In the evening there was a mass launch and the sight of the sky, polka dotted with rising dreams and bright colours, was enough to lift even my sad little heart a few feet up.
A whole weekend spent with new people was fun- good practice for all that I am flying to tomorrow – but also kind of hard. It’s tough to know how to manage those moments when sadness ambushes you, when you’re all out of smiles and the last one you have is stretching a little too thin, tearing at the corners.
I decided to go for the radical approach of saying what I was feeling, before I got the point where I was snappy, sobbing and out of words. It was such a thoroughly un-British thing to do that I kind of shocked myself! I’m a bit worried someone might find out and revoke my passport…
It’s always frightening to say what it is your heart, even more so to strangers in a bar – to throw a dark cloud out into the disco. But oddly it was also wonderful, freeing, a release.
It was the worst possible place to have to ‘out’ myself – surrounded by banging music which left no room for a whisper. But when I spoke, I stumbled across that everyday eloquence that comes when you speak of what is real, what you love. In my words I found the beauty again, the happiness, the strength. It didn’t seem to matter that I had to shout or repeat to loose my words above the boom boom boom.
My hands flew as if drawing dad into the air and I was astonished that my little bravery, my effort to be honest, seemed to pull something new into life.
At first I was speaking to one person, but then more floated in. The awkward conversation was a winner. Others started to tell their stories, their sadnesses and losses. When the hidden lives were out, shared and on the table, there was a closeness between us, a sense that something had been lifted.
Ever the bashful Brit, I apologised for the grim topic. One guy responded that life tends to be about death popping up unexpectedly when you’re halfway through a party, so the mix of my words and perky pop tunes was appropriate if off key. That was reassuring.
Even when we then left death behind and moved back to life, we spoke more honestly than before. It was as if we all had a little more room to be who were really were.
It dawned on me that in this sadness, there is an opportunity. I can choose to be awkward, to speak the hard words, to be real. That choice doesn’t have to be just about dad’s death, this grief, or these moments, it can be a way to live – a decision to interact differently, to seek a fuller closeness, to decide to truly let what is be.
I think that is something I’d sign up for.