2019 (a year in a poem)

2019. the year of

anxiety & sunshine

& beauty & depression

of drinking good coffee

& soul-nourishing gallery visits

of leaning into therapy & pain

of hours & days lost as buried tears were found sitting on the kitchen floor while Saturn played

2019. the year of

feelings felt & found & held & felt

of grief faced & waves crashing

food uneaten, weight losing

chasms opening

heart cracking & life shaking

of questions asked

& answers found wanting

as festered rage & long-accepted values

were both…released

2019. the year of

pain & striving

for peace

of lost memories found & faced

of emotional breaking & life & self shaking of inner light dimming

& slow sparking match-light reviving

of healing through

the mind-soul-body medicines

of meditation & journalling

of 29minute whatsapp voicenote musings

of beauty & art

& poetry & space

of lush bath-bombs & masturbating

of beautiful smells & netflix binges

& m&s champagne sipped

by fairy light

of radically

abundant

self grace

& the gift of

space

taking

& making

& giving

space to me

to breathe & be

& feel & see

& wonder & wander

Nayyirah Waheed

2019. the year of

taking-up

space

to cry & laugh & rage

the year of breaking

boundaries & beliefs

of (nearly) breaking apart

& being held in the breaking

2019. the year of

losing

& finding

& freeing

of shuddering beauty

& (beautifully) ugly crying

of breath quickening & catching

& deep exhaling

2019. the year of

frustrated containment in white spaces

of colour seeking & power claiming

of being unseen & seen

of being unanchored & held

in grace & love

2019. the year of feeling

& being

more

more

more….

of me

I retreated

I arrived emotionally flat,

internal turmoil whirling;

I sat by the garden window,

I wrote poetry about the rain & flowers

& I prayed,

I drank coffee,

I prayed,

I cried,

I raged,

I listened to Switchfoot on loop (The Shadow Proves the Sunshine),

I listened to more poetry,

I prayed,

I drank coffee,

I cried,

I sang,

I read Narnia,

I sat,

I prayed,

I drank coffee,

I psychoanalysed,

I vented,

I cried,

I mourned,

I forgave,

I prayed,

I listened to more Switchfoot (The Blues!),

I danced by myself in the autumn sun,

I cried,

I wrote more poetry & prayers,

I ate & chatted & laughed with my friend some more…

I left feeling tired & awakened alike.

Switchfoot: The Shadow Proves the Sunshine

Seedy bread

This week, the inquest into the death a beautifully lovely girl began-she was a former student of mine. She was a rare, exceptionally kind, bright, well-loved girl. I wept a lot when she died; I’ve cried a lot this week. And I’m just a former teacher who liked & admired her. I cannot fathom the pain & heaviness for her family & friends. This is my thought today:

It’s sunny today.

But I can’t stop thinking.

She’ll never feel the sun again.

Because she’s dead.

All because of

a piece of seedy bread.

People should cry more…

I cried the other day.  As in *really* cried. Ok, I wept. Then I wept again a few days later.

Why? You wonder. Well yes, I have a ‘good’ reason (whatever that means): my husband’s Grandad died. And I hardly knew him – it’s not ‘my loss’ – but he was ace, and now my husband’s family’s lives have all been shaken and there is a painful Grandad-shaped hole in my beloved’s heart. I cried because my Grandad is dead and it made me miss him… I cried for loss.  I cried because death is ugly, and rude, and inconsiderate, and reckless. It disgusts me, and offends me, and angers me – and saddens me deeply.

So I wept. But I didn’t weep alone; I cried on the phone with a girlfriend. And she…listened.  In near silence (apart from occasional comments to remind me she was there and wasn’t speaking to let cry and not because she’d gone!); she just listened.  As I gut-cried: snot, tears, stomach-holding, breath-shortening cried. And she listened.

Do you have the patience to be that generously uncomfortable and listen to pain uninterrupted?  No advice, no urging to talk (for whose benefit I wonder), no words of comfort or encouragement – but just to listen?  To give in silent companionship a craved shoulder (well a telephonic one in this case!) with no unnecessary words?

And do you cry? I hope so!

Because I hope you *feel*.

I hope you empathise by really connecting, not hypothesising.

And I hope you don’t ‘allow’ and ‘disallow’ yourself to cry.

And I hope that like me, you have a loving friend to listen in your pain.

And that like me you find comfort remembering, as I did in my sobbing, that ‘Jesus wept’ (Luke 11:35) … that’s not ‘Jesus let a solitary tear slide down His face in a manly fashion when His friend died – no: that is snot, tears, stomach-holding, breath-shortening weeping. He understands.