Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank goodness I never got that column

I have been away from my laptop again. (It’s becoming a habit and I’m rather enjoying it.) I went up to Wensleydale for a long weekend with a brother and a sister. We stayed in a great B and B in the village where my parents lived. We had some good walks and good food, and we visited our other brother. My little sister couldn’t be there, which was a shame. It was wonderful to be with my sibs as a group – huge fun and great company. When I’m with them I feel bullet-proof.

Three years ago today, I wrote the following blog post about missing my mother, who had recently died:


Being bereaved is like being a walking wound. Every part of you is tender. You can't settle to anything because nothing feels comfortable. Sometimes you forget you're a wound and you become absorbed by something outside yourself - like cutting back the autumn garden, sweeping up the leaves, watching three hundred crows wheeling over the field at the back of the house.

Sometimes you go to a familiar place and chat to a friend and forget you're a wound, and you laugh out loud at a shared joke and you think to yourself "I can do this. I can live without my mother and still be happy." And then you leave your friend and walk down the street and you're a wound again. I will know I am healed, I suppose, when all the happy interludes join up and there are no aching times in between. And it is getting better every day.

This last weekend, there were only two occasions on which I missed her badly. One was when the fog descended on Sunday afternoon and I wished we could give up on the walk and go and sit by the fire with her in her cottage. The other was when i went in the gift and coffee shop I often visited with her: as soon as you go in the door you’re hit by a powerful smell of fragrant pot pourri. That smell made me miss her dreadfully, and I couldn’t stay.

Having walked in the Dales for years and years, we discovered something new up there – a stone-flagged footpath going across several fields, leading from one village to the nearby market town. 

Aysgarth, Nov 2011 008

And Kath and I did one of my favourite walks – from Aysgarth to Carperby, where the field boundaries have gone, but the farmer has left the styles as waymarkers.

Nov 2011 046

And I discovered that my journalist nephew – Joe Willis – now has his own column on the Darlington and Stockton Times. I’m so proud! In the days when I used to have pieces in The Times on a regular basis, I used to long to have my own column. Jane (co-author of Plotting for Beginners) always said I would hate it if my wish ever came true. She was probably right: writing this post has been a major effort.

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