Thursday, 21 April 2011

Caught between the past and future tense

I haven’t written anything for about a week and I’m struggling to think of what to write.  I seem to have used up all my ideas and already written all the thoughts that run round my head…

Last week I wrote about finding some peace and quiet.  About downing tools and having a rest.

Why is that so hard?  Admittedly we’ve been busy because the boys are off school and there have been different but extra things to do.

What I find hardest is my brain doesn’t stop, doesn’t rest or switch off.  All the jobs I have to do, all the options I’m considering are always there bubbling away. 

I’m very good at writing platitudes about resting and stopping but not so good at living them.

As I said at the start I feel like I’ve used up all my creative ideas.

I’m still trying NOT to measure my days by achievements, attempting to get some peace.  How many times have I written this stuff?

I feel disjointed.  Some parts of me have moved on.  There are some things I’m doing differently because I can.

It's a small example but I’m wearing make-up and perfume more and more.  Andrew hated it but these days’ new eye shadows and mascaras are finding their way into the weekly shopping trolley.  He said I looked fine without it, wouldn’t even kiss me with lipstick on, but there are times when I look in the mirror and know I need an extra bit of “sparkle”.  Who is that old woman?

However sometimes I feel like I’m all talk and no action.  I have fanciful plans and dreams but I have lost “the wind beneath my wings”, as Bette Midler sang about in Beaches.

My confidence is slipping.  I can recognise the beginning of the downward spiral where everyone else does things so much better than me.  There must be a more interesting blog to be reading than this one?

I’m caught between the old life I can’t have and a new one I have to rebuild.  It won’t necessarily be better but different.

I'd trade this new one for the old one in a heartbeat!

I wrote a poem a while ago called “Caught between the past and future tense”.  I never posted it because it wasn’t finished.  I’m still not sure I’m 100% happy with it but it talks so much of what I’ve written today…

Caught between the past and future tense

Sometimes… I catch myself
Falling in between
What was and is

I say “we do that”
Instead of shifting
The word “do” to “did”
Shifting my world
From “us” to “I”

I get stuck somewhere in the middle
Of what is and is no more
And can never be

Sometimes I hear myself
Laugh and dream
Of what will be

I say “next time I…”
And move my world on
Like winding round the hands of a clock
Embracing the future

I get wound up in a wish
Of what can be
New hope to enfold me

Sometimes I am all too aware
Of where I am
What is.  The Here.  The Now.

I say “this is too hard without you!”
The day-to-day-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other routine

I get lost in the myriad of conflicting voices
I just want to hide and cover my ears
Curl up in a ball and disappear.

There’s a cliché that the present is so called because it is a gift.  At the moment it is a cruel one.  

I’ve called this blog unravelling edges and I feel I am still coming undone.

Imagine accidently catching your favourite cardigan on an unseen nail and it pulls.  You immediately want to be able to step back in time, spot the offending barb and sidestep it altogether.   

There are alway sharp points that catch you unawares, a song, a comment, an item you uncover and you crumple.  Sometimes just a few tears and other times a torrent of “why?” and “how?” and “what do I do now?”

My post seems pretty depressing today.  I am mostly optimistic for the future but in the present I have reached the point where I know Andrew isn’t coming back.  I’m still adjusting and fine tuning but I finally accept he’s gone – for good. 
I wish I could end on a more positive note, I really am trying to find one.
I just received an email from a friend of my mum’s asking for the link to this blog, if it wasn’t private.

Should I keep my thoughts to myself?  Should I just stop “curl up in a ball and disappear” like the end of my poem?
But if you have read this far don’t you want to know how this turns out?  I can’t promise a happy ending but I love the fairytales where everyone does get to live happily ever after.

Somewhere between the past and the future tense is NOW and that’s where I am living at present. 
It’s the bit where Cinderella is clearing up after her ugly sisters when they have been invited to the ball. 

It’s where Frodo and Sam are struggling towards Mount Doom through the wastelands of Mordor.

Being topical it’s the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. 
Somewhere between the worst thing that’s ever happened and the resurrection.


  1. Sarah I have found your blog so enlightening so please don't stop writing it. I have read EVERY post and although I can hardly bear to understand your pain you have given me an insight into it and I think for those who have lost a spouse it must be a huge blessing to know that someone else shares your path. The poem is beautiful and the post is far from depressing. You have shown us that you are finding strength and slowly making progress towards some sort of peace with Andrew's passing. Small steps towards your future. I love the new spring look to your blog which seems very apt.
    Huge hugs to you and your boys

  2. The beautiful blossom compliments your blog Sarah. Blossom is a promise of fresh fruit to follow when the flowers have died, similar but not the same as resurrection because what follows is different. The fruit may taste exactly the same but it is different fruit because it follows a different flower than the year before So I am thinking how apt the blossom is as a backing to the words you have written. What you experience through your five senses remains the same even though your life has changed in, as you put it, such a cruel way. And certain scents, sights, sounds, tastes and touches will snag your favourite cardigan and a stitch will drop but you will pick it up again, knit it back in again but it will not be the old stitch but a new one, like your life without Andrew is the same life but so very different. Sometimes though your senses will be stirred in a comforting way. How often does a scent or a taste transport you, in an instant, to the moment of a memory and resurrected it for you to enjoy again.
    Thank-you for this blog because it has helped me knock in the nail from an Easter memory of my Father. 'Time is a healer' is a cliche I know, but I KNOW it's true because I have the strength to knock the nail in deeper than it used to scar me.
    In this 'present' time you may feel like sometimes you don't have the strength to pick up the stitch but you know deep in your heart that the day of resurrection will come.

  3. Living the now was Jesus' recommendation - "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." I'm sure He knew how hard that was going to be for us.
    Your blog continues to take my breath away with its honesty and courage. (sorry not to spare your blushes, Sarah)
    Amelia's last sentence rang so true too - "you know deep in your heart that the day of resurrection will come". We all need to hold on to that.
    Lots of love xx

  4. Wow! as ever, Sarah! your writing and the blossoms AND the comments of your friends are so inspiring! Thank you all! :) God Bless you at Easter and always xxxxxxxxxxxx