The amount of support I’ve had from people I’ve met through WP in the past few weeks has been something else. Thank to you everyone who’s reached out or written such lovely, wise, thoughtful comments on my posts. It honestly means so much and really helps to be able to process and think this situation through, so I can work out is the right thing for me to do going forwards. I really, really appreciate this place.
I am also editing to add this in: I’ve not emailed K again and probably won’t, for reasons I will explain in another post, but in large part because I have a full on 3 weeks at work coming up and I can’t risk this dragging on and getting further destabilised again. I’ll see how things go…
K said what we have cannot be broken. No matter what. So many times she said we would be doing this work ‘no matter what’ and that when the world turned to shit because of climate and ecological breakdown (which, ultimately, is what has happened) she would be here because we would need her even more than ever. She said if we couldn’t get to each other we would meet halfway and I would come by bike and she would come by pony. She told me that the house she now lives in, that she moved to in September 2019, would be the house she died in. She never put an end date on our work, knowing how important it was for me to have someone who knows ‘all my stuff’ across the years. I thought our work would soften into something else and that one day we would go from meeting every week to meeting every other week and then once a month and then to not really ever at all, but that I could go back if needed.
She told us she was fostering us, giving us some of what our parents couldn’t. She poured so much of herself into all of us. She went above and beyond and helped me reclaim parts of myself that were buried and split off long ago. Scattered shards. She loved all those parts, I’m sure she did. But she has left them behind and I don’t know how to reach them now.
It is a year tomorrow since I last saw her in-person. I got home and late that night the news said people with asthma would soon be asked to stay home for at least 12 weeks. I lay awake all night having panic attacks, knowing in my heart it would be 3 months till we could see K again. We spoke by phone the next day and K told me how committed she was to our work, to me, to us, and making sure we could continue working during this time. We arranged to split my double session across Monday and Friday, move my Friday email to Wednesday, and have text contact on Tuesday and Thursday. She understood that we needed her all the time when everything hit and she did her absolute best to be there and support us. She never shamed us for how much we needed her. Not then or ever. She found out about a local crisis service. She sent photos and videos of lambs playing in the field behind her garden and the dogs and our Miffy in her garden. She posted us a homemade Easter card and a birthday present.
I don’t know when things changed.
I don’t know when she started to want me to take a break because it was too hard to hold my process remotely.
I don’t know when we broke and if we were broken before I knew that’s what had happened.
It feels broken now though, and that is probably the hardest part of all. Perhaps I could have got ready to leave her if we were still intact. But we are broken and I don’t know how to rebuild my life away from her without the foundations we spent 5 years laying.
I am shattered. Scattered. Fragmented. Disintegrated. Dissolved.
She was my internal sense of safety and now there is just an empty space.
At night my only comfort, the only way I can get into bed, is knowing that I can cut to soothe myself and bring sleep. It feels almost cosy to be able to do that and know I will fall asleep comforted by endorphin release and the stinging that distracts from the aching pain inside me. I feel so ashamed that this is how I’m looking after myself, but it is the only thing that helps me stay okay and functioning enough to work.
While I know I will rebuild myself, and probably in days rather than weeks now, I’m not sure what foundations to use because her emails have pulled the floor from under me and left me wondering what was ever real.
It doesn’t even feel sad that she is gone. It only feels unreal that she was ever here at all. I wonder if I made it up. I wonder if she was playing pretend. I look at all the things we made together and that she gave us all, scattered around my home, and I wonder why they are here. I don’t feel as though I ever knew her and she can’t have known me or she wouldn’t have done this. She would have broken the news gently and offered to speak with me to make a plan if she knew who I was. So we never knew each other really and that feels like the saddest thing of all.