Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The New Normal

I had been travelling for so long when I finally arrived at the outreach post.
The journey had seemed endless and I had totally lost my bearings. I was scared, utterly disoriented and completely unsure what to expect at the other end.

During the journey, it had been so dark. I don't recall seeing many people at the roadside - there were a few people I recognised and they were waving me on. I can't be absolutely certain but I think there was some cheering but by the same token, I heard some of them crying too and I remember thinking that it was very strange.

The easiest part of the journey was when I slept. All long haul travel is less burdensome if you can break it up with periods of slumber and so I figured that this trip may be the same.

But even during sleep, I had an overwhelming feeling in my subconscious that I hadn't packed the right things. I knew that I had forgotten something and it made me feel uneasy.

I thought it may be a good idea to stop off along the way and try to figure out if I was on the right track. This proved to be more unsettling because when I asked for directions, I realised that nobody could understand what I was saying. This seemed ridiculous and frustrating because essentially I was speaking the same language and yet the other travellers looked at me with confusion and panic.

I continued to struggle onward. I knew at some point that surely I would find a stranger who may be able to understand what I was saying, yet the route seemed to get less crowded and I was fearful that I was entering a deserted area where there would be literally nobody to help me answer my questions at all.

Finally, when I was on the verge of giving up, I arrived at the outreach post.

There was a gatekeeper who asked me for my details. She asked me 'Are you qualified to enter this world?'

I couldn't believe that there, in the still of the night was somebody who seemed to be expecting me.

'I'm sorry that you qualify to enter' she said 'but I am glad you have found us.'

I was tired from my travels, absolutely exhausted. I hadn't eaten in so long and I had cried such a lot.

I went through the gate and immediately I was helped along with all of my bags of sadness. The town was packed with people - men and women, all quite young really - not much more than the age of fifty. Some of the people were very young - much younger than me.

Some of the townsfolk had children. One lady had 4 beautiful children, all under the age of ten and one of them was just a babe in arms. There were other women who were pregnant.

I noticed several women were wearing a wedding dress, just like me. And plenty of men and women, who just like me, had no children.

For a moment, I could not quite believe where I had ended up. I hadn't expected this and I certainly never planned for it. None of the people in this town had a husband or a wife or a partner and they were all so very sad. There were hundreds and hundreds of them - thousands even. All with their own special memories, heartbreaking stories, hopes and fears.

There was a small group in the corner that looked a little brighter. Some of them were sharing a joke and managing to laugh a little. Some of them said they only visit here now and again, because they live somewhere else these days.

When I had gathered my thoughts, I told them my story. I told them of Bebe and how he had caught a different train and that there was nothing we could do to stop it leaving. I also told them of my terrible journey into the unknown and how frightened I was to be without him.

'Is this normal?' I asked.

'This is the new normal.' they replied.

For Bebe:
I am living the new normal. I have connected with people who understand what it is like to lose a spouse or partner. However, my loss is unique because you were an incredible soulmate.


3 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. I can relate to so much you say. I also will not let fact I am a widow define me. There is much more to me and I want people to see it.

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    1. Thanks Anne - your comments mean a lot to me and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Wishing you hope in bucket loads for your continued journey :) x E

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  2. I don't know why I hadn't seen your blog before Elizabeth. On the day you arrived I had just set off. But I've found that same town too now. Thank you for writing.

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Thankyou for taking the time to read my blog. I am interested to know about your experiences and your thoughts.