It’s now 18 days since I left home. And I’m going home.
No matter where I am I have always had the habit of calling Ireland and especially Dingle, home.
Making this journey is symbolic for me for many reasons. Being able to walk every day I’m able to keep raising funds for the great charities I’ve chosen; Manchester Mind and Camphill Community Dingle.
This makes me think about how privileged I am to be in a position where I’m making a choice to raise funds rather than being the recipient of care. It doesn’t feel like very long ago when I was not in a good place in my own mind and had family looking out for me; I’ve always been lucky to have had great support, even though I have struggled a lot to overcome my own problems and felt very ‘stuck’ when I thought about what the future holds for me. It has taken me a long time to realise that a lot can happen if I don’t worry about it or don’t fear the outcome of my efforts.
I’m beginning to get this now.
I’m also beginning to get that I don’t need to feel guilty about my sister Aoife’s life and what she went through; this is just life doing its thing and I have never had any control over that. Since Aoife died I have felt bad about her life and it has left me feeling sad and guilty and even alone with regard to grieving for her. I told myself that it wasn’t as straightforward to grieve for someone who wasn’t the same as my other ‘normal’ relatives and friends.
I now know there is no difference.
Since being on this walk I have had many conversations, some with good friends, some with family and even cousins I have stayed with who I had never conversed with before. Some of these conversations have touched on loss and grief and I was able, for the first time to see that we carry things within us from those who pass away. And it appears to be pretty much the same for everyone, although I can’t really know that for sure. The guilt and sadness I was feeling for Aoife’s life I had carried with me for decades – it was no different after she died. But as I begin to realise that my holding on is simply holding on to the past, as Aoife is no longer around, I have begun to see a way out of that sadness. I spent a lot of Aoife’s life grieving for her and her condition and I now know there was no need. What a liberating thought!
My negative, guilty thoughts about Aoife are now being freed because that’s the only place she now exists in this world – in my thoughts – if you get what I mean.
This is some serious perspective, I am now getting (as Yoda might say) 🙂
This perspective really is a huge gain for me. I don’t need to feel bad any more about my sister’s life. Of course, I never did need to feel bad, but I didn’t really get that until just now. It’s MASSIVE!
So maybe that’s really what coming home is all about this time.
Thanks for reading.