Yesterday, I ran to the ‘Andy tree’ in our local incredible parklands, and as I stretched next to the trunk and gazed at the plaque which reads, “To Daddy Bear from Jesse Red and Indi,” I began to sob instantly, as I always do, with the harshness and reality of him not being here. Really not being here. But what has changed for me in only this last month is actually being okay with that pain and almost channeling it into a force and fragility that makes me more able to engage and understand the complexities of life’s ups and downs, that before I, perhaps, had complacency for.
The beautiful days that this climate generously gives up and the temporary overwhelming sense of loss that I felt visiting the tree and reading those words, which somehow always spell out the separation of the children from their father, used to hurt beyond repair, and yet now, that sting inspires me to want to thrive, above and beyond. Without him, our lives go on informed by his presence, so as strange as it sounds, I thank him every time I visit his tree for what and who he delivers into my and our lives to keep us safe and to inspire us to carry on living life as juicily, courageously and fearlessly as possible.
I also wanted to share something else with you: after watching the rough cut of the Be Here Now doco a few months ago, which is still yet to be completed, I was unexpectedly and surprisingly met by a whole new paradigm of grief. I found myself not only mourning the loss of Andy once again on a whole new level, but in addition, fell into a deep pool of confusion, resentment and sadness. I felt forced to acknowledge the disappearance of myself as I tried, rather hopelessly, to cope with my young cubs and beautiful husband who was battling just for the chance to grow old on this earth. As I watched the doco, all I saw was an exhausted and confused little girl, a tired mummy, a non-stop caregiver and a frightened wife. And paradoxically, a woman who was as strong and muscle-bound as an ox from over-training in some crazy effort to regain a sense of self and maybe even build herself a coat of armour to serve as protection from all the pain around her.
I looked so very worn out, alone and stretched beyond belief. There was no space for me to process all that was happening around and to me and, truthfully, whilst acting intuitively, which I believe is always the best thing, in retrospect I can now see how I let so many of my fears rule my actions and perhaps I didn’t support Andy the way I would have liked to have supported him.
But the past is the past and I wanted to share the above, I guess, to give not only you but also myself some insight into the upside down place (jokes about living in Australia aside) that I have been recently paddling through. And what I’ve realized is that I am still, in fact, only just standing back up after having watched Be Here Now and its extraordinary rerun of a chapter in my life that has passed by but is by no means forgotten.