Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Picking up the Pieces

Finding solitude in woodland above Todmorden, West Yorkskshire
It’s surprising how health issues impinge on one’s ability to do anything constructive, no matter what the genre in which one works, plays or creates. For me, over the last few months, it has been writing: as if I am afraid to begin again, or seek new commissions. Afraid, too, that what I write might become an ongoing whinge about grief, and death. When I grieve (or become tearful), it’s as much for the double-whammy of simultaneously dealing with cancer has my husband grew ever more frail, and died. His death came nearly six months ago, though it is a year since I discovered that tiny nodule in my breast. 

Broad beans in what was RQ's veg plot
I have lost confidence in myself, but have everything to live for. Indeed, at my latest check-up last week with my excellent doctor, she asked if I felt any joy. To which I replied, “oh yes!” but did not elaborate. In fact joy in so many things: my children and grandchildren who are a constant source of love and support. Then there is the garden which keeps me active and provides me with so much pleasure, as I maintain and reclaim our acre whilst re-modelling to suit my needs. Vegetable plots/ flower patches and orchard - plenty to keep me busy.

Whilst I re-organise our home to suit what I am now doing - in phases - I have the joy of creative activities: stitching and making my funny little stitch and paper booklets, plus commissioned pieces for exhibitions, writing the occasional word-whisper (poems to the uninitiated). And updating my various and sadly neglected Blogs.

Our home since 1969 - large and rambling, with an acre of ground
It’s time to move on, and re-purpose my life: ‘The Shifting’ - as noted in my diary, scheduled to start next week. Nothing will ever be the same - how could it be. I may still be crying in my heart for my beloved RQ, but treasure the morning last summer when he held my hand and said to me, “I must tell you how much I love you”. Special memories, always, but there is still also a horrible niggle that will not go away. I’m so afraid that the cancer will return. And of what use to my children and grandchildren will that be?

Not running away, but commissioned to exhibit at Water Street Gallery
(image courtesy Rosemary Holcroft)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Spirit People

'Little Girl Lost' (pen and wash
drawing on calico)
I cannot believe it has been over eight months since I posted on this Blog. So much has happened to ‘Wild Somerset Child’ since then, when I wrote - in April 2014 - of re-charging the batteries. I’m now but a glimmer of my former self; the batteries have run down. The lights have gone out and in a way I am a young child again, observing in retrospect the theatricality of the fairy (Tinkerbell) dying in a performance of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

2. Re-energising my spirit is very much needed. So if you, too, believe in the metaphorical and ever in your childhood clapped your hands at the behest of Peter to keep Tinkerbell alive, please do so for me. There’s no need to actually CLAP; just healing thoughts through cyberspace will, I am sure, be sufficient.

Sheena's 'Wild Thing' - such a lovely gift
I’ve been posting on Facebook over these missing months but, for some reason, have lost the ability to write my former ‘stories’, particularly on this, the most personal of my blogs. Could only dip in and out in paragraph-style about my cancer, and RQ dying. I might not have been blogging even now had it not been for a dear Facebook friend from the west coast of Canada, Shena Meadowcroft, who sent me the most beautiful gift (pictured right).

She wrote: “Wild Spirit … Dancing. Too ill to work … to tired to write, or paint, I returned to my one constant throughout the years …. fabric art. As the figures began to emerge, each and everyone of them was dancing. Caught up in this dance was the spirit of friends and strangers alike.” Sheena continued that everything to make her figures was either recycled or donated, coming together in a spirit of healing. For “Inside each and every one of us, there is still a Wild Spirit … dancing”.

Warm hugs through cyberspace, arriving at a time when I was at my lowest ebb. So out came the images of my own dancing girls … my ‘little people’, even ‘little witch’ (left) that was a gift from within the family many years ago. A gift that made me cry so much that I wrapped her in a linen handkerchief shroud and hung her from the cheval mirror on my dressing table. She needed love, and still does, for I think she was meant to represent me. Me, a witch?? She was give to me many years ago and maybe she was meant to be a joke. Occasionally I still take her down from where she hangs suspended, as if on a gibbet, and cradle her in my hands, like a tiny doll. 

I am trying so hard to be me again, even though I am still sometimes sobbing in my heart, and for real. I take myself out to lunch of a Saturday or Sunday, where I sit notebook in hand, deep in thought. I watch middle-aged and elderly couples who are also eating; few of them communicating. Not a word to each other; how very, very sad. Had RQ been with me, we would have been chattering about our plans, and forthcoming Press events, the house and garden, his workshop, my magazine features and stitching, books and music …. so many things. But he is not here, and so I talk to myself on the page, willing myself not to be so silly; to take up my pen again and write. Create. I must move on.