Monday, January 2, 2012

Bye Bye Elf

I have just had the most awful nightmare. I actually don't want to recount it because I can't bear to revisit the pain of it. Neither do I want to re-traumatise anyone who has been through it in real life. Suffice to say though, that there are some things that you don't actually have to experience to know how cripplingly devastating they would be. Thank God that so far in my life at least, I only have to endure having my guts ripped out for the length of a nightmare, because that was truly shit.

It has made me get up in the middle of the night and try to write it out - to try to dispel the stinking fear of it..the irreversible helplessness.  At first I was reluctant to accept that life would move on, but because a dream can last a lifetime, I came to accept it, reluctantly and despite myself whilst all the time trying desperately to hold onto what I had lost. I felt so guilty about moving on, that I kept retraumatising myself with the memory. The moment of loss was so much stronger than the fantastic memories of our life before it. In fact, it completely smothered them. It seemed treacherous for things to be otherwise

All the omens had been there, I knew the horror was going to happen and I fought to stop it with every fibre of my being whilst everyone around me was conspiring to make the unthinkable change happen ,but all I managed to do was to delay it a bit. I was furious, terrified and helpless in those moments.

So, what's going on with me?
First of all, it may surprise you to know that I am happy. I have a new job , one that I have wanted since I was a child. I have had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Old frustrations have melted away and I feel optimistic and settled. I have made new friends and found some spirituality. My New Year resolution is to give up TV and I feel as definite about that as I did when I gave up drink.  I am not usually big on resolutions but it coincided with a natural shift in me that brought some clarity and so it seemed the perfect time.

When I was driving to my New Year retreat, in the glare of the headlights on the A14 and in the rain, a 7 foot shadow crossed my path and I saw it quite clearly for it had a definite outline and an umistakably mischievous gait. It was a large Pixie, or maybe an Elf... with a touch of Mr Tumnus ...possibly even a bit of Iain Anderson; I have really not been a source of expertise on mystical creatures since  Enid Blyton's 'The Folk of the Faraway Tree' kept me awake well past my bedtime, night after night as I devoured its pages.Once I got to the end, I'd start all over again. But this was no tree dweller. All the same, in the hazy, rain-sodden headlight darkness, it seemed to me that it was there.

So, this all makes me wonder if what I was really being prised away from in such a horrifically painful way was the often all too present child in me? It cannot be coincidence that I saw an Elf, have an Elf and dreamed I lost the Elf.

When have you known unhappiness, the child lingers there, waiting to be consoled always.
 I once dreamed that my Elf ran off the edge of cliff. Again, I was bereft, hollow, horrified and scrambled hysterically to find the body on the pebble beach of my childhood below. The lack of a body was so distressing because I had nowhere to  nail my grief to. Yet, when I imagined myself as the running child, I was amazed to discover that she didn't fall at all, she kept on running, there was solidity under her feet, she was happy and calm and joyfully free - and so it made perfect sense that there had been no body to find.
This time however, I cannot imagine myself the child, except to say that I have the impression that she'd been trying to escape for some time and I had no idea.
Thankfully, shortly after I began writing this last night, as if to allay my fears, the Elf crept into my bed to escape  the noise of the storm that has seen off my party tent (which is lying prostrate and helplessly pegged to the ground -not for it the freedom of running with the wind)  I have never been so pleased to see her.

I met a fantastic young woman over the weekend who has lost her brother in the most violent of ways and she was coping with grief and guilt . I think she was the most inspiring person I ever met. I was knitting blanket squares for relaxation in my room as I thought of her and her little brother and realised as I got to the end of it, that the square I was knitting was for them and so I gave it to her for those strand were woven with  all that she told me of them both and with my admiration. I am not a gifted knitter and I have a feeling, that  6" square was the peak of my ability - possibly it was even what all the rough, baggy and ill-shapen practise had been leading up to. Maybe there never was a blanket.

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