Then just like that everything shifts. Something in my head. The weight I have been carrying like so many burdens. Two stone of sadness falling off as the days develop a gentler rhythm, the hours spiked with walks around the village and careful sojourns to the farm to select the food I, and I alone like.
And in the midst of it all there has been friends. Beautiful friends, old and new who have shown up and said, here, let me help you. Come walk with me. Eat with us. Let’s have coffee. And to my surprise I have said yes, over and over again.
I say to my surprise because I am the most awful of friends. I don’t mean to be, but I am shy and awkward. I am embarrassed by kindness, don’t like to bother people and I am truly terrible at asking for help. I talk too much. In fact I talk endlessly, and I laugh too much and have no filter over what I say so what comes out of my mouth is something of a hilarious lottery. I talk, but I cannot make small talk and find myself struck dumb when I find myself trying to engage in what my muddled head tells me is trivia.
So I do not seek my lovely friends out. I sometimes worry that they might think it is because I don’t love them, but often it is because I love them too much and don’t want to impose myself on them with my endless list of worries and troubles.
Thank heavens then, that they know me. That they see me. The real life friends and the online ones who read between every line I write…
So this is I suppose a thank you letter of sorts.
To the woman who fixed my tumbler dryer and poured me mint tea. (And her lovely husband who gives the bestest hugs and fed me fish tacos). And the bestest of friends who spends hours listening in the coffee shop and wanders the aisles of TK Maxx with me so I can buy cheerful nonsense and feel like I’m actually living! To the lovely, precious friend who arrived with scissors in hand and cut and coloured my hair and the ones who have stood on my doorstep proffering flowers and cake.
To the gorgeous, wonderful soul, she who seems to see right inside of me, who reminds me to eat lunch and taught me how to grow the nails I can finally be proud of. (I can’t quite paint them mermaids colours yet, but here’s hoping!). And to the British lady in America, who has honoured me with her truths and has been graceful enough to receive mine without judgement. Not to mention my darling Essex friend who is always there, in my Instagram DM’s to say that she always rooting for me and there whenever I need her. To the friends that reappear from my past to remind me who I am, and to tell me that there in the corridors of Facebook, they are cheering me on because I am strong and I must have simply forgotten. And the women who turn up in Messenger to share their own stories and remind me every day to keep on keeping on. To Mum’s beautiful friend who has sat with me and listened and reminded me so much of what it is to be Mothered, and to Ste’s female friends who have been so gentle with me and reminded me why he is so very much worth supporting.
So many beautiful women. So many in my family too. My Barbie. Who is my world and is never more than a moment’s text away. And to her girls who have been so wonderful and made me laugh with gin in hand! And of course to Mum’s cousins who check in on me and who I will finally see after so long during a Pandemic that has kept us all apart.
And to the men. To Mark. For his daily motivational calls and his constant, ever present belief in me. To those men who have loved me before and crawl out of the woodwork to say you can do this, you have survived worst (hell you survived me!). To one of Ste’s friends who has been so incredibly honest and supportive and to Finn, my own little man, who is all that I could ever have hoped for and who nurses in his own pain in the midst of all of this, and still stands so strong and so empathetic next to me. (Even if he has inherited his Mum’s talking gene and talks my leg off each and every night).
Yes, a mighty, precious thank you to all. To those I know well and those of you here at BrocanteHome who have been so very kind. Your support has meant the world to me during what has turned out to be the worst five months of my life, and I am so grateful to each and every one of you. For believing me and believing in me.
Tonight, a party in the garden of a friend I haven’t seen in so many years. Monday the arrival of my Dad, who emailed me to say he would be arriving without explanation or reason, and later in the week a walk with Ste to remind him that even when it feels like there is nothing left to live for, there is still love, and our gorgeous teenage boys.
Something has shifted. And I am stepping into my tomorrows knowing that I am not alone. That it is ok to ask for help and more than that so very important to take it when it is offered, with grace and gratitude.
Thank you all so very much.