Wendy Mewes writing about Brittany
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Grief is a long road. You would think I knew long roads well, but there is no preparation
for the weight and pain of this.
Recently I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog, constant companion of the last thirteen and a half years. Imprinted on every page of every book. Partner in my story.
Grief is disorder and chaos, walking backwards, love with no outlet,
looking for a missing part.
I floundered without all our sweet routines. Leaving the house became an ordeal,
staying in it was awful. Long nights without sleep, long days without him.
For the first few weeks I believed walking would save me. But grief is indeed a long road to walk. It finds out every weakness in your stride and posture. It crushes impulsion.
I moved relentlessly, forcing action, along our favourite paths over the hills, around the park, by the sea, through forest and moor. I walked blindly, eyes swollen with tears,
limping out the route, remembering and crying, crying and remembering.
There was no consolation in nature, in those chilly flat visuals.
Familiarity hurt me like a sharp stone.
For territory unmarked by shared adventure, I took a new walk to an isolated chapel.
I wandered on an unknown beach. Where was my own connection through walking?
That profound sense of being an insider outside? Of being alive.
Muted to the mundane: scrunch of gravel underfoot, the thwack of a branch,
humdrum rustling. No music in the trees.
I was no more than an intruder in the landscape, muffled by grief wherever I went.
Angered by loneliness once so desired. No longer fitting in.
Grief is separation, torture by memory, intense absence, a white stone in the heart.
Walking is moving forward, making progress. Grief is restriction. Inside it there are no tracks or signposts. Moments of clinging to inklings and dreams in the darkness,
but no way illuminated. Imagine that, being pathless.
Then walking stopped. My body and dry heart simply gave up. No more echoing our steps.
No more empty treks. People keen to tell me that grief has stages, as if that helps, as if it will align miraculously with all the many journeys I have made. As if post-
Just leave me alone, in the spot where I am. Months later. At absolute halt.