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Wendy Mewes writing about Brittany

GRIEF WALKING


All text and photos on this site are © Wendy Mewes. Please don’t steal my work.

Part 1  October


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-grief goals exist.


Just leave me alone, in the spot where I am. Months later. At absolute halt.

Part 2   November


November notices I am not walking,

Poses the lure of a pyrotechnic forest

Which leaves me cold.


Keep walking, some idiot says


So back to my place of tough passage

Where hauntings shimmer

On the sodden heath


I walk from the lowest point

(There’s no more starting on a high)

And come up onto a dark moor

Under a dark sky


With waves of wind

Unsettling the fixtures,

Letting wraiths go by

Without recognition


Walking this way is brutal

And unkind


A dark sun

Describes that broken line of dark rock

Where the track mounts slowly,

Dragging out the pain

And the same deceit

As walking again


A change in the light

Ahead signals

An opening or

More tricky adumbration


I turn back to look behind

To see where I have been,

Just checking,

And he is following me,

Taking his time.


I call him and he comes

Magical

To be heard again by love.


It makes me see.


Suddenly

A split stem from the storm,

Winter butterfly still trying,

These dead details emerge

And I start to remember all I have

Forgotten

Pouring over and over

Merging with that stream

Strimming the path.


I lie down on the wet stone

And tell him again and again

What I know and have learnt

From all our years

And each and every time


And as the dark sun vanishes

Below the dark moor

I am still here

Whispering in a dead dog’s ear.