Thursday, 5 May 2011


"We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us; to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter." - Rainer Maria Rilke, in Letters to a Young Poet.

Today marks seven years since Geoff left us, drawn towards that shimmering portal he saw in the night sky. The ache and grief from his leaving have softened, but the gap he left, taking his physical self away from us, will never close. We hold his place.

Time is a strange concept. It is seven years today, but it was six years and 364 days yesterday. I think of him every day, several times a day, so what does an anniversary mean? It marks it, I suppose, in time. I usually don’t like anniversaries of any kind, except for birthdays. I especially abhor Mother’s Day. Why can’t everyone be nice to their mothers every day instead of hauling out the cut flowers and chocolates and Hallmark cards on “Mother’s Day”? Wedding anniversaries – are people celebrating because they’ve made it through another year? Why not just try to put your best self forward to each other every day of the year? There would be less to make up for on the anniversary. I’m being a bit cynical. Sometimes it makes sense to celebrate on a given day in the year. Mickey and I, being born ten years less three weeks apart (me first), take huge pleasure in celebrating our decade birthdays, doing something extra special like splurging and staying in a nice B&B somewhere beautiful. We have a solid sister bond and have never crossed each other. Maybe that’s why we only feel a need to celebrate our birthdays together once every ten years.

Six thousand miles away in Norwich, forget-me-nots blooming.

There is something in the air when an anniversary comes around, something to remind us of the past. For Geoff’s anniversary, it’s the spring forget-me-nots. Just over seven years ago, feeling heartsick, I was walking down the railway tracks near our home with my dog Tess when I spotted a bunch of wild forget-me-nots growing against an old wooden fence. I found huge comfort in that. Now at this time of year, the forget-me-nots are out in full bloom again. And I remember that sometimes, when life hardly seems worth living, you can always find something that will shift your perspective. You just have to remember to keep your heart open to it. Like Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote in The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

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