Barley growing in the Chilterns
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold
Hi. It's been a while. I know, I haven't been here much lately. A perfunctory post on Friday, a photo that's easy to slap up on the blog. I don't know if you've guessed, but I've not been myself these last few months.
The winter passed in a cold, grey fog. I welcomed the crappy weather, a match for my mood. Spring brought its usual bounty of flowers, but I hardly noticed. I walked through fields of bluebells as if they were discarded crisp wrappers. Things that used to bring me joy, brought nothing. Nada. A drive in the Cotswolds could have been a drive round the M25 for all the pleasure I took.
I put on a good show—laughing with friends, posting cheery updates on Facebook, only an occasional bitter tweet on Twitter. I hardly went anywhere except the gym—almost literally climbing my way from the well of grief I'd sunk into. Oh, we traveled a lot—as far away as I could get, but always, there was the moment when I opened the door to a sad empty house.
I have been, to put it in clinical terms, depressed.
It started, of course, when I lost my best friend. I'd lost friends before, lost my dear mother, but I never felt a loss as keenly as I felt the loss of Bailey. A few years ago, I sent my youngest daughter across the sea to college, came straight home and cried, my arms wrapped around my dog, who was simply overjoyed that I was home from whatever journey I'd been on. I thought then, at least she won't leave me—not for a long while.
I was wrong. And I was devastated, like someone who'd put all their emotional eggs in one precious basket. My friends were wonderful, checking on me, sending notes and well wishes. My family, well, they were afraid to say her name. They were grieving too, and I imagine they figured they'd lost me as well. I'd disappear, hiding in the bathroom while I cried. The shower was a particularly good place for tears, I found. Grief would hit me hard and quick, in unexpected places. I drove past a footpath, and sobbed for all the times we'd trod them together. I stayed away from the Common, looking away whenever I passed. I'd sweep the floor, and cry because there were crumbs, not golden hair. (Crumbs never lasted long on the kitchen floor with Bailey around—a fair trade, I realize now, for all the shedding hair.) I found myself drawn to any dog I saw, wanting nothing so much as to stroke them the way I'd once stroked Bailey. Every day was excruciating, a set of hours to survive.
Gradually, though, the pain lost its edge. Just yesterday, I realized I felt better—normal, even. And in fact, yesterday was an anniversary, of sorts—eight months since that terrible night, and the first time the date passed without my thinking of it.
The fine weather—hot, sunny days, and the hikes my friends have included me on—at first reluctantly, I admit—have worked magic on my mood. I've been walking in the evening, too—two to three miles around the neighborhood, through parts I'd never explored before. Prozac comes in many forms, it turns out.
Last week we hiked six miles in the beautiful Chilterns, through fields of golden barley. One of the women was a friend I hadn't seen in a while, and we spent much of the time talking of our respective dogs—hers is 12, and deaf. It felt good, both the walk, and the talk.
I'm feeling good. I don't long for a bus to hit me anymore. There are rumors that we may move soon, and I look forward to that. I look forward to tomorrow, again.
And eventually, another dog will fill that hole in my heart. But for now, I am content.
Just thought you should know that.