Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Known and unknown destinations

Having travelled twice now in the last 12 weeks, and being about to set off again, I ponder the nature of travel, physical and emotional.

With physical travel, you decide on a destination, arrange it, and then do it. You know where you are going, how to get there, and how to return. You decide on what to do while you travel.

Emotional travel, if one can so label the process I am undergoing, has no such certainty. The journey commences without volition. You know not where you are going, how you will travel, what you will do during the process, how you will recognise the destination. Neither do you know whether the destination will be temporary, indefinite or lasting. Sometimes the weather is clear, while at other times, one is shrouded in a very murky mist, with no clear path, and where the choices are uncertain, confused, and just as likely wrong.


The moods can vary between desperate sadness, uncertainty, confusion, irritation, anger, self-pity and resentment to a dull and deadening ache. Or it can happen that the clouds lift somewhat, that company, love and friendship can bring comfort, gratitude, joy and simple pleasure. Nothing is fixed, nothing is lasting. Not yet, possibly not at all. That is how life is, after all.

My time with my friend was good, with many experiences and memories to share. We talked all the time, went to the theatre and to a concert, and saw friends and former colleagues of Dr P. She was widowed two years ago. She is a person of great courage and resolution. Her husband was younger than mine. Theirs was a immensely happy marriage, and a meeting of true minds. His death was unexpected. Dr P's death, while sudden, meant that he did not linger longer in physical and mental weakness and confusion, which was fortunate for him. While we loved each other, we were very different in age, interests and abilities. As well as the good times, there were misunderstandings, and disputes, which inevitably have muddied the waters of grief. It is impossible to say whose path has been the most difficult.

How can such things be measured?

It is necessary to attend to a few things before travelling again to see many of my family. One of my brothers is having a significant birthday. It seems that quite often men are unable to organise a celebration, and thus the task has fallen to his sisters. I will see my elder daughter and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and great-nephews. There will be discussions with my brother in law about how things are going, and what to do next. Perhaps these will make my heaving stomach settle down a little, and enable me to set to work on the next process and get it all done. I hope so.

2 comments:

rhubarbwhine said...

Sounds like some time with your friend did you some good, in a number of ways. Friends are good for the soul, I believe.

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