If you could register* all the events in life – the good, the bad, the memorable and the ones you are reluctant to remember… You cherish them, are thankful for them, ignore them, fear them. They make you what you are and hopefully, influence you to carry yourself forward, strong and determined to keep looking around the next corner.
“Life’s not a straight line,” I still hear Mamy (my French grandmother) saying to me, many years ago when I’d had my first taste of mortality, at a time I would prefer to forget. I was sitting there at rock-bottom, listening to the words of this discreet and loving 87 year-old woman as she reeled off dark events in her life (nursing my baby for me, far physically stronger than me – my baby the beautiful being in this heavy time). She spoke with dignity and humility. I’d had no idea of what she’d been through in her life – this petite, elegant woman who I already loved for how she observed people around her (I was doing a hell of a lot of that myself, not understanding or speaking the language of my new home), her conspiratorial grin and her willingness to accept me into the foreign family I’d suddenly landed myself in. I looked upon her with new eyes. She told me with certainty I would get through this time. Mamy’s strength and empathy empowered me. I thought, if she got through all of that, I can.
Many events have followed this conversation – and amidst the beautiful, there’s bloody well been a steady drum roll of tough ones for our family in the last few years. But I understand the thread that runs through all of them, the good the bad, that collects me in its force and nurtures me. It’s love. I sound bloody kitsch. I don’t want to imply ‘lurve’, the cliched Hallmark cards or tits and arse ideas of lurve. I mean the big love. Love for and from the people in this life with me. It empowers me, making me cherish today and determined to see tomorrow.
*I’ve been OCD-recording visual images on my Instagram feed, vigneronswife