As I write this I’m sat in a cafe, doing something I’ve never done before; taking two days off work just to do nothing. No holiday, no visits to friends, no plans at all except reading books, quietly working through some life admin and recovering from an intense week. A week of extremes, of mourning and celebration, of endings and beginnings.
During the week we said our goodbyes to my grandma, a warrior of a woman who was such a force of nature the universe saw fit to name a storm after her in the week that she died. In contrast, I then spent the weekend with the other side of my family watching my cousin get married and sharing in the start of a new phase of his life.
It strikes me how reflective this is of life, where sadness and joy can so often exist side by side. The loss of my grandma feels like the end of an era; she and my grandad, the people I think of as the heads of my family, are both gone, and in marking the end of their lives I also acknowledge the start of mine without them. When I wrote about my word of the year in January I chose ‘change’ as one of them, and as the year progresses I feel so strongly that big changes are approaching. It’s an exciting feeling, but is tinged with sadness that these changes, and all the other major milestones waiting for me down the line, will go unobserved by two such significant people in my life.
It can feel strange to move on after a death, when each step forward takes you further away from the point where they were last with you. All we can do is face the changes head on, embrace the new people and moments that flow in to fill the empty spaces and accept that for every ending, a beginning is not far behind.