It’s been quite a roller-coaster just recently, and it’s got me thinking … 7 January 2017 saw a very happy occasion, a second marriage for both myself and my new husband, a day full of joy and love and friends and family. And there at the service was my beloved 90-year-old father. Two days later, he died. A gentle kindly passing, making no fuss, requiring no drama or wringing of hands. So the planning and delivery of a wedding speech quickly turned into the planning and delivery of a funeral address – both for me, and for my sister. Emotional roller-coaster indeed. But one which, as I found, had huge potential for emotional healing too.
As we spoke at the Cambridge crematorium about a long life well-lived and well-loved, on one of those beautiful bright winter days in which the silhouettes of trees against the sunny sky and the tentative wintry birdsong mingled with the drone of the traffic on the A14 just yards away, the contrast between the beautiful and the ugly was stark. In the case of this particular bereavement, there was the gulf between the blessedness of the nature of the death – painless, timely, when all family and friends had been together and nothing was really left undone – and the acute pain of losing such a loved person. And that juxtaposition has at times meant that I’ve wondered whether I’m really allowed to grieve, when the reaction to the news has universally been “Well, how wonderful for everyone that he got to go to the wedding!”.
In the past month, I’ve found myself noticing acutely just how often the marvellous, joyful even, and the conventionally ugly, difficult, disturbing seem to coexist. These wonderful examples of barbed wire, photographed last weekend in a wood in Lancashire, took my breath away. Barbed wire is meant to deter, and if it doesn’t, then to administer pain. And yet how exquisite these two counterbalanced and harmoniously hued twists of wire look on close inspection. And on emerging from a northern railway station and being confronted with enormous and yes, ugly, industrial buildings across the road …. there above and beyond them was a beautiful, uplifting late afternoon skyscape. A timely reminder of the presence of an overarching and uplifting context in which to experience life and its inevitable times of distress.
As so often happens, in my acupuncture practice and with my Zero Balancing clients, a theme that’s playing out in my own life keeps coming up as relevant in the lives of the people who come and see me. An elderly lady telling me about the loss, and yet the relief, on the passing of her husband after a decade of difficult dementia. A middle-aged man having found the courage and strength to end an undermining relationship, and feeling battered but proud at having made the break. A young woman feeling excited about starting fertility treatment after a year of stress and disappointment around not conceiving. Look around you, look inside yourself – such paradoxes are everywhere.
My strengths as a therapist lie in finding ways to support people navigating through challenges in their lives – be it from physical or emotional pain, struggles with change, feeling thwarted or frustrated, stuck or exhausted by the sheer hard work of life.
Call me on 07970 295177 and let’s work together to make sense of a confusing world.