Friday, 26 March 2010

Letting go

Many a year ago ( in the mid 1970s, to be accurate) I married a man whose parents lived in Whitstable, Kent in the family home where he had grown up.  Suffice it to say that it turned out he had ALOT of mental/emotional problems, and I eventually fled to Orkney with my children, in order to get as far away as possible from him, without actually leaving the country!  Consequently, it's a place I have very mixed feelings about, especially as we used to go to Seasalter quite a bit when i was a child - so I have 2 different layers of happy memories of dog walking etc on the shingle beach, all tangled up with some corrosive feelings of betrayal and fear, swilling around to make some very confused ghosts in the machine that is me!  Today, my present husband, the delightful Jiffy, took me back there.

The ghosts are no more, I have walked the shingle anew, and left all my pain on the beach.  Moreover, I have filled their space with contented memories of sharing a wild and beautiful place with my Jiffy and Sioni (our ageing but doesn't-believe-it terrier)  The gusty spring wind blew it all away, and we wandered past my ex-in-laws' house on the way into Whitstable, and I was glad it was still there - even though new houses have been built on the garden that 'Papa' loved so much.

We found a lovely restaurant for lunch (the 'Samphire' if you're in Whitstable any time!) and had the best fish pie in years, then wandered around taking pictures of new memories.  It's good to go back as a visitor to your own history, sometimes, once you have enough distance to get perspective.  It helps you let go of 'stuff' that can be a millstone round your neck, even though it's as ephemeral as memories that haunt your present - they can be surprisingly weighty and cumbersome, and their loss is truly liberating.

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