A Day of Tears

This last month has seen me on a rollercoaster of emotions.

In the beginning of October, I have had the slow upward anticipation of my holiday in Sevilla.  In that week I have had the thrill and excitement of being in a new place, learning new things, and meeting new people.  I had such a great time and was on a holiday high on my return to London.

A week later I was made redundant and given notice.  In the weeks that ensued while working out my notice, I experienced a whole range of emotions – anger, disappointment, sadness, and relief – to name just a few.   This was a surreal situation for me.

While all of the above was going on, I reconnected with my Uncle George with whom I had lost touch with and was extremely happy be in contact with him again.  The down side to that was I had been told of the sad news of my Aunt’s illness, and a couple of weeks later he wrote to me to tell me she had passed away.

I have also had some surgery for something that perhaps could be potentially life threatening if not taken care of sooner rather than later- a ‘procedure’ they called it – which has made me think about my mortality and the legacy of myself that I would leave behind.  How would people remember me when I am no longer here?  I could hazard a guess on a few exes, but as for the rest I’m not too sure.  I now realise that time is very precious and not to be wasted.

Since joining Facebook, I have reconnected with some family members and friends that I had lost touch with.  I managed to contact my cousin’s wife, and through her I was able to learn of the sad demise of my Aunt.  Her passing has affected me more than I can comprehend.   I was invited to join a family heritage website where she has set up a family tree – I had been up til the wee hours of the morning updating the family photos and statistics.  I had forgotten who some of these people were that I had known so long ago.  Looking at their photos brought it all back to me.  My cousin’s wife and I agree that perhaps some good will come out of this sad time, such as the family pulling together and keeping in regular contact.

I have managed well all these many years without intimate contact with my family members, as I have been so busy with my own.  There are times that I am usually the last person to know if there is a problem, as I live so far away.  Also, my empty nest has affected me more than I could have anticipated.  I thought I would be ok with it and for the most part I am -I still need to reconcile the fact that my babies are adults with their own lives to lead.

I have also been in touch with someone from my distant past and now feel that I have been able to get some closure on an issue that had been haunting me for many years.  The sheer joy and relief at finding them was almost too much to bear and had me in tears.

I have also had some disappointment on the job front.  I realise that perhaps the positions I have gone for may not have been appropriate for me and I am trying not to panic about not having any extra money coming in.  I am doing all I can with regard to this issue and trust the Universe will guide me to the right thing.

I am normally very good at dealing with my feelings and living in the present moment.  The joy, sadness, and disappointment that I have been experiencing over the last few weeks has finally come to a head, whereby I have had to stay home as I had been so overcome with the need to weep and get it all out of my system.  It has been a lonely but necessary process.  Not having any distractions has helped.

Since my day of tears, I feel a lot better – more serene and at peace with the world.  I just read a quote: ‘Tears are words from the heart that can’t be spoken.’  I can’t say it any better than that.

The Thanksgiving holiday has been a day of reflection and to think of all that I am grateful for.  I know I am a very lucky person.  Even though my parents and siblings are celebrating on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and I don’t know the next time I will see them, I am comforted in knowing they are alive and care about me.  I also have my own family, the one I helped create.  I have great friends.  I am not alone.  I realise that my nest is not really empty, I still have the cat!

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Thanksgiving 2008

The Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us.  This hasn’t been a holiday that I have celebrated much in my 20+ years of living in the UK.  The British don’t celebrate any form of Thanksgiving that I know of.  They have Bank Holidays instead.  Even Christmas becomes a Bank Holiday – if it falls on the weekend!

Thanksgiving is a holiday in America that is celebrated by people of all religions and cultures – it is a National Holiday that falls on the last Thursday of November.  Although it initially stems from the pilgrims giving thanks to the Indians for helping them survive their first winter in a new world, it has come to mean something else for most people.

It is a time when people try to be together with their family – and if that isn’t possible, to be with friends – and share a large meal – to be grateful and give thanks for what one has.  Well, that is the idea!

This year, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday with some very dear friends.  I am very grateful to have these good friends in my life.  They are part of a very small handful of people who have known me before I moved to London.  They’re my family.

Being grateful – that is a big issue for some people.  In this current economic climate, with redundancies, mortgage and property issues, there are people who would have difficulty  finding anything to be grateful for.

Take a look around you and see what you have and what you can do.  You would be surprised what you could be grateful for – and by being grateful for even the small things, I believe that will allow the bigger things to come into your life.

Here is how I sometimes start my morning:  I wake up – I’m still alive, the alarm goes off – I can still hear, I still have my sense of smell, I can still see, I have a warm bed, I get out of bed – I can still move my body.  Get the picture?  If you can do those things, you are better off than a lot of people.

I have food to eat, and a roof over my head – I have a car (use of public transport) and some money in the bank – I have skills that enable me to work – I have great kids and great friends – I can dance and I have a sense of humour – I have access to the internet!  The list just goes on.

So, what are you grateful for?  You will find there is more to be grateful for than you anticipated.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

A walk in London – Barbican and Smithfield

smithfield-barbican-2411I had arranged an interview with an agency near the Barbican.  As I was going to be in the area, and hadn’t anything else planned for the rest of the day, I decided I would make the most of my travel card and do some exploring since I don’t know that part of town very well.

I was having lunch with my friend Marc and I told him of my plans.  Marc, a travel journalist, also happens to be a Guild certified Blue Badge Tourist Guide.  The training to become a BBTG is detailed and comprehensive, the examinations are rigorous and registration is an achievement.  It can take up to two years.  Pretty impressive.  So when Marc suggested that I go to The Museum of London, the Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great, and Smithfield Market, just for starters – I was assured that he knew what he was talking about.

After my interview, I started with the Museum of London.  They are currently doing some renovations, but there was still plenty to see – and it was free.  There are also free museum tours covering certain exhibits.  I had just missed one, so I wandered around on my own.   I started with the history of early man.  There is a huge collection of early tools, flints and animal bones – more than could sustain my interest, so I wandered over to learn about the Roman influence.  I found this section very interesting and continued through Medieval Times, London’s Burning, London Streets and before I knew it – 2 hours had passed by and I had walked around most of the exhibits!

After some lunch, I went to the Priory Church of Saint Bartholomew the Great.  This church is so unassuming from the outside that I nearly missed it.  The entry fee is only £4 so I bought a candle (for my Aunt) with the change.  The young man who was manning the door kindly escorted me personally into the church and as soon as I walked in, I was overcome with this overwhelming feeling of sadness and burst into tears.  After weeping for about 15 to 20 minutes for no apparent reason, I managed to compose myself and wander around the church.  I found an area to light my candle and reflect on the life of my loved one and what she meant to me.  After making sure there were no more tears coming, I continued my tour.

I was given a map which helped explain a lot of the monuments and tombs.  This church is so beautiful and really peaceful, so l was taken aback by a small group quietly having a photography lesson.  In spite of my lack of religious beliefs, I still find it difficult to accept these commercial enterprises in what is considered to be a holy place – saying that, I watched a DVD of the history of the church and its function today, which was very insightful.  In all, I spent over an hour here.  It would have been less without the weeping episode.

Although I was in the Smithfield Market area, I never actually went to market – not enough time.  I will have to come back again – with a different itinerary.  So my little tour was a success – I will check with Mr. Blue Badge before I venture in that neck of the woods again.