You’re Gone And I Still Miss You

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.” 
~ Alfred Tennyson

Yesterday was July 4. It’s our niece’s birthday. It was our first dog Charlie’s birthday, Charlie who is now Harry. And it was Kate’s birthday.

Kate was such a dear friend. I met her hanging over the fence at my Auntie Doff’s when I was a kid – both of us in primary school. I was a goody-two-shoes. Kate was a foster child, a tough kid and ‘bad girl’ who secretly had a heart of gold, a wicked sense of humour and a shared love of books. She became my penpal at a time when people used to write letters to stay in touch and we became entwined in each other’s lives, using each other like a ‘Dear Diary’ and witnessing each other’s trials, tribulations and wobbly successes.

She died in 2010 and yesterday, July 4, she would have been 49 years old.

Kate was a crap cook, and a lover of junk food, a killer musician, circus and aerial artist and street performer. She was famous for her cupcake kebabs and Horses Doovers Towers – her only two and best dishes!

It’s been nearly ten years since she passed. Still, sometimes I find myself thinking that I’ll call Kate or send her some stupid Facebook thing I know she’d love. Sometimes the grief I feel and the still-missing-her is ferocious. I never knew it could continue to take my breath away at unexpected moments after all this time.

My friend Carls (none other than THE Carly-Jay Metcalfe) was a mate of Kate’s too and we always remember Kate on her birthday, message each other and make sure to eat cake. Kate would have been all for that. She was a girl who loved life and lived it hard.

The older I get the more my heart is marked by those strange unhealable wounds that are created when a loved one has left this life. I’m glad for those wounds, and for my dinged-up battered heart. I feel these departed loved ones around me still and they live on inside me. I still talk to them. I still think about them. I still hold them close.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I miss them so much I can hardly breathe.

That’s okay. That’s just what love does to you.

Hugs and love, Nicole xx

Filling Up The Well

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
~ Eleanor Brownn

 

This past week I’ve given all I had and then some. I was glad to do it, and grateful to be well enough to be able to sustain a high level of service and support for others. I’ve had days and long nights of being on call. High stress. Just a few hours sleep.

There were two spaces I lived in. The one where I was being strong for everyone else, providing guidance and love, messages and psychic insights, and endless support. There was the other space. The private space where I retreated late at night or early in the morning to rage and grieve and process all of my own emotions. After which I’d gather myself back together and start again. Crazy. Intense. Demanding.

No-one can work like that all the time.

Why do I know that? I used to try, and of course it always ended with me crashing and burning. Eventually. Or sooner.

I’d love to say that it’s all about balance. But I’ve found that life is rarely so organised. Sometimes it does demand all that we have and then some. Sometimes we’re twiddling our thumbs with time on our hands.

I’ve also found that making the time for self-care sometimes demands more courage than to keep driving the bus, crazy-eyed with exhaustion and white-knuckled from the effort it takes to hang on to that damned steering wheel.

When I’m in that place now, I pull over.

Image from apollo.tvnet.lv

Image from apollo.tvnet.lv

I’ve learned to be present when I’m needed, and to step back when it’s all over, making myself unavailable to others so that I can fill my tank back up again. I do that with rest, meditation, good food, time on my own, lots of hugs, and things that give me nurture and inspiration – music, books, movies, writing in quiet morning cafes. I do it with clear boundaries, and an awesome husband and PA (Thanks Ben and Dana!) who are able to maintain those boundaries – which sometimes includes them telling me to step away and rest! 🙂 I also do it by giving myself time to feel my emotions. To cry or be angry or sad or bereft or awestruck or whatever else is going on for me.

I no longer try to pretend to myself or the ones closest to me that things are okay. I no longer push through it. I no longer plaster on my happy face if I cannot do that. (Sometimes I can, and it is what is needed for that moment.)

Self-care is an antidote to burn-out. It’s the solution to relationship, job or care-induced resentment. It’s the magical tonic that puts the spring back in your step, the smile back on your face and the music back in your heart.

If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, underwhelmed, cranky, short-tempered or lacking in joy, maybe you’d benefit from creating some space to unplug for a while, so that you can focus on your own needs instead of the needs of everyone else.

Filling the emptying well so that you can draw from it again is the only way you can ever truly be your best, and give your best to others.

What fills you back up?

Do some of that this week, or plan to do it as soon as you possibly can. You’re worth it. And your life will begin to change in unexpected and wonderful ways when you value yourself.

I’m holding you in my prayers and meditations, and sending you so much love, Nicole xx