Saturday, January 12, 2013

On grieving and apricots.

I've been watching this apricot tree since we first moved in. It had only just started blossoming then, taking a little while to get itself going. We all said it probably wasn't going to be a good year. As Spring moved toward Summer, fruit started appearing. They were small, hard and a greenish yellow that looked less than appealing. We waited for them to ripen but they fell to the ground instead, much to the delight of our adopted lamb. It wasn't looking like a good year for apricots.

Around New Years Eve, I was lying in bed and could hear the birds outside my window going nuts. I hadn't looked at the apricot tree for awhile so I spun myself around on the bed to be facing the wrong way up (and the right way up for optimal tree watching) and saw that not only was the tree full of birds, but also juicy looking golden fruit. The birds were having the most raucous feast on the now ripe fruit, there were tui and blackbirds, fantails and mynahs, and of course a few sparrows, all flitting in and out of the leaves gorging themselves on apricots. I watched for awhile before grabbing my camera but sadly they didn't want to stick around for photos. Still, the orange and green next to the dark, dark branches in these photos are so beautiful and fresh looking that I've been staring at them almost as much as the tree I've come to love now that the fruit is gone. 

For all my crunchy tendencies, I'm not one to really anthropomorphize nature despite respecting it. But, for whatever reason the apricot tree waited until 2012 was on it's way out before deciding to burst with fruit. I guess it wasn't a great year for apricots, but once we decided to leave it to the birds I'm sure they'd disagree. 

It seems like 2012 has been one that many people were glad to see the back of. Waiting for the New Year felt like waiting for time to literally reset itself. I know that there's nothing magic in the start of a new year but there was something in me telling me that if we could just get past December, just get to the end, things might start to be alright. We could lock 2012 away and triumph in the fact that we were still here. It was like, this is when you'll be able to breathe again, you'll be able to say 'It's ok. We made it.'. Just one more day, keep holding on and see this ride 'till it's end. You can do it.

Grief is such a strange beast. One that I was confident that I understood but now know that I have no idea. It's all about waves and all about surprise. It sneaks up on you at the most mundane times and you just have to ride it out. I'm sure it's different for everyone, but I needed that perhaps mythical end point that enabled me to take a breath again. Unexpectedly, things have gotten harder since taking that breath but in a weird way that makes me feel better. I feel like things might start to be processed now, that exhaling has pulled back the curtain a crack that was hiding Tynesha from me and now that I'm breathing again it will do so a little more each day. Even though it hurts like nothing else, feeling it and breathing is so much better than holding my breath and waiting.

I've made some resolutions for this year, that I'll share maybe a bit later. I spent New Years Eve in bed with a stomach bug (figures), but I was watching The Wire and took some time with Richard to reflect on the year past and plan for the one ahead. I became a fully registered teacher last year, and worked really hard to do so. More than that, teaching at Papakura and working with some amazing colleagues was the challenge and inspiration that has shown me the teacher I can be, and who I want to be. We spent the year with our dear friends. Living with some of them, picnicking, going to the art gallery, laughing and crying with others. They were so much of our support in our move home and made the trek themselves to be with us when T went. 

Most of all, I was lucky enough to spend some of the sweetest of days with Miss Tynesha Rose. What an incredible gift. I miss that girl, so very much, and I miss her and I together. Things won't ever be the same, but that doesn't mean they won't be alright. If you could talk to the birds in the apricot tree, they'll tell you the same thing. Things don't always go according to plan, and it hurts and you might get angry and cry or feel like you've missed out and have lost something. Life carries on though, someone will pick up where you left off and a new normal will show itself. Maybe it's the birds turn for delicious fruit this time around. You might not like it, but your new normal will start to appear. And, it will be ok. We will be ok.

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