A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Friday, 3 April 2020

The Last Year


I can't believe I'm finally sitting down to write this post. It's only taken over a year and a global pandemic to give me the kick up the bum I needed to write it. But here I finally am.

It's been so long that I feel like I don't remember how to write on here. So much has changed that I don't know where to start.

I remember before I went travelling my sister Meg (a very seasoned traveller and general giver of great advice) told me not to worry about things at home while I was gone, that she was sure I would find as she had on return from her travels that everything was much the same. So much so that I would actually be shocked at how home could possibly be exactly how I left it when I came back with a whole new perspective and so many experiences that most people wouldn't understand. She did give the caveat that Brexit would have happened though which we were both sad about.

It turns out though that Brexit didn't happen when it was meant to. But my entire world crashed nonetheless in June and I don't think I'll ever get over it really.

Travelling was amazing. South East Asia was incredible and this is the first time I've really allowed myself to think about it since I spent three months there from March to June last year. It's only now that we're all stuck inside that I've finally started to appreciate it again. And I do know how incredibly lucky I am that I got to spend that time travelling in itself, let alone now when it's not a possibility for anyone.

But on the 2nd June 2019 my sister Tai was killed in car crash by a drunk driver when she was on the way to the hospital for a nightshift in New Zealand where she lived. I still can't believe those words are true ten months later. As you will know if you read my blog before now I spent three months in New Zealand last year, the first one with Tai and my brother in law and nieces, and I wrote about how special that time was to me.

I never once thought that would be the last time I would ever get with Tai and trying to come to terms with her death has been the hardest thing I have ever done.

When I got home from her funeral and after six months of travelling everything was a complete blur. It's only now that I look back that I just don't know how those weeks went by. I came back, started a new job, and then two weeks later my darling grandma (Buni) had a horrible fall and was hospitalised. She never came home.

Buni had to go from hospital to a nursing home where she stayed until she died on the 8th December 2019. Again if you've read my writing before I'm sure you'll know Buni was really a second mum to me, she moved in with my Mum and me years before she died and played a totally pivotal role in my upbringing. It was almost funny to be experiencing death a second time in this year in such a different way. To grieve Buni while I was still grieving Tai was also a blur. I know I will grieve them both in some way for the rest of my life. But while I miss Buni every day she lived an amazing life, to the age of 87 and she was so ready to go.

Meanwhile Tai was 40, had two young girls who needed her, and more than that, deserved their amazing mum to bring them up with their dad (who is doing a stellar job despite everything).

My Mum and I moved house in September. Liam and I broke up in November. This pandemic has changed life completely for all of us in a matter of months. And as you can gather life is nothing like it was when I left to travel.

And that is why I haven't sat down to write. How do you write about all of that? How do you even think about all of that when it's happening?

I don't feel words will ever fully do justice to all of these things. But I can try to use them to. And I feel like I have some time to do that now.

I also want to acknowledge that I am so very aware that people have it far worse off than me. I'm not looking for pity in writing this post I promise. I have a roof over my head, the best friends in the entire world and amazing family. I find joy in books and films and the little things that have never been so important. I'm training for a half marathon in October (me, the girl who hates exercise and especially cardio... I can't believe it either) to raise money for the charity Sands in Tai's name.

This is just the course life has taken me on over the last year. And if I'm going to write here again I can't not write about these things.

So I don't really know what I'm going to write about anymore. I'm not sure that I'm an authority anymore on how to navigate your twenties in one piece as my blog tagline says. I'm not in one piece at all. But still going.

Maybe I'll dig my travel diary out and write about Asia. It seems funny to now and silly when we're all inside and far bigger things are going on. But maybe it will be good for me to relive it and appreciate those days before everything royally went to shit. And maybe it will be good inspiration if anyone wants to travel there after all of this.

Maybe I'll just write about books and films or maybe this can just be a place for me to check in again. We'll see. But I'm going to try and come back to this space, and I hope you'll all have me back.

Sending love and good thoughts to everyone at this time. We've all just got to try to get through each day. There will be an after all of this.
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