69. After Henry.
It's been a while since I posted ... a lot of water under the bridge and a lot of stories to tell. But I think I’ll start with letting go of wounds.
Caroline Myss talks a lot about this in her books, Anatomy of the Spirit and Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can. In a nutshell, if you keep talking about something that has hurt you or an illness that affects how you live your life, your 'wound' has become an essential part of your character and you won’t want to let it go. She calls it 'Woundology.'
A lot of people get mad when they read something like that and there may even be some flouncing. But generally we don't flounce if we don't have buttons to be pushed.
Some people are pretty obvious about their wounds – the ones who tell you that they are vegans and hate animal cruelty the moment that they are introduced to you. And then there are the ones who tell you that they are incest victims or divorced. Or talk non-stop about their illness.
Don’t get me wrong; all these wounds are very, very real and horrible. It’s just that if they don’t dissolve; they become part of who you are. And they have a huge pay-off too. If you are ill, or have chronic fatigue (yes, I know that is a genuine illness) then you finally have an excuse not to do all the things you didn't want to do, or are afraid of either failing at, or succeeding at.
I’ve met many people who basically give out the message ‘you can’t ask me to do that because of my wound.’
I really didn’t think I had any wounds I was parading. Okay, there are always the stories about my relationship with my Mother which are usually pretty funny – oh!
Yep. They’re a wound. They were coming up far too often in my conversations. It’s still tempting to tell some of them because people would go, ‘No!’ or ‘my goodness!’ and there would be a lot of laughter. But the truth be told, they still carried a ‘poor me’ energy and they have to go. And in fact Mum and I have done some pretty good healing on the whole thing where she owned up to perhaps having made a few mistakes and I was able to tell her, entirely honestly, that I knew she had thrown me a softer ball than her mother threw to her.
The other wound that I know of, is all the stuff around Henry’s death. Which I won’t go into because I’ve been healing that wound. But I could...oh yes! Stories of ... well no, I won’t.
My bishop told me at the beginning of the life-enhancing disease that I hadn’t let go of Henry. I didn’t believe him. But then it came up in the Shamanic Journeying. I asked around and, apparently, I still mentioned him a lot.
(Yes, I know, I’m mentioning him now – but you aren’t getting a lot of details).
The Shaman and I talked it over and I suddenly realized that I had a whole photograph album of our married life, including our wedding. And nobody ever saw it. Apart from, maybe perhaps, my mother, there is now nobody left in the world who might even want to look at it.
Henry’s and my marriage and his death had a profound effect on me. But why had I got this huge album just doing nothing in the attic? I went to look at it and the thing that really struck me right in the heart, there and then, was that there were fewer than a dozen pictures in it that didn’t hurt me when I looked at them.
Even the wedding pictures reminded me of how my godfather said ‘you look like an even more demented Ophelia.’ I think it was probably a joke but... Dammit it was the late 80s and that hair was quite acceptable then!
I also remembered my wedding nerves; how I had to have a drink of champagne to go outside to get married on the beach (which should have been idyllic); how lonely I felt later that night when Henry was asleep in our room and I went to have a burger in paradise by the sea, on my own and wept. We got married in the Seychelles—just the two of us—and although it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, it was an incredibly lonely experience. For the rest of the holiday, I was bored and frantic as to why I felt so miserable. I covered it up pretty well, I think, as Henry was incredibly happy and bouncy the whole time—the pictures genuinely show that. And I was so unhappy by the time we got back to England that it took me a week to contact my parents and friends because I knew they would be full of enthusiasm and I simply wasn't.
The above paragraph is something I've never written about before, and only mentioned to a couple of very dear people in my life so I think that is not a repeated wound but the other end of the scale: a boil that needed lancing. I did come to love Henry again very much in the year we had but that really was a very rocky start.
So, all those memories were locked into this album, together with pictures taken when Henry was ill which also hurt. And pictures of me looking tremendously jolly when I knew my heart was aching.
So, I took out the pictures that didn’t hurt and burnt the whole of the rest of the album. Lion helped me do it, very lovingly, which was a real help.
It felt really quite amazingly liberating. Don’t worry, I still have pictures of Henry and me on the computer—but only the ones that make me happy.
And then I wrote the whole story out on a piece of tissue (précis is, luckily, my strong point) and wrapped it round one of my crystals. I went down to the river; greeted and honoured the river spirits; gave them a gift of silver and threw the stone into the river, asking them to take the whole wound away forever.
This is a Shamanic ritual (I think). Anyway, Suzi the Shaman advised me to do it. That too felt incredibly therapeutic.
There is still habit and ego to deal with and I must watch my words; but something big has gone—and it’s incredibly important that none of that past is any longer a part of my identity. It was 24 years ago.
“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” L. P. Hartley, The Go Between.
Are there other wounds to go? Maybe. But they are on a time limit because Now and the Future are my country now.
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