Cornwall like a lot of the country was battered by devastating storms this winter. Whole swathes of coastline that had remained largely intact for hundreds of years were battered by relentless waves with a force that could not have been predicted. Miles of coastline dissolved into the sea and beaches left completely devoid of sand never to be the same again. One day they were there, the next they were gone.
I live seven miles from Lands’ End. I have a little dog and a large part of my life is spent walking those coast paths and beaches. Immediately my daily routine was changed because I could no longer walk along my little bit of coast path along Newlyn Green with my view of Newlyn Harbour on one side and St Michaels Mount on the other. I had to go round a little park instead across the road where I couldn’t see the sea. It sufficed for our morning constitutional but it just wasn’t as good. We didn’t know when and if our little coast path would ever be the same again. So I adapted to my new routine, not happy about it but I had no choice.
Then gradually the rebuilding started. It was small at first and it looked like it might never ever be fully repaired or the same again. But slowly small parts of the path and gardens were opened, then volunteers rallied round and people petitioned the council and wrote to the local paper and held meetings. A temporary path was put in around the large hole that was the worst bit of damage.
Gradually life started to get back to a new normal. I could do most of my morning walk again. On the beach at Sennen where the sand had all been dispersed out to sea which meant I couldn’t get up onto the coast path to walk round to Gwynver, the sand returned and I could get up there again. So I started to feel a bit of hope. Then this week we heard that – Hurrah! the funds had been found to repair the major hole at Newlyn, to put back the sea wall and make it stronger than before, and all to be finished by August in time for the fish festival. Of course it won’t ever be the same as it was before. Some bits may be stronger but may not look at nice, built with different foundations. But slowly we are rebuilding and healing and finding a new normal after the storm. It has brought the community together too.
I was thinking of this the other day and thinking that this is an analogy for what my life has been like since I lost my son. My life was shattered and devastated overnight in a way that couldn’t be predicted and in that instant I knew my life would never be the same again. I knew I could not wave a magic wand and undo what had been done so I found different ways of living. New walks new paths, gradually finding a new normal, a different kind of normal, one that I would not have chosen but I can see signs that rebuilding, regeneration and growth can happen. I have also found a new community of people who have been affected and we have bonded together to help each other.
I have gradually accepted that the storms could not have been prevented and that weathering storms is just part of life. I appreciate what I have more than I did before knowing things can change in an instant.