Rebuilding after the storm

hole 2Cornwall 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.

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6 Responses to Rebuilding after the storm

  1. Lori Robinson says:

    Anne,
    I so appreciate your bloggings. You are slightly ahead of me in this journey of living with grief, but findings ways also to ” soldier on” since my 25 y/o son, Shane, took his life Jan.13, 2012. I really treasure what you experience. ” Weathering storms is just part of life” is absolutely incredibly true! I know we moms could never have fathomed the storm that we would have to weather. Thank you for sharing this journey with other moms, like myself, who keep pushing ourselves to try to regain some normalcy again. But it sure isn’t easy. All the best to you this summer in beautiful Cornwall:)

    Lori Robinson (CA)

  2. annwae says:

    Thanks Lori, you’ll get there but it is not easy. Hope you have more peaceful times ahead

  3. Thanks Anne

    That true story brings Hope and encouragement to many of us ,

    I’m just approaching the second anniversary and it’s been extremely tough I think of Jez almost hourly of every day ,I’m miss him beyond words and beyond most peoples understanding apart from us parents that have witnessed the same ,
    Thank you so much for creating this valuable support group , we are all like one big construction site of our own ,building better lives after the storm , it does get better as we learn to change and see a different future changed by happenings that we’re out of our control and not our fault .

    I too look around me and appreciate so much more today than I ever did before my bubble burst , I also get hurt more easily , I feel like an injured bird flying with one wing ! but on a brighter side , I’m flying again , because that’s what our kids would want , for us to get up when we can find the strength and move on and do them proud . wishing everyone strength , sending hugs ,

    Ali xx

  4. grahamforeverinmyheart says:

    Your post is very insightful and meaningful to those of us living this altered reality of life without our children. Thank you.

  5. Breakingthesilence says:

    My son died by suicide on May 2012 at age 21, and I totally relate to the re-building process. My life will never be the same as it was, but the new life now is becoming more manageable each day. The day it happened – the news was shocking, then suffocating grief settled in for close to two years, followed by the contentment of acceptance. I’m doing okay. Life is moving on. I’m rebuilding.

    • annwae says:

      I am so sorry you are on the same journey but I am always comforted when I hear others accepting the unbearable and honouring their children by making the best life they can. We will always miss them and never forget them but I believe our sons would be proud of us. Sending you love and best wishes

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