Sunday, 14 November 2010

Grief at Treyarnon Bay

Treyarnon Bay is one of a series of surfing bays to the west of Padstow. It was the scene of many family camping holidays from 1965 into the early 1970s. After my wonderful meal at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, and a little shopping in the boutiques there, I went to Treyarnon at the tail end of the afternoon. It was windy and rather chilly, and the light was starting to fade.

I got down onto the beach and walked towards the waves. As the wind grew keener and the clouds more threatening, my mood turned from elation to sorrow. I could not help reflecting on those family holidays forty-odd years before. Mum, Dad, my brother W---, they were all alive then. All having a jolly time, full of zest. Mum and Dad were just past their mid-forties, in the prime of their lives. They were always laughing and doing things they enjoyed. W--- my younger brother was an energetic and carefree boy who had not yet become complicated. They all loved the beach. I was a lanky, shy, solitary, awkward teenager who was moody and bored and felt like a misfit. Here's a shot of me from July 1965, when I'd have just turned thirteen, trying to smile for the camera:

Can this possibly be the same person who became this (taken when caravanning in Kent in early 2008, only a few months before transition commenced):

Or this (taken very recently at the Tate St Ives):

Or either of these people (taken a couple of days ago at home):

Amazing how we change. I don't see much of a link between the golden person of 2010 and the vaguely dissatisfied person of 2008, let alone the very uncomfortable youngster of 1965.

Back to my story. As I trod the wet sand (in my blue wellies with the hens on them, incidentally) I felt more and more pulled down by the thought that my family had vanished, taken away by accident, disease and sudden death. Eventually the tears came, and everything was a blur. And, because there was nobody to hear, I howled with grief into the bitter wind. This subsided, but I continued to wipe away tears until I had completed a circuit of the beach. Then I cheered up. Yes, I could keep on asking 'Why me, why did I survive them all?' but it achieved nothing. And I kept remembering that life goes on come what may, and one might as well go with it willingly, because go with it one must. There is no choice. I should instead be happy that I had been spared, and had a life that was not yet over. And it mattered what kind of life I led in the years left to me.

I decided that, whatever my circumstances in the years ahead, I would snap my fingers at adversity and make myself glad to have been born.


  1. Nice one, Lucy....


  2. Sometimes, Lucy, the weepies creep up on us with out being notice. After a while you become more accustomed to the triggers, but the risk is still there, lurking.

    You have to let them out, pull through, carry on. Not easy, I know. But its better to confront your emotions, your grief, than let it fester.



  3. You weathered the storm. Gosh you look so much happier now. Keep snapping those fingers.

  4. Those memories can come flooding back at such a time.

  5. I've lost my father and one of my sisters, but I still have my older sister, and my mother, who will be 90 in a little over two months. I can't imagine being the only one left. Of course you cried! I would too! You are all that's left of all of those cherished family memories.

    In spite of your losses, you have made such great strides in claiming your new happiness. Just comparing the pictures you posted, it's easy to see that you are so much happier. There is a profound sadness in those old male eyes, that is totally absent in today's Lucy. If anyone needs proof that you are doing the right thing, just show them those pictures.

    BIg hug!
    Melissa XOXO

  6. There's a stretch of road near Okehampton where I lost my mum 53 years ago. I can never pass that way without thinking about her, nor the way her loss has probably shaped my own life. I hope she would have loved the 'Angie' in me.


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