Sunday, 14 November 2010
Grief at Treyarnon Bay
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.