On life and loss…..

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This year has been hard.  Unbelievably hard.  Excruciatingly hard.  I have lost so much of what I once held dear and found myself feeling more vulnerable than I ever thought possible.

My year began with divorce. Divorce from a marriage of twenty seven years.  A painful separation with all that I had known for my whole adult life. Nothing can prepare you for the loss.  With divorce there is always loss.  Huge, huge amounts of seemingly unbearable loss.  Loss of what you thought would be.  Loss of a future you once imagined.  Loss of friends and on occasion, loss of hope. For me the greatest of those losses, apart from the obvious, was my beloved ramshackle house in the bush. This was the place I called home.  Where my heart and soul felt the most peace. Where I took all my deep breaths and made all my big decisions.  The place I went when life became overwhelming.  So in the most overwhelming time in my life I could not go to that place that I knew.  I could no longer sit in that place where I normally sat.  In essence, even my decision making process had to change.

Life was, in fact, to became more overwhelming than I could possibly imagine. Nothing it seemed, bar my name, could stay the same.  I moved house, changed my car, changed my bank accounts, changed phone accounts and wifi providers, became a yoga instructor and took on photography work I had previously shied away from. It was hard. Seriously hard and I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I had to claw and fight my way back to creating a life that was sustainable, even if it was temporary.

Then just when I thought I could catch my breath the universe dealt another massive blow.  It took from me my mother in a bizarre set of circumstances.  Nothing could possibly prepare me for the month that was to follow.

Last week I sat in her little home in the cold autumn of England and tried once again to catch my breath.  I could not seem to find it.  It was not amongst the all letters she had saved.  Letters that I had written to her when I was still a teenager and living in America.  It was not amongst the clothes that she wore, nor was it in the cupboards of china that she loved so much.  I could not find it in the garden she had tended so carefully or in the boxes of photographs I rummaged through.  It was not in the cards that arrived nor the quiet ticking of the clock in the night hours where I lay awake in a bed that had once been hers.  Surely I would find it somewhere.

I have yet to find that breath but in amongst all this terrible loss here is what I have found.  I have found open hearts and incredible compassion.  In my vulnerable moments I have seen people step forward to comfort me.  People I did not know well. People who were merely on the fringes of my friend zone.  They have opened their hands and hearts to me.  They offered kind words that I have re-read again and again in those dark hours listening to that ticking clock. They gave me heartwarming hugs.  Hugs that gave me strength when I felt depleted.  They have taken me into their circles and protected me.  They have listened when I needed an ear.  I have made new friends.  New friends that have bought me meals and found ways to make me laugh and smile on the darkest and wettest days….you know who you all are.

I have found strength.  I have found that I am made of more than I thought.  I have found that I have strength to cope with a whole lot more than I ever imagined.

I have found calmness.  Yes, in amongst the whirlwind of trauma I have gone deep into myself to find a place of calm.  Now that I know where it is I know that I can go there whenever I need to.  Perhaps it was not there in the bush, perhaps it was just inside of me all the time.  I just didn’t know how to find it.

We are all just journeying from one end of life to the other.  Life is just about experience.  Big experiences and small.  Sometimes those big experiences are spaced out with long gaps in-between.  Sometimes they come all at once.

I have had a year of big experiences and big loss.  Big discoveries and monumental growth.  I hope the universe thinks that I have done enough growing for a while.  I hope it gives me time to catch my breath.

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5 Responses to “On life and loss…..”


  1. 1 Lyn 18/11/2015 at 3:33 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of your terrible time. I avidly followed your posts when your beloved Mother was taken ill on her way home. Would you be able to find a way to be with her? Would there be a miracle? I sent thoughts of healing, I hope they helped in some small way. I too grieved when I heard the news she had passed on, I could only imagine your grief. So, while you have felt lost, please be sure there are people out ‘there’ who you haven’t met, who are supporting you, quietly… We may never meet in person, but I wish you well, and I hope that very soon you feel whole again.

    • 2 nikivv 21/11/2015 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you so much. It is actually an incredible thing to know that people out there are following your story and finding feeling in it. I do believe every healing thought reaches me and I thank you for that too. I most of all hope my words find their way to people who need to hear them.

  2. 3 Anthony van Velden 18/11/2015 at 4:15 pm

    A terribly difficult year, Niki! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the inexplicable experiences and emotions which have beset you. They help to frame and contextualize the pain of friends and family whose own journeys may now also make more sense – perhaps. It encourages others, knowing that even those who seem so in control, also feel the pain and emptiness of loneliness and confusion. Fortunately, the human spirit is resilient and finds a way to continue – and grow! May you find a sense of peace as you contemplate the lessons of the past, shaping you for the challenges and joys of a new and exciting future. I hope you will always see me as a brother, despite the vicissitudes of life. Anthony.

  3. 5 Anonymous 20/11/2015 at 6:28 am

    I am sorry for your losses Niki, I hope from the bottom of my heart you can catch your breath soon.x


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