The Beginning of the End
Last year, three huge events occurred in my life;
1. My marriage of 20 years came to an end.
2. I had a complete nervous breakdown.
3. I switched brands of eye make-up remover.
It was quite a year. And it's very hard to know where to even begin, to describe it all.
Fraulein Maria Augusta Kutschera (or Maria von Trapp, as she was known after she married the singing Captain) thought it was a good idea to start at The Very Beginning.
This, she sang to us all, is ‘a VERY good place to start.’
Given that Maria could make lederhosen out of curtains that looked like pig's vomit and managed to bag herself a dishy, singing millionaire simply by swinging a guitar case around, before falling endearingly into a lake, I don’t feel I'm in much of a position to argue with her.
But….in this case, The Beginning is extremely hard to identify.
Because when everything falls apart and comes to an end, it’s impossible to see where that end began.
It might be a sudden drop. A moment.
Or it could be something that built up over weeks. Months.
Or, possibly, that started at the moment we were born, in our first experiences ever.
Most often, it's a combination of many factors, all coming together in a perfect shitstorm.
All I know is this;
There was a break-up.
And, slowly, there is a breaking through.
Each has been huge. And none had a clear Beginning.
So the only place it makes any sense for me to start, is at a known point:
at an ending
In the Autumn of last year, at 11.31 on a Monday morning, just as I had sat down to drink the very cup of coffee you see above, my phone rang.
I answered it (I'm good like that) and in the next two minutes, my marriage came to an end, after almost twenty years.
One phone call. The end of everything I knew:
Marriage, home, life with my three children, financial security, the huge family I had been a part of for a fifth of a Century.
There are certain events in life that are so shocking we can’t predict how we will react when they happen.
We might think we know what we’d do, or say; how we would feel or react. We might even play it all through in our minds many times, from all angles, imagining how it would go.
Rehearsing and practising. Honing our reactions. Refining our killer come-back lines.
Maybe even wanting it to happen.
But when these shocking moments actually occur, the gut kicks in and takes over. (And sometimes spills over.) How we react is just how we react.
It is pure, unplanned, and totally unpredictable.
It’s the truest reflection of how we feel.
I felt as if someone had just taken the ground away from under my feet and the air away from my lungs, and I was free-falling into an infinite vacuum.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t think. I couldn't move at all.
The unbearable pain, enormous practical hurdles, emotional turmoil, mental collapse and physical exhaustion associated with the separation of two people who have children together were things I never knew about.
Neither did I know about nervous breakdown.
So I could never have predicted what was about to happen to my health, in the coming year.