2016’s Strange Alchemy

Goodbye, 2016. I will be happy to see you go, bringer of change and struggle and letting-go-ness.


In January we began again a new cycle of life on the Sunshine Coast – family, animals, children, work, ideas. The Makers Faire to plan, closing down the old bigpacific.com, job reshuffling, a daughter off to live in the city. Missing the pugs, gone over the rainbow bridge, but 7 month old Leon was wreaking havoc on hearts, psyches and cleaning supplies.

Life was full, and challenging, and bewildering too, with strange fissures opening up in our closest relationships with each other.

2016 brought many gifts, almost all of them impossibly painful, but also beautiful in their own so real/human ways. Estrangement between generations, with its built-in alter-state, the possibility of reconciliation.

In June came the canyons of disconnect across which we all whispered our wishes for togetherness. Silos dotting the emotional landscape of the family as if we were all working different farms, toiling and alone.

A crucial moment missed with two most important people. A failure to recognize what was needed and when, creating a wound where love should be.

Through spring, beautiful moments with my best friend in one of the year’s only graces, that opportunity for kismet once again… and then the sudden shunting of the track taking her from me and into the ICU, and then the palliative care bed, and then home, and then, in early August… somewhere else, roses sprinkled across her body in view of the sea she loved so much. The feeling of looking in the wrong direction while a train bore down and obliterated the landscape forever.

Then the sudden loss of marriage in the heat of summer, the road of our shared future disappearing in a shearing away that ripped at our hearts. The one-days-at-a-time that strung together into months while looking for work, caring for a home and family… bewildering. Anger, and anger turned inwards. Days of almost-sane slowly tipping in the balance of sanity. Having to continually turn the mind away from the past and towards the future, digging deep for understanding, for forgiveness, forgiveness for all of us. So hard then, to find it for me.

September brought bittersweet tendernesses with parents running sorties against time, and deep gratitude for sisters, who were there to understand as only those who have known you all your life can understand.

The most gorgeous wonder, the friends who sheltered us, and cared for each of us, each in their own way, even amidst the loneliest of lonely days. Seeking peace and self-understanding. The little and yet utterly magnificent ways I was saved, even if only just barely on some days. Friends who phoned or texted or visited daily, and did a hundred things I couldn’t grasp at the time, selflessly and with such love. The strange alchemy of acquaintances becoming deep friends in the crucible of emotional turmoil, while a few friends became acquaintances again, loved all the same. Loving my girls with a fierceness, yet realizing they are their own people, with their own stories and victories, some about me, but theirs for the telling.

In November finally learning I needed to turn away from loving someone I love so much, to learn to love myself and figure out why I do the things I do, what we had, what we could have had, what we will now never have. Learning to surrender to the letting go so that there is room for love to grow – perhaps with each other in a different way in time, but for now to make room for that strict teacher, silence, and being alone with myself. The one person I am least comfortable being alone with. Knowing that must change. Loving and loving and loving and in the end, letting go.

Too much grief for one slivery year of time. But my heart has stretched to encompass it all, though it aches to do it, and though some days I wish I could lay it all down, if only for a moment; waiting for time to lighten it, to temper it, to release me and those dear few I love the most into peace and acceptance.

And perhaps then, in the year to come, the sudden quickening of joy, the delight again in the daily chores of living, relationships rebuilding on foundations of trust and communication, remembering love’s power and presence, and trusting in the universe that it can happen again, that grace can bestow upon me that which I have lost. That my beautiful daughters will feel the pull of their hearts and minds towards full, long lives of love and purpose and deep connection with family.

I wish to forgive all – my own terrible mistakes, the slyly accruing unkindnesses, the squandering of potential, my failure to move past a point in my childhood that has left me crippled in encountering hard truths about my self. To forgive my wife, for the sudden leaving, surely as hard for her as the staying was for me, and wish for her what I wish for myself: Love, freedom, peace. To choose to believe that in some parallel quantum universe we are together still, having the life we saw for ourselves here, growing together in understanding and helping each other in our journeys. In this universe, our teachings for each other are very different, and I do mourn the difference.

So my wish for 2017, on New Year’s Eve, for each day following every other day within it, is to awaken further, to be kinder, to love harder, to listen fully, to act from love instead of fear, to care for the planet and all of the creatures in it, to help those around me to do the same. To be grateful for it all, for everything, even for tonight’s tears, surely to be followed by tomorrow’s dreams.

I wish you all love.


    1. Author

      Thank you, Jackie. You are in the cadre of those who saved me, and you know the gritty truths 🙂

  1. Laurie, I’m glad to hear that you have the support and love of those near (emotionally) to you, regardless of where they are. The events of 2016, have passed. Time to focus on the future …. and the acceptance that, each and every one of us, is the same. We are all human. So, when thinking about “forgiving”, don’t forget to also include yourself. Accept that you are just as human as the next person – – and cut yourself some slack :o}}}}}.

    Each of us, I think, forget, that we are no better, or no worse, than others. So, forgiveness is a gift, you also need to extend to yourself. No “what ifs”, no “if I’d done something different” …… You are human! And that’s priceless in my books. Although, I will agree that some are just more ‘human’ than others (you being in the ‘more human’ category, of course!).

  2. So raw & beautiful Laurie, my ❤️ goes out to you! May you find the peace you need around all this and know, many care about you from far and near! Big hug!

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