I have returned ‘home’ – to my mother’s house.
To start this time off well, to hit the ground running – I set off to Church this morning.
I thought a calming and comforting environment would be nice, maybe one or two familiar faces that I would not be opposed to seeing.
I found myself surrounded by people who knew me, knew my grandparents and who greeted me with large smiles.
I had not expected to be approached by the vicar and asked to play a role, “would you like to be a soldier?” I had not expected to say yes, to be thankful and grateful for being asked. A reading took place, everyone had a role to play, a few lines to read.
Speaking out loud is not my cup of tea. For a while as a teenager, I was mute. Speaking out loud in public situations is sometimes still difficult. But I did it and I did it loudly.
The morning was spent being much more sociable than I had expected it to be, a whole morning of;
“How are you, Chloe?”
“Nice to see you, Chloe!”
“How are you enjoying University?”
I almost made someone cry. She had not heard I had moved, that I had got into University. Her joy was shown in the many hugs she could not stop giving me, in the misty eyes looking into mine and in her words, “everything comes around eventually, Chloe. Hearing this has just made my day!”
I did not know what I was expecting, but the unexpected was perhaps the best thing that could have happened. I feel as though I have a little more breath in my lungs and as though a part of me has fallen back into place.
I feel so proud for speaking aloud and being able to hold a conversation with people. Something that I would not have managed quite so effortlessly just a few short months ago.
It is 8am, I am so tired. The neighbours have kept me awake until the early hours and they pay no consideration to me having made plans.
It is 9am, I need to get ready. The weather here has been cold and dreary and I have no idea what to wear, only that it needs to be smart and presentable.
It is 10am, I am leaving. I really should have brought a scarf for the walk – the wind is biting but within five minutes I arrive.
It is 10:15am and I am seated in the Minster, next to a Nun. There are greetings and conversation, I feel embraced.
It is 11:45am, I am leaving. The beauty of the service I just participated in was so immensely beautiful that I found my emotions were brought straight to the surface. The moment the choir started to sing, I found myself teary eyed.
I needed this.
A small town person in a strange City, being completely embraced by strangers – I have no words other than:
I needed this.
I thank you, every one of you, I thank you.
I don’t think it was a good idea, but maybe it was. I was meant to be taking photographs – “our official church photographer.” I did indeed get the job done, but mostly I sat there in awe. The service was beautiful and it was a ceremony I had not borne witness to before. In the moments of silence; silence that I usually draw strength and peace from – I struggled.
On this day, instead of finding peace, I found panic. I flashed back to my Grandfather’s coffin, to the flowers and the despair.
On this day, I felt depressive. My friend is dying and for all the prayers that I could send her way, I don’t imagine the outcome will differ.
I don’t think it was a good idea, but maybe it was. I struggled but I remained calm. I got through all the negative thoughts and connotations and did what I had set out to do. I spoke with my community and socialised with my peers. I did all of this by myself, for myself. I am proud of the small achievements, of staying in a situation, of speaking with individuals that I do not know well and of trusting myself in those desperate moments of panic.