Monday, 26 May 2008

Manic Amsterdam

We just went to Amsterdam for the weekend. It was a last minute decision. It took a lot of courage to go. We just couldn't make up our minds if it was the right thing or not. And in fact none of the plans we made really turned out quite right - but still we had a good weekend. I don't think that anyone can fail to enjoy Amsterdam. It's the right city for me because I hate cars and there are hardly any in Amsterdam. Under the law of the city if there's an accident involving a car and a bike then the car is always at fault (isn't that great!) I think all European cities will be car free in thirty years time and I'm looking forward to it. But it isn't just the bikes ..... it's the flowers, the canals, the height of the sky, the gabled houses, the pancakes, the friendly people, the quirky little shops, the smell of drugs and stagnant water. It's my new favourite city and I could move there tomorrow (I have a new favourite place about five times a year). Now that I'm back I'm in a very odd state. I'm running around the place doing and planning a hundred things. I'm jittery and nervous and I can't settle down to anything. I remember this manic state from the time after my daughter died. I think the idea that lies behind the mania is, 'If I book the right trip, or buy the right skirt, or read the right book, then everything will be fine.' But, of course, I can go on trips and read books and buy skirts until hell freezes over and it won't change anything. This afternoon I'll probably go to bed and cry. I don't answer the phone to anyone and I don't reply to most e-mails. Before my daughter died I thought that grief was someone sitting in a chair crying - elegantly. But that's not what grief is at all. It is far, far more dangerous than that.


Tash said...

sadly, grief needs to be lived in conjunction with everything else we're doing, and feeling, and experiencing. And I think it's this odd juxtaposition, or juggling act, that makes it so hard. And gives us guilt ("how can I possibly be buying a skirt right now?").

However I'm all for self-defense, and if skirt buying and bike riding get you through the days ahead, than that sounds beautiful to me.

As an aside, I only just now realized that you got a horrible comment a few posts ago, and I'm so sorry for that. There will always be people telling us to hurry the hell up, and that we're being destructive to ourselves and our families. And frankly I don't know which is worse: getting this shit from an anonymous source, or getting it directly, to your face, from a family member.

Thinking of you.

Alyssa said...

i appreciate your honesty and liked the comparison of grief "elegantly crying in a chair" to the reality of the ugliness of it's depth...i can relate. sending you warm thoughts and prayers even though you don't know me, your heart and it's words echo so closely to mine.