I booked Katie and I a little cabin near St Ives for one night last weekend. The cabin was like a little shoebox, and was decorated beautifully, with gentle blues and whites. The outside had quirky objects everywhere; mirrors hanging on trees, barbies, statues, plants, and a little seating area. It was safe, happy and comfortable. We drove to St Ives, spending the time listening to new and old music, and singing loudly until the lyrics dried out our throats. From the beginning we were happy, looking forward to the trip in a way we had not felt since we were kids, getting ready to go camping with our family.
It had felt like forever since we had been together, just the two of us, spending minutes doing something stupid and menial. Katie been incredibly stressed over probate lately, and we have been going through more pain given to us from people we thought we could count on permanently.
It had felt like forever since we have just been able to erupt in laughter, silently agape, tears streaming down our faces. The sort of laughter where people look over at us and either smile too or give us looks of distaste. The type where the years of pain are thawed, and begin to melt away.
For me, it felt like a long time since I had heard Katie laughing. I did not realize how much I had needed to hear it.
Life can rip worlds apart, rip people apart, and rip hearts apart. But laughter heals. Perhaps when Pandora opened her vase, laughter and hope escaped together.
I have never believed that more than when we were in St Ives. I always imagine the healing moments to come when I am away, out of the UK, where I can ‘truly’ clear my head. St Ives helped to remind me that the healing moments come from me, and only me. They do not come from me going to a new place spending 2 months learning a language, or travelling to another country to find a smile.
I feel like a piece of ourselves came back to us. We were sisters, 24 and 19, Mummy’s daughters, and our joy was obvious, apparent, and lovely. People in the street, although they must have thought we were crazy, they would have never known what we had been through.
I remember a time where I thought perhaps I would never feel completely happy again. I wondered whether my happiness would always be tainted by loss and burnished with grief. I felt as though I now had a permanent tattoo printed on my forehead of “LOST”. I wish I could go back to my scared self that I would I would feel happiness that would rival the loss I was feeling.
I also used to be so scared that I would never ‘see’ Katie again. Yet most of my joy came from ‘seeing’ her again.
My mum used to love the song “Why Worry?” by Dire Straits. It holds conflicting emotions for Katie and I, but one of our favourite lyrics is “there should be laughter after pain.”
If you are not laughing, I’m sorry. If you believe you can’t or won’t laugh again, you will. Until then, I lend to you another of Katie and I’s favourite lyrics;
“You’ll be dancing again and the pain will end
You will have no time for grieving
Chiquitita, you and I cry,
But the sun is still in the sky and shining above you.”
I am so glad and relieved that we held on.
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