Everything has been changing so quickly recently. The flowers and trees look different every time I leave the house. Last weekend, I went for a beautiful walk across the centre of Edinburgh, and my stroll was filled with purpose and positivity. Where we had been reeling first from cancelling our dream trip to Japan, to making the heartbreaking decision to cancel our wedding (our WEDDING), I was determined for that all to change; to see life in a new light that while we couldn’t change what had gone wrong, we could make what we did still have better.
This week, everything changed again, as we lost one of our closest friends.
It has gone from feeling like we are climbing out of a hole towards the light, our feet scuffing the edges as we pull ourselves over the edge, to feeling like we finally emerged just to get hit by a train.
It doesn’t feel real. On the night it happened, I stayed up almost all night to comfort Ash, but what comfort could I be over the loss of his best friend? Surely we would wake up on Tuesday and it would all be a horrible dream. It couldn’t be real.
Cancelling our wedding was a hard pill to swallow, but this… grief at the worst possible time? A time when we cannot even say goodbye? Where do you even begin healing from that?
But we will, as everyone does in life. The scars of this week will always be there, and it will take many more weeks to come to terms with what’s happened.
The world feels apocalyptic right now, people’s livelihoods ripped from their grasp as we tentatively learn to survive under circumstances that none of us have ever experienced before. But between that, the world is still beautiful, and as eerie as it felt walking down a deserted Princes Street last weekend, it was easier to stop and notice the pretty flowers, the cherry blossom petals against the blue sky, the castle endlessly overshadowing the city.
It’s comforting, in a way, knowing that life carries on. The world doesn’t care what’s happening to us; in fact it’s probably relieved.
Yesterday, I left the house for the first time since it happened. Everything felt different to last weekend, every step a heavy realisation of what this week has been. I was no longer striding with purpose, forming a positive future in my mind. But around me, nothing had really changed from the week before. Cherry blossom petals now littered the floor; everything looked a little greener. But fundamentally, the world is functioning as it always does.
I am trying to remember how I felt a week ago. Where is that positivity? What was I positive about? I am struggling to concentrate on gratitude amongst the sorrow.
But I am grateful, somewhere deep inside. Grateful to be living somewhere that we’ve always wanted to, building a life for ourselves after so many years of temporary circumstances. To be able to walk to some of our favourite places in a time of confinement (all the photos in this post are within walking distance of our home). To be living in our own flat, and not in somebody’s spare room, which we were just three weeks before the lockdown. To have many, many incredible, supportive friends to get us through times such as this. To have our families, even though they are far away.
To have kept our jobs, which so many people have lost, to be able to work from home, and to even have overtime; extra money for when we can finally travel again (or is that a long-term pipe dream at this point?).
And, on that note, to have so many wonderful memories created from the privilege we have had until now to even have the opportunity to travel.
But I am not going to lie – it is a really, really tough time for us right now, and I feel powerless to do anything about it. While writing this, a quote popped into my head, and weirdly another friend just quoted it too.
Frodo: I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
And if I learn anything from all of this, it is to make the most of the time we have. I told myself that a week ago – but boy, does it ever ring true now.
Chris, it’s impossible to put into words just how much you are going to be missed. We will be raising a glass – and many more, I’m sure – to you at our wedding, whenever it may be, and your absence at Ash’s side that day will be hard to come to terms with. We will miss you every day.
2020 was supposed to be the best year of our lives, and in the space of a month it’s gone to being the absolute worst. I don’t know if May will be better, but it sure as hell has to be easier. And I hope it is for all of you, too.