travel musings

On Lockdown, Loss And Dealing With Grief

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

30 thoughts on “On Lockdown, Loss And Dealing With Grief

  1. My condolences for the loss of a friend. 2020 is certainly shaping up to be a rough start to a new decade. Despite the hardships, though, we are blessed still to be alive and healthy, and through this, we can only get stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This time is so very unnerving. I’m very sorry about your friend and about your wedding, and I hope that you will get to travel far off places soon and remember your friend as you travel so that he goes with you! – Allison

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dreadful news, so sorry to hear about your friend and the loved ones left behind grieving. The official numbers seem to mean less and less the higher they get and we are obviously all getting a little thick-skinned about it now. Losing someone close brings it all into perspective and makes us realise that every extra number is a real person with a real life. Times are unbelievably hard and depressing for so many right now but you are so right about life going on. We all just have to get up each morning and make the best of each day and whatever life throws at us.

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    1. Thank you Jonno, it wasn’t the virus although it was incredibly sudden which is terrifying. But I agree, the amount of grief and loss around the world is awful and sometimes it feels like it’s all a bunch of statistics. I just wish we were able to grieve with his other friends and family, that’s the hardest part of all. Hope you are doing okay x

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  4. So sorry for the loss of your close friend. Sometimes a bunch of really awful things happen in a really short space of time and it feels so unfair. I write my Christmas letter all year long. I’ve already started it and entitled it “Annus Horribilis,” after Queen Elizabeth’s speech several years ago when Diana died, because so many bad things (beyond cancelled travel) have happened this year. That quote from LOTR is so meaningful now, and I’m grateful I don’t have to go through all this alone. Peace.

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      1. That’s really sweet. I’m ok. I just hope things don’t keep getting worse, which they probably will… or they’ll get better, then worse, then better, then worse, etc. I just read on a reputable news website that just a few months ago the US recorded its first sightings of Asian Giant Hornets, aka “murder hornets,” that have found they’re way over somehow. They’re like 2 inches long and completely massacre the hives of precious honeybees, who, frankly, have enough problems to deal with. Oh, and while the hornets generally don’t go after humans, they will if you make them mad. They have toxic venom and can sting repeatedly. What’s going on in this world?!? You can see why ancient cultures believed they’d pissed off the gods. What else could explain protracted periods of misery and bad news?

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  5. Oh Clazz I am so so sorry for your loss!

    I agree that the LOTR quote is really meaningful right now. It feels pretty hopeless being so far away from friends and family while everyone is suffering. I am sending piles of virtual hugs. This will all improve eventually…at least I really hope it will!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Josy. ❤ That really is the worst thing at the moment. He's from the Isle Of Man so we can't even go to the funeral or be with his family or other close friends. It's just awful. I really hope things improve sooner rather than later. Hope you are doing okay in Van x

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  6. I’m so sorry for your loss – 2020 really has turned out to be a stinker of a year for you – and we’re not even halfway through yet ☹️ We have to cling onto the small blessings though and the things we are grateful for, and hopefully the tide will turn soon x

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am so sorry for your loss. Your post has genuinely touched me. I know there are no words that can make it better, and certainly not from a stranger on the internet, but I hope that each day begins to feel a little lighter and that you can find the time and space to grieve…and heal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you so much for your lovely comment, Helen, that means a lot. Things are definitely getting a little easier day by day, but still tough to come to terms with, which is natural. Hope you are doing okay during these weird times.

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  8. I’m so, so sorry to hear this. I hope the beautiful pictures you took are a reminder of the good that’s to come, and that time is a true healer. It can only go upwards from here.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss at what has to be the worst possible time ever for it to happen. How do you even begin to deal with grief when all our usual ways of finding support through the grieving process have been taken away? I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for you right now but my thoughts are with you and Ash. Sending virtual hugs xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Anne. ❤ It's really tough for Ash not being able to be with his friends, they're such a tight knit group but only one of them now is over on the IOM. It's tough as well because if it was here, we wouldn't be able to go to the funeral anyway. On the IOM, we'd be allowed to the funeral, but we can't bloody get to the IOM in the first place. Such a bizarre situation to be in, when those are even factors. Hope you are doing okay anyway xx

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  10. Late as ever in reading posts but so sorry to hear you’ve been going through such a rough time and also sorry for your loss.
    I hope May has been a little easier and kinder to you.

    Liked by 2 people

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