stuck


At midnight on 31st December last year, I lit a sky candle and sent it up into the darkness, full of symbolism and hope for the future. 2012 had been a terrible year for me and I wanted to say goodbye to all the sadness and illness and tears and regret. I felt optimistic and ready for change, ready to embrace new things and new challenges. I loved seeing that sky candle filling with light and heat and pulling away from me into the night sky. I watched it rise up with a happy cheer, a silent wish and a secret prayer.

The sky candle immediately got stuck in the branches of a tree, and stayed up there for weeks, tattered and forlorn. I saw it every morning from my kitchen window, and felt haunted by its failure to fly and what this might symbolise for my year ahead. Everybody laughed and told me not to be silly and everything would be fine and it was just a sky candle stuck in a tree, nothing more. Finally the rain and wind loosened it and one morning it was gone, so I forgot about it.

And then a few days ago, I remembered it. And I saw that actually it had spoken the truth, for I have been stuck in one way or another for the whole year, and indeed still am. Our house took forever to sell: months and months of fruitless cleaning and tidying and showing people round, never feeling able to spread out or make a mess for fear of the next viewing, my life on hold. Then eventually in September moving out and putting all my things into storage and taking a few essentials and, aged nearly fifty, with a little granddaughter, becoming a lodger. I expected to rent a room for a few weeks while my house was extended and refurbished... but I'm still here. The builders have taken forever and driven me nearly crazy in the process, and a catalogue of expensive disasters has unfolded. The end is not in sight. I am still living out of a suitcase and surviving on ready meals.

But yet, I am hopeful... at least a little bit. I know that one day soon I will be able to move in, and a new chapter of my life will begin... a lot later than I expected, and it does feel like I have wasted a whole year waiting for it. But I am painting my shelves so that I can unpack my books, and that feels good.

I'm not lighting any sky candles this New Year's Eve. I'll be babysitting for my granddaughter, and I'll probably go to bed well before midnight. I don't want to look into the future or even hope or dream. I'll wake up the next morning and it will all unfold just as it would have done anyway.

21 comments:

Dori said...

Oh, Sue....this post of yours tugged at my heart so. I remember all too well a few years much like you have experienced. May the new year, bring you peace, quiet joys, and reasons to hope anew. Love to you.

Alison said...

Sue, I felt such resonance with your description of 2013... which was so much more difficult for me, more so even than 2012, and in much less obvious ways... I shall add my good wishes that for both myself and for you that 2014 will be a year of rising goodness.

marigold jam said...

I do hope that you will find peace and some happiness in 2014. Maybe one day when you look back on this horrible time you will be able to see the things you have learned from it and that you have become a different person with the new knowledge you have gained and that things as always have turned out as they should even if it doesn't seem possible just now. Fifty is a difficult time I seem to remember anyway but as with all things it does pass!! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you enter a new year and let's hope a new phase in your life.

susan said...

As usual I will go to bed early on New Year's Eve. I hate it. Every year has always been so much worse (sometimes only as bad as) the previous year.
After 2 and a half years of severe depression I am somewhat better and although my habit will not change I will wake the next day and consider (not hope) that it will be different - not better, not happier - just different.
Enjoy your grand-daughter, children are the best thing!
Love to you
Susan x

driftwood said...

wishing your 2014 will unfold kindly for you xxx

Karen said...

Sue what a moving and honest post. May 2014 be peaceful, full of new starts and settlement. Raise a glass to moving in and moving foreword.

Gina said...

Wishing you a happier 2014.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

I was pleased when I got to the bit " I am hopeful " , it's good that despite everything you still have hope!
Wishing you a happier 2014!
V x

alice c said...

Sending you love and good health for 2014. Whatever it brings you . And I hope that when you look back at 2013 you will begin to see turning points that were not obvious at the time. Alicex

Patricia G said...

I also recognise your feelings of frustration and limbo - been there. You should, however, congratulate yourself for the progress you have made. When you get your new place you know it'll consume you. Until then don't forget to look up and see the opportunities that your current position offer - there are some.
I hate New Year's Eve too. Save it for your housewarming party :). Best wishes to you for 2014.

Frances said...

Sue, as I am now closing in on 70, let me assure you that 50 can be a very fine age. Years and years and years bring so many changes in one's perspective. Layers of experiences accumulate, each bringing a variety of sensations and memories.

I have the sense that 2013 passed by very quickly. I was not always thrilled by that feeling of whoosh, wanting to hold on to some pleasant days and weeks, wishing I had an extra day each week, or a few extra hours each day.

There have been some times in my past that I felt lingered way too long. What a strange mix life can bring us.

Let me send along to you best wishes for 2014, with a promise to send you an email very soon. Not enough room in this comment box to ramble as I would like to!

xo

JP said...

good luck for 2014 Sue - my grandaughter kept me going this year through Chemo and radio - their love and joy has no end!!!!

Vintage Tea Time said...

What a poignant post. I hope 2014 brings you joy. You are so creative - I always love your pictures. Take care xx

Toffeeapple said...

Oh, how sad. I send you the wish that next year will be the one when all the good things happen. xx

Sue said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments, sorry that so many of you are 'no reply' and I can't respond by email, but I'm very touched by them all :)

Jacqui said...

I sincerely hope that 2014 is your year, and your situation is transformed for the better. Wishing you all the best xxxx

acornmoon said...

Oh Sue, what a sad image you paint of your hopes and dreams embodied in that lantern. I feel sure that 2014 will be so much better for you. (And as one who is in her sixties) You are so enviably young with so many pages yet to colour in.

rachel said...

Oh, I feel for you, in those terrible dragging days of waiting to move into a new home! I wish I'd paid more attention to the deeper feelings at the time, instead of only dealing practically with the frustrations and delays. Looking back, I can see that I was 'stopped' rather than 'stuck' but missed what it had to teach me, about patience, not getting what I want, persevering. Stay hopeful; all will be well. Best wishes for 2014!

Rosie said...

You aren't stuck, you're waiting. That can be frustrating or could also be a fruitful time - can you think of it as "time out" in which to reflect on the old life, and what parts you want to take forward into your new life, and which things you want to let go? I hope your waiting is soon over and you can build your new nest ....

Helen said...

Dear Sue, I almost cried when I read about the sky candle. While I haven't suffered the sorrow that you have, I have been stuck in a sort of in-between life and it's frustrating but there are always good books, pictures, art, to get you through - and opportunities too, not that I saw them at the time. And even if the end isn't in sight, there will be an end.

I still have the lovely green heart wreath you sent me, oh, two years ago now? hanging on my sitting-room window, a cheering sight on a grey January day. A kind gift I always appreciate.

In the mean while, I wish you a much happier 2014 and send you a big hug, which is odd because I've never met you but that's the power of the internet isn't it?

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I missed this post. The universe unfolds as it should, without rhyme or reason. Which, to borrow a phrase from my old Gran, can be such a bugger sometimes! I do hope this new year brings you only gentleness and joy x