Restorative Insignificance

Now that the days are lighter and brighter we are beginning to spend a little more time in our garden. We have never had a garden of our own, before we moved in to our current home we lived in an old chapel which meant our garden was a public grave yard. Although we miss the comfort of the graves (no really, it was the most serene place), it’s nice to have our own little slice of green space. As we were tending to the wild and overgrown patches in our garden this week I was reminded of the first glimmer of hope I felt in the weeks after Norah died.

The first thing I wrote for Norah was her funeral ceremony and eulogy, a duty which at the time felt impossible, how could I write a celebration of a life lived in a matter of weeks? Days passed by with no more than scribbled out words and ripped pages until I decided to step out in to the garden for a little bit of breathing room. After Norah died I had an almost primal urge to be within nature, to stand on the earth and ground myself to life. Sitting in the grass I listened to the sounds of nature around me, set against the distant hum of traffic and city life. Amongst the birds and the cars I heard a rustle from the hedgerow next to me as a hedgehog strolled past, barely a foot away, he stopped for a moment before he carried on plodding along the shrubbery. A hedgehog! In our garden! Life was still growing and scurrying and being all around us, even here in our little garden in the middle of the city.

I often talk of feeling insignificant in the world, and for me insignificance is a beautiful temperate state. That time spent in the garden was the first tangible feeling of hope I had felt; whilst we were in the middle of a catastrophic loss the world was still breathing all around us. Grounding myself to the earth reminds me that all that we are is in the present, and as much as we are a part of the life around us, so is Norah. The time I spent sat in the grass in and around the wildlife could never take any of my grief, but that little hedgehog fed my soul enough to carry me through that day and craft Norah’s eulogy. Although I haven’t thought much about the creature that wandered across my path that day since, the restorative capacity of nature has been present throughout our life with Norah. The palpable connection I feel to the environment around us is an almost physical tether to Norah, a cord which is fortified with every step we take out in the natural world.

This weekend, our family is travelling to the Lake District to remind us of our insignificance, and to celebrate Norah. Whilst we are there we are climbing Scafell Pike in memory of Norah, and taking along thirty of her companions, to take our children to the highest point in England. To support our journey, you can sponsor our climb here. You can also share our story to help us encourage people to remember and celebrate Norah.

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