I’ve been spending the weekend up in Scotland. It’s the first time I’ve been up since my mother’s funeral and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Driving up on the motorway on Friday night was odd and I had time to think. I’d gotten so used to having the cloud of cancer hanging overhead – it stays with you all the time, always in your thoughts and always at the back of your mind. I’d spent so many months worrying about my mother, coming up each time and seeing how she’d deteriorated, even though I’d already been told by my brother what to expect. Nothing prepares you for seeing someone you love being ravaged by cancer. Nothing.
But this drive up north was different. I didn’t have the gnawing pain in my stomach that I’d grown used to. The cloud of cancer had gone, someone I loved was no longer in pain. But I wasn’t going to see her this time, and I’d normally be looking forward to spending some time with her – cancer or not, she was my mother and I loved spending time with her. Instead I had (and have) an empty feeling. I was coming home, but it wasn’t going to be quite right, and the numbers were going to be wrong. Getting stuck in a couple of traffic jams gave me even more time to think than usual, so I managed to switch my brain off by singing along to The Smiths before I got too melancholy (probably the wrong choice of CD).
But I’ve had a really nice time. It’s funny coming back to the place where you’ve grown up and looking at it from an outsider’s point of view. I can well understand why my parents settled here, it’s a very nice part of the world (being a Scotsman I have to say that about all of Scotland, but in this case I really do mean it). The sun has been shining so we had a barbeque on Saturday (which is quite a rarity in Scotland these days) and that was great.
I’ve taken a rare day off on Monday so I can just relax and do nothing in particular. Maybe I could pretend I’m a student again and get up at midday and just mooch around all day. More likely is that I’ll start with a nice run around Tentsmuir Forest and just take it from there.
I’ve titled this entry “Staying Out Of The Rain Clouds” and, in case you’re wondering why, it’s to do with the fact that I’ve occasionally found myself getting really down since losing my mother – not a feeling I’m used to. In that state I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff and could easily step off and let those feelings consume me. But I’m not that kinda guy. I was made from the “never-gives-up” mould, so if I start feeling rain clouds building overhead, I walk towards the sunshine. Simple but effective. And it’s working so far.