I’d recommend reading Gone Walking before this, if you haven’t already.
I heard a quote once about the Camino starting as soon as an individual decides to embark on the adventure – these words could not be more true. Upon reflection, I can see that my own personal Camino has been in full motion for well over a year. I had to journey through our mum’s illness and then embark on my own journey, without her. Up until when I arrived in Lugo (where I began the walk) this pre-camino had been hectic; oncologists, nurses, hospice teams, family and friends, bereavement counsellors. Life. Of course, all of this support is something that I am eternally grateful for.
But for me, heading to Spain and completing the Camino was an opportunity to take away the crutches that have supported me this last year, and walk on my own.
I crave time with my own thoughts, to support myself. Some people hate the quiet, some people are afraid to be by themselves. I thrive off of time with my introverted self. It gives me the opportunity to assess, from a safe distance, where I’ve been, where I am and where I am going next.
On my first day I woke up at 6am, giddy with excitement. Excited by the thought that I was finally doing it for myself. Simply having to put one foot in front of the other following the sign of the Camino, it didn’t take long for me to delve into my head.
I asked myself, “Where have I been?”
“Through hell”. As dramatic as it may seem, the past seven years, ever since my mum uttered those 4 words – “I found a lump”- our biggest fear was that it would become terminal and she’d pass away. But it happened on the 19th June of last year. From then on, we only had three months left with our mum. Our biggest fear confirmed. Hell.
I asked myself, “Where am I now?”
I’m in a pretty good position actually. I thought I’d never be able to endure this loss. But I suffered my biggest fear over the last 10 months and I’m still surviving it now. More than that, I finally feel as though I am in a position to start living again and putting myself back together.
I asked myself, “Where am I going?”
No idea, but that’s okay. I have time to work it out. But I’m pretty sure that I am heading in the right direction. I survived up until now, I am strong enough to carry on.
I will never understand why my mum had to leave us so early on in life. The unfairness of it all is something that I will probably never accept. Life is so cruel, but it’s life.
I will always be so thankful for the time that my mum spent with me, it was an honour to have her on my journey. I trust that she taught me and prepared me for everything that life throws at us, no matter how unfair or heartbreaking.
In Evee’s last post she shared Why Worry, by Dire Straits. I’m going to share it again. It was a very important song for my mum, and particularly poignant for me on the Camino.
“ There should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now”
One day you will look back in disbelief at all that you have survived. Little by little, you will see brighter days on your own journey and you will be able to smile and even laugh after all the pain you’ve endured. You will feel empowered. We’ve all got such a long way to go, but we’re heading in the right direction and getting stronger all the time. And what a beautiful and powerful thing to be able to laugh after so much pain. So, why worry now?