dog walking abermawr pembrokeshire

Wave Therapy

wpid-img_20141021_093903.jpgIt has, in short, been a dreadful summer, not weather wise but emotion wise and more things have gone wrong than it is fair to expect.

My Dad was already ill when I returned from Turkey; he just hadn’t mentioned it, as is often the case with gentlemen of his generation! Sadly he got worse and whilst being treated for leukaemia he developed an infection that proved intractable. He passed away at the end of the summer despite his own determination and the strongest efforts of the High Dependency Unit in West Wales General Hospital.

He put up an amazing fight and I am glad that I was here and not in Turkey and I got to spend those last weeks with him. It reminded me of who I come from; whilst sick his strongest characteristics came to the front, his determination, his belief in science and technology, his bravery, those are good traits to go forward with.

Sadness, as usual, cripples creativity and finding a way to surmount that is hard. Grief makes me quiet, makes me feel less like sharing things, it makes me feel insignificant. I sort of fade away. I wonder why anyone would want to read what I write or look at what I photograph. That feeling takes a lot to overcome.

When all else fails I go back to the sea, looking for the optimism I need.

abermawr pembrokeshire in late summer
Abermawr in late summer
There is something about the clean cold waves of Pembrokeshire, they smell right, they taste right, and I never feel more like myself than in the wave. Somewhere in the wave is me. Looking for the bright sky through the surging white foam, trying to work out which way is up!

When all else fails, the waves of choice are at Abermawr, a pebble banked stretch of quiet nowhere, slowly being gnawed away at by the relentless sea, between Strumble Head and Abereiddy, not glamorous, not the most scenic beach in the world, but the “home” beach for me.

Here my late husband proposed to me, one summer night at sunset whilst behind him, leaving a line of light across the darkening sky, a meteorite burnt up at the right romantic moment.

dog walking abermawr pembrokeshire
Shadow at Abermawr
Here I body surfed in the late afternoon waves as they buried Diana.

Here my daughter, four years old and hanging on around my neck laughed and shouted “More! More!” as big waves from an Atlantic front threw us high in bursts of spray.

Here my Dad took me on Sunday afternoons and I stood wobbling on the pebble banks, barely a year old, clinging onto him as the pointed out the distant outline of the ferry to Rosslare skimming the horizon.

All my life I keep coming back to Abermawr. So this is where I go when the sadness presses me down, so the waves can lift me up. Now it’s not just me in the wave, its Dad too, because he was all about sea and I can hear him in the low deep down rumble rush of the surf on the stones and I see him in the changing colours of the curve of the wave as it prepares to break and in the relentless, regular, march of the swell I realise we are forever moving on. That’s the trick, you keep going on.

fishguard bay and lower town pembrokeshire evening
Fishguard Bay and Lower Town

13 thoughts on “Wave Therapy

  1. Karyn, I wish I could write like you and touch so many hearts. You are a strong, beautiful person and my live has been enriched by knowing you.
    The sea and the beach is healing your sadness. To loose someone dear to you is never easy to deal with.

    1. You have always been so amazingly encouraging over the years Ursula, I just hope I can live up to what you think I can do. It makes me keep trying. Xxxx

  2. We are always Daddy’s girls, whatever our age. My sympathies to you Karen, wishing you strength to remember the good times with your Dad.x

  3. . . words well found for feelings that never quite express themselves outside of us. Really feel for your loss – feelings that are amplified by the death of my profoundly disturbed youngest daughter eleven months ago. Waves . . you are right!

  4. I heard my Dad had died while I was sitting on the beach at Dalyan, where the sea meets the river, and in that turmoil of mixed waters and currents, my tears mixed in. Six months after his funeral, we met on Bournemouth Beach and told stories of his life and antics on the sea (he traveled as a musician on many an ocean liner) as we each threw a handful of him into the English Channel. And it is on Bournemouth Beach I feel closest to him, the sea speaks to us and repeats back our father’s teachings, and if we listen closely we can hear their laughter – mine with a paricularly resonant Dorset accent! Take strength from those waves, and he will remind you how much love surrounds you xx

  5. Your words mirror my feelings Karen. I lost my husband Mike last month to an intractable infection. He had been in and out of hospital since April following a second back operation which shouldn’t have been necessary had another hospital carried out the operation properly in the first place. He was expected to recover, albeit slowly but unfortunately although he had fought and won so many battles he lost the final one two days after he had been transferred to a hospital in Izmir, some 380 kms from our home near Fethiye.

    I have struggled to fight the apathy and find the words to respond to the many emails and Facebook messages I have received from family and friends but I realise that the senders too would have struggled to find the words to express their sympathy and offer condolences for our loss so I am slowly beginning to acknowledge their kindness and thoughts. I owe them that.

    I will stay here in our beloved Turkey where he is buried and will continue to live our dream for both of us.

    1. Grief drains you, people are kind and caring and you cannot summon the desire to reply to them. I think the collective noun for widows should be an invisability of widows, we just want to fade into the background, which I guess is why historically we have had such a rough deal. I couldn’t even open the cards I received after my husband died, let alone answer them. I just shut down. It is a symptom of the exhausting grief we feel and the good friends understand and they are still there waiting for you when you come out of the shadow of it.

      I am so sorry about your husband, he fought a long fight and he would be proud that you are staying on in Turkey and not giving up the life you built there together. Xxxx

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