I didn't post it here, because I had to have conversations with my family, first.
Then, in due time, the story played out and the good news is I am fine; the letter did not need to be quite so dramatic.
The feelings though, the truth that arose out of fear. Those things won't leave me alone. So it's here, in the raw, as it was written, with apologies for the dodgy grammar, because I think I have to carry it with me now.
A Letter to My Husband
I am sitting in a doctor’s office. I am just texting everyone to tell them, I’m out, I’m OK, I’ll be with them soon.The things that are going on in my body as it changes, as it moves through middle age to old age, as it leaves behind the years of child bearing forever, and starts, I guess, to wind down, these things are not speaking clearly.I am coming out of here with more appointments, and I do not know whether these things are mere signs of a healthy closure to a part of my life I loved best of all, or whether they are symptoms of small, but annoying health issues I may have to deal with over the next few years, or whether they are the beginning of a cruel disease which will cut my life short, and change everything. I don’t know, and I can’t know, for another few weeks.I am uncomfortable, and cold and trying hard to keep everything normal. It’s half term, and the girls are at home. They are shopping for your birthday, while I talk to the nurse.When we began, when somehow we ended up in this peculiar life, we had a vision, of a home that was above all, a safe and nurturing place. Warm and happy, as homespun as we could make it, a shelter from the storm for us, and then one little person, and then another.We somehow felt in our bones the need for that simple, all encompassing life. A life of home grown food, home reared animals, flowers and bees and honey, hand knit sweaters and home brewed wine. We made sacrifices to achieve that life, and although we are still to this day, bone poor and one day away from financial crisis most of the time, my goodness, we had some of those moments.I remember bringing H out of school, the books in the bins, the first (and indeed only) Home Ed Camp, the ramshackle caravan with the babies asleep in the bow, while we sat round the fire and dreamed with thedreamers.I remember them striding and toddling around with our first goats, one holding Amber’s dear patient head while the other milked into an enamel mug!I remember them chewing their pencils, their plaited heads over their books, in the same caravan, while I tilled ground and grew vegetables for the first box scheme. I remember the ponies, and the fun, and the pony club rallies, and the long, long summers in long check frocks and bare feet.Of late, it’s changed so much, and although I know it must in many ways, I suddenly want so much to hang on to all that is good at the core of our lives.We battle the envy and the pride of belonging to a church where everyone, even those who could be our children – in fact I hate to say it, but probably almost my grandchildren – owns their own home and takes prosperity for granted. I’m sorry you’ve come home so many times to my tears. I find it hurtful that they can be so assured around their security. The main complaint at the moment seems to be that although the house is paid off and the pension pot is full, it’s not quite full enough to facilitate early retirement.We have no house. We have no pension. We have no plan for the future. Who knows if we will need one?We battle debt. Having drowned once, you would think this could never happen again, but it does, and the fear and the complexity of it dogs our every day.We’ve tried so hard to make the land into a business, to make it thrive, to build a farm, and we’ve been smacked back at every turn. The water seems to be against us, the weather, the bodies who are supposed to help you, the markets, even our own landlord. Ever wonder if we just weren’t meant to do this?On the way back from town, we stopped in to feed the goats. The rain was lashing down, and they were all hiding indoors. Even they seem to have a whole host of small health issues. There are too many of them, and we have too little time to care for them. We are tired. We have no time for each other. I love those damn goats, but I seldom see them. Life is too busy.The sheep need moving, and the field is still flooding, and the grant funding body that might have helped with the fencing are still not playing ball. I have a million cloves of garlic to plant and it’s not an aquatic plant, so that’s not happening either.What I want back is my homestead. I am tired of trying to create a business, tired of trying to build a community. I just want my family. I want our fresh salads and home loved strawberries back. I want time to sit in the sun, if ever it returns, and laugh and talk and drink Earl Grey.I want our few joints of meat in the freezer, and our fresh home grown spuds to serve with them, our flowers on the table, home knitted sweaters to throw over spring evening shoulders, home made yoghurt from a couple of pampered goats.I know we’ll still be tired by evening time. I know you’ll still have to work all day to make a living, but maybe we could just cut that short now and again to wander round the sheep together, drink cider in the dusk, or just sit with the girls by the fire and be.I have no idea now, how long or short life will be. I have no idea if I am writing this in response to a mere blip on the radar, or if it will turn out to be a glaring line, tearing across our existence. However long or short it is, though – it’s too short to waste trying to build an empire that doesn’t want to be built, or a farm that isn’t in God’s plan, or a community that doesn’t want to convene. It is sweet, and it is ours, and I would like it to glow once again with the priceless bric a brac of intentional living, simplicity, and love. x