Yes, the house felt empty on Saturday when I opened the front door to pick up my remaining belongings. Empty yet oddly….full! Not of any persons, or memory, or sadness, regret, happiness. All potentially there however the utter sense of stillness eclipsed anything and everything. I’d wondered how it would be to come back after 15 months to a house I’d lived in. I’d shared with visitors, helped fill with Iain’s possessions in 2009 and then gradually helped empty it of them. Of books and SO much more of those things he treasured. His wife hardly had the opportunity to accumulate before the sudden death. Heart breaking for her.
People said after he died we, Iain and I, were close and I’d say, Well not particularly. Yes, he was always there via email to advise on matters to do with written English and sundry other things especially to do with the house or his car, which I had the use of. And he consulted me, or talked through, personal and spiritual matters on the telephone or in person when he was back from Japan. I was his religious mentor, a student/teacher arrangement. Close but not close close. The teaching relationship between us prevailed. Though I’d be hard-pressed to describe it. Ones humanity is not excluded.
I knew it and from time to time it was obvious and on entering the house and walking about collecting things confirmed it. Anything personal which one would describe as ‘being close’ was eclipsed by…..stillness. One could call that emptiness or better, a full-emptiness. What I know of is the gift we give to our fellows, which most often gets lost in the wash! Lost sight of that is, in the cut and thrust of daily living with it’s warmer and cooler moments. But pausing for a moment, as I did on Saturday, the truth of the gift is confirmed. But nothing to get excited about though. No sadness at losing something nor joy either. Full-emptiness does the job, an expression my teacher frequently used.
Then I walked up to the Nine Standard Rigg, and on the way down the sun picked up Cross Fell. Although my monastic friend might tell me otherwise….! Put me right Reverend.
This post is for all those who are or who have lived through the pain and suffering that comes with loss. It fades.