Time To Grief.
Melanie turned the key and took a deep breath as she entered the beautiful refurbished beach house. It had been a year since she had visited with her mum and friends. Today it was just her with George her dog entering the house, it was so quiet. As she walked in the hallway, she felt tearful but a peaceful relieve that she was there.
Her mum had loved the beach house an escapism from the monotonous of life her mum had always confessed it was her outlay in life.
“It was always our dream love to have a holiday home along the coast of Wales, Ryle is perfect”.
She could hear the sweet voice of her mum in her head.
The spot in which they owned in Ryle was on a corner of a bay nice and secluded away from tourists and the fairground.
Mel took her suitcase into the kitchen, glanced around, the place was sparkling. Gwen had said she would pop in and spruce it up a bit and leave some basics in the fridge. She noticed a note on the table with a bottle of wine.
I am sorry for the loss of your mum; she was a fantastic boss to me. I love cleaning the place.
Hope you get some time to rest. Give me a call if you need anything else.
She opened the fridge to see beyond basics a fridge full of her favourite foods, a selection of fine cheeses, fine wines, yogurts. Gwen had been cleaning the place for over twenty years and knew exactly what Mel like to eat. She pulled out a pot of casserole and paced it in the microwave.
She wandered through to the lounge and looked around, everything was perfectly in its place undisturbed. Mum had looked after the house so well. She picked up a photo of the three of them, mum, dad and Mel when she was around 12 years old on the beach. They all looked so happy and calm with seldom cares.
“Oh, mum how I miss you and Dad, I hope you two are having a great reunion up there” she smiled as she conveyed to the white ceiling.
Her dad had died five years previous; he was a gentle soul and treated mum like a queen.
Mel hadn't had much time to grief or process her mum's passing yet. It had been a busy three weeks with arranging the funeral, her aunt and Uncle stayed for a week helping Mel empty and put up for sale her mum's house in Craning. She had purposely come to the beach house to grief, take some time off from work to charge her batteries and get going again. She wanted to keep the beach house although Mel didn’t have any children, she was divorced of ten years ago. It would still be nice for her and George to visit for holidays. George was her baby.
She ate her food in the kitchen, fed George. Took a shower and headed to bed. Mel was exhausted as her head touched the pillow; she fell asleep.
It was nice to wake up to the sound of waves splashing on the rocks. The sun shining light into her bedroom window. Mel breathed a deep breath, she found herself doing this a great deal since mum passed away. It seemed to help her keep composed when things seemed overwhelming, she would simply take a deep breath and think of something to be thankful for. Today she was simply thankful for the tranquillity of the beach house. George jumped up on the bed licking her face.
“Good morning to you too George is that you ready for a walk?” stroking his fur.
George barked and wagged his tail excitedly.
She looked at the clock, 6:30am.
“Ok, ok let me put some clothes on and make a coffee.”
With Georges lead in one hand and her travel mug in the other. She headed off down the sloped path to the beach.
“Which direction George?”
George immediately pulled her to the right.
“Right, it is then.”
The tide was out giving her reams of room to walk. Mel absolutely loved being on the beach. Being November, it was 3c so not too cold but there was a natural wind on the beach. She pulled her scarf up over her face and let George of the lead. She could see another dog walker further down the beach, it was still early most people were still waking up.
She had no agenda for the next few weeks other than to discover her thoughts and allow her grief to be released. It was a nice feeling. Mel had always kept life full, as she was becoming older; she realised the importance of making time to recover from life's blows to then bounce back stronger. There were books that she wanted to read, paintings that she wanted to paint in the next few weeks.
She walked for what seemed forever enjoying looking out to sea stopping every now and again to throw a stick to George, she looked at her watch. It was 9am, they had been out for two hours. She could feel her cold fingers underneath her gloves.
“Let's head back George before we freeze”
Mel felt lighter for having a decent walk, they headed back towards the bay.
“Almost home George”
George started to bark and run towards another dog.
Mel ran after him. George stopped at the dog and both dogs started to lick each other.
“I think they both like each other” said a voice behind her.
Mel turned around to see a man around her age standing watching her, he was tall and had an intriguing face, it looked somewhat gentle and kind plus he had a few distinct freckles on his left cheek. She realised she was examining him closely then stopped herself and moved her eye gaze to the sea.
“Yes, it appears that way." she smiled
“I haven't seen you here before,” said the man
“My mum has a beach house down in the bay. I generally visit once a year, she passed away three weeks ago. I am only here this time to clear my head.”
She found herself saying more than maybe she wanted too it just blurted out of her mouth
“Don't be sorry I am Josh” he smiled as he spoke.
“And you? Do you live here?”
“I do now, I moved from London to live by the sea and have a quieter pace of life away from the bustle of the city.”
They began to chatter about life in London, Mel´` s beauty business, her town Craning. An hour had passed.
“Well, I better get George back for a drink of water.”
“I walk my dog every morning” he said
They had been lost in conversation that they hadn't noticed the dogs still playing together.
“I mean George needs a dog friend, right”?
“Right” laughed Mel.
Mel headed back into the house and cooked up some scrambled egg for her and George.
“Did you like making a friend?” she had always spoke to George, he had become her best friend. As she brushed him down to get the sand out of his fur.
Mel curled up on her bed with one of mum's patchwork blankets on top of her and opened a book. Over the next few hours, she only got up to go to the toilet, let George out in the garden and made a quick sandwich. When was the last time I had done this, she thought to herself. Enjoying the relaxation, her body felt at peace and was almost thanking her for giving it time to rest and for soothing it.
She got up to walk and feed George, close the curtains and went back to reading. She changed into her pyjamas and fell asleep, encouraging herself that she shouldn't feel guilty about not doing much.
The next morning, again George jumped on her bed a little later this time at 7am.
“Same routine George”
As Mel started to walk on the beach she wondered if she would bump into Josh again, it was nice to have some human contact. George brought her a stick and they played fetch, then she heard the barking and the delighted look on George's face as she saw Josh's dog Millie. Josh followed behind.
“A happy Good Morning” Josh looked pleased to see her.
“I was hoping that I would bump into you”.
He pulled out a picnic blanket from his back pack, laid it on the sand and pulled out a paper bag. I went to the bakers and picked us up a couple of croissants and hot coffees. I hope that’s ok?”
“That’s great” said Mel pleased to have some company.
Josh was a graphic designer working for a large company in London but was now able to work from home. He had also been married before he shared with Mel that they had started to go in different directions and the marriage fizzled out. They talked for hours again, sitting then walking to keep warm.
“I should go its lunch time”.
“I should head home too and do some work” he said laughing.
“Same time tomorrow?” Josh attentively asked
Mel smiled as she walked back into the house, she hadn't expected to meet anyone especially and a male friend. Mel felt upbeat although her mum had died, she knew that being at the peaceful beach house was doing her good.
She picked up her paints and placed them and her canvas next to the window to paint a beach scene liked she had done many times when she was growing up. The colouring of the painting was different this time, painting a beach scene in the month of November was bleaker but more powerful and striking in colour. She could see a lady and her dog walking on the beach and captured them in her painting. It was therapeutic for her and seemed to be releasing her grief.
“Oh, mum I wish you could see this painting, it’s pretty amazing.”
She had decided to write her mum a goodbye letter, it began with the admiration that she had felt for her mum, full of thanks for the sacrifices that she had made in order for Mel to have everything she had wanted to do in life. Mum and Dad worked so hard over the years for Mel to have violin lessons and ballet lessons. Tears flowed down her cheeks as it released the mourning in her, her body shook, she felt pain in her sides. She took a shower thinking it would ease her pain and stop her tears from flowing but they still flowed and she burst into sobbing.
Mel didn’t quite know what to do, she had experienced loss when her dad died but nothing quite like this. Maybe grieving your mum is different. She felt more physical pain in her body, took some ibuprofen and wiped her tears.
“Pull yourself together”
This is the time when you need some human touch, she thought to herself.
She ran down to the beach, it was dark but lights from the pavement provided some light. The tide was in, she stood from the railings threw the letter into the sea and whispered
“Love you mum, rest in peace.”
A peace came on her like she had not experienced before and a light shown over the sea in front of her. Is this mum saying goodbye she thought to herself, after a few minutes the light then faded and disappeared.
She turned around and saw Josh standing with his dog Millie.
Without thinking Mel thrust herself into his arms.
They stood and hugged in the cold night air tears flowing down Mels face. Josh was quite the gentleman he just held her not saying anything for a few minutes, pulled a tissue out of his pocket and wiped his tears.
“You hungry? Whispered Josh
They wandered down to the local Italian restaurant, Mel tucked into a cannelloni and Josh had a four-cheese pizza.
“Are you vegetarian?”
“Some days” he laughed “I like a good juicy steak”.
Mel was starting to really like Josh and in more than just a friend way, was it a coincidence that he had come to the beach tonight?
“How did you know I would be at the beach?”
“I didn’t I was walking Millie then I saw you.”
He reached over the table and held her hand, Mel didn’t let go of his hand she smiled.
“I feel so much better for having a good cry.”
“Grief takes time” Josh smiled.
“Time is one thing I have I am thankful for that.”
The next few weeks, Mel and Josh became more than just friends taking their time with their relationship and allowing each other the space they needed. George and Millie were pleased to be spending more time together.