And with that, Lulu my best friend was taken away forever. Prised from my soft 6-year old hands, holding tightly to her special travel cage. I got one last glimpse of her ginger coat and black eyes before the security door slammed shut, and the full force of my tears and rage flooded me.
Mum protested. ‘This is ridiculous! A hamster can’t have Rabies; she’s never even left the house, except for today.’
Met by an official silence, I wailed harder and louder, realizing it was the only power I had. Fellow ferry passengers tutted or shook their heads, while I screamed at the men in uniforms that I hated them AND their stupid country.
So that was the beginning of my long-held, ongoing animosity towards England, small men in authority, and rules that can’t be bent or broken. I also think it was the birth of my Separation Anxiety.
I said the first of many goodbyes to my beloved Dad that day, in ferry terminals, railway stations, and especially airports, as Mum and he began divorcing. He remained in France; she took my brother and I to England to start a new life. For decades, I have connected farewells with a terrible churning dread in my guts that I may never see that person again, and that one of us is going to die.
It sounds dramatic I know, but that’s just how it’s been for me, and I know some of you will understand exactly.
Last week, after a blissful 8 days together, I had to drop ‘H’ to the airport back to Melbourne. It’s the 7th goodbye we’ve done, and a big one this time: the next day, I was flying to France and the UK for my cousin’s 50th, and to see my Mum.
As our love affair unfolds, with each visit we sink more slowly and clearly into a deeper connection; I admit I was expecting to get quite upset.
But although I felt a bit sad, I didn’t cry. Although I was a bit bummed about the length of time until our next visit (6 weeks), I didn’t stress out. ‘H’ strode calmly off into the crowd of fellow passengers, and I drove home to pack, cradled in the hum of a peaceful, kind, loving relationship.
Thank you Therapy. Thank you Meditation. Thank you 5Rhythms. Thank you Turning 50. Thank you Me, for doing all the work, bringing all the awareness, making all the mistakes and trying again despite failures. Thank you ‘H’, for being who you are, and meeting me as best you can, with both the best and not-so-best we all carry inside.
And thank you Lulu. For teaching me that it’s right to protest against unfair authority, and to let your love and pain flow, no matter who’s watching.