I have our song playing at the moment, Sarah McLaughlin – Angel. I remember it like yesterday, watching you sleep in bed, next to the window with the very soft Autumn Sun brushing your cheek with the silhouette of my white lace curtains. There’s something terribly haunting about this song, and it seemed only appropriate that I chose it when we said goodbye.
Tonight when I drove home from the city, I reflected on who I am now and to where I’ve been. A thought came to mind, that what if you were sitting shotgun with me in my Mini Cooper tonight. What if we were on the way to our friend’s house for a night of laughs, a meal, a movie – the normal things. And what if I could still have you open my door for me, and have you grip my hand, or grab me around the neck in the nook of your shoulder, like best friends and have you for one more night by my side. I’m now writing this story of mine, 3 years, 2 months, and 10 days since the day you passed away.
My name is Cloud and my story is about the importance of courage and hope for a brighter future.
Over the last 3 years, many a time, when I was either out of words or found myself misunderstood, the roads of Mt. Dandenong have been my saving grace – my empty space to question and scream at the Heavens and the eventual quiet roll down Mountain Highway in the Mini at 5am. There was nothing else that I absorbed in the early days, except those curves, dips and twisties on those midnight runs; I know them like the back of my hand.
I’ve endured the grips of Anxiety & Adult Attachment Disorder for the last 3 years. This is the ramifications of losing my partner to an Asthma attack on the 1st of March 2010. Will and I met just outside of high school, on the 28th of March 2002 and built a life together into adulthood. He was only 26 when he passed away. He was my best friend, my mentor, and that relative point of hope and constant belief in my life. Losing him was like losing air. I remember thinking to myself in the dawns that followed many sleepless nights “How is it that I’m still breathing?” because the reality that Will wasn’t around anymore left me so depleted that I was convinced that I was defying life itself. Everything I knew I was, momentarily died with him.
It took me 2 years in to actually realise what I was enduring and it was only then that I could try to understand why my light had gone out. Before Will’s passing, I was highly social, and never ran out of people to see, and having a close web of various friendship groups was what gave me quality of life. Throughout this process, I tried to stay connected with my core friends, but it was clear my mentality was, if I keep people at a distance, I would never have to endure loss ever again.
The thing about loss is that it resonates profoundly and then manifests into a piece of hope that will never stop burning. When you’ve had nothing and then get something back, there’s a constant reminder that you are a being of fortune. That even a granule of sand is a jewel – only because your eyes learn to fixate on hope, the horizon – where sea becomes shore, sun becomes illumination, where sand twinkles and glimmers hope at your feet. It’s only in complete darkness that we’re able to see the light of tomorrow.
The first step to recovery from this experience was to be kind to myself and be patient. It would take the willpower to constantly pick up a shield of quiet courage to endure every moment of grief, anxiety, blame, condemnation and fear. As the cliché goes; smell the roses. It was an exercise of looking out and allowing myself to be moved by the simplest of things. What I had then, is the ability to refocus the inner chaos of anxiety to a weapon of clarity in every passing storm.
This ultimately has become my mandate. Whenever I find I’m missing something within my spirit, I don’t look inwards and dwell on the demons that hurt me, but look outwardly in search of what’s missing. When I feel misunderstood I’ll go and share my story with someone who needs to know they’re not alone. When I feel unloved – I’ll go talk to a stranger who needs company, and there I find love when I express it. When I feel anxious and insecure – I find my purpose and validate that today was easier than yesterday, and tomorrow is hopeful. Just as long as I continue to be brave.
There is so much you can do for your peers. I love how the automotive community is so in tune with generosity; in helping each other out and the comradeship that valiantly breaks all boundaries of race, colour, sex and age. There is so much you can do by asking a mate if they’re okay. Let’s pay more attention to the guys and girls around us. You don’t need to be confrontational – just be a friend. We’re so lucky here in Australia to have the ability to just hop in our cars, pick up a mate, and listen to some hard bass and bond over a black empty road. Start telling your story – you just don’t know what kind of connection you’re going to cause, what life you’re going to save, or how good you’re going to feel at the end of it.
You my dear, would be proud of the human being I am today. I don’t have to question this any further than that encapsulated moment.