19.4.13

Alone in a little church



A couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday, I decided to be brave and do one of the favourite things Andy and I used to enjoy - but without him, of course. There is a little church, just over a mile or so away, which I had previously ear-marked for an expedition. 



 It has the most beautiful cropped yews.




And an interesting patch of herringbone brickwork.




 I arrived just after service.


 


The well worn handle, doubling as a sanctuary knocker.


 




I wandered about as normal, taking photos and reading the little pamphlet provided. Circa 13th century font with later cover.




Jacobean pulpit.



Retaining the old boxed in pews - nice to see, so many have succumbed to woodworm, damp and modernisation.




One of a few alabaster memorials, 16th century, if I remember rightly.





Medieval floor tiles.




A wooden effigy of a crusader, carved in oak - one of only three in the country. He was said to be seven foot, an enormous height for the time. His still, noble face and great length reminded me so much of Andy. 





I stroked his cold face, sat in a nearby pew and cried, quietly for a very long time, feeling completely alone, in a strange county where I know barely anyone. I imagined that perhaps Andy was simply waiting outside for me, as he had done so many times before. We would potter home, talk about what to have for lunch and would we eat in the garden, as it was such a  nice day?




But life is different now. I mopped myself up and pulled myself together. I left the solitary church, passed through the old lime tree lined drive and walked home,  to apply myself to sanding down the bedroom floorboards.




56 comments:

Gemma Mortlock said...

Oh Gretel that was such a sad post. I cannot imagine what strength it takes to get up each day and carry on in a county where you know hardly no one and without your best friend. You are an amazing woman and i am in awe of your strength. Keep going strong Gretel and just remember Andy would want you to be happy xxxx

janet said...

I will practice the 'circle' thing and simply be a good listener.

Janet xox
The Empty Nest

VintagePretty said...

I'm so sorry that you have to do these things alone now. Going out and pottering around places is so different on your own and though okay in different circumstances, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to do these things alone.

Perhaps your church tears were much-needed and perhaps just being there and seeing the kind and gentle face of that lithe crusader was what you needed then and there.

Hugs to you through the aether.

Tash from vintagepretty.org

Claire said...

Gretel, such amazing history in these buildings....love the floor tiles and the brickwork.

More strength to you dearest Gretel.

Claire ♥

acornmoon said...

Sending my love and thinking of you, please don't ever think you are totally alone or without friends. x

Jess said...

The church looks lovely, so full of stories and past lives. You're a brave person to go somewhere like that without Andy. I've no doubt he was there is spirit and always remember...
so were we!*hug*xx

tlawwife said...

Thank-you for sharing this with us. I love your pictures that take me places I would love to see in person. Praying for God's comfort for you.

Mac n' Janet said...

What are hard time you're having, I can't imagine the depth of pain you feel. Words make things sound easy, but they're not. Time will eventually heal, but he'll always be with you, in your heart, your memory and your soul.

Nancy said...

I'm glad you are starting to explore your new county and find anchors. I think about you quite a lot even though I have never really met you except through your words and your art. I still think of you as my friend and I still send you kind and warm thoughts.
Hugs from your friend in Austin, Texas.

ted and bunny said...

Nothing quite like having a good cry in a church.
The crusader must've been pleased he reminded you of Andy- how many years must it be since someone sat and cried over him?
xx

rachel said...

Brave girl. And good for you for going in - I wonder if tears in a beautiful little ancient church might be so much more restorative than, say, finding yourself helplessly sobbing at a supermarket checkout.

It will ease with time, and you will start to get to know people. Thinking of you often here. x

mockingbirdsatmidnight.com said...

I only know you from your art and your blog, but I am sending hugs through the lines to you, and hoping that birdsong and spring lightens your way.

Jackie said...

I don't know quite what to say but just to let you know I read and was moved, and am sure that experience was part of your healing.

Jeri Landers said...

Gretel, I am glad that you took this outing, with Andys spirit beside you all the way.What a magnificent church and perfect place to have a good cry. Sending Love to you Gretel

frayedattheedge said...

Our loved ones are still with us, as long as we remember them. Thinking of you, Anne xx

Annie said...

What a beautiful post Gretel....but remember you are never alone. Andy will have been with your on your travels safe in your heart where you will always have a place for him.
Biggest hugs,
Annie x

Frances said...

Gretel, what a beautiful old, even ancient church you've visited. Everything about it that I see in your excellent photographs shows me a place of peace. A place of quiet. A timeless place.

Thank you for showing it to us. What a dear friend you are. xo

Minerva Black said...

Such a serene place, beautiful photos. I hope that ebing there gave you some comfort. So heartbreaking. x

ellen said...

What a lovely church. I think that it must have some healing powers and I hope that you will feel them soon.
So much love I send your way, Dearest Gretel.

Charlotte said...

Every morning you get out of bed. You are amazing and I think Andy is very proud of you. I do wish some of us bloggy people were a bit nearer so we could take you out for a cup of tea once in a while.

Jamile Shirley said...

Gretel,

THANK YOU for showing us the wonderful old church. In sharing your experience, we get to come along with you. What a special gift! There is something about old places; they foster an atmosphere for reflection and renewal. Go where your heart takes you. Be curious. And never stop learning. I feel those pursuits are the salve to life's many wounds.

Many hugs, my friend.

Lin said...

Andy was there with ya, you know that. Every little step, every little thing you do without him at your physical side makes you stronger. But he is there, making sure you survive.

And we are there too, cheering you on and encouraging you with each step.

Birdie said...

Thank you for sharing this deeply moving post. You are courageous on so many levels, big hug Gretel, Sarah

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

You are very brave to venture out each and every day. You faced this though, and made it through. A very big step forward. I'm sure you were being supported that day by many you cannot see, but who are there. I hope you can bear to go there again, it seems a wonderful place for solace and prayer.
xx
julie

Debi aka Lulu P Bear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debi ♥ said...

Oh Gretel that was lovely!!!! Andy will always be with you and you will find him in places like that. What a lovely way to celebrate his life, by living yours! Much much love <3

Julia Guthrie said...

Your strength to blog about these things makes me feel so inspired by you Gretel. Can't even imagine how I'd cope in your place, & so I shall send you virtual cyber hugs & tell you how much I enjoy pottering around old churches too.
Beautiful.And I would imagine that Andy was with you every step of the way.
xxxx

Kris Keese said...

Dear Gretel,

I am always so thankful to see a post from you. Thank you for continuing to let us know how you are. You are in my heart and prayers.

Kris

Emma (My Red Wellies) said...

What a beautiful church, and an equally beautiful (if very moving) blog post.
What strength you have...
Emma x

Gill Edwards said...

what a beautiful church, i hope it gave you some fulfillment and strength

Gill x

Isabelle said...

So sad for you. You're such a lovely person - do hope you get to know people nearby very soon. Beautiful and very moving post.

rossichka said...

Dear Gretel, this church is really impressive. It has survived throughout the centuries and is a witness of people's griefs, pains, joys... Everything in it is history! Reading your story I realised that you HAD to go there that day... To have your special time in solitude... To feel Andy's presence in spite of his absence. You were really courageous to make this step! I do hope you'll find good people and new friends close to you! Still you have an army of friends all over the world, who are thinking of you!:))
Big hugs, dear friend!!!x

Lo said...

Gretel, dear....want you to know that I have chosen you to receive the Awesome Blogger Award. Go to my blog of today 4/19 for the details.
I think you are truly wonderful.
Love,Lo

Carol said...

I hope your time in the beautiful church brought some comfort. It must have been so very hard but you knew you were not alone.
Carol xx

gillianleesmith said...

Gretel - really I have no words... but I just want to let you know that I am reading and thinking of you often and wondering how you are. Much love and friendship. Gillian x

Louise S said...

You are so brave and I am certain your lovely Andy was there with you. There's nothing wrong with a good cry, I think it is good for your soul. Such a beautiful place to visit and thank you for sharing. My thoughts are with you.

Laurel said...

Gretel, that was such a brave trip to make but also perhaps healing for you. Tears can help a lot sometimes, and you are taking the first steps in learning how to live your life in this new world. It doesn't mean you should forget or not miss him, just that it will also be important to find some things that help you feel good or at least OK or you to support you, bit by bit.

Hang in there. You have support from so many people out in the virtual world, but I hope you find people to keep you company in person too.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I wish I could have gone with you. I would have waited outside and held your hand on the way home. Much love and admiration for your bravery.
xo,
pamela

Tara Chang said...

Beautiful photo exploration.

Many many hugs, cups of tea and hard-boiled eggs from my hens to you darling Gretel.

xxxx

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

No words really, just a wave from not so many miles down the road from you, and a virtual hug from a fan.

What a wonderful little church :)

Chloe said...

Sending hugs from here x

Shrimpton and Perfect said...

That's a girl Gretel, you've made a start. One step at a time, it may not get much easier but eventually it WILL get better. Lots and lots of love
Jean xx

Becky said...

Dear Gretel, thank you for sharing your visit. I often think of you and your darling Andy, and this post is another beautiful and very moving tribute to him and to your bravery, wishing you all the very best, Becky. xx

BumbleVee said...

Thinking of you and sending hugs your way Gretel..

I think those little cropped trees look just like some of your whimsical trees ...

JGG said...

Remembering is easy, but missing is hard. You've made giant steps!! You go girl!

Cathy Holtom said...

A big step but it's good to allow yourself time to grieve and heal. x

Tonia said...

It takes such bravery to pick yourself up and keep on going that I'm in awe of your strength.
My hugs and thoughts are no substitute, but you have them anyway. X

Cat said...

It will get better. I promise. It seems to be a "season" for this misery. Not long after your loss, I suffered one too. I know that feeling as if it is as deep as the deepest well inside. Hang tough. There is always hope. My mantra now. Hope. hugs and sunshine.
Cathy

Wendy said...

I think of you every day (I am not a stalker) and send good thoughts and wishes your way.

Continue to be brave, you have so many friends (those you know and the ones who love you through your work and your blog) and know we are thinking of you and supporting you all the time.

Wendy

SeaHolly Blue said...

Hello. I recently came to your blog through several friends of friends and probably too much time drifting on the internet instead of applying myself to more productive tasks. But I just wanted to give you a virtual hug. :) I too am in a new county where I know barely anyone, and I really empathise with you. One day you'll find yourself realising that there aren't quite so many tears, in the meantime they are a great release. Best wishes, xxxx

Trailshome said...

Welcome back. I know it was tough, but you made it. Much love to you, Gretel, and know that we all respect your bravery as you start your life again. Love the pictures, and sharing this little walk with you.

the woolly dog said...

Thinking of you, take care ♥

Homeandfood said...

Have been thinking of you.

Hoping and praying that the days are becoming more bearable. Love and respect for you and your inspirational bravery is immeasurable.

Take care Gretal x

Vintage Jane said...

Just going to that church on your own was a huge brave step. The sadness will ease but the loneliness will be harder. Do you have any friends nearby? You know any one of us will welcome a visit from you ...
Take care dear girl,
M x

Charmaine said...

One day at a time, dearest... one day at a time...

tibby said...

So sad. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I know you don't know me or ever heard from me, but I can guess how you feel. My partner in life also walked away from what we had a year ago now, but not out of desperation or stress or anything. He said he loved me but had to go. I knew what he wanted. But I wanted him.
And my father walked away that very same day 33 years ago. He left this world, feeling pretty much like Andy (just my guess) by his own will.
Time doesn't heal anything, but soothes the pain. Hope you're feeling better by now.