Alone on a new path


The past several weeks have been difficult. This is an awkward post to write, considering that I am a very private person and not given to spilling my emotions publicly. So the fact is, Joe does not live here any more. He left, three weeks ago, with what he could fit into a few bags, offering no credible reason and departed without even bothering to say goodbye (or sorry). And while I’d sensed (with some confusion) the night before, that he could barely stand to be in the same room as me, I had not expected this. We never argued and as far as I was aware, had a good relationship. But it seems he’d planned it all for at least three weeks and even had a room in town pre-arranged. So I had been living in a fool’s paradise. Had I not confronted him that morning, he would have stayed for a bit longer, until it suited him. 

I kept my dignity and retired to my studio to let him pack. After all, what can you say? Since then, I’ve joined a few dots up and it’s left rather a nasty taste in my mouth. But thank goodness for my dear friends  - my  ‘sisters of the heart’ - who have been my constant support throughout.


When he left, I was cold with physical shock. But as the days went on, I realised that this is not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. Once the numbness had worn off, I tried to hit the ground running, sort out what finances I could and  began working ten hour days in my studio, in an attempt to earn enough to keep the roof over my head. I’m bruised,  but not broken. As someone once said, ‘people have died, but not for love’ and I find I am enjoying my new found freedom and the space to do whatever I like. The old ‘me’ is returning - I’ve missed her.

Here’s the thing - long time readers of this blog will know that three months after moving into this cottage, in 2013, my darling partner Andy decided to leave this world, and took his life. Nothing can even come close to the pain I suffered then.



When you’ve stayed up all night because the love of your life has gone missing on a bleak, snowy winters night. When you’ve seen the sniffer dog following his scent across the fields and heard the rescue helicopter thumping overhead, doing a search and sweep. When a kind faced police woman tells you that a body has been found and you sink to your knees, wailing, wishing that a hole in the ground would swallow you up. When you survive the months of misery and loneliness afterwards - when you have been through all that and can still find joy in life. When all that happens, it seems that being lied to, deceived and manipulated are really, by comparison, quite small hurts. Although they are, of course, hurtful.

The last five and a half years just seem like a terrible and sad waste of time.

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Lin said...

Gretel, I am very, very sorry that you are going through this. Sometimes we cannot understand those that are right under our noses. If he had an issue, the proper thing to do...as an adult...is to communicate. If not to work things out, then to at least tell you he is leaving...and why.

This stinks, plain and simple. I pray for comfort, for peace, for strength to move on. It was just sort of shitty what happened, and for that, I am sorry.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I am so sorry that this has happened. I wish as Lin said that Joe had at least been honest. Sometime men are cowards and they take the easy way out and that seems to be what he has done. I am not sure what is next but I have you in my prayers. Is there anything that we can do to help you? Is your Estsy shop open? Are you offering workshops? I would love to promote, purchase and do whatever I can to help you during this difficult time.

Take care of yourself you are a strong woman and you have a lot of friends here that are rooting for you.

Kathy said...

I am sorry to hear this. Wishing you all the best. Take heart...you have so much talent and you will come out fine.

Caroline B said...

I'm so sad to hear this Gretel - I think it's the betrayal that always stings the worst. But as you say, you have been through worse than this and survived - stay strong, revel in finding your old self again, you'll get through this as well. Hugs. C.

Barbara Prime said...

Oh sweetheart, it's never easy to have someone you care about leave your life. I'm glad you're feeling strong enough to keep taking care of yourself, and continue doing what you love. Be encouraged to know there are many people who care about you and wish you well (even if we've never met).

Gerry Snape said...

Hello dear Gretel...betrayal is like a punch in the stomach...I know...so I'm so sorry for the hurt. Please believe that there are people who care..even if it's years between us seeing one another...always gr
ateful for your friendship with the blessed daughter...much love..G. xx

Sara Tomlinson Design said...

I'm so sorry you have had to suffer.
I have followed your journey for many years and still remember when you lost Andy.
My Father took the same journey that he did and I too remember and will never forget the police telling me and the forensic testing in my parents house.
I spent 12 years in a relationship which I have now been free from for a year. It wasn't until I look back I realised how controlled I was.
Life can deal us hard blows, but we are strong and I'm so glad you are finding yourself. Hold on to her and don't let go xx

Soozcat said...

Oh, Gretel, I don't know what to say. Other than what I hope you already know... that there are three people in a faraway, smoky town in Washington state who love you dearly and wish every good thing for you.

Unknown said...

I am very sorry to hear what has happened in your life, but very encouraged to hear you are "not broken". It won't be easy, but you are already okay. Yes, very sad about the wasted time, but I hope eventually you will see some good in these last years; you were not alone. "There is no great loss without some small gain." It is just too bad that he couldn't have discussed the problem and come to some agreement about things.

I think I found your blog when I saw other blogger comments on your loss of Andy and have been following ever since. I rarely comment on blogger because Blogger always thinks I am at my husband's gmail account and I have not been able to change it. I am really at Marym.clabots @ gmail dot com. Mary/ Wisconsin

floraHerbarius said...

What a terrible disappointment for you, and most shocking for us who follow your blog. Even though I live so far from you and have never met you in person, I felt a deep pain in my heart when reading these sad news. But please don't think that those last five and half years have been a waste of time - remember that the days with Joe also meant a great value to your life, but perhaps now you might be better off without him. Please don't forget that being left by a man you loved can eventually lead to something even better in the near future. It's good to read that you feel strong and work hard - sometimes such brutal changes in our lifes can lead to more creative outbursts.

Madness and mayhem said...

Stay strong
i cried for you when i read 'his last walk' all those years ago today reading this i know you have enough fight in you to getn through this and come out the other side.
i have been on my own a long long time and i can honestly say i am happy. you will find your happy place too

Karren said...

Dear Heart, your path has taken another dip in the way to happiness again, but it's good to read that you are doing well. As a long time follower of your adventures, I feel like you are a friend, and you're going through another crisis. I wish I could offer a hug and a long talk over a cup of tea and some cake. My heart is with you, and the pictures of the eroded paths you're showing, illustrate how troubled you are now.
Everyone has already offered sympathy and affection. One other thought in my mind this morning is sympathy for the people in our lives who haven't the ability or bravery to be honest and open about what's going on in our lives. What a craven thing to do, make all those plans without sharing his feelings. I'm sure that you are by far the stronger and better person, than the man who just ran away without a word. I'm so happy for you that you are already finding your feet and the way forward into this next part of your life. I wish you peace.

Kim said...

I'm so sorry to hear your news! What a jerk :( Thank goodness you have your art. And you're so strong. This life we live is so dang complicated with so many ups and downs. I hope your up is coming soon!

Cheryl said...

I am so sorry, Gretl. I, too, started following you when you lost your dear Andy. You didn't deserve to be treated this way by Joe. It seems like it was such a very, very immature thing to do. I find joy in your creations and hope that you will find joy by making more beautiful things. Sending you love and peace from afar.

Twiglet said...

Hi Gretel - you know where I am if you need me. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. No-one should be treated like this. Keep strong, look forward not back. Sending you a virtual, socially distanced hug. xxx Jo

Granny Sue said...

Well, that stinker. And I thought he was a nice guy Humph. You're right, you will survive this. You are one of the strongest, and most creative, people I know. Sending lots of love to you, and bad juju to him.

Puddock said...

Gretel - I am so sorry to hear this. Sending you hugs from the Pond.

You are strong and you have good friends and that will get you round the next corner and who knows what wonders will be there.

Hugs and positive thoughts from here to there (( ))