- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Thursday, 9 February 2017
Wow what an arse of a year that was.
There’s a hill that ascends Highgate Cemetery that is particularly testing on the legs. But what is even more debilitating about this hill, is the fact that it just goes on and on and on. When you eventually see that the end is in slight (the entry gate to the cemetery), if you had any breath left in your body, you would probably shout "Hallelujah". Never, ever in your life, will you be so happy to finally reach your intended destination: the entrance to a graveyard (or maybe you will).
2016 was a bit like that hill. As Big Ben rung in 2017, we all collectively shouted "Hallelujah" even if it did remind us all that Leonard Cohen who both wrote and performed it, was also one of its many casualties.
It was alight wasn't it? Wasn't it? No it wasn't as people started to get hurt and it didn't seem like a good start to the year.
In response, we all stuck two fingers up at 'It' (not the clown in the Stephen King book, but just as evil) and attempted to became more human via technology in spite of it all.
But it just seemed to get worse didn't it? It didn't seem to ease-up on the misery front at all. Instead, it felt like it was raining death. Our collective mortality seemed to be up for auction at any price. Who will be next we wondered as no one appeared to be safe.
Then it all got a bit too personal for me and mine when my mum suffered a brain aneurysm. It was horrific for all of us: was she going to live or die? If she survived, how would it affect her? Would she remember her life? Would she remember us? How were we prepared for this?
It was an unrelenting nightmare that she eventually survived. As a child, when your parent becomes sick, you experience a multitude of emotional responses, one of which is a numb void of the exhaustion you constantly feel.
You develop compassion fatigue for all that is external or irrelevant to that time and space.
In a word, it was shit.
It could be worse though couldn't it?
Whilst my mum lay in the ICU, a ward of 10 beds, I was taking a break downstairs when I literally bumped into a family friend. I had been thinking I should call this friend and let her know about mum's situation. So when I saw her I asked her if my aunt had called her. I will never forget the look of realization that crossed her face as she covered her mouth with her hand. No, she didn't know about mum. She was there because her brother-in-law (another friend of ours) had also suffered a brain aneurysm and was laying in the bed opposite mum's. It was too much to process. What are those odds? He was a young healthy middle aged man. He didn't smoke or do any of those apparent bad life choices that people make. My mum however, well she was an all singing and dancing smoking drinker in her late 70's.
He never woke-up and died shortly afterwards.
Even as I type that, I still cannot believe that it happened. That poor man. The grief expelled by his family was just crucifying: and I felt terribly guilty about the fact that my mum did wake-up.
As the year progressed, life changed and with it relationships. Imagine trying to do a jigsaw puzzle with a blindfold on. That's what it was like.
Nothing seemed to make too much sense any more, whilst at the same time, it all seemed far too overwhelming to make sense of. Everyday life still had to go on: ironing and shopping still needed to be completed and done. But, it was hard to find an even keel on board a boat in a stormy sea sometimes.
As the year headed towards the festive season I lost my job and my mate. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep and some days I did. My mum has always said that you should listen to your body and so I did.
Like all of you, as we crawled towards New Year's Eve and the conclusion of this shitty year, I was determined that 2017 would be a better destination. 2016 taught me to appreciate everything and to take nothing for granted. And time is ticking. Listen and you'll hear it. It won't wait for you to make the best use of it if you choose not too you know: it will just tick tock on and leave you standing.
I spent the impending hours of 2016 in the company of my dearest friend. She is clever and wise and smart and extremely emotionally generous. I love her unreservedly. Last year she said to me 'Feel the love Holly.' And even though I felt a huge amount of sorrow for all that I lost personally and collectively in 2016, I am not going to miss a thing in 2017. I am blessed and grateful to have so many and so much on my side and that my mum is still here.
Don't get so bogged down with the big stuff, it just blows away like petulant tumble weed after a while if you ignore it: just breathe, get up every day and do what makes you happy. As long as you tick all of the boxes, you're allowed.
And if you're not happy, then ask yourself why and how you can change that. You can you know.
2017 is a new chapter waiting for you to write.
Remember that Shia LaBeouf 'Just do it.' video?