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A New Chapter By The Sea


We went down to our new house over the weekend to have a chat with the guy selling it. Nothing is definite yet as we haven’t exchanged contracts, but as far as we are able to tell everything is good and we should be moving there late August or early September.

The house is in a small village in West Dorset and is about 0.8 of a mile from the beach. Claire informed me that we had been to the beach a few years ago, but I must say that with my man memory I have no recollection, and so I decided that we’d walk to the beach on Saturday to see how far it was from our new house to be.

We set off walking from a house and just 20 minutes later Thea, Millie, Toby, Olivia, Tommy (O’s boyfriend), Evie and myself were on the beach.

I was overwhelmed with emotion, both good and bad at the same time. It felt great knowing that we would probably be living a short distance from such a fantastic beach which we can visit at any time but at the same time it was so sad knowing that this was Claire’s dream, and she came so close to realising it herself.

Claire desperately wanted to live by the sea and we often spoke about when we eventually would. She saw our new house about a week before she died, so at least she died knowing that she would be moving to the coast fairly soon. It just makes me sad to think that she never actually made it.

Losing Claire has changed me so much. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly and the only way I can describe it is as a “bollocks, I’m doing it” attitude! Facing mortality and death like this is bound to change our beliefs and values in our own life – and I think this is where the problem lay for people that don’t deal with their grief. The shift in our thinking changes so much that it becomes difficult to cope with.

Facing these issues head-on has become really important to me, I know that it would be easy to store up many negative emotions because it’s so difficult to deal with all of this change in thinking which has happened so fast. All that I know is that this is a process which happens slowly over time, each day we deal with a different issue and we move on. How long the process will take I have no idea and in fact I’m not going to focus on that at all. The problem is that we have no way of knowing that the process is finished and so why even bother asking ourselves the question, ‘is it finished yet?’.

If I’m working with a client as a coach that wants to be more confident or happy I will always ask them ” How you know that you are as confident or happy as you want to be, what will you see, hear and feel specifically?” – using this same logic on my own grief leads me to ask the question “How will you know that the grieving process has finished? What will you see, hear and feel specifically?” – unless I can answer that question with absolute clarity there is no point in me wondering how long will this will take because without clarity around that question I could end up feeling low for ever.

Moving house won’t sort all of this out I know that. But we started the process together as a couple, we were about to begin a new chapter in our lives and I’m looking forward to beginning a new chapter albeit in a rather different way to how I originally expected.