I recently spent a week in Cape Town to attend my dad’s funeral service. It was a pretty insane week. First of all I travelled straight from work on the Friday afternoon and arrived back in London just before dark the following Sunday. The flights were with Emirates which therefore meant basically 9 hours x 2 with a 2 hour wait at Dubai airport each way. By wait I mean get off at a terminal, wait for a bus to take you to another terminal, bus ride so long that you seriously cannot believe it’s part of the same airport, another long walk to the correct terminal. The trips there and back were adventures in themselves. Unfortunately none of the excitement of every little experience was there this time. And it made me sad. In fact on the trip back to England my son’s dentist was on the same flight as me (the world remains small!). She was travelling to London with her husband and 10 year old son because her son needed a liver transplant. He had had one at birth and was now struggling with the current liver and they needed to get there to get the best possible advice and prognosis and hopefully a new liver. She left her other son with her parents and told me they had no idea how long they would be staying as they would be staying as long as it took. Well, that just did it for me. That, and the fact that I finally conceded to watching Me Before You on the flight back, had me in tears the entire flight back. I was a mess. I think it all just became too much by that stage.
The week was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Being in Cape Town, living in my dad’s house, not knowing what I should be doing with the house but knowing I needed to have some kind of plan in place before I left. Having full responsibility of making sure things went according to plan, standing up and speaking in front of a whole church full of people (something I have never done in any shape or form before), spending time with the lawyer signing my life away. Coupled with spending every single waking moment with one or more of my loved ones. Having one foot in Cape Town and another, new life waiting for me in London, I literally felt like I was split in half with one part of me still in London. I didn’t once feel completely present. I totally forgot many conversations I had until my daughter actually grew quite concerned for my mental health.
I was more heartsore and homesick leaving this time with a million worries about if it was the right thing to do, to go back. But the moment I landed on English soil it was a relief. I was home. Weird right. Even though everyone I love the most in the world was back in Cape Town, I felt more grounded and together when I got home to Richmond than I had in a week. I’ve been back a week now and I’m still struggling. I’m struggling with sadness and apathy. There is no sparkle where there was before. Even though I am happy to be back I’m grey. That could have something to do with the weather though as that is what I have come back to. But I don’t think so. I think it’s reality sinking in. The reality that in order to achieve my goals I need to be in London for now and while that comes with its own set of issues, which is what I think I am grappling with now, it’s still the right thing to do.