Swapping old memories for new

Whilst we wait for our fish & chips to be cooked ( every piece is cooked fresh- from the freezer- and in case Hugh FW is reading this, we ordered Pollock not Cod!)  I’m enjoying the last of the warmth as clouds and a chilly breeze envelope the sinking sun. 
slightly impulsive half day out has brought my two sons and I to Lulworth Cove. This is a place so familiar in my life yet with circumstances beyond my control, it’s sadly not been a major part of theirs. 

My boys with Man O War bay below
The last time they were here I’d dropped them in horrendous wind & rain during a half term, at Ringstead Bay & arranged to pick them up in Lulworth an hour or so later. This was a couple of years ago when I was well enough to drive but not to walk. 

I have been regularly with Mr C since our Miracle Walk this time last year where we stayed in Lulworth after walking from Weymouth and en route to Swanage. 

Today I had a different agenda. I’ve always loved Man O War beach on the Eastern side of Durdle Door. Mr C & I visited a few weeks ago but it was late/ cold & we were unprepared for a swim. Today we arrived around 5 pm on a beautiful sunny day, slightly breezy but after a good week or so of warmth I knew the sea would be bearable. 

When you look down on the beach from the cliffs you can see a sandy strip under the water, a ‘channel’ to the rock island that protects the beach a little from the open sea. 

Last time I was sat and ‘swam’ in that bit of sea was 20 years ago and I’m ashamed to say that I now realise I need to let that memory go.  I wasn’t able to swim across to the rocks due to my absolute fear of swimming, and the sea. It resulted in being left behind, but as it turned out, it signalled the beginning of a betrayal. 

Part of my healing has meant re visiting my past and letting go of painful memories. This doesn’t mean burying them deep inside, which is what I had been doing. To truly let something go it needs to be seen for what it is, with hindsight. My judgement of that memory is what has caused the pain, presuming that I was a victim because the others involved wanted to cause me pain. I can see now that that may well not have been the case and I now wouldn’t be surprised if either of them would even remember the occasion. Despite this I have allowed any talk, image or visit to this place be overwhelmed by the painful event that happened so many years ago. 

Conquered! Me on top of the rocks after swimming across

I knew I needed to ‘rewrite ‘ my associations with this place, and until only a few minutes ago I thought that meant describing in detail what had caused my pain. 

By chance I happened to read a short piece on forgiveness and I realised that re writing an event isn’t enough, like putting tipex over an error, the original words remain, and the ‘mistake’ is visible by its correction. 

I needed to revisit that fateful day but using the eyes of the others involved, it wasn’t about me at all, it was about them, their journey and whether or not they remember the same day with guilt, remorse or even at all is their business. 

I can now allow my mind and heart to fill with the countless visits since but especially this trip with my boys. I always knew deep inside that this was a ‘happy place’ and by conquering not only my fear of swimming, in the sea, past my depth, with some seaweed below, but also the ghosts of my past. 

The two wonderful young men I shared this place with were a result of my life after a great sadness. They supported me with my fears in swimming across this very short stretch of water. Now I can experience and hold onto the very special moments of us sharing and dissolving my pain. 

I hope that sharing this experience helps you to enjoy visiting places where pain was created. When we live in the same area for a great proportion of our lives it can seem impossible to be able to let passed memories go but if we don’t truly and deeply forgive the perpetrators and ourselves we starve ourselves of future joy, contentment and most of all peace. 

Looking across the bay to Portland

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