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Steps around the crack

Updated: Jun 11, 2019

From the summer of 2018....


It’s been dry here for weeks now. This long hot summer has dried our gardens and fields. In some places the ground has opened into wide cracks, so wide in places that you can slide your hand into them. My neighbour’s house is cracking, alarming jagged lines in the plaster which they are monitoring as the nearby trees continue to suck every drop of precious water from the London clay sub soil.


We wait and wait and then the wind blows, honey bees hurry home with a crazed kind of determination, flying in ways that they only do when storms are impending, everything goes quiet, the quiet before the storm. Then the wind blows, and the temperature drops. This is just what happened on the day my mother died. I recall being in town when I received the call, it was a hot Sunday morning, early still, but the weather changed as I rushed home to her with my daughter, we were shocked and raw that day. And then the storm came as we sat and mourned for her parting.


This day however there was no death, the storm came and it rained like a monsoon for fifteen minutes. The deluge barely soaked the surface. The cracks remained unchanged. Days passed and eventually it rained again for half a day.


People speak of the cracks, how long before they close they wonder. The shrubs and trees look refreshed, their dull and greying flaccid leaves are now refilled, but the cracks, they barely change. They will need to be watered much more before the soil’s surface changes.


So what of these cracks? Just like the first cracks in the lives of our beloved children, we may mistakenly ignore the signs, hoping that things will be okay. Or we may stamp around, getting all shouty about their arising ‘difficult’ behaviour. We don’t understand at this point that our child suffers, like a small abandoned infant. We can’t possibly know what they are going through in life and how much of this they conceal from us. What must it be like to mourn the destruction of the environment, to know that you will likely be around to witniss this? What must it be like to be bullied and to feel that there's no one to turn to? Or to be consumed with self doubt and body image troubles?


This suffering is not wilfulness or a scheme set out to distress or manipulate us. It’s a desperate cry for care, understanding, security and love. We forget to water their small cracks, with positivity, patience, kindness, and the much needed love and compassion. We don’t see how our actions fuel cracks and how sometimes dramatic drastic action may be necessary to prevent the cracks from spreading. In our busy lives we forget to tell our young adults that we love them and we are often too guarded or embarassed to attend to them in the same loving way we did when they were small. We may assume that we don't have to 'own' it when we do things that hurt them and do we ever stop to say that we regret our actions? It's strange that when we don't do this we hurt ourselves as well as our children, because this bond of parent and child is awesome in its potential for love.


Small cracks left un-watered will grow into larger cracks, which may just open into a sink hole, the proportions and impact of which are unfathomable. A sink hole takes much more than a downpour to fill, it’s an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of problem and some of the hands, some of the people who could help will not be able or willing to do so. It may be down to you alone and this is a mighty weight to carry.


Act now, water with positivity, learn how you may stop the soil from drying out, learn how to care for yourself and release the historic wounds which have led you and your family towards where you are right now.

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