Right now, I just can’t stop crying. It’s been coming at me for about two weeks now – pretty much straight after my birthday. This year has been incredible – that surely has been the most used word of my vocabulary, especially these past 8-ish weeks in Africa. But it’s true – it has been incredible. I know it’s not over and I know I’ll never forget, but I’m in pain right now.
The pain is different to what I felt last year – that can’t be repeated – this pain is a feeling stuck in my gut that refuses to come up and exit. My eyes and stomach have wanted me to cry for two weeks, but as I tried lifting the emotions and tears from my belly, my throat keeps stopping them. I’ve heard of lumps in the throat and have likely experienced them. But this is unlike any other. It is more than a lump – it is a block. Like it’s telling me ‘no, you can’t be emotional. You have to be strong and happy and positive.’ I am a strong and positive person, but at times, you need a break from that.
The build up has me got so bad that on our way to Table Mountain a few days ago, I asked the girls to tell me sad stories to help me cry. They recounted the details from The Notebook, I went through Mufasa dying in The Lion King, and Hannah almost had me with the plot from Pay it Forward. Yet still, I couldn’t get the tears to form. I had just that morning said farewell to some beautiful people – the hardest being my little Anika, the little sister I never knew I wanted, yet was more like a daughter to me. I was an emotional wreck, yet even when seeing her tears and those of others, I couldn’t get myself to follow suit. It was like I had a heart of stone.
I’ve pretty much got a day to myself today – I’ve chosen not to hike around Drakensberg and instead chill at our accommodation. It’s the perfect setting for writing and feeling – all around creativeness. It’s the time I needed, yet even after the tears, my heart still feels stone like and my belly isn’t quite empty.
Africa has not just kept a piece of my heart; it’s stolen some of my soul. There is so much to see, do and experience here. How can you ever be done with it? Will it ever be done with you?
I am so happy with all that I have seen and done, and all whom I have met and bonded with, yet I still feel I’m missing something. I need more. I need closure.
Moving so quickly from country to country, campsite to campsite, activity to activity you don’t really process it all. You try so hard to take it all in and enjoy life in the moment – there is nothing like it. But when the moments are over, you realise that there is so much more to it.
I still have almost three weeks left and I will make the most of it… and based on this morning, I will probably spend the first week at home a miserable mess. But, until then, I am in South Africa – about to cross into Lesotho – and will enjoy and experience so much more.
I love life and I love what I am doing now, that I am able to do this. But the pain from losing so many beautiful places, people and activities behind… it’s hard. I’m glad I was able to cry some this morning – the weight in my belly is a little lighter – but there is more to come.
Enjoy the moments, but don’t be afraid to walk away from the moments and process. I’ve stopped crying now; let’s see what happens next.