A few weeks ago we had been experiencing horrible weather for days, one of the joys of living in rural Wales. Personally, I enjoy hearing the wind and the rain blowing against the window, but only when I’m nice and warm in my onesie or PJ’s staying indoors. However, being a mother does mean that certain responsibilities fall upon you, like the morning school run. So, on a dull Monday morning, with the howling wind blowing anything not stuck to the ground like a scene from the Wizard of Oz, and the rain pouring down, drenching you the second you step foot out the front door, I geared myself up for a long and miserable day.
Then my phone rang. It was my mother; I could tell immediately by the tone of her voice that she was upset about something. She was calling about the greenhouse I had built for her a couple months back. It had been sitting proudly on her patio ready for her to grow her tomatoes next year, but now it was lying broken on the driveway, carried away by the strong winds. I told her not to get too upset, that I would be over as soon as I had dropped the girls off at school.
I didn’t know what to expect as I pulled into the driveway, but it was rather disheartening to see my hard work lying helplessly on the gravel. I took a quick look at the damage and headed inside to comfort my mother. She was naturally upset, not just about the loss of her greenhouse but she felt bad for me, because of the work I had put in to build her this wooden haven, a new addition to her wonderful garden that she takes such pride in. We headed outside to review the extent of the damage. It was lying on its side, a few of the Perspex windows had caved in, but the main damage was to the roof as it had come apart and snapped in places, clearly not able to be repaired, the entire roof would need to be rebuilt. Mum was upset, and truth be told I was rather upset myself. I had worked hard on this project, had put in so many hours, many late nights and now due to one mistake the efforts of my work were lying in ruins before my eyes. There was no other way around it, I would have to disassemble all the salvageable parts, store them and rebuild when the weather was better.
As I was lying on the cold, wet gravel the wind picking up again and the rain falling on me, taking apart the structure I had worked so tirelessly on for 2 weeks leaving nothing but an empty base I couldn’t help but feel that I, much like this greenhouse was also broken. At first glance I seem to be solid and strong, but something would happen to knock me over and break me. It could be something as strong as the wind that broke the greenhouse, or it could be the mere memory of past trauma, a flashback triggered by a certain smell or a place, anything like this could throw me off my base and leave me in ruins. However, what is important to remember, just as I told my mother regarding her greenhouse; We can rebuild. I may be broken in some places but I can be repaired. Perhaps I won’t be the same as I was before, it may take longer than I had originally planned, I just have to keep telling myself that no matter how damaged I may be now, how much my life may seem to be in ruins, I can rebuild.
When you hear on the news of natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, even tsunamis sweeping in and causing such devastations, ripping through peoples’ homes and their lives it can at times shock you to see something so natural causing so much chaos and disruption. This can also apply to people, they may appear to stand tall on a solid foundation, then the slightest occurrence can cause weaknesses, might even show some cracks on the outside. It may not happen instantly, it could be a slow process, something burrowing away at the hard exterior, and then one day that strong wind comes along and knocks you over completely. Its effect can be devastating, not only for the individual, but their family and friends can also be affected in so many ways. At the beginning, it may seem impossible to rebuild from such ruins, but just as a phoenix rises from the ashes, it can be done. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. It may have to be done slowly, in stages, but as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Have patience and trust in the methods that are used to help you rebuild. And just like any natural disaster in the world, there are always people around who are more than willing to help you along the way. They could be professionals who have seen this sort of thing happen before, well equipped with all the right tools to help build you back to your former glory. Or it could be your family and friends, rallying around to support you and walk alongside you on your journey to recovery. Sometimes it can be complete strangers that come together to let you know that you are not alone, that there is a solution to your problems and that you won’t be broken forever. Have faith, not only in yourself but also in others. Broken windows can be replaced, broken parts can be fixed, it just takes courage and the will to survive.
My mothers’ greenhouse, much like her youngest daughter may be in pieces at the moment, but I will rebuild! Both will stand prouder and stronger than ever before. It will take time, patience, and the willingness to accept help when it is needed, and the end result will have a much more solid foundation. You see, looking at her greenhouse as it lay in pieces on the floor, I realised what it had been lacking; an anchor. Something strong and solid to enable it to stay firmly on the ground. I went through much of my broken times without an anchor, nothing there to keep me grounded and I ended up losing my way. Now, I have a family of my own, my anchor that reminds me where home is, that no matter what comes my way they will always be there to love me and support me. One day, my mother will have a rebuilt greenhouse that will withstand anything that comes its way, she will also have a daughter who has rebuilt herself after the devastation of the past broke her to pieces. Perhaps neither will be exactly the same as it once had been, but it will be something (and someone) she can look upon with pride.
Remember things do break and buildings do fall, but with a foundation that remains you can always rebuild. Who knows, perhaps it will be better than it had been before, and you can look back at the dark storm as a mere blip, something that came along and you saw your way through.
As for me, I can be fixed. I won’t remain broken forever, because I refuse to let the strong wind that knocked me down get the better of me, it may take a while, but I’m prepared to put in the work. The greenhouse…well that is going to be more fabulous than ever before, and no amount of Welsh wind will knock it down again.