A lot has happened since I last posted. Suddenly I am aware that I am passing across one of life's thresholds. Everything is changing.
The other day, I took my wedding dress to a charity shop in Norwich that specialises in bridal wear. It will be sold in aid of the local cancer charity, The Big C Appeal, which has raised vast sums so far to set up a support centre for cancer sufferers and their families at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, as well as for other projects around the county.
It was a huge wrench to leave it behind in the shop. I burst into floods of tears. The volunteers are used to this reaction, though. They were very kind. And it had to go. It was huge. It was taking up space and gathering dust. Now it will bring someone else happiness.
It was not until I had sat in the garden in the church across the road and cried my eyes out that I began to realise what I had let go. The wedding dress is a symbol of youth and beauty. You wear it on the best day of your life, when you look your most lovely. By releasing that dress into the world, I was letting go of that young image of myself. But I needed to mourn its passing too.
On that day, in 1996, I became Mrs Barrow. Together, Pat and I created for me (for us both, in fact) a new identity that has progressively allowed me to become more myself. It is because of the love we share that I have grown into the woman I am now, older, yes, but also wiser, thank Gods,and more at peace.
Now I hope that someone else will come along and love that dress as much as I did, that it will carry someone else into the life of love that I have been priveliged to enjoy. And I hope that the money it raises will help someone else to face a threshold, to embark on a journey of release, whether it is letting go of cancer, or coming to terms with letting go of life.