Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Neverness

A word that popped into my head today. A word which expressed exactly how I was feeling. A state of Neverness (tm).

I was triggered by a discussion in a support group I attend. The topic was emotions. How feeling them was so important rather than shoving them all under a rug or ignoring them or biting the lip and bravely soldiering on as they will continue to pop up and wave at us for attention. A very interesting hour indeed.

And after leaving, I was in my car and playing some John O'Conor as I like to do now and again, he is a magnificent pianist. I was playing the Meeting of the Waters - one of my favourite pieces of all time and one I have attempted so many times on the piano myself. I couldn't find his interpretation on YouTube but I did find Phil Coulter's which isn't as emotional to my ear but you'll get the gist of what a lovely piece it is.


And this flood of emotion just completely took me over. Right out of the blue. I had to pull the car over. Whoa Nelly, said I, internally, what the hell?

And it struck me, like that, suddenly and without mercy, I will never see the land of my birth again. The long journey is basically insurmountable with my health challenges. And I will miss re-tracing the scenes of my childhood, my parents' graves, my beloved West Cork. And it's funny that, we never realize when it's happening that it could be the last time we are someplace or with someone we love. The very last time.

And that's what I was feeling in my emigrant heart - an overwhelming grief and a kind of longing. Even though the country had no time for me when I needed it the most over fifty years ago. I had to leave. Or I (and my natal family) would have been disgraced by an early pregnancy. Times have changed I know and that was then and so few people, even in my own family, get how it was. And I have no regrets, I hasten to add, it's not about that. My life in Canada has been rich in far too many ways to count. I would never be the me I love today without Canada having my back.

But I bawled my eyes out for quite a while anyway. And then carried on. In my state of Neverness.

Neverness.

It should be a word.

25 comments:

  1. I think I understand. I reminded my 26-yr-old son of this the other night as he was hustling me out the door -- that anything can happen and this could be the last time we see each other -- just keep that in mind, I said. Not to be morbid, but ... so that if something unexpected does happen, he doesn't have regrets.

    The thought of never seeing your homeland again, I know how hard that must have hit. It makes perfect sense.

    Fingers crossed that one day you'll surprise yourself and be able to go.

    Kate

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    1. I feel so final about it, Kate and that's OK now. I needed to grieve it too in my own way, we can never plan our grieving events, can we?

      My laat trip home was wretched in many ways, and it has left a terrible taste so that was part of the sadness.

      Good that you reminded your son. Daughter and I are very aware of our moments. We just never know, do we?

      XO
      WWW

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  2. I was so involved with family genealogy, I often wondered what my grandparents thought on leaving their native lands. I know the reason of the Cork contingent; they were poor and landless. I do not know why the Ulster Presbyterians left, unless to prosper. I know they all did not. The Germans left in the great economic downturns of the mid 19th century. And on this continent, there is neverness. Following a spouse across the country and never seeing family again.
    I understand never going home. I wish it weren't so, in all its manifestations.

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    1. One of the great things about honest blog writing is that so many have the same experiences. So much emigration from Ireland back then and even across the country in this vast land can mean few sightings or none due to all sorts of circumstances.

      We can grieve so much at times.

      XO
      WWW

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  3. It should indeed be a word.
    Emotions can sneak up on us can't they? I am glad that you were able to sob, and sad at the necessity.
    Neither of my immigrant parents went home and I do wonder whether a part of them always longed to do so.
    Last times are always emotion packed - whether we realise it or not.

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    1. So many emigrants back in the day could simply not afford to fly to their homeland for a visit.

      As to myself, I must have been back 30 times, I didn't count. I never wanted to move back there though, which is a good thing. I've known people here who truly wanted to move back home and couldn't. And I've also known those who did it and couldn't stand it after a year and moved away again. So there's all sides to longing.

      It was so unexpected today and I still have trouble believing it happened.

      XO
      WWW

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  4. I'll never see the land of my birth again either, but it's different for me. We left Germany when I was six months old, so I have no memories of it, all I know is Australia. In later years my mum did go back three times to see her mother, and had to take out a small loan each time to afford the tickets. The last time was so her mother could give back a box of letters and photos of us mum had sent over the years, most of the letters unopened with Grandma apparently saying "I don't know these people so take this all back" and that was the sole reason for demanding my mum travel all that way. This kind of things has made me very good at ignoring emotions, burying them deep. I'll probably erupt like a volcano one day.

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    1. Wow River that is an incredible story.I know my paternal grandmother had a wake for a daughter who ran off and married against the church and family. She declared her dead and instructed the siblings to do the same. So they did.

      I wonder did something similar happen in your family? Did you read the letters?

      I really feel for your poor mother. I know I too, have gone into debt to go back upon request a few times.

      It sounds like there's quite a novel in your family's experience.

      XO
      WWW

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  5. Neverness. It should indeed be a word. And it is sad that you never know which time is the last time. I have felt my potion of neverness lately. It's a disturbing feeling.

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    1. It truly is Uglemor and not one I have felt with such intensity before. Maybe it is because I am an elder and it is far more poignant.

      XO
      WWW

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  6. You fled Ireland to Canada because you were pregnant without being married? Funnily today R and myself have been out looking at new cars. Tonight he said, I never imagined my life to be so complicated by which new car to car to buy. I replied, you would have done ok in Newcastle. He then pointed out multiple examples of relatives of his vintage who haven't. Great post WWW.

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    1. I was married Andrew but I was four months pregnant at the time and it was a hidden pregnancy due to the disgrace of it all. Ireland back then in the clutches of the RC church was an unforgiving and condemning and shunning place. Friends had been incarcerated in the Magdalene Laundries for being raped, etc. And families pointed at for having a fallen daughter. I could go on but you get the gist.

      I realise what a privileged life I have had here and able to just be myself and do amazing things with my life. It would not have happened in Ireland.

      XO
      WWW

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    2. I remember my own mum going on about my oldest daughter being unmarried but with two children already. She did eventually marry their father and the two were in the wedding party. But I got a big surprise when reading dates in my family tree to find Mum herself was already six months old where her parents married. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

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    3. Oh wow River don't you just love the family secrets tumbling out?

      And I think older people get most upset when they see younger ones being so cavalier about the old strictures.

      XO
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  7. I can relate. The same kind of feelings got hold of me when a dear cousin landed up in India three years ago and I could not travel South to meet him due to my health. When my younger brother was in his death bed, I could not go for the same reason and had to be satisfied with sending my son and daughter in love to be with him last year. I like the word Neverness/

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    1. I remember those times for you Ramana. And it is a state of Neverness when one can't be with those we love anymore and it surely takes us by surprise, doesn't it. It's like the breaking of the fantasy "well someday I'll be well enough to....." there are no more somedays.

      XO
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  8. A good word, neverness. I guess there will come a time when I can no longer travel, even to my home country of England. Not sure if that knowledge will be sad or unimportant, but it'll certainly be a turning point.

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    1. Yes, it is a huge turning point Nick, up against our own feebleness and mortality. And it happens at different ages for us all.

      XO
      WWW

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  9. I hear you. I have traveled all over the world, and my heart is torn between Hawaii, where I was born, and New York, where I lived for 5-1/2 years during the early 1970s. I can never travel again due to my own health concerns.

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    1. It's an odd feeling alright, Gigi, as it creeps up on us. One minute the world is full of possibilities and the next poof, they're gone.

      XO
      WWW

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  10. Grief is a funny beast - it strikes when and where it will. Sounds like your grieving both your homeland and reaching a point in life where travel isn't an option. That's just hard.

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    1. Yes a kind of confluence and then so many dear ones dead or falling into dementia. A very weird time for many of us.

      XO
      WWW

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  11. Like you, I'll not see my homeland again, it WWW. It was a choice I made back in 2005 after I'd travelled back to the UK twice that year (so homesick). I realised that my home now simply had to be here in the USA; going back to the UK for visits made it that much harder to cope with, so I decided to "put on my big girl knickers" and deal with it. I do, still, get weepy at times, usually when I'm least expecting it - I think the Welsh have a name for that: hiraeth ?

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  12. We cry. And we go on. Emotions and our thoughts about them travel so closely together it's hard to know which comes first. Biologically we are feeling creatures that think. I am not sure that being in Neverness now and then is a bad thing entirely. Since change is our one constancy, perhaps we need not worry that that will happen. Rather we can look at it as part of our journey, make it a part of our magic carpet's intricate design. I, who find myself in Neverness now and then, too, will try to look at it that way...

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