Reflecting on Progress Made

Monday 2 July, 2001

I have been back in Germany visiting Francis for a few days. In March when I visited, it had rained all the time, we hardly left the flat, I accomplished very little and returned feeling very low. This time around, the sun has shone, the storms have come and gone, I have been more proactive than ever, we have filled every minute with all we could without really trying, everything has flowed unbelievably well, and I feel very satisfied.

Francis’s flat is my reference point. This visit has shown me just how far I have come in the last 12 months. I am different. I have changed. I am so much more positive in my attitude to myself, to others and to the world. I am more confident with myself and with others. I am more open to whatever is out there and my mind is not so closed and limited as it has been.

I am more able to laugh at myself, which has a positive effect on my laughter in general and my well-being. I don’t say much but what I do say is more assured, more positive, more encouraging and more enthusiastic than ever. I am more productive, have more control over my own life, and I look after myself much better than I have ever done. Everything which has happened in the last five days has only happened because I am where I need to be. Congratulations. Don’t get cocky.

Last night was a huge improvement on our normal Sundays. There was very little sadness or regret; after all, we had filled every second of our time together. That is one of the keys: make full use of time and opportunity. This morning we all had one final cup of tea together. Paula shed some tears of gratitude and appreciation and was glad to be able to talk about it. It was a subdued time of reflection for all of us but, just like Eastbourne, we’d already said enough. When they came, the goodbyes were swift and for the first time I was calm enough to be able to notice Francis’s emotions when we parted.

I missed my flight – a new rule at check-in meant that I couldn’t board a plane I had plenty of time to board. I panicked a little but remained polite and cordial throughout. I had to rebook my flight and when they told me I would have to pay for a new ticket my panic reached it’s peak. I remained relatively calm, thanked all concerned despite my frustration, and managed to sort it such that somebody authorised the rebooking without any cost and all I had to do was wait for six hours. What made it possible for me to resolve the situation was my calmness, my politeness, and my German. I have improved immensely in a crisis and this is evidence of that.

Be calm in a crisis and pastime under pressure’ – Karaj

Afterwards, as things were beginning to settle down, I felt some parts of the old me surface in an attempt to ruin the whole week retrospectively because of one minor disaster which, on the face of it, was not a disaster at all. As it happened I was glad of the extra few hours in Germany and I used the time constructively by filling in some of the gaps in my appraisal. I did feel down at times when I thought that Francis and I could be using the time more constructively, but I know that we are doing all we can. We make the most of things when we’re together and when we’re apart. The letters we write and the talks we have, have led us to where we are now, and for that I am very grateful.

I phoned Francis at work. He said he is always emotional with goodbyes. This was the first time I was in any state to be able to notice that. He also said that it is clear to him that I spend so much time thinking about myself and others with respect to our interactions, behaviours, reactions and feelings, and he would like some of that too. We talked briefly about him coming over in early September.

Watching other people arrive to pick up visiting friends, I would have loved to do it all again but I know that I cannot and that is okay. Relax, slow right down and be with myself. A lot has happened over the last five days and I need time and space to take it all in. Coming in to land, I did feel sad and helpless but the thought which brought me round was ‘What do I now need to do for myself?’ Remember me. That is what I have been doing for the last year and a half and this last week is, in many ways a fitting culmination to the hard work I have put in. It is also the beginning of the next phase of my growth. So, just carry on.


Leave a Reply