A New Beginning...

I want to tell you a story. A story of love and loss, hope and despair, truth and betrayal, life and death.

Maybe I’m over selling it, many won’t believe it (I know this because I have recounted it before and it is met with disdain and easily dismissed - you may also feel that way) but it’s a story that changed my life.  A story of how a single moment and a chance meeting can create such a huge ripple effect that can change your world.

I don’t even really know where to start, the beginning would take too long so I’m going to go for the abridged version.  

This time just over 3 years ago (on the 16thFebruary to be exact) I was sunbathing and reading a book on a beach in Antigua.  My 40thbirthday was looming in just 2 days and I was recently divorced, maybe a matter of months by then but I had left my husband and my life as I knew it 6 months previously.  

 I was living at my parents home with my two little girls who were 1 and 4 and working out how I was going to move forward with my life with no home, savings or career and an ex-husband with no money to put towards the children and who harboured a lot of resentment towards me (that was no change, he did whilst we were married as well but this was more frustrating as he was no longer bank rolling me or responsible for putting a roof over our heads…I may sound callous but that’s the point I had got to.)

I digress.  Back to the beach.  I had taken a holiday to celebrate my impending 40thbirthday with my family who were also in Antigua but my children were with their dad…..I didn’t have the strength or finances to take them with me and I needed some time out to decompress/escape from the reality of my life for a while.

 On the day in question, I had for pretty much the first time on my holiday decided to ditch my family and walk down the mostly deserted beach to the end where I lay and read my book on my own.  It was the perfect day, clear blue skies, the waves gently lapping on the white sand and a cool breeze taking the edge off of the afternoon heat.

I was sandy, salty & a bit sunburnt and I was as I had been for most of my holiday day dreaming of meeting my handsome prince who was going to save me from the ashes of my life and make everything better….Disney has a lot to answer for!

In my head I had decided that he was European (I was fed up with boozy brits) and he would be a bit like James Bond…handsome but not pretty, totally self-assured and would be able to turn his hand to pretty much anything.  He would meet me, fall hopelessly in love and we would live happily ever after (wow those childhood stories really stick!)

I love a story and I love to read, it is total escapism for me and I get so involved in the characters and their lives but I just can’t bear a sad ending, they break my heart. Sometimes; if I’m particularly involved I have to read ahead to find out what I am dealing with so I can prepare myself for the ending and not get too close to the characters along the way. If only we could do that with life…but that’s where the catch 22 lies.  We either throw ourselves in with both feet and risk having our hearts broken or we choose to hold back and not allow ourselves to feel…just in case and then we never get to experience true love.  It’s only when you have children that you realise that you can’t hold back and that you will love them unconditionally until the day you or they die and that is the stark truth for all of us.  There is no life without death.

This day on the beach felt like any other…I knew that I was leaving the next day, back to celebrating my 40th birthday at home; not knowing what was going to come after that for me and my girls so I was savouring the day dream and the break from reality and enjoying the peace, space & tranquil surroundings to read my book.

I didn’t know then that I was about to have a chance meeting that would lead to a rollercoaster of emotions from joy, excitement, hope and even love to the depths of despair. From this I learnt some of the most valuable lessons of my life about bravery, resilience and passion that I often refer back to and use to guide me on my journey forwards.

To be continued…

Sarah Miller