Taking Lucas’ advice, I decided to get out and try a prelim walk without thinking too much about it. I set a vague route for myself (roughly a 45min walk), which began and finished at my house and revolved around Bulli Cemetery.
Wearing casual clothes, I set out with Mikey the dog by my side and dedicated the walk – without thinking too much about the implications of doing so – to my great Aunty Chanel who died earlier this year. My basic intention was to use the walk to think about Chanel and ultimately say some words for her once I got to the cemetery. Starting out, I found it difficult to filter out other thoughts and reflect upon Chanel. However, when I focused less on the task and allowed myself to simply take in the beautiful day, I began to stumble upon memories of Chanel and her quick, sardonic humour, which I had previously forgotten.
Once I got to the cemetery, I began by walking around the perimeter of the site before turning into one of the rows of graves. After a little while, I stopped at the grave of Oliver and Jean Mary Ryan, where I said a few words for Chanel and then a few words for the two of them.
Initially, I did not know where to begin with Chanel and, of course, knew nothing about Oliver and Jean. However, I gave myself time and space to find the right words and this process in itself became a meaningful one. I briefly listed some of the aspects of Chanel I dearly miss and asked for her wisdom and insight when I most needed it. I then addressed Oliver and Jean and thanked them for allowing me to use their grave to remember Chanel. This may all seem a little symbolic but I think what made the experience a positive one was simply entering into that mindset in a place where personal reflection is possible and normal. I think the act of walking also had a calming effect on me and I returned home feeling refreshed.
I now feel like I have a better idea of how I should set out my walking exercise (well at least my next walk anyway). I like the idea of dedicating each walk to a specific deceased loved one and saying a few words for them at one of the graves at Bulli Cemetery. However, I wonder what it would be like if I was joined by someone else, who was thinking about their own deceased person. We could then share stories of our loved ones with each other before getting to the cemetery. This may better utilise the walk and possibly make the process of reflection somewhat easier. I’m also interested in trialling some element of social engagement. I think leaving flowers by the grave at the cemetery may be a good place to start. After seeing how this goes, I can then think about the idea of leaving some kind of card and potentially making the walk in black clothes.
Until next time,