Pilgrim Blues / R.I.P. Dugald

This is a difficult post to write, but here it is before life moves on.

Coming to an end of two months of forward motion. Each day, each stage of the journey had its momentum and its goals, including all the mundane but necessary tasks of daily living: how and where to wash, eat, where I was going to sleep and so on. The basic stuff of survival. Also the rich flow of people, conversations, places. The real  and wonderful sense of God’s closeness, provision and protection. It’s not that these things stop when you get home again, but a shift of gear is inevitable.

What I needed more than anything when I got back to London early last Saturday morning was rest. It had only been four days since I had climbed Ben Nevis, after all! But that initial pause for breath became a few days of torpor, and a bout of the blues. I had things in the diary: the anti bedroom tax sleep out at Islington Town Hall; Church on the Sunday; Folk in the Cellar at the Constitution in Camden on the Monday. People to call and catch up with. All of this went west and I mostly vegged out. I also rediscovered the simple ease of being in a “machine for living in”, as Corbusier called the home, where to make a cup of tea you need only put the kettle on.

In a previous post I referred briefly to my own experiences of poor mental health, and I continue occasionally to be vulnerable to the undertow of depression. I even found myself questioning if and how I would manage to re-engage with family and domestic life, and the world of work. Knowing that Françoise was due back from Brittany yesterday was a help.

In that same post I spoke of Betty and Dugald and their kind hospitality to me at their home in Wetherby, and of his struggle with clinical depression. Well it is with great sadness that I have to report that Dugald died on 8th August.

EpicJourney 260

So this post goes out with love and prayers to Betty and Dugald, their family and friends. And it also goes out in solidarity with all who experience or have experienced this most debilitating and frequently life threatening illness.

Stephen Fry has courageously opened up about his own struggles with mental ill-health. So it seems right to end with his lovely sign off from QI, “Be extremely kind to one other”

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6 thoughts on “Pilgrim Blues / R.I.P. Dugald

  1. sorry to hear of your loss Alaster. Clinical depression is the unseen illness that takes courage to talk about and more courage to face in oneself or a loved one.Loss or delayed grief is often a trigger in many mental health conditions. often referred to as the black dog by many people.It is no coincident that dogs are also mans best friend.one thing i have learn t, about my own mental health condition, and am still learning is that all things must pass and that when we are through to the other side of this state of mind it is often with renewed insight and compassion.For some the pain and anguish is too much and the only relief is to end the suffering, and this in my view is an act of courage too (though i am not prescribing it) nor asking the question why too much, At these times, when i have lost a friend through suicide i think of Christ’s last words upon the cross and realize that he or she is home now with their maker and with all the memories of times shared and conversations had – those words written by Paul spring to mind,.” that all things work together for those who know and love him.”and i thank Jesus for a life i once knew and loved.
    I have found your photos and blogs of your pilgrimage very inspiring and enjoyed following your entries on face book.some of the places i knew very well and this brought a smile to my face, so …….welcome home Alaster ………….congratulations on making this remarkable journey………….and thanks be to God for bringing you home safely.

  2. Sorry to hear that man. U told me bout u journey with him on the bus over mull. I was pleased to put a face to the story reading u blog. Yeh, of course all best to his family- and u too. Hope the pilgrim blues lifting a little now- was always gonna be a readjustment I think.
    But u experience on this journey has been an amazing one and u writing is great, so I for 1 an looking forward to any more insights u may have…

    • Hi Jez, cheers for the comment mate.
      Thank you, I’ve picked up a bit since Francoise and Theo got back last week, and have been back at Housing Justice since Monday. I’ll try and write some more before i go off on a weekend conference in Manchester! There is a bunch of stuff to say, just finding the time to say it.
      I found some interesting interviews with you on line, on a visit to an art gallery in Edinburgh I think? And also York Minster. You’d get on well with Mrs M. who is a bit of an art buff and artist, like you.
      I still feel a bit “out on the edge of the world”, which I’m glad about!

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