From the Rider Waite Tarot

The week started badly.

On Monday I awoke with the most desperate yearning for an end to my single state.

I miss the companionship of a relationship so much, in spite of my best efforts to get to grips with being alone.

Most of the time I manage, but sometimes I’m so lonesome I could – and do – cry.

Always the same pattern –

Stage 1: Feel lonely. Promise to be optimistic about some unspecified new relationship that might be just around the corner – maybe even today. Who knows?

Stage 2: Feel desolate. Dwell on the fact that the only person I really want to be in a relationship with is Jason who:

a) is on the other side of the world and

b) has clearly said that he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, any relationship. And let’s face it, we were friends long before we were lovers and I haven’t seen him in many relationships in all the years I’ve known him. The evidence on this one is pretty clear.

Stage 3: Feel angry. Berate myself for going over the same old ground yet again, even though the conclusion will be unchanged.

Stage 4: Feel sorry for myself. Mope about in a blue funk and ensure that any potential companion who does stray across my path will be well and truly repelled.

Stage 5: Replay same pointless scenario ad infinitum.

The 5 Cups is the Grief and Loss card and it’s pretty clear why it’s turned up this week. I’m still grieving and I still don’t know how you put a timetable on grief.

By Thursday I was already at Stage 4 when I plunged further into self-pity at the supermarket as I slapped my two items down at the checkout.

When the only things you’re buying on the way home are a can of catfood and a ready meal, you’re in Lonely Single Woman Hell.

So when Friday rolled around, it was reasonable to expect a truly black-hearted evening ahead.

Instead, Friday night found me on my veranda with music, candlelight and the exquisite sense that I was sitting in my very own little corner of heaven.

A week is a good time to absorb a lesson.

In five days I moved through the entire message of the 5 Cups – from despair over what is lost, through the sustenance of what remains, to the hope of what is yet to come.

It’s worth recounting how I got there, because it was one chance moment that turned me around.

I was on my way home on Friday when I saw a BMW Z3 convertible zoom past, an emblem of something really special that happened to me once, unlooked and unasked for and one of the greatest experiences of my life.

It was three years ago, and a year after we’d left the UK. John, the ex, had stumped up for the fares to fly the girls back there to spend Christmas with him and, for better or worse, I emptied my bank account and headed for San Francisco to see my Dad for the very last time.

So far, so very miserable. We both knew it would be the last time – I was an unemployed single mum with no prospect of ever getting over there again and he was ill with cancer.

It was just a matter of time and in fact he died last year and no, I never did get to see him in the years in between.

By coincidence, one of my dearest friends from long ago and faraway Hong Kong had just moved to LA.

Dad’s health was really bad and any excitement was strongly discouraged by my step-mother. So I didn’t need too much persuasion to leave him for a few days and spend my 40th birthday in Los Angeles with my old friend Jim.

He drove me around in his Z3 convertible and treated me like a princess for three glorious days.

Seeing that car drive past back here in Australia took me instantly back there, with the lights of Hollywood spread out as if just for me, a penniless, hopeless mouse who somehow managed to be Queen for a day.

Back on my dreary Street of Self-Pity, I could only laugh at my supreme foolishness.

What really do I have to worry about when such riches tumble unasked for into my lap? And who knows what else may lie in store on this strange journey of mine?

Monga Waratah helps us to find our inner strength and reclaim our spirit, when the journey of Grief seems too lonely and too long.

It’s natural to feel lonely and to grieve for what is lost. It’s a necessary process and I’m pleased at last to know for sure that when next I turn into this downward spiral I will recognise it and understand that it will pass.

Because this week I skipped Stage 5.

The fall was broken with a laugh and a reminder to trust to luck and fate.

A good lesson and one to remember, especially on a Friday night!