How will it feel to go back?

Published by Tiffany on

How will it feel to return? Do you ever feel like there are so many emotions happening at one time, that you don’t know what to do with them?

Like when you are busy at work and you receive a phone call. In that moment you have to quickly decide which thing is the most important. Sifting through our emotions can be the same. It’s important to acknowledge and address them all, but knowing in which order to deal with them can be hard.

Knowing I’m going back to Interlaken next week is doing the same thing for me. 

Which emotion do I deal with first?

Overwhelmed is one description of how I feel about going back to the place that changed my life, where the Swiss Canyoning Disaster happened. Scared, nervous, sad, filled with grief, and ready for healing.

Knowing I will be with those who shared in this experience brings another layer of emotion. I’m excited to see my friends after many, many years. Some whom I haven’t seen since we departed London, 20 years ago.

If it weren’t for fellow survivor Rachel Pellow (nee Obrien), I would not be going back. It is from her strength and courage, and for the memories of those that were lost but will never be forgotten, that we head back. 

No doubt the rawness of that time will come to us. Even with our lives now changed, grown and moving forward. It will be a time for us all to remember. To remember those that were lost. To remember what happened that fateful day. For the families, the rescue teams, the community and us, the survivors. Still with the rawness of what happened clear in our memories.

And it is now, as I reflect on all these emotions, that I am filled with trepidation, not knowing exactly how things will feel. Will memories will come back to me? When I smell the air or feel the earth between my toes, will I feel the same as when I look at my wrist and see the piece of debris from the accident, still embedded under my skin? It has never been removed, always a part of me. Will I feel the same? Will I feel different?

Tiffany Johnson in Switzerland

And so, as I think of what I need to pack, trying to remember summer weather, as I watch the hail pelt down on my window on a freezing winters day in Melbourne. I think of Sir William Deane’s heart-felt speech 20 years ago, ‘It’s still winter at home’.

One step at a time

I try again to compartmentalise my emotions and work out what to do. What happens next? Which step do I take to move forward. I rummage through my wardrobe, not knowing what to take or which things I will need most, just like my emotions there a so many options floating around. So I pause. I allow each emotion to come to me, acknowledge it and move on.

I know that when I get back to Interlaken, back to the Saxetenbach George, to the memorial site for the Swiss Canyoning Disaster, back to the place that changed my life and so many others lives, I know that the next chapter will start. 

As I close the door of one part of my life, to open a new window to the next part of my life. I am ready.

I am Brave Enough Now.  

Brave Enough Now: How will it feel to return to the Swiss Canyon
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