Black Days


One of the questions I am most frequently asked is what does “Brocante” mean, and I smile and look smug and tell them that though there is no equivalent word in the English language, to the French the literal translation of “Brocante” is “article of trifling value”…

So this is what my virtual home became about: articles of beautiful, but trifling value because life was carefree enough, even through all its ups and downs, to allow me to indulge in all that is pretty and frivolous  about this world. And somehow no matter what was happening in my world I could find the wonderful in every day: the gorgeous ordinary, the precious nothings, the things that shored me up daily and all those things I thought just might bring a little joy or comfort to you. Though some days these articles of trifling value tickled me thick and fast, occasionally there would be times when life got in the way and I couldn’t find the time to share all the loveliness in my head, but always, right there in my head, that treasure chest existed, filled full of trifling gems I couldn’t wait to share.

But not today. Though through the trauma of the past week, I have occasionally switched on this computer like a drug addict seeking her old familiar fix, for the first time eight years there is no comfort to be found in trifles.  No pleasure in the possibility of telling what has turned out be a story with a desperately unhappy ending. For the first time, dear precious readers, there is no peace in the pretty. No chance of draping pain in carefully told prose, no compensation to be found for something that has left me unable to let a morsel pass my lips for five days. My throat closed. My body concentrating on forcing me to get up and get through the days, because I have to.

And so here I am. Though I despise tainting my gorgeous, polka dot home with the ugly all over again, things have happened that have made my forthcoming marriage to Richard untenable, and though I love him more than I can imagine it is possible to love someone, and he loves me as desperately as I ever thought I was capable of being loved, I cannot marry him and I have called off the wedding, given up my beautiful dress and walked sobbing to the recycling bin, with my arms full of bridal magazines and vintage books I had been carefully collecting to pile upon our wedding breakfast tables.

All is lost. And though our story is in no way what I am sure you imagine it is, it dramatically alters the shape of our future for always and I do not know where to begin picking up the pieces, salvaging what is left, or making sense of my confusion. I doubt very, very much that I have got the strength and know I have no choice regardless.

Please think of me  through these next awful weeks and I will try my very best to be here as often as grief allows me to dabble in the articles of trifling, precious value that have until now, always shored me against ruin.

I love you.x

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59 comments on “Black Days

  1. Oh, no. I have been reading here almost from the start, and have been so thrilled for you. Sending you much love xx

  2. Oh Alison! I am so very, very sorry! What a heartbreaking turn of events. I tear up just reading about your walk to the bin with your arms full of dreams. Please know that you are surrounded with love and support. It is always darkest before the dawn.

  3. Oh no…I'm so, so sorry to hear this.

  4. Oh my dear Alison, my heart is full of sorrow for you all.

  5. Oh, Alison. I am so sorry. Don't doubt your feelings. Go forward with what you believe is best for you and Finn. It is so much braver for you to say "no" to something you know is not right at this time, than it would be for you to just go along with things and hope that you will be happy later. I feel for your pain. Go hug your boy and feel the energy of his love for you. It will help. I'm so so sorry.

  6. I'm so sorry! Heather is right, it's better to say 'no' now, but I know what cold comfort that is. We love you and are thinking of you.

  7. Oh, Alison.I wish there were magic words to make it all better.But, the only ones I have are these: Trust yourself. I wish you all the best.
    W

  8. Oh my poor dear sweet Alison. I am thinking of you more than you know. Anything you need at all, just say the word. There is nothing to say that will make it better, but hopefully knowing you are in so many hearts will at least make it a little bit less worse. xxx

  9. No! I cant believe this! Oh Alison! my poor Darling! I dont know what to say to you,other than you know where I am if you need to talk,I know you must have a very good reason to do this xxx

  10. Thinking of you…

  11. Held close in thought and blog friendship.
    Barbara

  12. Oh dear.
    My heart aches for you and your little guy. Sending you prayers of peace and strength. (((Hug)))

  13. Donna Rigby on said:

    Thinking of you…… xx

  14. Sending so much love and hope.
    Many blessings to you all.

  15. Alison, I am so sorry. Sending love to you and Finn.

  16. LissyLou on said:

    I am so so sorry to hear this. Sending love to you and your dear boy xx

  17. my heart goes out to you, warm hugs to you from afar – Rachaelxo

  18. I am so sorry. May you find moments of comfort and calm, and take things one day at a time.

  19. So sorry to hear your news, but you're doing the right thing if you have any doubts. Take a day at a time, you'll get through this. Hugs x

  20. Alison, so sorry to hear this and I can only echo everyone else's comments that you must do what's best and we are all here in the bloggy universe sending you as many virtual hugs as you need,

    Love and Hugs,

    Victoria xxx

  21. Alison, I am very sorry to hear of your falling out. Some things seem awfully insignificant in times of darkness, don't they? I remember feeling deep pain from a similar loss. No one could say anything that made it any easier for me. Time is the best salve.

  22. I am so sad for you. I have been treasuring your happinesses so much during this (for me) awful year. Trust me, sometimes we must do the things we think we cannot do. And we do get through it. Even when we are sure we cannot. Thinking of you every day. Sandi

  23. I will hold you up in our thoughts and prayers as you go through this most difficult time. We are here for you to rant and rave. To pass the proverbial tissue. To give you support in all that you need to do that is best for you and Finn, even though some of us are sooo far away! I wish you courage to continue to heal. I am saddened to hear this news, but also know that you will have to persevere, not just for Finn, but because you are Alison May. And that is what you do. Peace and blessings in the days to come.

  24. Sally Hackney on said:

    Dear, dear Alison, from many miles away I whisper your sweet names to Him tonight in my prayers. My heart is breaking for you. Take care of yourself. Love, Sally

  25. Alexandra on said:

    Awww Alison I am filled with sadness for you. I'm thinking of you and praying for you during this time. Love x

  26. Don't doubt your own strength, Alison-we have seen it the generous glimpses you have given us of your life, in your incredible writing-you are one absolutely fantastic person, and please believe that you will smile again-maybe through tears, maybe only for a brief moment, but you will. Hang in there-sending love and hugs.

  27. I learned a lot from you and I have to say that I am sad for you too. I do believe that we should have trust, sometimes we must do the things we think we cannot do. Even when we are sure we cannot. Thinking of you every day.

  28. Dear Alison, I am so very very sorry to read your post. My thoughts are with you and I hope that at sometime these dark days will become a little lighter that your future shines even more brightly. Take care and I send you my very best wishes

  29. Oh Alison I am so sorry to hear this.
    Take care and be gentle with yourself, we will always be here.
    Megan xx

  30. This post makes my eyes fill up with tears for you….truly. Please know that I'm holding you close in my heart just now. So sad. I am SO sorry. With love to you, sweetheart.

  31. Anna Marie on said:

    My heart just aches for you. I'm really sorry. You and Richard were very happy and he loves your son….I can't imagine what must have happened to destroy this.

  32. I'm so terribly sorry, Alison. Don't doubt your strength to get through this, but make sure you also take time to grieve. Please take care of yourself. Sending virtual hugs your and Finn's direction!

  33. Rosemary London on said:

    Dear Alison I'm so sorry to hear about the wedding,it must be so difficult to come to terms with.My thoughts are with you xxx

  34. Oh dear, I am so sorry. Wish there was comfort we could send your way. Hang on til it gets better . . . .

  35. Alison, I am so sorry to hear this. I know how heartbreaking your decision must have been. I hope you can find some comfort in the fact that so many of us are sending our love your way. I don't know you, but feel like I do. My take on you is that you are stronger than you realize — think of what you have gone through these past years. It must hurt dreadfully now, but you will find your strength within yourself and in your son, your family and your words. Take time to do what you need to heal your heart.

  36. Sorry sorry Alison. Please take care of yourself and Finn.

  37. Oh Alison, I am truly sorry for your heartbreak and sadness. It is true, 'piffle' doesn't matter in the grande scheme of things, and that clarity of realisation is what clears the decks of our minds and will allow you to focus on the matter at hand right now.

    You ARE very brave to have made such a decision (braver than most in fact) and will have very good reasons I am certain, and it proves you are strong enough – have faith in yourself and the inner voice you know knows your heart of hearts. Cling onto the mundane of the every day until bit by bit you can exhale.

    My love and best wishes for you and Fin xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  38. Oh Alison I am SO sad to read this. I echo Sasha's post, written so much more eloquently than I could have done. Do not doubt, though, that you have the strength, because you do, and you have a loving family and many friends to support you when you need it. My best wishes and hugs to you and Finn and Richard.

    • Oh and sorry to bob back again but I just wanted to add that I think you perhaps underestimate your blog, its value, to me at any rate, is far above the trifling and it is imbued with a very sensible and yet imaginative approach to life. I've been thinking about you on and off for the past two days, wishing that it could all just magically be made better for you and hoping that the pain will ease soon for you.

  39. Well that just sucks. Take care of yourself and Finn and know that there's a whole bunch of people who love and support you no matter what.

  40. I just stumbled across your blog from another and had to stop to say hi and that I hope you manage to work your way through the huge upset you're dealing with.

  41. Oh sweetheart! I am so very, very sorry for you. Take your time love and always remember there are many on here who are here for you. Lots of love, Lesley xx

  42. Alison, I've only just gotten to "know"you but my heart breaks for you. I'm sure you've given this much thought and consideration and must do what's best for you and Finn. I have been blessed with a 35 yr. marriage and we were sweethearts from our teens so I really have no idea the depths of your heartbreak. I only know that if 2 people truly love each other as you say you do, are you sure this problem isn't something that can't be worked through? I don't mean to belittle your issue and I am aware that I have no clue what's going on, but I pray that you have turned every corner inside out to find another solution. I'm so sorry for the trials you are going through and I, too, am here to support you but I know that doesn't keep you warm at night and hold your hand along the way. My prayers are with you all and I hope the sun shines again soon. xxooxx

  43. Oh luvvy, sending you love and positive thoughts for the journey ahead. I hope you can feel all the good wishes that we are undoubtedly sending you and that it helps you through, if things aren't right they aren't right and you are doing the best thing by being truthful with yourself, and brave. Best wishes to you and Finley.

  44. Dear Alison,
    I really can't find the words to say how much I wish this could be made right for you. Whatever the reasons, outcome and future please know that there are people who wish you every happiness and joy life can offer and hope in our hearts that this is yet to come for you.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers x

  45. jademichele on said:

    Dear Alison, i've read your blog for years now and i am always amazed at your honesty and openness-.know that i am thinking of you and praying for you,as i'm sure your other readers are also. although we cannot imagine what you are going through,we all know how painful loss is and how difficult it is to find strength when you feel exhausted and ,well, lost.sending love from across the Atlantic <3

  46. Undone by this news….will be thinking of you and Finn and Richard in the days ahead….you all need a little tenderness and will certainly have my prayers. Big huge hug from me and my girls.

  47. Alison, I am very sorry to hear this. I hope and pray that somehow this can be fixed and all can be well again. I've been reading your posts for years, and I really feel for you, Finley, and Richard. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  48. I love you too Ali – words fail me right now…but please, take care! xo

  49. I am so sorry Alison. I'll keep you in my prayers. Take care. Love, Jennie.

  50. I found your blog during the most difficult 18 months of my life and you taught me to cope, to look for the special in each day – no matter how hard, and to value life. Don't sell your blog short – it literally gave me back my joy when I was so down in my situation I couldn't see a way out.
    I will be praying for all of you and I hope that whatever the outcome is for you all that there will be joy for you too, one day soon x

  51. Dear Alison,
    I love your blog and was so sorry to read your sad news. I know how it feels to be broken hearted and you must treat yourself kindly over the next few weeks and months. Cry as often as you need to, deny yourself nothing and reach out to those who love you for their support. Life will get better but at the moment this seems almost impossible to imagine. For me, keeping busy was the only way to avoid falling into the ever present pit of despair. I cried all the time, but I was always doing something while I cried – the garden, the ironing, moving furniture around, sewing. Tears, tears, tears but always things accomplished at the end of each the day. I walked and walked too because physical exhaustion helped calm my tormented soul.

    When heart break happens, it helps to put it in perspective. I kept telling myself however much agony I was in, no one I loved had died, I still had my beloved family and my friends. Please let people nurture you and take care of you and look down this list to see how much you are loved and how you have touched all of our hearts. Bigs hugs to you all xxx

  52. Oh Alison. I am so sorry honey. If I could only reach out and give you a real hug. Do whatever it is you need to do in the coming weeks to look after both you and Finn. Your readers have been with you for years through thick and thin. Through love and loss. I am just so upset for you. Bug Hugs and Big Love. xxxxxxx Fleur

  53. Alison, I read your blog post here a couple of weeks ago, but haven't been able to bring myself to write – I convince myself that I'm not very good at saying the right thing at times like these (and so, of course, thinking that tends to perpetuate my belief!).

    I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you. I was 'with you' all those years ago with the Mark situation, and I am again now. You are one of the most amazing, strong, talented women I have had the pleasure of knowing. I hope you can 'feel the love' all the way from Australia.

    Big hugs…

  54. Dear Alison,
    I haven't visited brocante home for a few years, four in fact, lots of things have happened since then, a major break up, moving back to blighty after being in France for donkeys years, a new man, new home……. back then you sent me a few words of much appreciated comfort while I was living a traumatic break up from my now ex, Mark. So much water has gone under the bridge since then , so much pain and uncertainty and your blog was like a ray of light during those hard times.

    My mate Theresa who is much more sensible than I could ever be once told me that "Nothing is wasted" one of the best pieces of wisdom ever handed to me. I hope that in the month since you posted this that everything sucks a little less .

    My heart goes out to you. xx
    Bibi

    • brocantehome on said:

      Lovely to see you back Bibi… and to hear that there was light at the end of your tunnel. I too believe that "nothing is wasted" but damnit it's hard to appreciate when you are standing knee deep in so much rubbish!

      A month or so on and yes, things are calmer… whether peace comes soon is hard to judge but I think I'm in a better place now… more certain of how I feel. Less intimidated by tomorrow…

      Thank you for caring.x

  55. I had missed some posts from Brocante Home as of late, but caught one with some misery and followed the trail back. I tear up in empathy, for the tragedy and for you. Please know that we read this wonderful blog not only for Brocante's puttery treats and homey ideas, but for you and the way you write. Everything you write is beautiful and meaningful, from the most awful and tragedy of this day to all the daily lovelies you provide us. Continue to tell us what's going on, and write what you feel because all of it is food for the anonymous souls who read you. Hope that a month and a bit on, things are a little less dark x.

  56. countingyourblessing on said:

    Dear Sweet Alison, I have been reading backwards from today (11/29) to this post and wish that I hadn't let so much time pass since I visited last. Not that I could possibly have said kinder words than those everyone else has left for you. Or that being here would've made things one iota different. But just to have shared your pain and have praying thoughts for you all of these days. I'm so sorry for the pain you have been suffering. I remember a time when, though I was barely an adult, the pain of loss was so great that I didn't eat either. My mom literally fed me when my grief was so deep that nothing was more consuming than the alone-ness. My body failed because my heart failed. It was a wretched time. And I'm so, so sorry that you have felt that too. And I'm incredibly impressed, as I've read the story in reverse, at where you are now – just a short time later. You have indeed matured. You are more healed now than you were after Mark, probably because you lived through that mess first. You might not feel it, but it's true. You are more healed than you know.

    Prayerful thoughts for you now and when I wake in the night (because I have a bladder the size of a ladybug) and when the sun rises and weekends and in little moments… ((HUGS))… Polly