Posts tagged ‘child’

IT’S EASIER TO BELIEVE IN THIS SWEET MADNESS, OH THIS GLORIOUS SADNESS.

We are hurtling towards the end of the year and soon 2017 will be done.

To be honest, I’m not sure I will miss it. Next week, here in Australia, we find out the result of our criminally wasteful, hate mongering, progress delaying postal survey to see if some of us can have the same right as the rest of us. And still nothing will change, because this postal survey doesn’t actually change anything – except the degree to which people now feel free to spew hate about a certain group of us. Oh, and the millions of dollars less we now have to spend on silly stuff like education, health, the homeless, the environment. All those trivial things which can’t really matter much if we have money to burn on what is essentially ugly confetti at the end of the day.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe they are seeing how many more mass shootings they can cram in before the end of the year because gun control is a less attractive alternative (What. The. Actual. Fuck. ?????!!!!)

SIGH. If only we could use our powers for good.

Guys, I’m exhausted. The last few months have been intense. Good things and bad things, both, but intense and I’m weary.

Son Number Two graduated high school recently. This is a good thing. I am incredibly proud of him. I know how far he has had to travel and the obstacles he has had to navigate. I didn’t finish high school. I was pregnant with Daughter Number One by age seventeen. I went back to tertiary studies after having children but I didn’t finish high school. Son Number Two is the first of my children to finish high school. His graduation was a big deal to me, for his sake and for mine.

I don’t think I anticipated just quite how much of a huge deal it was to me until we actually attended the ceremony. Son Number Two had to be there early for a rehearsal so he’d gone ahead with his friends. I was attending with one of my friends. As soon as we entered the ceremony room tears started streaming down my face. Luckily the lights were low and I held on to my friend tightly as I struggled to compose myself. I managed to contain any sobs but the tears quietly snaked down my face for a long time. Before proceedings had even begun; before the graduating class was even in the room. Eventually, my tears slowed, then stopped. ‘Ok’ I thought, ‘I’m ok, I’ve got this under control.’ And I did. Right up until one of the speakers asked us to think back to when our students had started school.

I do remember when Son Number Two started school. He started school eight months after his big sister was murdered. My little boy’s world had been blown apart and at that stage we were still lurching between the inquest and other court proceedings. There was no security. There wasn’t even much familiarity. Everything and everyone Son Number Two had ever known had either been brutally ripped from his life or changed almost beyond recognition, including me. He was so small and so defeated. I remember standing beside his desk – was it an orientation or the first day? I can’t be sure. What I remember is the sheet on the desk and his downcast eyes as he said ‘It’s too hard. I can’t do it.’

It was too hard, because everything was too hard. Over the years I’m not sure things got easier. Times changed. Schools changed. Six times over the course of his educational career. It’s only really been in the last several years that Son Number Two has had any confidence in his abilities or discovered there were actually things he enjoyed about learning. He was lucky to have some help along the way, someone who cared enough to see his real potential. Someone who, one way and another, inspired my Son to start living up to that potential. Like me, he has very good friends. Son Number Two took the road less travelled but he got there in the end. I am so proud of the young man he is and so excited by who he is becoming.

I was completely overwhelmed throughout the graduation ceremony. My head was pounding. We were seated near the door so after Son Number Two had sauntered from the room like a rock star my friend and I went into the hall to wait for him. We found him as he and his friends went to get a photo together at the end of the corridor. The entrance to the building was at the other end of the corridor and, as we waited, the corridor started filling with people spilling out of the ceremony room. I could feel my throat closing over and my chest getting tight so my friend and I elected to head outside for some air.

Son Number Two finally emerged. We took some photos and exchanged hugs and wished him on his way. I was staying at my friend’s place so my Son and his friends could celebrate at ours. As soon as I got into my friend’s car the sobs I had been containing broke free. Noisy and ugly. We made the short journey back to his place where his daughter had dinner waiting for us. I went to get changed into less formal wear and then walked out to the back patio to sit with my friend. As I walked through his back door the nausea I had been trying to suppress all evening overtook me and I walked straight past my friend and threw up in his back garden.

There were so many conflicting emotions. My focus had been my Son but the empty space where Daughter Number One should have been felt emptier that night. As proud and happy for him as I am it is bittersweet for me that he is the first of my children to graduate high school. And I fruitlessly wonder how much more of his potential he would have realised, or how much sooner, if things had been different. I let the anger wash over me and let it go. It is what it is. And really, as far as he has come, it is still only the beginning for my Son Number Two.

I haven’t really been able to hit my stride again yet. There are lots of emotions at this time of year and this year has been a long one. Not the longest, to be sure, but still. Lots of first times. Lots of last times.

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I took this photo and the one below at Stockton Beach on the east coast of Australia, mere months before my Daughter’s murder and around a year before Son Number Two started school. In the top right of the photo of Daughter Number one dancing in the waves is a corner of the shipwrecked MV Sygna. You can see it clearly behind four year old Son Number Two here.

Last year, a few days after the anniversary of Daughter Number Ones death, most of what was left visible of the MV Sygna slipped into the sea during storms. Apparently there’s only a tiny bit there to see now. Soon enough you won’t be able to see it at all.

There are only so many days left of 2017. Try to fill yours with love. This too shall pass. All of it. Make memories, take photos, go gently with yourself and others. Travel safe x

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THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME. 

This morning I woke up from a nightmare in which I was getting my children ready for some imminent apocalyptic event. I don’t remember what it was, I just remember speaking to my kids and trying to prepare them, in a detailed way, including instructions on what to do if separated from me, or from each other. They were smaller, younger, more vulnerable versions of themselves, just to add to the ambiance. I was talking to them in a very matter of fact way while in my head I was screaming because I knew it wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough, wasn’t enough and the very bad thing was coming and I couldn’t keep them safe. 


Yesterday I woke up from a dream that left me so disoriented that it literally took me a full sixty seconds, without exaggeration, to work out – first – where I was, but then, when I was. In that order, which is weird. Yesterday disappeared into a bit of a hole that I was unable to crawl my way out of. The level of exhaustion is hard to describe. I read somewhere that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder feel so tired all the time because you are basically on high alert constantly. After nightmares all night (I will wake up several times during the night and even if I go back to sleep all I remember are nightmares) I slump into some days. My head pounds, I have chest pains and my limbs all feel like they are made of concrete. My whole body aches with heaviness. Everything, every. little. thing. requires such effort that, even if I can be bothered, a small task can take up most of the day. There are days I can’t even pretend to be a functional human being. 

I guess this is my annual Mother’s Day whinge. Feel free to stop reading. I don’t claim any exclusivity. Everyone has hard days and Mother’s Day is hard for lots of people, for many reasons. Childless mothers, motherless children, women who mother other people’s children, children and mothers who are separated by whatever circumstance. I don’t pretend my list is comprehensive. You all know who you are. 

For some, it will be their first Mother’s Day and for some it will be their first Mother’s Day since. For some, it will be both and that’s just the way it is. What I know is that as soon as Easter was over, literally the day after, shops were full of Mother’s Day merchandise. Mugs and slippers and photo frames everywhere you turn. Brochures in the letter box and advertisements on television and Mother’s Day espisodes of television shows. Choking up my newsfeed in every direction. A constant assault that is impossible to escape. And for me this year the added bonus of a later Mother’s Day bringing it even closer to the anniversary of my Daughter’s death. Two and a half weeks to go. Bonus. 

Would I have been a grandmother by now? I cried on the packed train today, silently, after scrolling past a mother guessing her daughter was pregnant on a facebook post. Bit, fat, hot tears that dropped singly from my lashes and felt like lava carving their way down my face. 

After tomorrow there will be marked down slippers, mugs and photo frames and that is nowhere near as fun as marked down Easter chocolate, nowhere near as fun at all. But the days, even the hard ones, pass. Just a bit slower. 

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Tonight I am baby sitting three rascals of the four legged kind. Two very special babies and the big brother of the little girl Son Number Two and I have staying with us; precious souls all of them and I am glad to be here. 
A friend asked me to edit her manuscript recently. I cannot possibly put into words what it meant to me to be trusted with that task, but it meant so much. It worked for me on a number of levels. 
I have friends I can text random things to and they will meet me where I am. I recently went to see a performance of live theatre. It was an incredibly moving adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank hosted by the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts. I’ve had lunch in the quiet, leafy grounds of a University and laughed at my Daughter Number Two and my Sons. I have felt the relief of cool nights after just warm enough days. Videos of small boys and big dogs that melt my heart. And, you know, marked down Easter chocolate. 

The best of times and the worst of times. 
For the rest of my life; the best of times and the worst of times. 
Safe onward travel x 

TWO LITTLE BOYS. 

Speaking to The Love of My Life today, we were talking about how my Daughter Number One, Sam, died. 

‘You know’ he said ‘in the future there will be cars that people can’t die in. Someone is probably working on it now, something to keep the occupants safe, so that car crashes can’t happen. And then people won’t die in cars’. And I thought to myself that that would really be something. No more fatalities on our roads. 

But then I thought, it wasn’t actually the car that killed her. The car was just the weapon of choice of her murderer. My Daughter was killed by another human being, it wasn’t a car accident, it was an act of murder by a trusted adult known to her. A man who drove at high speed into a rock wall on an expressway and ended her life. 

Then the news today that a father has driven off a wharf with his two little sons, aged four and not yet even one, after posting a suicide note on facebook. Koda and Hunter died, trapped in a car, drowning. This was no car accident either. And although the coroner will have the final word, and as much as I feel for their mother – and oh I do! So very much! This club doesn’t need any more members – I am not afraid to say that the man the media is reporting as a loving father and active member of the community is, now, a murderer and surely whatever else he may have been fairly PALES in comparison? Seriously. 

My heart bleeds for Hunter and Koda’s mother, extended family and friends. But mostly it bleeds for two little boys who are now gone, just like that, for always. 

Cars that people can’t die in would really be something. But so would an end to Domestic Violence. Fuck, why stop there? Let’s get rid of people killing other people, full stop. Because, enough already. 

Rest in Peace Koda and Hunter. And say hi to Sam for me x 

  

That’s What All the People Say. (For Matt and Chris, with love x)

Ah, life! You sadistic, sucker punching bastard! You’re riding high in April, shot down in May. Or you know, ok on Tuesday and over it by Wednesday. 

Bittersweet is something I am overly familiar with. Son Number Two is doing a musical this year, Little Shop of Horrors. It’s the same musical that his Sister did the year she died. He’s in the chorus. She was in the chorus. He’s in year 9. She was in year 9. He’s older than she ever was. He’s still here. She’s not. Not in the ways I wish she was.

Still, that’s life. That’s my life anyway and life for too many like me.

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When we went to see his Sister in Little Shop of Horrors Son Number Two was absolutely petrified of the giant plant. We went backstage to see his sister and he was beside himself! He was so very little then. Shortly after that his whole world exploded. What I wouldn’t give for that little boy to have been able to live a bit longer before he had to find out that monsters are not just make believe. Take him back to a time where all he had nightmares about were papier mâché plants and a hug from his big Sister made everything ok. 

Son Number Two is going to his first rehearsal today. I hope he has a blast. 

And now over to one of my favourite philosophers who says it far better than I ever could. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you- Eminem:

“Beautiful”

[Intro:]
Lately I’ve been hard to reach, I’ve been too long on my own
Everybody has a private world where they can be alone
Are you calling me? Are you trying to get through?
Are you reaching out for me, like I’m reaching out for you?

I’m just so fuckin’ depressed, I just can’t seem to get out this slump
If I could just get over this hump
But I need something to pull me out this dump,
I took my bruises, took my lumps
Fell down and I got right back up
But I need that spark to get psyched back up
In order for me to pick the mic back up
I don’t know how or why or when I ended up in this position I’m in
I’m starting to feel distant again
So I decided just to pick this pen
Up and try to make an attempt to vent
But I just can’t admit
Or come to grips with the fact that I may be done with rap
I need a new outlet, and I know some shit’s so hard to swallow
But I just can’t sit back and wallow
In my own sorrow
But I know one fact I’ll be one tough act to follow
One tough act to follow
I’ll be one tough act to follow
Here today, gone tomorrow
But you’d have to walk a thousand miles

[Chorus:]
In my shoes, just to see
What it’s like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what it’d be like to
Feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each other’s minds
Just to see what we find
Look at shit through each other’s eyes
But don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful, oh
They can all get fucked.
Just stay true to you
So don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
Oh, they can all get fucked.
Just stay true to you, yeah, so…

I think I’m starting to lose my sense of humor
Everything is so tense and gloom
I almost feel like I gotta check the temperature in the room
Just as soon as I walk in
It’s like all eyes on me
So I try to avoid any eye contact
’cause if I do that then it opens the door for conversation
Like I want that… I’m not looking for extra attention
I just want to be just like you
Blend in with the rest of the room
Maybe just point me to the closest restroom
I don’t need no fucking man servant
Trying to follow me around and wipe my ass
Laugh at every single joke I crack
And half of them ain’t even funny like
“Ha!, Marshall you’re so funny man, you should be a comedian, god damn”
Unfortunately I am, but I just hide behind the tears of a clown
So why don’t you all sit down?
Listen to the tale I’m about to tell
Hell, we don’t gotta trade our shoes
And you ain’t gotta walk no thousand miles

[Chorus]

But don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
Oh they can all get fucked.
Just stay true to you so
Don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
Oh they can all get fucked.
Just stay true to you so

Nobody asked for life to deal us
With these bullshit hands we’re dealt
We gotta take these cards ourselves
And flip them, don’t expect no help
Now I could have either just
Sat on my ass and pissed and moaned
Or take this situation in which I’m placed in
And get up and get my own
I was never the type of kid
To wait by the door and pack his bags
Who sat on the porch and hoped and prayed
For a dad to show up who never did
I just wanted to fit in
In every single place
Every school I went
I dreamed of being that cool kid
Even if it meant acting stupid

Aunt Edna always told me “Keep makin’ that face it’ll get stuck like that”
Meanwhile I’m just standin’ there
Holdin’ my tongue tryna talk like this
‘Til I stuck my tongue on that frozen stop sign pole at 8 years old
I learned my lesson then cause I wasn’t tryna impress my friends no more
But I already told you my whole life story
Not just based on my description
’cause where you see it from where you’re sitting
It’s probably 110% different
I guess we would have to walk a mile
In each other’s shoes, at least
What size you wear? I wear tens
Let’s see if you can fit your feet

[Chorus]

[Outro:]
Lately I’ve been hard to reach, I’ve been too long on my own
Everybody has a private world where they can be alone…
So are you calling me, are you trying to get through, oh?
Are you reaching out for me, like I’m reaching out for you?
So oh oh

Yeah… To my babies. Stay strong.
Daddy will be home soon
And to the rest of the world, god gave you the shoes
That fit you, so put ’em on and wear ’em
And be yourself, man, be proud of who you are
Even if it sounds corny,
Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you ain’t beautiful, so…

 
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Remember friends,
 
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Travel safe x 

 

One Perfect Day.

If we lived in a perfect world relationships would end on notes of mutual respect. People would not treat their children as possessions to be divided like the spoils of war; collateral damage of overblown egos. Co-parenting would be more important than winning in a game where there can only ever be losers. Custody battles are a blood sport where children are the trophy. At the end of the day, when all the scurrilous allegations have been made and the damage has been done, do you really think your children will be thanking you? Or do you think that once they are old enough they will just decide for themselves?

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