Posts tagged ‘friendship’

A PLACE WHERE EVEN IF THERE’S NO CLOSURE, I’M STILL SAFE.

Well, hello 2018! It’s been full on so far!

Today would have been the 18th birthday celebration of a beautiful girl, if she was still here with us to enjoy it. Instead we remember her and are grateful for the bitter sweetness of it all, because that is all we have. Today also marks ten months since another much loved soul left us and how time keeps marching on is a little bit beyond me but it does and here we are. Today is also the birthday of one of my very best friends, a glorious being who has borne excellent children and who has known me now for much of my life but who loves me still. All of the people and all of their stories on all of their days. And the days keep on coming, one after the other. So, hold onto the good ones; the good people, the good memories, the good days.

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On Monday, Son Number One flew into town to spend the week with us. Daughter Number Two, Son Number Two and I were all at the airport to meet him. It is indescribably joyful to have my three living children together in my home. They bounce off each other with wise cracks and having the luxury of time together is blissful!

Because I never like to do things by halves Monday night, after we had said goodnight to Son Number One and he’d gone back to his accomodation, the rest of us got ready to attend a Very Special Wedding. We were honoured to be invited to one of the very first same sex marriages solemnised in Australia. We headed into the city to be there for the ceremony which concluded as soon as it was possible, just after midnight. It felt momentous and incredible to be a part of history but mostly it felt exquisitely beautiful to be a part of such LOVE. I watched the ceremony with tears in my eyes and warmth in my heart. Such a profoundly happy event.

Daughter Number Two hasn’t been with us to any rallies or marches. She wasn’t here with us to celebrate Pride. So she was beyond excited and thrilled to be able to attend this wedding with us. Even though it is summer and the weather is very warm, the midnight wedding meant Daughter Number Two was able to wear a special jacket that belonged to her big sister. I put it on her and rolled the sleeves only once and said to her that it was almost like her big sister hugging her. Almost. Then I watched her skip through the city, in my first born’s jacket, beside one of her brothers, on the day her eldest brother came to visit. As close as I can ever get to having all my children together.

It’s been a big week. Tomorrow we are having some friends over. Surrounding ourselves with people who love us and who we love. I highly recommend it! Because that’s the stuff you hang on to.

Safe onward travel x

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MAY YOUR DAYS BE MERRY AND BRIGHT.

A few weeks ago Son Number Two came home from a movie night with The Boys. He said “Mum, there’s a movie we have to see!”. He went on to explain that he had seen the shorts for a film called’Goodbye Christopher Robin’. He said “Mum, we have to see it, it’s Winnie the Pooh”.

As I’ve said before, Daughter Number One loved Winnie the Pooh and her room was full of Winnie stuff. After her murder my Sons and I decorated her coffin with Winnie the Pooh stickers, messages of love, glitter and their tiny handprints. So, “Mum, we have to see it, it’s Winnie the Pooh” – Of course we did.

Off we went, on my birthday at the beginning of the month. It was a very good movie. Terribly British in a charming way; it had themes of the futility of war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the mistakes we make as parents, forgiveness, family of the heart and how we carry on. It is the back story of bow Winnie the Pooh came to be. I didn’t have any knowledge of Winnie the Pooh author A.A.Milne outside of Winnie himself and it was incredibly moving and interesting to watch this film. I cried, oh, how I cried. And I unreservedly recommend you watch ‘Goodbye Christopher Robin’ too. I also recommend doing your own research around A.A.Milne and reading some of his other works.

Well guys, it’s been a year! Christmas is almost upon us and then another year. I don’t know about you but I’m tired. My plan is to spend my time and energy on the people I love, who love me. That’s all I’m sure about. As always I am tremendously grateful for those who travel with me.

Wishing you and yours health and happiness! Safe onward travel x

I’VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW. 

In the last few weeks there has been the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana and the sixteenth anniversary of September 11. There were many television programs commemorating the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. I watched some of them. I heard her sons speak of the last conversation they had with their mother; a brief phone chat. Their regret that they had not spoken to their mother for longer. Those poor little boys. 

There were also lots of articles commemorating the anniversary of 9/11. Tales of ordinary extraordinary people. Stories of brave survival and honourable death. Poignant conversations. Answering machine messages. We don’t generally have the luxury of knowing in advance when ‘last’ times come. The luxury of savouring each millisecond and commiting each moment to memory. We usually only recognise them when they are past. The last time we hear someone’s voice or see them smile or hold them in our arms. 

In between the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and September 11th this year Connie Johnson died. Boy, that chick knew how to live! And how to love! Connie was amazing. Her public memorial service was held in Melbourne today. If you are not familiar with Connie’s life and her work you can read up on her at loveyoursister.org  Please do! Or, you know, google. Look up Connie and what she was about. She left quite a legacy for everyone who loved her, especially her sons. But I bet they’d rather still have their Mum. 

Anniversaries, anniversaries, anniversaries. Whether it’s an hour or a day or twenty years they pack a punch. That’s loss I guess. That’s life. 

Even without working it out exactly I know that I have now lived longer without my Daughter Number One than I lived with her. I don’t need anniversaries to still feel the enormity of that loss. It is the way it is. This cartoon references mental illness but could just as easily relate to grief and loss for me. 

It’s not that I am unaffected now. Far from it. Just that it is what it is. I have lived longer without my Daughter than she lived her entire life. And however wrong that is, , however unbelievable, however fucking unfair, that’s the way it is. Knowing that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a night last week, as I turned the tv off and locked up the house, when I glanced at a photo of my Daughter and a sob burst from me with such force that it bent me double and I found myself on my knees, with tears streaming down my face saying over and over “Please come back! Please come back!”. But however much I plead and beg and cry she is never coming back. And the world keeps turning and the sun keeps rising. 

This year has been another one filled with loss, for me and people I hold dear. But not ours exclusively. Loss is the flip side of love. I try to focus, as best I can, on the love. It’s what there is left to hang on to. When all else is gone love is what remains. 

So I guess this is what I want to say today; love hard. Take the photo, make the phone call, send the message. Connect with the people you care about in any way available to to you! We have the technology! Get the most out of it! Send a video message or record a voice message. Do a video chat! Or go old school! Send a letter, write a card, post a care package. Let those you love know about it. You, your time and energy, are the most important gift you have to give. So invest in the people who matter to you, while you can. As much as you can for as long as you can. Savour it all. 

Safe onward travel x 

DON’T STOP YOUR LIGHT FROM SHINING ON. 

For Hope, and for Chris, with love, always x 

Here’s what I know;

💜 Life is short. Sometimes brutally so. However long it is, it is never long enough for the people who love us.

💜 Death isn’t only the end of a life; for those of us still living it becomes part of our lives.

💜 People mourn in different ways and it can bring out the best and the worst in us.

💜 The death of someone we love HURTS.

💜 The amount of time we spend with someone does not always equal the size of the hole they leave in our hearts.

💜 Life goes on. It just does.

💜 Some things in life are important. Some are not. One list is much longer than the other. Work out what is on your ‘Important things’ list. Prioritise.

💜 What if’s don’t change what is.

💜 Sometimes you have perfect days or perfect hours or perfect moments. Savour them. Hold onto them.

💜 Love isn’t all we need but it is what counts. It is the best we can hope to leave behind and it is how we endure.

When All That’s Left Is Love 

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller 

When I die 

If you need to weep

Cry for someone  

Walking the street beside you.

You can love me most by letting

Hands touch hands, and Souls touch souls.

You can love me most by

Sharing your Simchas (goodness) and

Multiplying your Mitzvot (acts of kindness).

You can love me most by

Letting me live in your eyes

And not on your mind.

And when you say Kaddish for me

Remember what our

Torah teaches,

Love doesn’t die People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away.

Safe onward travel x 

I MIGHT ONLY HAVE ONE MATCH. 

Over the last six months I have stayed in five different places but now, finally, I am somewhere that I can make my own and settle awhile. It feels good! 

I like being able to have my own things around me and to decide where things will go. Lovely and generous friends have gifted me things I may need and it has been like little mini Christmases each time something arrives. I love things, and people, that come into my life with stories! And they always come with stories! Even if you don’t know their histories you can imagine the journeys they have taken to cross paths with you. They have seen other places, been touched by other hands. 


I looked down at my hands earlier this week; at my chipped, blood red, Chanel nail polish. I thought to myself that they were an apt metaphor for my life, or for me! Imperfect but still vibrant, or something! 
There are many exciting things coming up for me and new adventures with old friends. Some of my lovely ones are coming closer to me and some I will be travelling to see. There is much for me to appreciate and more again to look forward to. When I awaken in a panic for the third night in a row and find a message from a friend on the other side of the world, their thoughtfulness is enough to soothe me, and I know I am a lucky girl! 

Wherever we are or wherever we’re from, wherever we’ve been or wherever we are heading the truth for me is this; we are all just passing through. 
Safe onward travel x 

CAN’T SCRATCH THE SURFACE WITHOUT MOVING ME, UNDERNEATH. 


“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”


Robert Frost

When I feel overwhelmed I like to remember those words from Mr Frost. They are right up there with “This too shall pass” on my list of useful phrases. They are useful words to live by because they are undeniably true. They remind me that everything is temporary. “Nothing gold can stay” – see? I have an arsenal of them. 
As always perspective is key. These phrases can be useful in any situation. If it is a more challenging day they remind me that the sun will eventually set. If it is a day full of joy then I am reminded to revel in every second of it. 

The last couple of weeks have had a few challenging days. I am not yet up to full speed but thanks in no small part to those who love me I am continuing to put one foot in front of the other. I have had places to go and people to see all week and I am extremely grateful for the love and friendships I have in my life. 

There has been a lot going on this year and I know I am not where I want to be yet but I have no doubt I am getting closer every day. Part of that is putting in some boundaries for myself. Or maybe it is being willing to reinforce them – whatever. 

Last week on my way back from having lunch with a friend I stopped in at a chemist in the city to grab some headache tablets. I wasn’t functioning very highly so by the time it registered with me that the price I was being charged was double what it usually would be my money was already in the till. 
“Sorry, did you say $9.95? I’ll have to leave them then, thanks.” 
Those words actually came out of MY mouth! Instead of just going along with it, uncomfortable and unhappy, but not wanting to make a fuss – I said ‘No’. 

And the world kept turning!! More than that, I discovered a small chemist at the train station with the same product for $5! So not only did nothing bad happen because I decided to take a stand but it actually turned out better for me in the long run. Bonus! 

This experience was to stand me in good stead shortly afterwards when I received a friend request on facebook from someone who had a brief liaison with the person I spent years of my life committed to. To be clear, I wasn’t in a relationship with anyone at the specific time this liaison occurred, just still had feelings which meant that the knowledge that it had occurred was somewhat ouchy for me. Because – human! So to say the friend request caught me a little off guard would be understating it. In amongst everything else I had going on the timing wasn’t splendid either but that’s life, right? 

Although we know some of the same people – and not all of them in the biblical sense – I couldn’t really understand the motivation. So, I did what I usually do when I don’t understand something. I asked. The response came back “It’s always good to link further (smiley face emoticon)”. But do you know what dear readers? It’s not! It is not always good to link further. Especially if you are already linked in uncomfortable ways that resemble an HIV/AIDS campaign of the 1980’s. 

So, thanks, but no thanks. Because really, what are we going to talk about? Or worse! Do we never actually acknowledge the elephant in the room and play dumb for all eternity? Neither option appeals to me. Both seem like far too much hard work. Just no. Not yes out of some kind of twisted notion of politeness – although to be honest I’m not sure there is a Miss Manners guidebook for these circumstances – just NO.  

I have heard some truly horrific examples this week of boundaries being crossed, the most public of which is the Standford Rapist. They have all brought home to me the fact that there are times when you just have to draw a line and sometimes the only one you can depend on to stand up for you, is you. Sometimes you are the only one who can.

JUST DO IT. Because when you do, you might be surprised by how many stand with you. 

Safe onward travel x 

YOU HOLD ME WITHOUT TOUCH. 

Trigger warning; grief, loss, suicide. Go easy people x

  

For those of you who love me; I am safe and sound and surrounded by friends who offer me comfort. Still, I am floundering a bit. 

Yesterday my first husband, the father of my Daughter Number One, was farewelled at his funeral. Even as I write that sentence it still seems totally unreal. 

The pictures in my head are of us when we were very young. Me, in a borrowed dress I loathed but didn’t feel I could say no to and him in his grey tux and pink cummerbund – so very Eighties! I was seventeen and he had just turned eighteen and our wedding photo’s picture us as the babes in arms we were. So young. Before life had really touched us, or before it should have as much as it already had but never imagining how much more there was to come. Neither of us having had a stellar childhood and both of us hoping to create with each other what neither of us had ever known, but what were the odds of that? Well, we didn’t beat them. A planned unplanned teenage pregnancy and wedding photo’s that sincerely look like high school class pictures. And we’ve all seen a lot of life since then. And we’ve all seen too much of death. 

The two friends who were my bridesmaids on that day stand by me still. Have been there for me through all years in between. One of them attended the funeral and told me afterwards that I was mentioned in one of the eulogies. Not just Daughter Number One but me as well and for some reason that blew me away and just kills me. And hearing it was like a portal to another life, in another chapel, so very long ago. 

My head is still spinning. Random, ridiculous thoughts. One of my dearest friends, an ex-lover, a kindred spirit of the highest order, died seventeen years ago on the 30th of May. The anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death is the 1st June and now her father has died on the 31st of May. I mean REALLY? Really? 

The services for my Kindred Spirit friend and Daughter Number One were held in the same chapel and for reasons I cannot explain I felt SUCH RELIEF when I read that her father’s service was to be held elsewhere. Stupid, right? Like it even matters. But I felt relieved and goodness knows I’ll take it where I can get it at this stage of the game. 

Mostly I think of his three sons. Of how they are now the fatherless sons of a Dad who killed himself, just like my sons. These boys I have never met who were also my daughter’s brothers. And they’d already lost their elder sister, my Daughter, so they have that in common with my own sons too. And then blackly, bleakly I think that at least their Dad didn’t kill their older sister when he killed himself so at least they have that much over my sons. And they got to have their Dad for twelve years longer, which has to be a bonus? But there are no winners here, just losers and HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? It is so, so desperately sad. He was 45 years old. They played ‘So Far Away’ at his funeral. AT HIS FUNERAL. His poor sons! His poor wife! 

I know I bang on about my friends a lot here but the reality is that I wouldn’t still be here without them; I couldn’t be. When my world is spinning faster than I can handle they are the anchor that holds me fast. With their kindness and their grace, their humour and their acceptance. With their ability to love me, just as I am. 

Within hours of hearing the news and my distress one friend had brought me across the country to be with him in a place that I feel safe. I am here still. The response from another friend when I remarked that two people I once married and another ex-lover have all committed suicide was this: 

  
That Tinder comment right there? THAT’S why that guy is my friend. My friends don’t just talk the talk with me. They walk the walk and take the piss out of me along the way. 

More kind words:

And again: 
   
And I’m letting my friends speak for themselves and these examples speak for all the others because I only have so many words at the moment and not many of them are good. And I’m really trying to hang on to the good. I wanted you to see and to know how blessed I am. 

There are lots of things I’m not ready to hear at the moment and many things I can’t acknowledge. I don’t know much at all right now. But I know that I have the very best friends. And I can believe in them even while their belief in me astounds me. I wish I could see me as they see me but for today the fact I know they do really see me and they do not turn away makes all the difference to me. 

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