Posts tagged ‘friendship’

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. 

WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF I SANG OUT OF TUNE? 

  

Son Number Two and I moved into a place we can call our own this week. It needs some work but it is a step in the right direction. Since moving in we have been offered a bed, a bicycle for Daughter Number Two, a vacuum cleaner and a landline telephone, amongst other things. It is heartening, the kindness of strangers. 

I am always grateful for the beautiful people I am privileged to call friends. People who pick me up when I am down and love me generously. Those people, my friends, know me though and know that I love them back. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement; a two way street. Although I am always and eternally grateful for my gorgeous family of the heart (and particularly to the phone charger fairy this week) this post is more focused on the kindness of strangers. 

I watched a documentary the other night called ‘Craigslist Joe’. According to Wikipedia:

“Craigslist (styled craigslist) is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, communitygigsrésumés, and discussion forums.”

In the documentary, available on Netflix, Joe – the protagonist of the piece – decides to spend one month over December, thirty one full days and nights, living entirely from things he’s sourced from Craigslist. Food, accomodation, transport, any extra clothing in addition to the one set he is wearing – everything. He has his laptop and phone to access Craigslist and connect with the people he comes into contact with there. And off he goes! I won’t spoil it for you. You need to check it out for yourselves. It is safe to say though that my belief in the inherent goodness of the majority of my fellow man remains. I have to believe, given the opportunity, most of us choose to do the right thing. I’m a big believer in paying it forward and random acts of kindness as well. 

  

Most of us, we lucky ones, have enjoyed a long weekend of family and fun and chocolate. I was doing just that, spending time with Daughter Number Two and her male counterpart, when I saw a post from one of my facebook friends. It said that one of their two little daughter’s preschool teachers – someone who she says ‘helped form our beautiful daughters into the girls they are today’ – was driving home from Easter celebrations with her own family when there was a car crash. Two of the preschool teacher’s children died. Just like that. Life spins on a dime. There is a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to help the family. It is here: 

http://www.gofundme.com/qzy8xk

It could be any of us, driving home over the long weekend. If any of you can help, even just because it wasn’t you, then please do. That goes for any occasion the opportunity arises to do something good for someone else. Just do it. Most of the time you will never know how much your kindness means but let that not deter you! Just remember all the times in your life someone has been there to catch you and hold out your own hands to someone else. 

Safe onwards travel x 


Excommunicated. 

  

(For the beautiful Miss S., and all of us who are trying to find our way.) 

EXCOMMUNICATED 

Remember when your name was a prayer on my lips?

I screamed it in ecstasy

I cried it in despair.

I whispered it hopefully in the dead of night. 

Remember when my prayers were answered because there was you and I believed? 

Remember when your body was the temple I worshipped at?

Your thoughts were the the scripture I committed to my memory and learnt off by heart.

All your rituals and all your ways.

The infinitesimal things that made you so much more than the sum of your parts. 

You were my religion, the one true path to paradise and my heart sang, full of hymns to you. 

I kept the faith. 

Who knew that the baptism of fire would come at the end? 

Now I hope that like a pheonix I will be reborn.

Find within a sanctuary, be my own refuge.

Because all I have left to believe in is me.

But I haven’t practised in a while. 

  

DON’T LET THE SOUND OF YOUR OWN WHEELS DRIVE YOU CRAZY.

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A bit of a fragile day today. It started this morning in the car listening to the radio. “By My Side” by INXS came on and reminded me of Malcolm. The song following it reminded me of someone else I’ve loved and lost. A musical one-two combination that winded me.

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I was riding the train thinking how evocative music can be. How amazing memory is that a little fragment of something; a line of a book, the name of a street, a certain scent can transport us so thoroughly to another time and space. I was thinking of that movie with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. They are a couple who, after a break up, have every memory of each other erased from their minds only to spend the rest of the film trying to fill the gap.

That is the deal I guess. With the ecstasy comes the agony. As I said in an earlier post there are positives in both if you look for them. Today was bittersweet but only because I’ve known the sweet at all.

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One of my knights phoned me not much later. Although I don’t get to talk to him as much as I’d like these days he is still excellent value when I do and he was definitely the bright spot in my day. Love takes many forms. I’m still a true believer guys, so, courtesy of the internet and for your viewing pleasure, please find Stan Beaton, who kept his wife’s outgoing voicemail message on his phone for 14 years after she died, just so he could hear her voice. Then his phone was upgraded and the message was lost. Stan, understandably, was devastated but what happened next was beautiful. Check it out!

Then this short piece about unrequited love:

Holding on, letting go; two sides of one coin.

Safe onward travel x

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