Posts tagged ‘life’

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

NOW I SEE THAT COLOURS ARE EVERYTHING!

I’m on my way to the Pride Parade tonight! I am SO EXCITED! This is something I have wanted to do for literally decades! Daughter Number One had been to a couple of Mardi Gras Parades in Sydney but this will be my first Pride Parade anywhere! I’m going with Son Number Two and a couple of his very best mates. It should be AMAZING!!! If it’s not enough that this years Pride Parade follows the announcement of a YES win in the Marriage Equality Survey, we are actually marching in the parade with PFLAG.

Last week I went to my second PFLAG meeting. I made my way by train and bus and then walked from the train station to where the meeting was being held. A few days beforehand the results of the Marriage Equality Survey had been revealed.

I thought about going into the city to be in the crowd that gathered to hear the results announced but I would have had to leave home before six in the morning. That didn’t rule me out but as I was lying in bed the night before, scrolling through social media, I read a post that said something like “I am preparing myself for another Trump, Brexit upset” and for the first time I allowed myself to really acknowledge the possibility that the result may be ‘No’. Icy cold fear gripped my heart.

The whole process, which has gone on for years and has only escalated in ugliness, has been disheartening and soul destroying but, through it all, I hadn’t really allowed myself to contemplate a ‘No’ result. Reading that post in my bed the night before the announcement slightly brought into focus that inconceivable possibility. And, honestly, I’m not sure how I would have borne it. The thought of a ‘No’ being announced was enough to make my decision to stay home the next morning and face the outcome from the safety of my own bed.

Last Saturday, as I walked from the train station to the meeting place I walked through two tiny parks. Cool, green pockets of peace in the hot concrete jungle of the city. After seeing an advertisement online I had gone looking for MOP DONUTS to buy one of their Pride doughnuts. It was a light delicious circular pillow of doughnutty goodness, covered in white chocolate, filled with Nutella and adorned with an edible rainbow decal. When I looked up the location of my nearest MOP DONUTS I found it was near enough to where the meeting place was for me to find the magical doughnut before going on to the PFLAG meeting. When I looked more closely at the public transport app for directions to the meeting I found the station for the doughnut shop was actually the exact same one as the one I would be getting off at anyway, and if that isn’t a sign I do not know what is! So I collected my doughnut and sat for a time in the soothing shade of a park and then went to my meeting.

It was to be followed by poster making for tonight’s parade, approximately three and a half hours of social interaction with a group of people I had only met once or potentially hadn’t met at all. It was good though, really good. There was only once I had to take a few minutes to myself to regroup but the people there are accepting and welcoming and this is stuff that really, really matters to me. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone tonight. I’m excited to share this with my son and his friends as well as the wider community. There is much to celebrate tonight and I am happy to be a part of it.

After an offhand remark at last weeks meeting I was reading the PFLAG website to learn more. This particular branch of PFLAG was formed the same year Daughter Number One was born. Another sign. And being around accepting, open hearted folk with similar values never hurt anyone!

Yesterday I was at a funeral. It was a celebration of a life well lived. A life well loved. Right now I am in the city, writing this as I travel, and already I spy people walking past dressed for Pride. Very soon I’ll be amongst a sea of people celebrating love and the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

The day before yesterday I met beautiful friends at a scenic location; there was sun and sea and sand. After lunch my beautiful friend’s best boy made a beeline for a gaming arcade and as he played with the beeping machines with their flashing colours in the dim light I glanced past the Terminator pinball machine to the sun drenched marina outside the door. I thought that there were pros and cons to both vistas; the electric, flashing thrill of the gaming machines and the beautiful ocean scene. They were so different but both there to be enjoyed and explored. I listened to the eulogies given yesterday and heard tales of daring and adventure and compassion. A life well lived. A life well loved.

My thoughts for today are these; in this life you have to find the things that matter to you. The things and the people you are passionate about. There are going to be dark times, so we have to find the things of substance in our lives to hang on to. And when you find them, the people and places and things that make your heart sing, that’s where your energy needs to go. Because they are the things that sustain us. This too shall pass but how we pass our time counts.

Follow the signs and they will lead you home.

HAPPY PRIDE everyone! Travel safe x

DREAMS THAT YOU DARE TO DREAM. 

Not much stuck from my childhood. Actually, that’s not quite true; LOTS of it stuck but there’s not much I choose to hold onto. This week though one thing has resonated.
As I child I was taught that if you feel like saying something you should ask yourself three things – Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? This ridiculous, non binding, divisive, resource wasting postal plebiscite has exceeded the fearful expectations of those who opposed it and the climate is ugly out there. It is being used as a platform for sinister untruths and as a license to spew hate. On a daily basis, on a deep level, people are being attacked for who they love.

Of course, this is nothing new. The LGBTI+ community has never been immune to persecution. It is the openness of the hatred at the moment that appals me. That we are being compelled to choose a side and that an actual campaign is being waged to validate bigotry. More resources wasted to generate and perpetuate hate.

I am a Sagittatarian, it’s kind of mandatory for me to be blunt and I value honesty highly. But I come back to those three questions; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? The thing about opinions is that everyone has one and I’m not going to argue that you aren’t entitled to yours, even if it opposes mine. What I am sure about though, is the neither of us should take our opinions and use them as the basis of acts that damage other people.

If you do feel you have something to say then be thoughtful around how you express yourself. Check your facts. Make sure they are, in fact, facts. Decide if you really need to say anything. Will you actually be contributing? If so, express yourself respectfully. There’s a school of thought that asserts that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. I don’t agree with that. Lots of the things I speak about here aren’t nice but I feel like I have something to contribute by not staying silent. I hope I am respectful. I try to be.
Daughter Number One’s best friend was gay. Well, to the best of my knowledge he still is! She loved him dearly. She had been to several Mardi Gras parades in Sydney before she died at 14. Son Number Two, my tall, nineteen year old, straight son, also has friends who fall outside of heterosexual norms. So do I. Dearly loved friends, some I have had for decades, some who have walked with me through the darkest of nights. Even Daughter Number Two has a best friend who shows signs of growing up to walk the road less travelled. He’s young, so who knows? My point is that whoever her friend grows up to be my Daughter will not judge him on who he loves. Because she loves him. Just as he is.

I have been so sad about this postal plebiscite. The stories both from mainstream media and people I know are heartbreaking. I go to rallys when I can. I posted off my yes vote. I write about marriage equality here and I share things on facebook. But this issue has been going on for so long now in Australia that I am able to share facebook memories from three years ago that are still sadly relevant. And, in the face of the sea of hatred that is tsunami-ing over us, it doesn’t seem enough.
So tomorrow I am going to a PFLAG meeting. PFLAG stands for ‘Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays’. When I rang up today to register my interest in attending tomorrow the lady on the phone asked me for my story. She asked where I heard about PFLAG. I’ve seen them march behind their banner in Mardi Gras. I’ve watched Debbie represent in Queer as Folk. I’ve heard them speak at rallys. What’s my story? “Do you have a gay child?” she asked. And I don’t. But I could. And that would be perfectly fine with me, because love is love.
I believe in love. With so much ugliness in this world I believe in love. I know and love many beautiful people and I believe they all should be allowed to make the choices they feel are right for themselves, in their own relationships. I don’t believe ‘different’ should equal ‘lesser under law’. So, I’ll go to the PFLAG meeting tomorrow and I’ll go to the marriage equality rally next week and I’ll keep writing here about things that matter.

This article here gives some insight into why straight allies are important and this link will point you in a practical direction if you have time and energy to share. PFLAG can be found here and there are many groups and events you can make contact with in your state.

Travel safe 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 

WE’VE BEEN POISONED BY THESE FAIRY TALES. 


All we have to do, at any given moment, is take the next step. Sometimes they are big steps and sometimes they are baby steps. Sometimes they are sidesteps and sometimes we take a step back. But all we have to do, at any given moment, is take the next step. 
Last week I had the most lovely day with friends. We took my friend’s two year old, The Best Boy, to the park. Actually we took him to two parks! At the second we met a dog, named Milo, who was swinging on a swing. Chill as you please. Milo was so relaxed he even let The Best Boy push him on the swing. It was very cool to watch. Unexpected and entertaining. Milo, you are a legend. 
I watched The Best Boy navigating both the parks we took him to. His sturdy little legs and boundless enthusiasm taking him further and higher, one step at a time. His Mum was there to offer a steadying hand when he needed it; it’s good to have support around you. 

Incredibly, to me, Australia is still debating Marriage Equality. I am waiting for us to take the next step. 
Change isn’t always easy, even when it is necessary. Even when it is the right thing. Even when we know it will be the best thing. It is difficult to step out of our comfort zones and into the unknown. But if we do we can be Milo the dog, swinging at the park, sun in our face and wind in our hair. Loving life! 

Someone special gave me a little cactus plant. It had grown quite a lot and I was worried that it was getting too crowded in it’s little pot. I don’t have a green thumb and I thought that I might kill it if I tried to repot it. What I knew for sure though, was that it had outgrown it’s little pot. To keep living and thriving I would need to find it a new place to be. It wouldn’t look the same. It would have to adjust to it’s changed environment. But it couldn’t stay where it was. 
So I found a white pot, with ‘Grow! Grow! Grow!’ painted up the side. I found some lush soil and I replanted the little cactus. I gave it a little bit of water and let it have a little bit of sun. I don’t know exactly how it will work out but I know that I have given it the best chance to survive and flourish. 
There are no guarantees in life. Sometimes you just have to make your move and take the next step. Talk to a stranger, climb up a mountain, go to the theatre, walk out the door, open your arms.  Live your life. Grow and flourish. One step at a time. 
❤️💛💚💙💜
Safe onward travel x 

LOVE IS WATCHING SOMEONE DIE. 

We are through the first half of 2017, and almost halfway through July now as well. I made it through the 14th anniversary of Daughter Number One’s murder but only just, regular viewers, only just. I am still here, still breathing, still putting one foot in front of the other. 

I don’t try to pretend it is easy. It really hasn’t been. During the first five months of this year two beautiful souls I had the privilege of connecting with died and in June another, most precious, followed. On top of my own personal grief, watching people I love in pain is almost more than I can bear. I say almost because there isn’t a choice. I love them and they are in pain. If the most I can do is bear witness then it needs to be done. But I have been so sad. For me, for them. It all hurts so much. My body hurts, my soul hurts and oh, I’m so tired. So very, very tired. 

In the week before the anniversary of Daughter Number One’s murder we had the bombing in Manchester, at Ariana Grande’s concert. An attack on children. An attack on music. Shortly after came the London Bridge attack, again involving young people on a night out and shortly after that came the Grenfell Tower disaster. Babies and children, whole families, living their lives, losing their lives and all of these events in quick succession hit me like a ton of bricks. The weight of it, mixed with the other losses in my own life. The pointless waste of snuffed out potential. The reinforcement of how tenuous our grip on life is. How quickly everything we have and know and hold dear can be gone. It was crushing. 

As always, during these times, we were offered the very best and the very worst of humanity. Stories of homeless men running to give aid and strangers holding children, comforting them as they died. But the overwhelming aftertaste was of man’s inhumanity to man. These are the things I try not to hold onto. I really try. Consciously. I choose to look for the good and to be better, not bitter. But every ‘Missing! Hasn’t been heard from’ photo on facebook and each confirmed fatality, each snatched glimpse of footage showing billowing smoke and bereft people before I quickly changed the channel, took me back to a policeman’s face and the sound of his voice saying “There is nothing to identify. We’ll have to use dental records”. Over and over and over again. 

I am still sad. I am still scared. I am scared because at some point, in some way, love will equal loss, because that is the deal. And I choose to keep loving. Is it better to have loved and lost? Still, yes, I guess. For me at least. But the loss bit is just so very hard. 

Still, I get up in the morning and I put one foot in front of the other. Some days are slower than others, but I try and I try because the best way I know to honour the dead is by living. All the dear ones I have loved and lost, none of them would want me to not live my life. It would not give them back theirs. 

I have spoken before of the privilege of being adopted by a network of ex servicemen and women of all designations; military, police, fire and ambulance: Their support and generosity of spirit are second to none. A friend wrote recently to share his positive experience with a new medication he was trialling. Traditionally a blood pressure medication, it is said to have the bonus side effect of getting rid of ptsd related nightmares. As someone who routinely screams herself awake this sounded almost miraculous. In truth, after all these years I cannot imagine what life might be like without them. I just know it sounds good to me. 

After using antidepressants for over ten years I stopped taking them four years ago. A doctor said to me that she didn’t think my depression was biologically based, rather a reaction to events. I thought ‘Abso- fucking- lutely’ and at that moment there didn’t seem to be much point in continuing to take them. I only speak for myself. I don’t make judgements about what does and doesn’t work for anyone else. I was under medical supervision. But for me, I have not had any more bad days or anymore good days since I stopped taking them. That’s what I know. 

Four years down the track from that decision, hearing about a medication that specifically targets the nightmares was pretty exciting! So I made an appointment with a gp and asked. The Dr I was seeing had never heard of using this particular medication in that way so she rang a registrar for more information. She confirmed what my friend had been so generous to share. So, I got my prescription. And I don’t know that it will work for me but I don’t know that it won’t. And hope is a fine thing! 

One foot in front of the other until you get to the other side, while sirens in the distance have me listening for the voice that will never come. 

Safe onward travel to all my lovelies, wherever you are and wherever you are headed x 

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