Monday, February 28, 2011

What the flu can sometimes bring......

These have been my best friends the past few days............... 

Cough drops, bottles upon bottles of icy water and a box of tissues......I've learnt it's a true skill to pull out just one without scoring ten! 

I've been sick with the flu....miserable!  My cough sounds like a seal who's escaped Sea World and I smell like the inside of a Vick's Vapor Rub jar! :)  But today, I'm getting better thank goodness!

For the past 4 days I haven't been motivated to climb out of bed, let alone jump on my laptop....and I told Peter I felt like I was dying....  "It's Swine Flu!"  I told him!

I was struggling to catch my breath Saturday night...had the chills, which made me rug up deep under the covers....then within minutes, throw all the blankets off in a sweaty mess, gasping and barking! 

I'd forgotten what it's like to be sick....flu'y sick!

Dempsey was her usual caring self.  She wants to be a Doctor when she grows up.  So she took over the medical duties...feeling my forehead with her hand and telling me I had a temp, and nagging me not to forget to drink water, soda or orange juice..."But not wine or coca cola Mummy!"  she stated!  She also shared her 'Healing Bear' who she cuddles every night....I felt privileged! :)

Dempsey's Chakra Healing Bear..she swears he works miracles...each colored dot represents a Chakra in the body!

And the whole experience made me think of my beautiful Mum! 

Not just how I miss her smoothing my forehead like she did when I was ill,....or how she made me feel better with a cold glass of fizzy seven-up and her delicious lamb shank soup.  No, it made me reflect on how she must've felt when she was unwell.....when she was actually dying.

For those days I was stuck in bed, I thought about Mum's strength and the fearlessness she faced her illness with.  She never complained about how sick she must've felt, of her suffering....of the fluid building inside her body.  No, she was an advocate for living!  And, while she coped with all the physical side affects cancer brings, there was also the mental side of watching me agonize over Savannah's fatal diagnosis.... 

She maintained a tidy house, cooked dinner for my sister's growing children and woke during the night to bottle feed twin babies......  How can I not draw strength from her fine example?

Yes, while lying in bed all weekend, watching the 'Food Network,'  I dissected the "What ifs".....

"What if the flu was deadly?" 

"What would I do with my precious time?" 

"Have I done the things in life I want to?" 

"What would I change if I only had a certain amount of time left?"

And we should all think like that everyday....that today may be our last....and take advantage of the days we are blessed with. 

I also thought of a lovely lady in Sydney who's battling cancer....she doesn't complain either....  And I don't want to wait for a disastrous diagnosis, or any diagnosis to give me a slap in the face and remind me to appreciate what I have. 

I know being sick with a an insignificant flu reminded me to enjoy being well!  To make some changes to my life, like setting the alarm an hour earlier so I can go for a run before I attack the kitchen in the morning...amongst other things....  And to make a list...not a grocery one, a list of what I want to do with my precious time!

Dempsey in a fit of giggles on the floor as I tickled her.....................

And of course, feeling better today, I did the one thing I love to do most....tickle Demps and listen to that unadorned, magic giggle!  If only I could bottle it!  She is the best medicine of all....


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lost dreams and the feelings of longing through grief..............

THE BEREAVED – May Williams Ward

In the next room, in the low chair,
In the soft dark, are you there?
I do not ask it when sun is laid
Through the checkered window in yellow plaid-

But in the deep dark…In the low chair
In the next room, are you there?
I want you there….

This morning while trying to rinse dried oats off Peter’s breakfast bowl I looked over at Dempsey who was lost in a TV program…. She was sitting on our sofa, munching on dry vegemite toast, in her jammies…her school clothes waiting to be slipped into, piled neatly next to her.

“Darlin, you’re going to be late if you don’t get organized” I whined at her.

“Mummy, come sit with me and watch,” she said, patting the cushion next to her.

I filled the sink with the dirty breakfast dishes, dried my hands on a tea-towel and decided we had half an hour before we had to leave…..I hate saying no to a simple request of spending a bit of time with her. So I snuggled up on the couch beside her to see what had caught her attention so deeply.

She was watching American Idol which I had TIVO’d for her last Wednesday night.

I had no idea watching this talent show would reduce me to tears….at 7.30 in the morning! After all, it’s just a TV show right? But it was soooooooooo moving……….

And I find now, after experiencing grief that these moments of unpredictable reactions to other peoples’ ‘stories’ can transform me into a blubbering mess! It’s that gift of compassion grief brings into your world….mixed and stirred with the craving for what my child who’s missing would have wanted out of life……

Watching some of the contestants live out their dream, and being told “You’re going to Hollywood Baby!” had such a powerful effect on me. You see it’s the longing for Savannah that prompts the tears…the wondering, and the reflecting, and the not knowing what my little girl’s dreams were is what constricts my throat with pain.

Savannah at a Make A Wish granting experience in Australia.....her wish was to work with the dolphins..a very very special memory!

When Savannah was alive, she would say “I want to be a dolphin trainer Mummy!” That was her dream….  But today, I wonder whether she'd want to be dancer or a writer or a teacher……or just anything! It’s that mystery and unfairness that I don’t get to know, or see, or experience WHAT she would’ve been….even how she would’ve enjoyed sitting with Demps and me watching bloody American Idol!

And I feel ripped off when these emotions hit that I’ll never know…I can only envision…and it’s painful!

The simple fact is I miss my child. I miss the little things, like feeling a tight hug or even a smile from Savannah. I can say with confidence and conviction that I’ll feel like this until I die. For all my days……

I can’t watch movies where they show little girls being reunited into their mother’s arms…. or Gray’s Anatomy when they depict a storyline about curing a child’s disease. It’s heart wrenching as I know my little girl will never be returned to me and will never escape what happened to her.

And I know I can’t change my circumstances…I will always be saddened sometimes and curious…and that's part of being the mother of a child who died, that was stolen and that I’ll never see again. But I can still dream…and imagine………

You see every night before I go to bed, I check in on Dempsey. I stack up the scattered books she’s read that are laying on the carpet. I gently pull the blanket up over her shoulders and tap off her touch light.

I gaze at Dempsey’s innocence, lost in dreamland, tucked up safe under the blankets…she will always be my miracle and I know I’ll enjoy watching her live out her ambitions in this life.

However, some nights she looks like her sister as she sleeps...I see Savannah and the similarities are comforting……. On those nights I linger alone for just a bit longer and imagine……

PS; My beautiful dream Dempsey......  Remember always, always to take the time with your drop what's not important and spend some special moments with them...they only really want our love and our precious time...even if its watching American Idol on a school day!

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue! x

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"The little red flags that remind us to LIVE!" x

My neighbor Renee often leaves me gifts hanging on the spikes of our front gate. Sometimes it’s her hand me down tops, or a sweet candy surprise for Dempsey. Yesterday, it was a supermarket bag jam packed with a bunch of old magazines.

And you may wonder where this is going; apart from the fact I have a generous neighbor! Well, while flicking through one of these outdated magazines I stumbled on what I like to believe is a tangible sign from…..maybe my beautiful Mum! The words on the page stopped me dead in my tracks! I ripped it out as a reminder!

You see one thing I’ve learned through my journey is to ‘take notice of coincidences,’ these so called random flukes or accidental occurrences that ‘just happen!’

A few days ago, I’d been chatting with a friend of mum’s who mentioned an old song she was listening to called “Angeline” by Joan Baez, how it reminded her of where we grew up together…..I’ve never heard of this singer, however today, as I opened one of Renee’s magazine's, you can imagine my surprise as this is what I found………..

The quote glaring up at me from the page is;


As I read this quote, two things popped into my head….”What a coincidence, and this is a sign from one of my loved ones!”

Before the death of my sister, mum and daughter, I wouldn’t have thought much of this coincidence……but after devouring many metaphysical books, I now believe these messages are itty bitty signposts that I am on the right track in life.

Now, I take notice of this so called phenomenon, it rattles my cage, jolts me back into the present and reassures me I’m on my true path in this life.

The books state these ‘coincidences’ are like red flags to guide you, to help you believe and to signal like a lighthouse beam that you are heading in your destiny’s direction. Whether you believe that or not, I heed these seemingly random red flags, that seem to be waving madly like a Flag Marshall at the end of a Grand Prix Race.

It’s not like my Mum can place a monstrous neon red flashing billboard on the freeway saying “Diana, it’s your mother…choose to be happy and live!” No I think these little subtle coincidences are really secret hidden messages sent to instill belief…to convince me and inspire me to keep going in this direction I’ve chosen.....on this sometimes twisting turning passage called life.

So in saying all that and now you think I’m completely bonkers, off my rocker and crazy (which I already knew). I tore out this Joan Baez quote and put it on my fridge to give me a little nudge, or a shove every day not to forget.

My fridge is full of photos, that prompt me to squeeze every bit of happiness and ‘life’ out of the day. And we do become bogged down with full washing machines of dirty clothes (I don’t iron anymore :)) and we waste time surfing the internet, and doing the mundane things instead of engaging in the important stuff.

This crinkled and worn "Words to LIVE by" is one of my favorites I read everyday...alongside the reminder that "Dull women have immaculate houses!" :)

So look out for the subtle signs that are bona fide, that can knock your socks off...they may just be a sign sent from heaven never to forget, and ALWAYS to believe!

P.S;  This is my gorgeous walking, talking, dimpled reminder to grab the good and wrap my arms around life....and choose to 'live!' :)

What are yours? x