Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A G'day and a cuppa of comfort! :) x

G’day from Australia….finally!!!! :)

Our plane trip back to Oz was long, however I was reminded of the beauty of being up in the heavens....watching the sunrise over the wing of the airplane...an indication of what was to come when our big bird touched down.

What can I say…..it’s kinda hard to find a word in the dictionary that measures up or encapsulates this feeling of being home with my family! I guess the closest one that springs to mind is ‘comfort’.

Everyone needs comfort…… whether you’re like me and sometimes need it on a special day, to soothe your sadness or just to up lift your mood if you having a Debbie downer day.

For me, coming home means facing some old memories, faded photos of past happy times and living reminders in my nephews and nieces of my sister who’s missing….who will always be missing….

However, the comfort in a hug or a smile, the slamming of car doors as I hear visitors arrive….or a “You look great!”….and the excitement of the kids to see, us balances out the sad stuff.

This trip, like last year, I’ve been challenged, as I always am, with the reality of how our lives are now….without mum, my sister or Savannah here.  It’s different when we’re in the USA, different in the way that I’m not constantly reminded with old memories and places…it seems easier some days.

I came across this anniversary card from mum...her writing reminded me so much of her....

Whereas here, especially this year, we’ve been moving into our new home….packing up mum’s old china and crystal and wrapping old photo frames in newspaper, and I wouldn’t be human if these things didn’t tug at my heart…but they also bring me comfort....now….well most of them anyway!  I’m not so sure about the photos with the 80’s hairdo I found. :)

Last year, we purchased a 2 acre plot of dirt…on a lake.

A 2 acre green canvas just waiting for lodgers.  But we have to share on this land on the lake…however I don’t mind, because you see it’s with a plump pelican we’ve named Percy, a graceful family of black swans that actually do swan around, with 6 fluffy signets in tow.

There are a couple of baby bunnies that hop by each morning and nibble our grass.  And brown ducks that nose dive, shaking their booty at us, gorging on whatever inhabits our lake.

 Oh and I can’t forget the frogs…at night that’s all I can hear, no freeways, just endless croaking, a symphony of amphibians that serenade one another as the sun disappears. 

And all of this is framed with the lake, so calm, it looks like a giant mirror, reflecting a carpeted sky of endless stars.  Its organic magic from Mother Nature….medicinal and tranquil….and…comforting! :)

On my beautiful Mum’s anniversary, I thought a lot about her and wished she was here to see our new home…..

Mum with Savannah the day we arrived home from hospital

I imagined her with her elbow resting on our table, holding a glass of champagne filled with bubbles saying “Here’s cheers Darlin,” in a toast to health and happiness as she always did…..and I do now. :)

I stayed busy, with Peter having morphed into a Sergeant Major, piling box upon box at our front door for me to unpack, however Demps kindly interrupted, yelling from the lounge room to “Come look Mummy….quick!” 

As I rushed into the room, not sure of what I’d see…..there, outside our front window, stretched from one side of the horizon to the other, was the most magnificent rainbow…

It was like mum was sending me a not so subtle message that she knows I miss her so much, but more importantly, that she’s be thrilled we’re in our new home and ‘happy.’

And just like that, I felt reassured.  And while a rainbow will never be consolation that my mother isn’t here, I felt like she was watching down from heaven….sending me a sign.

I carry the best of my mum inside my heart…she wouldn’t want me to be walking around sad, and I always keep that in mind.

We’ve managed to recreate happy hour in the Southern hemisphere, with Friday night drinks in our new serenity.

My sister’s twins had a sleep over all weekend…to Dempsey’s delight…and mine! 

Mine that I get to tell them stories about their mum and me growing up.  Like how we’d squeeze into bed together and she’d tell me the Turnip story….or that she’d once had dinner with us around our table, while they were in safely tucked inside her belly waiting to be born. 

They both mutter a small hummph and smile.  I hope it gives them comfort, to learn things about their mum that isn’t here.  I know I get a lot of comfort out of their bony butts sitting on my lap, and the similarities to my sister in their pretty faces and mannerisms……

Watching Dempsey, Emerald and Charlotte is food for my soul, however I can’t help but feel there is always one little one missing in Savannah. I often imagine the 4 of them together, when they stand side by side.

And it’s funny, I’ve been baking bread with our old Panasonic bread maker, dusted it off and fired her up….on Saturday, the house was filled with that doughy smell of freshly baked bread!  As I pulled the loaf out of the tin, Charlotte commented,  “Do you know Diana, the smell of freshly baked bread is 8th on the list of comforting things to humans!”  Her comment made me smile…..comfort is everywhere it seems, if you are aware of it….

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, with lots of Aussie laughter echoing through our new house.

I’ll be intentionally building new memories, that I’ll store…like cookies in a cookie jar…a jar I can dip into anytime, that’ll offer up some crumbs of comfort when I need them…I’ll store the new one right beside my old jar of memories…that sometimes, I like to indulge in…but sometimes…the lid stays on tight….and that’s ok too…..

As we say in Oz….catch ya later on matie! :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Flying back in time and a book review x

It's been hectic in the Doyle house, phew!  You see tomorrow night we’ll be boarding a giant metal bird that will carry us across the ocean…..home….to Australia.

It’s amazing when you think this 400 odd ton of tin, that’s held together with nuts and bolts and rivet’s can even get off the ground! I like to believe all the love and excitement and spirit that will be on board, in the souls of the passengers help to get her off the ground. :)

And a few days after we arrive it will be my beautiful Mum’s anniversary.

And its weird, but in coincidental ways that sometimes just seem to pop up, I’ve been sent a book to read and review called ‘Under the mesquite” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. I didn’t get any money for doing this, just the thought from the publisher that this book may be endearing to some of my readers, something they can relate to that might help them.

The book is fictional, however is based on the author’s experience, losing her mother to Cancer as a teen.

Under the mesquite” is about a young Mexican American girl, Lupita, who has to come to terms with her mother being diagnosed with cancer. It’s aimed at the young reader market, however I found I could relate to a lot in this book. It’s eloquently written with vivid descriptions of emotions that anyone who has lost someone could identify with.

There’s Lupita’s emotional challenges weaved inside the story as well as the courage she has to find to accept that her mother is dying. Something I could definitely connect with. She also touches on the trials and the complexities teenagers face while going through such a difficult journey.

In one part she states – “Everything’s wrong,” I say, wiping my eyes with the back of my hand. “My mom’s sick and she’s not going to get better.” I wasn’t planning to tell him about Mami, but once I start, the words stampede out of me, a herd of untamed horses breaking out of an unstable corral.”

The book is written in a verse style, like a poem and is easy to read.  The words flow and I found I finished this book in a few hours.  But the memories it provoked and the places it took me back to were comforting….and I like that about a book…I felt I could’ve written it about my experience of losing my mum!

So on Monday, I sat in my car in the sunshine, outside Dempsey’s school, waiting for the school bell to chime…reading and waiting and reminiscing with “Under the mesquite” on my lap.

In one part of the book Lupita describes how she's scared about her mother dying…how she wants everything to be back the way it was. And it’s true, we do want things to be ‘as they were,’ but that’s an impossible dream….

The author seems to touch on a lot of these yearning’s we have when faced with impending loss….and does so in a way that reinforces that these feelings are normal and part of the transitions we go through to reach a place of healing.

However further on in the story as Lupita works through her grief, she comes to understand that she’ll always miss her “Mami,” but that she’s going to be okay. She finds comfort in the mesquite and writing, where she can fill pages full of memories and hope, because she finally realizes, “that’s what Mami would’ve wanted.”

And that part of this beautiful book made me smile and sigh and forced a few tears to roll down my cheeks…inside my car…on a warm Fall afternoon….because that’s what every mother wants, for their little ones…..to be happy.  Whether they’re here or not.

I know if I had a phone line to heaven, that’s what my mum, who I miss so much would say to me today….to be happy and enjoy life, to have courage and not be afraid of anything that I might encounter on my journey.

And as written inside the pages of this book, like Lupita, whether you know it or not, you are stronger than you think….you put one foot in front of the other….no matter what…with hope….

So tomorrow night, we’ll be flying through the night skies to the land Down Under.

I know Mum’s anniversary next week will take me back to that roller coaster time of watching mum fade away….and will bring some tears....it always will.  However, I’ll also think back to some treasured moments I had the privilege of spent with my mum, where we talked about life and love, and that will warm my heart.

So last night, as my beautiful daughter and I cuddled up under the throw rug on our couch, talking about dinner with my dad, and how she’ll be playing tag in the garden with her cousins, Demps asked what the weather will be like in Australia........

I clicked on my iPhone app and studied what the weather forecast is there…Dempsey looked over and stated…

“It looks mainly sunny Mummy, but with a chance of rain!”

And I had to smile as I cosied up with her and added “Yes Precious, a lot like life…..” :)

PS; if you’d like to read more about the book “Under the mesquite” you can click on this link...I'll catch you from Oz :) x