Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finding awareness in a detour... :) x

When I was a little girl, growing up in country Australia, probably Dempsey’s age, one day a week, my Nanna would take me on a ‘Mystery Drive.’

She drove an aqua blue mini cooper that smelled like Yardley’s English Lavender perfume.   It’s gear stick wobbled and the floor heated your feet…..oh, how I looked forward to these weekly drives around our small town where Nanna would point out pretty gardens and quiz me on what street we were in.

I’m sure it was a way to teach me awareness in case I ever got lost…along with some time out for my mum! :)

Anyway, schools out for Summer…and this morning after dropping Dempsey at Summer Camp I took a wrong turn and found myself on a detour around streets I’ve never travelled down before.  (My life in a nutshell) :)  And I thought about Nanna and those beloved ‘Mystery Drives.’

And I became more aware of my surroundings, noticing and taking everything in….maybe because they weren’t familiar to me, but maybe because through my journey, now, I notice and see the beauty if I make a conscious effort and pay attention….

The street was lined with towering palm trees and the ‘almost Summer’ sky was a rich blue…just how you’d imagine Southern California to be if you’d never visited.   I stopped my car to take this photo…..beautiful right?

Driving along I saw an elderly man, sitting in his driveway, alone, on a metal kitchen chair, staring at the concrete in the sun…I wondered what his story is and thought about slowing down to do this today and just soak in Mother Nature and my thoughts….

A teenager was happily walking a scruffy terrier on the footpath.  The little dog looked happy to be out and about, taking in his surrounds too.   And I knew if Dempsey was with me she would’ve said, “Aw look at that puppy Mummy…he’s so cute!”….cos she notices this stuff too...which made me smile. :)

Zig zagging through a few streets and down a hill I came across a big red barn…in the middle of suburbia!!

Growing up, these barn’s were always illustrated in my books, and this one is the first I’ve ever seen in the USA….and to think it’s only a few miles from my home.   You never know what you’ll come across or notice….if you unlock your senses!

I finally found my way back to familiar streets and stopped at Walgreens.

Dumping a box of hair color, licorice and some toothpaste at the check out, the friendly lady with ‘Jan’ on her nametag asked how my day was….then added  “Would you like to donate to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles today? They are an amazing place if you ever need them.”

Little did she know I’ve spent countless hours and nights in that hospital…and she’s right, the hospital is full of amazing staff who make a difference.

And I was surprised when she placed a paper balloon in front of me and asked me to write a child’s name on it to go up on the wall.....it gave me an opportunity to write our Angel's name...which I don't get to do much these days....and that made me smile too!

Last Friday night we had Happy Hour around our back T…Peter was lucky to be surrounded by women, with all our male friends away, he was loving life!

My beautiful girlfriends...

Throughout the evening, I looked around at everyone enjoying themselves, drinking red wine and snacking on cheese and crackers, chatting and I thought of my friend in hospital…..aware of how lucky I am…..

Thank you so much to all of you that said a prayer for my friend…it meant a lot.   Her surgery went well and I guess now it’s all about healing and moving forward positively.

So now, I’m off to pick up my little mermaid from Summer Camp…who’ll be happy and chatty about her adventures today….I think I’ll tell her about mine…and maybe institute some ‘Mystery Rides’ of my own.

To teach Demps the gift of awareness and how life is a one way street…that no matter how many detours you take, none of them leads back…so to enjoy life’s every moment as none of them will happen the same way again…….. x

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The power of H O P E x

These past few days, I’ve been reminded again that life can change on a dime…in a milli second…on a day when you had plans to cook dinner for your family or pick up your kids from school! 

It's reminded me to question what it is that I want out of life?

A very special friend of mine, from our close inner circle has had her life turned upside down with a life altering diagnosis.

A trip to the doctor discovered a brain tumor and life as her and her family know it has now been ripped out from under them.

And when something like this happen, your world stops.

You feel panicked about what might happen, the not knowing is terrifying.

You question ‘why’ and can only see the unfairness of it….and it is unfair!   My friend is only 35 and has a loving husband and 2 beautiful little girls who need their mum.   And again, I can’t get my head around ‘why’ such bad things happen to good people…but going down that path is mindless and sucks the energy and focus from us.   It steals it from centering on the positives and what we are in control of, and shifts it to the negatives that paralyze you with fear.

Hearing about my friend’s diagnosis instantly took me back to when I got a call to say my sister had been killed, and the day we were told our daughter Savannah would die.  That day, I was busy with the mundane stuff that life brings like cleaning and making beds and washing clothes when in one phone call, my, or our, life changed. It’s never been the same since.

I didn’t want to call my friend as I know from experience it takes time to comprehend and process a diagnosis like she has just been given.   So I sent her an email instead, for I’ve been her a few times with life altering news and know the uncertainty and shock is raw and real and all consuming.

My friend called me instead and we had a heart to heart about what you can do when you are struck down and life as you knew it is suddenly out of control like a train that’s been derailed….

We talked of how it’s overwhelming to look too far ahead, that its scary not knowing what’s next…

I told her to take each day and get through it the best way she can with the information she’s been given.   And I shared with her that sometimes on days when Savannah would scream in pain for hours, and I couldn’t help her, I’d focus on the next hour and the one after that, and the one after that…in hope that things might be better…sometimes I coped by crying and sleeping.

You do what works for you and what gets you through. There are no rules….no rhyme or reason.

And it’s weird, but I was asked a few weeks ago by a journalist what it was and still is that I cling to, that keeps me going….I considered her question carefully, and the one thing that I came up with was ‘hope.’

Back then it was hope for a good day for Savannah, hope my tears would stop, sometimes just for an hour, hope that I would survive the challenges and the grief that had overtaken my world.

I told my friend about the power of hope…because when everything you know gets torn apart, and you feel you’re no longer in control…hope is empowering, over time, it gives you the power to believe that maybe things won’t be as bad as you first thought.   That you can learn a ‘new normal’ and that in time, your life does get back to being stable again…even if it is different for a while.

My friend like us doesn’t have a choice in what’s happened to her, but I told her she does have control over her journey in the way she faces it, with positive thought and that powerful little four letter word......H O P E.

And she told me she’s up for the challenge, she’s brave, a fighter and is prepared to do whatever it takes to get her life back.   And I was reminded again about the power of the human spirit to survive and dig deep and find what it is you need…like the support of family and friends and educating yourself and finding things that feed your strength…..

So my heart has been heavy this week with this news, I’m not sleeping and feel helpless that I can’t be with her family to rally around them.   However, her news has also prompted me again not to put things off!   So I’ve opened my suitcase and started packing to go home to Australia early and see my dad and my family….to enjoy time with Dempsey, for I know my friend would give anything to be baking her cakes or helping with homework in the company of her girls.

None of us know what’s next?

From the time we’re born we are merely ‘surviving life’….trying not to get into an accident, or stay free from disease…to keep our kids safe…life is one big game of survival but it’s what we do with that game…how we choose to live and enjoy our precious days.   To know what it is we want out of this one precious life we are gifted with.

If any of my readers are the praying kind, please say a prayer for my friend and her beautiful family, that they stay strong and weather this storm.   Her surgery is next Monday and I hope everything goes according to plan.   She is in the best hands, her doctors are heroes…they deal with these cases every single day and give our loved ones their life back.

Last night, as I tucked Dempsey into bed, I hugged her a bit harder and sat with her a bit longer…for my friend…and for her girls who I know must be missing having their mama do the same at the moment….