Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Grief the Puppeteer X

 It’s been so long since I’ve written anything…and I feel a bit ashamed about that. I was reminded today by Lu, who sent me a message saying two little words..."Thank you... for giving me hope...after the death of my teenage son Adem who died from Leukemia"  Lu wrote me beautiful words which helped put my fingers on the keys tonight in hope of helping someone who might’ve just had a day like I did today!  For you Lu, with thanks for inspiring me.... x
A lot has happened since I last wrote.  I  H A V E  A  J O B!!!  One I love and one I think found me.  I’m working with families who’ve had a child placed in their care, usually due to abandonment.  It’s called kinship care, and it’s similar to what my mum and dad did with support for my brother in law Tone.
Anyway, I love it!  I feel like all my experiences in life and being ‘that’ person that was desperate for help when Savannah was sick can finally be channeled into being someone else’s hero….like so many were for me.  Its fuel to get a phone call from a client, just to say “Thank you!” 
Never underestimate the power of those two little words!!!   But my clients don’t know my story, cos it’s not about me, and they don’t secretly know that in helping them, my daughter, sister and mum’s deaths have meaning….its what drives me to get out of bed every day.
Which brings me to today.  Today we had a training day.  And I must admit, I was looking forward to a cruisey day at “Art Therapy” as the email stated that I hit ‘reply…accept’ to.
What I didn’t know is what would be stirred up.  
My work collegues and I filed into a room, and sat in a circle while the ‘Art Therapist’ discussed the process we would go through making a puppet that would assist us with our child clients…a puppet!!!!  I was quietly amused to think making a cardboard puppet could in any way be therapeutic.
We closed our eyes and meditated on who in our life had inspired us, has had a huge impact on us…and she said “you’ll stumble on the right person they’ll come into your mind and find you!”  I instantly thought of my beautiful Mum.
We lined up and grabbed cardboard templates and started cutting.  The therapist telling us not to be surprised as to the emotions making this puppet would stir in us….or in the future in our clients.  My colleague and I fought over the paint, light heartedly giggling at our child like cutting techniques….until we were told like school children, “No Talking!”  
Silently, everyone went about making their cardboard puppets.  I instantly knew I wanted my puppet’s head to be like a sun, like the shining light in my life my mum was…and still is. 

I painted my puppet a sunny yellow, with her arms wide open like Mum's always were...and I painted her fingernails and toes, like mum always reminded me would make me feel better…even if it’s only nail polish…it reminds me of her and always does the trick if I feel like a gratis gift.

Music filled the room and like a conduit….started my emotional connection not just with my art, but with the little things that would turn this puppet into a symbol of my mother.  And all of a sudden my psyche turned from fun into a poignant snowball that I couldn’t stop from escalating into a giant ball of sensations…and it scared me that I had no control….in a room full of new work mates!

The silence was broken with “Five minutes to go!”

Phew, I was glad the session was almost over, I’d dodged a melt down! 

I sat and looked proudly at my puppet, at the faint smear of red paint I’d placed on her chest to represent mum’s soul…her amazing spirit that I miss so much and that reminds me to “Be happy Darling!”
And then we were told we had to break into groups and discuss our puppets.  And it’s silly but I was dreading “if” I could keep it together!

 My work collegues certainly don’t know my journey….and you know, most people don’t know your demons…what you think about at night when the house is still and you can’t escape.  But the truth is no one knows… whats in your heart, that blunt force of grief that hits sometimes and you can’t wish it out of your head.
I listened to Jane and John discuss their puppets, and who the puppet represented would say about them.  And like a snow ball set in motion, that mind numbing feeling of dread and burning tears began to sear in my eyes and throat.  I tried to concentrate on Janes patterned scarf, and the brown mole on Johns face.  But it wasn’t working…it was my turn. 
I couldn’t do it.  It was like the snow ball had grown into a fully fledged avalanche.
As I grabbed my throat, I started bawling, sobbing…in front of two people that I hardly knew, and who didn’t know what to do with me!!!  I wanted the ground to open up and I wanted to disappear.  My composure was lost…gone, there was no getting it back.

Jane rubbed my back and tried to comfort me, but I could see the horror and helplessness in her eyes….and I wanted to escape….so I did.  To the toilet, where I sat in a stall and sobbed like one of my little clients.
How I under estimated the power of this therapy session and how it’s taught me we’re never ‘over it’ that no amount of time takes away the hurt and sometimes we have to succumb to the pain and just let it sit with us.  
Today reminded me maybe I should still visit the idea of therapy, that maybe I need more sessions like today to quiet those demons.
Dempsey certainly reminded me at dinner that I definitely need more art classes to polish up my puppet making skills….with “Its not that good Mummy…who is it meant to be?” 
But my only thought as I looked at Dempsey’s innocent smiling face was…."I hope one day Demps may make a puppet…and she’ll choose to do her mother…with an armor that’s shining as brightly as the yellow I chose for my Mother today."  x


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Musings on upcoming Mothers Day. x

My beautiful mum loved camellias and Youth Dew perfume and Carly Simon and bubbly champagne…in a crystal glass! She loved laughing with her friends and dressing up for a night out in high heels. She loved the pink cherry blossoms that framed our house and early mornings where the sun streams in through a window…she loved McDonalds Caramel Sundaes and Spring was her favorite month. She also loved me….

Do you ever smell a memory?   I do, especially if I wander past someone who is wearing my mum’s signature scent. If I get a whiff of Youth Dew, its like my mum is around, it invades my senses, invokes comfort and releases old memories like sitting on my mums lap, in our over sized velvet lounge chairs in front of our gas heater when I was a little girl…how safe I felt wrapped up in mums arms, like nothing could hurt me.

I write about mum because today I opened a magazine and there was a camellia, there’s always something to evoke a memory….and of course Mothers Day is again just around the corner.

The stores already have all the Mother’s Day banners hung. Boring women’s magazines have the “mum” stories on the cover….and I’m feeling the pangs of hurt that I can’t seem to escape this time of year….every year.

I miss my mum, I miss her everyday. I think the hardest part is when something exciting happens that I want to tell her about.   But I can’t.   And I think that’s the challenging bit when you miss someone who’s irreplaceable….you have to accept it and work through the fact that they’re no longer here.

And then there’s Savannah…my daughter, who should also be here on Mother’s Day. When you’ve lost a child, Mothers Day loses all importance…its more like “Torture Day.” It’s a cruel reality that I’ll never have both my daughter’s here on that special Sunday…and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get over…its something that I work on e v e r y s i n g l e year..period!

                            My first Mother's Day as a Mum with Savannah

I am wondering if this year will be a little better…or not, maybe more thought provoking.  You see this year will be the first one I’ve spent with my sister’s children…who don’t have their mum here either.

I feel this mother’s day I’ll pour my love not just into Dempsey but into my nephews and nieces, who I know loathe the day like I do. And it helps to know unfortunately, there’s so many others out there that are in the same predicament as me….with lost daughters and sons…and mother’s.

And if you're missing your Mum...or your precious child...I hope there's somebody special you can hug who can fill your cup with sunshine if its blue....hugs have a way of transferring love I think....

I don’t like to spoil special days for Dempsey…so I’ll be enthusiastic when she gifts me something unique as she always does…..but I feel everyday is Mother’s Day for me.  I don’t need a card or a present, or to be taken out for lunch to remind me of how lucky I am…that I am a mother, to two girls…I always will be….

                                                  My precious Demps...:)

I know it’s a miracle to have Dempsey alive, and I’m so thankful that Savannah was mine…even though it was only for four short years.

And I can transfer my love into my sister’s four kids….for I know they miss not having a mother too!

And mum, oh my mum....I cry as I type this…..her undeniable and unconditional love for me is fuel not to be sad, to live life passionately like she did with her love for all things that fed her spirit…and in turn, me.

And I’ll always be grateful for that.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

After a sibling dies - Replacement Children

A few days ago I was contacted by Dr Abigail Brenner, a Psychiatrist from New York. Dr Brenner had read a few articles from my blog and asked if I’d be able to write an article to be published in a book she’s writing with co-author Rita Battat Silverman titled “The Replacement Child.”

The replacement child is a term often referred to a child who is conceived to replace a child who’s died or in my case, ‘a sibling who takes over a role for a sibling who’s died at an older age’

However, in my instance, my daughter Dempsey and I share a unique perspective in the fact that we both have lost our sister’s and both are seen as replacement children.

I thought I’d share the article I wrote for Dr Brenner in hope it helps anyone out there that is also a ‘replacement child’ or is struggling after the death of a sibling.

Keep an eye out for Dr Brenner’s book. I’ll be posting details when it’s published. Dr Brenner’s website is http://abigailbrenner.com where she’s written some fantastic articles. She’s also a contributor to http://www.psychologytoday.com which is a resource full of outstanding articles that can help.

Here is my article on Sibling Loss – Replacement Children;

This is the last photo I have of my sister and me...its a reminder to take more photos....

My daughter and I share a special bond. Both our only sister’s have died.

The death of my first child Savannah created the same unique loss for my other daughter Dempsey.

Sometimes, we are known as ‘replacement children’.

However, I feel I have an advantage over Dempsey, because I’m an adult. I can comprehend the ‘how’ and ‘whys’ and can process my sadness to a greater degree. Dempsey is only a tiny ten years old, she was almost two when her sister Savannah died at the age of four and a half. She never knew her! I’m thankful I had 34 years with my sister Tarnia.

However, I’ve learned, no matter the age, the feelings and thoughts after losing a sibling are similar. The only difference is Dempsey’s questions about her sister’s death are unfiltered….honest, unlike mine which I hide most days like a shameful secret.

Yesterday, Dempsey and I had a chat about the loss of her sister Savannah, and my sister Tarnia, as we sometimes do.

You see yesterday, my sister’s twin daughters Emerald and Charlotte were over at our house for a swim, the splashing going on in the pool went from giggles to tears in a heartbeat.

An argument erupted over a silly game, “Marco Polo”…and when the twins left, Dempsey burst into a ball of tears in my arms. Crying about the argument, because she loves her cousins, they’re like sister’s to her. Sister’s like the one she doesn’t have here.

I hugged her and we chatted about the silly fight. I told her she has to be kind to her cousins, to forgive them. That one day, Daddy and I will be gone and it’ll be important she has her cousins in her life as she doesn’t have her sister here….or any other sibling.

Later, when she was in bed, I thought about our conversation, I always wrestle with guilt that she doesn’t have her sister here and that I couldn’t give her another sibling. I thought how the death of a brother or sister leave lifetime scars, a cocktail of emotions that linger on years after their deaths.

For me, losing my sister changed my identity. It changed my place in our family from being the baby to stepping up into my sister’s shoes and becoming a replacement for her….in many many ways. I still struggle with some of the fall out of her death. It never goes away, and if anything, as time goes on, it gets harder because she’s not here. I think that’s the most challenging thing, that death is final.

Some of the things I struggled with and still do are these;

Guilt; Guilt that it wasn’t me that died. Why her and not me? Guilt that after some time, I could laugh again and enjoy life….and Tarnia never would again.

Guilt that I get to witness her children growing up and not her! It was me that attended her son Alexander’s Graduation, and me that her other son Fraser pours his love into. Me that got to take her twin daughters shopping for their first bra….

I also have guilt that as Dempsey grows into a woman she won’t have her sister here to support her when she needs someone. And I can’t dismiss these feeling’s, I’ve learned how to accept that this is part of who I am now.

I’ve managed to channel my grief over my sister’s death into something constructive by keeping a journal of memories about Tarnia that’s helped me to heal and relieve some of my guilt. Her four children, especially her twin daughter’s who were only six months old when she died will cherish this one day.

Sadness; The sadness comes and goes. On difficult days like birthdays and anniversaries it returns in force. However, for a long time after Tarnia died it was like I was invisible. Everyone was supporting Mom and Dad, and rightly so, not many people asked the simple question, “How are you doing Diana?” I was left alone to deal with losing my sister while at the same time morphing into my mother’s role, comforting her as she was inconsolable. And because of this I hide my tears from Dempsey when she cries for her sister….it’s heartbreaking, but I never want her to feel she somehow has to ‘fix’ my grief or that she’s responsible for my happiness because of her sister’s death.

I fear Dempsey will also have guilt as we were praying Dempsey’s stem cells from her cord blood would save Savannah…but this wasn’t to be and I’m afraid this may play on her psyche in years to come…that she couldn’t save her sister too.

Anxiety; Anxiety is now part of my being, like the birthmark on my neck; I carry it around everyday because of my sister and my daughter’s death. I’ve become a helicopter Mom as a result of that anxiety and fear. Because I know in a heartbeat that life can change.

I hate Dempsey being out of my sight, and I worry when she wants to be a thrill seeker, jumping off a pier or kayaking on our lake! Sometimes, Dempsey reminds me to “Stop Mommy!” And I hate myself for not being able to control this evil twin that I live with.

Anger; After Tarnia died, I was angry at her, which was ridiculous! Anger that she caused so much pain to Mom and Dad…to her husband and kids….that she altered my life.

Anger at my Dad that sometimes he favored my sister’s children over mine, I feel he still does this sometimes. It’s a demon I still struggle with.

Wondering; The reflecting and wondering is unyielding, relentless…for me it’s the ultimate emotion in the grief process. I know Dempsey always wonder’s too. She often asks; “What was Savannah like?” “Did she love me?” “What would it be like if my sister was still here?”…amongst so many questions she longs to know, as do I…and I realize that she’ll struggle with this as her life unfolds.

For a long time after my sister and my daughter died the wondering became an obsession.   Once I followed a stranger around the supermarket because she looked so much like my sister…I couldn’t stop staring at her…and imagining, just for a second it was Tarnia!

And some nights, I watch Dempsey sleep, soaking in the resemblance between my child who’s here and the one who’s not. I also know I can’t fix this part of Dempsey’s life…without her sister, it’s something I can only give her tools to deal with as she grows.

Sibling grief runs as deep as losing my child. It’s always there, however different, it’s shaped and molded me into a new person.

I feel my biggest responsibility now is to be there for my sister’s children, to love them and support them. And then there’s Dempsey. She will feel the ripples of her sister’s death her whole life….like I do.

I can’t change that, however I can take what I’ve learned through having experienced the same unique loss and provide her with guidance and knowledge that she is her own special irreplaceable being. To never make her feel she is inferior to her sister who isn’t here or that she’ll never live up to who Savannah was to me.

I can reinforce she should never have guilt, that she’s innocent of not being able to save her sister. Instead of sadness she should be happy she had a sister, and that we have photos and meaningful videos and my memories of their time together.   And also that anger and anxiety create unhappiness. I teach her we all have choices that will shape who we become, so to always choose to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment she’s blessed with.

However, the wondering.....that’s something I think she’ll learn to incorporate into her life…as I have, a byproduct of grief that losing a loved one, especially a sibling brings.

Yes, Dempsey and I share not just a mother/daughter relationship but a connection, that as an adult she will come to understand and if I lead by example, and demonstrate to her that girl friends and cousins can be sisters, family you choose for yourself!  

That all is not lost, and that lessons in losing a sibling teach us compassion and appreciation and that’s something I will be grateful my sister left me with forever……like her death.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Merging Grief.... x

This is a sunset outside our home...breathtaking!

Our new house sits on top of a hill. Some day’s I feel like I’m King of the Castle!

On a clear day, you can see hills miles from our home…..and on a really clear day :), you can see the roads that snake up these hills.   Probably ones that farmers herd their cows along!

Last night, I was sitting on our deck, sipping a chilled glass of New Zealand Sav Blanc, watching gnarly storm clouds roll in when Dempsey wandered out, fresh from the shower, in her mismatched jammies.....one of her endearing habits that makes me smile…and nag sometimes that she can’t get the matching bit right. :) Anyway, getting back to the story...

Sometimes, Dempsey’s off the cuff comments cause me to reflect.

Standing out in the dirt, in her clean pj’s she stared out at the horizon and said;  “Mummy, look at the sky. It’s a mix of day and night!”

“Yes, you’re right Precious!” I agreed.

The sky was contrasted in dark AND light….starting to merge into one.

And it reminded me of my journey through grief.

How after time, sometimes a long time, your sadness begins to merge with your happiness and you find you begin to get a handle on your emotions.

That those dark days happen less, as glimmers of light through life’s cherished moments and support from family and friends cause cracks to appear in the overwhelming dismal days.

And sometimes, you have breakthroughs, like the sun shining through the clouds, like I had on Saturday.

You see on Saturday, Dempsey was invited to a sleep over at her new friend Jenny’s house.

We were to meet the family at our local pool for a swim party first.  

Dempsey spent what seemed like forever getting ready…she was excited.   I hadn’t really had a conversation with this little girls mum before, so I was looking forward to a friendly chat at the pool.

As soon as we got there, Dempsey raced over to her friends who were lining up at the diving board.

I wandered over to the picnic bench and thanked Jenny’s mum for inviting Dempsey.   And it’s a funny thing but I haven’t been confronted with having to tell ‘my story’ with a stranger for a while…well not since meeting Rose in the park in the USA.

And this is where my breakthrough came.

The conversation went like this;

“So Diana, what are you going to do while we have Dempsey sleep over? Do you have a free night or do you have your other daughter at home tonight?”

As soon as this mum said these words I knew she thought Dempsey’s sister was alive!

I was taken aback!  I've never been asked this question...ever...as most people know about Savannah...that she will never be at home again! But oh how I wish.....
I felt odd.

I felt strong.

I didn’t’ feel like I was about to cry for once, or dread the reaction I knew I’d get.  I actually smiled, s.m.i.l.e.d…wow, progress for me!  

Usually I have to have had a few drinks not to cry or at least tear up or feel guilty about the effect telling someone about the death of my daughter has on them.

I smiled as I said, “Our other daughter Savannah isn’t alive, she passed away when she was four and a half…I’ll be by myself tonight!”

And I know now what to expect when you drop the bombshell….how it triggers an air of awkwardness.

The mum answered with; “Oh, I’m so sorry, Jenny told me Dempsey has an older sister!” as she stared at her feet……..

I was so proud of myself, I actually said,  “Thank you! Dempsey does have an older sister, she’s just not here with us anymore.”

And there it was, the elephant in the room, or by the pool so to speak!

Another mother I hadn’t met, who was standing beside her, blurted one of the most stupid comments I’ve heard in years!  With a rush of words she stated; “Everything happens for a reason I think!”


Happens for a reason???

What reason, I wanted to snark back.  

But I didn’t!

I held my composure and actually felt sorry for her.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this place!

So last night, thinking about my perceptive Demps and her comments about the sky merging made me realize my emotions from my grief journey have also merged, the line most days now isn’t definitive…it’s dark mixed brightly with light, sadness dimmed by my happiness, dark nights, illuminated by grateful days.

It’s a mix of holding on and letting go.  It always will be.....

And I know some people aren’t where I’m at yet, it can take years…but you will be, I promise, one day…..

It hasn’t rained here for months.

But last night, Demps and I watched the skies grow darker, we listened to thunder rumbling in the distance…..and then heavens let loose.

I welcomed the refreshing rain, breathing it in…thinking about how far I’ve come….

After all, in this life, one thing I know for sure….it’s all about learning to dance in the rain!  x

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Special kids bring special awareness... x

Dempsey and I were running late for school this morning.

I was rushing, cranky, trying to make the green light which turned red in the distance, “Damn!” I said under my breathe, as I noticed a side street that might be a short cut to Dempsey’s new school.

I clicked my blinker on and swerved down the unfamiliar street. And I’m glad I did. I discovered there’s another school hidden beneath trees behind Dempsey’s school.

As I weaved my way round past this ‘other’ school I noticed kids getting off a bus…being helped off a bus….special kids…kids with cerebral palsy…kids in wheel chairs…kids with noticeable disabilities. And I instantly thought of Savannah.

I pulled up outside Dempsey’s prestigious private school and she leapt out, back pack heaved up on her back…her skinny legs sprinting down the pavement and in the gate just as the bell rang.

I watched Demps run through the entrance of her school.

And I sat there and reflected on what it’d be like if Savannah was still alive and attending that ‘special’ school? And how it seemed like now, a simple asphalt road and a twist of fate is the only thing separating me from ‘that life’….my old life…across the road from where I was parked.

I sat in my car for a while, watching parents devotedly deliver their special children through that ‘different’ gate.

It stirred up a few emotions…

A longing for Savannah, utmost respect for the special Mums’ of these special children and a wondering of what life would be like if Savannah was still alive and I was still one of those mums…cos I was once.

I know from having the privilege of a special needs child, one with a terminal illness, that needed a lot of care, that you treasure every. little. thing. your ‘special’ child achieves.

Like smiles amongst their pain, or a night where they have peace….you accept this is how your life is…and you wouldn’t have it any other way…you wouldn’t swap your baby for anything!

Sure, you’d change the suffering if you could, however experiencing adversity changes us, makes us grow and become more compassionate to others on Struggle Street.   And I’m thankful to Savannah for teaching me that.

I wonder if those mums feel isolated like I did when Savvy was sick and I couldn’t leave the house? Or if they look across the road and yearn for a different life, like I once did?  But today, watching from my car window, I envied them…they still have their precious children with them, hardships and all. And I know they wouldn’t swap their kids for the ones lining up at Dempsey’s school.

I know their children are their teaches, as Savannah continues to be to me, that the rewards in having a special child are enormous.

So today, these kids were reminders to me to be grateful…for what I ‘had’ and for the things I'm lucky enough to enjoy in my healthy child…..but I can still imagine, what it’d be like to be dropping my two girls off, even if it was at a special school.

And when I got home, I found this piece of cotton in our hallway, on the floor…tangled up in a somewhat music note shape….a sign maybe?? 

Reminding me to stop and listen to the music…to enjoy life’s assorted notes and experiences and to be happy that I have what I do!   To slow down and hug Dempsey more…and to smile and wave next time I drive down that street…..

So tomorrow, tomorrow I’m thinking, maybe, just maybe, that’ll be my new route to drop Dempsey off at school! :)

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue today and a reminder to stop and enjoy the rays.....even if someday's they're hidden beneath the grey..... :) x

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tomorrow's :) x

This saying seems appropriate for me today…or this week. To quote Pink’s song – Blow me one more kiss – “Just when I think it can't get worse, I had a shit day (no!)  You had a shit day (no!), we've had a shit day (no!)

I’ve had my heart set on a job that I know I’d be passionate about….that I applied for and have been waiting all week to hear if I at least got an interview….

I’ve never been a girl that can just ‘hold your horses’ more like a ‘giddy up’ kinda girl….so this prolonging the agony of not knowing, the carrying my cell phone in my pocket all week and checking my email every ten minutes, when this company said they’d “Inform all candidates Monday the 4th of Feb” was itching away at me like a fresh mosquito bite.

Maybe I’m just tired cos I’m waking at 4am and not able to get back to sleep… mulling everything over from my week and the ‘why’s’ I hadn’t been called yet!   I even got up and watched the sun come up….

Our dog Teddy scrambled up on the side of my bed and put his nose on my clean sheets…even his doe eyes didn’t lighten my mood!

And opening this new carton of fresh eggs certainly didn’t humor me….these little brown bum nuts smiling up at me made me want to scramble the lot of them and wipe the smiles off their shells!!!

After dropping my precious one off at school I took Teddy Dog for a sprint around the lake, breathing in the fresh air and sweating out my frustrations...music blasting in my ears….that helped a little! :)

By mid morning, it finally got the better of me and I rang the company only to be politely told interviews were taking place today….which meant obviously I didn’t make the cut, even though I ticked all the right boxes!!!

And I know after everything I’ve been through this is really a minor set back in the grand scheme of life and daily challenges people face.   But today it was like the house of cards finally tumbled.  I didn’t’ cry, but I was just flat…down….low, whatever you want to call it.   Just disappointed I guess.

I rang my friend to have a whinge, telling him it’s the fourth job I’ve gone for and no luck…he told me, “Dee, call me back when you’ve been for 100 jobs and rejected….you’re alive aren’t you??”   And he’s right….which is why I probably called him….it’s good to have a friend that tells you how it is…that rejection can sometimes mean something better is waiting…I hope so!

I hung up the phone, made a cup of green tea and sat back and looked around me, focusing on the beauty I’m surrounded with. I thought how shit days are shit, or shit weeks…but they don’t last…well at least that’s what I told myself as I stared out the window at our lake and the glistening reflection caught in our pool fence…the pelican party going on right outside our house.

I took a deep breathe in and thought of other people worse off than me, especially kids suffering at the Children’s Hospital, or loved ones hooked up to Chemo in Cancer wards….I told myself to buck up, something else better will come along, I’ve just got to trust the Universe and not lose faith in my ability to keep trying.   It’s called strength not weakness, we all have it if we dig deep....and I know I’m good for it.

And just as I was starting to feel I was turning my frown upside down, our bloody neighbor’s dog sprinted past our window……hanging out of his mouth was the new FULL packet of our cat’s food he’d stolen from our garage!!!!

I leapt up and hammered on the glass….but he didn’t stop, he ran faster…under his fence he bolted……success! :)

I finally had to laugh; at least someone’s had a win in our neighborhood today! :)

Anyway, I hit the supermarket, bought myself a bottle of bubbles, which I’m enjoying , in a crystal glass for my mum...as I’m typing this. 

My sisters twins are here tonight, having a sleep over with Dempsey while Tone’s taken Fraser out for a father/son bonding dinner.

The girls just asked me what my blog tonight is about…so I told them, and asked what they’d say to me to make me feel better that I didn’t get the job. They smiled as they said, “You just gotta suck it up Princess” :) And I have, and I am, it's not what really matters.

I know tomorrow is a new day.  And to anyone fighting their own battle today, probably bigger than mine....tomorrow's, well tomorrow's never run out you know!

Cheers x

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The gift a box full of darkness brings....

One thing my journey through grief has taught me is to see the beauty in the world.

After last week, after Savannah’s anniversary, I’ve learnt hitting rock bottom…going to that basement of agony enhances the ecstasy and the bliss that life is full of…if you look for it…take it in, breathe it, live it….and most of all…enjoy it.

I’ve learned that if you travel to that pit, there’s only one place to go…and that’s to climb aboard the elevator of life and hit the up button….back to your starting point where you rebuild and embrace the life you have…and notice the good bits.

And when you can do that….you find clarity.

After a day of feeling flat after Savvy’s anniversary I decided to get out of the house and take Dempsey, my sister’s twins and their friend to an enchanting spot I’d heard about called “The Blue Pools”…it even sounds magical right? :)

A forty minute drive through thick dense Australian bush leads you down a twisty, almost one lane (scary) road to a clearing where you can park and wander down a dusty track to this piece of paradise….wow!

Like a swimming hole you read about in a book…the clear cold water is surrounded by walls of natural rock…with the blue sky as the back drop…rustic pebbles line the bottom of the pools. It took my breathe away!

And it’s times like this I wonder if I’d see this beauty without having travelled through grief…whether I’d take it for granted, or just not be able to appreciate how lucky I am to be able to recognize the value of something so beautiful…and free! :)

Watching the girls wade out and shriek at how cold the water was made me laugh….and Teddy bark! :)

I stood with my feet in the cool water, and contemplated, as I always do, how during challenges you can’t fight the process. Whether it’s a small problem or a large one…a trickle, a gush….or, a down pour!

When facing hard stuff, it’s like you’re paddling upstream against a strong current…but if you let go…and go with the flow and don’t fight…you find the current washes you back down stream to safety…..to start again…and that’s a beautiful thing!

I’ve learned being happy with who I am and accepting how my life is has a huge affect on facing any hard days. I know my grief will always follow me around like my shadow…and some days it will be like a giant in my life, over shadowing every piece of my being....

But other times it’s small and stunted and doesn’t eclipse my day….it moves into the shade and its not overpowering.

It can’t take the limelight away from enjoying the tiniest of moments…like taking these three tweens for ice cream…sitting and listening to their simple stories about the goings on in their lives….and seeing Dempsey smile…or seeing her laugh….or feeling her hand in mine. Those moments will forever outshine the bad bits…even if it tags along….it will never outshine my spirit or my love for life…

How privileged I am. :) x

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Another Anniversary Bubby.... x

To all my beautiful family and friends who remembered our Angel today…Thank You…your loving support, flowers, gentle words and thoughts are more than any mother and friend could ever hope for. x

Today is your day Bubby…..

I woke up early this morning as the sun sliced through our bedroom blinds, pouring a steady stream of light onto my doona.

It’s difficult to see the sun this morning.

Outside my window I could hear the soft hum of our pool filter kick in…the sheep across our lake bleating for their breakfast and Teddy scratching at the laundry door to be let out….life goes on….and that’s the hard bit.

I lay in bed and sobbed until I couldn’t breathe….my pillow soaked from my tears.

Today is the one day every year I dread....it hurts.

Thinking of what you went through Bubby…of your pain, at your tiny body struggling to die…these memories will always make me cry today and make me so so sorry as your mummy that I couldn’t help you.

I hate today and all it represents….all the awful memories it holds.

I thought yesterday…maybe this year I’d be okay...but there are no rules!

But I can’t forget.

This morning I am sad.

I feel very alone in my grief.

This morning I’m transported back in time…..I have no one here to give me a hug, I can’t call my mum or go and visit her for the comfort and words I know she’d have to make me feel better.

Today I’m having a pity party…and that’s ok too.

I’m disappointed that Daddy chose yesterday to leave for the USA…knowing he knows today is your day….and that maybe I need him….

Today I’ll go to Poppies for a hug….but Poppie isn’t comfortable with being compassionate about today…he thinks “you have to get on with it” and “not think about it all”…and that its easy…but Poppie knows deep down its not easy….because I’ve seen the pain in his eyes when he lost his daughter too.

This morning I am sad.

The only thing that’s going to put some sunshine in my day today is a little girl who’s in her room a few walls away…who’s happy and healthy and alive.

I know Dempsey will throw her arms around my neck and squeeze me tight….and that will help.

And today I’ll take her somewhere special and do something fun that you couldn’t do Bubby…cos that’s all mummy can do to relieve my guilt and sadness that you aren’t in your room, tucked up safely sleeping…and I’ll never understand why…it makes no sense.

As each year passes, you get further away…fragments of your time with us disappear…and the new memories don’t come…and I think that’s the hardest bit about missing you.

You’re never far from my thoughts…I miss you and miss who you’d be today. But I’m grateful people will remember your sweet ways and do something they love today in your honor.

Today I’ll try and remember you as you were…beautiful and sweet and shy…with golden curls and a love for books…and your big blue eyes…always smiling Bubby…and I hope you think of Mummy like that too, smiling, and always grateful you were mine.

And I know tomorrow will be a new day….as it will be wherever you are…..

I’ll always carry you in my heart Bubby…no matter where you are….. x