Sunday Moment

A few months back I accepted a new job that has since kept me very busy.

No complaints.  Just very busy.

 

Writing unfortunately took a back seat.

Thoughts about writing would come to mind then I’d forget.

 

Something about work always got into the way.

Today is a conscious mindful effort to sit down and write.

 

How I miss this moment!

Where do I catch up from?

 

A favorite cousin suddenly passed away at age 59.

Dad at 91 has been waking up and thinking about his travels.

 

Having lost a loved one all too soon I told myself, “gotta do this one last time for dad!”

Without hesitation and with doctor’s clearance I booked us a weekend flight to an old haunt.

 

Where I live, a short trip to Hong Kong has always been the next best thing to a long flight.

It’s not going to be an easy getaway because dad requires strict and close attention.

 

Nevertheless, it’s going to be fun and memorable!

Something I’d like to do for dad as time is not so much on his side at his old and tender age.

 

The weekend break will serve me well too.

I tend to get very caught up with the demands of my job.

 

I love it but it eats a lot of my time!

Fortunate in the sense that being single, I can dictate my time.

 

The girls have their own schedules and they aren’t home much of the weekend.

Therefore, keeping myself busy, whether work related or something else, is perfect for me.

 

Just as I am about to take off for the carwash, thought I’d sit down and talk to myself.

So here I am, just sharing bits and pieces of what’s been happening in my life.

 

It’s all good.  I am well. 

Most of all, very grateful for the good fortune and peace I now have in my life.

 

I forgot to post this earlier.

Back now from lunch with dad.

 

Bought him some doughnuts to go with his coffee.

Still have a few hours to go before sunset.

 

Gotta dash out again and finish off what’s left in today’s list.

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‘… and never regret anything that makes you smile.’

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'The Kiss' (full size) by Burke Heffner

 

‘… and never regret anything that makes you smile.’ I emailed that to a lovely man who spoke of the back pain he experiences from degenerative discs and the time he’s had away from work to manage that pain. DB’s cute description of ‘anything from picking up a pair of socks to coughing will see it chuck a wobbly’ made me smile and I hoped he’d had an opportunity to smile that day given his suffering.

That was in the morning.

In the evening, I discovered an old friend’s sister who I’d grown up with, had made another attempt at taking her life. This time she’d succeeded, whether she meant to or not, and her children had to make the decision to turn off their mother’s life support. Gut wrenching. It made me think of the rest of Mark Twain’s quote –

‘Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Laugh truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.’

I wondered about my old friend's sister and whether she had a life that was full and meaningful to her. I believed she did. While I was sad that she was gone and for the family and their loss, my sadness was for the anguish my old friend's sister must have endured through her life. Or had she? Her life was what she knew and who was I to judge it as one of enduring.

Mental ill health is growing by the minute. I see it in people around me and what I consider ‘extreme’ actions they can take. But to them, those actions aren’t extreme. It’s a way of coping with the daily torment they live with. It’s their reality. Their life. It may not be one of torment that I understand torment to be.

Some take ‘extreme’ actions that make perfect sense to them. I’ve seen what I consider most irrational actions being taken where the person taking the action believes it to be perfectly rational – the shaving of eyebrows because it looks good, talking to Lucifer and the dodging of cameras in every corner of their own home and in the streets, following their every move. The spying that occurs from being followed, to the point where holding up a 711 store at knife-point to distract those spies from following the family, to protect them, is the only answer, and the swallowing of pills, because that’s the only way.

Years have taught me to not inflict my biases onto those actions and the reasons behind them, to accept them as actions relevant to the person. I don’t have their experiences so how can I know. Truly know. It’s not easy or straight forward for anyone experiencing mental ill health to understand the effects of their thoughts and actions on others. The illness is all consuming, and a reality onto its own.

Someone said to me yesterday that if the friend's sister could see the hurt she’s caused, she wouldn’t have taken her life. While that may be a ‘Christian’ view, it’s not one I hold.

There is almost always commentary about the selfish act that suicide is. But what of the person experiencing the pain to the point of having no alternative but to take that action? I’m not sure they could see past their torment to understand the impact of their action. To me, there’s a selfishness in those that hold such beliefs that those experiencing such torment should act in ways that are appropriate, as appropriate in their eyes. I’m trying to be kind here!

Every day is a reminder to live life in a way that matters to me - Mark Twain ensures that, with his quote sitting on my desk for me to read each morning. He’s done that all year.

‘Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Laugh truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile.’

While I work hard and may not take on each of those elements every second of every day of my life, I do aspire to them and make a solid attempt at achieving them. I can’t have everything all of the time and can’t always fit everything into a day that I might want. Life’s too short too for regrets and each mistake is a learning from a new fork taken in my road.

I found myself commenting to one of my boys last night on something similar: don’t do things because you feel you should. Do them because you want to. Go out with that friend because you will enjoy it and not because you feel it would make them happy. There’s a level of deceit in that to them and you. It’s a balance of self-respect versus being selfless. Be happy to do that something for someone else.

Standing beside DB the day after we emailed, wearing what my mother calls my grandmother’s bright pink floral, flowing dress, his grimace was all pain. He commented that his back probably threw its current wobbly because he’d been busy balancing work and finishing off his study for the year. I replied to his asking of how I was with being good and sometimes not knowing what day it was. What I wanted to say was sometimes I leave the house and am driving to work or University and I look down at my legs to make sure I’m not still wearing my pyjamas as I rush around trying to do so much in the morning that I don’t remember changing! (But I didn’t want to embarrass myself saying that in public so I’ll say it here instead.) He acknowledged the need for slowing down and taking it easy. Perhaps I should have sent him the whole quote.

I’ve been called many things over the years – queen of clash, being too gung-ho or aloof, asking too many questions or never doing anything ‘normal’. It's probably all true but I'm pleased I have a true appreciation and understanding that life is short.

 

Time is lost in all ideals of time, where the cocoon has toughened as tungsten steel.

Diamond tips tap to tunes of break free, seeking to escape to a place of new. They sometimes grow as clashing bangs that smash through a weakened fissure into sun shining onto fields of sunflowers waking in the heat of summer. The scent of new life intoxicates to an exhilarating trepidation.

Sometimes those taps are barely auditable whispering feathers and no amount of push can break free. Eventually, the trap secures. The trap becomes all that's known: the norm.

 

 

 

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One Last Hurrah

I attended a funeral today.

My mother’s brother passed away.

15 long years he battled Alzheimer’s.

Sad way to end the year however, liberating.

He is finally resting in a good place.

 

Looks like it’s going to be a gloomy night.

It’s been showering all day.

At 4 pm it already looks like nightfall.

It would be nice to see fireworks light up the sky.

2016 promises to be a good year.

 

I am thankful for a productive year.

2015 was good to me.

Thank you God for keeping watch over me.

As this year comes to a close I wish great a Happy New Year ahead!

I am looking up and looking forward!

 

 

 

 

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The wedding ring

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After the drain and sometimes despair of the past weeks, I just want to lie here forever, cuddled into son two’s doona, in feet dangling off the bed's edge. He sits at his desk scattered in books. Son three squats on the floor opposite, clasping his knees and leaning into the wall. Son one balances on the edge of the bed strumming a few chords of a Spanish study on the guitar. His slender fingers pluck with such agility, their dexterity evident after playing piano for more than twelve years. The three of us have crashed son two’s study time on the way to our bedrooms. Son one hits a twang in his tune.

Son two takes the guitar. ‘You’re hopeless,’ he says, and starts playing Don McLean's, American Pie. 

Son one falls back onto the bed beside me. I scooch my head into his side and begin moving my foot to the tune. Son one sings.

So, bye-bye, Miss American Pie

Drove my chevy to the levee

But the levee was dry

And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye

Singin' this'll be the day that I die

This'll be the day that I die

His baritone lows vibrate into the room and my heart. Extraordinary tones.

Did you write the Book of Love

And do you have faith in God above ...

Die and Love. Such power in those words. Such peace in the comfort that surrounds me is priceless. 

Die and love. I’m living in the reverberation of an abundance of love that extends beyond this room, circles and circles of it that echo and intersect. Pat’s circle of love began when Vince slipped that eternal ring on her finger to signify their unity in endless love. She became the centre of concentric and overlapping circles. 

It was only a few weeks ago that Pat asked me to fix her wedding, engagement and eternity rings. Her doctor snipped them from her fluid-swelled finger as they had begun to cut into her circulation. Creating jewellery and bigger sculptural metal pieces was a career from a life gone by for me, but I couldn’t say no to Pat when she asked. The need in her tone at wanting the rings back on her finger echoed strong.

The weekend after he request, I spent hours on them. I soldered an extra piece into the wedding ring and hammered the other two to slowly stretch the gold to widen the bands. As they were over seventy years old, I couldn’t risk damaging the collapsing settings and diamonds of the engagement and eternity rings with heat if I added a piece to enlarge them. Slow hammering was the best option. I filed and used various abrasives and polishes on the metal until the rings shone to become the desire of any bower bird. 

When I gave the rings to Pat that weekend, she thanked me with such heartfelt hugs and when I slipped them back onto her finger, she sat there smiling in the proudest of proud. A perfect fit they were.

To everyone’s surprise, the rings fell off Pat’s finger days later. It was thought that Pat must’ve lost body fluid and the swelling in her fingers had reduced. I felt such sadness for Pat that she’d lost something so dear to her.

The wedding ring was found days later and immediately put onto a gold chain to hang around Pat’s neck. No-one could find the other two rings. I was pleased that at least she had the ring most important to her and that it sat close to her heart. 

The wedding ring has a long history that signifies never-ending and immortal love. It’s believed that the ancient Egyptians exchanged the first wedding rings about 4800 years ago. Back then, they were made by twisting and braiding sedges, rushes, reeds and papyrus into rings for fingers. The circle was the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end and the hole in the centre of the ring was the gateway or door to something new. 

Days later, Pat passed away, with her circle of love around her neck and close to her heart, surrounded by her circle of family that filled her room in circles of love that spread to homes of vigil. 

Pat may not be here physically today, however the power and influence of her and her battered and thinning circle of love extends in a force and energy way beyond understanding. It remains emblazoned onto all touched by her, including me here tonight and every night, with those concentric and overlapping circles that these three pookies are also part of as descendants of Pat, these pookies that always seem to be near, in shadow or light.

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