There were storms about last night – plural. Thunder with no rain during the afternoon, which subsided. A rain storm between around 6pm to 8pm, which also ended. Then overnight, another storm. Bowie cat, I discovered, is scared of storms and slept all night cuddled close to me.
I didn’t know what to expect in the valley this morning, but I woke to a very pretty misty fairyland scene, even if Mount Warning was hidden behind mist and clouds.
Each day since uni ended I catch up on a neglected chore, yesterday I pressure-cleaned the front veranda and part of the driveway; today I spent ironing.
Ironing is a pretty brainless task, and as anyone old-fashioned – like me – knows, whilst ironing and alone, your mind wanders off in all directions.
Today, I contemplated the risk I took in deciding to take photos and add a post to my blog every day, while I studied. It was a risk because I wasn’t completely sure I’d have time to post something every day, but I did. (Except for that one night when my sister called, and we stayed on the phone until after midnight. That was worth missing a day of posting.)
I decided to take that risk and make the committment, another committment – but an enjoyable one – which would distract me from the tunnel-vision I am prone to while studying and writing assignments. As much as I enjoy the study and writing, it drains me. I needed a distraction.
My conclusion at the end of the three month semester is that it paid off. Forcing myself to take time out each day to walk outside and take photos gave me something else to think about. It was a very worthwhile distraction. And even more rewarding has been my reconnection with blogging friends, most of whom I have known now for many years. The risk was worth the effort in many ways.
I’m not much of a risk taker though, which led to another thought. I feel content right now, I’m getting my home and garden back in order, and I am looking forward to Christmas. Through into next year, and when semester 1 of uni starts back, I will continue blogging. Decision made. But I also know I want to hold on to my peace of mind.
Here in Australia, there is a state election on Saturday. It’s not for my state, but the outcome will directly affect us as we live so close to the border. And next week, there’s the big election in the U.S., the outcome of which will have an impact on Australia. I’ve decided though, that this week, I will not listen to any news. Regardless of my opinions, the outcome of both elections will be whatever they will be, so I will save myself the agony of speculating on “what might be”. When the outcome of both elections are known, regardless of which party wins and which one loses, the world will keep on spinning.
Another thought I had was about the year – 2020 – which the multitudes seem to consider is the worst year ever. I understand why many people feel that way, but I don’t. Last year was more difficult when my husband and I had to organise aged care for his parents then sell the home they had lived in for twenty years. In 2015 my first grandchild, baby Samuel, was born, but never took a breath. The next year, baby Braxton, now aged four, was born, but we wouldn’t have Braxton if Samuel had survived. 2002 was an incredibly trying year when my husband had a serious accident and could have lost his life. He survived. I thought my world would end when my mother left me in 1993. The world kept spinning though, and her absence gave me the opportunity for the next five years to develop a closer relationship with my Dad.
My point is, life goes on. I thought a lot about that today, whilst ironing. I can’t control the world, my country, my state of residence, my town – I have no control over the actions of anyone other than myself, and it is my responsibility to be the best version of myself that I can be.
Making that decision feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I think also that if I stay away from watching television this week, I will get a lot more reading done. 🙂
Husband and I have been planning a renovation of my kitchen, so tonight he called me into the kitchen to discuss the height my new rangehood should be installed at. The discussion had to wait though. I looked out the window, and after all the rain, and storms, and mist we have had, look at the sunset sky! ❤
It was on this day, a Monday morning twenty-three years ago, that I said goodbye to my mother. I could have said she died, or that she went to heaven, but I don’t feel comfortable with either of those terms, as she is still with me today.
After so many years, some of the details have escaped my mind – was she in hospital at the end for one week, or was it two? How many days did my eldest sister and father sit at her bedside, from morning until night, awaiting the inevitable, wanting to be with her when she took her last breath? Why did the two of them ask me to try not to cry in front of her, as I watched her slip away?
So many years have passed and a million new memories have been made, yet I remember the significant details of this particular morning, twenty-three years ago, as if it happened only yesterday.
My youngest child was nine months old. At 9:00am, I dropped my two older children off at school and pre-school. I left home that morning planning to head home immediately, do a few chores and visit mum in the afternoon. But The Universe (or whatever the force was) had other plans for me. I found myself turning off the main road and heading to the hospital to see mum first.
Why did I make that choice? To this day I still have no idea. But as it turned out, that impulsive decision would lead to one of the most significant and memorable times in my lifetime.
My baby and I entered an empty room, all but for my mother laying silently in the single, metal hospital bed. Mum liked a soft mattress and I often lamented the board-like shelves they liked to call ‘beds’ in this place and wished my mother could beat this demon that kept her imprisoned in the stark cell. I wanted to see her return home to her pretty purple and gold bedroom, the one she had taken such care to decorate. But that wasn’t to be.
I felt so at ease sitting beside mum’s bed. She had become comatose sometime during the weekend yet I felt sure she knew I was there. She could hear me, I knew it, so I spoke to her. I told her that my baby and I were visiting her, that my father and sister hadn’t arrived yet, that we were alone. I looked at her hands, the right hand holding the left, and took a mental photograph of her hands, to hold within my heart forever. I never, ever wanted to forget my mother’s healing hands, her creative hands, the hands given to her to carry out deeds of kindness during her time on this earth.
I touched mum’s snowy white hair. It felt so soft, even during her time of illness. It was so fine, so beautiful…I told mum that I wanted to remember every detail of how she looked, so that when she had gone, I could see her any time I wanted to in my mind’s eye.
About half an hour had passed, yet my father and sister still hadn’t arrived at the hospital. I expected them to bustle in at any moment, interrupting my visit with mum. They arrived early every day. Something held them up that day and I was glad for the time I could spend alone with mum.
After a while, it occurred to me that mum may have slipped away. Her chest wasn’t moving, but when I touched her face I felt the warmth of the skin on her delicate, fair face, and I admired the beautiful English complexion that I had inherited from her. And when I looked closely, I saw a pulse beating in her neck. She was still alive.
During my childhood, my mother had visited various sooth-sayers. She needed to know what the future held and constantly sought guidance. Mum’s mother had died when mum was only ten and mum told me that she always felt the spirit of her mother beside her, guiding her, protecting her. As her daughter, I had no doubt whatsoever that my mother was the wisest person in the world. She knew the answers to every question imaginable and if she lacked the definitive answer, she had an opinion. Mum’s wisdom, to me, expanded the bounds of earthly comprehension, yet she doubted her abilities. To reassure both myself and my mother during that last visit, I told her she could continue to contact me, that if she ever wanted to speak to me all she need do was send me a sign, I would be waiting and know it was her, and I would visit someone clairvoyant so she could pass messages onto me.
I looked around the private hospital room at the white walls, trying to see what it was that my mother had seen before slipping into a coma. During previous visits, as I sat beside her watching her sleep, her eyes would suddenly spring wide open, yet she didn’t seem to see me there. She would look around the room at something only she could see. One day I asked her what she saw when she looked around the room and she told me they were closing the door soon. I looked at the bulky, grey sliding door and asked her why they would bother closing it and she shook her head no, repeating, they are closing the door soon.
The resident psychologist had visited my mother’s room a few times while I was at the hospital and after mum speaking so adamantly about the door closing, I found the psychologist and asked her if she could decipher the meaning of what mum said. I told her I didn’t think mum meant the physical door of the room. The psychologist told me she had heard the same thing said many times before by patients who only had a few days left to live. She assured me that there was more going on around us than we could see and that the years in her profession had provided more questions than answers. I asked her if she thought that mum’s ‘door’ was the door to heaven. She didn’t know that it was the door to heaven as such, but strongly believed it to be a door to another place, a place that we couldn’t go to.
Being around my mother during the last weeks of her time on earth, watching her changing actions and hearing her cryptic words taught me lessons she didn’t realise she was giving me. I had always suspected there was more happening around us than what we could see with our eyes, but twenty-three years ago I was still sceptical. Now, thanks to the lessons that my mother still gives me, I feel another dimension of life surrounding me. I know there is more to this world, more to human beings, than the physical aspect.
My mother seemed so alone and vulnerable, lying in that dreadful hospital bed and I knew that mum hated being alone. While I enjoyed (and still do, to this day) time spent alone with my own thoughts, mum was the opposite. She needed to be surrounded by people, otherwise she felt neglected and alone.
Before I left the hospital room on that final day, I said goodbye to my mother. Every time I left her prior to that day, I would tell her when I would return, saying to her ‘see you later’. I couldn’t let her go. This day, I knew I had to.
After buckling my baby girl back into her car seat that morning, after leaving my mother for what would be the last time, I switched on the car motor and the radio came on – playing ‘Mum’s Song’ – Eric Carmen’s ‘All By Myself’…
I’d only been home long enough to tidy up the breakfast dishes when my husband arrived home. He just looked at me, saying nothing. I asked him if she was gone, yet it was more of a statement than a question.
Minutes later, dad phoned me. He and my sister had arrived at the hospital just after I left, only to be met by a nurse…
He told me the nurse had seen me leave the room. Moments before leaving, I had seen the pulse beating in my mother’s neck. When the nurse walked in, just after I said goodbye to my mum, she was gone.
For twenty-three years I have waited to write mum’s story in its entirety, yet couldn’t. It’s difficult to write through tears and my heart couldn’t cope with the sadness. This year, I can write from the place of a beautiful memory. There are no tears, although if I heard Eric Carmen’s song at this very moment, I’m sure the tears would begin…
It’s not easy saying goodbye to your life-line. That’s how I felt on that Monday morning, twenty-three years ago today. I didn’t realise it then, but losing the physical presence of my mother was a gift…
For the next five years, up until dad decided to join mum on another August day, my father became a real person to me. Without my dominant, chatty mother around, we became close and I learned how much alike we were. He, like me, enjoyed his alone time, yet there were times when dad and I would sit and talk for hours. During a five-year period in time, I got to know my father. He told me his stories, from his point of view. Dad supported me, yet allowed me to fall. Mum had always been afraid to see me get hurt, protecting me to the nth degree. Through her love for her child, she unknowingly impeded my growth. Dad gave me my wings and set me free.
My mother has never left me. There is a golden thread that joins our souls, a thread which can never be broken for eternity. Mum knows now that she must allow me to grow. She gives me the freedom to handle things my way, whilst standing beside me every step of the way. She doesn’t need to have all of the answers for me any more – I can find my own truths, yet she often sends me messages. I never visited a clairvoyant, I don’t need to; I feel mum’s guidance when I need her.
I love my mother to the depths of the deepest ocean and to the heights and width of The Universe. I know she arranged the time I had alone with her that last morning, with the help of those in the room who I couldn’t see. When I said the word goodbye to her and after she knew I had left the room, they helped her to close the door behind me.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” ~ Dr. Seuss.
I think it might be Wednesday today, Wordless Wednesday. And today, I don’t feel like being completely wordless, but I won’t say too much.
Being Wednesday means that tomorrow must be Thursday…the last day of 2015. It would be rather remiss of me to declare that a lot has happened in my world during this year. Words seem insignificant, and could never describe the soaring highs and the heart breaking lows my family have seen during this year. It’s a year that will be remembered, forever. And as the year nears its end, I am battling daily with feelings of melancholy….
The feelings will pass, I know, once the new year begins. I have plans for next year, but will share more of those later. For now, I’m thinking only of now, valuing these last moments of a memorable year, a year in which so many memories have been made.
“So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young
A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear.” ~ John Lennon.
As Christmas Day, 2015, draws to a close in Australia, a day filled with festivities is just beginning elsewhere in the world.
Most of the preparations for today began in my house yesterday. Emma continued what has become an annual tradition now, making and decorating a Gingerbread House….
Every year, the family admires Emma’s work, and every year the Gingerbread House turns out to be an improved version of the house made the year before. Her patience is amazing, her hand steady….
….and there is no limit to the amount of love she puts into her contribution to the family Christmas preparations each year.
Many of the ornaments adorning the Christmas tree have done so for many years, including those made for my children when they were babies. Other not-so-special ornaments have seen better days, so this year I have a few new ornaments on display. This cute little wooden bird house reflects my love for the birds that I feed in my garden every day.
This morning, I awoke to the sweet sounds of my pair of baby magpies, born in the highest branches of the Norfolk Pine tree in my front garden just a couple of months ago. Mama and Daddy magpie introduced their twins to me a few weeks ago and although the babies are still wary, they now know where to find food each day, when the pickings in the grassy areas are slim.
The only snow we will ever enjoy here on Christmas Day is that in the snow storm ornament, but for the first time in many years, this year our Christmas day has been pleasantly cooler.
Regardless of the usual heat, we always enjoy our traditional Christmas dinner, complete with roasted meats and potatoes, followed by Christmas pudding and custard. The plans and preparations for Christmas continue for days in our house, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
In a world filled with change, it’s comforting to know that the traditions of family, carried from one generation to the next, continue on. Christmas ornaments may be renewed, the menu for Christmas dinner may vary slightly from year to year, children grow and begin new families of their own, but at the nucleus of Christmas is love….the love shared by families, the tradition of celebration, the comfort and security of home.
Merry Christmas to all of my family and friends, both near and far. May the blessing in your world continue as you celebrate Christmas this year.
Another year over ~ Remembering memories made ~ Looking forward to new memories.
During the week before the wedding of my son, Adam, and his beautiful bride-to-be, Mary, the house was a virtual hive of activity. And so was the garden. Each weekend, for a few months prior to the wedding, husband had spent every weekend, often with a team of helpers, dismantling and reconstructing a large retaining wall, and relaying the paved area at the back of our house.
The party hire crew were due to arrive on the Tuesday, so the pavers all had to be fully laid by that day. When the three adjoining marquees were constructed, suddenly the garden was transformed into a beautiful wedding venue.
This was all becoming very real!
I loved the folds of white fabric, with the fairy lights shining from behind, and the chandeliers lighting the “rooms” of the marquee. The venue would offer a very romantic atmosphere for the wedding, just the way we wanted it to be.
On Thursday afternoon, our dear friend Therese arrived. She is a marriage celebrant and has known Adam for his entire life, so there would be no other person more appropriate to marry these two young people. Most of the wedding party were available for a rehearsal, and Therese had everyone organised and in their places before too long.
Well, almost everyone was amicable to Therese’s organisation. Miss Forrest was just there for the hugs and pats!
And the bride, bridesmaids and maid-of-honour had spent a girls day together, which included lunch, shopping, manicure and fake tanning treatment. They all loved their nails. Champagne, anyone? 🙂
So, back to Therese having everyone organised ~ men to her left, women to her right, Mary and her step-dad in front, Adam awaiting instructions….
Young Bailey, the pageboy, had a very important role to play, and he took his responsibilities very seriously, listening intently to everything Therese told him that he had to do. He was as pleased as punch with himself!
Now girls, have we got everything right here? Who’s doing what? No, I do that! Oh, I thought she did….so what order do we stand in….?
Adam, hold Mary’s hands….here you will repeat after me…..how many words can you remember at a time….?
Got it? Got it…I’m sure you do, Adam! You do, don’t you? Of course you do!
Once the whole party had “got it”, it was time for more organising, with the big day only a few hours away.
But first, a photo of my three kids….don’t they all look happy? 😉 Get used to it kids, by the end of the wedding, your cheeks will hurt from smiling!
The wedding day arrives, and an old school friend of husbands, who is a very talented caterer, supplied us with the most beautiful cup cakes for the occasion.
Aren’t they pretty? She had quite a large range of decorating options available, but Mary liked the butterflies the best. Husband collected the boxes of cakes on the morning of the day, and each cake was then transferred into tiny individual cake boxes.
As a special “thank-you”, each guest would be receiving a cupcake and a jar of personalised candy.
Our lovely florist, Lindy, arranged flowers which matched the bouquets, in fish bowls along all of the tables.
Mary chose hessian runners for each table, which was also decoratively tied around each peach coloured candle.
The tables were all set by the busy bridesmaids, chairs covered and big bows attached.
Mary even found time to help Lindy decorate the arbour, with the most beautiful array of flowers. If you missed it before, go back and have a look at the stunning flowers Mary chose, and Lindy supplied for the wedding. They were absolutely superb. I called it A Floral Extravaganza, and it really was!
And where was I whilst all of this activity took place? Taking photos of it all, of course, although the last four photos here were taken by our lovely photographer on the day, Sally, as later in the day I could be found rushing from one of the house to the other and back again, tidying, dusting vacuuming, getting myself dolled up, after which I made sure that all of the boys were in perfect order for the ceremony.
I now have so many photos of the wedding, between those I took, Sally’s photos, and those taken by other people, so I can see there will be another three posts added here, at least, before I get through them all. 🙂