Separate Ways

 

Sandy was relieved when she received the response from Barbara. She really did want to speak to her and to find out more about her.

They agreed to meet on Saturday at the same café as before, which was the first time that Barbara could be there. So they both had several days to wait before the meeting.

For Sandy it was a time of reflection. She thought about her past and about the child that she had adopted. She thought of all the reasons she had given herself for not following up on that.

She was sure the child was in a good family; the child would be disturbed if she found that her birth mother was looking for her; Ian and Val and the boys lives would be disturbed and if the child was not in a good family, what could she do about it and on and on. Many times over the years she had told herself these reasons for not seeking out her daughter or her whereabouts.

But she knew that the real reason she hadn’t tried to find her daughter was because she was afraid. Afraid that if she did see her, if they did meet she would regret her decision about the adoption.  

She never discussed this with Greg or anyone else. Greg knew about the child but never once had he questioned her about whether she would try to find the child. And now she found that the child had been searching for her.

Now, all the hurts and secrets and questions she had hidden from herself were brought out into the open. And she didn’t know how to cope.

*******

Meantime, Barbara was also reflecting on what she had done and why. She knew that she had envied the other Barbara the life she had. Her own life had not been good, a series of foster homes one after the other and at none of them did she really fit in or feel loved. She left to make her own way as soon as she could.

And now, she had to face up to the hurt she had caused Sandy in opening up the old wounds and bringing her secrets out into the open. How would she convince Sandy that she meant no harm? She just hadn’t considered the ramifications of her actions.

She spent the next few days berating herself for being selfish and thinking only of herself. 

******

So both women were a little apprehensive at the forthcoming meeting.

Barbara was there first and she was sitting waiting when Sandy appeared. She was heartened by the fact that Sandy smiled and waved her hand when she saw her. So, Barbara thought, this isn’t going to be a confrontation.

Sandy came over and sat down at the table with Barbara. They ordered and then each looked at the other to see who was going to start the conversation. Barbara got in first “I’m really sorry for deceiving you Sandy. I didn’t think of the effect it would have on you. So I apologise. And if you tell me to go, I shall just get up and leave.” With which she stood and picked up her bag.

“No, no. Please sit down again. “Said Sandy. “We can talk this through. There has been no real harm done. And probably it was time for the secret about Barbara to come to light. It certainly is something I should have told my son about years ago.

You knew my daughter and I didn’t so we can maybe talk a little about her and her life. But first please tell me about you.”

So Barbara spent some time telling Sandy about the orphanage and the foster homes. She did tell her how unhappy she’d been as a teenager but she didn’t tell her why. Nor did she tell her how many times she had run away and each time she was brought back she was placed in a different foster home.

She told her how she finally left home to make her own life. She had taken a series of jobs working in offices until eventually she had ended up working in the same solicitors’ office as the other Barbara.

She told Sandy how they became friends, initially sharing their lunches and then going places after work together. She told how she had no experience of theatre, music or any of the arts and Barbara had introduced her to these. They had little money so they spent time at the museum or art galleries where entry was free. And on the occasions that they went to the theatre they bought the cheapest seats.

Sandy could tell from the tone and the lightness in her voice that she really loved the other Barbara as a surrogate sister, and had enjoyed the time they spent together. Sandy was pleased that her daughter and this Barbara had each other as friends.

Once Barbara had finished they sat in silence for a few minutes.

“I think I understand why you tried to impersonate Barbara” Sandy said. “And I accept that you didn’t intend any harm. We can get over that. As I said it was probably time for that particular skeleton to come out of the closet. “

She looked thoughtful and then said “I don’t know if you would like this idea but I suggest that we tell the others that you made a mistake. You are not my daughter after all. We can meet from time to time and you can tell me more about Barbara.

I do know that she was tragically killed with her parents in a car crash. Maybe later on, I might want to look up her relatives but not for some time. I have a lot to digest as it is.”

She looked at Barbara who was looking pensive. “Do you really mean that?” she asked. “I would so like to keep in touch with you. But what will you tell Cathy, your husband and your son? How will they react?”

“Well Cathy has met you and Greg found out that you are not my daughter. Greg might take some convincing that it’s all right for us to keep in touch but both he and Cathy are good people who want to see me happy. The only reason they each made enquiries about you is because of that. So I’m sure all will be well.

As far as my son is concerned, well that’s a different matter. He is unhappy that I didn’t tell him about the adoption and I don’t think I can lie to him about you. I think I will tell him the truth. I will follow up the phone call with a letter in which I can put my feelings about you and about why I think we should keep in touch.”

They both thought they had said enough for this time and decided that they would meet again the following Saturday. Sandy was concerned that Barbara was going home to be on her own, but she felt happier when Barbara told her she was meeting a young man later.

So with that, the two women picked up their bags and with a brief hug, went their separate ways.

“Friendship,” said Christopher Robin, “is a very comforting thing to have.”
― A A Milne

To be continued….

 

Surprises

Barbara was surprised to receive such a warm response from Sandy.  She thought never to hear from her again.

Then she began to question whether in fact it was a friendly response . Maybe by the time they met (if she agreed to do so) Sandy would have had a change of mind and taken legal advice about what Barbara had done.  Once again she thought she would talk to James to see what he thought.  After all there was no hurry to answer this email.

As soon as she arrived at work, Barbara called James to arrange to meet him at lunch time.  Once again, the time dragged until 1 pm when it was time.

James was smiling broadly when he saw Barbara enter the cafe , but he could see from her face that she was still worried.  After ordering and taking their seats James asked “So, did you send the email?”

“Oh yes and I have had a response.”she replied. “Sandy said that she was very upset at what I had done.  How I set out to deceive her but she would like to meet me again to discuss it. I really think she is prepared to forgive me.”

“But do you want to meet her again”

After sitting for a while in silence, eating her food, Barbara said “I think I owe it to her.  After all because of me, her secret has been brought to light and a whole lot of old wounds have been opened again.

I don’t feel I can just walk away now.  Other people know her secret and they’re involved in this. How will she go back to the way things were before I brought all this on her?”

Now James sat quietly for a few moments.  He pushed away his plate, leaned his arms on the table and said “Well, if thats really how you feel, then you must answer the email and agree to meet her.  Otherwise you’ll be bugged by this little adventure for the rest of your life.

Now let’s have a cup of coffee and let me tell you about a good thing that’s happened in my life.”

“Oh I’m sorry James.  I’ve been so wrapped up in myself and this affair, that I didn’t ask you how you got on at your interview.”

“Well, the good news is that I have been promoted to Sales Supervisor.  Next step manager and then the sky’s the limit.  I haven’t told anybody else about it.  I wanted you to be the first to know.” he said with a huge grin on his face “and it means a substantial raise too.  So now perhaps we can talk about seeing more of each other.  Perhaps even going on a proper date, rather than just sharing lunch occasionally.”

Barbra had no idea that James felt this way.  She had always seen him as a friend; oh a good friend in whom she could confide but as a boyfriend?  She didn’t want to hurt him as he had been so good and understanding, but she wasn’t sure about him as a boyfriend.  So she said “Let me just get this meeting with Sandy over and then we can talk about us.”

James, being James, agreed.  He really liked Barbara and wanted to her to be his girlfriend, in fact much more than just a girlfriend, but he knew she had to get this situation with Sandy sorted out before she could move on.

So with a smile and a friendly peck on the cheek he stood to leave.  “Promise you’ll let me know when you are going to meet Sandy.  And you do know if you want me to come with you, you only have to ask.  In any event, let me know what happens.” so saying he left her sitting at the table.

But she knew she had to go back to the office and compose her response to Sandy. She also had to think about this situation with James.  She thought “two weeks ago my life was simple, but now I have not only sort out the situation I’ve created with Sandy, but also the any change in my relationship with James.”

“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Episode 15 – The Sandy Saga.

 

Remembering

On this day three years ago I wrote about helping my daughter move house –A Tiring Day.  I note that I said “Never want to move again”.  Well the best laid plans and all that.

Since that day three years ago I have moved twice and am saying once again “Never want to move again”.

And the help I gave my daughter at that time has been returned in so many ways, particularly helping me after the death of The Architect.  I count my daughter amongst my most treasured blessings.

thanks

The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.
Oscar Wilde

 

Another Day, Another Lunch, Another Pool

The third and final day of this holiday weekend found me driving over the Rimutaka Hill with a friend for lunch at yet another friend’s house.  What a social butterfly I am becoming!

The sun was shining brightly when we left but before we reached the Hill the weather became overcast and really looked as if it would rain.

Rimutaka Hill Road

The Rimutakas Range is one of several mountain ranges in the North Island of New Zealand that form a ridge running parallel with the east coast between East Cape and Wellington.  The narrow and winding State Highway 2 crosses the ridge from the Hutt Valley** to Featherston. At the summit is a lookout point where there was a cafe, but after disputes over toilets and land ownership between the Greater Wellington Regional Council and a series of tenants the building sat empty and was severely damaged by fire in April 2009 and later was demolished.

So we wound our way over The Hill with the steep drop on our left (our driving side) and as always we were  glad to reach the summit and to know we are on the way down.  The steep drop is still there on our left but somehow going downhill is not as scary.  Of course, the same thing happens on the way home but this time the drop is someone else’s problem.

 

Greytown

Our destination was Greytown, best known for its collection of beautifully restored Victorian buildings and boutique shops, one of the most complete collections in the entire country. The main street lined with trees and impressive examples of colonial architecture is also home to a wide selection of cafes and restaurants. For those in the mood to shop, the quirky local stores and designer boutiques feature everything from jewellery to gourmet chocolates and antiques.

Westwood

And then to the house.  

Another day, another pool, another lunch.  Of course, my friend, the owner of the house, greeted us warmly and as always, made us feel very welcome.  This friend established a bed and breakfast operation in the house when her husband died very suddenly several years ago.  Westwood is a boutique, thriving operation.

Lunch was a beautiful smoked chicken salad eaten beside the pool, complemented with a bottle of Moet provided by the friend who accompanied me today.  And as I wasn’t driving, I had a glass or two.

How lucky I am to have the opportunity to visit friends and family who live quite close but in different parts of the Wellington Region. 

“Friendship is a rainbow between two hearts”
Judith Baxter, Mother, Blogger, Friend
1938-

** Note – The Hutt Valley is where I used to live with The Architect. It’s approximately 37km NE of Wellington City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note – The Hutt Valley was where I used to live with The Architect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday in the Summer Sun

Another glorious day on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand comes to an end.

I spent this day with my son and his wife lying at the side of their pool and idly gossiping passing the time of day. How very pleasant it was. Hot sun and cool drinks, perfect.  But it was a tall glass of lime and soda for me – our drink drive laws are very strict and so as I was driving home tonight, I had no alcohol. But who needs alcohol to enjoy oneself?

I did briefly think of Sandy and her dilemma but decided that could wait to be sorted out on another day.

Raumati jpg

Sunset at Raumati Beach.

 And the sunset at the beach reminded me of one of my favourite Max Lucado quotes 

“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless,
remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers,
“Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

It’s Wellington on a good day

Six word Saturday buttonSix word Saturday 

It’s Saturday again and time to join the gang at Six Word Saturday. Click on the badge to play along.

This has been the most perfect January day. Temperatures in and around 30 degrees. This is hot in this temperate climate and the pool at my son’s house was in high demand..

Lunch at a friend’s house but we decided it was too hot to eat outside so three elderly ladies ate lunch inside. Much laughter, exchange of stories and general well being. Some three and half hours later we decided that lunch was over.

How incongruous on this hot day the man delivering winter firewood arrived.

Back to lunch and how different was today’s lunch to yesterday’s.  Another beautifulWellington day but this time lunch with a friend who has dementia. Added to that is the problem that she is unable to walk without her Zimmer frame and you can see lunch was not a bundle of laughs.

I picked up my friend and we went to the beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens. 25 hectares of landscaped gardens, protected natural bush, specialised plant collections and of course the famous Lady Norwood Rose Garden.  Nestled into the Rose Garden is the Begonia House set in a Victorian conservatory. And at the side of the Begonia House under the same roof is a delightful cafe. As you can imagine on such a lovely day it was full of people chatting, laughing and enjoying lunch.

Our lunch was a quieter more somber affair.  My friend who used to be the centre of any gathering was very quiet.  She has trouble remembering. Oh, she remembers names and who you are.  She has difficulty remembering events and words to describe her thoughts and feelings.

How scared she must be and how scared will her family be. She is aware that she isn’t making sense and gets annoyed with herself and there’s no way for me to help.

After a short run around the waterfront (in the car of course) I delivered her back home to her lovely husband.  I made us all a cup of tea and then left once again saying thanks to whichever god is looking out for me.

I really feel for this once vibrant, educated and intelligent woman whose life is now confined to their apartment and who now has to wait for a friend or family member to take her out. When I think of all the ills that could befall one, this would be the hardest to bear.

 

 

Curiouser and Curiouser

They sat talking about the things that the two detectives had found out and also but the extra things that Greg had discovered.  For instance, he discovered that the wife had a twin sister who lived close by and she and her husband had two boys,  and an aged father who lived in a retirement home.  So that Barbara had a family whom it appeared were devastated at their loss.

He also found from some of the things that Barbara had let slip that she worked in a solicitors’ office in Holborn,  It would be quite difficult to track down which one, but with the help of Cathy’s friend he was sure they could do it.

Then Sandy suddenly remembered the email.  She had managed to put it out of her mind while they were discussing the new developments.  But now she hurried to the printer and brought it over.  She read it out loud.  The other two looked stunned as did Sandy.  Barbara was not Sandy’s daughter but had tried to pass herself off as her.  She had known Sandy’s daughter and was her friend.

What to do about this?  Had she committed a crime?  It appeared not but Greg said that Cathy should check with her policeman friend   Cathy and Greg talked about what they should do.  Should they confront Barbara and find out what she really had in mind when she started this.  Sandy suddenly joined the conversation “But she hasn’t done anything wrong.  Nobody has been hurt.  She just wanted to be part of a family”

Greg looked at Sandy as if he couldn’t believe what she was saying.  “So do you want to just let this go?” he asked.  “Don’t you think we should check whether she should be charged with an offence? And what will you tell Ian and Val? They have a right to know that this fraudster had been trying to get into our family.  To become a part of all our  lives.  I think she should be made to answer for her actions.”

In turn, Sandy couldn’t believe what Greg was saying.  “She’s just a confused, young woman, who wanted to be part of a family.  A family she has never had.  How hard her life must have been. Shunted from foster home to foster home.  She just wanted to be part of a normal family.

“Imagine how she envied the other Barbara. She had also been given for adoption but she had landed with a loving family and she also had come close to finding her birth mother.  How would that make her feel?”

Cathy asked “So Sandy, what would you like to do?  You are the one most affected by this woman and her deceit.”

“I don’t know.  I think she has had a very raw deal in life and I don’t want to make her life any more difficult.” Sandy answered “I think I should respond to her email.  Telling her how upset I am that she felt it was alright to act in this way.  I will also tell her I would really like to meet her again and talk about it. I would really like to know what she was thinking about when she started out to deceive me.”

Greg and Cathy sat quite still and looked at Sandy.  They both spoke

“What will that achieve” asked Greg and “If you think it wise then that’s what you should do” said Cathy.

“Yes.  It is what I want” said Sandy.

After talking more about this Sandy’s decision was acted upon.  Between them they came up with the wording for an email which Sandy wrote and sent to Barbara.

Having had another cup of tea and a stilted conversation about other things, Greg and Cathy left after Sandy promised to call them as soon as a reply to her email was received.

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining
and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”
Cicero, 44 B.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melancholy

And I realize how useless wails are and
how gratuitous melancholy is.”

Mircea Eliade, Romanian born historian of religion, fiction writer,
and philosopher.  
1907-1986

Melancholy is how I’m feeling today.  I looked back on this post written almost a year ago and notice how my life has changed once again and in such a short space of time.

This time last year we were at our beach house with friends for the holiday weekend – Waitangi Day.  The holiday is to commemorate a significant day in the history of New Zealand. “The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840, in a marquee in the grounds of James Busby’s house (now known as the Treaty house) at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects.”  So this is a very important document to those of us who choose to live or were born in New Zealand.

Happy

 

IMG_0147

Back to last year at Ohope.  The weather was beautiful.  We had been there for a couple of weeks when our friends came to join us.  How we both loved the beach house and how we both loved entertaining friends.

On the morning that I wrote that post, I was the first one up.  Nobody else was stirring so I took myself off to get the Sunday papers.  Walking along an almost deserted beach, I realised once again, just how lucky I was.  I lived in this beautiful part of the world, I had my friends and family and as the icing on the cake, I had my new love The Architect. And that morning it was perfect.

I believe in counting my blessings every day.  An attitude of gratitude.  And even if things are different one year on I still count my blessings,  I have my health, family and friends these great memories to console me when I am feeling melancholy.

When I used to run my Memories course I had a saying I used as part of the course.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will have seen it used before –

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions,
they can take away your money, and they can take away your health.
But no one can ever take away your precious memories.”
Judith Baxter, blogger, mother, sister and friend.

And after this, tomorrow we will find out what happens next in the Sandy saga.

 

Answers

On Monday morning while Barbara was wrestling with her problem, Greg received a call from Ted, his Private Investigator friend.

“I’ve done some searching starting of course on the Internet. Obviously, without many details, I couldn’t find much but I did log onto a local paper in Cowley that gave information about an horrific car crash in which the occupants of both cars died. The strange thing is that there was a girl in one of the cars with the same name as your girl. Do you think this is a coincidence? And do you want me to look further into this?” he asked.

Greg asked him if he would check out the story and see if there were any relatives he could talk to. Thanking Ted, he rang off and sat for a while with a grim look on his face. Julia had already left for the beauty salon she owned and as he worked from home as a freelance IT Consultant, he had the house to himself.

He decided to do some checking for himself.

At about the same time, Detective Inspector Steve Royal, Cathy’s friend, was speaking to Cathy. He too had found this other Barbara and wondered at the coincidence.

Cathy was concerned for Sandy and also for Barbara. She had really liked the girl and wouldn’t like to think she had done anything illegal. However, she asked whether Steve could check with the local police to see if there were any relatives that they could talk to. That done, she hurried round to Sandy to tell her of this development.

*****

That afternoon Barbara hit send on the computer. She had decided that the best policy was honesty and had told Sandy how she had known her daughter at work and how they became friends. She told her how devastated she was after the accident, and of going to the funeral. She assured Sandy that she meant no harm. She was looking for a family and thought that she could convince Sandy she was her long lost daughter. But now she realised that she had committed identity theft and was frightened that if she went any further she would cause more hurt to Sandy.

She finished by saying how very sorry she was to have opened the old wounds. She had enjoyed meeting Sandy and also had loved her friend Barbara. Sandy could be proud of her dead daughter.

She didn’t really feel much better after sending the email. She had still committed an offence but as she hadn’t benefited from it financially or in any other way it was Identity T+heft rather than Identity Fraud. During the afternoon she had taken the opportunity to discuss Identity Theft and Identity Fraud with one of the junior solicitors in the office and he had explained the difference to her. So she now had to deal with her own conscience rather than the law.  She really felt bad about tricking Sandy as she had done.

 

*****

Sandy was surprised to see Cathy on a Monday morning and immediately asked what was wrong. Gently Cathy told Sandy of how she had asked her friend to do a little digging into Barbara. She said that they hadn’t come up with much but there was this girl with the same name who, with her parents, had died in a car crash a couple of months ago. They had no way of knowing if this was in any way connected to the Barbara they had met, but Cathy’s friend had agreed to talk to the local police in Crowley to see if there were any relatives they could contact.

Sandy sat there with her face contorted in shock. But before she could say anything the phone started ringing. Excusing herself she went to answer the call.

It was Greg passing on the information he had gained from his friend and he also had some further facts that he had gained himself. Could he come round now to see her?

Meantime, Cathy had decided that tea was called for and went to the kitchen to make some.

While Cathy was occupied in the kitchen the computer pinged and there was an email from Barbara. Sandy was too confused to read it. She decided to wait until Greg arrived and then the three of them could decide what to do and also read the email.

In no time, Greg was knocking on the door. Cathy went to let him in and they sat to discuss what they had learned.

Life is a journey to be experienced;
not a problem to be solved.
Winnie the Poo.

 

 

 

If tomorrow never comes – 2

“If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes”
From If Tomorrow Never Comes sung by Garth Brooks.

I heard the song this morning and thought back to an earlier post I wrote in February 2012 – four years ago, really?

And now another love has departed this life (read died) and more than ever I know that we have to tell those to whom we are close, how much we love them.  Actions tell us/them but words are very powerful

So today please tell your family and friends how important they are to you.  When The Architect was dying, when he was in the final coma, I told him how much I loved him in words and actions.  I helped bathe him, change his bed and just as importantly, always had his favourite music playing quietly in the background and constantly reiterated how important he was to me and how much I loved him.

We are told, or I was told by the caring staff at the hospice, that hearing is the last of the senses to go, so I tell myself he heard what I was saying and heard his music.  And of course, I felt so much better having done this.

I’m becoming maudlin so I’m off for a walk with a friend in the open air and sunshine.  More tomorrow.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around
in the daytime and falling in at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna St Vincent Millay

American lyrical poet and playwright.
1892-1950  
Gilda Radner