Tag Archives: Life

Grief – The Black Dog

Like a thief in the night
Grief slinks silently back into my life
Disturbing the peace I have fought so hard for
It is like a fractious child demanding attention
And as the mother with her child, I give in
And am taken back to the beginning
When days were so long and nights even longer.
When I thought there was no way out of this slough of despair
And I am once again immobilised by it.
But I have been here before
Many times since that April night
And I know I can climb out
And once again put grief back where it belongs
Until the next time.

Judith Baxter, Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Blogger and Friend

Today my nemesis, Grief, decided to call.  ThAose of you who know me, know that I’m usually a positive, happy person, but just occasionally something drags me down to that terrible time.  Well, both terrible times as since I wrote my poem in August 2011, my later love has also died.

“Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide”.
Edna St Vincent Millay

It’s now 19 years since my Dashing Young Scotsman died and 19 months since The Architect died.   And yes, life is changed, and I’m now making yet another, totally different life.  Soon the grief will move back into the background where it belongs and the sun will rise tomorrow and all will be right in my world.

Thanks for reading.

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

Related posts

Grief;  Missing You;  Learning to Soar in a Changing World;

 

 

 

What were you thinking?

As Einstein said – “There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
I choose the second option.

On this day four years ago, before I had met and reconnected with my Late Love, the Architect, I wrote this post, Waltzing Matilda.

Of course, I had no idea how my life would change in such a short time.

Soon after writing that I decided to make some major changes to my life.  I decided to go to Italy for a few months and I put the house on the market and it sold very quickly.  Meantime I met up with my Late Love again and what had been a friendship quickly turned into a love affair.  But having made the decision to go away for three months (at least) I journeyed to Florence and blogged every day letting my friends and relatives know what I was doing.

Then when  I returned to NZ I moved in with my Late Love, the Architect.  And in October last year, a prompt from Patricia at Patricia’s Place spoke to me and so You Are Beautiful was written.

A 5-week long visit from my sister in the UK had us showing her around Godzone – or Aotearoa (New Zealand).  A great time for us all and my sister and the Architect bonded as I had hoped and they became great friends.

Then 13 weeks in Europe catching up with friends and revisiting places we had been before but with our spouses.  And then

Unfortunately, unknown and unbidden, a tumour was growing in the Architect’s brain and suddenly it took over and won the battle, so ending the life of my Late Love.

And still, “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world,
which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime
and falling into at night.
I miss you like hell.”
Edna Vincent Millay, 1892-1950

So yet another a new chapter started in my life.  Early in 2016, I had a serious accident (I refer to it as another adventure) which necessitated a stay in rehab where I saw so many others so much worse off than me.  Then fully recovered, one day there was a contretemps between a chair leg and a rug – the result was the chair fell with me sitting on it and so a fractured shoulder.

As we know everything passes and once again I’m back to my normal self.  But the question now arises, what to do with the rest of my life.

I’ve begun to write again and once again have decided to write my blog posts if not daily then more often than I have recently.  I have begun to volunteer at the hospice where my Late Love died and again, I know I get more from this than they do.  Oh and as I have been reading and reviewing so many books recently, I started a new blog Books&morebooks.  Maybe one or more of the reviewed books might appeal to you.

Sorry that this post has been all about me.  This January is confirmed as having been the worst in 30 years.  Rain, wind and very little sunshine.  But yesterday we had summer.  It was just as summer ought to be.  Warm, sunny and no wind.  But alas, this morning it has reverted to what we have come to expect this summer, wind and overcast and now at midday the rain has started. The standard roses are taking yet another battering and some of the pots have blown over.  Summer, sorry not here.

summer

And of course, no post is complete without a Mary Oliver quote

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

These beautiful words, from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, remind and inspire me. They remind me that, first and foremost, my life is entirely what I make of it and as I have only one life,  I mean to make the most of it.

Walking, Wishing, Wondering on Wednesday

You can have the other words
chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.
I’ll take grace.
I don’t know what it is exactly,

but I’ll take it. ”
― Mary Oliver

While walking through Ngaio today on a blustery Wellington Wednesday, I thought about Paris.

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It’s now more than 2 years since we were in Paris and promising that we would return and next time for at least three months.  Oh, the best-laid plans etc.

But notwithstanding all that has happened in the intervening 29 months, the memories are still live.  We had such a fantastic time; we did all the touristy things, Le Tour Eiffel, trips on the Seine, Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo’s house, the Pompidou Centre, La Defence, The Louvre, etc etc.

la-defence

I am sure that La Defense was the Architect’s favourite place to visit.  What a fantastic building The Grande Arche is.

We were told the Arche  is placed so that it forms a secondary axis with the two highest buildings in Paris, the Tour Eiffel and the Tour Montparnasse.

La Défense is Europe’s largest purpose-built business district with 560 hectares (1,400 acres) area, 72 glass and steel buildings of which 16 are completed skyscrapers . Another very wet day but an interesting area to visit.

 

pompidou-centre

 

Of course, he was totally impressed with the Pompidou Centre and the work of the British Architect Richard Rogers and the Italian Architect Renzo Piano.  We had dinner there and I had a hard time getting him out of the museum when it closed for the night.  “Next time” we promised “we’ll come earlier and stay all day”

It rained a lot while we were there, but we managed to see quite a lot of Paris in our 7 days.

 

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We became adept at travelling on the Metro.

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Because he was an Architect we spent time under the Tour D’Eiffel while he looked in total wonderment  at the complicated engineering arrangement that made this wonder.

And in case you’re wondering, no we didn’t go to either Galerie Lafayettes or Printemps.  We were there to enjoy Paris.  Shopping could wait until next time.

So now I have all these lovely memories, backed up by the thousands of photographs the Architect took during our 13  weeks in Europe, many of which are in Paris.

And as Humphrey Bogart said to Ingrid Bergman in the film Casablanca

“We’ll always have Paris”

And Walking, Wishing, and Wondering ?:-

  • Walking is self-evident
  • Wishing we were together again in Paris
  • Wondering if I shall ever go back.

 

 

Thoughts on Thursday

“It is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world. Mary Oliver

Just wasting time on Facebook this morning.  The sun is shining and I should go for my walk before I Skype with Chris at Bridges Burning  But I found a post on FB from Suzicate wherein she quoted a favourite poem  of mine from Dawna Markova.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

 

I used this quote in a post when I was still new to blogging – I Will Not Die.  Re-reading that post and the poem, I realise that the poem applies even more to me today than it did in December 2011.

Following my adventure in April, I have had to:

  • overcome the fear of falling again
  • choose to inhabit my days
  • allow my living to open me
  • learn to ask for and accept help
  • learn to take each day as it comes
  • know that I’m loved and supported by many and
  • to be grateful for the help and support offered.

So now this day is starting.  The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my walk is calling.

“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
― W.H. Davies poet 1871-1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Confusion

Hot, so very hot; panting like a dog and oh the pain; if only someone would make it go away and then she could concentrate on why she was here and what she had to do.

But the pain was never-ending and the noise – could that be her voice she could hear yelling obscenities ?

Suddenly there were smooth, calming hands on her forehead and a gentle voice said ‘It’s OK Mrs Jones, only a few more pushes now.”

And then she was back in this stark hospital room with doctors and midwives encouraging her as her son’s head appeared.

This post is in response to the 100 word writing challenge from
Velvet Verbosity where we are asked to write 100 words inspired by a single word prompt. This week’s word is SMOOTH

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Eleven Hints for Life

Having just returned from my son’s house after my Wednesday visit, I was sitting here wondering what I could post about today.  I turned to the notebooks that I have been keeping for so many years and a page almost jumped out at me.

I don’t know when I wrote this down, or where it came from, but it seems to make a lot of sense.  So here are somebody’s Eleven Hints:

1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return.  But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone – but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

8. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts that person too.

9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the best of everything that comes along their way.

11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Sunrise

“In the end, it’s not going to matter how
many breaths you took, but how many
moments took your breath away.”
shing xiong.

 

 

What is Life – Part 2

I posted a poem by an unknown author on Monday.  The post was entitled What is Life and has spawned a life of its own.  I am so thankful to all those who added their lines, and would now like to share with you how clever our fellow bloggers are.

The original poem reads –

Life is a gift ….accept it
Life is an adventure ….dare it
Life is a mystery….unfold it
Life is a game….play it
Life is a struggle….face it
Life is beauty….praise it
Life is a puzzle….solve it
Life is opportunity….take it
Life is sorrowful….experience it
Life is a song….sing it
Life is a goal….achieve it
Life is a mission…fulfill it.

To this I added –
Life is for living….live it
Then JessieJeanine added –
Life is for loving….give it –
Lenore Diane added
Life is a story….tell it
And Kathy at Pocket Perspectives made me a get well gift using the poem and then produced a second post – morphed from the first entitled Happy New Day– Happy New Moment.
Then on this second post from Kathy
the petalpusher commented
Life is a big wave….surf it and
Sometimes life seems too salty….sweeten it!
Patricia added – Life is a gift …..open it

I really would love to hear your ideas on life to add to this growing list.

Thanks for reading and for all the good wishes and kind words you have sent me.  And here once again is the ubiquitous rainbow that I wish to share with you.

Rainbow

My rainbow

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Learning to Soar in a Changing World

“It’s so curious:  one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief.  But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.:  ~Colette

Clock on beach

For some time now I have noticed a definite shift in my feelings about grieving for my late husband.  After many years I am able to look back and see just how far I have come from that ghastly day in 1998 when my soul-mate was declared ‘dead’.

Of course, at the time I didn’t know how I was going to live without him.  I had grown up with him having met and married him when I was 19.  And now 41 years later he was gone.

The few days following his death are still even now, a blur.  I do remember seeing my two adult children sitting with a man (who later turned out to be funeral director) under a tree in my son’s garden.  Those two children made all the arrangements necessary for us to move to the next stage – a funeral and the function afterwards. I declared to anybody who would listen that I was not going to the funeral.  Of course, I was ignored, nobody believed me and of course, I went.

Those of you have been there know that at the beginning you can tell how many hours since your loved one died. This moves into how many days, then weeks, followed by months and then (as for me now) years. I would not say that any of the stages through which I have passed have been easy. Time does not heal regardless of the old adage, but it does make living without that special one easier.

I learned that I can go on – it doesn’t come with a choice.  I learned that there is still life without that special person and that given the opportunity friends and family will be very supportive as one goes through the stages of grief.  My family still support me on those ‘mean blue days’ that sneak up on one when one isn’t watching.

As part of my healing I wrote.  I wrote how I was surviving, what I could do and did to get through each day and I found this exercise cathartic. this was published into a small book that I gave to friends and clients who found themselves in a similar situation.

And one day I realized that in fact I was growing and learning to live in this changing world.  I also changed the focus of my life coaching work towards people who found themselves alone through death, divorce or separation. And I founded a group that I call ‘Together”.  This is a loose group of people who come together regularly, or not as they choose, to support each other in their loss.  This has proved to be very helpful for a number of people.

And so the learning and coping go hand in hand and no doubt will do until I too die.