On June 11, 1967 my two children and I first set foot in New Zealand.
On this date in 2017, I asked the question “Where did the years go?” Click here to read that post.
And now it’s another five years and still I wonder where the time has gone. Much has changed of course since that far-off day when we arrived in this far-off land. The children have grown, moved away and now have their own families. And each has two sons – my strapping young, handsome grandsons. four young men of whom I am justifiably proud (no bias here you understand). Unfortunately 25 years ago, their father, my DYS died and life totally changed for all of us. But it doesn’t come with a choice so “Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” so sang Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in the 1936 movie “Swing Time”. So that’s what we did. Here’s a Youtube link showing them singing and dancing together.
So we will celebrate this day and in another five years will celebrate the 60th anniversary!
And so we reach the end of the alphabet. Zenith is defined as the highest point reached in the heavens by a celestial body or the culminating point. And this then is the culminating point. I have enjoyed rereading earlier blog posts. Occasionally I have said to myself “That’s pretty good, clever, dreadful..” or whatever. But mostly I have been happy with my shared thoughts. and even my rants and raves.
So there you have it. And. let me share the poem The Journey by Mary Oliver. You may be aware that she is one of my favourite poets. Over the 12 years of my blogging journey, I have shared snippets of this poem with you. Today I am reproducing the complete work. Enjoy.
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice –though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do — determined to save the only life you could save.” ― Mary Oliver 1935 – 2019
I could find no published post for X and so I’m writing a new one.
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― Roy T. Bennett, Author of Light in the Heart
Way back in 2016 after I had my misadventure, it seemed that I spent a lot of time at the regional hospital having x-rays MRIs, CTs, and other scans.
Of course, my daughter attended all these appointments with me. We were taken by ambulance from the rehabilitation centre at the beginning but after a couple of weeks, we went in my daughter‘s car.
On every occasion, and we saw different technicians each and every time, we were treated with the utmost respect and concern for my well-being.
Of course, initially, I was concerned because I had never had my brain x-rayed, or at least not while I was conscious. Obviously, they x-rayed it when I was first admitted to the hospital so that they could determine exactly what I had done, but at that time I wasn’t aware of what was going on. So I was a little nervous on the first visit, but my concerns were quickly allayed by the technicians and supporting staff.
Much has been said about our health system and its faults, but during the time that I was incapacitated, I have to say that I gained only the greatest respect for all the people involved in my recovery.
As I have said we have the ACC here – the Accident Compensation Corporation and all accidents wherever they happen are covered by this. So we don’t need insurance to cover accidents.
And everything involved in my recovery was covered.
The therapists at the rehabilitation centre were great. The physio and occupational therapists seemed to be there during a normal working week. The physiotherapist was a delightful young woman who worked on me and while I was there, I saw her almost daily and when eventually I was able to walk to the gym unaided, she and the rest of the staff celebrated my achievement with me.
I saw the occupational therapist several times during my stay. These were interesting appointments during which she had me remember a list of words, look around the room and remember what I could see, tell her what I had seen on a recent walk round the grounds, and just generally make my mind work as it did before the accident. There was a speech therapist, but I didn’t see him until the day I was leaving. A young Malaysian who spoke with an American accent said he hadn’t seen me because I had been able to speak without any help.
The two therapists continued to visit for a few weeks after I was allowed home. The result of all this attention was great, but really, I wouldn’t advise anyone else to check it out for themselves.
Way back in 2016 following my near-fatal accident, I noted and celebrated each small step towards recovery. Earlier this month I wrote about going for a walk and now I should like to share this with you. As Zig Ziglar, a favourite motivational speaker said – “You can eat an elephant a bite at a time.”
I went into town today to meet a friend for coffee. Unfortunately for me but fortunately for her, she had promised to take her grandson to the movies, so it was a very short meeting. After she left, I had another coffee and thought about what I would do until my driver picked me up one hour later.
So here I was out on my own for the first time in 12 weeks. It seemed like some retail therapy was called for. I made it to only one department store almost opposite where we had coffee, but I felt pleased with myself for trying this.
I bought some tights, some makeup and a new perfume. So al in all a good use of an unexpected free hour. And to finish off, while I waited for the driver, I bought some handmade chocolates from the chocolate shop.
Then home again with my caring and careful driver. I’m so lucky that I have access to these women in Driving Miss Daisy. They are all in their 50s and 60s and really look after me.
A quick lunch and then onto the bed for a nanny nap.
If you didn’t already know it, I love alliteration (even if I have to make up words). Into every life, there come one or two major hiccups. This was the first in mine. Looking back I wonder how I managed so well during this awful time.
“The bathtub was invented in 1850 and the telephone in 1875. In other words, if you had been living in 1850, you could have sat in the bathtub for 25 years without having to answer the phone.” ~Bill DeWitt.
I read today’s post from the Good Greatsby and it reminded me of my most favorite Bob Newhardt skit – we always refer to it as Nutty Walt. Click here to view the video.
Then, as often happens, after reading this post about phones my thoughts went to a time when a phone would have been very useful for me.
My late husband had retired early at 56 and wanted a less hurried lifestyle. We looked around and we decided upon the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of New Zealand. We had been to the Sounds many times with our boat and it seemed like an idyllic spot in which to retire. I was rather young to be considering this retirement thing at 48.
However, we found a lovely house in a small bay with only four other houses. The house sat up above the beach with a path leading down to it. A perfect place to retire and to write my book. The book didn’t happen but that is for another post.
At the time all telephone services in New Zealand were run by a Government Department. To get a new connection in the city took about 7 days if you were lucky. To get a new connection in a rural area took forever and ever.
So, we moved to Paradise. And applied for a phone to be told there was a long waiting list and we had to be patient. Bear in mind that we lived some 60 kms from any town and the last 5 kms of the road was unpaved. I had never lived anywhere there weren’t shops and buses and people. It was quite a revelation to me.
Anyway, back to the telephone. We managed with difficulty. Remember this is 1986 – few cellphones and very few people had access to the internet. No phone, no internet, no communication with the outside world. Very peaceful but frustrating.
One of our neighbours offered the use of their phone if we needed it.
So on a lovely Sunday while Robert was away further south playing bowls I was applying paint over the awful wallpaper in the master bedroom. And that’s also another story. I was surprised when Robert walked in as I wasn’t expecting him until the next day. He looked grey and obviously was quite unwell.
The next morning he was worse. I ran to my neighbour’s and used their phone to call a doctor. He told me to bring husband in immediately and had to give me instructions as I didn’t know the town in which he was located.
After driving the 60 kms with husband groaning at each bump and turn in the road, we arrived at the doctor’s house. He took my husband inside and left me sitting in the car. When Robert came out he said the doctor thought it was not serious and gave him a couple of pessaries.
So we went home but in a very short time, he was writhing in agony. So another call from the neighbour’s house and I was told to bring him into the surgery. More instructions needed. Well to cut this long story short, the doctor took one look and declared “This man should be in hospital”.
So with more instructions, to the hospital, we went. They admitted him immediately but as the only ward open to admittance on this Sunday was the Children’s’ Ward that’s where he went. The surgeon was called and he later told me he was grateful to be called out as his wife had been entertaining a rather boring group of people.
I was offered a bed in the nurses’ home but had to return to Willow Bay as my spaniel had been left there. On the way home I found a telephone box (yes they were still available then) and called my son in Wellington who agreed to get the first plane in the morning to be with me. He also agreed to call his sister who was in London and tell her.
The next morning bright and early I was back at the hospital. The surgeon had examined Robert again and said the only way to find out what was wrong was to operate.
I called the phone company to check on progress – none!
The cause of Robert’s problem was a ruptured duodenal ulcer (that nobody knew was there) so that was the good news. Other thoughts were unthinkable. But Robert was sick for a long time and kept in a coma for several days.
I called the phone company again – no progress although I was on first name terms with the operator at this stage.
I used to spend all day sitting with Robert. I learned patience which was positive. I used to call one friend in Wellington using the hospital phone. Still no result from the telephone company. This friend, in turn, called other friends in Wellington to pass on the news.
One day I arrived at the hospital and Robert greeted me with the news that our son was in hospital in Wellington having had an appendectomy the night before.
This was the final straw. At this time I had a husband in hospital in Blenheim, a son in hospital in Wellington, a Mother in hospital in London and a Father-in-Law in hospital in Glasgow and still no telephone
Another call to the phone company – I told the operator my tale of woe and he said ‘You really need to speak to my supervisor’ Well, I had tried to on several occasions previously. As soon as the supervisor heard my problem he arranged for a phone connection the next day – but it was a party line, shared with a couple of other customers. And yes, that’s another story – but at least we had a phone.
A pretty scary episode in my life made more so because of my lack of ability to communicate with the outside world. It was 25 years ago but I still remember the feeling of being cut off.
Needless to say, we didn’t stay there long. After about 9 months we decided to come back to Wellington. Another adventure in this wandering life of mine.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl, 1905-1997 Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist
I am constantly amazed at the fortitude of my fellow bloggers. When I read of the hardships and abuse many have suffered and overcome, I wonder at my luck of having been born into a loving and caring family, and then having the good fortune to meet and marry my ‘Dashing-Young-Scotsman’ at an early age.
I tell people that I have lived a blessed life. If you have read any of my earlier posts, you will see that I had a long and mostly happy life with my DYS; I have two children whom I love and whose support I can rely on and appreciate.
My family is rounded out by my daughter-in-law from heaven, a charming and caring son-in-law, and four strapping young grandsons all of whom seem pleased to see their Granma and offers of help are often forthcoming.
Of course, no life is perfect. I left my family in the UK to follow my husband in his move up the corporate ladder which entailed us moving around the world. My children therefore, missed out on the companionship of cousins that I had when growing up. And they saw their grandparents on rare (bi annual) visits home. So they were very much part of a nuclear family – the four of us in a world far removed from home.
I am also very lucky to have two sisters, one in London and one in Los Angeles. Could we have landed any further apart even had we planned it? While they are not within easy visiting distance we still are in regular contact by phone and now of course, the internet. Aren’t we lucky to live in this technological age.
There have of course been bad times in this long life of mine. We lived in Montreal for a couple of years and I absolutely loathed it. The French Separatists were very active and almost daily we heard of their actions against the English speaking population. My children’s school was bombed and that coupled with the police going on strike, made the decision for us to leave and return to our adopted home, New Zealand.
This time we knew that it would be a permanent move and that family and friends in the Northern Hemisphere would see us only a rare trips home; but we made the decision in the knowledge that this was where we wanted to raise our children – on the beach in Takapuna, Auckland. After a year my husband was transferred to Wellington, the capital city, but that’s another story.
I wrote about a time when I was in danger of losing my leg and a black day when I wanted to Stop the World, but my blackest day was 14 years ago when my Not So DYS died and the colour went out of my world for some time. But living and moving on doesn’t come with a choice and so I am in the next phase of my life and most of the colour has returned.
So daily I give thanks for my life and know that I wouldn’t swap it for anyone else’s. Oh yes of course, there are parts I would gladly change. Those that are shared in this post and others, but mostly I say thanks to god, the Universe or whatever power is above us for giving me this life.
And above all I thank my fellow bloggers for being so open about their lives, in all the ups and downs and for sharing with us how they have overcome. In reading about their problems I have come to realise just how lucky I am. This is their gift to me. Thank you thank you!
As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. Terri Guillemets, U.S. quotation anthologist, 1973 –
If you have been following me for any time, you will know how I love words. I particularly like challenges where we are given a prompt a word, and a specific number of words to use. This post was originally published on May 30, 2015.
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
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.
Note – Shortly after this post was published Velvet Verbosity’s site was unavailable/missing but it recently has re-emerged. The last post was in June 2022. The site has changed course; my suspicion is that it’s another author.
The first e-mail that I opened this morning was from Rachel McAlpine. Rachel, like me, is old and celebrates it.
We are both in our 80s and live in the same city but have never met. Rachel is a poet, author, and artist. Visit her and see how she celebrates her age.
I tell most younger people who comment on my age that if they are lucky, they’ll get to be my age one day. As we know, so many people don’t reach my vast age. My response is usually met with looks of amazement and they often then go on to ask whether I still drive.
I have enjoyed each of the phases of my life, some, of course, more than others. But now I can say I honestly enjoy this phase. Oh, there are some obstacles when we’re old. I can no longer walk the long distances I used to, but I can still walk, albeit with the aid of a stick. The alternative to a stick is not to walk, which would be totally unacceptable.
I can still drive to my favourite beach and while I no longer walk along the sand I can walk along the esplanade and enjoy the sights and sounds of people on the beach. Incidentally, I am a Pisces, so water is very important to me, and I am happiest close to it.
There are those occasional and mostly strange, twitches and aches and pains. Our bones are more fragile but with extra care, we can make sure (as much as we can) that they don’t break.
I know that I am one of the lucky ones. My health is good for which I am truly thankful. I can get out and about and do those things that interest me.
I do have several younger friends but of course, most of my friends are now my age, so we do things at a slower pace – but still do things.
So how are you enjoying your age? Each day passes so quickly and can never be replayed. Enjoy each day as best you can, and be thankful for it.
“I am a Yorkshire born painter and writer, living in the south of England. I paint the strange things that come as images in dreams and fantasies and write about life as it happens. I was raised in a spiritually eclectic family in a landscape where myths and legends were woven into the stones, and have always had an intimate relationship with the inner worlds and the understanding that all paths are but spokes on a wheel, leading ultimately to the same centre. It is not the path that one walks that matters, but how one chooses to walk it. Sue Vincent
I am very grateful that so many years ago I discovered WordPress and the joys of blogging. Over time I have met many folk: some have become friends and two have become sisters of choice – Chris at Bridges Burning and Dor at Country Living.
Many have come for a short while and then moved on but many more have stayed true and while I cannot name them all here, they know who they are. Darlene is always there to comment and support as are Catterel, Nancy, Donna, SallyAnn and Lois to name a few. Others we have bid goodbye either because their life has changed and they are following another path or in a few sad cases, life has ceased.
But one who has been there probably from almost the beginning is Sue Vincent. Sue it is who writes daily on many and varied subjects, always with a purpose and always managing to bring to mind something on which to dwell for the rest of the day. She also kept us involved; she wrote poetry, had several books published, was an artist and so much more. So it was with much regret that after reading today’s post from the indomitable Sue, I had to reblog it. Click here to read it.
Along with 19,500 (and counting) followers, I have to say “Goodbye and fly freely to your next stage, your next adventure wherever it may find you. Know you will be greatly missed.”
“I will most definitely be outrageous, difficult and undignified,
but not until I am old.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger, Mother, Sister, Grandmother and friend.
I make no secret of my vast age. I know how very lucky I am to have had such a long and interesting life. Many don’t have the good fortune to reach this age.
I have bored you with this on several earlier posts.
I compared myself to a classic car in Vintage?“I too am kept in a warm dry house (rather than a garage) away from the vagaries of the weather. I’m cleaned, polished and primped. I have regular services, hairdressers, facials, manicures, pedicures, dentists and the occasional visit to the GP”
I gave you fair warning that I wasn’t going to age gracefully ” So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple”
And again in Rambling with an Octogenarian, I mused on growing old along with others and said “When I think of old I imagine an old person sitting in a chair doing nothing active. I don’t want to be that person. I have said in the past that I want to hike into my old age. “
And of course, we all know that Strange Old Lady who seems to inhabit all our houses as we get older – “Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I looked in the mirror and saw this Old Woman looking out at me.”
(sigh….. bet that strange old lady is on “her” puter too!) What’s a body to do??????
Then today when noodling around the internet with coffee in hand, I came across this:
I am not old … she said … I am rare.
I am the standing ovation At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective Of my life as art
I am the hours Connected like dots Into good sense
I am the fullness Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die … But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure. I am a map.
And these wrinkles are Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
~~ Samantha Reynolds’
I find that Samantha h Reynolds is the Founder and President of Echo Storytelling Agency. She is based in Vancouver, BC and says -“I help great people tell great stories. I also talk on the phone a lot and write ideas on scraps of paper when stopped at red lights.”