Tag Archives: living

You Can Survive

On re-reading some of the articles I had published on Ezine Articles I came across this one from December 2010.  During that time I was wearing my life coach hat and most of my clients were grieving as was I.   I thought it worth reposting 7 years later just as it appeared.

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When we lose someone we think that we will never get over the loss. We are in the depths of despair and can see no way out of it. We might fall into depression, caring little about what we eat or how we look. In some cases, if this goes on for a long time professional help will be needed.

But for most of us, with the help of family and friends and somebody who has been where you are now, we can survive. We can come through these days of despair and learn to live again albeit in a different world.

When I was first alone after 41 years of being married, I didn’t know how I would go on. I had grown up with my soul mate and was absolutely bereft at his passing.

For several weeks I wallowed in my misery but then I realised that he would not wish that for me. We had talked in a general manner of what to do if one or other of us died. But obviously, these talks were very general and didn’t touch on the actual day-to-day living alone.

I went through all the stages of grief. Resentment, anger and frustration that this should have happened to me (note the me inserted there when in fact it had happened to him); I then became immobilized and couldn’t think, I was fearful and wanted to hide. My family and friends were great support to me through these trying times. How lucky I was to have them.

Then I went through the blocking mechanisms stage. Some people employ alcohol, drugs, sex, excessive spending for me I turned to work. I worked all hours so as not to have time to think of what had happened. I fell into bed every night absolutely exhausted. Of course, much of this was nervous exhaustion.

After a length of time and with the help of friends and family again, finally I could recognise how lucky I was to have had the years with my love, to acknowledge and accept that this awful thing had happened and that I was strong enough to move on with my life.

There is no defined time for ‘a length of time’. It may be weeks, months or in some cases, years after the actual loss. And accepting in no way minimises your feelings of grief and loss. You can go on grieving (as I did) long after you accept the fact that this has happened and now you have to live the rest of your life without that special someone.

If you are suffering through loss and grief I empathise with you. I have been there. When I was first alone I was fortunate in having close friends and supportive family to help me acknowledge and cope with my devastating loss.

Now there is a program to help you do just that.Brittany Watkins has been where you are and will guide you step by step through the healing process.

This amazing program is called Move from Grief to Joy [http://www.griefandlosssupport.com]. It is full of ways to help you move through the stages of grief and live a normal, interactive life again. With this program [http://www.griefandlosssupport.com] grief becomes manageable and you can survive.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Judith_Baxter/221670

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5595313

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Voices

“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.”

 

Today I read this post “I Have aVoice “from Joss at Depth of a Woman.  I immediately responded in the comments section – Another good post and as Mary Oliver says in The Journey “One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice “

The quote above is also part of the same poem by Mary Oliver.  As Joss says, we are all held up at some time in our life by these voices, whether from friends, acquaintances or others, or even that voice in our own subconscious.  These voices choose to manipulate us and it’s only once we recognise that, that we are able to move forward.

So today I urge you to ignore those voices and take the first or the next, step on your journey.  Only you can determine where you are going.

OK Life Coach hat off for the day!

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And today the sun is shining here so no excuses for not getting out and walking or maybe even doing some work in the garden.  Since last year’s adventure, I have had a team of people who come in every 4 weeks to weed, mow the lawn, clip hedges etc.  They also plant for me.  But though I am in no way a gardener, I miss doing some of these things.  So today I am going to pot the plants I bought yesterday (in the pouring rain) and then after a visit to the audiologists (one result from the adventure) I shall return to sit in the garden with my book and a cup of tea.  How’s that for a good plan for the day.

 

It’s a Small World Indeed.

I have written before about my friendship with blogging friends around the world and in particular, Chris at Bridges Burning with whom I have a Skype visit each Friday.  We talk about anything and everything and yesterday we talked about her latest post.  If you read it you will see that while doing her research into Orphan Annie, she mentioned that this ancestor had been born in Hackney in the East End of London.  Well, this is where I was born and brought up.  She knew the address of the children’s home into which Annie had been placed and I offered the help of my sister who lives in the UK and who visits Hackney regularly to meet her family members who still live there.

Marianne, my sister was happy to help and photos and messages were exchanged so another friendship was formed.

Yesterday, when talking about serendipity, as surely this was such a case, we talked about other such happenings.  I told her about a woman I met recently who had arrived from Montreal and had lived in the same suburb as we had many years earlier.  I told about the woman I spoke to on a bus going to Oxford some years ago.  She had a brother living in New Zealand.  Did I know Wellington?  Well, yes I live there.  Did I know Scots College? Well, yes my son and grandsons went there.  Her brother was the Headmaster of Scots.  And there have been many more such experiences.

But the strangest of all was some 30 years ago.  I had a friend with whom I worked.  One day she said she had a school friend, now living in Majorca, coming to visit.  Her friend was Scottish and Jean, my friend, thought we should meet.  On the day, with husband out at sport, the two women duly arrived for afternoon tea.  During the course of conversation, I was asked by Jean’s  friend where my husband came from in Scotland.  I replied Dunoon to which her reply was she had lived in a small village beside Dunoon.  “Well, I said, it was really Kirn but it was such a small place that I never expect anyone to know of it”  Her response was that in fact, she came from Kirn.  Imagine my surprise then when I found out she was the daughter of the local dentist whose house my Father-in-Law had purchased when he remarried.

So imagine.  Two young girls meet at school in Colchester, England.  Then each goes their own way while keeping in touch.  One went to Majorca with her husband, the other to Wellington New Zealand with hers,  Some 30 years later, two other women meet in Wellington and become friends.  The second woman is married to a Scotsman who comes from a small village on Scotland’s West Coast.  Years later the three women meet and surprise, surprise the woman from Majorca was born and bred in the same small village as the Scotsman and what’s more, lived in the house now being lived in by the Scotsman’s father.  Small world indeed.

“Friendship … is born at the moment when
one man says to another
“What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 

 

Who Shot Kukki Gallman?

I dreamed of africa

I have just finished re-reading (for probably the 6th or 7th time) one of my all-time favourite books, “I Dreamed of Africa” by Kukki Gallman and posted a review on my other site Books and More Books.

Having finished the review and posted it, I decided to see what the world was saying about Kukki Gallman now.  And horrors – I read in the Guardian UK, that she was shot on a Sunday morning in April,

We are told that on that Sunday morning, April 23,  she was keen to inspect the ruins of Mukutan Retreat, her luxury tourist lodge, which had been set ablaze the day before. She drove there, accompanied by armed Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers and one of her scouts, to find total devastation. As she said, “Ash hung in the air like snowflakes.”

Many years of living with the threat of encroachment, poachers and occasional violence had taught her caution, so the visit was brief and, as she always did, Gallmann left by a different dirt track to the one she had driven in on.

Reaching the higher plains she found a felled tree blocking the route. The Rangers had finished moving the trunk when her scout called out to her, telling her there were three people approaching, but before she could turn to look the shooting started and she was hit in the lower abdomen as she sat in her Land Cruiser. She was hit again and three more shots hit the car before the Rangers chased away the ambushers.

Following the shooting, she spent a fortnight in hospital before being discharged to convalesce in her house in Nairobi. But she says she is not yet truly home.

She longs for Ol Ari Nyiro, “The Place of Dark Springs”, an 88,000-acre nature reserve in Kenya’s central highlands overlooking the Great Rift Valley, where her husband and son are buried.  In recent months this quiet, peaceful reserve has become embroiled in a violent struggle between the private landowners and the semi-nomadic herders. But though her wounds from the shooting are grievous she is determined to go back and fight.

“As soon as I’m allowed I will go back,” she says. Her doctors tell her that she is not yet strong enough and security officers advise her it is not yet safe, but “in my heart, I’m there,” she says.”

This is a different photo.
Not one of a trophy hunter having killed a defenceless animal but
one of a distraught Kukki with a killed elephant.

Kukki

Sad story: Gallmann with an elephant killed by poachers on her land. Photograph: AFP

In earlier times, I followed Kukki and her daughter in their conservation quest and now feel sorrow for this woman who has faced sorrow in the loss of her husband and son and now could lose her beloved home or even her life.

Get well soon Kukki and go back to your home in the hopes that peace will return once again.

And always, Zig has a quote –

“It’s not how far you fall,
but how high you bounce that counts.”
― Zig Ziglar Author, salesman and
Motivational speaker 1926-2012

 

 

Grief Revisited

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

Yesterday I had a long talk with a neighbour,  His partner of 15 years literally dropped dead in a restaurant a couple of weeks ago.  He had suffered from heart problems since an early age and apparently had an enlarged heart.  The death was quick and painless for which my neighbour was very thankful.

Tekapo

Lake Tekapo where Natu died

Drew, the neighbour, put the link to the video of the funeral on my laptop and I heard him singing. Drew is an Opera singer and to hear him sing If You Go Away to the love of his life brought tears to my eyes.  I have heard many singers sing this song, but none with the feeling of Drew.

And then I went off to the Hospice for a few hours.  Here again, I was faced with death, but they were all expected deaths, none so sudden as Natu’s.

So of course, all this and particularly the Hospice brought back that day in 2015 when my Late Love, The Architect, died.

But today is another day.  Nothing changes; the grief for both of my loves lies just below the surface, ready to spring to life at any time.  But I am stronger than I was and can face the days without either of my loves.

“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.

Thanks for reading.  Today I am back to being my usual cheerful self.  As we say “PollyAnna is alive and well and living in Wellington, New Zealand.”

 

One Day

This is where it all begins.
Everything starts here, today.”

David Nicholls, One Day 

Have you said to yourself One Day I shall

  • Start to exercise and lose this excess weight
  • Read a book of fiction rather than for a reason – self-help, weight loss or whatever
  • Reconnect with that friend to whom I haven’t spoken since we had that disagreement
  • Go to the sea
  • Take a trip
  • Talk to my neighbour
  • Begin my walks
  • Finish my …..?

Well, today is that One Day.

  • We can start by leaving the car behind and taking the walk to the store.  This can also be your exercise for the day.
  • Or take a trip to the library.  The librarian will be happy to discuss recent books with you and help you choose just the right one for you.
  • Pick up the phone and call that friend.  Someone has to make the first move and someday that person may no longer be with us.
  • Call the neighbour and ask her/him over for a cup of coffee.

Today the sun is shining, or at least it will have risen even if it is hiding behind the clouds.  Celebrate today it will never come again.  And at the end of the day, how I hate that expression but here I mean it literally, when you look at your To Do List and see what you have accomplished you will be glad you decided this was to be the One Day.

Butterflies

And of course, my favourite Mary Oliver quote (are you bored with this one yet?)

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

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.

Dust if you must

Dear-mother-nature-quote

If this is your copyright, I apologise for using it.  Please let me know.

I have no doubt you have heard of our earthquake.  7.7 on The Richter Scale – yes, it was a big one.  While we celebrate the fact that only one death was directly attributable to the earthquake, that of a man who was killed when a historic homestead collapsed and a woman who died of a heart attack; we mourn for the two lives lost. The man’s 100-year-old mother survived.

And those of us affected by minor damage in our houses try to get back some sense of normalcy into our lives.  Added to the damage caused to roads and buildings, has been the torrential rain that we have experienced since the quake.  Many buildings in Wellington’s Central Business District have been damaged, shops, offices and schools are closed while the result of damage to the properties is evaluated.

But down south at and near the epicentre things are so much worse.  Some places are cut off entirely as roads are impassable.

It is at times such as this when we thank the powers that be for our being unhurt by a disaster of this magnitude that we take stock of our lives once again.

Shirley Conran told us that Life is too Short to Stuff a Mushroom” but this poem by Rose Milligan says it for me:

“Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
to paint a picture ,or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
Music to hear and books to read,
friends to cherish and life to lead?

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there,
with the sun in your eyes and the wind in your hair,
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
this day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself will make more dust.”

Wikipedia tells me it was originally published in 1998 in “The Lady” Britain’s longest-running weekly women’s magazine. It has been in continuous publication since 1885 and is based in London.

So dust if you must, or stuff a mushroom but for me, this has been yet another wake-up call.  So I’m off to see what other adventures await me.

Godwits en route

 

Freedom

 

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful
and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~ Mary Oliver

In October three years ago I was in Florence, knowing nobody and not speaking the language.  But what an adventure that was.

Have you ever thought of doing something like that?  To know nobody; to walk through the streets and not see a familiar face; to hear people speaking without understanding a single word they are saying and to not know where you are or where you are going; no familiar sights to guide you.  It’s total freedom.

For once, you can just be you.  There’s nobody who knows you and can comment on your behaviour.  We all like to think that we are independent and not moved by others’ comments on our actions, but here I was, totally alone like a ship that had been untied and left to float.

Oh, how i loved Florence and the feeling of just being me for the time I was there. Never before have I been in such circumstances and I suppose I never will be again.

When I returned to NZ many people commented on how brave I was to do that on my own.  But it didn’t seem like bravery to me.  At the time it was something I wanted to do and so I did it.  I wonder if I would have done that had I been younger or was it just the right time for me to stretch my wings and fly?

I’m very pleased that I had that adventure.  That I made the decision to go on my own and see that part of the world through different eyes.  I had not spent time in Florence before and like a child in a candy store, I delighted in all that I saw.  And I delighted in the people I met in the suburb where my apartment was.  Nobody spoke English and my Italian is almost non-existent but we managed to communicate and enjoy each others company.  And when I returned a couple  of years later with my late partner, those neighbours remembered me and were happy to see me.

So much has happened in the three years since that adventure.  Life has changed as it will and must.  Plans made that cannot be carried through; promises made that cannot be kept; other and different adventures to enjoy or just get through.  But that’s what this life of ours is all about.

So as Mary Oliver asks:

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

More Walking

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, 
“and what is inside them,
for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, American author of young adult fiction,
1973 –

Many years ago I discovered Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way.  Through this book, her suggestions and in particular, her Morning Pages, I found that what I really wanted was be a life coach.  I then discovered a special Life Coach, Cary Volmer in Minnesota, and found out first hand what a life coach does.  She encouraged me and subsequently I took a Life Coach course in Australia  and became certified.

So why am I telling you this today, many years after the event?  Well, today I purchased Julia’s next book – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.

As usual, I’m spending the weekend with my son and his family.  Today my son was asleep as he works as Night Manager at a Wellington Hotel, my grandsons and their mother were all working and so I took myself off for my walk and ended up in the local mall.  The bookshop, as always, drew me to it and I saw this book.  I picked it up just to look at it, you understand.  The book fell open and the first thing that jumped out at me was the paragraph that included:

Walking makes” a quilt out of the silken patches of our experience.
So yes, it’s important that we walk.”

For me, walking has broadened my life, making me more independent than I have been for several months -4 or 5 kms a day makes all the difference to my life.  So of course, I had to buy the book.

As I’m almost completely recovered I now have to decide what to do with this life of mine and so I’m starting the 12-week course covered in this book to find out where I’m going next and what I am going to do.  So as we say,and if you’re interested, watch this space.

Butterflies