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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Fallout from Dad

My heart sought my Home

It’s a strange thing to explain to to others how intricately involved your heart can be with two people who for all intents and purposes are perfect strangers.

My obsession with finding my parents consumed me so completely that at times I thought I would quite literally lose my mind in the process.

Meeting my father and subsequently never seeing him again just about finished me off.

It was only many years later when I finally met one of his sons that I discovered that he had in fact intended to keep his promise to include me in his family.

He had spoken to his wife after he had met me and had wanted to invite me to the house for Christmas.

She had quite rightly refused, poor woman must have been horrified at the thought!

My dad had also had a conversation with my brother asking how he would feel if he found out he had a sister. Dad was laying the path for my entry into the family, slowly and methodically. How could he possibly know that time was a factor?

I met him a few months before my birthday and when that day came, I stayed at home all day waiting for him to call – nothing! The same story with Christmas – I refused to go out. I didn’t own a cellphone at that time, so I stayed by the phone desperate for him to call and wish me. I was devastated when he didn’t. I couldn’t understand. Had he lied to me? I eventually called him twice over the next two years and wrote him a letter, and each time he assured me that he was working on introducing me and that he would see me soon.

It was during this time that I resigned from the newspapers. I think back now and realise that I was probably having a bit of a breakdown. The situation with my dad had overwhelmed me to the point where I was unable to concentrate and I was literally going to work and doing nothing. I was empty of everything but pain.

The day after my biological father died my adoptive mother walked into my home waving a newspaper and briskly announced ‘your fathers dead’. Just like that! I was devastated! All those years of yearning, all those years of waiting for answers, hoping for acknowledgement and it was all gone. I have had many occassions to cry over the years, but truly, seldom like that. I remember sitting on my bed with my head bowed and watching the tears literally fall out of my eyes.

I must have sat like that for hours because I remember going through two full toilet rolls before I was done. I wasn’t working at the time and needed to get fresh air. I walked around for hours in a daze – I was in a state of shock. I knew a lot of people in the area and as I bumped into them I remember blurting out ‘ my father just died’ and walking off.

My mom had left the newspaper for me so I knew where and when the funeral was to be held. I was desperate to go and say my last goodbyes. But how could I really? Even if I snuck in quietly and sat at the back, someone might have noticed a young woman howling her eyes out and started asking questions.

Discovering the bastard child at the funeral would have been a slap that I was not willing to give to a family in grief. No matter how desperate my need to be there, I could not do that to them, so I stayed away. The day of the funeral I spent alone and broken and completely inconsolable.

There are many reasons why my own personal identity was always so closely tied to finding my family. Even now with maturity, wisdom and understanding I still feel the ache of missed opportunities. I still grieve my father, a man I never had an opportunity to know. Intellectual knowledge doesn’t do much for emotional need, it helps you understand the place that need was born but is often hopeless in healing it.

Many years later once I had made contact with one of my brothers I attempted to explain it to him. He of course didn’t really understand my grief. I never knew the man so what’s the big deal? I recently went to his mom’s house for the first time and again got emotional being there. His mom and I had become friends in the preceding years but not once had I been to the family home. I again tried hopelessly to explain my reaction, but it was lost on her although she did a better job of hiding that fact, bless her!

No matter how far we come in our lives we carry certain expectations with us. Adoptive kids looking for their families are desperate for inclusion, love and acceptance and most of all – for answers.

My search has always been focused on my parents. Through sheer miracles I have now managed to find and connect with both sides of my family. I now have more relatives than socks, but as I write this I have still not met my mother. I have found her family, but finding her seems to be more difficult. I have discovered that she is in care and very ill and the family seems to have broken contact. Due to her illness I have been discouraged from going further. I know that my expectations will not be met and that meeting her could quite likely be extremely traumatic. But she is the one I’ve called to all my life. I don’t negate the importance of my new family – on the contrary, they have brought me more joy than I ever imagined having, but my path will not be complete without her.

I understand that there is no way to prepare for meeting her, so I’m not going to try, but whether she’s comatose or howling at the moon, my journey must end at the foot of her bed.

At least this time I’ll have a family to hold me close afterwards.

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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Adoption Journey

 

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Finding my Biological Dad

The time never cameWe are all different and as we live our lives we all translate our experiences in different ways. It is not a foregone conclusion that kids who were adopted will have a need to find their biological families, and even if they do they might not necessarily want to maintain that contact.

I don’t fit into that group. I have always wanted to find my parents and never wanted to consider the possibility that they might not want to include me in their lives. I played various scenarios through my mind over the years. I met my folks, I looked fantastic and was successful, confident and gracious. I made it quite clear that I didn’t want to intrude on their lives although I would love to have a relationship with them.

If they thought it would upset their families I would not make a nuisance of myself etc,etc, etc……

 The truth is, I would have walked away if that’s what they wanted, but it would have destroyed me and with my father, it nearly did.

When I went to the adoption agency to try and get info on the family I was given the bare minimum. To find my father I was armed with his initial, surname and a basic physical description, which decades later would not help. I had tried to look him up in the local phone directory but most of my effort had gone into finding my mother. When that trail again went cold I turned my attention to finding him. The funny thing was that he had been in the local phone directory all the time, but for some reason I had never found him. In retrospect I believe it was the Universes’ way of allowing me to grow a little before we met. I was too fragile in earlier years to have handled what happened after I eventually met him.

I began calling everyone with his initials and eventually spoke to a very sweet woman who said that the man I was looking for was her husband and asked me what I wanted with him. I said it was a personal matter and fortunately she didn’t ask further questions. He wasn’t home at the time so I said I would phone later.

I then contacted the woman at the adoption agency for advice. Her response was that unless I paid for her services she wasn’t going to get involved.

10 years later and she was still a bottom feeder!

It seems that she did make a call to him at some stage to warn him that I was going to call.

Thanks Cruella!

It came out later that his wife had told him that it was probably one of his illegitimate kids on the phone! Ouch!

I can’t remember the details of the phone call I made to him, but he agreed to meet me and would collect me at work and take me to lunch.

The day arrived and I thought I was going to throw up or pass out! The picture of our meeting was so off-base it was ridiculous. Instead of gorgeous and gracious I was overweight, wearing a top and skirt that had fitted me years before and was tight and uncomfortable. I remember wearing these ‘lovely’ hessian shoes that matched the outfit but were waaay past the comfortable fitting date. I had bypassed lady-like perspiration and was sweating like a pig from nerves! All in all I was a wreck! Anyway I managed to live past the first 4 hours of work and finally the time arrived to meet him downstairs. He had told me what car he would be driving so there I stood working industriously on my nervous breakdown and waiting for my daddy to arrive.

So this car pulls up and this foreign looking man smiles at me and says something like ‘hello sweetheart, I hope I didn’t keep you waiting.’

I just stared. You’re my dad?  Seriously?

And this is the thing. Sometimes, you really do look like your parents, but you have a lifetime with them and by the time they age you don’t question the physical differences. I only met my dad when I was 27, by which time he had lost most of his hair and his bulk and was a complete physical stranger to me.

There was zero recognition. Nothing spiritual, physical or emotional that I could latch onto. Of course in later years, after meeting my brother and his mom and going through family pics, I could eventually see family resemblances, but when I met him I really struggled to reconcile what I had been told with what was before me.

I was also a nervous wreck so I doubt my brain was capable of too much at that point anyway!

So off we went to one of his favourite restaurants. As he drove I was happy to see his hands shaking on the wheel, so perhaps I wasn’t the only one feeling the strain-whew!

He took me to this gorgeous restaurant with a lovely view of the sea. I would rather have committed suicide by spoon than attempt to eat, and left the ordering to him. I don’t know if I ate anything much, but damn did I smoke up a storm. Fortunately he did too!

I wish I remember more of our conversation but I was too overwhelmed at the time. What I do remember is that he was gentle and gracious.

He had been with my mum while engaged to another lady, but couldn’t quite remember which one she was. Sounds horrid?

The funny thing was that he didn’t lie. He didn’t try and make things better. He spoke openly and honestly about himself and his life. He told me that he had a beautiful and supernaturally patient wife who he knew he didn’t deserve. He said that he couldn’t believe she hadn’t left him, and that despite his errant behaviour he had never stopped loving her.

At the time I appreciated his honesty but couldn’t quite get the affairs aspect. It was only years later when I met his mother that I began to understand. She said that the men in her world were raised to be the conquerors, they were the head of the households and as long as they came back to their wives and supported their families, the girlfriends on the side were perfectly acceptable. She said the continental males were all raised like that. Hmmm..ok…..well what could I say?

Despite all that I really liked him. I have always preferred honesty above etiquette. He had never known about me and said that if he had he would have taken care of me, that he wasn’t a man to turn his back on family. That nearly broke me! I gave him the spiel about not wanting to intrude on his life and he responded by saying that I was part of his family and he would find a way to include me.

I never saw him again. He died 2 years later.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Adoption Journey

 

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Depression, Hopelessness and a few hundred Angels

Build your Bridge to FreedomThere are many times in my life that things felt dark and grim. I have learnt to call on heavenly help instead of mucking about in the dirt. Single parents so often get stuck on a rollercoaster of busy and endless work and routine. It’s truly enough to break chunks off a girl! I’m not a religious person but I have come to accept the presence of Angels and other Celestial beings who are always available to help and guide. The following was written during yet another period of depression and hopelessness and after bitching up a storm this is the response I was given.

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You are too hard on yourself.

The world is a wonderful place full of exciting things to see and be, but is also a world of opposites. Where there is joy there is sadness, where there is abundance there is lack.

Life is circular. There is a time and place for every experience. To honour and appreciate one, you MUST experience the other.

Don’t be impatient. Think only of the things you desire.

Switch off the TV and the DVD’s. Read, think, dream, explore ….get out of the flat. Get outside, breathe the fresh air, re – juvenate your senses. Create a quiet space for your mind to release itself.

Change your routines, HAVE NO ROUTINE, do something new every day.

Speak to every interesting person you meet.

Change the way you think and react.

IF IT IS NORMAL TO BE CONDESCENDING – BE KIND, IF IT IS NORMAL TO BE GROUCHY- REJOICE.

Shake off the old energy and the ideas will flow. Sing, listen to music, engage with your children and all others around you.

Avoid toxic relationships as much as possible. Be loving but firm in your choices.

Avoid gossip – walk away! It’s not good enough just to remain silent, remove yourself from it completely. It will soil and blacken your spirit.

Don’t judge yourself or others…and you WILL break the cycle you are currently in. Just BE.

All your dreams can be realised if you are willing to let go, let go of all your pre-conceived ideas, let go of all your fear, just let go and live…minute by minute, second by second.

Experience everything, stop disconnecting. Look for the good…ALWAYS and you will find it.

You have made the box that imprisons you, SO YOU CAN UNMAKE IT. 

Its not as hard as you may think, and it doesn’t take that long.

Feel everything, cry, laugh, rejoice and storm……

Feel so that you can FEEL

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Needless to say I took the advice! I stopped disconnecting with my kids when I was in busy mode, I stopped and listened and gave them what they needed from me. I was instantly released from single mommy annoyed mode!

I stopped blitzing my mind with endless activity, I made a conscious effort to avoid ugly gossipy conversations at work, I began to slow down and breathe.

I walked more instead of bussing, I listened to music that filled me with joy and read books that inspired and strengthened me, also began avoiding the carnage contained in our daily newspaper.

It wasn’t long before the heavyness lifted and my joy began to restore itself. I was still able to acknowledge my pain, but I also began to be able to acknowledge the good stuff too. I then added the magical ‘cure – all’ ingredient – GRATITUDE and miraculously all those dark and sad areas started to look very different and I began to feel very different.

It’s funny how the simplest lessons are the hardest to stick to – rebellion really is entrenched in us. What I’ve described above works, always, no exceptions. Unfortunately it’s a simple lesson that I need to remind myself of often. It’s a process I have to repeat from scratch every time.

I’m hoping one day that this part of myself will be on autopilot….

Depressed? Exhausted? Lacking inspiration?

Click, whirr…………….Slow down, breathe, rejoice and be thankful!

It’s a nice thought! Sadly, genuine life-giving living does in fact require a little more commitment. No amount of pills, booze or cigarettes really take the place of allowing yourself to breathe.

There is one point I want to add to what I’ve written here: There is no perfection on this side of the veil!

If you have experienced heartache – it’s going to hurt, sometimes for years. For some of you depending on where you’re at, are going to bleed for a long time before you can breathe. With that in mind it sounds cruel to offer such advice. It sounds beyond foolish to think that after what you’ve experienced you can just release and rejoice!

This is the rub. There ARE times when nothing will work. There are times when we need to just grieve and fall to pieces. There are times when we don’t have the strength or desire to be thankful for a damn thing – and with good cause. But life really is circular. No matter how much pain you’re in today, tomorrow it may be less, and the next day it may subside even more. It is at those times that the above can work, even if only to a degree and IF the big IF, you want it to.

The results are always different. A manic depressive person may follow the advice and go from thoughts of suicide to dark and desperate sadness, a person having a bad day might go from miff to gloriously joyful. If you’re reading this you may not be able to hit the gratitude button just yet and even if you do it probably won’t work as well for you as for someone who has never experienced your pain and loss, but it will still work!

I’ve read hundreds of self-help books and usually when life was revolting. There’s nothing worse than hearing from an overly chipper person abouth how easy it is to be free. Our lives and minds work in degrees. Committing to things that set us free is vital. The results however are as different as we are.

You may never be bubbly, you may never completely eradicate the darkness, but if you are willing you CAN create a way to lessen it. It is possible to see beauty despite what you have experienced. And if you’re determined, it might just be enough to keep you sane and hopeful.

Life is often mercilessley difficult, but it is also equally magnificent. Most of our earthly experience depends on us. Our responses and choices and decisions are our to make. You can either exist in a bubble of pain created by yourself and those around you, or you can find your fire and say ‘fuck it’ I want to live.

Find a way, make a way, don’t give up!

Live your life to the fullest, for yourself, and for those to whom life has been denied.

It’s precious and sacred, and so is everything you feel.

Acknowledge your right to breathe, and live free, no matter how long it takes!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Strings of Sentences

 

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Choosing to Choose

Choose your TruthI wrote this a few years ago for my eldest daughter when she was facing terrible trials. Understanding the importance of choice is applicable to us all,

understanding the ability to choose is more so.

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There are things that hide within us, both good and bad, that yearn to be unleashed. As we allow the circumstances of life to dictate our choices, we begin to lose a little bit of ourselves every day. And then one day, for no apparent reason, we look at ourselves and see a stranger.

Who is this person that looks and sounds like me, we wonder. Who is this person walking around, making decisions, living, loving, hating and fearing.

Perhaps if the pain that arises is not too overwhelming we think back. We remember the joys of playing and laughing, the glee in winning races, running on the beach and splashing through the waves.

Perhaps we remember our first kiss, our childhood friends, the dreams we had, the plans we made.

How it felt to pour ourselves into a new project, be it art or a school play, or a special date we had looked forward to.

How did we get from there to here?

And why?

And how do we get back?

And is back the right way for us to go?

It is a sadness that youth is truly wasted on the young. With age comes experience and with experience comes wisdom.

Each part of our lives has to be lived fully. As much as we wish, there are no shortcuts. A baby must learn to crawl and walk, a toddler must learn to talk, a child must learn to understand and so on. Every phase is necessary to grow and develop an aspect of ourselves. Good and bad is worked into every part of us so that a universal balance may be found. We are constantly learning so that we may grow – and that is the whole point of the exercise!

We are born to love. Ourselves first, and others later. Each time we make a choice, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are choosing on the side of our beliefs – about ourselves.

Within every man, woman and child there is perfection. There is good and bad, light and dark, and most of all  – the ability to choose. These elements are ‘built in’. HOW we use them, is the thing that distinguishes one from another. We are all given the choice to excel. A deformed man chooses to be a world athlete, a perfect specimen of womanhood born from a wealthy family, chooses to commit suicide. Why?

Because they chose, according to what they believed and what they believed, they chose too.

Choice IS Everything

What do you believe? Were you born intrinsically different from others. Yes, we all have a uniqueness, but in the places of power, your mind and heart, are you lacking something?

Is there a nut or a bolt that everyone else got, but you?

What makes one person reach for the impossible and another give up at the fence?

Choice!

Who you are now, is who you choose to be. Do you want to be loving? Choose it, and BE it, NOW!

Do you want to be honourable? Choose it, and BE it , NOW.

When you Choose, you Create.

or you can wait for the world to choose for you…and believe me…they will.

They’ll tell you how to talk, walk, dress, eat, behave, what career path to take, which boyfriend they like etc etc etc

If you are unhappy, Choose something new.

Who….do….you….want….to….be?

and the wonderful thing is…………….you can always change your mind if the fit isn’t right!!!!

every time you choose, you change – instantly. If it’s good, keep it, if the choice sucks – chuck it!

Are you a batty tart? Cool, go for it!

Aare you a loving intelligent chick? Go for it!

YOU CHOOSE

We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can ALWAYS choose what our response is going to be.

Most great choices have been made against the flow of what is acceptable and believable. They have required courage, determination and a crazy portion of faith – all of which were chosen too.

Choice is Creation and like Creation the possibilities are limitless. You can create and re-create yourself and your world over and over again until you find your true self…..

or you can hide in the shadows cowering and fearful waiting for the world to create your world for you……….

 

THE CHOICE IS YOURS…….

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2013 in Strings of Sentences

 

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Cradled by his Belief

About a month before he died he was still being a Grandad

About a month before he died he was still being a Grandad

This is a long post, make your tea first and then read…………

A year ago my adoptive father passed away. We had been given 3 months to prepare.

My father was an enormously overweight chap. I still have photographs from his youth when he was a strapping young man, fit and strong. Funny enough he always kept his strength, but over the years became bigger and bigger. Despite this dad was always exceptionally healthy with nothing more than occassional hayfever to disrupt his peace. Even as he aged he had the bare minimum of ‘old guys’ ailments. In his sixties he did have a few moments of fear when he was diagnosed with skin cancer which was odd as dad was never in the sun. It turns out that he had probably developed it from his youth whilst playing badminton. Although it was a bit of a shock, we knew we didn’t need to panic. He was treated with a minimal amount of fuss and apart from the plasters over his nose (the worst spot), it was all smooth sailing. He insisted on buying the most garish ones he could – bright cartoons, flag designs etc, perhaps as his way of not attributing any more attention than was warranted.

My brother and I knew something was wrong when dad began to lose weight. We asked questions and nagged and he insisted that nothing was wrong, he was just ageing. When he complained of a particular ache or pain I would get him whatever over-the-counter medicines seemed appropriate and not worry – because after all, the old boy insisted he was fine!

For a year and a half he refused to acknowledge that he was ill and kept working and hiding his illness from us. Eventually it got to the point when we could no longer ignore the fact that things weren’t OK. My brother, bless him, all but man-handled my dad into his doctors offices and so began the tests. None of the fancy blood tests revealed the answers, but after complaining of a sore back, a simple urine test revealed the beginning of the truth. My father was diagnosed with tumours on his kidneys and liver. It was so advanced by that stage that the doctor said to us that Dad had no more than 3 months to live. My dad was told that he had 3-6 months as a kindness.
He was 79 years old and had never had any illnesses worth mentioning, even his skin cancer was a seperate issue and not connected to this in any way. He was huge – surely a gigantor heart attack made more sense?

He was diagnosed at the beginning of December. He died on the 10th of March.

There may come a day when I talk about that particular journey, but right now there’s not enough whiskey in the world for that.

Funny enough despite what I have written above, this post is not about his dying, that’s  just background – it’s about what came afterwards.

My father loved the Catholic Church. There was something about the hymns and the rythyms of the services that soothed and comforted him. He remembered the latin prayers and recited them with ease. My aunt had been one of his best friends in his youth and had eventually become a nun, and through her and his own enthusiasm, he befriended priests and nuns all over the country. He loved the idea that there was a powerful and all knowing being who would sort out the mess, all he had to do was to be faithful.
Dad had a wonderful voice and used to boom above the congregation in full flight. He trained altar boys, ran a Catholic retreat and was constantly called upon for church readings. In short  dad was church crazy to the point where I came to believe that he should never have married, he really should have been a priest. He loved my mom, despite their problems, but he loved the church more.

When it came time to bury dad comedy, heartache and madness combined to create a funeral that will eventually be funny, but at the time was devastating.

Dad had requested a particular priest who he had known since he was a young man – retired and almost impossible to find, despite the fact that we knew where he lived. We eventually managed to track him down to do the last rights for dad. If my father ever required punishment for his sins, he got it all that day. Dad was on his last and ‘Father Bombastic and Psychotically Cheerful’ boomed his way into his room calling him young man and asking how he was feeling in a voice loud enough to tear nails out of a floorboard.
I began organising a funeral with almost zero help from ‘Father Crazy’ (he had insisted on communicating only with my brother – ‘head of the family’ kind of a thing and who unbeknown to him was a complete atheist). In desperation I had turned to the local parish priest for assistance. He spoke about 4 words of English and couldn’t help because he was off that day and he duly turned us over to the local church receptionist, who quite frankly could have benefitted from a colonic or two.
Eventually I contacted the one priest I actually knew and liked, who had know my dad years previously when he ran the local church. So with the help of ‘Nice Priest’ and my aunts and uncles, I finally managed to piece together a vague idea of hymns and prayers for the service.
Now dad had insisted on the church next to his mothers house, so we duly called the local organist – sorry not available!
Panic stations ensued and we phoned around in a sweat and eventually found a suitable replacement who actually had the music for the songs that dad had asked for – thank God! It was somewhere between my conversation with the morgue and ‘Nice Priest’ that I discovered that the organ in that specific church was broken and had in fact been that way for years. This was 2 days before the funeral was due to be held.

Holy Crap!

I then moved into ‘call a stranger and beg’ mode. I went through dads phone book and called one of the parishioners I had met once and asked for help. 4 or 5 calls later they eventually hooked us up with a church guitarist who knew most of the songs and was confident she could google and download the music for the other. She was friendly and even organised her choir leader to join her at the service to help with the singing.

Hallelujah!

On the day we said goodbye to dad ‘Father Crazy’ arrived on time.
He was followed my  ‘Monsignor Sandals’
who was followed by ‘Nice Priest’

The service started off with one sweet old man asking if he should open the casket for the viewing –
‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Don’t you dare open that lid dude!’
To be followed by a caterwauling of inimitable proportions (choir leader) accompanied by a guitarist who would have done better had she hit herself in the head with said instrument!
The service finally ended with Father Crazy threatening our Jewish and Agnostic pals with hellfire and brimstone because they hadn’t embraced the Truth.

Oh and in between that I had to deliver the Eulogy!

By the time dad was returned to the hearse for cremation, I was in pieces. My only consolations were that dad had not one, but 3 priests for his funeral and the fact that I was approached by a variety of people to do their eulogies when they kicked up their clogs!

I had no reason to expect that burying the ashes would go any better – boy I was wrong! Joyously and completely wrong!

Burying the ashes had started off in the same disatrous fashion as the funeral. The graveyard folks couldn’t find the family plots and because no one could remember when the previous family members had died, our only choice was to go through the 1000 page tome until we found the plot number, or walk the ‘yard’ until we tripped over a family grave.
Added to this, our local graveyards are ugly, deserted, revolting places parked in industial areas. I’d rather die than be buried there!

Between heaven and earth I prayed for inspiration:

My dad had known the Schoenstatt nuns for decades and I decided to call them to see if it would be ok to scatter the ashes there. Schoenstatt was peaceful and beautiful and carried many happy memories for us all- it would be perfect!

They said NEIN!

I was devastated! but before I could reach for the whiskey, this sweet honey nun mentioned that she had known my dad well and remembered that he had been very close to sister Mags and although we couldn’t just shake dad all over the place they would be willing to allow him to be interred into her grave and would add him to the register so that anyone who wanted to visit could find him.

Mazeltov! Hallelujah! Bloody incredible!

I was completely taken by suprise! My father was not only going to be buried in a gorgeous place, but he was going to be surrounded for all eternity with the priests and nuns he had loved and respected and spent most of his  life with!

On the day the ashes arrived I took them with me to one of his best friends who owned a restaurant.
We bi-passed civilised and instead embraced a little moggy! We attached a restaurant sticker to the box and he and the staff wrote messages on it. I wrote a letter and my youngest drew a picture with a lovely note to Grandpa and we attached it to the box – next to the rather large sticker.

On the day that his ashes were to be buried, the nuns were supposed to have dug the hole. When we got there and nothing was prepared – they had experienced crazy rains and collapsing graves etc etc so we were directed to spades and shovels and off we went.

Disaster? No – Blessing!

My brother ended up digging most of the hole to bury the box and as I watched I realised that the Universe had given this to him as a labour of love, and he took it that way. My little one was in charge of the holy water and the sisters prayer book.

It was funny that despite being out of the Catholic church for the better part of 3 decades, my brother and I still remembered all the correct responses to the prayers.

It was a morning that was overcast and threatened hectic rain, it held.
Our father was buried peacefully and respectfully – except perhaps for the box…….
Prayers were said, and the nun while attempting to open the holy water ended up squirting my youngest with it instead, allowing us all to laugh and relax and say goodbye with lighter hearts.

I think that despite the fact that his funeral was a tad patchy, dad would have loved the idea that it was presided over by not one, but three priests.

I know that being buried in Shoenstatt made his heart glad and I definately know that watching his son labour over the hole for his ashes would have blessed him all the way to heaven and back. Watching my baby girl get squirted with holy water would have tickled him pink. So in the end he was blessed with love, light, humour and kindness.

He was laid to rest in the place he loved the most and you can’t ask for more than that.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Adoption Journey

 

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A Tender Forgiveness

The Seasprite & I doing excercises

The Seasprite & I doing excercises


I use many words to describe myself as I barreled through the years. Words like fool,idiot,twit etc are scattered throughout. Some may say that I am being uneccesarily harsh, but truthfully, at the time, I was in fact all those things.
What you might not understand however, is how I feel about myself today, after all the drama and chaos.

My self esteem, has over the years, hit lows one wouldn’t have thought possible. Each new failure bringing yet more re-enforcement of my utter failure and stupidity.

The strange thing is, that every new experience, every new piece of repeated learning eventually, impossibly though it may seem, started to take root. Every time I messed up, a seed of knowledge was planted. Because I am stubborn to the extreme it took many years for those seeds to germinate and eventually begin to grow.

Although in a general sense my life only really began calming down after my last child was born, I was still changing and developing and learning right the way through my life.

As a young mother and young woman there were times when I was positively feral! I would try so hard to do the right thing only to go barreling off in entirely the wrong direction when situations became too hard. It seems as though I lived my life in a very small bubble, not dreaming or planning or daring to look further than my nose.

Once the lessons finally began to take hold, I struggled to reconcile my behaviour with what I knew I had tried to do. Despite a life of unparrelled foolishness I knew there was a place that hadn’t been ruined by fear.
I have always understood my heart. Years of crazy and decades of fear and pain couldn’t detract from the one truth that had never been lost – I really did give a damn – I always had.

I really did love my parents and wished that I knew how to fix things. I didn’t have much of a relationship with my brother ‘The Prof’ but I had always wanted to. I craved learning and thoroughly enjoyed school before I went off the rails and walked out. I loved my eldest to distraction even when I’d been aloof and hard and unyielding.

As the knowledge was finally given life within me, I slowly and quite often painfully, began the process of change. I knew what I didn’t like about my belief systems and I definately knew the behaviour patterns that were unacceptable.

The difficulty with change is that knowledge and strength are given to you in different packages. You are first given knowledge, wisdom and understanding and then you if you are willing to committ to using these gifts, you are given small measures of strength. As you move forward, more and more is added until you eventually get to a place where the wheels of your bicycle are no longer tied, and you begin to ride fairly smoothly.
I say fairly, because The Universe being what it is, never gives you a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants’ lesson! When it teaches, it wants the lesson to be complete enough so that it eventually becomes permanent.

Enter the challenge!

My biggest obstacle was forgiveness. It was never going to be possible for my to find true freedom until I was willing to forgive – first myself, and then my parents.

Although I knew and understood this truth it was only after my youngest was born that I was able to activate it and finally begin the process of permanent change. I remember watching my daughters together. The difference in years between my kids was exactly the same as between my eldest and I – 18 years.
I looked at my young child ‘The Seasprite’ and I looked at my newborn baby and imagined them being mother and daughter.

The picture was ridiculous!

How could this young teenager who wanted nothing more than fun and freedom be a mother? How could this young ‘almost woman’ nurture and care and provide for another human being when she had no yet even begun to be an adult?

and then the truth hit like a ton of bricks!
I had done it!

When I was a frightenened, broken and rebellious teenager, I had become a mother. As I watched them, the curtain of self-hatred and loathing began to slowly fall away. I watched as my eldest child played sweetly with her sister and then gave her back to me after a few minutes because she had places to go. I watched as she experienced a screaming, wailing baby who would not settle down. I watched and I learnt.
The Seasprite was expressing her teenage self exactly as she should have been, exactly as I did at 18.

It was at that point that I finally had my first taste of real, permanent, life-changing freedom.
I had been a child raising a child.

Looking now through more mature and wiser eyes I finally have the utmost compassion for my young self. Falling pregnant had forced an adult response from a teenage mind and body. I finally understood the enormity of what I had taken on when I myself was barely out of diapers. I don’t negate the times I failed utterly as a mother, I was and still am, responsible for my behaviour, but I now think back with a tender and forgiving heart. I finally see how frightened and overburdened I was at such a tender age. I am finally able to ‘hug’ and love my teenage self sincerely and with the deepest love, respect and forgiveness.

Today I write this with a gentle heart. I have taken the time to understand myself and my life. I have finally been able to appreciate the lessons I have learnt and most importantly I am finally able to apply them.

I will always be a ‘sergeant-major’ type when my kids misbehave (even with the Seasprite who is now an adult), I will always scream and shout and warm errant bottoms when the need arises, and will probably always be on the short side of impatient, but at least now it is with a greater measure of restraint.

As I parent I have no doubt that I will always roar like a lion, but at least now I am now able to love, protect and provide for them as fiercely as one too!

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Strings of Sentences

 

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A Tribute to ‘The Rors’

Attitude with teeth even then!

Attitude with teeth even then!

There have been many ‘saviours’ in my life that miraculously arrived to help and encourage me. Despite my dubious behaviour and my often selfish outlook, I have somehow always been blessed with incredible friends who have come alongside me and helped me to weather some truly stupendous events.

‘The Rors’ was one such person. We had worked together at the video shop and had become fast friends. He is and was, also a Saggitarian, with all the crazy mental processes and bright colour one would expect. He had just endured a soul sucking divorce from a woman he had really loved, but somehow he had still managed to find space in his heart for me. He wasn’t a soppy idiot and had just the right dose of ascerbic humour and energy that I so desperately needed.

I met him at a time when I was trying to survive leaving my fiance, debt, demon churchy interventions and life in general. All said – I was a mess!
Looking back it has to be said that if he had an iota of sense he would have taken one look and run like hell – but he didn’t. Despite feeling the bruising of what he had experienced, he was willing to be MY friend.

Rors was magnificent. He made me laugh more than anyone I knew. He was intelligent and kind and warm and my goodness but he could dance! When my daughter would have a sleepover at dad’s house he would take me out dancing and partying and still be willing at 3am to find an all night shop when I suddenly had a ‘Nak Attack’ (craving for Niknaks, cheesy chip things made in SA).

I adored him. That said I cannot think of one occasion when I did anything for him! When I needed a shoulder to cry on, he was there, when I was losing my mind with stress, he was there, when I had to move again he was there.

Even then I knew how special he was. I wished that I could fall in love with him, but it wasn’t to be. I like to think that the Universe had sent him to help me, but protected him by making sure I wasn’t attracted to him, because God knows I would have ruined him.

Eventually he went overseas and we lost contact. The funny thing is that I had got his email from his folks and could never get the mails to go through – and yes they were correct! Same thing with the phone numbers. It was only fairly recently that I managed to re-connect with him again, and finally got to see him when he and his fiance came down for a visit.

I was so excited. I loved this man! I couldn’t wait. As they walked up I flew out of the building and hugged him. Needless to say his fiance wasn’t very happy. She tried her best but I could see that the thought of spending an entire night with a strange, mad woman who was hugging her man was a little much.
During the evening I tried to drop into the conversation that Rors and I had never and would never be ‘involved’, but I don’t think it helped overly much. After all how could I explain it?
This man had quite literally saved my sanity. With his particular brand of funny and crazy he had befriended me when I was lonely and broken. He had accepted me without question in a way that years later still meant something.

I’m not sure if either of them will ever read this but if they do:

Rors you are one of the finest men I have ever met. Thank you for helping me when I was completely undeserving. Thank you for the laughter, the fun and the downright crazy!
‘Mrs Rors’ – I will always love your man, but not in a way that should cause you pain or fear. He is a magnificent human being. Look after him well and know that there are very few people on earth that will love and accept you good, bad and ugly. He is one such person.

He is just one of many that have saved me from myself and as time permits, I’m going to attempt in my own way to pay tribute to them all.
My hope for the future is that I will be able to pay the blessing forward and encourage and love the next ‘me’ with the same grace and committment that my ‘saviours’ have shown.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Strings of Sentences

 

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