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I know this is so wrong… but I promise I’ll do it today…

… I think the devil made me do it 🙂

I know one reader in particular (Hi P!) is going to tear his hair out at my folly.

What’s a dumb thing you can’t help doing, even though you absolutely KNOW you shouldn’t?

Drive a bit too far before filling up with petrol?

Too long time between dentist appointments? (Damn, I do that too).

Release your foolish failures here, it’s a safe space 🙂

In gratitude for being silly sometimes, without huge repercussions, G xO

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Who wants to join me in a meditative new resolution?

Like all of us, I’m glad to have made it unscathed to the end of this year. Surrounding me have been lockdowns, high tensions about vaccination rates (we called it the ‘strollout’ at first here in Australia), and now the surging stress of Omicron.

*sigh

I am utterly blessed and grateful to live where I do, with my trees, birds, and nearby creek. My latest New Year’s Eve plans have all been shelved, with Covid cases soaring both locally and nationally, and a party in my pyjamas and living room is more appealing by the day.

Still can't believe this is my sunset view over 50 in my tree change

(Or an early night. I could handle an early night.)

But today, I came across a blogging recommendation for the Insight Timer app. Have you heard of it? At least three of my friends swear by it, and I’ve been meaning to check it out…

So I downloaded it, and listened to my first 20-min talk sitting on the [pictured] verandah in the early sunshine, after several days of rain.

It felt great.

Then I started thinking about all my blogging friends/regular readers, who live around the world, but have had a similarly stressful year… and I bloomed the idea to invite us all to a daily meditation practise.

Five minutes minimum, but averaging about 20 minutes.

Morning, noon, or night: find the time that works for you of course.

The Insight Timer app was free; if you listen to a teacher regularly, you are invited to donate to them (which seems fair), and $2 was the suggested lowest amount.

Who’s in? We could do a weekly round up of how well we’ve done, as the app keeps track of your useage; if you’re NOT in, you’ll know which posts to avoid, as I’ll use the image of my own Meditation bowl [below] from Nepal at the top of the posts.

I just love the idea of looking back in a year’s time, and seeing what we’ve done together.

Because meditation is intangible, yet so profound: this morning, I tuned in to this specific talk on Equanimity, and was challenged to picture someone I don’t like- I chose a local fellow who doesn’t like me either, and who kept flirting with my ex in front of me (he just popped into my mind, so I went with the impulse).

As I pictured him, I felt myself sneering a little in distaste, which is my usual reaction. Then, as I followed the teacher’s suggestions, and practised recognising that he was on his own unique spiritual path, just as I am, with his own personal set of causes/conditions/challenges/struggles, just as I am, and that he too simply wants to flourish and be happy, I understood more easily that it’s not my job to control him, or even react to him, but just to let him Be.

I felt relieved, and relaxed.

The teacher also invited listeners to picture a stranger, and a loved one, to do the same process with; it was enlightening.

So what do you think? Will you join me in a new resolution??

We don’t have to be strict about it… but I would love to try my best, and extend the invitation, if it appeals…

Let me know if you’re coming along for the Mindfulness Ride of 2022.

And if not, that’s fine of course- I send everyone who’s read this far my best wishes for health and wellbeing for you, your family, & loved ones for the coming year.

In gratitude for teachers and cushions, G xO

“You should get your gun licence”; words I never thought I’d hear, nor consider

Hello from the glorious Australian rainforest, full of fecundity and native animals. But we also have feral pests, and that’s who I’m battling at the moment.

This young female koala was photographed 2 days ago on my driveway: I want to offer a safe place for her to grow up and breed.

I’ve written before about my challenge to catch & dispose of feral cats wandering our property; my wildlife camera also caught footage of a fox. One wild cat can kill 1,100 animals/lizards/birds a year, and foxes have been named as one of the most destructive invasive species in Australia (introduced in the 1800s by British colonists who wanted to continue the sport of fox hunting).

My horror on seeing one in my garden has been increased with the news that some foxes have learnt to climb trees, seeking baby koalas (NO!), and sugar gliders or possums, who are all tree-dwelling (and previously therefore thought to be safe from this nasty apex predator).

NOT ON MY WATCH FOXY.

So I’ve lent my camera to a couple of neighbouring property owners, and spoken with two local trappers, and gathered intel: we’ve found one of many dens a particular vixen is using to raise 2 cubs. But she’s smart: she has decoy dens, a food cache den, AND moves the cubs around every few days (‘cunning like a fox’ indeed).

Active day & night, which is unusual as nocturnal

Last week we fumigated 2 dens, and the trapper turned to me, as we waited in case a fox ran out, and uttered the words I never thought I’d hear addressed to me:

‘You should get your gun licence. Only takes a couple of hours of training, then the application process… best way to kill foxes is with a gun at night.’

It’s almost hilarious. I’m a longterm vegetarian, consider myself a pacifist, and have always hated the very existence of guns. I despair at the ongoing tragedies of school shootings in America, and am tortured by the images of child soldiers with guns almost taller than themselves.

And yet. If I had to choose between a young swamp wallaby, or a possum, or any of my gorgeous ground-dwelling birds, and a fox…

This has been such a weird year hasn’t it? Expectations have fallen by the wayside; plans have dissolved; previous ‘normals’ have vanished, while we continually reinvent our brave new messed-up world…

Perhaps me morphing into ‘Trapper G’ is just another unexpected turning of my wheel of life, and I should simply surrender to it?

I just don’t honestly know if I could pull a trigger.

Any thoughts or personal experiences to share? Please do.

In gratitude for lifelong learning & curiosity, G xO

A year has passed since I nearly died; this makes me both happy & sad

Today, 12 months ago, I rolled my car right over on a wet road, and wrote about it here. Somehow, I came away with only concussion, whiplash, and a frozen shoulder (which is now thankfully almost fully ‘thawed’).

The ambulance workers couldn’t believe I wasn’t more badly injured; neither could the 2 doctors on duty, and the smash repairs guy who towed away my car looked at me incredulously:

“There’s not a straight panel on it! How are you not dead?”

Obviously, I’m so glad I’m not dead. As are my son, my beloved, and my family and friends.

It absolutely rocked my world, for in 37 years of driving, I’d never even had a car park prang. It shocked me to feel so vulnerable in my concussion and whiplash, then had to accept my shoulder was in fact ‘freezing’ in April [they are often triggered by a traumatic event, and occur more often in women over 50 FYI].

The shoulder was agony– if I knocked it, it felt like I’d been hit by lightning, and lasted for at least 20 secs, as I clutched my arm and staggered around trying not to faint. Have you ever had one? They are a little mysterious, and can spontaneously heal themselves, but also respond to daily physio exercises (about which I was diligent).

I’m a dancer, mover, gardener, Pilates teacher, blogger, cook … for all of which I NEED TWO ARMS.

It’s been a tough 6 months, feeling so limited, frail, and [quite frankly], OLD.

Yet also the bittersweet delight at not being dead saturating every day since Dec 3 2020.

This year has been such a gift: my son moved back home after 2 years of independence, and we live together now better than ever.

My love with V has blossomed, even while I’ve had to struggle with asking for help/not carry heavy things/only being able to sleep or hug on one side of my body.

But this year has been terribly sad too: my beloved Uncle died in May, my Mum in Wales in July, and my poor son’s other grandmother a month after that.

The world has continued to struggle with inequality, COVID, climate change, and of course the damn patriarchy.

Yet spring flowers are blooming, critters are making baby critters, and all around my home the rainforest is verdant and thriving.

I’m utterly grateful and happy to be alive– to have had another 12 months of life with my son, and more unfolding intimacy with V. To have eaten fresh cherry tomatoes with homemade pesto, or that orange almond cake we love. To have made a zesty tofu laksa, or rich vegetarian nachos to share for dinner, with books read/films watched/spoons carved/bushwalks done too.

But I’m sad because I don’t know if I’ve got another year? People around us all have been diagnosed with cancer, and died within 6 months. People have killed themselves, or had breakdowns, or died by misadventure. A house fire at my neighbour’s place recently killed twin girls who were only 4; their parents lives forever ruined by this tragedy.

My gratitude and appreciation for life has been amplified since the car crash, which of course has tripled my attachment to it, and thus my fear of losing it.

How do you balance the pleasure of being alive, yet every day moving closer to being dead?

I’ve got to lighten up don’t I? Or I will be winning that Miserable Blogger award 🙂

Today I’ve remembered being between the two worlds though– tumbled upside down on a wet road, hearing the screech of metal on tar, bracing for impact. I’ve remembered the eternal split second of waiting for blood to rush down my face, bringing agony or death.

But that didn’t happen, and I jumped out of the window like a barefoot ninja.

Live well my friends. Love, eat, create, share, support, and thank.

There’s no guarantees, and we each have a massive clock ticking above our heads…

In complete gratitude for seatbelts and each new dawn, G xO

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism.

This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it.

She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study.

She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you:

“Do you always call, or are you always being called?”

Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness.

So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and general COVID weirdness?

Who would benefit from a call from you today?

I do often call friends for a chat; my Dad used to do the same. And I’m usually delighted when someone unexpectedly rings me; I can feel my heart glowing for ages afterwards.

Buddha also urged us to ‘celebrate the good.’ To really allow feelings of joy and connection to sink through our bodies, which is how I feel when I open the Zoom link to the monthly meetings.

So let’s experiment: who can you reach out to? How did they react? And how did you feel afterwards? Pay attention to your body and its feedback, then comment below!

Thank YOU for being here, for reading and caring.

In gratitude for meditation, mobiles, & my circle of friends, G xO

I don’t want to win the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award…

No hair products needed here in Australia over 50's fashion self care

When I was 41, I asked my 6 yr old son for 3 words to describe me (for my online dating profile).

“Nice. Funny. Health-food-drama-Queen.”

Note his 2nd choice: ‘funny’. I use that word to describe myself, & even got employed to do that as an Events’ MC sometimes (in the old days before Covid when we did arty fun stuff regularly).

But I feel like the ‘funny’ has been sucked out of me, especially in the last year of lockdowns; Mum dying 4 months ago has also put a dampener on my comeback, even though restrictions are easing.

Four years ago when I had my ‘blogging intensive’ 1:1, the expert told me to be humorous, grammatically-correct at all times, and authentic. Yet I feel like I’m currently in danger of winning the ‘Most Miserable Blogger’ award, and I don’t want to!

No hair products needed here in Australia over 50's fashion self care


#over50style #fashionblogger #bedhair #goodlook @boneAndsilver

I just can’t fake the joy… and I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about the latest lesson learnt from my grieving.

Part of my self-care routine to find joy is dancing; this weekend, I got up at 3.30am to attend a dance workshop in LA via Zoom, that continues tomorrow morning at 5. We danced, breathed, rolled around, and cuddled ourselves with a soft blanket, all of which was fabulous. (It’s my long-standing spiritual practice, based on 5Rhythms, and I’m eternally grateful I’m a dancer.)

We had to share in trios what ‘Radical Self-Love’ looks like to us, and I found myself unexpectedly crying in front of complete strangers.

Without question, I love myself. At age 55, I’ve done a ton of work/therapy/learning/challenging/letting go, and sorting stuff out… but I’m not happy.

Well, I am within myself. Mostly. (We all have bad days weeks moments).

But the state of the world makes me want to HOWL.

For days on end.

So much is going to shit: the climate, the Haves/the HaveNots, the gender pay gap, the climate, inequality, the climate. Need I go on?

I’m losing my optimism. A friend once said of me ‘I’ve never seen you seriously committed to misery for long,’ and he was right, back then.

Now I feel like I’m sighing, complaining, and grinding my teeth about so many things, every day.

How do you younger folk deal with all this uncertainty? What advice do you fellow oldies (over 50) have for me? Or for the young ones?

What do I tell my 21 yr old when he asks me what I think of the world?

In gratitude for community support, and smart readers, G xO

Biggest loss since Mum died? Not being her ‘kid’ any more

It’s been nearly 4 months since she left, & I’d say I’m grieving ‘well’. We’ve all heard the saying that everyone grieves in their own way, and of course it’s true; Dad’s sudden death 13 years ago knocked me flat, thumped me with depression, and took about 5 years to recover from (such a “Daddy’s girl”).

Her 70th, in France

But Mum? Not so much. It was a relief mainly, and expected, after a long slow decline. Plus we weren’t nearly as close as Dad and I.

I’m aware I’m in a process of letting go, as I adjust to being an orphan. I’m well-supported by family and friends, and I’m so grateful Mum is free of suffering now.

Yet the other day, it struck me that I was missing an essential dynamic: I am no longer a daughter.

It’s a role I’ve known my whole life, and played dutifully, even when I was being the ‘difficult’ one, which I admit I feel I got typecast into for many years.

There was the ‘jealous’ one when my new brother was born; the ‘spoilt’ one by Grandma and Grandpa; the ‘cuddly’ one sometimes, or the funny one when I was exploring my dramatic abilities.

I could be kind, clever, mean or selfish too it seemed…

Yet always her daughter.

Me & Christie, both aged 15 or so

She got me my first job in the local newsagency, so I could pay for my fat pony’s winter hay. She helped find local families I could babysit for, and cleaned the ballet studio for free so that I could take lessons.

As I got older, she taught me to drive, stayed up half the night worrying about what time I was coming home, and was incredibly sad when I moved out of home at 18, then emigrated solo to Australia at 20.

I’ve travelled the country, and half the world- bought and sold houses- loved and lost several times- had a child, and raised him to be a wonderful 21yr old who recently moved back home- throughout it all, I was a ‘daughter’.

No longer.

I now have no one else so devoted to me, or to care for in return as one can only care for your mother.

No one else to feel such desire for connection from.

No one else irritated me so much for so long during my terrible teens; no one else tended to my illnesses, or championed me at Pony Club quite so fiercely (even though it was deeply embarrassing at the time).

I was always her only daughter, and now I’m not.

Wellbeing over 50 often involves caring for elderly parents
Catching the bus to the Mall July 2017 (the hats were unplanned) #motheranddaughter #ageing #dementia #over50

I didn’t expect to miss the role as much as I am. In the last decade, as her dementia increased, I felt more like a parent, even though I lived so far from her there in England.

My wise son even got it, when he last saw her in 2015:

‘She wants you to look after her doesn’t she? It’s like it’s your turn now.’

So the part of “daughter” has long been drifting away from me, like a fine net cut loose in the ocean, strand by strand.

It feels like my last official act in that position was to organise her a wonderful send off, which I did to the best of my abilities.

And now I carry on, living my amazingly ordinary life as an artist, a mother, a cousin, lover, best friend, teacher, blogger, colleague…

But sadly no more a daughter.

In gratitude for red hats, being Mum’s Princess, and learning to let go, G xO

I am the Keeper of Stories now Mum’s gone

As I let the bath water cool around me last night, I remembered being 10 or 11, paddling in the chilly English sea. Forty-five years have passed, yet I can still recall the sand sinking beneath my toes, and the seaweed slithering against my pale legs. I wasn’t enjoying it anymore; it had been fun briefly, in the novelty of visiting the beach for the first time, but I was cold, and wanted to get out.

I was only knee-deep in water, and Mum had taken my younger brother back to the warm dry sand, telling me to follow when ready.

But I was trapped! Writhing and heaving between me and my family was a two metre-thick band of brown kelp, some strands as thick as my skinny legs, freezing me in fear.

What lurked beneath?

My vivid yet anxious imagination created snakes, grabbing hands, various sea monsters, and perhaps a pirate’s dead body or two for good measure.

I couldn’t even wave to Mum, who was fussing with my brother and had her back to me.

I looked up and down the water’s edge for a gap in the terrible mass, but it pulsed with the gentle waves as far as I could see, as though it were breathing.

Around me, children and their parents splashed out beyond the seaweed, laughing and playing in the sun diamonds they made. I just hugged myself, staring in misery at the barrier before me, absolutely unable to beat my fear.

Hours went by. Or was it minutes? It seemed like half the day, with me trapped so near yet so far from where I wanted to be: happy on the sand, cajoling for ice-cream.

I could see Mum and my brother sitting on our striped towels– he was pushing sand around with his annoying dumper truck, and she was reading as usual, glancing up every now and again to check I was OK with a cheery wave.

I sent desperate telepathic messages:

“I am NOT having a good time. I am NOT OK. Please rescue me at once. I am freezing, and in danger of death by seaweed misadventure.”

Nothing.

I hugged myself tighter, and looked again for a gap in the morass of salty eels.

Was it thinner over there? Could I see glimpses of sand between the grasping hands and thick snakes?

Over and over I tried to make myself walk through the seaweed, but I just couldn’t move. I could see Mum starting to pack up, waving at me to come in.

“My feet have sunk too deep to move. I am desperate to be saved. Please come and pick me up.”

Again nothing.

I could see Mum frowning, puzzled at my reluctance, and I just wanted her hug so much. I burst into tears, took a deep breath, and hopped/ran/scrambled my way through the dreaded kelp, almost like a cartoon character who spins her legs in one spot before actually moving forward.

It felt like the scariest and bravest thing I’d ever done, by myself, and Mum laughed in a sad way when I gasped out my tale of woe. She hugged me tight when she understood I hadn’t been enjoying the paddling around as she had thought, and I relaxed against her salty warm body.

We joked about it later, eating vanilla ice cream from a waffle cone, stuffed with a chocolate flake, and somehow I became proud of my determination to beat the threatening seaweed.

As I lay in the bath tonight, almost three months since Mum died of dementia aged 85, I realized that no one else knows that story, or really cares. I could tell my son, but he’s 21- full of life and its boundless, confident energy- he wouldn’t understand. He’s a surfer- the ocean and its weedy creatures are his friends.

I am the sole Keeper of that Story now, and so, SO many more…

I miss you Mum.

In gratitude for days by the beach, and salty hugs, G xO

And now for something completely different: my Top Five Tips for trapping a feral cat

It started innocently enough: I borrowed two 24-hr wildlife cameras, and set them up on my 2-acre rainforest retreat on the East coast of Australia.

Can you imagine my horror when amongst the cute snaps of pademelons, the lace monitor, wallaby mums with joeys in the pouch, and yes, a hurrying koala, I saw a big tabby cat?

A koala scurrying home at 2am

I was shocked to say the least. Then the other camera revealed a second fat brindle cat, and even a fox!

My image of our property as a wildlife sanctuary crumbled.

Feral cats cover 99% of Australia, and are the Number One threat to our native wildlife (foxes are 2nd).

“On average, each feral cat in the bush kills a whopping 740 animals per year.  In a year with average conditions there are about 2.8 million feral cats, but that figure can double when good rain leads to an abundance of prey animals.

“On average each pet cat kills about 75 animals per year, but many of these kills are never witnessed by their owners.” Professor Sarah Legge from The Australian National University (ANU), Professor John Woinarski from Charles Darwin University, & Professor Chris Dickman from The University of Sydney: Cats in Australia: Companion and killer (2019).

I moved the cameras into different positions; daily checking of the footage gave me anxiety, as I realised both cats were regular visitors, and even walked up and down my verandah. Then a friend arriving for dinner one weekend announced she’d seen a third black cat at the top of my driveway- I nearly cried.

Cuddling with the cat while I contemplate new queer romance over 50 in
#advice #blogging @boneAndsilver

In outrage and despair, I rang my local Landcare group, and reached out to other community members who had cat trapping experience and advice. I borrowed a big cage, and the local trapper brought me another four: thus began my trapping mission.

(Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE domestic cats. Most of you know I’ve lived with the YetiCat for over 10 years. But he’s an inside cat, and that makes a HUGE difference).

Almost every night for a month, I did the rounds of setting traps, using the cameras to gather intel on what was happening in the dark of night; I caught a few rats, a bush turkey, and the resident echidna.

So annoying.

I had to watch in frustration as the cats sat in cage doorways but didn’t go in, or just ignored them altogether. Worst still was when the door had been triggered shut but they were outside.

The trapper kept saying “Be patient, you’ll get them…”

And he was right.

With persistence, I caught all three cats eventually!

Let me tell you: nothing is more satisfying than seeing a wild cat caught in a cage, knowing you’ve just saved hundreds of birds and small mammals. As I said, I love domestic cats kept indoors, but have hardened my heart to the feral versions, and the final big tomcat hissed and span circles in the trap, clawing madly and spraying everywhere to no avail. The trapper came to take them all away immediately, for the Big Sleep (after checking they weren’t microchipped lost pets).

Here are my Top Five Tips for feral cat-catching (not a blog post I ever thought I’d write):

  1. Use wildlife cameras to make smart decisions about where to place traps, plus who is visiting them and when
  2. Liaise with experienced community members, plus Landcare, and your local trapper
  3. Be persistent: I set my traps with bait every night at 8pm, and the big tom I was really after started appearing at 8.10. I also wore gloves, to prevent too much human smell, and oiled all the traps’ moving parts so the mechanisms were smooth
  4. Make the cage stable, and the floor as solid as possible: I caught all 3 cats in a small trap in the same place at the top of my driveway, using sand and leaves to camouflage the wire cage floor
  5. It’s all about bait: on advice, I used Dine cat food, KFC drumsticks, bloody lamb kidneys, and drops of smelly fish oil. They all worked eventually

Feel free to contact me for any further advice or inspiration, and my family now proudly call me ‘Trapper G’, which is a very unexpected outcome of my move to a hippy forest idyll…

Now for the fox hey?

In gratitude for determination, a small killer instinct, & fish oil, G xO

Six weeks since Mum died: letting go and setting free

Native flowers in her fav colours

No one really wants to organise a funeral celebration. No one wants to go to one. And of course, none of us are ready for it to be our own.

But when it IS my turn, I’m having a Humanist one, which is what I created for Mum’s send off last month.

She wasn’t religious, and the rest of the family certainly isn’t; a church service would be an uncomfortable nightmare for everyone… so I decided a quiet beach in Wales would be perfect.

But I’m in Australia, my brother and children in Norway, various family friends around the UK, Canada, and USA: thank goodness for Zoom!

By luck (or divine intervention?), the first celebrant I emailed to ask if she was free in 3 weeks to conduct an international online ashes scattering ceremony said yes.

As I sat with the reality of needing to organise this farewell, despite my tiredness and grief, I gave thanks for being exposed to ‘unusual’ send offs and life celebrations where I live in Northern NSW, such as same sex marriages before they were legal, living wakes for those not yet dead, and naming ceremonies or baby blessings, which can involve red string, Plaster of Paris, rocks, flowers, rope, fire and water.

I knew I had to choose whatever elements felt ‘right’ to me and the family, and being by the ocean meant we could all feel connected through the water. I was also lent this amazing book, full of ritual ideas for all kinds of life events, including the loss of a pet or announcement of a divorce, so I collated two of its ash-scattering ceremonies into Mum’s. The celebrant I hired was 100% supportive of my choices, which also felt great.

I added a poem and two songs, as well as allocating eulogies and memory-readings between all the participants who would be there in person- I admit my inner theatre director stood up tall and worked hard.

With every day that passed since she died July 9th, I felt more determined to give Mum a great send-off, even though it would be via Zoom. My family in England and Wales really stepped up to the celebration, and travelled from all over to be together. We wore her favourite rich bright colours, and here in Oz I cooked a nourishing soup to keep us going for the day (it was held at 9am in Wales, 8am in Norway, 6pm here, 4am in Canada).

She’d been cremated on my birthday (we had no say in the date they chose, and although I did at first plead to change it, in the end it felt quite synchronistically perfect), and my son, my love and I had gone to the beach for that event, making a small altar with a candle, incense, and the scarf I’d knitted for her two decades ago. It was private and intense; now a month later it was time for public mourning…

The ceremony went so well! Luckily I am confident with Zoom, so I MC’d all the little boxes and their occupants- I made sure we introduced ourselves, and how we knew Mum. In Wales, a laptop set on a newly-purchased tripod with external USB microphone worked perfectly, and 10 people huddled round the screen with as much colourful dignity as possible.

We finished by throwing flowers into the sea after some of her ashes, and it was stunning to feel part of such a meaningful experience- thank goodness my cousin took a photo of it for me:

Then of course the family all went to a posh cafe for morning tea and cake, followed by pub lunch with rosé toasts, Mum’s fav tipple.

It was surreal, sad, funny, emotional, and liberating all at the same time. I’d worked hard, feeling mounting pressure as the time approached, and it was a massive relief that it all went smoothly (not least of all the Wifi coverage on a remote beach)- thank you Universe.

I was exhausted but stayed up till 2.30, crying, looking at old photos, listening to reggae, and SO WISHING I could be with my family at the pub.

That was hard, feeling isolated.

But we did it together. We gave Mum an ultra-modern, COVID-friendly, heart-centred send off, and in the future I will bring more of her ashes here to plant beneath a bright red flowering, bird-attracting native tree.

Be free now Mum: transform and evolve, as we must too without you.

In gratitude for family love, technology, and rituals, G xO