All posts tagged: grief

Oiling Dad’s furniture: my precious annual ritual

April 24th is Dad’s birthday. He would have been 84, if he hadn’t died suddenly 10 years ago. As devastating as the loss was, dragging me into a depression for 12 months, it helped me find deep resilience, and gratitude for my unwaveringly loyal friends and family. Each year, we all eat Indian for dinner, Dad’s favourite cuisine, wherever we are in the world. And I have my own personal ritual too, as I try to keep the day clear of work or other commitments: I shut the front door, turn my phone off, allow myself to cry as often and as much as I like, while cleaning and oiling Dad’s antique French furniture. He wasn’t religious, (despite an interest in the Baha’i faith, mainly because it emphasised the “essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people” [Wikipedia]), so I can’t go connect with him in church. He has no gravestone or memorial plaque, as we scattered his ashes all over the globe, as befitted a world traveller and citizen such …

Osteopath: ‘You’re all locked up, & we need to shift it.’ Me: ‘OK…’ *gulps

I’ve been back from England for 10 days now (16,886 kms away from home in Australia), and my valiant struggles with the dreaded jetlag are finally paying off. Last night I did open my eyes at 1.30am as usual, but instead of lying there till 4.30, wide awake and wanting some dinner, I went back to sleep within 30 minutes, so have woken up feeling relatively normal. This is joy. And I’m not going to whinge on about the incredible privilege of international air travel, when so many millions of fellow human beings are homeless or without access to clean water… But jetlag does suck bad. Plus sleeping on a shitty pull-out bed on Mum’s floor for 3 weeks had stressed my back, therefore a visit to the Osteopath was part of my self-care strategy on returning. I was massaged, manipulated, adjusted and cracked, especially my chest/rib area, front and back. You know, around your heart. Interesting that. I went home from the appointment feeling terrible: nauseous like morning sickness, grumpy, on edge, and prickly …

Happy Birthday Dad, & I still miss you

It’s my Dad Lawrence’s birthday today– he would have been 83. We lost him suddenly 10 years ago this year. I miss him so much, & yet he’s still around somehow, which is awesome. I’m deeply grateful for the life I’m living now, which is his legacy to me & his gorgeous grandson, who’s soon to turn 18, OMG! I’m going to stay home quietly on retreat today, & oil his antique French furniture, the yearly ritual. Tonight, all across the world, his loved ones will be eating Indian food, his fav cuisine. With love & thanks for all the ongoing support you give me on my journey through this life, in good times & bad, or sad, like today, G xO  (Photo is of his last live birthday in 2008)

Two rocks lie heavy in my heart; the first is Mum

Why was I getting an email from a policewoman in England; is this the latest scam? But I recognised her station’s address, so clicked it open with dread. It was about Mum. “We’ve had a couple of calls from members of the public concerned about her welfare as she appeared very confused. I attended her home address & agree that her dementia is getting worse.” I wrote last year about Mum’s diagnosis in the post ‘She’s slipping through my fingers and there’s nothing I can do’; it’s been a waiting game since then. You see, as a child, Mum spent two years in a sanatorium, recovering from Tuberculosis, and has had a dread of hospitals and ‘group homes’ ever since. Dark things happened there, and she is forever scarred. So for the last ten years, when it would have been a smart, forward-thinking plan to move to a retirement village, and enjoy all the facilities and interactions available, she refused. Wouldn’t have a bar of it. Last year when I was in England visiting her, she …

Random/Reblog Thursday: I stand with her #guncontrol

America has just had its 29th mass shooting this year. There have been 45 days so far in 2018. What the hell are you all doing over there? This is a great and visceral response to it which I had to share, and stand beside her in her distress. Please visit. In gratitude for gun control in Australia, G xO  I try to write carefully on this blog. I try to be thoughtful, to be careful of what I say and how I say it. I try not to be awful. But I have learned a terrible, terrible truth today, and this post will focus on that fact. I am afraid that my words will […] via My Terrible Truth — Empty Nest, Full Life

Me Mondays: Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest Honorable Mention: bone&silver/#MeToo

Originally posted on Whisper and the Roar:
Why had my cousin rung me 5 times in thirty minutes? I returned my phone to airplane mode, and pushed open the classroom door. But during the lesson, my attention kept being pulled back to the call record, even while I taught; why was my stomach knotting? The one hour dragged like mud, then I pressed redial. ‘It’s your Dad. He had a heart attack in Hawaii and…’ And is in hospital. Is fine. Will be fine. Or confined to a wheelchair at worst. ‘… and he died. I’m so sorry.’ Who took my knees away and punched me in the gut? Can I just curl up here and die on the street too? A passing cyclist wobbles and stops. ‘Are you OK?’ No. Yes. No. I can’t share this pain with you, leave me alone! Lying in bed that night, alone at home, with a silent waterfall streaming out of my eyes, drowning all those childhood snaps of kids on bikes, throwing snowballs, cuddling dogs. A black…

How I climbed a small mountain, did something slightly ‘illegal’, & created the sacred

I chewed my quinoa and baked veg salad looking up at her; in 2 hours from now, it would start. After 16 years of no access, 500 locals had registered for ‘The Chinny Charge’, a 7km run/walk up our tiny but omnipresent Mount Chincogan, near Byron Bay. The queue to collect our numbers was long, and you could feel the buzz of excitement; even Colin, who won the first ever Chinny Charge in 1967 with a time of 38 minutes and a $20 bar tab prize, was enthusiastic (in that utterly laid-back, short-phrased Australian country way) “Stick to the rules, so we can hopefully do it again next year: wear shoes, don’t litter, stick to the path, and no fighting.” [Fighting? I’m going to be struggling just to breathe aren’t I? What exactly went on in the olde days round here??] Yup, I’m happy to agree to all that. The tiny mountain is on private property, so unless the landowners give specific permission (which they do a few times a year to local  school groups), …

Watching her cry from across the world

In bed, snuggled with cat, computer, and early morning cuppa. Click link on generic Facebook newsfeed. Suddenly watching a grief-stricken Mum, mourning her lost daughter after the bomb blast in Manchester. See her blotched red face, and the grey roots of her dull brown hair. Notice her own mother sitting beside her, and perhaps that’s her son, sitting on the floor at her feet, holding her hand with his head bowed? See her swollen eyes and running nose, thickening her voice, wailing for her lost baby. And as my own tears fall softly, think: ‘This is the true good of social media; we can share our vulnerabilities and losses. Her life has just been fucking ruined, and she’s sharing a miniscule amount of her pain on this day with us. She’s held in this nightmare by her family who love her, and she’s not alone. Thank god she’s not alone.’ We are all in mourning, all across the world, all the time: for our lost family members or friends, our beloved dead pets, our forgotten dreams. …