Father’s Day

There’s a first time for everything. Sometimes its very difficult, other times, not so bad. It is inevitable that special occasions, also have a 1st time, with or without….

Soon it will be father’s day and it keeps popping into my mind.  It is only 6 days away now and usually by now I would be looking in the shops, looking at the cards, carefully choosing which one to buy.

I don’t like one that is too sloppy, or ones with a picture of golf clubs or racing cars on them.  My dad was never into golf or racing cars.

Choosing a card is often very difficult when you are choosing it for someone you love, because you ‘know’ them.  Their likes, their dislikes, their little idiosyncratic ways, so getting the right card, must reflect that, right?

Sometimes the right picture has the wrong verse and sometimes the right verse has the wrong picture, but still, I keep looking, if not in that shop then another and another until, I get the one that is ‘just right’.  Like goldilocks with the porridge and the bed.  It has to feel right.

The gift, was always easy….. Smokes, fags, ciggies, cigarettes; and money inside the card to buy more cigarettes, or scratch cards, where the excitement would be mighty if he only won 2 euro to get yet another scratch card and say ‘ah I might win the big one on that one’ and he would laugh.  

The kids would usually give him scratch cards, but I would give him the ‘few bob’ to go buy more ciggies.  Sure he’d been smoking most of his life, since he was 5 he said.  Picking up his parent’s butts off the hearth and drawing in the toxic smoke, deep into his lungs till he coughed and spluttered and coughed some more.  It wasn’t a deterrent, he kept going, till he got himself rightly hooked.

At 29 he collapsed with pneumonia and was taken to hospital.  I was about 7 years old then.  Gosh, that is 50 years ago!  ‘’If you don’t quit smoking, you won’t see 40” the doctor had told him, but what did he know?

Ah, he tried quitting a few times, that I remember.  He tried the pipe.  The smell was nice, I remember that, it was a bit like smelling food cooking on a bar b q, you want to eat it and the smell of the pipe, would make me want to ‘taste’ it.   I thought he looked funny, like Sherlock Holmes, puffing away on it.  It didn’t last, gave him headaches he said.  Back to the cigarettes it was then.

The doctor was wrong.  He did see 40, and 50 and 60, 70, 80…… but at 81, I guess it was his time to go.  He died 9 weeks ago, unexpectedly.  He had got pneumonia again, like he did last year also and the year before.   This time though, it was his heart that gave up on him while he was in hospital.  We were expecting him to come home again, after being pumped with antibiotics and steroids for the pneumonia and make another full recovery, but it wasn’t to be.  For him I am glad it was quick.  He always said he’d like a nice quick ‘belt in the chest’ when it was his time, and so his wish was granted.

As I type this, a photograph of him, smiling at me, I will wish him peace and blessings and tell him, that I miss him, and that I am glad the doctor got it wrong when he was 29. 

So this year, there will be no browsing or buying a father’s day card.  No cigarettes or money to be given.  No scratch cards to excitedly scratch in anticipation of ‘the big one’.   So instead of cigarettes, I’ll light a candle for him and watch the smoke as it flickers up to the heavens…….

Unliving

Death, of course, is part of life. When it comes to our door, it is very hard to navigate through the pain and loss, but grieving means they were loved, as were we.

authors own image

When a flower, a tree or person dies it doesn’t do so, without leaving its mark, its stamp, its impact or its seed behind. It may be un-living, but it leaves something behind that keeps it alive.

Nine days ago, my father died. It was a sudden passing, unexpected. It has shaken us, his family and left us unsteady on our feet. I am still grieving the loss of my very dear friend, who passed, Seven months ago.

What I have come to know in this grief, is that I must go through this process, feel this pain, navigate a way forward through the fog and learn to live with the fact that I will not see them again.

What I also know, is that, even though I won’t see them again, does not mean that they are not with me or near me. I think about them both, every minute of the day. I talk about them both several times a day and I talk to them both, every day too.

My grief and pain for my dad is still very raw and I guess, I have had a trial run at grief, when I lost my friend, so I know what to expect.

I also know I have to be thankful, for the time that we had, grateful for the good times and blessed to know that I was loved by them and happy in the knowledge that I loved them both dearly.

It is never easy to lose a parent and even though my dad was 81, we still hoped for more time with him. There is never a good time to die, I guess. Having said that, I am glad he did get to 81, because so many people do not, including my friend.

Those of us left behind, are the seeds, the impact, the mark and we have been stamped by them, with their love and affection and it is that, which will carry us through the pain and gravity of the loss. We must hold on to the good times, remember them fondly and know that we were loved.

R.I.P Dad, til we meet again……

Eternity

Voices, noise, placed on hands

Staring ahead, nodding

Wetted cheeks, can’t stem the flow

The oak box raised on the

Shoulders of black suits

Slow uniformed steps, synchronised

And I am there, following

Disbelieving somehow, that the patriarch

No longer will walk beside me, hold me, comfort me

And as he is lowered into the dark deep hole

My heart breaks open

And his love, his spirit, his soul is stored deeper  in it

And is locked in there

For eternity….

Full Bodied

Sometimes I still pinch myself that I made it through motherhood with everyone pretty much unscathed. I have raised my own and other people’s children, being a mother and foster mother and at times, it was the hardest job EVER, but the most rewarding, so now, it’s ‘me’ time and I am loving it!

moi… authors own
et moi…. lolling around…living it up large!

Today I’m having a fat day, a lazy day

A day where I can loll around

In my dressing gown

I love having a fat day

It is full bodied, full of self- love and indulgence

It starts with a lay in bed, reading

Eating breakfast and not minding if the crumbs fall onto the sheets

After a while I nod off for another snooze

I awake again, put on my dressing gown and head downstairs

I have a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two

And wrap my hands around the warmth of the cup and my dressing gown

Tightly around me

I read some more of my book, curled up on the sofa and put the fire on

Cosy in my living room, soaking up the fullness of just ‘being’…

Later I will turn on the TV and flick through the channels until something

Grabs my attention.  I may watch it for an hour or two or for the rest

Of the day until it is time, to go to bed again

In between, I will head into the kitchen and eat and nibble and pick at

Whatever I choose to eat, whatever, takes my fancy

And I won’t feel one bit guilty

Why?

I won’t feel guilty because I have spent my days, working, fetching and carrying

Raising children, keeping house, putting other people first, putting myself to the back of the queue

Except for the occasional treat.

Mums, all over the world are on the marathon of motherhood and it is exhausting, exhilarating, heartfelt and heart breaking.  We fight, we fix, we do.  We just do.  We get on with it and we get lost in it.  The girl you were, that carefree girl, before motherhood, she is gone.  She is hiding in the body of the mad woman working from morning ‘til night, full of sleep deprivation, spinning plates and trying to please EVERYONE and in the process there is no time or very very little time, for her to please herself.

So now, now that my nest is empty, 33 years later, of getting lost in motherhood, I can, without guilt or remorse, please myself and have a great big fat day to myself and enjoy it wrapped up in the warmth of my dressing gown, and in the knowledge, that the job I did of being mother, was a success.  My Children are a success, they are wonderful human beings getting on in the world on their own journeys, full of their own adventures, and I couldn’t be happier for them….. or me!

Signs

Sometimes we have just got to trust in the signs and take them for what they are…. believe in the magic……

So many signs in our daily lives, we can either ignore them , act on them or have faith in them….

It’s a matter of choice or a matter of chance….

Photo by David Atkins on Pexels.com

They say that the Robin, little red breasted bird is a symbol of good luck, happiness and rebirth. They also say it’s a sign that a loved one is near and so it can bring lots of comfort to those grieving.

The same can be said for feathers. They are a sign that the angels are near, looking out for you and that loved ones, who have passed over are near.

We get comfort from these sightings and read them how we will and they may instill a level of calm within us and though we will forever miss our loved ones, it brings pleasure to think about them being so close.

I know I feel comfort and calm seeing such things and I openly talk to my friend who passed, too young and too soon from this mortal life. I chat to her as if she is there.

Today is quite a significant day, being her 6 month anniversary. My husband and I went for a nice lovely stroll nearby where we live and walked down to the lake. Just before we got there a feather appeared, floating down from the sky and fell at my feet.

As soon as I saw it, I said to my husband,’here she is, letting me know she is here, coming on the walk with us’.

We used to have such a laugh. We had known each other since our school days and were a pair of gigglers.

As we continued on the walk we went right down to the edge of the lake and my husband decided to skim stones on it as it was so still and perfect for skimming stones. The ripple affect was just lovely.

ripple effect – authors own image
Calm still waters – Authors own image

As I was busy taking photos, and openly talking to my friend saying how beautiful it was here, down at the edge of the lake, I heard a yelp! I looked back and as if in slow motion I saw my poor husband slip on a rock and go down, into the water.

He was literally in the water for about 2 seconds, a quick dunk, as it were before getting himself out.

I just stood there in disbelief and as he quickly scrambled out of the water and walked towards me, and I knew that he was OK, I burst out laughing. It was actually hilarious. I laughed so much I almost wet myself, and as if by magic, the mood was a whole lot lighter.

My husband also laughed, pleased that no real damage was done, and as we walked (he squelshed) back towards home we both agreed that it was probably Jackie, giving him a little nudge in, as she would find it so funny and she knows how much I would laugh too.

I took it as a real sign that indeed, she was there, by my side letting me know that she was there and that she was OK.

Emerging from the lake….

Thank you my dear, for the sign, the company and the laugh…. He is truly fine…

My Valentine and me

Valentines day – a day of appreciation, a day to show thanks, gratitude and to feel blessed. With it is with a sweetheart, a friend, a family member or even a stranger, remember, it is not just about chocolates and flowers….

Authors own – Hiking on Arroo Trail, Co Leitrim

Loves young dream, my man and me. We have been together now for 32 years. It has not, of course, been all plain sailing. There have been trials and tribulations. There has been love and hate. There have been many ups and downs in this roller coaster relationship, but, for better or for worse, we are still here, still in love and still enjoying each others company.

He can still make me laugh until I almost pee myself and he can incite such rage in me that I want to ‘knock his block off’. The course of true love never runs smooth though, isn’t that what they say.

We are trying to get out and about more, for two reasons. 1. my dear old husband is recovering from heart surgery and needs to try build up his strength. 2. Having moved to this new County, we need to explore it and see what it has to offer.

Yesterday we decided to go for a hike up the Arroo Trail in North Leitrim. It was a bit of a damp day, but we said, sure what else are we to do on a Sunday! We layered up, packed our back pack and off we went.

The scenery en route from Mohill, where we live to North of the County is just beautiful. We pass through little villages like Keshcarrigan, Lough Allen and a bigger town called Manorhamilton, to get to this Arroo Trail.

Having parked in the car park we started on our way on the trail along the road and then slowly up through the mountain trail. We had lots of sheep to entertain us en route and though it was spitting rain, we were warm and toasty in our waterproofs.

The views as we ascended were just spectacular, even if my camera couldn’t do them justice. We took our time, given that my other half is gradually trying to get back to full health and we didn’t want to put too much pressure on his poor old heart. It was quite a steep incline, but good under foot, with gravel and rocks.

Looking back down the trail we could see the coast, which must be Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. On a clear day it would look even more spectacular.

From the car park to the end of the trail is just over 4 km and you go back down the way you came up.

We chatted, ohh-ed and ahh-ed at the beauty, the elevation, and how, at times it was a bit difficult on our poor thighs, as they are not used to such a work out. We stopped and drank our water to replace salts, lost through our sweating and I even welcomed the rain to cool me down and took off my hat and gloves to feel it on my skin.

Getting down was alot quicker as it was all down hill and the view was truly beautiful.

‘We should come back on a clearer day’ I say to him, ‘but not on a hot day, or we will melt althogether’.

Spending time together, doing new things together like hiking, and discovering this new place we call ‘home’ has been and I hope will continue to be, a really lovely experience.

Being ‘just us’ again has given us a new lease of life, literally.

So it is not always about the chocolates and flowers, Valentines, it is about spending quality time together and appreciating what we have, like a new healthy heart and a new perspective and to feel grateful and blessed with the little things in life that matter.

http://treehouse? Authors own….
the green grass road – authors own
authors own
authors own http://hiking
authors own
authors own
see the sea? Authors own
authors own leitrim
done! authors own
authors own. end of trail.
Dolly, dilly and daisy…authors own image

Happy valentine Day !

Enthusiastic January…

New Years resolutions….. full of hope for a new and better year…..

reflections…. authors own photo

January, a time of hope, promises and resolutions, whether we say it out loud or quietly to ourselves….. a new year is always a source of contemplation. Before the year ends, we make promises that ‘in the new year’ we will do this, or that, give up this or that, be more healthy, change jobs, give more time to loved ones, give more time to ourselves, take up a new hobby, leave something or someone behind.

We go into the Christmas period with a measure of excitement and a measure of dread, for many and varying different reasons, and some can’t wait for it to be over, so that the ‘new year’ can begin and we can begin, afresh, renewed, awakened.

We look back and reflect and ask, what is it I want to do, to be, to have, to start to end, to give up etc etc. Some years may be the same thing as the previous year and we began with gusto, enthusiasm and motivation, only to dwindle, falter and be left with a sense of failure and nothing more than procrastination in that, next year, it will be different…..

Still, we look forward and we try. Does it matter that we may not complete and accomplish it, whatever ‘it’ may be? Isn’t it the ‘giving it a go’ that matters. Even if that ‘giving it a go’ is to just put one foot in front of the other and make our way downstairs and face another day.

For some people the previous year could have been so challenging, so devastating, so traumatic, that to just do that, go downstairs and flick on the kettle is the biggest achievement that they can muster, and isn’t that great! They did it, they made it, they didn’t give up.

When we pass people by in the street, in the shops, in our places of work, looking ‘put together’ and getting on with life, we assume that all is good, all is well with them. Of course they are all putting their best side out. We are all putting our best side out and for some, it is a real struggle.

So this January, no matter what your path, lets all be enthusiastic, that we made it. We can reflect, we can look forward, but lets not forget to be present, and to acknowledge our own unique achievements, no matter how big or small……

That time…..

A time of good cheer. The one day when all is good and well and the whole world is happy….. right?

Photo by Gary Spears on Pexels.com

Tick tok, tick, tok……….

it’s nearly that time when all should be fun

and children are laughing and no one is glum

where people are frantic and rushed off their feet

presents to buy, people to meet

buy all the groceries, prepare all the puds

get on that list, on the side of the ‘good’.

just stop for a minute and look all around

see whats in front of you, and who’s on the ground

the homeless, the needy, the battered and bruised

no christmas for them, do not be confused

the lost and the lonely, bereaved and bereft

those without faith or an ounce of hope left

so yes it’s that time to share some good will

offer a hand, don’t let time stand still

help the downtrodden, do a kind act

lets stick together, lets make a pact

share out your good fortune, offer it with grace

see dark sad eyes brighten and lift up their face

let the magic of christmas truly begin

open your hearts and let kindness in

teach to your children the magic they have

by accepting indifference to their fellow man

the beauty of giving with a simple pure heart

is a priceless reward and that’s just the start

so yes, it’s that time, to be humble and good

and remember to help all of those that we should

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

don’t beat yourself up or put yourself down

you only can do what your means can allow

the money, the toys, whether small or big

matters not one single jot, cos’ you’ve far more to give

the love in your heart, a kind simple word

a long tender hug lifts up the whole world

the gift of love, is the best you can give

and be thankful and grateful for as long as you live……….

The Power and Powerless

When the powerless is better than the powerful. When time stands still, perspective is key……

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

There is havoc, chaos and even tragedy in the storm, when the winds are so strong they have the power to knock tress down and knock power lines out too.

Last week storm Barra visited us and we had just moved in to our new home and we brought our grandson up with us for a few days.

This new house has not yet had the gas fire connected or the new gas hob so we were only left with the oil central heating for heat and the electric hob…… both of which do not work in a power outage.

So here we were in the midst of a powerful storm with no heat, no way to cook, no phone or wifi. ‘At least we have a roof over our head’ I said ‘and blankets, food and candles.

We lit so many candles that it created a nice bit of heat and we even tried to boil water to make tea from the candles. We succeeded but it did take nearly 3 hours!

The next day out we went to buy a camping stove and some battery operated lights. We stopped at the charity shop and bought some books for our grandson. One of which was a a book of Christmas Carrolls.

That night, for our entertainment we played the game, eye spy, followed by singing a few Christmas Carols and a game of ‘go fish’.

Had the power not gone, this would have been a missed opportunity. Like most people in today’s modern world, evenings are often spent in front of the TV. Our grandson loves the TV (just like his grandad!) and they both love to watch movies.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it is good to spend time together, whether watching a movie at home or going to the cinema, but I just felt thankful that the power did go and that it wasn’t another night spent watching TV.

My grandson, really enjoyed the games and the singing, as did we. We all had a good laugh playing and guessing the eye spy so much that we didn’t even notice that there was no heating or all the other power filled luxuries that we are accustomed to.

To be powerless, as in having a power cut, can be beautiful. The stars in the sky shone brighter and the moon reflected in the windows and the chatter and laughter in the house was louder. It makes us more connected, more focused and more appreciative of the little things that matter more than all the other stuff. The lack of electricity brought us back, for a while, to a time when, that is how the world worked.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t like to be without power like in the ‘olden days’ all the time, but for just a while, it is not ‘just an inconvenience’, it can be beautiful, absolutely powerful to be power-less.

heating the water with candles….. authors own..
singing around the candlelight….. authors own….

Dinner for two

I took you to dinner that night
We sat by the window
A view of the river Lee flowing past
A beautiful orchid and candle
Central on the table
I layed my napkin, carefully, thoughtfully, on my lap
I hung my head a few seconds longer
Composing myself
Before looking at the chair opposite me
Smiling, imagining you sitting there
Knowing
That sometime after dinner
We would have our very last factime
It would soon be time for you to go
You were being called home
To your eternal rest
I had to prepare myself
To face the reality
That this was it
And so, I took you to dinner
And I stared at that chair
Smiling at you, as though you were there

Toasted you, our friendship
And told you I loved you forever
I thanked you for being my friend
I told you I was blessed to have met you

45 years wasn’t long enough
I explained I would forever keep you with me
I raised a glass to you
I told you I was sad that you had to go
But I understood it was time
Acknowledged that you were tired
And ready to go
Told you how much you would be missed by us all
But you already knew that
You knew how special you were to us
I didn’t want dinner to end
I didn’t want any of it
I wanted you here
To be in that chair for real
Laughing and chatting
And being healthy and well
I wanted that, more than anything
And I know
You did too…..