And there he was, frozen, still, eyes wide, teeth shining, tail erect, holding my gaze, waiting, both of us, for the other to make a move.
Not what I expected to see at the bottom of the garden, my sanctuary, sweet smell of honeysuckle, boxed in with the structured walled hedge. My get away from the noise of the house, the chaos, and now, each of us startled, lost in our thoughts and fears. The wolf cub and me, wondering what next? Is each of us friend or foe?
My gaze softened, I smiled and slowly held out my hand as I bent down, to beckon him and to my surprise, he yielded and together we sat, quiet amongst the honeysuckle, knowing we’d been found.
For national poetry day across the pond in the UK…..
We don’t have to see them, to know they are there, beside us. But when we still hear their voice, it makes the heart sing.
They say you forget, after a while, what someone looks like or sounds like, after they have passed away. Photos are always a reminder of their faces and in this day and age, we all have so many photos, thanks to our smart phones.
Voices are another matter, unless we have voice messages or video clips to physically hear them. However, today, after unpacking more of my boxes since my move I came across my old letters.
These letters are one my prized possessions. I have had them since I was 14 years old…..quite a long time ago. I knew they were packed away safely in storage but whilst they were there, my dear dear friend Jackie died. We had our last facetime in September, the night before she passed, and said our goodbyes.
Today I re-read her letters which she had written to me back in 1980. As I read them I could hear her voice, her expression, her tone, her giggle, her humour and her warmth. It was truly wonderful. In reading them she brought me back to my teens when we were full of angst, emotion, humour, confusion, sorrow and love….pretty much the same as I feel now, so nothing changes!
To Dear Jackie,
I still miss you, but thanks for it all. Keep talking to me.
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!
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
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!
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….
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.
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.
Thank you my dear, for the sign, the company and the laugh…. He is truly fine…
New Years resolutions….. full of hope for a new and better year…..
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……
When the powerless is better than the powerful. When time stands still, perspective is key……
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.
There are no guarantees of being a success, of finding ‘the one’ of being fulfilled. No guarantees of reaching your goals, living to a ripe old age or attaining your dreams.
What is it then, within us to continually seek to try, to find, to hope and to keep going, even in the face of adversity. Is it all our intrinsic resources that push us on, or are there extrinsic factors at force?
It must be both but, even with the best will in the world, sometimes, it seems like a hard battle to fight or difficult mountain to climb, and then we feel defeated.
Then, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, that all is not lost, there is another way to climb the mountain, once rested, and not all battles need to be won in order to succeed and feel a sense of hope again.
Adapt, be absent and acceptance are the three ‘A’ s that will help pull you through the rough times. Accept that there is a difficulty, stay absent, for a while, from the usual routine or the usual people around you, and soon you will find a way to adapt to the changes that you must face.
There is no guarantee that things will always stay the same. There will be ups and downs. There will be losses and gains there will be love and pain but all will not be lost and something of value will be taught.
I lost a very dear friend recently. My heart was broken, for her, her family and for me. She is a huge loss and leaves a massive void.
We won’t grow to be old ladies together. I had never even contemplated that…. She died too young, but she had a good life and she enjoyed her life to the full. She lived with love and shared her love amongst her family and friends.
So in this sorrow, in this grief and hurt and pain there has to be acceptance and life must adapt without her physical presence. Making ourselves absent, giving ourselves time and self love, to come to terms with the loss and remember the good times is crucial in the process.
There is no time limit, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. For me, I believe she is present, all around us. I talk to her, pray for her, look out for signs of her. I keep her alive in my heart, even though I miss her and the rest of the life, she should have had. Yet I’m grateful for the time we did have….
So what now? One step at a time. One day at a time, we move forward. It’s all we can do. We live, we love, we hope, we pray, we dream. We must stay humble and grateful for the time and love we shared and for all our loved ones lost to us, live on with them in our hearts…. Until we meet again…..
Though the tides will ebb and flow and the night will turn to day The steps that go one, in front of the other Will always carry you, along the way….. Hearts filled with love and sorrow Will carry over, all the tomorrows that you do not have But live on through those left behind who will tell stories of their encounters, and we will smile, as we recall, with such joy, the love and laughter that we once shared and so, you will live on another day, and more, until we gather together again, and dance and laugh and hold you tight, in our arms…..