As I wrote over a year ago, I have a wonderful friend (who I met through blogging, met in person not long thereafter, and has become one of the people I treasure the most in the world) who taught me the joy of writing lists of things I feel grateful for.
I began this post on Friday night, continued it yesterday, but only managed to finish it up today! This weekend I am grateful for…
Dinner-time conversation and laughs around the kitchen table with my family in the evenings.
Having the privilege to work in an environment that is challenging, rewarding, and stimulating.
Stiff muscles, which have worked hard and are growing stronger.
Geographically distant friends who keep in touch regularly via email, facebook and Skype.
Knowing that my actions made a positive difference in more than one person’s life this week.
Wow, what can I say, it’s GREAT to be back in Blog-land! My inbox was cluttered today with likes, new followers and comments, and I realised that I had once again focused purely on my internal process of writing therapy, and had forgotten the buzz that comes along with a new post. Thank you to all those who took the time to like, comment, email or facebook me – you’re all amazing! I am always touched by the words of support, understanding or gratitude that so often follow when I open my heart to the world. One new colleague, who has been becoming a friend, and who lost her own mother as a teenager, touched my heart by writing, ‘It’s quite inspiring ‘cause I’ve always kept that stuff very quiet and personal…it’s really awesome to read you speaking about it so openly and frankly!’ My response was, ‘I find it fascinating how differently we all deal with grief. For some of my family it is intensely personal, private and silent. I was amazed that for me somehow I wanted to open up and share – and that it has helped me heal, and helped others too, by giving words to emotions they have felt but been unable or unwilling to express.’ Blogging has been such a vital part of that experience for me, and I am so grateful that this incredible tool is still here, waiting for me to be ready to take it up and make use of it again.
This evening I find myself full of plans for the challenging month ahead, feeling strong and positive. Continue reading →
I have been absent from my blog for many, many months, for a multitude of reasons. Since I last wrote a post I have moved to a new country, started a wonderful new job, and life has shifted in many complex and subtle ways. Perhaps I will get around to writing about some of them at some point, and perhaps not, but I have tried to be accepting of my needs at different times, and tonight I finally felt the need to return to this space to try and get some clarity to my thoughts and emotions. I have missed the amazing support of the wonderful network of friends I had built up here, and have been very moved tonight reading through your previous comments on old posts – thank you all so, so much, and apologies for my absence (though I trust you will be understanding).
Today is Mother’s Day here in South Africa. Mother’s Day has never been an important event in my family’s calendar. I remember my siblings and I making the occasional breakfasts in bed for my mother when I was fairly young, with cards and flowers and kisses, but it wasn’t a large and carefully marked celebration in our household in the way that birthdays or Christmas were. Since I myself have become a mother, there are the occasional sweet cards coming home from school, but it means nothing substantial yet to my children. So, if Mother’s Day isn’t important to me, why did it make me feel so very sad today? Continue reading →
I am really chuffed that two of my poems have been featured in two separate MS magazines this month. One is in the MS Trust magazine, Open Door, and is part of an article I wrote about my diagnosis and my ongoing journey living with MS. I'm not good at inserting links but if anyone would like to read the article it is easily accessed by searching…
I am having one of those rare days when, out of the blue and for no obvious reason, everything seems pointless. Empty. Void of meaning or purpose.
I saw an old man earlier, barely able to walk slowly up the street with the assistance of his walking stick, and I suddenly felt as though I was going to blink my eyes and be that old, with most of my life behind me – and what will I remember then about today? What will it matter, these small emotions that feel so overwhelming, in the overall picture of my life, let alone anything greater than that? And whilst I thought of a life already lived, I simultaneously faced the reality that I might just as well be dead tomorrow, cold and gone, and soon forgotten.
It comes without warning sometimes, the intensity of missing my mother – and today it has swept in with the wind and the rain, leaving me feeling raw and exposed.
I still find that the various losses in my life – whether in the distant past, those that are still fresh, or even those that are merely impending – are emotionally intertwined in unpredictable and complex ways. Sometimes the triggers are obvious; at others subtle enough to leave me grasping for answers, muddling cause and effect.
In eight weeks, after seven and a half years in London, we will move back home to South Africa. This is mostly a very exciting event that we are eagerly looking forward to – to be close to our families, to have a morning view over a lush green valley rather than endless streets and houses, and even a sweet Saint Bernard puppy named Sparky waiting to charm us.
What I really want right now, however, is my mother: at the end of an email or Skype video chat, to get excited with me, to give me sensible packing advice, to help us find solutions to the remaining problems we haven’t yet solved, to understand that leaving behind this wonderful city and all the friends we have made here has its own sadness, and most of all my mother waiting for me in Cape Town, so we could spend another Christmas together at last.
Last August I was returning to the office from a meeting, and as I stepped out from the shelter of the Underground a warm torrent of rain began to fall from the sky. Instead of waiting for it to pass, or buying an umbrella, I skipped out into it with a huge grin on my face, and walked slowly up the street with my palms upwards to catch as many drops as I could. I couldn’t keep the smile from my face, or the laughter from bursting out of me as I gloried at the beauty and joy of the moment. I wrote a poem about it, and posted it here, and I also included it in the poetry anthology I compiled this year. I was frustrated, however, not to have a suitable photograph to go with it, so when I stumbled across the Lapiskamay Project it jumped immediately to mind. The author was kind enough to accept my suggestion, and below I have posted the poem again, with his picture below.
Caught in a Summer Downpour
Arms outstretched in delight
Smile stretching wide
Laughter bubbling -
Drenched in joy.