I tuned into the news a while back, anxious to see what the weather would be doing the next day, and there was a recap of the headline news. I saw a photo of the beautiful Lisa, before hearing of her tragic death, and that a man was on trial, suspected of throwing her off a balcony. I have had this woman in my heart and prayers ever since. Last night, I again looked at the news to catch the weather, and there was a detailed story about the sentencing of this creature, and I listened as her brave mum became a messenger for all women in controlling relationships. It set off my PTSD. It couldn’t help but do so. The events were so similar, only I survived and Lisa didn’t. I had to go out last night, so after a cry, composed myself. I sat in the gardens of this place, a delicate breeze weaving its way down my back, and had a pleasant evening, but my thoughts drifted to this beautiful woman and her mum. I came home early, as my child wasn’t well, and saw her tendrils of soft hair resting on her pillow, her little eyes heavy. Legend has it that the indent above one’s top lip was made when the angels soothed you as a newborn, gently reassuring the bub that all is well in their new world. I think that is lovely. I am bereft that sometimes, things aren’t peaceful in their new world. I watch my child sleep, and pray that she is safe always. Safe from manipulation and control. I don’t know why I survived my fall, and you didn’t, but I now have another girl/woman to honour as I conduct my life. I shall never forget. Today, I lit a candle for you, and another friend, facing PTSD demons by going back to places of pain. I gave my child medicine, and she is laying on the couch. I just want to hug her all throughout this hot day. I think I will.
After a concentrated, delightful weekend, I faced a weird day. One of those days when you feel out of sorts. I got home from pickup, the most pressing feature being getting feeling back through the right side of my body. A hot bath then voltage via my Tens machine! Yes! A missed call from my beautiful publicist, saying that Radio National wanted to interview me for White Ribbon Day. Oh my goodness! I called her back and she said I was to be interviewed live at 5.15pm! I felt a weight of responsibility on my shoulders. My little girl was excited and declared she would hold my hand throughout the interview. What a price to pay. It is a daily price. The pain never fades, in any respect. I am not doing any of this for me. I could have written children’s books from the start! I am whimsical and it is what I relish. I am ill-prepared for my story. It is ill-prepared for me.
My daughter is on her headphones, listening to Katy Perry, and singing her lungs out. We are cool! I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders. I am so sorry, so very sorry, for all those that didn’t survive. I am hoping to lead the way for all those that did and wonders what happens next. I am so glad I am here. I understand those that couldn’t hang on. At the end, there is nothing but love. It is hard to rebuild a life. I am still constructing, but after the violence ends, there is nothing but joy throughout the whole process. I am thinking of all who have been told they were nothing, have been abused in any manner possible this White Ribbon Day. Believe me, you are everything. xxx
My gorgeous friend is a World Vision volunteer, and put the call out for an assistant to help her sell Ken Duncan’s new book, Vision of Hope: Mother & Child. Grateful for the opportunity to hang out with my friend, I said I would come with her. The rain was heavy as we made our way over, and we were amazed at the amount of cars and people at the Parkside Church, Edensor Park. You know the feeling of uncertainty when you are in unfamiliar surroundings? That’s what we experienced, at first. There were food stalls set up, catering for every culture, and the aromas were delightful. Inside the hall, a man was strumming his guitar and friends were seated at tables, hanging out. We found our World Vision guide, Warwick, and he explained the intricacies of the Eftpos machines (which I prayed wouldn’t fail me), and that all money raised from the sale of the spectacular book would be going to their typhoon appeal for the Philippines. The cover is smothered in saffron and honey tones, and I marvelled at how gorgeous our world really is. How blessed are we that photographers live in the mindful state required to capture such beauty. We put on our orange t-shirts, and talked to our new friend Warwick, sharing snippets of our lives, his in Melbourne and ours in Sydney. He loves his job, and is fantastic at it.
Listening to Ken Duncan talk in the church, I discovered a dynamic man. He is in love with life and filled with faith. In our Western world, it is easy to become insular, and see the issues facing others as suffering on a different planet. His images, of little girls becoming Indonesian princesses in gowns, after having been rescued from the sex trade, of mothers and babies and little ones smiling, are heavenly. They are us and we are them. We are one. People came up to our table to buy the book. People of all cultures and walks of life. Gracious people who waited patiently as I fumbled with the Eftpos machine. Those who inquired about sponsoring a child, well, I wanted to jump the table and hug them in appreciation. The thrill of seeing the photo of a child being removed from the board after sponsorship had taken place was an event that will stay with me. http://trans.worldvision.com.au/visionofhope/
My dear friend Britta Ehlers has devised a medium called crystal painting. It is ingenious, combining pulverised crystal into paint, as well as such materials as four leaf clover and sand. I had wanted to do a workshop with her for a long while, however, life wouldn’t release its grip. When the opportunity came up last weekend, I did what one must when there is a burning desire to fulfil a dream. I paid my deposit and cleared space on the calendar. There will always be a reason that you can’t do the very thing you need to. You need to give yourself permission. A group of gorgeous, strong, brave women gathered at Britta’s, a clear vision in our mind’s of what we needed to create, and the colours we would be using.
The sun signifies promise to me. The promise of a new day. When I was fifteen, and preparing myself to die at the hands of a homicidal maniac, it was nightfall. I believed I would never see the sun on earth again. The next morning, the staff had to take me to a specialized radiology department, and I was wheeled through open corridors at this large hospital. It was early, and I looked up at the expanse of clouds. Suddenly, the sun broke through. Tears ran down my face, as I smiled. The break of dawn. A sunrise I never thought I would see. During the bleakest times in your life, I pray you will hang on for that sunrise. It lives up to its promise.
My painting will be displayed in my living room, a symbol of hope to my family, and all our guests. It was painted using rubies, pyrite, orange calcite, peacock father and sunshine calcite. Thankyou for the gift of your time, love and friendship, Britta Ehlers. xxx
My friend lost her husband on the weekend. She shared the journey through words and images. Theirs was a penultimate love story. At the end, only love remained. I know that it does. I almost died three and a half years ago. I was in hospital, after endometriosis surgery. I had awoken from the operation, and was back on the ward. Hubby and my daughter had just left to allow me rest. In a heartbeat, things changed. That is how everything changes. Suddenly, dramatically. I felt I was going to be sick, and the room spun as I stood. I collapsed onto the floor, and managed a weak call out for help. My nurse took my blood pressure, which was 55/30 and dropping. I had a temperature, and was shaking. She ran from the room, and I could hear her screaming for help. I was immediately started on blood plasma, and bloods were taken. Doctors ran in shortly after, saying I had very little haemoglobin left. My tummy was beet-red, and they could see my blood pooling. I felt I could easily slip away. I wasnt afraid. All the nonsense one worries about was discarded. I felt more “me” than I had felt in a long time. I felt sadness at what I would be leaving behind, my family, my friends, seeing my little girl grow up. All the things left unfinished. I vowed to refine my life, and all that I was called to do, if I survived. Let go of all the detritus. I was watching all the frantic activity, unconcerned. I focused on all I had been blessed with in this scenario. Staff who were on the ball, blood donors, and the Red Cross driver who came quickly, the fact my daughter wasnt here… My blood pressure went up a little with the transfusion, then dropped again. My heart beat was tachy, and my breathing very laboured.
The surgeon was called and he told me scar tissue and endo was found on the tubes to my kidneys, all along right side of pelvis, and had stuck my ureter to the front of my pelvis. Veins were covered too, and he had to do a lot of vascular work, severing two of the main nerves running into my pelvis from my lower back. It caused a lot of bleeding which they thought they had stemmed. The description of how I was ovulating healthily and the egg they found enthralled me, yet broke my heart. I have been focused on having my own family since I was eighteen. I wanted a sibling for my daughter. They had to stabilize me so I would have a chance at surviving more surgery. My focus had to swing from fertility to surviving. The surgeon’s registrar, an Irish lady, ran in after I took another turn for the worst, and warned me that they may need to do a hysterectomy to save my life. She held my hand as she said it. She said this could very well prove fatal. I prayed some more (husband and daughter had arrived, and it was now Thursday morning).
My daughter was allowed to cuddle me on the trolley on the way to theatre. My little three year old held her mummy tight, with the encouragement of the staff. I breathed in the vanilla of the soap we bathed her in, felt the softness of her hair against my face. She stroked my face and kept kissing my cheek. “I love you mummy, I love you.” I had birthed a numinous creature. If I did nothing else, I had done that. Staff were marvelling as to how I was coping with the pain and the severity of it all. “I have birthed a numinous creature,” I wanted to say in reply. When I woke, I was on a morphine pump in ICU. The surgeon told my husband I had haemorraged along the pelvic wall. I lost all my blood. I hadn’t needed a hysterectomy, which was a sure bet for the staff! After the first wave of pain- when I collapsed to the floor- there was just love. Love for the husband who had undiagnosed bipolar, and gratitude that I had survived what should have been a fatal fall at fifteen. Love for the little girl that stroked her dying mother’s hair, and held me all the way to surgery. It is good to remember this 48 hours. To appreciate life anew. Discard the nonsense once again. Seeing my friend carry herself and her husband to the threshold of death has been humbling. Such dignity and grace. At the end, only love remained. I am going to try and live that way each day.
I have learnt an important lesson, regarding the power of my mind. It excels at terrifying me, leading me to envisage catastrophic explosions. A teacher had invited my daughter and myself along to a festival, to take part in a parade. We would be walking with the Scottish group. I used to do Scottish dancing, and my husband and I both have Scottish heritage (our clans were mortal enemies). This teacher is incredibly passionate and creative. I gasped when I saw her classroom. Every available space-including the ceiling,was taken up with art. Colour and shape, movement and whimsy. Recently, floor space had been taken over by costumes.
She had borrowed quite a few from celebrated dancers, and the kilts were valued in the thousands. I went for a fitting for my wench outfit weeks ago, at the same time my daughter was fitted for her dancer outfit. I lovingly put my dress up and got on with life. Several nights ago, I sat bolt upright with a horrible thought. Where was my daughter’s outfit? Where the bloody hell did I put it? Mine was staring at me, but I couldn’t for the life of me recall where hers was. Oh my God! Catastrophe! My daughter wouldn’t be able to march. Everyone would be bitterly disappointed in me, and the worst part? They would be angry. I was awake throughout the night, worried that I would incur wrath the next morning. I couldn’t find my daughter’s outfit anywhere. I went into school after having turned out every bag I own, every wardrobe and drawer. My friend greeted me and reminded me that the kid’s outfits were ready to be picked up. You mean to say, I didn’t take it home with me? I could have kissed her! All that panic, for nothing. I am a confident and capable adult, but when I am faced with confrontation, and possibly anger, I become a child. I was never allowed to be angry, and if I disappointed anyone as a little girl, their rage didn’t bear thinking about. It’s exhausting trying to make everyone happy, tiptoeing around danger, afraid of letting anyone down. I still have work to do. There are parts of my psyche that need to be gathered and strengthened. I learnt that the adult needs to reassure this kid, and find solutions. She retreated. The threat of anger was just too much. Healing is like an onion, and you peel back one layer, to be presented with many more. It was a wonderful parade.