I purposely stopped blogging for a while. The routine of life was challenging and I tried with every fibre of my being to rise to the occasion. I failed dismally and it was a reality that took much courage to come to terms with. I did not want my blogs to become a continual outpouring of my souls anguish.
I continued to love….deeply and devotedly. It was the one thing that kept me alive through all the empty and lost days without my mother to guide, advise and support me. How I missed her words and her wisdom. How I have missed her presence in the house. The greeting when I get back from wherever I have been and the reminder to be safe when I leave. I painted the walls of my home sometimes twice over to give myself something to achieve. I wrote poems and wove together words that spoke of my devotion to a single human being. I painted canvases and I tried to make others happy because I was so unhappy. I gave all I had to give …in everyway possible. I was not prepared for the emotional meltdown I experienced in early January. Everything that gave my life purpose was suddenly in jeopardy . I was bereft with disbelief and if the truth here in this blog has any value then I must say: I did not know how to handle the situation and I made all the mistakes it is possible to make when one is threatened by the loss of ‘Lifes purpose’. My Life Purpose.
I suppose everyone goes through a similar experience….that awful ghastly moment when you realise you are going to lose the one reality that gives your life meaning. I was numb and my emotions shredded and in the silence of the dark night alone in my home death seemed to be the only way out….and I really needed to die during those hours….not because I didnt love life or were tired of living …but because my soul needed rest. I needed to sleep the pain away. But sleep did not come and the wrong reactions happened. I severed a bond that would have been better left untended. But I was hurting from confrontations. I felt broken and had nothing left.
We live for years ‘knowing’ inside ourselves what we need and want from loving others. Whether this is love between child and parent(s), siblings, cousins, friends…it is still love of a kind. We have this preconceived idea that it will be something that is noble and pure and good. We long for the moments of communication and truthful expression of thought, knowledge and sometimes sincere emotion. We carry it like a fire in our hearts. Sometimes the flames burn so fiercely we become ‘high’ on emotion. I was living on that ‘high’ for days and weeks and months.
Now as January moves swiftly ,with the old pace of life, to a close I have learned many things. I have learned that I am capable of loving a single human being unconditionally with no expectation whatsoever. I have learned that my intergrity, my Truth and my offer of Trust is still what I bring to the threshing floor. I have learned what it is to truly love and to hope for that one moment of pure Truth between two people who recognise each others souls. I have learned the pain of waiting. I learned what it is to try over and over again to make anothers life better, to place someone elses emotions and feelings before my own – for while I have this reality so has he his own realities. He has his own ‘dark night of the soul’.
In our lifetime God gives us the capacity to love more than one person greatly. We are given the capacity to know many facets of love. It does not matter if it is love between friends, man and woman, child and parent. With each encounter there is a uniqueness that cannot be explained or repeated. I am grateful that I was given this gift to love to this extent. It does no longer matters whether it is reciprocated or whether it isnt ..or whether it may be or whether or not it has valuein the eyes of the world. What matters is that it has value to me….and it is something that belongs to me only…and I will always hold it as a fire in my heart….and it will not be shaken. Perhaps my Creator will be merciful and send another into the peripheral of my life ….so that I may recognise a different reality…. a person who has the capacity to enfold me and hold me fast and heal my brokenness….and I will love differently…..but nothing and no one will replace what I have felt and continue to feel for this one single human being I have grown to love. This Truth has been etched on my soul and the reality will span eternity.
Love – unconditional and true – permits one to experience Heaven and Hell. Both journeys are equally hazardous.
It is sometimes so hard to imagine that only three months have passed since the passing of my beloved mother, Beth. I dont know how I managed the routine of the week, except that I knew I must and that alone permitted me to survive my grief. Now I no longer burst into floods of remorse and tears. I no longer feel the need to audio journal words to her hoping that from wherever she is she is able to hear. I do none of those things anymore. My grief turned into a terrible sense of ‘hurt’ and anger that she left my life when she did. It was the last thing I needed. Is anyone ever prepared for it…the parting of two kindred spirits? I spent hours in anguished prayer asking over and over for insight and strength. I pleaded for understanding. I heard nothing…the silence was beyond deafening. It was also deadening. I am now at a place where I am vunerable to many things and people and I have already born the brunt of the latter. My anger and hurt is staying longer than my grief. I question everything while trying to survive the days. For weeks I had lost my sense of purpose. I woke one morning and realised that if I am to continue in Life I need to walk away from many of my issues without losing my deepest desire and longing to belong…to be loved. I realised with a numbing coldness that nothing is going to change my reality. I made my mothers room a shrine to herself. I left everything as it was …never moved a pencil or pen so fervently used in her pursuit of crosswords. Her telephones are still as she left it. Her clothes and personal belongings are as it always was…..everything the same ..except she isnt coming back. I dont know what compelled me to distress my own personal belongings….all my clothes, shoes, jackets and favourite perfume I gathered together in 8minutes to be exact and because it was a Tuesday morning when I had this ‘meltdown’ I gave it to those who scavenge through the garbage. Every Tuesday sees the same activity….me carrying loads outside to the front gate. I have been so alone in spite of the words of comfort so sincerely offered by many. Words cant hold me in the long hours of the night when I cant sleep. Words cant make it better when I start panicking because a storm is brewing. With my mom in the house I could cope with the fears and panic attacks. But I am alone and in this isolation I strive to deliver all that is expected of me…it is costing more than it should.
In this journey that I was forced to undertake and cope with I learned many many things. I learned what it means to be valued and I learned what it means to survive on my own. I learned that I can no longer consult with someone over decisions I have no expertise for. I learned that words of comfort and help have their place and are a balm when the heart and soul is cold with fear. One accepts these offers of comfort graciously because it all comes from sincere hearts. I am grateful for the caring.
There is one…one person who has held my hand in a spiritual sense while I fell to the ground and got up over and over again. One who spoke me through the long hours of the night when sleep would not come. Who encouraged me to be strong and ‘report for duty’ ….who showed me that my life was and always is one of service. One who constantly challenged my mind and redirected my broken heart. One who reminded me that what I had given and what I had done for a father who did not know or understand me and who never held my hand or said he loved me , and for a mother who loved me too much was all what God expected of me. I was and am now free. One who showed me that I am now free to be a woman of my own making and that the reward for selfless dedication which we both had towards our parents has its terrible pain but also its rewards. It could not have gone any other way because of our ingrained sense of duty and committment. The solace that was brought to my soul by these words cannot not be measured. I was given a great gift in this one single person.
Time moves differently for me now. I seem to, for the first time in my life, grasp the passing of time. These few days in middle July are so cold and challenging. I can’t get warm even with layers on. This is another one of those weeks in which much has to be achieved. Today being 18th July I have more documents to sign. I feel like those Internet (apps) downloads which connects but says “download pending”. Everything in my life at this point in time is ‘pending’. Nothing is ‘done’ except my mothers passing, that gives me clarity of thought and with that hopefully a direction. I search aimlessly through the house for her presence and I need to talk. I realise now I must have driven my mom bonkers with all my talk. It is only in this silence that I understand how much I talked. The aloneness is a great burden. Beth always said: “you will be alright because you have many interests, your embroidery, your Art, and your writing. And you will have to sustain the house and that will take effort.”. The thing is Mom…..I have no inclination to do any of the things that held my days together when you were with me.
Tomorrow being Wednesday I have arranged for the Lapa to be repaired since the thatch is deteriorating and I am so stressed for this days work with people here. On Thursday I may be able to arrange to have the two large trees properly felled. The maple tree at the gate was trimmed by the garden services. Those Mozambicans have absolutely not mercy on nature. They massacred the limbs of the tree and it hurts to look at it. I remember the day you so lovingly planted it. Little did we know it was going to be so massive. I remember too many things and it hurts all the time. I try to push the thoughts from my mind and I don’t succeed. I am slowly buying sand to replace the sand these garden services rake away with vengeance each Monday when they come. I am letting them not come some Mondays because the property can’t handle it anymore. They have totally denuded the flower beds and the lawn is disappearing. Anyone reading this blog would say….well change to another services….we all know why one does not easily change such services in South Africa. They break things and just leave it.
But….these are trivialities to the crux of my life at present. It comes back to me the one poem that I remember so absolutely well. My passion for the Brontës has never faded and I still read Jane Eyre once a year. Wuthering Heights too. The poem is written by Emily Brontë
The old Stoic.
Riches I hold in light esteem;
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn:
And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is, ‘Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty! ‘
Yes, as my swift days near their goal,
‘Tis all that I implore;
In life and death, a chainless soul,
With courage to endure.
will I continue to have the courage to endure?
It is still dark and the dawn hasn’t broken yet. I had almost no sleep and when I did doze a person who once brought me so much pain resurfaced in a memory and that is always a bad omen…. Always has been and always will be. You know how it is when you dream about a certain thing or being.? Their presence in your subconscious portents difficulties. I don’t need difficulties today since the Legal person has to come and deal with my beloved mothers will. I am so utterly tense it feels as though I can’t breathe because I know here comes timeous efforts, tedious procedures and high cost. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop this or make it better or easier.
Yesterday the local newspaper was as depressing as any tabloid can get. The local paper, ‘The Randf****** Her****’ does not even try for sensationalism….just plain hard core depressing facts which happens in this place we call home. I felt physically ill when I read of other peoples realities….well I could not read it all or I would be more frozen with fear than I already am.
Beth always encouraged me to do a cleansing once she was no longer with me. I think she knew that for me reorganising things is therapeutic. By a ‘cleansing’ she meant…do away. She always said “you cannot use everything at the same time….you can only wear one article of clothing at the same time…this (and her hand would wave around) is worldly stuff….move it along”. So I did move stuff along ….serving dishes one no longer can serve food in or never did. Twenty and thirty years ago food was in far more abundance than now. It was okay to do this task. There were no memories attached to any of the things. It will be interesting to see how the recipients to these grand dishes respond.
I have a prayer for today before the sun rises and I must meet with my reality of today:
Heavenly Father…You know my comings and goings,
my fears and longings,
You know the anguish I experience from time to time
let the Holy Spirit be with me today as I face this reality
of Beth’s will and the procedures.
I need Your hand upon me….I need her presence with me
And I ask that St Michael guard me from all negativity.
It has been a week and a bit that I have lived the days and nights without caring for my beloved Mom. I am aware that people will say I ought to be more mature and handle this with the aspect of reality that it deserves. I am not so naive as to think and have known that my mom would never pass on. We both spoke about it. BUT….BUT it was the way in which everything fell into place and the aftermath of the whole scenario. That is the crux. I was not prepared for it…I honestly thought she might pull back from this.
The emptiness in the house is like a grand canyon chasm. The silence is deafening. I am lost without the routine of caring for her. The isolation and aloneness is making me physically ill. The phone remains silent, the people who rallied around me are drifting away. I do not blame them for this is not their journey, and I shall always be grateful to them for being the support that I so desperately needed. Weekends are the worst and that is for sure. But perhaps this week will be better since I am returning to teaching again and that will give purpose to the days. In the meanwhile I drift from small task to small task. Her estate has still to be administered and that is a painful journey no matter how long or short it takes.
God my Father….only you can look and see into my heart.
Only you can see the anxiety that lurks there
Only you can read the troubled thoughts that invade my mind.
Only you can gauge the panic with which I face each new day
without my source of inspiration and communication.
I ask for mercy in this reality of coping with hours
of worrying about safety and trying to be as secure as possible.
I am grateful for being able to come to you in prayer…..
Please help me cope.
My mom died on the 24th June 2017 and I can’t quite absorb the reality of it. There are so many thoughts and emotions that need expressing but I can’t write down one single one. I can only express the terrible emptiness she has left in our lives even from the static position of being confined to the wheelchair.
My students and their parents have been very kind during these past few days and even prior to that…and for this I will always be grateful…always. Young women who have left my tutorship and gone on to make their own lives…these people too reminded me of their loyalty and empathy for my situation. The prayers were many and so has the support been so.
I drift through the days in a kind of daze and try to absorb the reality of knowing she isn’t here. I can’t sleep and I can’t eat….But I do rely on tablets to numb the ache and longing for her presence in the house. People remind me that God only allows seventy years and a few to most of us…..I am 66years…what a prognosis and one that even if the Bible says so gives no comfort.
I feel her close to me as I go about the procedure and endless documentation associated with these matters. I feel as though I will scream if I once more have to go through another form and fingerprint session.
Mom, my beloved Beth, you have given me the most wonderful companionship any mother and daughter could have had. You allowed me to be who and what I wanted to be at any given moment in time and you allowed me to express freely what I felt and believed in even if it was in conflict with your precepts of a belief system, a situation, a principle. You always forgave my irrational outbursts and temper tantrums. I know that for you there is no sojourn in Purgatory…. You had purgatory on earth bound to the wheelchair and later reclusive from the outside world and you never complained and never lashed out in hatred or torment. You always had this accepting nature. We are bonded for all eternity…and I will always carry the indelible mark of your influence on my soul.
How do I describe the terrible fear and isolation I feel as my mother lies in ICU. How do I tell of the thoughts that invade my mind while the radio plays the saddest music. This morning I heard for the first time a piece of music called ‘a mothers love’ sung by Katherine Jenkins. It tore me apart and I found myself crying hysterically in the passage while my little NooNoo tried to figure what was wrong. She is not used to this.
‘This’ is a fight we cannot win unless by great and miraculous interventions by God. If Lazarus could be healed after all his organs shut down, after he lay dead for days….is there hope for my beloved Beth?
I had Radio Veritas place her name on then altar for Mass at 12pm.
“Oh mom if I could hold you once more in my arms and tell you that you are my best friend and inspiration….my reason for walking this journey, my teacher and my mentor. If I could ask you once more advice about a poem or a painting. If I could tell you how much I love you and if you could forgive me for putting you in hospital when you didn’t want to go. If I could tell you about the progress with the drama students and their RACA poems. If I could once more sit in front of your wheelchair and rub your legs and bandage them again.”
The staff of the hospital have been remarkable and they have given permission that I can visit you at anytime., I am going to you now before I begin the afternoons teaching. These teaching hours I need to survive the terrible isolation and panic I feel. The Head of Department has been kind and the specialist physician. There are moms in my school who have been so supportive and kind and have offered so much by way of help. There are encouraging Sms’s and mms’s…..but when the darkness closes in and the silence envelopes the house and I am not bringing you your tea or you are not asking to watch a Catherine Cookson on film on your tablet….I am bereft and full of emotion and I know true isolation….and its devastating.
I can’t remember many things of the past few months and I remember much with great clarity. I have been functioning like a programmed android. Now as my mother lies in hospital fighting for her life it is as though the program has crashed and I can’t put it back together. My beloved Beth is in a critical condition and last night the specialist physician put her on a ventilator. I realise with a dreadful cold feeling what this means. The night hours are so long and it remains so cold and desolate this winter season. I can’t imagine life without her yet these past few months since her brief sojourn in ICU in February she has slipped from my routine. I carried on doing the things that need to be done without her. She was not able to participate in anything. She was becoming weaker and weaker. Yet there were moments when her wisdom and character emerged as strong as ever giving me the ability to control a situation. In her frailty she never once panicked….she from her wheelchair held it all together.
I don’t know how to carry on without her. I pray without ceasing but prayer is a silent practise amongst all peoples…we know HE hears and we know He cares and we know He controls….but the silence of prayer is deafening…
“In the middle of a forest, there was a hunter who was suddenly confronted by a huge, hungry bear. In his fear, all attempts to shoot the bear were unsuccessful. Finally, he turned and ran as fast as he could. The hunter ran and ran and ran, until he ended up at the edge of a very steep cliff. His hopes were dim. Seeing no way out of his predicament, and with the bear closing in rather quickly, the hunter got down on his knees, opened his arms, and exclaimed, “Dear God! Please give this bear some ‘religion!'” The sky darkened and there was lightning in the air. Just a few feet short of the hunter, the bear came to abrupt stop, and glanced around, somewhat confused. Suddenly, the bear looked up into the sky and said,
“Thank you, God, for the food I’m about to receive….””
This piece of spiritual humour does not sit too well with me because in reality the poor man must have either fallen over or been attacked. That is worrying.
The winter season is well and truly with us now and this day of 13th May is totally wet and dismal. But nothing is dismal if one has books and music and a secret. Secrets are precious things and need to be nurtured. They can also become burdens. At the moment I have some secrets which are totally rewarding and I have a few which cause me severe stress. The stressful ones are not coming to a closure but one lives in hope. As I write this short blog I still wait for my Volkswagen and even after repeated queries I get no response. But I am less concerned because when there is a need for finance the mechanic will surely contact me. May it happen soon.
Please take the time to visit the blog absolutevero.WordPress.com.
and also liturgicalandotherpoetry.WordPress.com. Namasté