Living with PTSD

Back on the day 6 years ago that I was finally diagnosed with PTSD
It was such a relief
To know I wasn’t crazy
I was just broken
a traumatised soul
But
In the identifying
and the confronting
and the search for answers
I had no idea what lay in front of me.
I knew what was behind me
And I wanted no more of that
So I turned forwards
started the healing
facing the demons
But as I did they would attack with greater ferocity
biting at my heels
attacking with force the closer I got to identifying each one
Sometimes it felt like one step forward and ten back
I would break
and fall apart
thinking what was the point
it is all just way too hard


But finally
I found my courage
I sourced that inner strength
that had maintained me throughout those traumas
I was able to embrace the education of my mind
and was ready to face
and retrace my nightmares as each one surfaced


Being able to identify triggers
is essential
to not just surviving PTSD
but
to actually living with PTSD
In the past
triggers would escalate me out of control
I didn’t understand what was happening
And therefore
was unable to process
My normality which allowed me to cope
was
to be in control
have total structure
OCD to the max
keeping so busy so as not to remember

Today
I understand
I do have PTSD
I will always have PTSD
You cannot endure as much trauma as I have
and escape unscathed
But I am identifying the triggers
much more quickly
and in identifying them
I can deal to them

I haven’t quite got to identifying them
at trigger point
prior to the reaction
But I am processing
so much more quickly
I am also able to verbalise the situation ‘much more better’
Which for me
helps the processing
builds my emotional strength
allows me to understand
and share my self more easily
And lessens the feelings
of inadequacy
of hopelessness
of neediness
of ‘crazy woman status’

Over the past months
I have had several ‘meltdowns’
which I have been able to confront face on
Each trigger a reaction to different traumatic life experiences
Activating a neurobiological response from my amygdala
I go into instant ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode
I become anxious, frightened, out of rational control
But thankfully now
that is only for a short time

The reality of living with PTSD
is the ongoing
underlying
‘just have to live with’
stuff –
the sleeplessness
the inability to focus
the fluctuations
– emotional numbing
– emotional excess
the hypervigilance
the adrenal fatigue

Through my many many sessions with my therapist
(I still cannot believe she has never given up on me!!)
my work with other abused & traumatised women
and researching the ways trauma effects the brain
especially a young developing child’s
learning big words 😉
like
amygdala
hippocampus
ventromedial prefrontal cortex

I have learned to manage, conquer or control many of my symptomatic responses
-the intrusive thoughts of unwanted memories
-the flashbacks
-the mood alterations
-the shame, blame, persistent negativity
-the avoidance
-the depression

When I get gutshot by a PTSD trigger
I can now
identify it
deal to it
let it go – (why does that want to make me burst into song 😉 )
and use it to help others

The Becca Lee poem at the top really speaks from and to my heart
She summarises me perfectly
If you have managed to read through to the bottom of this
please go back and read about ‘me’
I’ve written previously about my phoenix rising from the ashes
this rebirth of mine
the growth from the pain
which has made me the woman I am today
I would gladly have traded all that pain whilst enduring it
But now
today
where I am right now
I can honestly say
I am ok

In fact today
I don’t just think
I’m ok
I know
I am doing
Absolutely brilliantly!

But if you are with me on the days when I am not doing quite so brilliantly
Please be a just little forgiving xxx

Decluttering body & mind

Do you ever keep clothes in the back of your wardrobe?
Waiting for the day when you can fit into them again.
I was so gutted this week to discover that some items that I absolutely loved and had kept for that very reason
Were now on the opposite end of the spectrum
They hang like sacks on me!
And instead of initially being thrilled
I was so upset
Because I really really liked these clothes.
What a conundrum!!
Like – duh!
Lost heaps of weight
Feeling fantastic
What to do
Get clothes altered
Or chuck them
Start again
Logic tells me the latter is the better option
Sentimentality runs with the former
Oh dear
First world problems 🙂

I am on a mission
A decluttering mission
Doing this physically is so hard
I set to with a vengence
Then I get challenge by my memories
Or the worth I place on an item
And then I can’t put it into the recycling
I have to pop it aside and ponder
Who can I give this to?
Where could I sell this or that?
Should I keep it?
Should I not?

It then takes an age to get through anything because you dilly dally
Muck about
Deliberating
I started recently thinking
What would my kids do with this when I’m gone?
Wow!
That is indeed a very liberating thought
Because actually, they would no doubt just biff that very thing I treasured for so long
Because it holds no sentimentality for them

So with that thought in mind I set to the job more effectively
After several weeks I now have several large bags of clothes removed from my wardrobe
And I have drawers all neatly folded and closable!
And on that note
I am now ready to tackle the rest of the house!!

But also on that note
I was thinking how much cleaning house is like cleaning out our emotional history

Whew!
That is a tough one
I know for me
I take a memory
Toss it about momentarily
If it’s too hard to process
back on the shelf it goes
But the imprint of that trauma that caused the memory stays
Because you haven’t cleaned up properly.
It is not until you can take the box off the shelf
Pull out the memory
Try it on
See if you really want to wear it anymore
Does it look good?
Does it make you feel good?
Process it, dust it off, decide on it’s worth
And then bin in
That you will be completely free of that baggage.

I’ve been doing a lot of that spring cleaning lately too.
I actually started it around 6 years ago
I have spent a lot of time pulling boxes off the shelf
And a lot of time quickly reshelving them
I’ve spent far too much time reshelving and to enough time resolving
But
As I have said multiple times before
Until you are ready it is just all too hard
My spring cleaning momentum has increased rapidly lately
And I am freeing up shelf space like crazy these days
It is so freeing

When I left the farm I determined that I would not bring any of the old life with me that I didn’t want.
However several years on and the cleanup down there is reaching completion and a lot of what I had forgotten has been brought to me to process.
I found that so weighting
It has taken space that I never wanted it too.
But like my emotional shelves
I am now stronger and more able to process more quickly
It is hard to part with things
But those things hold you down
Hold you back
So now I am filling my trash bags more quickly both physically and emotionally

And to quote someone on Facebook that I know well   (myself )

I haven’t tried to salvage what I had.
I’ve parked that and I am carving a new path, I’m incredibly happy and life is wonderfully awesome

Measuring growth

exposing vulnerabilities
scary stuff
really scary stuff

but in exposing my own vulnerabilities I am growing
and in growing myself I allow others to grow

So I am going to go right out there in this post and tell it…

I have been working hard over the past few years to heal
It’s been damned hard
But the growth I have experienced in the past few months has been immeasurable.
I have been flying on all cylinders
It has been an amazingly exhilarating ride

So….. recently when I experienced some health issues and I went into total meltdown over them I was like WTF?
This can’t be happening to me
I can’t do this over again
I am over all this
I’m in a such good place now
Why?………

After the 3rd thing in less than 2 months I marched right on into my therapist’s rooms this week and announced that she needed to help me unfuck my head!
In retrospect I know that in itself is a sign of immense growth for me because normally I spend my sessions duckshoveling and talking about everything and anything except me!

So here goes…..
She talked me through what was happening –
I learned that it is perfectly normal for any of us to imagine the worst when hit with a medical issue.
Absolutely normal!

But anyone like me who has PTSD will go there way more severely.
When you have experienced trauma and personal loss the fragility of life makes you so much more vulnerable.
There is…
-incredible fear
-losing control
-feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet
This is something that PTSD sufferers fear greatly
Having no control over what happened to us at the time of the event/s is the cause of the triggers when we lose control in the now.
Being in control is how we feel safe
Hence OCD is often symptomatic of PTSD

These past two weeks I have had a couple of events which triggered me severely.
I visited a skin specialist because I figured that at my age and stage in life, with my skin type, and living here in New Zealand it was a wise thing to do.
However, I was unprepared for having several ‘things’ cut off of me and even more unprepared to hear that one of them was ‘of concern’.
The area of concern was on the back of my thigh.
My head immediately took me back many years when we lost a friend to melanoma – and yes his began with a spot right there!
Instant meltdown
Tears for hours as I processed
Thank God for friends who don’t mind damp shoulders

Six days later I was sitting at the computer early in the morning chatting with my daughter online when I began to feel something strange in my face.
Eilidh came in a few moments later and looked at me…
‘Your face is swollen’ she commented in a puzzled tone
That was the beginning…
The left side of my face went puffy, and hot, and numb, and the vision in my left eye went blurry, like a haze was over it….
I was feeling very weird
Nothing I could pinpoint specifically, but I was beginning to freak out.
My mind was taking me places again, places I didn’t want to go, but because of association with my father’s strokes etc, it went there real fast.
I had to go pick up Azzan and when I did he was ‘Mum go straight to the Dr. Don’t take me home, just go to the Dr’.
So I did.
I was seen by the nurse.
All vitals were fine.
I was feeling like a total drama queen.
She referred me straight through to the Dr – stating that obviously if it was serious enough for me to walk in knowing there was something wrong, it was serious enough to see the Dr.
Validation felt good.
Saw the Dr and he eventually diagnosed shingles.
Whew!
That I can handle.
The strep throat that had taken me a month to recover from pre Xmas had obviously lowered my immune system enough to allow the virus to activate.
I asked him what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come in?
‘You could’ve gone blind in that eye’ he said.
Woah!!
Ok!
More validation that I know my body and in future not to doubt myself.
But I had crashed emotionally – again.

The next day I received reassurance from my therapist that I was not going mental, I was not losing it, I was not regressing, was in fact doing a very healthy thing.
I was allowing myself to feel.

My normal PTSD response in the past has been to feel hopeless, collapsed, stuck, to have a knee jerk reaction when things hit the fan.
This is absolutely the norm to those of us stuck in the Drama triangle.
I know this.
I know it too well from far too many years of being stuck in there.
So for me now it is a NO GO ZONE.
It is Not Safe there
It is a place I Don’t Want To Go anymore

By taking ownership of my emotions
By naming my vulnerabilities
I am learning skills to live in a positive confronting way
I will not hide
I am exposing my scars
They are my tattoos of bravery
I am a Survivor!
I am a fricken badass Winner!

Talking through my needs
Helped me to see why I reacted the way I did and do…
built knowledge
built positivity
built strength
Because I have suffered sexual abuse during my childhood my trust was broken at an incredibly vulnerable time of my life by a person who I should’ve been able to trust.
Because of unreliable and inconsistent support in the past I have built barriers.
I have put up walls to protect me.
Because of the trauma of close loss and grief I am lacking the one thing I need
The one person who would hold and comfort me at times like this
That exposes my fragilities and vulnerabilities even more
It is downright scary stuff
When I am wounded my initial reaction has always been to go curl up in a corner like a wounded puppy, snapping and biting at any hands who dare to try help me

I have to learn how to let people in…
I am learning now how to let people in…
safely
I am learning to identify my needs
What does my fragile self need in these situations?
– honest support
– acknowledgement that it is scary
– validation
– to be heard
– to be reassured
– to feel safe
I have been building a door in my wall
I get to choose to open that door
to let in the trusted few

Thank God for trusted friends I feel safe with
I have built a small strong tribe of very special people in my inner sanctum
Some of whom have been there for me this past week especially while I have been in freakout mode

Phillipa you have always been my bestest friend, I don’t know where I would be without you
You have held me during some of the hardest times of my life
We have shared so much these past 25 years – I think our shoulders are equally wet and our laughter equally joyous

Spending time in the sunshine with Eilidh over these days has been so therapeutic as she has helped to blow away my fears
Love this girl – we are therapy for each other

And this guy
This spesiale strooijonker vfriend
(Who’s gonna laugh his arse off at my puny attempt at Afrikaans 😉  )
Who listens for hours on the phone
Who can handle my tears as I soak my pillow
Who always has an objective view
Eddie my man, my best mate – you are just one super cool dude and I thank you for being a part of my life
Thank you for making me laugh
Thank you for bringing the music back to my soul

And Renata – my beautiful forthright unreservedly outspoken and delightedly honest friend…
thank you for letting my cry all over your sushi this week
thank you for your support and and your love and your laughter

I’m past caring who sees me cry these days
If you can’t share my tears then you don’t deserve my laughter

I am growing through this
And so can you….
I will never be the same
You will never be the same
Trauma changes us
True story~!

If you are a PTSD sufferer
then take my advice
Find someone safe
someone you can trust
someone who understands your fragility
someone who can empathise
someone you feel safe with

But ultimately
Allow yourself to FEEL
Allow yourself to be BRAVE

Young woman, Precious girl

Young woman
Precious girl
I see you
I see your trembling lip
The uncertainty in your eyes
The small tear escaping
I see your strength
I see such courage
I see you
And my heart is breaking
My heart breaks every time I encounter you
because I know
I know exactly what you are feeling
What you are thinking
because in you
I see me
I see Young Woman me

Your life has been changed
in a moment
a moment you did not choose
a moment that robbed you of so much
of your innocence
of your trusting
of you

Young woman
Precious girl
I encourage you to stand strong
to speak out
as loudly as you dare
knowing that I stand
I stand beside you
to hold you until you are strong enough to stand
beside the next
Precious girl

Because I know
we know
there will be more
there are so many more
too many more
look around your friends precious one
the statistics tell us
that 1 of every 3 of your friends will be sexually assaulted before they are 17
the statistics tell us that living in New Zealand
the place we call Godzone
is one of the most dangerous places for you to be
Sexual assault in New Zealand is endemic
a far too silent epidemic
the silence is deafening…

Young woman
Precious girl
I understand your need for silence
in your silence you find normalcy
when something so heinous
so evil
so invasively devastating to your inner being
happens to you
you crave in anyway possible for everything to be ‘the way it was’ before

Precious one
if your silence is for normalcy
then be silent for as long as you need
be silent while you build strength
be silent and know that I am walking with you

But
if your silence is because of shame
then my Precious One
this is so NOT right
This burden
this shame
Is NOT Yours
Do you hear me?
I will shout this from the rooftops if I have to
Do NOT carry the shame of another
It is NOT yours to carry.

Young woman
Precious girl
be brave
take courage
knowing that we are walking beside you
we are breathing fire
as we fight for you
until you can breath your own fire.

Young woman
Precious girl
my heart is breaking
I love you

Becoming Woman – A Wild Warrior Woman

I’ve been exploring my wild self.
Learning about me
My inner innate self
Peeling back layers of societal constraint
Pushing myself out of my comfort zone
Questioning
all my pre-learned norms

Discovering that being a wild woman has nothing to do with
doing wild things
or stomping on male egos

It is about embracing your true natural self.
For one
that may be loud and out there – whirling through life in dervish excitement
for another
that is could be silent and contemplative
and everything in between
and maybe even at the same time

It is the woman who wants to break free from all the strings society has placed on her to find herself in the heart of love and compassion

A few days ago I experienced a sudden awakening
I know what happened…
…physically
that I will never ever forget
I have learnt how it has damaged me
…emotionally
…mentally
that I am recovering and healing from

But the light went on with a suddenness that kicked me in the gut
it was like a lightening bolt hit me
I saw with incredible clarity
As a child
I was completely Mind Fucked
My God!
It wasn’t my fault.
I knew it wasn’t my fault
I know it wasn’t my fault
But
Now
I
Know
None
Of
It
Was
My
Fault!
The release of shame
and guilt
and the burden
with that understanding
has been immense

I have been entrenching myself in this song
Soaking in the words
Whirling to the music
Unfucking myself
Claiming my Warrior Woman
And allowing this brave heart of mine to shine

“Warrior” – Aurora
I fall asleep in my own tears
I cry for the the world, for everyone
And I built a boat to float in
I’m floating away

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…

I stand behind the wall of people and thoughts, mind controlling
And I hold a sword to guide me
I’m fighting my way…

I can’t recall last time I opened my eyes to see the world as beautiful
And I built a cage to hide in
I’m hiding, I’m trying to battle the night…

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love!

Underneath darkened sky
There’s a light kept alive

Let love conquer your mind
Warrior, warrior
Just reach out for the light
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior
I am a-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah
Warrior, warrior of love…
Warrior of love!
Warrior of love!

Watch my rising….


My journey has at times been rather a ponderous hesitant walk.
I’ve staggered under burdens
of expectations
of abuse
of self imposed protective measures
of responsibilities.
Many parts of the road have been incredibly rough going.
Often times I’ve approached corners with hopeful expectancy only to be blind sided once again.
Treacherous valleys, difficult hills, swamps have sucked me in and nearly suffocated me.
My path this year led me over the blackest coldest mountain range…

I fought my way up those high peaks
I collapsed at the top panting with exhaustion
Completely spent
I could go no further
I was finally stopped
I let myself bleed
Let myself feel
I
Let
It
Go

I conquered the pain
I conquered the fears
I conquered the blackness

No longer will I run away from my dragons
I will fear them no more
I am embracing my dragons
They now work for me,
with me,
are part of me,
but no longer control me
The roles are reversed
And it feels
SO
Damn
Good

Pain – April 2013

I turn on the electric blanket to ensure the bed is warm.

I lie on my left side, with my back to the empty half behind me.
I read to fill the silence of the night.
But when my book hits the floor and I cannot keep my eyes open any more I turn off the light and try to go to sleep.

It is dark now.
Safe to turn over.
I can’t see the empty other half of my bed.
But my leg reaches out, searching, looking for what cannot be found.
It only feels cold sheets.
No warm body there to wrap myself around.
I toss and turn.
My stomach aches.
My limbs twitch and stretch, constantly searching.
Looking for arms to hold me.
Hands to caress me, love me.

I want to sleep, to forget.
But the ache is so bad.

The ache in my gut rises.
Up through my chest and into my throat.

Until I can contain the tears no more.
I give in and the sobs rack my whole being.
I cry, uncontrollably into my pillow.
The pain is so bad.
The loneliness is overwhelming.
The knowing that he is gone.
Eventually the tears drown me to sleep

The Last Time Ever I Saw Your Face

The first time ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave
To the dark and the endless skies, my love
To the dark and the endless skies

The first time ever I kissed your mouth
And felt the earth move in my hand
Like the trembling heart of a captive bird
That was there at my command, my love
That was there at my command

And the first time ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy would fill the earth
And last till the end of time my love
and It would last till the end of time my love

The first time ever I saw your face, your face
Your face, your face

These lyrics are hauntingly entertaining me this morning. But in my mind I am changing them to ‘The last time ever I saw your face’.

And then my mind flits back to the first time. The first time I ever saw my Timmy’s face. I remember so vividly when he walked into my life. I was only 14. He was nearly 8 years older than me and I was smitten from that very first sighting. He was this tall Adonis – such a good looking, rugged country guy, with no pretensions. He was just Tim. What you saw was what you got.
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We were on a family holiday and there had been a horrendous storm. The next day Tim and his brother arrived over by boat, just checking up on the locals, as you do in times of trouble. I fell head over heels right then and there. For the next couple of years Tim would come by our house and hang out. I so loved those visits. He was so randomly casual and would turn up at all hours and make himself completely at home. It did make it easier that my parents liked him.
We would go down to Port Ligar for holidays, my poor mother must’ve been worried out of her brain when Tim would sit me on the back of his trusty old Norton bike and head up and over the hills. We courted on those hills, out of sight, but no doubt not out of my mother’s mind!
Then the my final year at high school we were an item. But then life got in the way and I left him behind and headed to the big smoke. I spent three years there trying to forget him. But I never did, and thankfully we had someone playing cupid so I returned to Port Ligar at the just after my 21st birthday and I never left.
At the end of that year I married my man, the man who for the next 34 years was the mainstay of my life. He cherished me, treasured me. Literally by the sweat of his brow, cared and provided for me.
image-22

That beautiful lopsided grin of his just got bigger and better over the years. Along the way his hair became greyer, his face developed deeper and more interesting lines. They were not all worry lines, most were lines of laughter and joy as we shared good and hard times together, more formed as each of our children were born. I watched him weep with joy at the birth of each one. He wanted no more from life than to love & care for his family. He was content with his lot in life.
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And then I come back to the words twisting a knife in my heart this morning. ‘The last time ever I saw your face’.

The last day I remember so clearly. We were preparing to go to town. He had decided to head off a day earlier so he could help Graham gather food for his family. Before he left though he had work to do. While he waited for Sebastian to come he went down to the wharf with Azzan and they worked together conditioning ropes. My last photos of him were taken then. Then Seb arrived and they took off on the boat to do some mussel work. He arrived back, quickly showered and changed, gathered up all his things, his briefcase. All the while I was hovering nearby making sure he had what he needed for his journey and confirming our meeting times etc. He loaded crates in the back of the Safari, along with some bins of mussels. He hugged and kissed me goodbye and that is the last time I ever saw his precious face until I identified him the next day at the morgue.

Strength in the night….

This past week…
Wow!
What a week.
Trying to process it all has been huge.
The demise of the master.
Then the destruction of a masterpiece.
There were not too many Kiwis who will forget the time 00:02 and the date 14 November 2016.
The terror of being awoken by the ominous rumbling and the violent shaking and the darkness and the unknown damage being wrought around each of us.
For those of us fortunate enough to not lose power there was immediate and frantic checking in on Facebook and Geonet to see what was going on and ensuring loved ones were safe.
I was so grateful to have Eilidh here with me.
She and I kept each other company as unbelievably my children and pups slept through the whole night!
Texts, messages & phone calls flew between family and friends.
These vital connections helped maintain a certain calm amidst the chaos.

A sleepless night ahead as the aftershocks hit, the anxiety that any of these might be a bigger one.
In the few hours following we experienced 6 quakes larger than magnitude 5, and over the week since, 357 aftershocks over magnitude 4.
Reports unfolded as the morning developed.
And the reports have gotten worse with each daylight hour.
The enormity of the power released is unfathomable.
The east coast sea bed thrust up 2 metres with such force and speed that sea life had no chance to escape.
The GPS station at Cape Campbell was moved 2 meters north.
Towns completely cut off, isolated by huge landslides and destroyed roads, rail lines twisted and moved like cotton candy.
Two people died.
A miracle there were no more.
Many others injured and traumatised.

I managed about 2 hours sleep, then Mahalia unknowingly woke me at 6am cuz she knew I was planning to go to the gym.
Ah! The normality of life.
As Monday unfolded, unraveling of the disaster gave clarity to the desperation of the situation for the people on the East Coast.
Especially those in Kaikoura who were totally trapped.
Then Waiau, then we realised that pretty much most of the top of the South Island was not only isolated from the rest of the country but also from each other.
Then came the tsunami alerts.
The King Tides.
And then came the rain.
Flooding in Nelson, Wellington, more damage, more chaos.
I thought we had escaped pretty much unscathed but then the call came from down home.
Seb & Phoebe were evacuating by boat after watching a huge landslide flow down the hill surrounding the house & buildings and covering the road metres deep in wet slurry.
I was just grateful they were safe.
There have been many things to be thankful for in amongst all of this.
Thankful they had a home to come to.
Thankful for friends who provided emergency vehicles and household provisions until we can retrieve their things.
Now to add to the merry-go-round of my life I begin the EQC dance as we begin organising the clean up.

In the scale of the events, ours is but a small portion.
But in our personal lives it is rather devastating to say the least.
I have been standing so strong in the past months.
I have gained my warrior crown.
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I must admit that on this day it slipped.
But I am proud of myself, because I never let it fall to the ground.
I caught it and let it wash in the tears of the moment.
Then I set it straight and stood up and faced the moment head on.
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To sign off in true Kiwi style
Heres some humour for the occasion.
Check out this wonderful rendition by Jason Gunn.
Thanks for keeping us smiling Jason 🙂

Farewelling the Master

What words do you use to describe the loss of one who has had so much influence in your life.
One who’s words speak into the depths of your soul.
One who moved you so powerfully through all of your decades.
One who’s words and music soothed and loved you during the hardest time of your life.

I cut my teen teeth on this album.
Who doesn’t know ‘Suzanne’ and So long, Marianne’?
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In latter years Leonard came to New Zealand three times.
I so wanted to go to that first concert in Wellington, but it was on my birthday in mid January –  at a time of the year I thought I couldn’t possibly get away from the farm due to the tourist season etc.
Sadly I never even tried to make it work.
That became my biggest regret.

When he returned in November 2010 I was absolutely determined I was going.
I travelled to Christchurch and had my socks completely blown off!
He was so much more than I had ever dreamed of.
The only sad thing was that I was there on my own and had no one to share the absolute delight with.

Then, he became far far more intensely involved with my life.
I have always loved words.
As a writer words touch & feed my heart and soul, the ebb & flow of them between myself and other writers is what makes me tick.

When Tim was killed Leonard bathed my soul with all his songs.
He embraced my hurting heart with these two specifically ….
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye‘ 
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, 
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm, 
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new, 
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you, 
but now it’s come to distances and both of us must try, 
your eyes are soft with sorrow, 
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye. 
I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time, 
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme 
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me, 
it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea, 
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie, 
your eyes are soft with sorrow, 
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye. 

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, 
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm, 
yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new, 
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you, 
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie, 
your eyes are soft with sorrow, 
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

‘Ain’t No Cure For Love’
I loved you for a long, long time 
I know this love is real 
It don’t matter how it all went wrong 
That don’t change the way I feel 
And I can’t believe that time’s 
Gonna heal this wound I’m speaking of 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure for love 
I’m aching for you baby 
I can’t pretend I’m not 
I need to see you naked 
In your body and your thought 
I’ve got you like a habit 
And I’ll never get enough 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure for love 

There ain’t no cure for love 
There ain’t no cure for love 
All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky 
The holy books are open wide 
The doctors working day and night 
But they’ll never ever find that cure for love 
There ain’t no drink no drug 
(Ah tell them, angels) 
There’s nothing pure enough to be a cure for love 

I see you in the subway and I see you on the bus 
I see you lying down with me, I see you waking up 
I see your hand, I see your hair 
Your bracelets and your brush 
And I call to you, I call to you 
But I don’t call soft enough 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure for love 

I walked into this empty church I had no place else to go 
When the sweetest voice I ever heard, whispered to my soul 
I don’t need to be forgiven for loving you so much 
It’s written in the scriptures 
It’s written there in blood 
I even heard the angels declare it from above 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure, 
There ain’t no cure for love 

There ain’t no cure for love 
There ain’t no cure for love 
All the rocket ships are climbing through the sky 
The holy books are open wide 
The doctors working day and night 
But they’ll never ever find that cure, 
That cure for love

And of course the absolute ultimate song which we played at Tim’s funeral.
‘Dance me to the End of Love’
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in 
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove 
Dance me to the end of love 
Dance me to the end of love 
Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone 
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon 
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of 
Dance me to the end of love 
Dance me to the end of love 

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on 
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long 
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above 
Dance me to the end of love 
Dance me to the end of love 

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born 
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn 
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn 
Dance me to the end of love 

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin 
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in 
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove 
Dance me to the end of love 
Dance me to the end of love 
Dance me to the end of love

Christian came down and spent his time creating a slideshow for me.
I was so busy getting the funeral organised that I never had time to see what he was doing.
Then the night before I finally caught my breath and asked him if I could watch it.
It was so beautiful, but the pain hit me so hard I crumbled and cried and cried and cried.
It was such a blessing.
If I hadn’t seen it then I would have totally lost it at the church and not have had the strength to speak.
I am forever grateful to Christian for making this video.
It is a real treasure for us.

When Leonard returned for a third time in Dec 2014 I was there with bells on!
This time I went with friends.
The best way to see a show is with friends to enjoy it with.
And this show was THE absolute best.
He was 80 years old and like a good wine he certainly aged well.
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As a poet, a wordsmith, a singer, a man.
You had such presence.
Leonard, you will always have my respect and a part of my heart.