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 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

Vulnerability 17.8.13

During an emotional session with my therapist we talked about the difference between being a victim and being vulnerable.
Fine line.

I am so scared of not being seen as a victim that I cover up my vulnerability.
I was a victim for so many years and to survive I had to become strong.
If I hadn’t I would’ve succumbed to all the mental illnesses and maybe attempted suicides that so many who have walked in my shoes have.
I spent so many years being strong, burying the past, just surviving, wearing a mask, living two lives, that eventually my spirit could not take any more.
I crashed.
I broke.
The victim in me began crying out for help.
In my spirit I was fearfully curled up, hiding in a dark corner sobbing uncontrollably..
In my physical I was hysterical, beside myself with pent up distress, lashing out, desperately needing to be heard.

Because everyone had seen me as strong, it was a shock to my family and those around me to see me like this.
I was in shock to see me like this.

They saw a mess.
They saw a mother they didn’t know.
They saw a sister they weren’t expecting and it blindsided them all.
They didn’t and couldn’t understand.
I was judged harshly.
I was rejected.
I was re-victimised.
They hadn’t walked in my shoes.

Three years on I am growing.
I am developing a new strength.
A strength that can recognise my pain, my trauma, my anxiety.
But I am scared.
I am scared of telling my story.
I am scared of rejection.

I still struggle with so much.

Now I have a new pain.
A new trauma.
A loss so great that sometimes I don’t think I can go on.
I surrender to the grief and it makes me feel vulnerable.
I am scared of being vulnerable.
Scared of being hurt again.

But this time I cannot hide behind my mask of strength.
This time it is a grief that is ok to make public.
It is a trauma that is more easily understand.
But I cannot tell my story half heartedly.
My story has to include the little girl, the victim.

Because that is all me.
“You cannot know true strength until you know vulnerability.”

The Absence of Intimacy Sept 2013

The hardest thing to talk about it with your family and friends is the the topic that most people like to laugh and joke about.
I miss making love.
But it isn’t cool to think your parents have sex.

It is not even thinkable that they may even enjoy sex.
So when your heart dies and you are left alone, how do you explain what you are missing when you are not supposed to talk about it.
I miss my heart so much.
The loneliness of not touching.
The not being held in that intimate way that only he could.
The loneliness of our marriage bed.
It’s emptiness.
It’s coldness, despite the electric blanket and new warm down duvets.
The absence of intimacy
Hands exploring places that only he was allowed.
The arousal and pleasure in the midnight hours.
The comfort given in the early mornings.
The kisses and hugs throughout the day.
He loved to ‘shock‘ the kids by showing them how much he loved me with kisses in the kitchen,
We would snuggle in the chair in the study whilst discussing business.
Even the wee pleasures of cutting his hair.
He loved for me to do that because we could enjoy special private moments under the guise of practicalities.
Sex isn’t just the act itself.
It is a 24 hour thing.
The recognition of a love throughout the day.
My heart broke that day and no amount of ducktape will ever put it together again.

The absence of intimacy with him is what breaks my heart more and more each day.

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

My perfectly made bed – August 2013

I make the bed.
My perfectly made bed.
The sheets are all clean, smooth and straight.
The hospital corners folded just right.
The pillows are stacked and the duvet is smoothed.
Just as I like it.
Just perfect.
I get into my perfectly made bed at night but it isn’t perfect anymore.
There are no long limbs with boney knees intruding over onto my side to push away.
There are no warm welcoming arms to hold me.
No lover to warm the evening chill as I drift off to sleep.
I curl up on my side and read my book.
Trying to get warm I flick the electric blanket on, and then off again as I overheat unnaturally.
Waiting for tiredness to overcome me.
Waiting for sleep to envelope my loneliness.
Eventually the book hits the floor and I sleep.
In the darkness of early morning I wake.
My perfectly made bed is still relatively undisturbed.
I toss, I turn, I try unsuccessfully to go back to sleep, just for a few more hours.
But it’s all wrong.
There are no encompassing arms to hold me.

No warm chest to lie my head on.
No early morning loving
No one to talk to.
The thoughts that I would’ve talked to you about are just left to swirl around in my head.
No release for them.
My stomach is tight.
I feel sick and tense.
The unbidden tears fall.
I then hate my perfect bed.
I hate that your long skinny legs haven’t kicked the sheets out from the perfectly tucked in ends.
I hate that you haven’t pulled the blankets in and rolled them around you and left me with not a lot on my side.
I hate that I can’t yank the bedding back off you and then snuggle in against your cosy warm form.
I hate that you are not here to wreck the entire bed with total abandon to make love to me.
I hate that I don’t have to make the bed again in the morning.
I hate that you are not here to tease me about my OCD bed-making skills.
I give up trying to sleep.
The dawn is breaking so I leave my perfectly made bed.
Until tonight when the anguish of sleeping in a perfectly made bed starts all over again.

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.
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.

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.

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.

Letting go

When Tim was killed writing was my catharsis.
A lot of it was buried for no ones eyes bar mine.
Most of the  posts were written during 2013 when my grief was in its raw numbest state.
I shared some, but others were just too hard and too personal.
I had forgotten them, on rediscovery they are showing me how far I have journeyed.
I think that I am now strong enough to share.
Strong enough to let go

Sparkling living

This journey of mine has taken me on many detours.
Some have been incredibly hard.
Others frustrating.
And more, emotionally disabling.
Through it all though I have found a new me.
A stronger me.
Someone I did not know existed.
Many close to me have recently commented that they are so pleased and glad to see me smiling again.
It was said that I have my spark back.
That stopped me…
To breath…
And think…
I honestly do not ever remember having a spark.
Not like this.
Maybe as a very small child I probably had that childish spark of mischief and wonderment.
Like this gorgeous poppet I captured at the beach last week.
But that spark was cruelly extinguished at a very early age.
Yes, I was happy – to an extent.
But there was always that underlying ‘thing’
The part of my life I wasn’t able to talk about…
The secret…
The burden I carried…
that killed my spark.

I had no idea until recent years just how much those 10 years of stolen childhood had affected my entire life.
But now I am walking my healing journey
Running towards an expectancy of wonderment
Reclaiming ‘me’
I am not going to compromise myself anymore with the pain and the abuse and the heartache.
Because I Am all I have got and I Am going to live sparkling.