A journey into openness and honesty… Distilling truths about ourselves, others and life from shared experiences… Learning to live consistently with that truth… Becoming free to be who we truly are…

Posts tagged ‘Rosie’

Mother’s Day joy and pain…

All of us had a Mum… right?
Technically, yes. We all had a mother otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

But having a mother is not the same as having a Mum.

The cemetery

Healesville cemetery is a sacred place for my family. On the edge of a country town it is a beautiful, peaceful location surrounded by trees and views of the nearby mountains.

My wife, Rosie, loved Healesville. Her family holidayed there when she was young. Healesville was my home town. Rosie and I chose this cemetery as our burial place a few years before she died of breast cancer.

My parents are buried at Healesville. The plot Rosie and I bought almost directly faces their grave in the next row.

Mother’s Day

We lost Rosie just a few years ago. Mother’s Day is tough for my family.
Our hearts and minds are still raw. My children miss their Mum.

Mother’s Day afternoon I visited the cemetery with Merryn and Liam (my daughter and son-in-law). We stood in front of Rosie’s grave to remember her, and silently vocalise our feelings of love and grief.

Merryn brought some white roses from her garden. She gave me one to place on Rosie’s grave. I made a hole in the recently rained-on earth and planted the rose upright in front of Rosie’s headstone.

While Merryn and Liam continued to reflect, I turned around to face my parents’ grave. I read the plaque as I have done many times. Seeing my mother’s name, Edna Winifred James, died 12th June 1966, aged 49 years, impacted me as never before.

I was struck with a profound realization
In the 53 years since she died I’ve never grieved for my Mum, not even on Mother’s Day? How could this be??

Mum

Mum did not have an easy life. As a young woman she was beset by a condition I also share… depression. Mental health issues were little understood in those days. Depression was a shameful thing; you kept it hidden and suffered in silence. Thankfully her older brother, Bert, saw her struggling and tried to encourage her and build her self-confidence.

But depression was no stranger to Bert either, and tragically he took his own life when Mum was a young adult. I can hardly imagine the extent to which this caused her to plummet further.

Mum was married during World War II. After Dad returned from the fighting, three daughters arrived in succession. Six years later they had a son… me.

Mum’s pregnancy with me was torrid. Shortly after I was born she had a severe breakdown which put her in a psychiatric ward for months. Dad stayed home to work and visit Mum; my sisters were sent away to his brother’s family, and I was looked after by Mum’s sister.

Recently I read some letters Mum wrote to Dad from hospital in December 1957, 4 months after I was born. She was knitting a jumper for me and was so hoping to be allowed hospital leave to have Christmas with the family. I don’t know that she made it.

It saddens me deeply to think of the pain Mum must have felt during those dim, dark days of 1950’s psychiatric treatment. Separated from her family, knowing her children had been farmed out due to her breakdown, must have been incredibly painful.

Me

Mum’s recovery was very slow, if she ever really recovered at all. I spent 2½ years with my aunty; she adored me and raised like a son; no doubt I bonded to her during that time. When I finally returned home, my mother was a distant woman in my life.

Disabled with depression, Mum spent a lot of time in bed or sitting unresponsive in a chair, lost in her pain. The demanding role of raising a 2 year old was simply beyond her.

I have very few memories of my mother from childhood. If she spent quality time with me I remember very little of it.

Mum lived a short life. One Sunday night while playing the organ in church an aortic aneurism burst. Mum literally died of a ‘broken heart’.

I was eight years old at the time.
I’d had a mother for six short years.
But I never really had a Mum.

Life shaping scars

Mum couldn’t care for me after birth and had to give me up. My aunt cared for me deeply, then she too had to give me up. Infants can’t comprehend the reasons for these things. As a baby, this was rejection, not once but twice… first by my mother, then by my aunt. Infants interpret rejection as their own fault. Indelible feelings of guilt and fear of rejection were scripted into the core of my being.

These scars have shaped who I am and still affect me today. Fear of rejection and guilt gave rise to decades of depression and anxiety.

I’ve spent most of my life searching for someone or something to fix me, and fill the deep void in my spirit. Decades of counselling, medication and therapy eventually helped me to manage the depression, but the painful void remained.

I looked to God to fill the gap, but 20 years of commitment to faith tragically reinforced my fear of rejection instead of healing it. I looked to Rosie to fill the void, but no amount of love she could give was enough. Even the love of my wonderful children, and great support from close friends could not get me there.

But the picture is not all bad. Suffering teaches you things you cannot learn any other way; it can build love, empathy and compassion for others like nothing else. That said, I would never choose to suffer, but I am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the people it has brought into my life.

A precious memory

The night Mum died I was at home with my sisters. I remember the look on Dad’s face when he walked through the front door. Before he spoke a word, I burst into tears.

I have other memories of that night. The pastor came around to comfort and pray for us. My sister Glenda held me; the comfort she gave me healed a childhood divide and created a bond that exists to this day.

Most profound of all is a memory from earlier in the evening, before Mum and Dad went to church. After dinner she put me on her lap and gave me a cuddle. I remember it distinctly, but why? Why would I remember something that happened before she died?

Was her hugging me so unusual? I don’t remember her ever having done it before.
Was she motivated by an inner sense that her time was at an end and she wanted to say goodbye?
Whatever the reason, this expression of her love profoundly impacted my young mind. I stored the memory away, waiting for adulthood to bring it back so I could discover the message it contained.

Finding Mum 

My rational adult brain says Mum must have loved me. But for years this meant nothing to my heart.

I knew there was no value blaming her. How could I be angry with a woman who did her very best amidst terrible suffering?  I’ve known that suffering too. Instead of anger I felt compassion, but still no sense of love, or being loved.

I always found it difficult to speak of ‘my Mum’. I felt awkward. It just didn’t fit. It lacked any feelings of warmth or authenticity. So I referred to her as my ‘my mother’ instead.

In recent years it dawned on me how tough life was for her; how incredibly painful it would have been not being able to care for me; to allow another woman to take her place because of the disabling torment within.

I realised she had little or no control over what happened. This allowed an emotional connection with her to start growing. I still have a long way to go.

The message embedded in her cuddle just hours before she died is finally reaching my heart…

My mother really loved me.
I really did have a Mum.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a time for celebrating Mums. The huge role mothers play in raising children can bring a great deal of joy and fulfilment. It is also very difficult and demanding, with more than a fair share of heartache. But the vast majority of Mums (and Dads) do the best they can.

Mums fully deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day.

Be aware of others

Mother’s Day is a tough day for many people. It may seem like everyone around you is celebrating, while you are feeling pain.

Many people, both young and old, have lost their mothers.
Many mothers and children are separated by distance, and fractured relationships.
Many mothers languish in nursing homes, forgotten or neglected by their families.

There are mothers who have lost children.
And women who longed for children but couldn’t have them.

And then there are those who had a mother, but never had a Mum.

Mother’s Day is a tough day for all these people.
Next year, let’s be mindful of how they feel and let them know we care.

A closing thought

Let go of your Mum.

No Mums live forever. At some stage you have to let your Mum go. When you stand by her side in her final days, as much as you want her to stay, let her know she is free to go. Firsthand experience has shown me how important this is.

There are many other aspects of letting your Mum go; it’s a process that begins in childhood and continues through our adult lives.

A vital step is realizing you are a complete person in yourself. Your fundamental value and worth do not come from your Mum, and must not be dependent on much or little she loves (or loved) you. Some of us, even as mature adults, remain stuck in childhood.

The victim narrative of ‘not having a Mum’, and the void it created, has driven me to avoid rejection by pleasing other people. It has relentlessly demanded ‘I do more with my life’ and daily told me I’ve failed. Perversely, it also became part of my identity… being a victim gave me significance, prompting care and support from others.

I’m finally realising I need to leave the victim narrative behind.

The irony is, at the same time as finding my Mum, I’m finally letting go.

 

ian-dingo

 

Ian James 20th May 2018

© 2018 Ian James, http://www.onlivingauthentically.com

Two years today… the second anniversary of Rosie’s passing

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Before today arrived I wondered if it was going to be much like any other day… I’m a long way from home in Queensland and unable to spend the day with other family members who I know will be finding it very tough (poor holiday planning on my part) but the thought of Rosie’s second anniversary just seemed surreal.

But it’s not like any other day… far from it.

Physically I’m in an amazing holiday destination on a beautiful day (in fact as I write I’m sitting in the café at the top of the Skypoint Observation Tower… the highest building in Surfer’s Paradise with stunning 360 degree views). Mentally and emotionally however I feel disassociated from my surroundings… my spirit is in a very different space from my body… almost like being in a strange dream.

The day has given rise to a very complex mix of emotions… the overall sense is that of being numb… it’s like I’m drifting and can’t find an orientation point to hold onto.

What am I feeling?

Sadness, yes. Grief, yes. A profound sense of loss… very much so.
Freedom and release, yes
… it was a long, very tough 16 year cancer journey for Rosie and I. But release into what I’m still not sure… I’m still trying to understand who I am and what my new life is about.

There is also a very sober awareness of the sacred space I stood in on this day two years ago… being with Rosie, my wife of over 33 years, as she died… the final exchange of love between us in the hour before she passed… her letting go and dying immediately after I said to her “Rosie, you are free to go”… these incredibly powerful experiences have been indelibly printed in my memory and are once again replaying in my mind.

As I look up from my laptop and see the incredible views laid out before me a freeing thought comes to mind…

Rosie would have loved this place and been so excited to be here. No doubt she would want me to be excited and enjoy it too… so that’s what I’m going to do.

One thing these last two years have taught me… Joy does not always replace grief… it often sits alongside it.

I am so thankful that my honorary daughter Alexis lives in Surfer’s Paradise and that I am able to stay at her place over this weekend. Being away from family and alone at a youth hostel today and tonight would have been very tough.

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Ian James

A Tough Season Ahead

Creating Memories

When holidaying or bushwalking in special places I sometimes collect a souvenir to remember that special time.

I keep two souvenirs on my key chain… a blue lego block I found on the beach below the cliffs at the Twelve Apostles on The Great Ocean Road… and a small metal washer that was part of the Pacific Dawn; I found it on the deck of the ship during Rosie’s and my final cruise.

Sometimes I gave Rosie a souvenir as a gift… like the alpine flower I found when I climbed to the summit of Victoria’s highest mountain, Mount Bogong.

The other day I picked up a shell as I was walking one of Perth’s beautiful beaches. There was nothing special about this shell; it was one of many similar shells scattered along the high water mark; but it captured my memories of the pristine white sand and crystal clear waters along the West Australian coast.

I then picked up a second shell for Rosie… even though I knew I could not give it to her, I sensed it was important for me to do this, even if I didn’t know why.

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A new season of grief

Travelling to Perth to celebrate the arrival of my second grandson was a time of joy and delight like I have rarely experienced before.

It was also a time of being exposed emotionally… alongside the joy I felt the pain of knowing Rosie was not there to celebrate this incredibly special moment with me.

The coming month is going to be tough

This Wednesday 30th September, many of us will receive a Facebook reminder that it is Rosie’s birthday. For some who were close to Rosie I know this will come unexpectedly and deep feelings of grief will resurface.

Rosie’s birthday is the beginning of a new season of grief for me too. It is the forerunner to an intense time, the first anniversary of Rosie’s death on October 29th and her funeral on November 6th. For me the awareness and pain of losing her is already intensifying and I know this will only increase as these weeks progress.

So how do I navigate this difficult time? This question has been echoing around my mind, calling out for an answer so that I don’t enter it unprepared.

The simple answer is that there are no simple answers. Grief is something you deal with by going through it; it does not readily lend itself to plans and strategies designed to manage it.

Some helpful principles…

Grief is not something to run away from, rather it is one of the dark strands of the tapestry of life that we have no choice but to weave. Going through it is not easy, especially in the first year after losing a loved one when all the ‘first anniversaries’ take place, but it is far more healthy to allow oneself to feel and experience grief when it comes than to try and suppress it.

Grief can give rise to a range of other deep emotions. For me, deep anger and frustration are also crying out to be resolved. Allowing grief and these other emotions to rise will provide me with an opportunity to work through not only the loss of Rosie, but a range of other issues that have been buried within me for decades. (Thanks heavens for grief counselling… there will be no lack of ‘grist for the mill’!)

I may not want to acknowledge it, but grief provides a unique opportunity for me to learn about life and myself, and to grow. None of us like “grasping the nettles” of painful times, but I know it can bring healing, growth, empathy for others, and equipping for the future in ways that nothing else can; grief actually has a positive side that can encourage and empower me, giving me strength to make it through.

To the extent that grief brings us pain, it also brings the choice to accept it, learn from it and find healing, or to suppress it and perpetuate it, possibly in harmful ways.

I know I am not alone

Knowing I am not walking this journey on my own is a huge blessing and comfort.

My close friends will play a key role during this time. I have the freedom to call on them anytime and know they will be there for me. Catching up with them regularly allows me to offload the emotional pressure… these friends know how to really listen, a rare skill these days.

My wider family have been supportive beyond what I thought possible over this last year, and we now share a much deeper bond as a family. I will not want to be alone for Rosie’s birthday or the anniversary of her passing. Spending time with my family on those days will be very important… I have no doubt my family will need each other too.

I may also spend time at Caritas Christi, where I can quietly reflect on being with Rosie during her final days and final moments. The hospice is my sacred place for reflection; it is here that Rosie was last alive; where she spent her final days “living well and dying well” as was her motto to the end.

A helpful metaphor

As I write this I have the two shells in my pocket… they represent Rosie and I and our relationship.

The shells are of the same type but are nonetheless unique and complete in themselves… no two shells, no matter how similar, are ever exactly the same. In a healthy relationship not only do “two become one”, they also grow as “one plus one”, complementing each other.

Together the shells represent our relationship… it took both of these shells joined together to protect the life that grew and thrived within them for over 33 years. But every living thing and every relationship one day must come to an end… this is a tough reality we all face. When that day came for Rosie and I we experienced the pain of separation and our two shells now travel their own paths through ‘the ocean of life’ here and beyond.

When I took the shells out of my pocket I found the smaller shell nestled fully within the larger one. From above, only the larger shell can be seen; turn them over and the smaller shell is revealed, hidden within the larger one. While Rosie is no longer with me physically, I will hold my memories of her deep within me for the rest of my life…

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On a practical note…

Being able to express in a practical way, our gratitude for who Rosie was to us, and the grief we feel at losing her, can be an important part of the healing process, not only for ourselves, but also for others with whom we share.

Rosie’s facebook page is still active for this purpose. If you would like to express your thoughts and feelings during the coming days and weeks, please feel free to do so.

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My Birthday Gift

Today is my birthday.

As I do most Sunday mornings I’m sitting in a cafe enjoying a cappuccino or two while thinking and writing. Today is different however… it’s my first birthday in almost 40 years without Rosie.

Lots of special events are happening at the moment… Flynn’s 3rd birthday party yesterday, my birthday and family party today, tomorrow I’m off to Mount Beauty to spend a few days with Rosie’s legendary Uncle Ron who turned 95 this week, then in 3 weeks I’m off to Perth for the arrival of Rohan and Sheralee’s first baby (due mid Sept) and grandchild number 2 for me!

Each of these occasions brings an understandable mix of emotions however… the joy and excitement of life in all its variety and the grief and sadness of knowing that Rosie is no longer here to share these celebrations.

There’s a powerful life lesson in this that has only just dawned on me this morning…

Rather than allowing sadness and grief to cancel out joy and excitement the key is to allow both sets of emotions to be fully present at the same time. Allowing both the dark and bright threads of life to be woven together in their fullness creates a far richer, more beautiful tapestry than weaving it with the grey threads of negated or suppressed emotions.

I wasn’t expecting to receive any birthday gifts until later in the day… but I think I’ve just glimpsed one that is more valuable than any gift I could have asked for.

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Black Clouds… Gold Linings

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Sometimes the darkest clouds have the brightest linings…

Last Saturday night I attended the Tuxedo Junction Charity Ball… a stunning and heart-tugging experience all wrapped up in one.

Tuxedo Junction is a charity organization gathering corporate sponsorship for Cancer Council Victoria and plays a major role in funding cancer research projects undertaken by Peter Mac Cancer Hospital and other organizations.

A few months before Rosie died last year she and I were stunned and humbled when close friends from MiTec Medical Publishing, a leading medical publishing company in Australia, announced they were sponsoring a 3 year Rosie James Cancer Research Award through Tuxedo Junction!

Tuxedo Junction have an annual Charity Ball as their main fundraising event each year and this year I had the privilege of being invited to attend.

The event was held in the Regent Theatre Plaza Ballroom in the Melbourne CBD. The unpretentious entry doors on Collins Street lead to a long staircase taking you down into the foyer. When I reached the top of the staircase my breath was literally taken away. It was like walking into a stunning underground medieval castle complete with rock walls, windows, balconies and chandeliers.

Walking into the ballroom was another ‘wow!’ moment. The underground ballroom is huge, with the stone walls decked out with more windows and balconies and numerous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A large stage occupies one end of the ballroom with a dance floor in front of it. A second smaller stage was set up in the centre of the floor surrounded by dining tables, all set up with glittering table lights reflecting off an array of sparkling glasses and tableware. Around the sides of the ballroom an amazing collection of donated items were on display for the silent auction.

My breath was again taken away when I saw a slide including a photo of Rosie and I displayed on the large projector screens on either side of the stage… it was a photo taken at Rosie’s funeral… I was standing on the church stage sharing my reflections on Rosie with a large photo of her smiling face projected behind me.

I found the table hosted by MiTec right next to the central stage. I was relieved to find I was seated next to my friends from MiTec as I didn’t really know any of the others on our table. It turned out they were all members of my friends’ extended family who very significantly had experienced the sudden and traumatic loss of one of their own to cancer earlier this year. I was not alone… they too were on the same journey as me.

The night for me brought a wide spectrum of experiences and emotions. The venue was stunning, the entertainers were top level performers all generously donating their time, the food was superb, the drinks were included (so I indulged in two glasses of champagne… rare for me!), and the auction was ‘out of my league’ with people bidding for items going for thousands of dollars.

Early in the evening I felt somewhat awkward. The family on my table were all understandably catching up with each other … I took a few walks to take photos and check out the silent auction items to avoid just sitting at the table. As the evening moved on (and the alcohol helped bring down our social barriers!) a number of family members made a special effort to talk to me, warmly communicating their care and support while sharing some of their own painful story. By the end of the evening I felt very welcome and at home in their midst.

The photo of Rosie and I kept appearing on the big screens as the projector cycled through the sponsor logos and the major items to be auctioned off later in the evening. The final auction item was the corporate sponsorship and naming rights for a new 2016 Cancer Research Award. The accompanying slide included our photo to highlight the existing 2014-2017 Rosie James Research Award as an example. I happened to be wearing the same suit and tie as in the photo… I only have one formal outfit!

The toughest part of the evening was immediately before the main auction. A slide show of people involved in the Tuxedo Junction projects including those touched by cancer was played on the big screens accompanied by Debra Byrne singing a beautiful song to set the atmosphere. The first two photos hit me hard. The photo of Rosie and I was now displayed full-screen, followed by a beautiful photo of Rosie and her dear friend from MiTec, both beaming with smiles of delight as they often did when together. I struggled to not burst into tears… it was a painful but very special moment… I haven’t broken down and wept since the night Rosie died and I came within a whisker of doing so at that point.

When the formal part of the evening was over a great band started playing and an Elvis look-alike singer hit the stage. The dance floor quickly filled with people including most of the people from my table. While I thoroughly enjoy dancing and had no desire to be sitting at the table alone, it’s difficult at the best of times to be a bloke going up to the dance floor on your own.

I spotted my friends on the dance floor and found the courage to join them. It turned out to be the final dance of the bracket so we stood on the dance floor while the raffle prizes were drawn. I was feeling uncomfortable when the music started again and I was starting back toward our table when one the gracious women in the family grabbed my hand and headed back to the dance floor with me in tow. It was the first time I’d danced since Rosie’s passing and great to have fun with a family who had warmly drawn me into their midst.

Each time I reflect on the night I still feel the sense of wonder and blessing I felt during that incredibly special evening.  More than just a special event, it was the gift of a life experience to be remembered and treasured for years to come.

Winter Grief

It’s been a long time since my previous blog post… there’s a reason for this…

This winter has reflected my internal world… long, dark nights interspersed with cold, grey days occasionally broken by welcome stretches of warm, winter sun. Having a tough time was not unexpected… the only way to handle the grief process is to go through it… but that doesn’t make it easier.

Autumn finished with an exciting three week adventure in Perth and the beautiful south-west corner of Western Australia. I had a load of fun and it was great spending time with my son and pregnant daughter-in-law. But when the trip was over I arrived home to an empty house… not empty of kids and visitors, but empty of Rosie… yet full of reminders of her absence.

My mood sank immediately and for some weeks a dark cloud of depression hung over my head. Earlier in the year I had growing sense of freedom and excitement about moving into a new phase of life. It was gone. Instead I carried a deep anxiety telling me I had to find new purpose, meaning and activities in life and start living them out, instead of sitting there wasting my life. But I had no energy or motivation to get moving… just a deep weariness and confused grief.

Grief for me has two key aspects
As expected I grieve losing Rosie, my faithful loving marriage partner, friend and life companion for over 33 years. Not expected has been a deep grief over issues in our relationship that despite years of hard work and counselling separately and together, were never resolved.

No marriage is perfect and ours was no exception. Many issues arise in every marriage and need to be resolved… marriage is a working partnership… but sometimes in the real world of imperfect people and imperfect relationships some issues cannot be fully resolved. The key here is being able to accept these issues for what they are and keep moving on, but this does not mean it is easy. (Note: Sometimes moving on means moving on separately.)

For Rosie and I there were significant areas in which we struggled to really connect… not unusual in a marriage but painful for us both. I won’t go into further detail now… maybe it will be appropriate at a future time. (Don’t misunderstand me however… Rosie and I were deeply committed to one another and shared genuine love and deep trust.)

My grief over these unresolved issues seemed to be blocking my grief over losing Rosie, and feeling that I was stuck in the grief process was only reinforcing the depression.

I then went on a whirlwind 4WD trip across the Simpson Desert. 5000km in 13 days! New friends, so many things to see and do… an experience of a lifetime… but also very tiring! The trip temporarily distracted me from grief and depression… but it was all waiting for me when I got home exhausted.

It dawned on me that I need some grief counseling (why hadn’t I thought of this before??) so last week I spoke to a counseling administrator to assist with choosing a suitable grief counselor. I told her that the grief counseling I needed was different from normal. I needed a counselor not only experienced with addressing ‘regular grief’ (dealing with the loss of a loved one), but also capable of addressing unresolved relationship issues.

The administrator’s reply was both insightful and encouraging… one of the most common aspects of grief counseling is helping a person dealing with unresolved relationship issues. What I am going through is very normal!

My counseling sessions begin next week… I don’t look forward to facing and dealing with tough issues within myself but I do look forward to the healing and freedom this will bring. Even though the depression has now lifted (thankfully) I believe grief counseling is essential for me to rediscover who I am now without Rosie and be free to move on into a new life.

For those who pray, I’d value your prayers. For those not into praying (and to me that’s perfectly fine) I’d value your thoughts. As always I greatly value the amazing support I receive from my family and close mates and the encouragement I receive from you, my friends.

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Six Months Today

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A café is my solace on a wintry Autumn day,
I look out through the window,
Thick clouds, grey and white, fill the sky.
The leaves are falling from the trees like tears,
I think they know my grief.
They swirl endlessly in the wind, unable to rest, not knowing where to land.
I think they know my confused thoughts, my perplexed emotions, my longing to find peace,
but finding only turmoil.

Winter will soon follow Autumn.
Will my days become even colder and darker?
My nights longer and blacker too?
Spring and Summer seem a long way off,
Across a gulf I don’t want to cross.

I look up from this page and out the window again,
Amid the thick heavy clouds is a patch of bright blue,
And a long flurry of clouds are glowing silvery white.
Signs of hope, they lift my spirit.

Grief will have its seasons,
As inevitable as the seasons of the year,
And as essential too.
Autumn and Winter bring the painful gift of discovering and accepting what is lost,
Spring is full of hope of a new life emerging in its abundance,
Summer will be rich and green again,
And the trees will have new leaves.

The years will roll on, and the seasons too.
Summer will have its storms and cloudy days,
But Winter will have days of bright, sunny skies,
As grief and healing continue hand in hand.

Next Autumn I’m sure the leaves will fall again,
Not only as tears of grief this time,
But as dancers celebrating joyful memories,
Of a loved one and our years together.

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Ian James
29th April 2015

Sometimes It’s Just Hard

A holiday exploring rugged coastline and climbing mountain peaks… spending time with family with the excitement of a new grandchild coming… freedom from the tasks and commitments of everyday life… these times are refreshing, life-giving times…  essential as I adjust to a new life.

But coming home can be tough… stepping through the doorway into a house full of memories of is not easy… each room I enter has so many reminders of Rosie… her personal belongings, decades of life lived together raising children. The lounge room and the bungalow, Rosie’s special places, especially hold deep imprints of her.

All these things remind me that she is no longer here… I feel a deep emptiness… grief.

And there are no easy answers… sometimes it’s just hard.

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