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Let’s talk Hope

For Jade my beautiful adopted daughter

 

I am aware that my posts recently have been quite heavy all about depression, suffering, tears, cancer, divorce, heartbreak etc.  But to set the record straight my life hasn’t/isn’t just filled with misery.  That would have finished anybody off, even a tough old bird like me.  I used to be Jonathon Livingston Seagull, the rebel, black sheep, refusing to fit in, follow the crowd.  Slowly but surely I am becoming Jonathon again but an older wiser version.

Let’s talk hope because that is what has kept me alive and my daughter and the kindness of strangers and good friends which I can count on one hand that have stood by me and not dissolved into the ether.  And family of course, my family, not his.  They don’t want to know me, not even when I was supposedly part of the family and certainly not now.  I have no significance whatsoever, not as the woman in their son’s life for 18 years nor the mother of their first grandchild.  I am not important in my own right, as a separate being.  But that is fine because the best thing about the divorce is I need never have anything to do with them ever again.

Hope.  My favourite poem in English is by Emily Dickenson which starts, ‘Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all …’  Look it up, it is a beautiful poem and very meaningful.  I know it by heart and in my darkest lowest grimmest moments I recited it over and over again to remind myself that even this hell will pass though I didn’t believe it.

I tell you my friends out there across cyberspace and behind the screen, however bad it gets it will pass.  All things do, the good and thank goodness the bad too.  Time is your best friend.  And time really is a healer, cheesy but true.  Time brings about change.  Three things we can be sure of in this life:  Death, Taxes and Change.  Nothing remains the same, we grow old with time and constant change challenges us throughout our lives.

Survival of the fittest – those who can adapt to change survive those who can’t wither.  Have you ever read Primo Levi’s writings?  The Italian Jewish chemist who survived the concentration camp but sadly could not rid himself of the horrors and committed suicide by jumping down the flight of stairs in his apartment building in Paris?  In his writings about his experience during the Holocaust he said something along these lines, ‘The only freedom left in such horrific circumstances is how you decide to react’.  The ones who didn’t simply give up and lie down to die were more likely to come out alive, as he did.  Hope.

Hope and Love the most potent forces in the world.  Only hope and love can defeat Hate and Evil, put an end to hostility and war.  Words too.  ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’.  It is true.  Only when we start a dialogue, a genuine one, an open one can there be a possibility of peace in the troubled areas but those in power need to have the will and sincerity to want it; instead of sending youngsters to kill and be killed.  That I think amounts to crimes against humanity.  It is murder because you have actively sent them off to war knowing there is a high possibility they will die.  Some as young as 18 with all of their life ahead of them.

What inspired me to write this post was Jade’s comment about how my posts though full of pain endured still offers hope and that we can come out the other end, not unscathed but stronger and wiser.  Look, if I can survive all that within the space of a few years so can you.  I am just an ordinary human being, like you.  I have no secret powers, magic wand, formula.  I tell you the human spirit is resilient.  Courage will come when you need it.  When you don’t think you could possibly cope, you do, because you have to.  There is no choice.  Well there is.  The choice is brutal but a choice nevertheless: lie down and die or fight.  Fight and flight trigger when confronted with crisis, something that threatens your life, very being.  The will to live is very very very strong. 

Those who commit suicide must be in an extreme dark pain place where they see no alternative, way out, exit from their pain.  Some call them cowards.  They are wrong, I think it takes great courage and determination to extinguish the flame of your own life.  I am not advocating suicide by all means and those left behind have to live with that grief all their lives.  Others accuse them of being selfish but I think if you are in that much pain you are obviously not thinking straight.  If you have the presence of mind to worry about what it is going to do to your friends and loved ones then you wouldn’t be contemplating suicide or going through with it.  At least their suffering is over.  It is what they wanted.  We have no choice over our birth and family but we should over death.  Likewise with euthanasia especially as the person desires it.

Sorry I started off talking about hope and it has got heavy again.  But without the dark shades how can we see the light tones?  Without the stormy threatening clouds how would we appreciate the blue skies and sunshine?  Without despair euphoria?  Without chatter silence?  Without the shit in my life the new beginning?  Knowing who are the people who love me and stand by me come hell or high water, however difficult, crazy I got, how impossible?  I am blessed, beyond measure. 

Love and hope have kept me alive.  Not the love of a man which is what all the love songs on the radio glorified.  That love broke my heart, caused me to cry oceans of tears for 5 long years but no more.  Enough is enough.  It is time.  Family love, daughter, sisters; platonic love from friends and strangers.  Love from a stranger??  Any acts of kindness however minute is a display of love, of concern, of care, of wanting to ease your pain, of reaching out to another human being.  Empathy, compassion are under-rated whilst romantic love of the fairy tale happy ending kind is dangerously over-rated.  It is the biggest lie of all times, since records began.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that genuine long lasting love between the sexes and the same sex doesn’t exist, of course it does, I have many friends of whom I am very envious.  And I am very happy for them.  But it really is sold as the superior brand, that without it you couldn’t possibly be happy and fulfilled which is blatantly untrue. 

This post has been truly rambling and no doubt from a disturbed mind. 

Over and out Mama G.

 

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melancholy

Gorgeous is a little melancholic today, suddening realising that this day 21 years ago she was a beautiful bride in plum silk cheung sam sitting on the love of her life’s knee to take their wedding photo.  It was the  best day of her life followed closely by that early morning half a year later when her beautiful baby came into this world.  Her angel and shining light.  She was beaming from deep within and so was he.

Alas the fairy tale didn’t last; the princess turned into a middle aged cancer survivor/divorcee living with depression and nursing a broken heart literally and emotionally.  Rejection has hit her hard, to the very core of her being and she has had to dig deep, grit her teeth and go on.

how

stopped asking why
futile
moved on to
how

everybody says move on let go
how

words are easy
meaningless

how
do you get all the pain out
forget the hurt accept loss
begin a new life not mourn the old

how
hold onto the good memories
not permit the end to taint
wring the last drop of love dry

how

Poem a day challenge#13 Agree to disagree

We could never agree to

disagree meet in the

middle now we don’t

meet at all

Love

What is love?  Once upon a time I believed there were three people in the world who loved me unconditionally: my husband, daughter and sister.  I was wrong; one exited from my life post haste and the latter two remained. 

He wasn’t in love with me, the person I was but an ideal version in his head.  When reality deviated too far from the fantasy he went in pursuit of another. To give him credit he gave it his best shot, never missing a chance to ‘mould’ me into a better person by pointing out my faults.  Sadly the social experiment failed as the living version, no matter how hard she tried, never got close to the ideal.  On the contrary she became depressed and then had the audacity to be diagnosed with cancer not once but twice.  She was never going to cut it so he pulled the plug.

What is love?  It is not giving up on someone when even she has on herself.  Loving the person even though you may be angry or hurt by their words or deeds.  Accepting her eccentricities, bad habits, strong opinions though she can sometimes irritate you to hell and be hard work…  Wishing her well even if you are in a dark place yourself.  Seeing the good in her when others don’t or won’t and giving the benefit of the doubt.  Be the last person standing for her to lean on in a crisis.

 

patchwork

patchwork 
(for all those who live to fight another day)
nothingness hollow emptiness numbness
frozen murky grey confusion depression
misty sandy mirage flashes of the past
bits and pieces sewn into a patchwork
some brilliant joyful contented moments
others a paler shade of grey black blue
yet others turbulent clashing violent red
i see shiny multi-coloured quality street wrappers
floating in the air illuminated by a shaft of sunlight 
kids chasing them spellbound a magical moment
i remember going on the train to canton when i was 6
entering this dark spooky house lit by a lone candle
up the stairs where a wrinkly old lady dressed in black
lay dying my maternal grandmother but i did not know then
i am jolted back to the instant the boeing 747 landed with a bump
out of its metal belly spewed a chinese country bumpkin
in two black pigtails smothered by the london august heat 
welcome to heathrow your new life the year was 1969 i was 8
i see her wearing headphones in this language laboratory booth
repeat after me and that’s how my sister and i learnt english
and duely lost our childhood as our parents’ keepers
i am rudely awakened by vicious angry shouting familiar voices
it is not the melodic sound of dad singing after winning on the horses
nor the loving words of mum telling us to be careful when we went out
it is the heavy violent banging of mum’s head against the headboard
mum confronting him about the shanghai mistress his infidelity his lust
he hits back by threatening to kill her rushing back with a chinese cleaver
my superhero sis jumps in to avoid bloodshed while i cower under the duvet
i recall fairy godmother does not step in wave her magic wand make it all ok
the drama intensifies dad buggers off no kiss and make up no heart to heart
leaving in his wake a suicidal wife two unsupported traumatised teenagers
i remember thinking he didn’t love us enough to stay we weren’t good enough
i see two girls rushing home after school terrified of what they might find
if mum should have made good her threat what was gonna become of us
would we have to end up in a children’s home could we stay together
i see from the corner of my eye fairy godmother half waving the wand
mum pulls herself together after a good talking to from an old family friend
wipe your tears shelf the self pity your two girls need you to be strong
dad eventually came back with his tail between his legs mum took him back
fast forward 1980 i sit in a lecture theatre in cardiff full of nervous 18 year olds
true taste of freedom without the weight of ancient culture breathing down my neck
my feet metaphorically unbound an eye opener of how the other half lived
i was gobsmacked when my best friend hazel told me she was staying put
i assumed you went home after graduation that is what you do
by then i was addicted to my liberation not boxed in by somebody else’s rules
i thought up a cunning plan told mum i was off to hong kong to find my roots
that was the only way she would let me out of her claws not watch my every move
this time the boeing 747 landed at kai tak international airport with a bump
narrowly missing the high rise in kowloon welcome to 80’s hong kong
i see a 22 year old beautiful woman the world at her feet having a ball
charming her students though chinese like them she was very different
she didn’t walk the walk talk the talk like the natives but still cool and fun
enter the first boyfriend short overweight not brad pitt but heart of gold and keen
charmed her said nice things she’d never heard before like you are beautiful
put her on a pedestal she felt the dizzy heights from her throne she surveyed
all was good in her world she was loved adored free soaking it all in loving it
i recall in my mind’s eye a gorgeous bride in french plaits flowers in her hair
beaming with joy and pride in her plum coloured silk cheung sam
with the mandarin collar slits either side all the way down to the ground
clutching a bouquet of flowers it was her wedding day she gets the prince
determined to be married by 30 i made it with two months to spare
after we exchanged rings kees knelt on the grass i sat on his lap cameras flashed
it was the happiest day of my life for the first time i felt i belonged had come home
i remember moving into the first home we bought on the isle of dogs
a narrow town house on a square with open plan lounge and kitchen
two bedrooms and a box room we made into an office and integral garage
i see a woman lying in pain feeling fed up in a hospital bed
wishing the baby would hurry up her waters would break the labour over
36 hours later a baby girl is sucked into the world taking her first gasp
the father is beaming with joy the mother lies exhausted but proud
i have 1998 etched in my mind it was the year we had our best ever holiday
cape town gorgeous sunshine coastal drive ocean waves misty table mountain
kruger park elephants giraffes lions hyenas roaming the wild vultures circling
mei with her pink shiny barbie camera attracting unwanted attention
the guide and kees fighting off the baboon baring its teeth trying to get in
sleeping in cosy mud huts having barbecues out front putting sun tan lotion on
also the year it all started to go wrong at 36 i was diagnosed with breast cancer
i feel the huge hammer from the sky hitting me hard on my head like a nail
i lost my mind three years earlier let’s just put it down to workplace bullying
do you know that even happy life events like marriage buying a house
having a baby can be extremely stressful now my body was letting me down too
the worse was the not knowing torturous waiting endless tests needles
you run through various scenarios in your head best being no cancer 
worse was unthinkable and sod’s law the evil word ‘mastectomy’ resounded
i come to in a deadly silent room except for the machines beeping looked around
knew instinctively i was not back on ellis ward not enough beds for a start and quiet
no phone constantly ringing visitors’ voices nurses rushed off their feet bright light
i knew i hadn’t died gone to hell cos where was the furnace the welcoming party
my life hadn’t flashed before my eyes no light at the end of the tunnel pearly gates
a scottish male nurse appears like a genie this is the high dependency unit phew
soup has never tasted so good the op took longer than expected lost a lot of blood
i am minus left boob but replaced by brilliant reconstruction with implant muscle
less lymph nodes to ensure cancer hasn’t spread and additional scars front back
good news no further treatment needed bad news .5 cm of invasive cancer found
excellent prognosis nevertheless you are one of the lucky ones cho wan mmmm
who am i to beg to differ it’s all relative ain’t it i didn’t die it hasn’t spread so maybe
once is unlucky twice is careless especially as you can smell the finishing line
i’d passed the all important 5 year remission mark on the last strait to the 10th
i was getting too complacent just as you think it is safe to get back in the water
finally leave it behind the grey cloud hanging over the back of your mind
that’s be too easy wouldn’t it come on you are always up for a challenge
tough old bird survivor let’s see how far you can be pushed before you crack
God does not give you more than you can bear rubbish sorry He does
but what is the alternative lie down give up and die or shout bring it on
so what i lose my health hair i can’t swallow eat i am abandoned go it alone
i am in bed it is the afternoon but i have no desire to get up do anything
i don’t see the point makes no difference if i put the washing in now or later
i thought i’d be ecstatic the last day of my radiotherapy it felt a huge anti-climax
i believed i could slip effortlessly back into my old life of humdrum normality
how wrong my mind body soul went on strike shut down declared they’d enough
sulking pissed off the body assaulted poisoned the mind deprived the soul crushed
i took to my bed for 8 montnhs operated on sleep standby mode recharging
i am staring at a tall dark stranger who looks remarkably like my husband
he talks smells the same but i cant quite believe the words coming out of his mouth
they seem to take on a life of their own the sounds hanging heavily in the air
it feels like he is talking about somebody else’s marriage some other wife
who never made any effort in all the 16 years who made her husband’s life hell
it didn’t matter if she couldn’t help being depressed her cancer coming back
to top it all his business failed cos he couldn’t focus on turning it round he wants out
i hear a heart silently breaking the death throes of a marriage love strangled
anger what in all the 16 years of marriage not one single happy memory
i see a traumatised woman ripping out treasured photos from her white album
tearing them up scattering them like confetti on her wedding day
screaming there is no marriage anymore so why keep them
she wished for amnesia to wash over her blocking out i don’t love you anymore
i haven’t for 3 years i stayed waiting for you to change but now i know you won’t
i remember jumping into my red polo with early dawn behind me a broken woman
i drove to norwich having looked up the map a leap in the dark if ever there was
but i knew i was very unhappy i was dying inside i had to walk away or go insane
life hasn’t been one big bed of sweet roses in norwich the grass not really greener
i had no choice it was what i had to do to save myself from going under forever
i needed to get away from it all seek sanctuary a place to rest and heal recover
i had to have time for contemplation heartache for crying mourning self discovery
now what next brown cow who knows what tomorrow brings i don’t plan no more
i go with the flow embrace what life brings try not to sweat the small stuff
really in the scheme of things we are terribly insignificant a speck in the galaxies
our individual tragedies drama appear gigantic disastrous but they too will pass
despite the involuntary stay at heartache hotel regular custom at lonely hearts cafe
i would not swap a single piece of the patchwork of my life every bit a rare memory
every square rough or smooth a defining moment empowering me to go on

Quelque chose belle

Uninvited

Uninvited you
Sneaked into the crack of my soul
Hijacked my heart
Shared my bed
Without permission you
Were gone
No word no signal
Left with the remnants of grief
Wondering if you were ever real
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