Change

The only certain thing…
Other than Death and Taxes of course.
As lives go, I’ve not lead the most evenly spaced. It’s not been all bad, but there have been some bad times – it often feels like there have been more bad times than good.
But, all thing change. Nothing lasts forever – not the bad, and not the good either.
Last year was one of the bad times. From March, no income – not even unemployment from the Government. I suppose they though that, since I’m a whitie – that much reviled species in the Suck Heap – I don’t deserve their largess. Thank Heavens for family. If not for them, I would now have been in a squatter camp of my own somewhere with all the other members of my reviled species.
Then, one night, as I was sitting in my lounge, doors open wide to listen to the night sounds, a wind came up. It billowed the curtains and blew straight into my heart – a wind of change. I wrote about it at the time. I felt the cleansing it brought. The promise of a change, a new beginning. At the time, I felt refreshed, heartened. Of course, such feelings do not last. I mean, how much stock can you really put into a wind blowing? Regardless of what you felt when it happened. So I left it and carried on with life as best I knew how.
And then I got a call. Do you think you can look after kids? Help them with their homework in the afternoons?
Well, uhm, yeah… I probably could. I did not say what I really thought – that’s the last thing I want to do! Look after a bunch of bloody rugrats while they moan and groan and cat all spoilt…
Suffice to say, I had nothing else in the cards. Only possibles of maybe selling a house, or maybe selling long term insurance, maybe finding a job in a market that’s not on my side on either age or colour – so I took the offering as a sign of the wind and the Universe and my G-d actually delivering on a promise made. I grabbed it with both hands and now I have to eat my words.
I am at the coast. Living in a cute, albeit noisy, flat, a few plants, a few birds that I feed every day, enough to eat, place to sleep and benefactors that make me feel guilty for all they do for me. They pay me a decent salary. They gave me a car to drive with, a cleaning service once a week, and they pay for my electricity and the flat I stay in.
And the kids, you may ask? Those terrible rugratty ankle biters? Lovely boys. Well mannered for the most part, mostly prepared to listen to me, and do what I teach them. They enjoy my company as I enjoy theirs. I feel as if I’m actually doing something constructive – I play a part in these kids’ lives. I can try and make a difference to the outcome of their years. I don’t just help a company make more and more and more money to the detriment of my soul.
I help kids – and I think that’s kinda real. Sure I get paid to do it – that was, after all the reason I took the job – but it seems more than just a job. Not something I’ve ever felt in any of the many jobs I’ve had throughout my life.
I miss my house and my people and my animals – especially my animals. But this opportunity? This is something that I thank G-d for every day of my life.
I see the ocean every day – sometimes I even walk next to it. I have a bit of extra cash to do little things with – buy a cinnabon or a hobby thing, I have every morning free to do with what I like and I get to make a change in a few people’s lives.
I can’t say this will last forever. Maybe it’s just a temporary thing and I have to go back to my dreary existence.
But for now, I am blessed and content for the most part.
There are people out there that do make a change in other’s lives…

Promise

It’s been a bad one…

This year. It reached depths of despair l never thought l’d have to live through ever again. 

Jobless, yet again, but trying, trying so hard to change the outcome. Doing anything and everything l can to make myself believe l’m not as useless and worthless as the job market seems to think of me. 

It’s summer in South Africa. Dry, hot, baking summer. Glorious and draining at the same time. This evening, after a day spent sweating in my garage, getting my Christmas tree ready for display, l almost went straight for a bath after supper. 

But while having my post-prandial smoke and coffee, l decided to go outside and just experience the night. 

Just sit and feel the night settle about me. Hearing the birds snuffle in the trees, listening to the dogs breathing around me, the soft sussiration of a car passing in the road behind me. Al quiet sounds of night arriving. 

Then the wind started to blow. 

And it felt like a promise kissing my skin. A promise that, even with all the bad, there are many good things too. 

I just need to be open to receive the beauty of G-d’s creation. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T6PaCFwq_ik

Death

Has struck again. 

And, once again, it took the better of us. 

One of my blog buddies, Sam Fenn, died yesterday. 

Of all the people l know, Sam was always ready with a laugh or a home made cupcake, ready conversation, a shoulder to cry on. 

But she never seemed to get the best of any deal. 

She’s had a raw life. 

Sam, my friend, l wish l was a better friend to you than l was. 

I don’t know what really happens when you die. But if, as l believe, there is a heaven, l hope you are there now. Safe for once. Happy. Cared for. Looked after. 

Go gently into the night, Sam. Your last journey has begun. You will forever be in my thoughts. 

https://youtu.be/dcnd55tLCv8

Today

Today has been a day of memories. 

Forgotten things remembered, bittersweet memories, tastes, smells, pictures, long since looked at, dusted off. 

A day of remembering a time in my life that taught me how to love deeply, regret utterly, enjoy completely was brought on by a memory share on silly FB. Just a picture of me in lraq in front of a military humvee. I was a few weeks away from my 40th b day. 

In a strange place, meeting strange people, experiencing strange things. It was before l met my dude. Before life changed completely. Before l got sad and reflective and old 😒

And tonight, l’m sitting at a random coffee shop in the suckheap’s main town, listening to a young man and his brother making half decent music, drinking a chai latte. 

Something that me and my dude used to imbibe more often than not. 

Memory lane. Not a trip to take lightly. But a trip worth taking nevertheless. It’s in our memories that our forgotten loves live. Where we can dust off and look at everything that’s happened to bring us where we are. 

In our memories that we can feel special. Loved. Accepted. Not old and decrepid and worthless. 

I don’t often do the memory thing. They often hurt more than they should. But tonight seems to be the perfect time to reflect on times gone by. 

I still miss my dude. Some days more than others, but he’s always in the back of my mind in some or other guise. A memory. A remembrance. A lesson. And a hole in my heart that will likely never again be filled…

The Portal

It’s midday. Sun shining brightly outside. Blustery wind blowing hither and tither – hopefully bringing welcome rain. A respite from the dryness enveloping everything.

In my study, surrounded by my papery companions, my music, my bags and bags of yarn, filled with completed or half-completed projects, I sit in front of my desk, thinking. I’ve been ready to pack it all in for a while now. Just get up one morning, get dressed and drive off into the mist. To be lost in time, forgotten by everybody that knows me. As gone as gone can be. Or, better yet, to not wake up at all. Just be lost in death.

I look down. Maybe praying to a God that I think has forgotten me. Maybe just to check if my hands are as clenched as I feel they are. Likely just because my head feels too heavy for my neck. I see a shimmering in the foot well of the desk. Just a glimmer, kind of like the sun baking on black top. Through the shimmer I can faintly see something. Nothing very clear, just an idea of something behind the glimmering.

What is this? Probably an electric short, getting ready to blow my house and its contents sky-high, giving me the oblivion I’ve been craving.

I slowly stretch out my hand, not certain what it is. Don’t feel like getting shocked – pain is never a pleasant thing! I encounter slight resistance…

And my hand passes right through. It does not appear at the back as I would have thought, no. It goes in. Into the shimmering glimmer. I don’t feel anything . Bring my hand back in. It looks just the same. Feels just the same.

I move my chair back, get down on my knees – with great discomfort because my back has been letting me know that I’m getting older. Reminding me that there are not all that many years still left. Making me aware of the mistakes made in my youth, mistakes I’m paying for now. Once on my knees, I put my hand through the glimmer again. Push it in a bit further, to my shoulder. My face getting closer and closer until my nose touches the glimmer and my face sink through it.

I see… Well, I see someplace else. Nowhere I’ve ever been. Nothing like I’ve ever seen. And certainly not something that has any place being in the foot well of my desk, in my study, surrounded by the bonds of suburban living.

Here’s my chance. My way out of my current, binding, claustrophobic existence. The escape I’ve been praying for, longing for, hoping for.

I crawl through the glimmer, my whole body sliding through to the other side.

I stand up and breathe deeply of air untainted by exhaust fumes and people. All around me, just waving grass, like a golden carpet. In the distance a copse of trees – I make for them  – might as well explore my surroundings while I’m there. I look backward and see the glimmer in the air and through it, dimly, I can make out my study – chair askew, bookshelves behind – just as I left it.

The glimmer follows me, always at my back so i can go back should I want to.

I don’t though. Before me lies a dream come to life. A place of rest. A place where money or lack thereof makes no difference. Where shelter from the elements are more important than what said shelter looks like. Where you eat what you pick off the trees. No larder or shopping trips. No people to revile you or make you feel less than you are.

A portal to an alternate reality. A place I can go and hide when reality starts to bite harder than usual.

I might never leave…

Please.

Explain this logic.

I live in South Africa. A country at the southern tip of the African continent. A country that, at the moment, is being ravaged by evil from all sides. Sure, it’s only the world’s most corrupt politician, the world’s most expensive president and little things like that that’s creating an atmosphere of fear and distrust.

The logic I want explained, however, does not have too much to do with idiot politicians and their corrupt ways, but of the actual people I share this country with.

I’ve been sitting with the warehouse guys during lunch times these days. The only white person. The only female. I figured, the only way for me to know about how these people think and maybe try to make sense of it will be to share their down time with them. It’s been going well. We talk and laugh and teach one another all manner of things.

Alas. The chasm between Western and African society just keeps on gaping, even larger, ever deeper, becoming, for me at least, unfathomable!

Typhoid. It’s hit our shores. In a minor incidence, but it is here. Thought it’s not being transmitted by rats, mostly by bad sanitation and infected food, the conversation naturally turned toward rats and the illnesses they have caused – that we know of. I read an article that the black plague in Europe was a direct result of cats being killed for fear of them being witches familiars. If I’m incorrect in this instance, please correct me, but it makes perfect sense for people to do such a thing.

In the black community, however, it’s not black cats that gets the bad rep, although I suppose there is bound to be some or other witch doctor that brews potions with the feet or genitals of black cats, the bad rep in this instance is owls.

A while ago, in an effort to curb the rat population in one of South Africa’s biggest townships, Alexandra, the government built owl boxes and populated them with owls. Which was promptly killed by the community since owls are bad omens. This morning one of those community members said, in so many words, he would rather live with the rats than have an owl hooting outside his window.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the logic I want explained. That you would take the earth’s biggest, most prolific scavenger, the animal most likely to cause death and disease, a creature that decimates everything in it’s path, alive or dead and live with it. Because you’re scared of the sound an owl makes. Because you believe that it’s bad to see or hear an owl.

I know of the superstitions. That owls are harbingers of death. The night before my father died, my mom apparently heard an owl hooting outside. We do, strangely enough, live in the 21st century! Should things such as that not be less prevalent instead of more? Should people not know the difference between a vital part of the eco system and death?

The mind boggles. How do you get people to stop believing these kinds of things? I know there’s something like that in the Hindu religion too – I just don’t know any Hindi’s that’s been killing owls…

How do you, in actual fact, save a nation from their own antiquated and ingrained superstitions?

 

Long days and pleasant nights…

Depression

How does one help?

I think everybody, at one stage or other of their lives, have suffered from depression. For most of us it’s fleeting, a result of external circumstances we can’t control or simply not enough faith. I, myself, knows what it feels like to not want to face the day, to think that every breath I take is just a waste of time and effort because I’m just not worth that.

Things have changed in my life. I’m not perfect, not by any means, but I’m much better than I was. Now I see difficulties and I overcome them. With Help, and with help, but I make do with what I have, and for the most part, I get to the other side. I do sometimes get depressed, but usually it’s hormonal and does not last long. I am blessed in that regard.

One of my buddies though, apparently he’s not so blessed. He’s depressed. It’s a new thing, not the way he’s always been, or maybe he has always been depressed and just lied to himself and those around him. These days, however, he seems to have decided to completely wallow in his state of mind.

Am I wrong in saying that, depressed or not, there are things you just have to do? Get up, go to work, pay bills, cook food, breathe. Then there are other things that you just don’t bother with if you don’t have to. And then there are things that you just do even though they seem insurmountable at the time. I spoke to T yesterday. Same story, it’s not going well with him and this and that and the other. Tells me his bike is broken and he can’t get it to a garage to fix it because they’re closed over weekends. I made the suggestion of him putting the bike on his van and driving it to work and then taking it to the garage. His excuse? He does not have a ramp and he can’t put the bike on the van by himself. He’s a man so, presumably, stronger than me. He’s got his mom living with him – think that’s the reason for 80% of his depression – she’s kind of a downing soul – but she can help him. Barring that, they live in a complex that contains, I’m certain, at least one man other than T! A piece of plank will work well for a ramp. Instead of seeing the solutions though, T prefers to just moan about it.

Is it wrong of me to want him to at least try and not wallow in self pity? It’s difficult. Very much so! But you don’t really have to wallow the whole day do you? I know a few depressed people and they all, bar none, really try and be upbeat about what’s going on in their lives. I doubt that it helps them, but I think it makes the rest of the populace feel less helpless. Because really. I can’t help you. I can give you advice, probably good advice. I can’t make you take it. I can’t make you see that there are things out there that are not problems, that are not reasons to be depressed. But, if you insist on only seeing the reasons to be depressed, I will probably lose my temper and that never helps anybody.

My mom tells me to be patient. My aunt tells me to go out of my way to help him. My son tells me to be there for the buddy – I’ve done all this. I’ve offered my shoulder, my ear, my couch, my company – all to no avail. I’m just human after all. And personally, I can’t listen to the same shit every time. Different shit, sure. Interesting shit, certainly. The same, dismal, self-pitying shit? Not so much. Even when I do it myself, I try to stop it before it happens. Its not good for you to hammer on all the bad things in life. To see all obstacles as insurmountable and the worst in T’s situation – he has no real externals that he needs to worry about. His household expenses are minimal. He has enough liquid cash in the bank to buy my house outright. His current house is paid up. His cars are all paid up, as is the bike. Why not phone a garage to come and pick up the bike from his house? The old nag is there the whole day – not like she has a life outside the house! He’s single, has no obligation towards children or a wife, only his nag of a mother and his user of a brother.

And therein, I think, lies the problem of T’s depression. Everything he does is for other people. And those other people accept it as their right. I’m not to be removed from that scenario although I try and make it as fun for him as if is for me, but no. His mother and brother are more than enough to make anybody depressed – they’re carriers of the condition, you see. They don’t suffer from it, they propagate it. I’m being very nasty now, but T makes me angry. He’s got the ability to just go. He can pack his bags and be in a different place within weeks. He’s got money in the bank and not a huge amount of responsibility. But he chooses to wallow in everything he finds so difficult.

I am probably wrong about this. It’s due to complete ignorance of the condition. If any of you out there have any advice, I will gladly accept it. T is a good man, a good friend. And I don’t want to hear one day that he offed himself – that’s what it’s heading towards. I will not carry the guilt for that incident by myself, but I will feel bad about it. So. Help me help him.

Please!

Pet peeve…

…well, there’s a few but only one that sticks in my craw quite the way this particular one does.

Before I get into that though, some news. I officially joined Toastmasters International. I have been inducted, made the promises and filled out a wish list of when to do what. And, since Murphy is alive and well, I was called upon to do a table topic on Wednesday. That’s when you get called out to the front of the room and wax lyrical about some or other random object or topic. I did not do too badly for my first random speaking, and next year january, I will have to give my ice breaker speech. Where I have to introduce myself to the club members in a non-boring fashion. Yeah. Like that’s going to go well!!

Anyhow, back to my pet peeve.

Was talking to some blokes at work yesterday during lunch time. Black guys, one is from Cameroon. He’s married, with a smallish child – no idea how old the kid is, but I know it’s not in school yet. And he’s got this huge tablet like cell phone – that’s apparently the kid’s phone since the father does not have a cell phone. When I asked him why the kid has such an expensive phone he reckoned, kids were expensive. and they don’t want their kids to suffer like they did.

Yes well, button pressed. I’ve been looked at askance on many occasion because I can’t see the reason for children of primary school age to have any kind of electronic device. No phones, or tablets or gaming stations. They don’t need it, they don’t learn anything from it, and they become little zombies on it.

Kids don’t suffer if they can’t wear Adidas clothing, or own the latest cell phone. They suffer when their parents use those things in lieu of actually spending time with the kids. Talking to them, teaching them things. Kids only suffer if they don’t have food to eat, a bed to sleep in and a roof under which to do all those things. They think they suffer if they can’t have the latest technology or the best toys, but they don’t. Kids aren’t expensive. Parents are. Parents bend over backwards to give the little tykes any- and everything their little hearts desire, instead of teaching them responsibility and manners and  how to have an actual conversation or how to be a gentleman and a lady.

Alas. How can the parents teach their kids anything if they, themselves, only see the monetary value in everything, When they buy the stuff the kids scream for, instead of telling them no every once in a while. How many parents do you see on a regular basis that pays no attention to the world around them because they are completely wrapped up in their phones? How many young people are there out there that has no social skills whatsoever but they can cook up a computer virus like nobody’s business?

I am getting old. If my health holds, I should not be too dependent on the current crop of kids to look after me in my dotage. But I shudder to think what kind of adults they are going to be. When they can hide behind a broken home when they make life difficult for the people around them. When they plead poverty when caught stealing. When they blame ADHD or ADD or Autism for not being able to handle the consequences of their actions. When all they want to do is get a university degree to have a cushy job somewhere instead of being prepared to work for a living and earning their place in society not with a few letters behind their name, but with actual work and sweat and effort.

Now. Let it be noted that I am completely generalising now. I know kids that did well at varsity and have earned their degree and have worked hard for what they have. I also know kids that are just coasting along on what mom and dad can scrounge up for them. I know kids that have decent manners and I know kids that will burn a plant just to see what would happen. No. It’s not youthful exuberance. It’s willful malice. An absolute lack of respect for things that can’t protect themselves. It’s one thing to make a chlorine bomb to see what it does. It is a completely different thing when you set fire to a living plant that has done absolutely nothing to you. I know kids that will greet you and I know kids that will ignore you. It’s the latter party that I’m basing my opinions on. And they are just that. My Personal Opinion.

The fact that I have to repeatedly state that this is just my opinion and not based on fact should show how very shallow the world has become. When you can’t voice an opinion without kind of distancing yourself from it at the same time, to avoid offending people. And that brings me back to my point. If you give your child every earthly desire he may come up with, without tempering said desires with responsibility and common sense, you are enforcing their sense of entitlement and they will not really be able to function in a world where your feelings of entitlement don’t actually bring you all that much.

Unfortunately, what the entitled beings then do is to pillage and burn everything until they get their way.

Apparently it’s been said by previous generations – the same things I’m saying now. Am I wrong though?

Hope you shave a splendiferous weekend and a spectacular week ahead!!

Stupid song, but fitting I suppose.

Meat!! Glorious meat!

…albeit expensive meat 😉

Read this story in a news feed of some or other organisation. Your risk of getting stomach and colon cancer increases with a whole 6%! Wow! I’m going to stop eating processed meat. Right. This. Minute!    Not!!!

They basically put all meat in the same boat. Meat causes cancer. Especially red meat en processed meat.

I’m not a scientist. I’m not a bleeding heart, nor very liberal when it comes to crunch time. And I certainly don’t believe everything I read! And even if I did, I would not take this study all that seriously. 34 000 people in the world die annually of cancer related to a diet rich in processed meat. Don’t think that’s quite enough people to warrant a death warning and for the meat suppliers to get up in arms.

As long as there are people, they are going to eat meat. And really, Not many things are quite as tasty as a nice crispy piece of smoked bacon! Not even a juicy steak or a well made bolognaise 😉 Hot dogs with cheese and fried polony, salami and cabanoci – yeah. Can’t see myself not eating those.

Aside from the processed meat, meat as a food source are plentiful and it does not take as long to mature for eating like veggies do. I know. We have both a veggie garden and a bit of a rabbit farm in my back yard. Not that we actually do farm with the rabbits, they are there in case something untoward happen – my aunt the conspiracy theorist!! The rabbits, from birth to eating weight, maybe six months. The veggies? Been in the ground since beginning of winter and they’re still not ready for harvesting. If you get caught in the wilderness with no real knowledge of which plants are edible and which aren’t, it will probably be in your best interest to devise a trap and catch yourself an animal – unless you want to either starve, die from eating poisoned mushrooms or eat your own leg. And if you’re stuck in the wilderness in winter, well. Bad luck to you if you are not prepared to eat animal flesh.

I’m not even that big a meat eater. It’s an expensive food stuff here in the suck heap so I stick mainly to chicken, which I don’t like at all, and minced beef. On the odd occasion where I am able to splurge, I like to get a nice bit of mutton, but those are far and very few between. Also, since I’m alone, I stick to processed meats – easy to prepare, tasty to eat and you get them in smaller quantities that your normal cuts so it makes sense to me.

No. I’m not a vegan. Doubt I will ever be that. But I don’t eat meat with every meal and certainly not every day.

That’s me though. The world is filled with people that are so gullible they believe every thing they read and go right out and follow every new fad causing major chaos Suppose that’s why the meat industry are in uproar 😉

That being said. My grandparents ate meat every day of their lives for 90 odd years. Neither of them had cancer. My mom, who does not eat meat every day, did have cancer. So I’m inclined to think that the problem is not really meat as such, but lifestyle. And probably the times we;re living in. If you’re just going to eat the good things, namely meat, and not do anything to negate those, you’re likely going to get sick. Be it cancer, cholesterol, high blood pressure – something will go wrong. Add to that all the additives to meat while growing and the general sickness of the earth, and you have yourself a problem.

The key, I think, is balance. Balance your diet with just enough animal protein, vegetable vitamins, calcium and the like, couple that with drinking enough water and not only coke or coffee, and do a spot of exercise every so often and you should in all probability not have to worry too much about the WHO – and I’m not talking about the band 😉

Unless of course they halt production of bacon, in which case I may have to start my own riot!!

Grief

…and how we deal with it.

As I sit here, thinking what words to use on an extremely slow connection, the wind is blowing outside. Scary gusts sweeping the trees hither and tither – hopefully bringing much needed rain, but if not, a reminder of nature’s absolute might and complete disdain for mortal beings. I can only imagine what it must feel like waiting for a hurricane to strike. My son is in Louisiana now – here’s hoping he’s all right and shortly back home safely.

Anyhow. Grief. We’ve all had grief in our lives. Every single thing that happens to you, makes you grieve. I think all endings do, be it a book, a relationship, a life, a job, a school career – once it ends, and everything as you know it, changes, you grieve. And grief is a process like any other. You have stages that you need to go through. And if you don’t, you’ll get stuck and not able to let go and move on. But you must.

Why I thought to do this post was this blog. bear in mind, these are just my personal musings. I am in no way negating the author’s very real emotions, As the author rightly says, some things can only be borne. Be handled to the best of your ability. Where I think he’s wrong, is that it’s a continuous thing. That you can’t deal with the loss of a child. That you will never be rid of the debilitating fear such a thing conjures up. Just thinking that I may lose my children fills me with dread – it is the nightmare I have most often. I wake, my face wet with tears and a deep abiding sorrow, so no. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. What I do know is that not even grief like that lasts forever. When my father died, I was broken. Could not imagine a life where he was not available. Where I could not speak to him or let him listen to a cool tune, or just give him a hug when I see him. It’s been 14 years and I do still miss him. But the loss is not as deep as it was. Because, yes. life does actually go on.

And where I disagree with the author the most is that you must immerse yourself in that kind of grief forever because no platitude means anything. Sure, platitudes suck for the most part. Mostly because people use them at completely the wrong time. You need to grieve. You need to get angry and rail against the powers that be. But you also need to accept. And to choose – do I let my whole life be swallowed by this grief or do I move through it and keep on trying to see that there is something worth living for.

I once knew a woman. She used to blog with us way back when. She lost her son – he committed suicide and she found him. Horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. I can never make light of that and I’m not going to. What I’ve always thought when I read one of her blogs though, was that she needs to let go of her son. Not because it’s easy, it’s not. Because it was necessary. For her husband, her other son, her life. A life she lived around seeing her dead son again. Personally, I think she felt guilty. Maybe because of something she said before he died, or the way she treated him before he died. Maybe just because she thought she did not deserve life. I don’t know. Maybe she was happy with her life the way it was. Maybe it made her happy to miss the child, happy that he was spared a difficult life. i don’t know. But I do think she may have been able to be a more involved mom for her second child, a more available wife for her husband – whose child the passed one was not. so, instead of focusing on the husband and son she did have, where she could have made a difference, she chose to concentrate on the one that was beyond all help. Running away maybe? Not wanting to face reality? As I said, I don’t know. Can’t even imagine her reasons. But it brings to mind the point I’m trying to make.

You may not always like what happens to you. Some days you’re up, other days you’re down. The best you can do is to learn how to row, or steer.

I see the effects of holding on to every slight and bother and grief, no matter how small or insignificant, in my sister. She’s never forgiven the man that caused our father’s death. It was an accident, could have happened to any one. But she chooses to hold on to that hate. Hold on to the fact that that man killed our father. Instead of remembering what a great dad he was, how blessed we were to have him, to see how many people still remember him fondly – all those things are lost because she did not work though her grief to get to the other side and accept the fact that my father is gone. He will stay gone. No amount of hate and blaming or guilt is going to bring him back. It will only keep her from living a life that could speak as a testimony to the upbringing our father gave us – and it has.

Back to the blog in question. He says that tribulations has made him hard and cynical. I think that affects us all to a degree. Does that make you a bad person? I don’t think so. It just makes you weigh your options better next time you’re faced with adversity. You can’t make pain go away. You can, however, accept that it is a part of your life. That it will always be there. But you don’t need to let it hold you back from living a full life.

I know I carry on about my dude. it’s been years since I’ve heard anything from him. For all I know he has forgotten me already. And I know it has coloured my view of relationships. But it’s not pain I carry with me, it’s the loss of something that I know, deep down inside, only worked because of the situation we were in. It may not have worked in the real world. In fact, probably would not have. And in holding on to the emotions we shared all those years ago, I’m not letting myself have a full enough life. I’m letting my sorrow at the loss hold me back from finding an available man and letting him into my life. That, however, is a decision I have made. I’d rather be alone and miss him, than settle for somebody that will not accept me, and worse, will not like me for who and what I am.

The biggest prison is the one we build for ourselves out of fear and regrets. Words I heard in an episode of Warehouse 13 of all places, but true, nevertheless. You can let your guilt and regrets rule you, or you can rule them. I might sound callous. But I’ve been through this. The regrets of a failed marriage, the guilt about my children’s emotional well-being, the fear of living my life on my own. The fact that so many days I wanted to just die. when i did not feel worth the oxygen I used in breathing.

But I’ve come to realise. I AM worth living a decent life. Should I need to meet a man that’s worth knowing, I will – when the time is right.

My mom asked me a question the other day. Since the sister is going through a less than amicable divorce, they will all have to move. Away from the nice big house and flatlet they’re living in now to something quite a bit less substantial. And mom will have to come and live with me in a pokey room in a house filled with cats and dogs and dust and unwashed dishes. Until we can build her something of course. She’s turning 70 next year and she asked me – How much more must I give up? Have I not sacrificed enough? My answer to her was that she will probably have to give up until she understands what she needs to understand -whatever that is. Fact is, your lessons do not end when you’re old. They continue. Because you are a work in progress until the day you die. You can never become complacent. Never rest on your laurels. Never just be. You have to keep learning, accepting, changing – until you are where you need to be – spiritually.

To end with. Life is a continuous journey. One you can’t skip. One you can’t gloss over. One you have to live through, learn from and grow from. And the only time that does not happen is when you hold on to the past because you’re afraid of the future.

Songs of loss and joy. Bonne nuit