Friday, September 04, 2009


These are two of my four sisters. It was my eldest sister's birthday yesterday and she sent me these photos of another sister giving her a pressie. Its funny how your mind misses things. I was looking at these last night, and totally missed the third party on the lounge chair. I mean he's there and quite colourful but my mind only took in my sisters. This morning I had another look and started to laugh and laugh. Only Veronica would have something like this sitting on her lounge - not for the kids or whatever, but because she likes it.

(MMMM he does look interested doesn't he)

I thought about these two (my sisters and not the gremlin) and looked at how happy they are. Veronica is now 59 and works very hard as Renal Dialysis nurse. Life hasn't been easy for her in any way. Joanie also lost her husband earlier this year and is grieving - yet barely a day goes by when I don't get or make a phone call to either or bot
h of them and we talk through how we are feeling - not being afraid to cry on the phone, not afraid to shit stir the other one a bit if needed, not afraid to share happiness, fears and mundane things like the cats fighting at my feet.
I have the same relationship with our two daughters and without this life would be bleak. It doesn't matter what we have or how much, or who is right or wrong - its the people in our lives that matter. In my life, and I know in these two sisters and my children we have few family close - actually none at all - so the phone is the link, the lifeline . We seem to be a family which although loving just scattered to the winds...all five of us sisters living hundreds of KMS apart...same with our daughters.
Veronica will begin a morning phone call with "Good morning petite Fleur!" (Mum called me Therese after St Therese - the little flower) and finish with "Piss off" when we've had enough - so I get in "No you piss off" and whoever gets in the last curse wins a bit. I love this silliness usually at 7am...lucky I am a morning person - always have been. I remember when i used to share a bedroom with another sister...the piano was in our bedroom...and at about 7am I could be found thumping away on it blissfully while she suffered my musical excesses with just the top of her head showing...finally I'd be off and out and she'd stay there till about 11am. We are all made differently.

Joanie used to come on with "Its just me" and after a time she dropped the "Just" because I would have a go at her and say nor "Just Joan" but "Its Joan". She has had a dreadful year and will still have to face the trial of the man who killed her husband, an Inquest still to be held and other things as well as a move away from the neighborhood - which will be a good thing because finally two of my sisters, the ones above will be living in the same town.

This last week I have struggled with tears which seem not to want to stop. Going down the street has become a nightmare because I don't know when it will start again - it just happens. I know in the months after don died there was so much to do that apart from at home I didn't lose it much in public - but now I just seem as if I can't stop. I'm not worried about it - it just is - a state as is birth, childhood, joy, being married, a mother etc such is the state of grieving.

But what its made me do is really truly appreciate those people around me who care enough, who have empathy and who have been kind. I find it easy to act in kind towards them...because and I have found this people seem to fall away when you are not a "couple" any more.

Most of you will have suffered some form and degree of grief, its as sure a state of being as is birth - The times I find it hardest is when there is hurt delivered. Instead of its just being a minor thing, which you can flip off your shoulder, when you are already hurting and damaged, a hurt delivered is made worse by grief. - it hurts more in other words.

I have noticed a change in attitude many acquaintances don and i knew. People who would come up to the pair of us in the street and stop for a chat seem to barley nod, and then only after I actually say "hello". It could be that some of them didn't appreciate the stink I raised when Don was killed by the Hospital - as i have been very quiet publicly apart from that.

Yesterday I just wasn't ready to go home - the nights are just too long. So went for a cup of coffee and a read of the papers...something I like doing. As I walked in I spotted what used to be a friend of Don's and another at a table. After Don died he came over to me once and said with tears in his eyes how sorry he was. I watched this same long time friend cross the street to avoid me when i was gathering names for our petition. I saw him take the long way round rather than go past me...I wasn't imagining this.

So yesterday I just nodded to him and said hello as i passed to my own table. No response at all. Later as I left I just said "see you later" something I do to even shop assistants - its just a form of good bye. Nothing. No response at all. We have known this person since about 1984. Not to worry - but yesterday I was just feeling so fragile. I had trouble leaving the coffee shop and making it to the van before I burst out crying.

It came on top of my being excluded from a small gathering of very close friends on the lamest excuse...not my imagination again. Even if there was the remote possibility of my social calender being over full (?) even to be invited with the hope I might say know would have been easier to handle.

My sisters and daughters were shocked at how this one went. No details here...
I am luckier than some. Many people have actually no one they can talk with ...mine may be at a distance but I know that they are there at the end of the phone when i need them and vice versa.

I don't know what it is but have heard people from broken relationships talk about how most of their friends disappeared...but this is different.

But in the reverse, yesterday I went to Pilates, and the teacher noticed I was upset. She was so kind that it made me more upset. But she said to me "don't ever not come because you are upset...the session will make you feel better" and she was right. I left that place remembering all the good people that there are in this world, who don't know me from a bar of soap but give kindness, because they are kind - like you guys...the odd shopkeeper. There is a woman my own age who's name I don't know, (I am embarrassed that I can never recall it and now not game to ask) when she sees me in the shops she comes over and just gives me a hug - thats all and off she goes.

Being an Aquarian - I find myself sort of analysing why we act the way we do...reflecting on how I may affect others, on how I present. On maybe there are reasons for my exclusion. Most days I go out and about with a smile and hello. Mum's greatest complaint about me as a child was that I would talk to anybody known or unknown. I am over careful about not talking too long. I never just turn up at anyone's place. I never invite myself to a person's place but wait for the invite. we had too many visit when we lived in town, unannounced and just plop for hours on end, so am aware to be a good visitor...

Its really only in here that I express fears etc...I hardly ever talk about these to others apart from close relatives.

I have been considering a move...but where to. I love this place, my house, the land and the peace. I feel really safe and peaceful here. I have never really liked Port Macquarie - its a bland sort of place. I have lived here since 1976, got involved to try and make it a better place to live in, alongside Don. We fought for decades in areas of social justice, accountability etc and our home was over full at times of people folding letters, making posters. I could leave tomorrow and I doubt it would be noticed...not that it really matters...its a good life lesson in ego and not having too big an ego about the idea that you actually matter at all to most.

But I do matter to Veronica and Joan and they to me. I do matter to Melissa and Alison and the reverse of course. They have been my rocks. So after all the above, I realise I am much luckier than many people, but human enough to feel hurt and thats okay as well. Just got to make sure I don't dwell on it and can get the control back that i need to flick away the little hurts that don't really matter in the long run.

Mum used to say when i asked her about certain things...if they mattered etc...She said "Ask yourself , does it really matter in the long run". She was as usual right. What matters in the long run are those people about me that I can show kindness to...and how I act towards others who are having a bad time of it. In the long run it is the people who matter. In the long run there are people who once were important but who I need to let go of as we go our separate ways in life. One day I will understand the whys and wherefores...for now I have just got to be stronger and not allow silly things to upset me as I have been doing lately.
If anyone got this far they are indeed dedicated Hahah
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Jules said...

Who are these people? And the older woman is the coolest dresser, a hippie after my own heart.

Middle Child said...

My sisters JUles the two who talk to me...the other don't communicate any more

Andrew said...

I suppose people are feeling uncomfortable with your campaigning but their reaction is extreme. Then I remember small country town cliques and how insular and cruel they could be to newcomers or outsiders or to people who upset the general balance. I would guess an amount of envy of your strength is there too. Regardless, it must still hurt.

FoxyMoron said...

I am tired and not sure what to say right now, but I am SO glad that I know you, and I have learned that the people who you THINK are going to be there for you, often aren't and the other way.

Pat said...

I envy you the "family" that you have, MC. But I also love reading of the incredible closeness between y'all. Makes me feel good.