Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nothing Else to Say

I have been searching for the words and they will not come. At times it is best to rely on others. This is one of those times.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

                    W.H. Auden

Monday, July 25, 2011


Life was good, or so it seemed, as I cruised along in the comfort zone. You see, it’s rarely the obvious problems that get you. The thing that gets you, the thing that brings you to your knees, is the thing that you never saw coming. The surprise play, the unexpected, can send you reeling from your cozy little pattern that you call life.

It is a hard fact that most people look out for themselves above all else. That is true for almost everyone, except mothers that is (and fathers too). Once a woman becomes a mother, she will normally put her own needs aside, in order to care for these little people that have been entrusted to her. Some of us get so good at it that we keep it up until they are long into adulthood, and then….the grandchildren.

The grandchildren arrive and these little bundles of joy capture our attention like nothing else can. We love them with every ounce of our being. We weave them into our lives and households, our routines start to revolve around them and then… the unthinkable happens.  We learn that they are moving thousands of miles away.

News such as this sends a loving grandmother into a tailspin. Denial was my first reaction. I was convinced that it was never going to happen. “Surely they will change their minds,” I told myself.

Anger set in once I knew that the change ahead was real and unavoidable, as I did not like this feeling of helplessness. We all want to think that we are in control of our own destiny, but are only fooling ourselves when we try to control that of others.

Despair comes and goes as I realize that many of the things that I have come to love will be gone from my everyday life. No longer will I be able to throw the bikes in the car and head on over to pick up my best buddy for a ride around the lake. Afternoons spent hanging out by the pool, or banging sticks against a tree and hunting for frogs, are irreplaceable memories. Gone are the evenings of making yarn dolls and greeting cards from scraps and stickers. No one will tell me that I make the best pizza in the world or care to cuddle up beside me to watch Sponge Bob Squarepants. I know that the future visits will be rare and will have to be shared with other relatives and friends, so that the luxury of these times spent together will be a thing of the past.

They tell you that they will call and write and there is always Skype. Well, I can tell you that looking at a small picture on the screen, while it is better than nothing at all, will never take the place of a real hug and a “mooch”.

Who made up these rules that say we have to stuff our feelings down and pretend that everything is fine when it is not. I force myself to smile and get on about my day but I really want to throw myself down on the ground and have a temper tantrum, and a good one. I want to scream, and pull my hair, and tear at my clothes, and express the loss that I am feeling. Common sense must prevail and I force myself to carry on. Each day I cry a little, but each day a little less.

Finally, I take a hard look at myself in the mirror and I want to slap myself. “Snap out of it” I say! “There are people out there who have experienced real grief, real hardship, and real loss. What right do you have to carry on this way?”

And then I count my blessings and they are many…...

A wise person once said, “Do not cry because it is over, but smile because it happened.”

I thank god for the last eight years that I was able to spend with these little people and I believe that new gifts are in store. We will find ways to remain close as these are bonds that can’t be broken with time or distance. Each day I set out into uncharted territory with no one to look after or feel responsible for but myself. It is a freedom that feels strange to me and a little uncomfortable.

From here on out, IT IS ALL ABOUT ME!!

I pull the dusty old chapters of the half written novel from the shelf. I flip through it. No more excuses. Nothing is standing in my way. So many pages yet to be written…….