Posts Tagged With: bird

Anniversary Blahs

In November 2009, as I stood sobbing (not a pretty sight) outside my mother’s hospital room, a nurse ran towards me asking me if her patient was alright. I mustered a nod while more water than I ever thought was possible to pour out of my eyes, did. “She’s out of danger so why are you crying?” she asked. “Because I’ll never see her again.” I sensed it. I knew it. The next morning I was to head back to California where I lived and would leave her behind in the city where I was born, Asunción. My mother had Parkinson’s for probably 15 or 16 years. A month before, when I had arrived, she had gone into ICU due to complications of it. A disease that slowly, torturously shuts down your body but leaves you with a mind that knows what is happening, with no possibility to convey to others how you feel, not by voice, not by any movements, not even facial expressions. So very cruel.

Turned out they were prophetic words. My mother left me January 5 of 2010. Nothing would hurt as much as her passing. I doubt anything ever will.

My mother’s Death Certificate where they noted her passing as Jan. 6 so that they could keep the casket open until my arrival. (A long story.)

My father, a week later went into ICU and died a month and a day after her.

10 years. A long time. I can almost hear some of what I have heard before expressed in a kind way when she died, but at the time just made me want to scream. She will always be with you. Yes, but how I long even now to hear her voice or even her breathing when later, with the progression of her disease, she lost the ability to talk. I knew that she suffered no more and I was grateful for that but, selfishly, how much I wanted her alive nonetheless. When I was severely depressed I was told to “snap out of it.” As impossible as that task felt, to be at peace with her parting seemed even more daunting.

Another consolation phrase which I related to but reacted strongly to when she died was “you now have a star above lighting any darkness you will encounter”. That turned out to be so. Every Dec. 24 I search for “our” star and just talk to her. And in death she has been with me as in life, subtly guiding me in some way or other. I was late to recognize her warnings. On quite a few Jan. 5ths I would get into an argument with someone, letting me know I should not give them my loyalty. I should have terminated those friendships but I’m a slow learner and only realized recently that it was her telling me to stay away. I did not always understand the messages but I knew she was there. A particular song playing in the most unexpected place and time. A unique bird-like sound I hear that connects both her and my dad to me in a special way.

A few years into her death I found myself still grieving. I called a dear friend, a grief counselor, to ask him if this was normal. He responded that there is no “normal” way to grieve and that there’s no deadline to get over someone’s death. We all deal with it in our own very personal way and in our own time. He wasn’t going to urge me to stop grieving. He wanted me to go through the process at my own pace. As long as we can function in daily life we shouldn’t beat ourselves up.

My mother’s favorite rose color. The most striking examples show up when I need her most.

So I concentrated then and now, on being thankful that her suffering had ended, that I was loved in a way that no one will ever love me again. I inherited none of her best traits: her patience, which to this day is like no other I’ve encountered, her innate ability to serve as a mediator without either party realizing they were “mediated” (she was more diplomatic than my father, a career diplomat, ever was), her ability to -without effort- make everyone feel at home. She was soft and sweet in demeanor and in voice. She had fabulous cooking and baking skills (she made jams and jellies that were coveted by all) and so much more. She was the kindest person I have known. No one ever has said anything bad about her. She also had traits that I could have done without learning but managed to assimilate. She never spoke up for herself and that hurt her immensely later in life. Though I grew up being very much a rebel, assertiveness isn’t a trait I truly have, it requires a lot of effort from me. She was amazing in so many ways, yet she didn’t have much self-esteem. I come off very self-assured most of the time but my mom, doubting herself constantly, lives in me.

Anniversaries have always been celebratory for me. But in the past years there have been too many that meant departures of some kind, of endings. There have been beginnings for there can’t be them without endings, but the scale dips by the weight of the ones I should not remember. So this is the last year I commemorate the anniversary of my mother’s death or, in fact my dad’s. I will not start next year by remembering that she left me some years back on Jan. 5th and my dad on Feb. 6th. Instead I will live being thankful every day that she -and he- gave me life.

And even with the above resolution I have no doubt I will miss her forever.


And keeping my promise of ending my blogs with a song, here is not one or two but three! First an Oscar nominated song I’m Standing With You from “Breakthrough” sung by Chrissy Metz, then one from Katie Melua about a mother I Will Be There and finally a short one that has nothing to do with family ties but does about heartbreak, from Rhys, Maybe I Will Learn.

Categories: Ramblings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Come And Say G’day!

I wake up to an absolutely perfect weather on Thursday, 20th September (as they state the day first and month afterwards around here) almost like Sydney proving me wrong to have said that bad weather is the norm here.  I can’t believe it’s been a week since I left Los Angeles and 5 full days of being here.  First time that I go out in short sleeve and don’t even bother to take a jacket.  The sun is up.  The surfers are out. The park is full already at 9:00 am.

I am determined to get my coffee fix today.  Head out to the cleaners first.  Want to take advantage of the sunny sky and take a photo of my two favorite buildings.   Though I have my trusty camera hanging from my shoulder I am almost feeling like a local.  Until, that is, I go into the cleaners.  Name?  That’s easy.  Telephone?  Uh, don’t remember.  Do you need one? The Asian looks up, sighs, says yes, sighs again and then says he needs a phone number in case something goes wrong.  Now I’m really confident in leaving my clothes.  So I give him a number, he seems satisfied and I proceed to walk up the hill into the residential area.

I pass a school which has a mural on its wall which I love.  

The houses on my way up are distinct, with colorful glass panels.  

I find a little café in the hill away from the coast.  After all, one can only take so much of the beach, right???

I usually smile a lot and say hi to just about everyone that crosses by.  Finding that most here avert their eyes when crossing, rarely say hi when eyes meet and don’t smile much.  Once engaging in a conversation they are charming and really quite helpful but to get to that point is not effortless.  Paul Hogan of Crocodile Dundee fame made it sound that everyone was pretty much open and overly friendly.  Remember the “I’ll slip another shrimp on the barbie for ya” commercial from the mid-eighties?  Or does this mean I am such a product of mass media that I believed?  By the way, for the Aussies it would have been prawn instead of shrimp.  Shrimp was replaced when they did the campaign so as not to confuse Americans.

I head to the Coastal Walk, which I know will keep me on track and help me not get lost.  I find a park way up on a hill with wonderful views.

I sit on a swing.

Find a bench.

I lay on a bench.  I’m starting to get really good at this chilling thing.

Back on the Coastal Walk, I stop a million times to take photos for myself and of others.   “Want a photo of both of you together?”  “Yes please!” was interchanged a lot.

 

 

 

      

I find that the scenery quiets me, makes me contemplative.

  It seems to have the same effect on birds.  🙂

  How could it not?

As I head back down I pass the Bondi Icebergs, a local club.  The swimming pool, where the waves crash into, fascinates me and scares me at the same time.  They have a pretty cool restaurant.  If you show your non-resident of the area document you can go in and eat.

I am getting closer to home now.  Pass some really colorful graffiti.

 And something that reminds me that humans are very similar around the world:  we all like to bend the rules at times. A lone surfer running towards the beach and stopping to assess the waves.

 

As I spot the apartment on the horizon a sort of possessive feeling comes over me, and start thinking of Bondi Beach as mine.

 

Categories: Australia, Bondi Beach, Coastal Walk, Sydney | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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