Reading Dad's Journals

My beloved Dad kept journals for many years. He died in 2008. And now I have to read them…

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Where there’s a Will, there’s a [less stressful] Way…

Have you made a Will? If you’re under 50, you probably haven’t. According to the NSW government, at least 45% of Australians don’t have a valid Will. In America, it’s over 50%- that’s more than 157 million people!

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My friend Emma was getting ready to travel solo in South America about 12 years ago; she was 30, and her Mum and Dad insisted she made a Will before she left. She dropped me off a photocopy the day before her flight. I hid it away like an unlucky talisman, safe in the back of a drawer, praying I never had to use it. And I never did.

Is that the most common reluctance around Will-writing; that you’ll somehow bring on your death? According to American research, the top three reasons cited by survey respondents for not having a Will were procrastination, a belief that they don’t need one, and cost.

I can understand procrastination (says she, as weeks pass by between blog posts…). I can understand cost. But not needing one? Hello? Aren’t you ever going to die?

Last weekend, I had to call an ambulance at 3am for a friend (an ex- nurse, only 39, and fit as hell) who thought she was having a stroke. Numb all down her left side, droopy mouth, speech disturbance and confusion, shallow breathing, and a thumping headache. I thought she was having a stroke too. And so did the paramedics. After she’d been rushed to hospital, I curled up in shock on the couch and tried to get some sleep, waiting for her 3 children to wake up for school, wondering what I was going to tell them…

After multiple tests, a bout of vomiting, and the right medication, it turned out to be a rare form of migraine called a hemiplegic-migraine . That afternoon she was home safe, with everyone massively relieved of course. But I’d lain awake, worried sick, trying not to wonder where her Will was in case she died.

Because my Dad died without a valid Will. What a nightmare. Very stressful, and unnecessarily so, for all of us. But that’s a whole other story… [Or a film. It would make a great film. One day…]

Another friend just settled out of court after 2 years of dispute with her deceased father’s de facto wife, who sued for 50% of the family home, when he’d expressed that he wanted it shared equally between the 5 grown children and her. Another nightmare, and very stressful.

So do us all a favour: admit you’re going to die, and write a Will. In Australia you can get a Will kit from the Post Office or newsagent, for less than $15. I know it’s not an easy process, but for the sake of your loved ones, who will be thunderstruck with grief and loss, give them one less thing to worry about: let them know your wishes.

You can use a Will to express desires for the future education of your children (mine states that an amount of money is to be put aside for my son’s university fees and living costs for example). You can bequeath a gift to a charity, and distribute favourite possessions (my god daughter is getting my awesome car, and another friend my dear cat Yeti).

YetiByShane

You can think creatively about connections you want to maintain/nurture (I’ve left equal shares in my house to 2 different friends plus my son, so that hopefully a sense of ‘family’ continues between them). You can also express wishes for your funeral (plant me standing up in a ‘green’ coffin please, preferably near fruit trees), even down to the music you want to hear (bright clothes, happy stories, and a bit of loud disco dancing to send me off thanks).

So PLEASE, if you’ve had it on your ‘to-do’ list for ages, and keep letting it slide; if you’ve made a draft but haven’t signed it; if you wrote one 10 years ago before you had kids; if you’ve gotten married/divorced/been widowed; if 5 years has gone by and you haven’t reviewed it since then… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put a morning or afternoon aside this holidays to do it.

Because I can promise you this: procrastination never wins, costs can be kept minimal, and you ARE going to die.

There are many websites to give you advice on compiling your Will, suitable to your country and circumstances. Be kind to your loved ones: make your wishes clear to them, and for them. Choose your two executors wisely; exchange contact details between them. Distribute copies. Tell people you’ve done so. And review every 3 years.

It’s really that simple, to ease the stress on the ones you leave behind.

Simple yet profound.

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Perhaps a comfort to those who’ve lost a loved one?

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am a diamond glint on snow.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.

Mary F Frye

6.56am: from Paris arrived the black & white bomb

I can’t help myself: pretty much every morning when I wake up, I turn on my phone and check my emails. Rubbing the sleep away, squinting a little without my reading glasses, just connecting with the wide world to make sure I’m not missing anything important… Then I’ll proceed with my daily routine as usual.

This morning, an innocent photo image arrived from an old friend. He’s travelling with his wife in Europe, playing in the snow, wearing layers of clothes, while we back home swelter in 40+ degrees heat and bushfires.

It was like a small bomb detonated in my chest.

I began to sob; no thought, no delay, no control. Incredible. The power of the element of surprise hey?

I was soft, relaxed, as yet unguarded or prepared for my day. Interesting to realize later. So I just sat in bed and had a good cry; only lasted a few minutes. Then I replied with a thankyou, and asked permission to use the image for my blog. Here it is:

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Bombs come in many shapes don’t they, in as many shapes as we do? This one was mine. One of Dad’s favourite places in Paris, a place he took us every time my brother and I came to visit from our home in England. His partner at the time worked there too, so I really thought she was the coolest woman ever! We called it the ‘inside out building’, and delighted in riding the escalators up to the top, simply to come back down again.

That building, the Centre Pompidou, represented all to me that I didn’t have in my life back then: innovation, creativity, colour and texture, libraries of images, word, sound from across the world… And all free to access. I remember feeling as though my head and heart expanded every time we went there.

‘Centre Georges Pompidou’ link

No wonder I didn’t quite fit in at my small country school in Devon.

The ‘inside out building’ made me long to be different too; it encouraged me somehow, just standing there with its pipes and airducts on display, no shame in showing its construction and framework. It was strong, and simple. No airs. What you saw is what you got.

I sat on the bed and cried, not just for Dad, or his wonderful, favourite building. I cried a little for the complicated, checked/balanced/organised person I’ve necessarily become, managing a house and child and three jobs.

But it only takes a tiny black and white bomb to reveal to me my simplicity again, sitting there with my heart on display: a child who misses her Dad, and the wonder of the world he showed her.

 

 

My aunt Wendy says grief is selfish, yet I will still cry for Nelson.

I wrote this post about Nelson Mandela back in July; it seems pertinent to post it again, and play his song once more. Pass on in peace Nelson, your work is done; now it’s up to us.

With love and gratitude, gabrielle ❤

My aunt Wendy says grief is selfish, yet I will still cry for Nelson..

Was that Failure, or just Change?

For weeks, my diary had been marked ‘Nov 10- Day of the Dead’. Capital letters, and in pen, not pencil. I told friends about it; tried to cajole my teenage son into going; turned down other invites for that day; I was committed. In a previous post here, I’d written about how important I believe it is to remember and celebrate our ancestors, which is a significant national day in many parts of the world.

So I drove to my local park at the appointed hour, and was greeted by the fresh smell of incense, and the bubble of a hot urn for free herbal teas. Various brightly dressed people were putting finishing touches to the information display, and there was a sense of reverence, provided by the experienced organisers:

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I wandered, preparing myself to decorate a cloth flag, or to peg up an image or some words that would convey an essence of Dad. Other visitors were propping photos of their lost loved one among the exposed roots of the fig tree, and I leaned closer in to see their faces:

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And then a voice inside me said ‘No, I’m not doing this today. I want to go home.’

I took a deep breath, straightened my shoulders, and headed towards the pottery table, where I could mould a raw symbol of my love.

The voice got louder: ‘I am so not into this right now. And I’m SO not fucking playing with clay!”

Another deep breath. An attempt at self-negotiation: how about if I take a few steps back, snap some photos for my blog, and just relieve the pressure for a moment?

Good idea Gabrielle; no protest from within.

A quiet circling of the site, shooting from different angles, and then a soft advance toward the main tree branch again…

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…‘If you take one more step, or stay one more minute, I am going to have the biggest tantrum you’ve ever seen, including crying hysterically while flailing my arms and shoving off well-meaning mourners. I don’t want to share, and I don’t want to care. Get me outta here now!’

O………K…………. Looks like we’re leaving then.

I tried not to skip toward the car. But it was hard not to.

I tried not to drive away with a screeching of hot tyres. But it was hard not to.

It was impossible not to smile with relief.

So did I fail? Did I disrespect Dad by not staying? Was I cowardly?

I realized I just wasn’t ready. Intellectually, I love the idea, and want to make it a national holiday, but emotionally, I couldn’t cut it. Not that day anyway.

So I came home early, to my son’s surprise, and wasn’t in floods of tears, also to his surprise. We played cards, laughing and teasing, then cooked a delicious roast dinner together. Dad would have loved that, and I could almost feel him smiling as we two giggled and cooked.

Every day can be Day of the Dead: using the furniture we inherited from loved ones, or passing their photo in its special frame on the wall. A laugh or an attitude can be handed down across generations, while of course physical appearance is a direct link to our past. I can choose every day to acknowledge Dad, and to give him more attention if I feel like it, such as on his birthday. He would love me to listen to myself, and to not go through with something ‘because I’m supposed to, or because it’s what others expect.’

He would be just fine about me driving away from the park, and would have assured me I wasn’t ‘failing’.

Thanks Dad x

The sweet smell of Essence of Russell

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I grew up in England from age 7-20. My reality was hugely influenced by the politics of Margaret Thatcher’s reign, including massive unemployment and youth disenfranchisement; read about it in one of my favourite posts HERE.

Comedian and actor Russell Brand is ten years younger than me, but with a similar experience it seems. Anyone who uses Facebook will surely have seen the link to his 10-minute interview by Jeremy Paxman on BBC Newsnight?  PLEASE WATCH IT HERE.

The interview has inspired me to postpone my plans for today until I get this post done, as I cannot help but respond to the essential truth I hear and feel in what Russell is saying. We KNOW the real difference between wrong and right, and we must find the courage to accept it, then act on it, without excuse. Mr Brand articulates this perfectly, while acknowledging the path that led him to his sweet truth. I couldn’t help but reflect on my own political values, even though it’s Sunday, and I’d anticipated a lazy day avoiding housework, ignoring to-do lists, and perhaps only achieving a walk on the beach.

To elaborate: we have just had a federal election in Australia, where voting is compulsory. I knew the Liberal (Conservative) party was going to get in, as did we all. I cried all the way home from voting, knowing that my country and its marginalised citizens were shortly to be governed for at least three years, and possibly six, by uncaring, narrow minded, selfish bigots. Led by a sexist man who doesn’t believe in Climate Change. I cried on and off all day. So did many of my friends, according to their Facebook posts.

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Yet Russell hits it on the head, when asked by what authority he is entitled to talk about politics when he doesn’t even vote:

“I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”

He doesn’t vote, and never has, because he sees it as tacit agreement in the authority and worth of the political system he is being offered, and which he knows is wrong.

I know that people all around the world are fighting for the democratic right to vote, and that this argument is the main one used effectively by Australian friends who defeat my yearning to not vote. Of course I agree that everyone should be able to vote for the party they choose. Just as I agree that women should be able to vote, drive cars, wear whatever they want, and be paid the same wage as men for the same job. That children should be safe to go to school, and that everyone everywhere has access to fresh water, sewerage, electricity, food, healthcare, and employment.

But the majority of the Western world has all those things, and we’re STILL NOT CONTENTED. Massive inequities continue, all at the cost of the environment, and the poor. For example, I don’t understand how any American politician can vote against ‘Obamacare’; there’s a reason to never vote again right there. But it’s essential to understand that Russell and I are not commending political apathy. As citizens and consumers we each have tremendous power, and need to realize that.

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His interview has just given me renewed strength. Please watch it HERE if you haven’t already. As long as I obediently participate, I am validating our essentially flawed political system. As long as I accept that I am powerless to create the change I really want to see, and that the world really needs, I remain complicit in global destruction.

“You ask me what right do I have [to create a different political system]? I’ve taken the right. I don’t need the right from you. I don’t need the right from anybody. I’m taking it.”

Russell’s final words fired me up! He’s not calling for complete Anarchy. But he is calling for a revolution that prioritizes the environment, the redistribution of wealth, and the valuing of the disenfranchised. Whether you do it for your children, for refugees, for endangered animals and biodiversity, or for the memory of your grandmother, please join our Revolution.

19 October 1988

This week I decided I needed to get back on track reading Dad’s journals. Opened Diary 1 towards the beginning, and found this entry, with the words ‘Significant day’ circled in the margin:

 “19/10/88- Lying in bed for what seemed like an age, mind wouldn’t stop going over childhood memories, tears, sadness. Went to see J- [therapist], lots more tears as we talked about the same childhood memories, what home was like, what sort of relationship between parents… The universe is telling me ‘It’s enough!’; there have to be positive changes or I shall get sick, have an accident…”

Dad wrote that 25 years ago tomorrow. What incredible timing. And what fascinating yet difficult sentiments.

If I was asked to describe my personality challenges, I’d say that if I’m stressed, I lie in bed with my mind going round and round. I’d say that I cry easily. I’d admit that I constantly reflect on what I’m doing, and whether I’m happy and satisfied. And that if I’m not, I am likely to make a dramatic change- end a relationship/move house/change jobs. I think these qualities are all strengths and weaknesses of mine; the proverbial ‘double-edged sword’.

The coincidence of finding this entry in Dad’s journal, the month after I drove 3000kms across Australia to make positive changes in my personal life and career, astounds me.

It is hard to read of his pain and troubles, but I’m aware that perhaps I have learnt from his struggles? I’m sure many people who knew Lawrence would say he was a cheerful and positive person, perhaps annoyingly so sometimes! But over the years, he and I shared many sad feelings or experiences (as well as all the good stuff and giggles), and I don’t believe he fully resolved several important issues. Do we ever? It certainly isn’t easy. But the repercussions still influenced his behaviour and attitudes, including uncomfortable relationships with some close family.

His entry the next day closes with this:

“… More confirmation of what I’m already working out- that I come from a family where emotions and feelings were strictly taboo. Now I have to work out, with help, what that means to me!”

Dad, you’re English- it’s a national pastime, tabooing emotions. You’re also a man- you are culturally and genetically programmed to deny those pesky feelings of yours. With 25 more years of Western social evolution and psychological research, including the baby boomers’ obsession with ‘self-help’ books, I can categorically state that emotions are now very expressed, and very processed.

We have everything you need to know...

We have everything you need to know…

Shit still happens though. Parents remain poorly suited or stressed; children still learn negative reinforcement; gender stereotypes and inequalities perpetuate. But you did your work, and you died happy Dad, holidaying in Hawaii with your girlfriend. You took up multiple volunteer roles, and ballroom dancing. You shared many loving experiences with your immediate and extended family: you were the ‘glue’ that held us all together, with your fortnightly or monthly timetable of phone calls, relaying precious news, travel plans, and anniversaries, even across the globe.

I’m not saying you were perfect. I’m not saying you healed all your wounds. And I’m not saying you didn’t have more work to do. But perhaps there is always more? And maybe a key to peace within yourself is to acknowledge that you’ve done as much as you could with the skills, tools, and energy available to you? Some scars remain more vivid than others, but a healing process has still taken place. Even if it’s taken 25 years.

Red tape liposuction

I haven’t blogged for a couple of months because my life expanded so much that I myself was almost squeezed out. I felt like an A4 page whose margins were set too wide on the formatting palette. The causes of the spread? I was successful with my arts grant so had 6-weeks to make a new puppetry show, which included 2 short films, and I decided to move 2500kms interstate. I therefore had to pack up my home of 4 years, including all my worldly possessions like Grandma’s tea set, Dad’s 3 art deco vases, and various antique glass-framed pictures.

I had to give notice on the most stable job I’ve ever had (five years of teaching Pilates in the same gorgeous studio), including leaving many wonderful clients, colleagues, and the greatest boss. Most importantly, I had to say goodbye to the friends and connections I’d established during 6 years in Adelaide, which meant a certain amount of grieving and letting go.

To say it was a big couple of months is an understatement.Image

Something had to give. And I’m afraid it was you, my dear Blog readers. And Dad’s journal reading. Also my short story writing. As well as my work on my book of interviews. Heck, even my Morning Pages journal got dusty, or else only had pages torn from it at midnight to make lists of stuff I had to do so I could actually get to sleep.

Instead, I worked long and hard creating a new solo puppetry show called ‘Puzzle’. It only runs for 12 minutes, but is easily the hardest thing I’ve done. At one point I had a panic attack for a few hours, trying to step up to the challenge of incorporating critical feedback, and struggling dismally. Thank god for my three wise friends, who could listen to me rant and wail, making gentle suggestions through my distress, and pushing me to push myself. We all knew I’d get there in the end, but it was indeed like a labour and birth re-enactment.

Simultaneously, I culled over 6 packing boxes of papers into just one, burning and cleansing. That felt so good. Who needs bank statements from 2004? Or those mouldy university notes from 1995? Sure, the essays are good, and the topics interesting, but really… Am I ever going to ‘need’ them again? Well I hope not, because I’ve burnt them. I got on a bit of a roll actually, and became the Cull Queen. Old daily diaries, folders of magazine clippings, defunct product manuals, unimportant red tape archives- all gone. So liberating. Love letters from irrelevant exes, boring photos I was keeping from a sense of duty, even old show programs and flyers. I knew I was treading a fine line between being pragmatic, and being callous, but seeing as the only victim was me, I went ahead anyway. I’ve thus been ‘administratively liposuctioned’. I highly recommend it. It can come at the cost of some sleep deprivation, but provides the perfect opportunity if you’re avoiding working on a new project, or packing up your house. And yet you can trick yourself into believing that it’s kind of connected to those activities, so it’s OKAY TO CONTINUE LATE INTO THE NIGHT. Image

Now I’m in my new home, my new show merely awaits its promotional packaging, and I feel bureaucratically trim, taut, and terrific. I have survived the big pack, the big quit, the big farewell, the big drive, the big hello, the big unpack, and the big ‘starting all over again’. So here I am: I’m back, and I’m delighted xx

My aunt Wendy says grief is selfish, yet I will still cry for Nelson.

Here is my aunt’s full quote, as left as a comment on my last post:

“… I think grief is less to do with the people themselves whom we’ve lost, more about what we’ve lost in terms of our childhood, youth, a supportive relationship, etc. So essentially I think grief is selfish, but that’s ok – we have to be, to some extent, to survive. Grief is the price we pay for loving and being loved.”

This stopped me in my maudlin tracks. She’s a smart lady, my aunt; one of the elders whom I wish I could spend more time with and learning from as she heads into her mid-seventies. But she’s in a small Welsh seaside town, and I’m here in Australia, so Facebook and occasional emails are the main communication channels. I would describe her as a political animal: a feminist, a peace activist, a vocal advocate for the rights of the marginalised everywhere.

This blog refers a lot to my sadness at losing my Dad; while the rawness of it has eased, it remains ever-present, on my trusty clipboard of grief.

But Wendy’s comment shone a different light on my world, which is the best you can hope for when writing I think. I have indeed lost everything she mentions, plus the physical comfort of his voice at the end of the phone, or the smell of him when we hug hello at an airport somewhere in the world. And it IS incredibly selfish: it’s all about MY loneliness, MY challenges in living without his support, my sadness at his lack of influence on my child, his grandson.

But MY world is all I know. It’s all I have. It surrounds me completely. So when something in it is torn away, it hurts. And yes, I will survive, no doubt, although I did briefly come close to not wanting to.

So what about when we lose someone who is not just of our personal world? Someone who is a symbol of hope and justice for millions of people?

When I was 14 or 15, my Mum told me we had to stop eating any food from South Africa. I had to stand there embarrassed beside her in the fruit shop while she confirmed from where the grapes had been imported. And the mandarins. And the apples. Then in 1984 The Specials released ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, and the opening chant cut through my sullen teenage rebellion. Suddenly my infuriating Mum became a cool political animal after all, just like her younger sister Wendy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgcTvoWjZJU

I still love this song.

Now the great man is moving toward leaving us. He’s lived a long, challenging life, and achieved the unthinkable. He means so much, to so many, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. The collective grief we will feel on his death will be both universal and selfish; in general terms, we will have lost an inspiring advocate for equality and human rights, who has been a presence in our world since the 1960s. We will also each have a personal connection to that which resonates within us about him, ripping a tear in our unique emotional fabric. Even if it’s just the memory of forbidden seedless grapes and a ska song.

So it is with the loss of a parent. While perhaps my brothers have cried less than me, we each mourn in our own way. Communication builds a bridge between suffering humans; it may be a blog entry, a stilted conversation, or via the pages of a journal. It may unite people across oceans, and evoke support and understanding from complete strangers, such as I’ve experienced here on WordPress.

Profound communication may be achieved in the smallest of actions: our household went without certain fruit in England to let Nelson know that we supported his anti-apartheid movement. It may be a letter you write to a politician, or a march you attend, or a cake you bake. It may be in an unexpected form that reflects who you really are, and what you really think:

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Aunt Wendy is right: grief IS selfish. But so is Love. And one is indeed the price of the other. Thus while I may stumble at the cost, I will pay, over and over.

Dad was worth it, and so is Nelson Mandela.

Have I got time to process this breakdown before leaving for work?

I’ve been struck lately by how much time it takes to process emotions. I don’t just mean the ‘I’m annoyed at the parking inspector/check out chick/bank teller’ ones. I’m talking about the ‘my partner is having an affair/my parent just died/my teenager has been trying meth/my loved one has cancer’ ones. The BIG ones. The ones that hit you in the guts like a sledgehammer. Or squeeze your heart like a boa constrictor. The ones that make you fall down and weep, or lose your breath and sleep and appetite.

We’ve all had them, for a variety of reasons. We’ve all processed them, to a greater and lesser extent. But goodness they take a lot of energy. No wonder our shoulders hunch and spines bend as we age.

A dear friend has just suddenly lost her Dad, on top of a big year already which saw her deal with her dog being run over, buying a new house, fighting a lingering flu, and being a single parent while working full time. She sent her friends an email letting us know about her Dad, and notifying us of her need to withdraw for a while… Fair enough. I have no idea how she copes with all the pressure she’s under, and I’m too far away to really help.

When my Dad died suddenly, I think I was traumatised. Couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think straight, certainly couldn’t function at work, and took 4 weeks off. Only when 6 months later I realised that all my food was still tasting like sawdust, that I felt like I had a smiling mask over my numb blank face, and still couldn’t sleep with the light off, did I take myself to the doctor.

Three tests later and I was registering ‘high’ for Anxiety, Stress, and Depression. That felt like another blow; that somehow I’d ‘failed’ to cope, and that I was weaker than everyone else who’d lost their dads…

It took me another 9-12 months to get out of that, and back to ‘normal’. It was hard, scary work, and my friends were wonderfully supportive and understanding. But I also have the time. I live alone with no dependent children; I can reduce my teaching and performing work to suit me; I am not weighed down with a massive mortgage or credit card debt.

Another friend just separated from her partner of 17 years, and has majority care of their son while working four days a week. How does she find the spare hours to write in a journal, or go to the therapist, or beat pillows in a counselling session?

One of the greatest gifts I was given during my ‘official depression’ came from my fortnightly therapist, who was small and twitchy like a sparrow. She talked to me about my grief for Dad, and my options for managing it. She told me this:

“Imagine your sadness around losing your Dad is like an A4 clipboard. You can choose to hold it right up in front of your face, and not be able to see anything else around you.

Or, you can spend a lot of time and effort pushing it away, keeping it at bay, but then you will have a lot less energy for anything else you want to do.

A third option is to just tuck it under your arm, or sit it beside you in your favourite chair. This way, you know where it is, and you can keep it safe. When you need to, or when you feel like it, and you have the time and space, you can allocate it some attention. Maybe ten minutes, or an hour, or even a whole day. But then that’s it; you tuck it back under your arm or down beside you, and get back to what you were doing.”

Brilliant.

I’ve written before here about my belief we need to have a day to honour our dead that’s socially-condoned; perhaps we all need to make the time to honour our sorrow, abandonment, betrayal, fears, and shock as well? I know we’re all busy, and that the dishes won’t wash themselves (although I have been leaving mine a bit lately!), but attendance to emotional crises and their ripples is important. What do you think?Image

Different people find different affirmative ways: meditation, spirituality, faith, exercise, therapy, art. And we all know the negative ways, including denial, workaholism, and alcohol abuse.

My Dad invested hours and hours writing his thoughts for 15 years. I do the same, and credit The Artist’s Way for guiding me. I also dance 5Rhythms, which calms my soul like nothing else. I want to encourage you all to find the time, make the time, swap the time, steal the time… Whatever it takes to help you feel more at peace with your dramas, and to honour their effects on you. I know I love having my ‘clipboard of Grief’ with me, and how to give it attention when I need to.

With love, gabrielle

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