Sunday, 29 July 2012

Mosaics.

I was trying to explain death and the afterlife to my ten year old the other day - I don't know if I'm right. I don't know what's going to happen. Never been able to shake the feeling that we came from somewhere before we were born, and we return to it once we die. Something bigger than our puny human brains can conjure. Like notes in an orchestra coming together, droplets of water in a waterfall. Something incredible. Bigger than drugs and orgasms and love.

Jim used to enjoy reading my blog. Man that's a nice thing to know. He would have read this back in December: Awake at a Wake. I wonder what he thought.

My sisters and mother and I will not be broken by this and we have the inappropriate texts to prove it. We're already mosaics from being broken previously, thereby making any impending brokenness null and void. They are my best mates ever. And my Aunty Cousin Moochie. All scarred and bonded by these weeks.

I keep hunching over and crying. Sometimes just a wail, or just a weeny sob. A sharp intake of breath. I can't BREATHE. When Jim was in his big pain, he would grimace. I realised just today that I've been grimacing too. Only ever when I'm by myself. It's a sudden ... a horrible, scrunching of my face and bending over. Pain is pain is pain. Then the keening.

So, so sorry I haven't replied to beautiful comments and emails. It's been wicked. I'm barely coping, cannot handle one more thing, drama, child.

Here's the words I wrote and read out last Friday. Had to punch myself in the head ten times beforehand. I think I made it too personal, couldn't help it.

Jim. 
There's an African saying that when a wise man dies, a library burns to the ground.

I met Jim about thirty years ago. A softly-spoken, thoughtful, peaceful man. Always. He married my mother and it was a happy day. Jim took on four sad stepchildren - quietly, in his own way. He was just always there, you know? He wasn't loud, didn't make sweeping statements using his arms to prove a point. He wasn't aggro or angry or noisy. He was just Jim.

He was the singularly most grounding influence my mother has ever had. What a gift. Thank you Mark and Lynn, for sharing him with mum, Linda, Leigh, Cam and me. No mean feat .. because we are CRAZY.

There have been parties and holidays and babies born and Christmases and birthdays, year after year. Our big blended family passing our milestones and doing our things, getting together when we can in this busy world. I've never had a bad word to say about Jim. Ever. Only good words, like gentle and grounding. Accepting. Understanding. Smart. Humble. He called us all 'love.'

The past month has been beyond hard. It was Jim's time to leave. We wished so hard that it wasn't, but it was.

People came from all over, to visit him in Gosford Hospital. For chats, for love, and to say goodbye.

How do we say goodbye to the people that we love?

Jim showed us that we do it with Grace and acceptance. He is so loved that we had to set up a kind of roster system, taking it in turns to file into his room and see his beautiful face and those beautiful blue eyes. When I saw new nurses come in to care for him for the first time, I wanted to tell them exactly what kind of a man he was. To make sure they knew how valued, cherished and loved this stranger in the bed before them was. Thing is, I didn't have to, because they quickly realised anyway.

Asked by his favourite nurse Lisa what his occupation was, Jim thought for a bit and replied, "Oh, just a handyman." We all know that he is so much more than just a handyman. (He was an engineer.)

Jim had to adjust to his new reality pretty quickly. He wasn't given a choice. When it was my turn to go in, he grabbed my hands and we spoke for a while. I asked him, what is it … what could I do for him, in the world. I would do anything, anything at all. He knew I was completely serious. He said "Well, my grasshopper …" and he laughed. And shrugged. And just went on to tell me that there's people in the world who are only out for themselves, and what they can get for their own gain. He said that's not the way to be … that the best way to live is to give and help others. To be kind.

A few weeks later I sat with him again, except this time he couldn't speak. So I did. I told how beautiful his Spirit was. How hard it must be for him to let go. I told him I believed he was going on to a most amazing, incredible place. One we can't even imagine but I swear Jim it's unreal. Then I told him my secret which is I actually don't like life very much at all but I keep living it as best I can anyway. I said I was probably saying the wrong thing to him and I'm so sorry, and I told him that I wish I knew what HE would say to someone in this position. Because I'd say that.

I said I'd see him tomorrow, and then tomorrow and them tomorrow. To take his time. That we will all take care of mum. That love never dies.

Jim has touched so many people in his life. He is the best father-figure we ever had, and we really needed one.


I ask everyone here today, to please, please take some time out and make sure you let my mother know that she is not alone. Now, in three weeks, in three months, a year …. please show her some love. She is an extraordinary, beautiful, giving woman. And Jim loved her so much.

So. A wise man dies, a library burns to the ground … but before it does, let's steal a few scorched books from Jim. And let the way he lived his life linger in our hearts. For always.

Love you Jim.



::

Tomorrow I fly to New York for Maybelline NY to attend BlogHer 2012. I wasn't going to go, but my Mum told me to. Georgia from Maybelline has been so patient and kind, not minding a bit what my decision was. 

I'm not packing much because my grief takes up all the room. It's invisible, can travel anywhere. Don't know how I'll be or if I can talk to people properly. I know I'm running away but man it's better than the alternative. 

I need some time to myself, some burgers, a new tattoo, and a pair of black and gold high tops. I need to see my Americanos. Dave's coming with me - he turns 46 tomorrow. We had presents and cake tonight with the kids and I bought forty six candles. The wax melted all over the icing and it took ages to light them all. 

I made him promise me he'll never die.

.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Unknown Seas.

The other morning there was a kangaroo in our veggie garden. I stood at the kitchen sink watching until it hopped away. I've never seen one so close to the house before.

Later I saw our dog Mischka sitting in the winter sun in the driveway. I wished I was a dog sitting in the sun.

I'm struggling with everything this week. It's so hard to … do things.

Driving back home and Mischka was still in the same spot, just sitting there. She's a white Siberian husky, with one blue eye and one brown. Dave walked out this morning and she was still there and struggling to breathe because she had a tick. Dave took her straight to the vet and they gave her oxygen and medicine but she died anyway.

We've had her for seven years. She's Dave's dog .. off to work with him every day in the ute. He believes that during their walks when he was on chemo, Mischka took his cancer away.

He brought her home for the last time. My burly twenty-year old stepson Tim dug a hole next to the lemon tree in the veggie garden, and we all said goodbye.

I've known my husband for thirteen years. Never have I seen him so upset.

He lowered her in the hole in the ground and Rocco announced that he wasn't sad, and could he please see Mischka's skeleton? Then he asked if Grandad was going in the hole too? I said no mate, we will be saying goodbye to Grandad on Friday.

Shovels of dirt and it was all done. She's buried next to half of Rocco's placenta. (Long story.)

As we were finishing up, some people arrived in our driveway to look at our house because it's up for auction this weekend and their dog took a dump on our front garden. They left it there. I hate people.

The twilight between a death and a funeral is always so odd. I meant to walk back and check on Mischka to make sure she was ok but I forgot. Too preoccupied with death. Huh.

I never wanted a stupid dog in the first place. She was a beautiful, gentle dog. Never bit, never really barked. I don't want her to be dead and buried next to my house.

Grief rhymes with thief because they both steal.

I'm in topsy-turvy land. Yesterday I wished I was a dog in the sun, not knowing the dog was dying. I guess that's why we need to be careful for what we wish for.

::

An anonymous person from Melbourne sent me a big print of this in the mail:

                 Norman Lindsay "Unknown Seas."

I wrote in this post about wanting a Lindsay painting for the cancer ward. Anon, people like you exist in the world THANK GOD. Thank you so much ... I'll get it framed and hang it somewhere cool. Or the stroke ward.



Wednesday, 25 July 2012

This Little Piggy

The other day I went for a bike ride with the boys. Wearing helmets ... so dorky.

We rode past this:


I told Max we needed some pink chalk .. he found pink and blue. We had a mission.




A stealth guerrilla art mission. Bit of culture-jammin' with my kid.

"Mum, my pigs eyes are hypnotised. Can you tell?"




My pink piggy.


Max and I drew about seven pink and blue pigs on the path, each with metal drain snouts. We rode off around the corner, to be met with the saddest woman in all the land.

Like, she was SAD. Shopping bags bearing down, mussed up hair, bereft eyes.

"Jeez mum - I hope that lady notices our pigs. She needs cheering up."


I hope she noticed them too. I wanted to tell her to stop being so sad .... because I was just as sad, probably even sadder. But I didn't.

Even though people annoy the utter crap out of me most days, we're all just trying to live in the world as much as we're able.

Max talked about our pigs all the way home. He said it was a really cool thing to do.

.



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cutlets.

I'm feeling feelings that I can't adequately convey. They must be French feelings .. you know how the French have words that don't exist in English?

Calling my sisters in the morning to see how they managed to get up today because seriously, how do you get up?

You just get up, that's how.

About fourteen years ago I walked back to the halfway house I was living in after rehab. I'm sure I was wearing a short skirt and red lipstick, but that's not the point. Point is, a big group of people were watching the last ten minutes of Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks. I cried so hard when the astronauts made it safely back to earth. Everybody looked at me strangely, because I hadn't even watched the movie.

The astronauts made it back to earth!

In rehab, all your feelings are a tangled mess. Short-circuits and knots. It takes time to identify what you are feeling and why ... you've stopped using substances to numb any pain you ever felt and it all comes back like a ricochet.

When my first son was a toddler I bought him a set of books about feelings. Sad, happy, scared, angry ... they all clearly and simply described the range of human emotions. I learnt stuff from them as I read them to him. Knowing why we feel the way we feel makes life navigation easier. It's vital to teach children this.

Early last week Dave's mum came over with some crumbed lamb cutlets. She told us to pan-fry them in some oil and a knob of butter. The exact moment she said the word "knob" Dave and I laughed so hard. He didn't know how to explain that we were laughing at the penis euphemism in the word "knob." I felt happy for about three seconds because it was stupid and funny.

I did indeed cook those cutlets in some oil and a knob of butter. Dave and the kids sat and ate theirs at the table but I hoiked a leg up onto the sink and ate them in the kitchen like a caveman. They tasted so beautiful and I was halfway through when I suddenly thought of Jim in hospital.

Jim will never eat a crumbed cutlet again.

I stopped chewing and the emotion welled up.

Who was I, to eat this crumbed cutlet? It wasn't right or fair. I thought of throwing it in the bin. No. I'm going to eat this cutlet. And then another cutlet. And I know Jim can't eat these cutlets so I'm going to enjoy them for the both of us.

And I did.

My tears fell onto the insides of my glasses and then into the sink. Those cutlets were beautiful.

I keep not eating, not brushing my teeth, not sleeping very well. I haven't even constructed a ledge that I can be talked off, yet. I'm a swirling mass. What's going to happen? The whole world is going to die of cancer is what's going to happen.

People we love die. I'm going to die. Some of us are already dead. Quick, do something meaningful, to prove you're alive. Or, not.

I came across this poem today in a book in a bookshop. It blew my mind a little.

For The Anniversary of my Death
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveler
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what


by W.S.Merwin


Every year, we pass the anniversary of the day on which we're going to die.

But for now ... we eat cutlets.

.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Death In Venice.



My stepdad Jim is the Kanye West of stepdads. He pushed all the other stepdads offstage because he is the greatest stepdad of all time.

Except, he didn't. I've never seen him push anyone. So softly-spoken and gentle and thoughtful and caring.  He died a few days ago in a hospital room with a picture of Venice in it. The doctor called it "The Venice Room." In the end it was just him and mum, until he breathed his last breath.

There are no more breaths, no more stepdads, no more hospital visits for goodbyes.

I was his last visitor and sat with him for half an hour. I talked to him so hard, racking my brains for important and profound things to say, communed with the Spirit still sitting inside his body. The Jimness of the Jim. He heard every word I said. He couldn't talk and he couldn't see but he could feel my hands on his hands and he could hear my heart talking to his heart.

I don't know what I said. I'll summon it back to memory soon.

Jim actually has two "proper" children .... my step-siblings Mark and Lynn. They are beautiful people. Wasn't sure if they'd want me to mention their names but it's just the truth and in the end there is no "step" and no "proper" there's just Love. And Family. He loved them so much. SO much.

So no more fighting for pain relief. The only pain left is ours.

The past few days have been funeral directors and photos and order of service and flowers and a deep grief that will not go away for a very, very long time. My sisters and I are biding with mum, in traumatic shift changes. We all have two young children each and it's been tricky. Lucky we're awesome at being tricky.

I can't drive for shit. I tumble down into myself and there's not much relief and that's just how it is. I'm not good, not good, not at all. At all. Can't even seem to write my way through it like I usually do. Sorry, everyone waiting for an update! My swirly word bullshit has no power tonight. Yours still does. My mum stayed at that hospital every night and day, in the end. She kept re-reading your comments. Thank you so, so much for your words and shared experiences about living through a loved ones death. Like, being there and watching the decline.

All roads led to the fall of the Roman Empire.

There were a lot of goodbyes. Death is messy. I was a death virgin in a lot of ways. Came back home traumatised, night after night, researching "death transitions" to get a bit educated because Computer - holy hell. My head is still a little bit screaming.

So. In conclusion ... there is none. I have no platitudes, no brightly-wrapped bow, no beautiful moral to the story, no gifts, no soup for you. I have nothing. Mum looked around at us all today and said .... "Well, we all have flat tyres today." And I wanted to say "Yeah, and our cars went careening off the hill and smashed into a thousand pieces and burst into flames and we all ran away with broken legs and our hair on fire."

But I didn't say that. We hugged her and kissed her and made her laugh and helped her choose a coffin and watched as she got the last clothes out for him to wear, even undies. We sat as she listened to music and ordered the $14.50 per head buffet for the wake and she made caramel slice and wrote the saddest Facebook status update in the world.

If I had a job I would quit it to become a cancer-ward-getter-innerer. I'm good at it. If you ever need to get into a cancer ward, call me. I'm your manhand. It was the most important thing I could do, for him.

The second most important thing is to write the shit out of his eulogy.

People are reading here who knew Jim very well, in life - hi. I'm a weirdo, this is called a blog, and Kanye West is an American rapper who pushed Taylor Swift offstage as she was accepting an award so now he is the butt of a lot of jokes. I had other dads before Jim and Jim won the dad competition. I don't know why I started this post out like that but I'm too tired and sad to start it again. I won't even edit this much. Thank you for your love and support. Thank you for loving on my mum. She needs it and deserves it. Jim kept saying, on the night of his stroke four weeks ago when he was terrified he was going to die, "Your mum is a good woman. Look after her."

We all promised him that he wasn't going to die.




I hate this blog post. Sorry mum ... I'll write a better one soon. Promise. I love you.

Jim, where'd you go? Is it as good as I told you it would be? Tonight in the car Rocco kept saying, "The moon is following us home, mum!" And I really, really hoped it was true.

.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Smouldering Ruins.

I haven't been able to say what's going on because who am I to narrate a mans death?

It took over five hundred years to build Rome. A fire broke out on the night of July 18, 64 AD. The flames spread quickly in the summer winds, consuming everything in its path for six days and seven nights. What remained of the city lay in smouldering ruins. (I just sat here for a few stunned seconds, looking at that date.)

For twenty-six days my mothers beautiful husband has lain in a hospital bed. Aggressive and unrelenting pancreatic cancer ravaging his body so fast we are all reeling in its wake. He is a dearly loved, gentle, peaceful man. Pretty sure he has not one enemy. His grounding influence on my mother and our family is quiet and ever-present, to this very day.

We are all painfully letting go and waiting a most terrible wait. Have you ever waited for somebody you love to die? Some of you probably have. This all gets played out around the world every day. People die, people are born, and all that's in between.

My mother. She is extraordinary. Sleeping at the hospital right next to him. All of his tubes are out, the doctors told us last week there is nothing they can do for him, for us. My sisters and I have all been taking it in turns to be there. Last week my brother was there too, and there was a moment in the waiting room when it was just us five and we were the strongest we'd ever been, all together.

The day my real father died, a policeman came to the door to tell us. The day our (first) stepfather died, a policeman came to the door to tell us. Our family is used to shocking, sudden, tragic deaths. I've never held the hand of a person who knows he is dying before.

It's extraordinary, inexplicable, moving, haunting, sacred, sad.

My mum asked me last night if I could write a short post about this so I dove straight into bed at 7.30pm. I couldn't do it, would prefer instead to fly to the moon and fashion a fake-half crescent using some white cardboard and sticky tape. IT'S STILL HERE MUM, SEE? She is asking everybody she knows to please hold Jim in their hearts as he leaves us. To help him leave us. I posted the other week about what's happening, so many people gave a lot of support, still in the hope that Jim will be ok.

He's ok, just not in the way we thought he was going to be ok. You reading these words right now is a silent acknowledgement of what's happening in my family and I thank you for that, for seeing that he needs to let go now.

So this is our terrible but beautiful truth. So many people have been in to see Jim and say goodbye, and tell him what he has meant to them. Done for them. A lot. Who knew.

Last week Jim asked if he could go home just for an hour, to say goodbye to his stuff. That's all he wanted, a simple request. Couldn't. Too sick. He's now slipping in and out of confusion and memory. Mum next to him every night holding his hand, whispering him words, a candle lit. I can't believe he is going. I can't believe he is still here. Mum has late-night text marathons with her three wildly inappropriate daughters who make her laugh. A balloon was punched, right in the room with Jim. I hated that balloon. It's slowly deflating. Linda came out of the bathroom at the hospital last week holding her latex-gloved hands out like the heart doctor she truly is, mouthing the word, SCALPEL!

I filmed it, and we watched it over and over and sent it to Leigh who was at work and text back ... "Are you RIGHT!?"

I slept in mums bed for the first time since I was five years old.

I'm home now, so is my brother and one sister. Going to sleep every night holding our phones, waiting and waiting. I feel frightened by what's happening. Sometimes no amount of tattoos or tough is enough. I wonder if Jim is scared. I think I would be. I keep breathing loudly to make sure I still can. Yesterday on the phone I heard Max to his friend: "No, you can't come over for a play. My mum is waiting for her dad to die." I love that he said that. It's the truth.

My sisters, my mother, brother and I will never be the same again. Again. We got to tell Jim how much he has done for us, thanked him for putting up with our crap over the years. We were all pretty broken when he came into our family twenty-two years ago. He listened, and said slowly and deliberately:

"I hope you don't get so far away from each other ... that you can't find your way back to each other again."

We really love you Jim. That's all there is to it.




.


Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Crying At The Glass Onion Society Cafe.

Every day on my trek from the beach house to hospital these last three weeks, I drove past this cool cafe and thought, "I love the look of that cafe. That cafe is my favourite cafe in the world."



How can something be my favourite and I've never even seen it properly? Dunno. It just was. I always wanted to stop but didn't. I spoke to my sisters and mum about this new cool cafe, how I'm going to stop one day because it's my favourite.

One day I stopped ... after a morning meltdown with my kids and husband, before I went in for another round at the hospital. I parked my car, wiped my tears, walked in the cafe, ordered a coffee, wiped my tears.



Crying is the new normal. This cafe made me cry a bit more, because of its creativity. I sat there in awe, thinking man I am so blogging this. Why? Because creativity like this needs to be celebrated and rewarded. Because these two really cool people started it up seven months ago. Sitting in creative places makes me want to be creative. Creativity is inherent in humans, and when you go through life digging deep and bringing that shit out of you ... it makes you feel connected and warm. A river in your heart.

Creativity is crucial to spirit.

My coffee was served in a dear little cup and saucer with THE CUTEST SPOON. I stopped crying enough to take some photos of this oasis of calm, this balm for my soul tornado.







I was a crying, photo-snappin' fool. The Glass Onion is a Beatles song. The Glass Onion Society Cafe overflows with all cool things. Hands down, my most favourite cafe ever.

I stood to leave and noticed an art exhibit on the wall, with skulls being the main theme. All of the pictures by extraordinary artist Dale Hessey were sold. Except one - the one I liked the most. A woman with sad eyes and skull face, called "The End." I stared at her a lot, realising I was looking in a mirror. Too broke to buy it, I walked outside and went in to Websters Vintage across the road.


At Websters I found eight collectable spoons all with fancy and cute little things on the handles. And a fork that says "Wang" which made the Beavis in my head laugh.

(If you ever come to my house I'll make you a coffee and serve it up in a dear little cup and saucer with the cutest spoon. It wasn't my idea, but man it will make you feel special.)

A few days later I met Dave and the boys for lunch.


The marshmallows in those small hands? Were being stolen from his big brothers hot chocolate. Luckily, the big brother was too busy playing Pac Man and Space Invaders on this baby.



I showed Dave The End and he put a deposit down on it for me, instantly guaranteeing himself a blow job.

As I spoke to the owners I told them how much I love their cafe and I was a blogger and would blog about it. I never do that. Felt stupid ... my kids were playing hide-and-go-seek in the changing room and I had no make-up on and before I even left the place the cool chick with the blonde hair and tree tattoo was on her phone googling Edenland.

WANKER. (Me, not her. I wanted to tell her I was cool too but instead said to Dave we had to leave now right now hon NOW.)

Glass Onion Society Cafe is at 308 The Entrance Road Long Jetty. It sells cool clothes, art, jewellery. I hate mindless consumerism but their stuff is a mixture of old and new, and well thought out. They're also on Facebook

So. Here she is ... the one in the middle. With the black eyes. She knows it's the end. She knows things in life happen and there ain't a damn you can do about it and things will be ok and blah blah blah she's really tough because see her skull?



She's tough. Also sad as fuck. Also tough.

.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Leaflines.

I'm only posting because my mum told me to.

I don't have much to say because there is so much to say. If I really started writing, too many words would tumble out and mum would say Eden! Too many words! 

Probably not. She's proud of me and my words. All I ever wanted when I was a kid was my own proper typewriter. Finally for my 21st birthday I was given one but I was too busy drinking to be writing so I hocked it for forty bucks.

Sad when I walked out of the pawn shop and saw it already on display in the window. Not sad enough to buy it back.

It took me an hour to drink that forty bucks. I remember announcing to the bar, "Well, I just drank a typewriter!" 

The other day I sat at the top of a hill on a beach and plucked this leaf.


All of the lines coming out from the centre. I wondered if the lines were proof of the Divine Creator. Or if nothing ever really means anything anyway.

My two guys jumped and slid down that hill for a full hour as Dave and I watched. That's all kids need to be happy - a sandhill and their parents undivided attention.

Simple.



I took this photo of the sky the other day, sure it was trying to tell me something.


My sister took this photo of the sky today, sure it was trying to tell her something.


Secrets everywhere.

Today I did a meeting. I shared about the fear of letting my son ride to the shops on his bike with his friends. I shared about how hard it was for me to say yes today. How I told him to look both ways crossing the street, to wear his helmet, to not get in any cars, not talk to strangers. To be home in an hour. Max rode down that street so happy. I watched him until he disappeared and I sobbed when I couldn't see him anymore because that's all life is.

A series of letting go.

.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

My Two Favourite Thugs.


After the slowest start in all of lazytown today, my two guys and I finally headed off to a park at 1pm.


Tomfoolery ensued. Shaggy hair was photographed. I bribed them both with offers of toys if they got haircuts.

Somebody was not impressed, but the lure of a new Hulkie was too strong to resist.




We ended up in a shop consisting entirely of hoodies. I bought us one each for ten bucks and Rocco called us the hoodie family and we ran to the car pushing the trolley after hiring out even more DVD's.

I had plans to take them to the beach and eat fruit salad in the sunset but I just couldn't so we came home and I made green chicken curry for me and macaroni and cheese in the blue box for them.

A new day tomorrow. Dave will be back tonight so will kick our arses outside earlier. He's a go-getter and I'm a stop-hither.

My boys redeem me every day. Every day.






Monday, 9 July 2012

Rome Is Burning.

Every time I rap Lil Wayne's part in No Love it feels like I have a grill in. Like a paraplegic feels their phantom leg. The strangest thing.

The other night I was driving through the town my grandparents lived in when I was a kid. I had to hear No Love really, really loudly before I went to bed. It just helps. So I park in this street, start blasting it, and see three junkies walking across the street. The physical world belongs to junkies and old people. There's nobody else left.

Decided to listen to their droning, ridiculous conversations so I open the door a crack. Couldn't catch what they were saying, looked ... one of them was running across the road straight towards me. I SLAM my door. It takes a lot for me to feel scared.

We sat there looking at each other for a bit, deciding our next move. Suddenly I remember that while he's living this pathetic existence with the pants hanging out of his jeans, I am now respectable and have three tonnes of hulking metal wrapped around me. I turned my headlights on high beam, straight into his face. Then I start my car and drove off, nice and slow.


My niece Billie is eight years old - a most talented, true artist. She drew this self-portrait immediately after my sister told how how very sick grandad was. It isn't even some of her best work ... I just love her awareness of her own sadness. Despondently holding her own get well card. Crying a literal pool of tears .. the almost manga-like eyes. Matted hair. Her grief is a fluid, moving thing.

This past week we have all watched as my mother and Jim have spectacularly downsized their dreams. From a much-anticipated trip to Ireland, to maybe a cruise, to realising he might not make it out of hospital. One day I'll make an appointment with Jim's doctor, for a friendly chat about how he kept sending Jim back home to battle unknown cancer by himself late at night when only a shower would relieve his pain. No the doctor didn't know, but he kept dismissing Jim and my lord I cannot wait to dismiss him.

I believe whole-heartedly in revenge.

Jim is on steady doses of morphine.

Max: "Mum, who's your favourite dad?"
Me: "Jim."
Rocco, rolling eyes: "Is grandad STILL sick?"


 
Don't just get better, grandad. BE better. 

Somebody well-meaning gave him a sympathy card instead of a get-well card and he just smiled. We're all very familiar with the hospital cafe menu. I have not paid for my hospital car parking once since I've been here because I like to live dangerously any way I can. REBEL I TELL YOU. I'm deeply troubled. Pretty sure my sisters are too. Something deep and unnameable in us, getting uncovered again. We'll be ok one day. Today is not that day.

Trying to wear the world as a loose garment but I want to strap something on and go head-to-head with the person in charge of biopsy results because we still don't know, won't know for days yet and Rome is burning. I haven't been home in weeks. I'm going to try salvage some school holidays with my boys this week. Maybe take some winter beach shots, get them haircuts and catch a movie.

Buy a fucking fiddle.

Don't know if we can ever thank the nurses in the cancer ward adequately. Nurses are the most important part of the hospital. I walked past a doctor circle jerk last night and almost stopped to compare penis sizes but I was too busy. (I would have won.)


Biding with my mother. She is a warrior. I'm exactly like her and never knew until this week. I love her. One day I'll take her away from all this shit and we'll go to a country we've never been before. She's a thrillseeker too.

She leaves for the hospital early every morning and gets home late every night. After dinner and a chat she's straight onto her computer. Very first thing she does is check my blog. Then her Facebook ... she sniffs around my sisters, brother, her friends from work. She retired last week.

Before she goes to bed she might play some lame Bejewelled Blitz, wakes up the next day and does it all again. She calls Jimmy her soulmate. He is. She is slowly making her way through the comments on my last post. She'll be reading them over and over for months, man do I thank you for that gift. So much, Computer.

The only reason I'm writing this is to give her something new to read.

Yesterday Jim grabbed my hands and told me he was proud of me. I never realised that before.

I apologised for my entire twenties and he told me he wanted to kick my arse .. "But you came good in the end, didn't you love."

The other week, Redundant Mother gave me this.


She made it using my words at the end of this post.

One of my goals is to perfectly rap Eminem's part in No Love but sadly I don't know that I ever could. That shit's QUICK.

I need to get some more goals, and I need to do them with a sense of urgency.

So do you.



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Half The Moon Is Gone.

I'm sitting in a library. There's only old people here. The rest of the world is at home living their lives on their computers. What's going to happen to libraries, in the future?

When I was 21 I quit my ice-cream scooping job in the city and moved back home. My stepdad Jim and younger brother came one morning with a truck to move all my stuff but I'd gone to bed at 7am and didn't answer the door. They came back an hour later and I was frantically throwing shit into boxes. Hungover as hell, pretending I didn't hear the door. Jim knew but didn't get cranky. He never did. I brought with me a host of cockroaches that plagued their house for years because alcoholic stepdaughters are thoughtful like that.

Last week a motley crew of doctors found cancer in Jim's pancreas and liver. And abdomen. Blood clots on lungs and pneumonia. Finding cancer is sometimes like the worlds most fucked-up game of hide-and-seek. SURPRISE! We were in here all along! He has been in pain for months. His pain has escalated this week to the point of unbearable. The past few days we have had to be his advocates. Stuck in a stroke observation ward and badly needing to be transferred over to the cancer ward. Nurses were not equipped to deal with his unique case. My mother has a look in her eyes I haven't seen in many years. Everything's happening so fast and what's going to happen to the libraries?

Artwork in hospitals is as lame as ever. A deep-sea marlin, a landscape, and some kind of bullshit abstract. Seeing Jim in this much pain is hard to witness. Imagine being him. There should be more nice art. Someone should do something. I clopped over to the cancer ward in my Africa boots yesterday and cried to the head nurse for a spare bed. You know it's a hard day when you're begging to be let IN to a cancer ward. She asked me to sit. There was a commotion. I love commotions.

A cancer patient was going nuts, because her boyfriend had been busted shooting her up and was banned entry. She's a blonde skeleton, about to die, kicking up a stink, treating her mother terribly. Junkies get cancer too.

They still couldn't take Jim. Don't they understand what kind of guy he is? How hard he's worked? Send me somebody to blame, Universe. It feels nice when there's people to blame. I drove around town for heat packs while his biopsy got cancelled again and it's the end of the world as we know it but people still honk when I drive too slow.

Sometimes, the idiot driver in front of you is slow because she's lost and trying to find the right way back to the wrong ward. Sometimes you need to have more compassion, earth people.

I check twitter and want to tell everybody to get the hell off twitter and go out and do something constructive for the love of sweet Mary and Jesus.

People are grotesque. Cancer is the $2 shop chemicals, the vegetable section of your supermarket, the food dye in your cream bun. Cancer is the salt on your fries and the fake-leather tassels on your brand-new pair of whatever the fuck you just bought but didn't need while children die from hunger. Cancer is the smokestacks of China and the grease-traps of fast food.

We live in a dying world but there's still hope because libraries. The books are whispering to me like the wisha-washa of the Magic Faraway Tree.

Jim loves reading.

Last night they forgot to bring his dinner and his bin was overflowing so I changed it and vowed that it would be his last night in that ward. Directly out his window they are constructing a whole brand new cancer wing and I wanted to run and shout to the workers HURRY UP HURRY UP HURRY UP.

A few hours ago he was transferred to the soft, muted colours of the cancer ward. Cancer wards are where it's at, people. Leather couches and soft carpet. There's no money in stroke wards. One of the stroke guys was vomiting so loudly this morning that it sounded like he was having an orgasm and I kind of wished he was. THAT'S what the stroke unit needs .... blondes giving hand jobs.

We don't have to fight for pain relief anymore. He's finally going to receive the correct care. Much, much classier art in the cancer ward - framed photos of melancholy beach sunsets, brass plaques inscribed in memoriam. If I ever get cancer and die, my art is to be a huge inappropriate Norman Lindsay print that is directly representative of my life. With demons and nudity and fear and bacchanalia.

Doctors are talking about months.

So.

All PR people emailing me can stop now, thanks. All people questioning my integrity please take a ticket and have a seat, I'll be with you later. Anyone who wants to visit the hospital needs to check with us first. The person who emailed my mother yesterday: go fuck yourself, leave us alone, when you told my sister on your blog that "I'm done with her" it meant you were done with my whole family.

If any person in the whole world has a problem with this blog post then please fax 1800-BLOW-ME.

If anybody would like to help out, you can start by joining your local library, and buying wholesome vegetables. For yourselves.

If there's anybody left, I'd really appreciate a favour ... leave a comment for my mum. Lie to her, and tell her everything's going to be ok.

::

The day we found out last week, I had to usher my four-year old son Rocco back to mum and Jims house in the dark. Rocco is currently obsessed with the waxing and waning of the moon. How it can be a sliver one night, and full the next. We were walking along the pavement and he looked up.

MUM! HALF THE MOON IS GONE!

I didn't look up I just said I know, sweetheart.

I know.





Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Their Feather.

 A few months ago I wrote a post about how every time I see a feather, I take a photo because it means that my guardian angel was JUST there.

It's a Sign.

People often take photos of the feathers they see, and send them to me. And I'm all, that's *your* guardian angels feather!

A few days before I left to go to Africa for World Vision, I took this photo at the front of my sons school.


It's the whitest, biggest, healthiest feather you ever saw. It means the angels protecting my sons school are tall and strong. Probably fierce.

The first day in Niger was one of the worst. That dusty refugee camp haunts me. I'm glad it haunts me. Being haunted is a great motivator. 

I walked around in a horrible daze, that these people lived in such filthy conditions. Late at night I think about the sights and sounds of that camp. How it would still be there. How there would be quadruple the amount of people there now because the food crisis is getting so bad. 

As I walked through to leave, I looked down and saw the scrappiest, most dirty feather you could see.

(I'm on an incline - was not standing on a dear little foot!)

The children looked at me like I was a god. So uncomfortable, because if I was their god I could have saved them in an instant. 

They all wanted their feet to be in the feather photo too. Without question or confusion. Everything I did they wanted to do.

Their feather is smaller, softer, dirtier than their western counterparts. Probably because their angels are so busy.

::

I see a lot of people apologising for complaining about "first world problems." I actually think that it's ok to complain and talk about how hard life is. Living in the first world is hard! It's complicated and busy and we all forget who we are. But I tell you what - standing in a refugee camp in the middle of a dustbowl in downtown Niger? Made me remember who I am.

And what I can do. What we can do.


West Africa Food Crisis - Donate now

.

Monday, 2 July 2012

On Finding Your Voice, Blogopolis, and Cabana Boys

Last Saturday I spoke at Blogopolis on a panel called "Finding Your Own Voice And Staying Relevant." I hate everything I said and wish I could have a do-over. Ironically, even as I was talking, the voices at the back of my head were saying, "You're sounding like an idiot! Who do you think you are! Shut-up!" That's the thing about using your voice - you're consistently wondering whether you're allowed to use your voice.

      Not scary at all

We all blog differently. There's no right or wrong way. I was asked to talk about using my voice so I did, but I never meant to make it sound like my way was the right way. It isn't. If I were to start my blog again today I would do a heap of things differently. The recent mainstream crossover of social media in Australia has heated quite a few things up. We live in interesting times. Blogging is still, in many ways, an even playing field. I like that. I like that more and more people are finding their voices - especially women.

A few great Blogopolis recaps:

The Tortoise and the Rising Star from Suger Coat It
What Opportunities Can Blogging Open Up For You? by Nikki at Styling You
Branding Your Blog from Nicole at Planning With Kids
Being a Newbie from Belinda at Billy and August
Spoon Porn and Other Adventures at Blogopolis from Five Frogs Blog

In other news, I wrote a piece in this weeks Grazia Magazine, on what it was like when my husband got cancer a few days before our second child was born.


Dave read it, and didn't even flinch about me saying I used to have daydreams about running off with a cabana boy.

In more other news, I'm sick with the flu and can hardly keep my head up to write this post. We're at our beach house on the Central Coast and it has no heating. I'm cold, tired, and miserable. And in a strange twist of fate, completely alone. The boys are at Dave's mums and Dave went back to work for a few days. I just ate porridge at 4pm and now I'll aimlessly search the internet for hours to keep my intense panic at bay. Maybe even look at some porn. MOMMY PORN.

Having a beach house sounds way exotic but in reality it's this tiny fibro cottage that we Dave is going to renovate. I call it the beach bong house, because the previous owner grew and smoked a LOT of wacky weedus in here .. the whole place smells like hash cones. It's quite nice. I keep subliminally buying Orchy orange juice.

How's your Spirit, right here right now? You want to come over and watch mommy porn with me?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...