Marrying a divorcee

Ladies…take it from me…marrying a divorcee has its pit falls. You will be blindsided by pre-existing emotional and psychological damage without even realizing it. A divorcee is a complicated creature.

Spinsters have these grandiose notions of marriage. You look forward to the exciting journey of ‘togetherness’. You imagine you and your spouse encountering difficulties together, and holding hands through the newness of the union.

Now imagine a spinster marrying a divorcee who already gained his stripes. He already walked the walk and ended up with the t-shirt. All those grandiose ideas you had of holding hands goes out the window because your divorced spouse is sitting back pre-empting the pitfalls before you even have the chance to conjure their existence. Each time you stumble at the hurdle, he is not jumping them with you, he is off on the sidelines cheering you on: “You can do it hunny! And if you can’t then I totally understand!” How are you supposed to feel? Do you feel alone in the marriage? Do you feel duped? Do you feel like your dreams of ‘togetherness’ has manifested into a journey of ‘oneness’?

Yup! Welcome to my club…and it sucks!

For nearly two years of married life, my husband and I have spoken at length about these issues. We have dissected every detail and analyzed all the feelings. We have agreed on more than one occasion that a divorcee does come with past baggage. The divorcee  approaches the new marriage with a ‘know-it-all’ attitude. He is quick to get offended. He is quick to link current frustrations to past ones. He is quick to find similarities in both situations. He is constantly worried that the same cracks will appear. He is always looking for ways to ‘fix’ the relationship before any signs of distress manifest. All of these behaviors, and thought patterns, have a detrimental affect on the emotional and psychological fragility of the newly married spinster.

As unmarried women, we have no idea of what lies ahead. We are not aware that explosive situations between husband and wife can rear their ugly head. We are blinded by the romantic infatuation, we are completely smitten with our other half – the other half of your soul – the person who is meant to complete you in every way. We say our vows and make promises to each other that no matter what, we are both in this together, forever, no matter what. You look forward to waking up next to our best friend. The one who will have our back, who we trust. He is the one who will be our support. The one who will protect and provide. The one who pledges his unfaltering love on the basis that is me and him against the world. Then you realize you married a divorcee and all of those grandiose beliefs you are one big fucking illusion!

A divorced man can tell you he loves you. He can tell the world you are the only one for him. You will be the apple of his eye, and his heart has never seen such joy. But guess what?  None of what he SAYS, will stop his mind from THINKING about what ‘could be’. He can’t help watching silently like a thief in the night, waiting for signs…signs that it is going to fail. He can’t help what he thinks. He can’t help making comparisons, and seeing ghosts where none exist. A divorced man is scarred. He carries the weight of his demons on his back. He carries those demons into his new marriage, even when he knows he shouldn’t. He spots problems before they form. He conceives tragedy when none exist. He walks with a double edge sword, failing to understand why he is cutting himself. He  thinks he is being smart by protecting his already fragile heart. He tells himself he will not be the one to get hurt again! Little does he know that HE is his own worst enemy.

If he is his own worst enemy…then we cannot be the ones to blame for being active participants in a game we know nothing about. How are we to understand the rules of this game, when only one player has the instructions. How are we to build a NEW life together when the ruins of the old life still exist.

Additional Reading: https://www.marriage.com/advice/counseling/six-challenges-of-second-marriages/

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Annoying habits or cute idiosyncrasies?

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Do not get it twisted…I love my husband dearly…however there is some real shit that just grinds my gears! I swear I silently curse him throughout the day for stupid shit that I find annoying, irritating or just overboard.

Remember I told you that we talk ALOT! Yeah, which means his poor brain has to process a ton load of shit. We know men cannot multitask to save their lives – but somehow my dearly beloved feels that he can do that and more! Men…you will never have the same skills as a woman and if you so much as even attempt it, you will fail epically…and piss us the hell off!

Hubby and I talk. We talk about our past, our previous relationships, growing up, our family, travelling, what makes us tick. We talk about our dreams and our ever evolving relationship. I am the strong silent type, so all this talking about “feelings” can really piss me off sometimes. Not to mention, that after I have spent hours discussing my family life and past, I will inevitably have to REPEAT everything AGAIN because he doesn’t remember a word I said a few weeks later! Why do men have brains like sieves!?

I consider myself a neat and organized person…on the outside. Don’t you dare open a draw or a cupboard because some random shit may just attack you. Hubby is the total opposite – contrary to what you would believe about men being nasty pigs. I don’t know why this would annoy me so much – but it does. I guess I’m so used to my organized mess, to actually be confronted with ‘order’ makes me think “anal retentiveness and OCD”. It is good to be neat and tidy and know where everything is without panicking that lizards and spiders and a few rabid rats might be lurking around – but its a completely different story if everything looks like Martha Brady moved in.

I know the shit that bothers me doesn’t bother other women and that’s cool – this aint a competition – this is my opinion and frankly, in my marriage, my opinion matters. LOL. Yeah fucking right! I’m spouting out my ass and relieved to have a forum within which to get my anal retentive issues out in the open…don’t judge me! LOL

My husband really is awesome – because even though he does shit that annoys me (without  realizing it), I can always count on him to fix crap in my car, around the house and generally take care of all the shit I just cant be bothered with. Its not a matter of I can’t do certain things…I simply choose not to because I am lazy as fuck!!

Listen, if I can’t even keep a simple blog then there has to be a lazy gene somewhere in my body which grew into a damn gremlin by the time I became a mom – my mantra is “I cant be bothered“.

Fuck! I just had another eureka moment…quite possibly my mantra (which has turned into a habitual routine) is affecting my sex life! Oh man….I gotta go….need to have a chat with hubby and dissect the meaning of this revelation!

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Do we change for “better or for worse” after marriage?

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Ok so after a year or so hiatus, here I am – finger at the keyboard getting ready to churn out invaluable lessons, insightful anecdotes and fun facts.
Guess what – who the fuck am I kidding! Really and truly! Do I honestly believe that I am some know-it-all who has all the answers about parenting or marriage, much less life…I don’t think so! I’m trying to figure this shit out like the rest of you!
Since I do NOT have the answers, what I will do is try to share some of my more interesting interactions with my husband and my kiddo, which will hopefully give you better insight into this crazy rollercoaster ride called “marriage and kids”.
Ok so a little background…I have been married 1 year 7 months 5 hours 25 minutes and 7 seconds…but who’s counting right?! WRONG! Of course, I am counting…why the hell wouldn’t I count! It feels like we have been married 15 years for God sake! Why does it feel so long? Because we have done enough talking to last us the rest of our fucking lives! I do not think any other couple has talked as much as we have about every damn thing! No stone has been left unturned in our home and only God knows what else we have to talk about – but somehow, we still find more shit to dissect and work on.
Who the hell knew that marriage could change the dynamics of a relationship in such a short space of time! We dated for precisely 1 year and 29 days before we were officially man and wife. By the way, we eloped! Yes…we left our kids behind and ran off into the sunset to get married. Thinking back, I am wondering if that was really the right thing to do…hmmm. That’s another topic for discussion at some point.
Anyway, back to the meat of the matter. Up until we got married we were crazy rabbits – if you get what I mean… wink, wink! We simply couldn’t keep our hands off each other. To be honest, even I was getting sick and tired of my wily ways, but somehow, I just couldn’t get enough. Some might say I was trying to “quench my thirst” and others might say I was head over heels in love with my new beau *BIG GRIN*.
I am not sure how or why everything changed but it did! As soon as that marriage document was signed and the last bit of champagne was drunk, my passion died with the glowing embers of that beachside bonfire.
Fellow wives, I ask you this… “why is it that after marriage, you lose your mojo or your willingness to participate in sexual relations with your husband?”
I know this is an age-old question men have been asking each other as they drown their sorrows (yet again) in their local bar. Each of them looks mournfully at the other knowing full well why they are each there – without saying a word. On occasion a phone is passed around as they each laugh uproariously at some video depicting a fellow man suffering the same way they are. Their laughter never incites conversation after. They simply silently return to their inner turmoil and idle banter.
Ladies, why do you think we “change”? Why do you think we no longer engage in the sexual antics that first enticed our beloved men?
My hubby and I have discussed this topic at great length – duh! And he admitted that it is not a topic that is discussed among his friends. It is simply a topic that is known and treated like a joke – “married men never have sex anymore”.
My hubby and I agreed that maybe it is because the pressure is now off. Once a woman has landed the ultimate prize, she no longer has to keep trying. She relaxes into her new title and forgets everything else that goes with it – “cook in the kitchen, a whore in the bedroom”. I ain’t too sure what other women’s reasoning is, but I sure as hell know mine…
I’ve put on weight. I don’t find myself as attractive as I was before. I am wearing my new size called “comfort weight” and no longer feeling sexy in my naked skin. I am tired – tired of talking so damn much! We dissect every little thing I feel emotionally drained afterwards. He sees me shaving my legs, smells my morning breath, and knows my most intimate habits (using the damn bathroom!). There is no more mystery. There is no more intrigue. There is no more “trying to make a good impression”. There is no more effort.
I know MOST women will launch into me and say, “but that is what is so great about getting married! No longer having to try to hard to impress anyone. Now you can be yourself – warts and all!

Guess what ladies…clearly that ain’t working for some of us because we are trying to hide those fucking warts with the lights off now! We have become the butt of bar jokes and our lack of sexual enthusiasm is being made fun of in comedy sketches circulating on cellphones around the world! Clearly this is an issue that is personal, but an epidemic at the same time. We all have our reasons why we change, but somehow, we are hardwired to REACT in the same way…don’t you think?
As I said, I’m not proclaiming that I have the answers, nor do I have solutions. What I do have is a whole lotta questions that will hopefully engage some inciteful responses, or cause the next WW3! Who the hell cares. Whatever happens I wanna shake this shit up! Welcome inside my head and my life ladies and gentlemen…it’s gonna be a WILD ride!

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The Chronicles of a Rep in Ibiza and Charlie the cat

 

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View of Santa Eulalia from the apartment balcony

My favourite destination in all my years being a holiday rep was Ibiza!

Prior to going, my only image was of huge nightclubs, dancing til dawn , Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs, Paris Hilton and tons of other celebs who frequented the island during the height of summer.

Ibiza is the one place that would be considered a reps dream destination! Who doesn’t want to drink and party until sun rise…or watch the world’s BEST sunset sipping sangria with hundreds and thousands of people from all over the world? Ibiza is pure heaven…and I recommend any newbie to consider a placement there at least once in their career.

All of that partying is truly wonderful…all of that sunset-watching is enjoyable…but there comes a point where all of that becomes monotonous and all you really prefer to do is rent a dvd and snuggle up with your cat….

As a rep you are definitely NOT allowed to have a pet in your accommodation. It is one of the rules that is clearly stipulated…right next to “No smoking” and “NO chewing gum” in uniform. But there are ways to get away with smoking in uniform, or chewing the odd gum or two…and strangely enough, there are ways to get around the whole “pet” thing too. *cue mischievous smile*.

During this particular season, I worked in Santa Eulalia in Ibiza and it was a great location that was a little bigger than a village, but smaller than a town. It was a mix of modern, contemporary and old. It had a great marina, cute little beach bars, fabulous restaurants from Thai to Italian, unique bars and overall, it had a wonderful feeling about it. Because there wasn’t anywhere for me to live that particular season, I had to share an apartment with the team leader in the area. For anyone who doesn’t already know this, the team leader accommodation is literally 1 step down from a manager’s accommodation…so yes…for the first time since becoming a rep, I was living in what most would call the “lap of luxury”. A 6th floor apartment overlooking the marina and the sea, within easy walking distance to all my hotels and amenities – and close enough to KFC/Pizza Hut so they could deliver!! Thats right people…KFC delivered!!! Talk about landing in paradise! My dreams had come true that season for sure – I got Ibiza as my placement (which, along with Cyprus, was damn hard to get), I got the area where I wanted to work…and as an added bonus, I got to live in a fabulously furnished apartment with a proper kitchen, comfy sofas, a TV and DVD player and the perfect view! Oh….and did I mention that the DVD rental store was 2 doors away from my apartment – right next to the little shop where my roomie and I bought all our snacks and drinks for our continual movie nights? Yeah…thats right people…I WAS IN HEAVEN!!!066

Finally having an accommodation that felt more like “home” instead of a prison cell, was certainly a refreshing change. But as anyone knows, a home never feels quite right without a pet. Do not get mistaken, I was definitely not going to go out of my way to break any rules by purchasing a pet…and I certainly was not actively looking for one under rocks and in bushes…but if one happened to stumble upon my path, I definitely wasn’t planning on thinking too hard or too long about calling it my own.

As luck would have it, this one fateful morning I headed to my usual duties in a hotel which had approximately 4 guests, and it was here that I simply sat and stared at the walls hoping and praying for the time to end. As I saw the time drawing to a close, I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly packed up and rushed out the entrance. Lo and behold, there he was! He was the sweetest, friendliest cat you could ever imagine. He was just sitting there, waiting for any random person to show him affection…so I obliged. Now of course, I did not immediately think about claiming him as my own since cats have absolutely no loyalty, and this cat probably wandered off because he was tired of his owners. I petted the little creature and I headed off in the direction of my next hotel – not giving it another thought.

After the usual afternoon siesta, I made my way back to the hotel where I had seen the cat – and as I walked up the stairs of the entrance there he was again. Just sitting there, looking all lonely and sad. I bid him hello, gave him a courteous rub on the head and walked into the hotel. My interest was piqued now…why was this cat hanging out at the entrance of this hotel that barely had any guests in it…especially any guests that would even give him the time of day. Strange I thought. And even stranger when I asked the reception staff if anyone knew who the cat belonged to and all of them said they didn’t know. Hmmmm.

Once my shift had ended I knew what I had to do…I was going to commit the ultimate sin…I was going to kidnap the cat! I knew that this was what I had to do…the cat was probably looking for a new owner…and I decided I was up for the task! I scooped the cat up, and since I didn’t have a box, I stuff the cat into my work bag…which was pretty tricky. The cat was very friendly on the ground…but funnily enough he did not take too kindly to being kidnapped and stuffed in a bag that was certainly not suited for catnapping purposes. Now this is where it got really tricky – the walk from that hotel to my apartment was a bit of a distance – about 20 mins to be exact. Try adding extra weight to that distance and having to fight with a wriggling bag and look normal in the process…that 20 minutes felt like hours! The other part of the plan I forgot to factor in was that I had to visit one more hotel before the end of my evening shift. YUP! A cat screaming from my bag, trying to act normal and praying to god that a manager didn’t decide to “pass by” had me on edge. I was obviously NOT about to finish my duties for the evening…instead I was headed back to the apartment with my furry captive and help him settle into his new home instead!

How I managed that 20 minute walk without appearing insane I am not sure…how I made it into my apartment building and in the elevator without encountering my neighbours I have no idea…and I have no clue what was going through my mind when I finally sat on the sofa and opened my bag to release my captive. All I knew is I was SUPER excited for my roommate to come home so that she could meet our new pet for the season!

Yeah…good question…how was I so sure how my roommate (my team leader, by the way) was going to feel about breaking the rules and having a cat…in an APARTMENT on the 6th floor?? Yeah…potato patato, tomato, tamato…who cared! What was there not to love about a purring ball of fluff!

Thankfully when my roommate returned home that evening she was so excited! We set about naming our new friend and eventually decided on Charlie. Charlie was our new pal and he accepted us as his new owners, friend and family. Charlie was a well trained apartment cat. He had no desire to run through the front door and make a bolt for the outside world. He was happy chilling on the sofa or perched precariously on the balcony ledge…which really made my stomach lurch. Even when the other reps came around, they were totally not bothered about Charlie either. It was as if Charlie was meant to be with us…and that was the routine of our summer season. 098

Now, the downside of any season is that it must come to an end…but before it does, certain things can occur:

  • Your roommate has an accident and the manager comes to visit
  • The owner of the apartment is selling it and must show potential buyers around

 

Ahh yes…the 2 most agonizing occasions, especially when one has broken the sacred commandment between rep and company, which of course means the company has broken that rule outlined by the owner of the property! I knew I was well and truly FUCKED! Now any sensible rep would probably have done the obvious…thank the cat for the happy memories and wonderful cuddles and then dump its ass on the street and hope that another kind soul finds it. Well, I did not do that…instead I bribed the cat with food and snacks and locked its ass in my wardrobe and prayed that it did not get frightened and start mewing. As my luck would have it, it started mewing and I started coughing! I think the owner of the apartment thought I was a frigging nutcase…or seriously ill…he did grab his potential buyer and bid a hasty retreat out of there before either of them caught my cooties.

Despite those 2 incidents, it was a happy occasion and Charlie was great comfort to me especially when my roommate had to return to Scotland for about a month and a half due to her illness. Charlie kept me company and for the first time as a rep abroad in a strange country, I finally felt like I was “home”. Saying goodbye to Charlie at the end of the season was VERY emotional, and my roommate and I made sure that he went to a good home. I still think about Charlie, and thanks to him, I will always remember my adventures in Ibiza. 068

 

Finding my twin flame

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From I was a little girl, I would read every fairytale ever written and daydream about prince charmings, knights in shining armour and fabulous hero’s that would swoop in to save the day. As I grew older I held on steadfast to the belief in the “happily ever after” concept, and hoped and prayed that one day I would stumble upon my prince.

After multitudes of failed relationships under my belt, my belief of the fairytale soon waned and I too (like the majority of the world) became blasé about that so-called “happy ending”. Did it ever really exist? Was it simply a story for little girls? Or was it only reserved for a special set of people? Whichever was the case, my childhood dream was dwindling fast, and those fabulous daydreams were looking more like nightmares.

Regardless of my continual search, my heart was still full of love and hope that the next one would be “the one”. However, somehow the Universe had other plans for my heart …6 years of utter turmoil from losing 4 very close and personal family members caused a wall to build, and my heart to be locked behind a cage. I took that key and I threw it away…4 times my heart was ripped from my chest –  I honestly had nothing left to give.
I turned my back on fairy tales, and I resigned myself to the fact that my only happy ending would be one that involved me, and only me. I cried to the Universe and told it that I no longer cared. I didn’t need to love anyone except the beauty that the Universe surrounded me with. I was tired, broken and frail. I turned to myself and made my plan to forgo searching and just accept that “true love” would not exist for me in this lifetime…I was meant to learn other things…and that is exactly what I proceeded to do.

I started a spiritual journey of retrospection and growth. I embraced Life and its blessings, and I learned to accept and love myself instead of trying to love someone else. I meditated and soared to heights that some people can only dream about. I started reading books that opened my mind not my heart. I soon understood that the fairy tales were never about finding love, they were about BEING love.

In December 2014 I wrote a blog entitled “Is this ‘real’ love that I am feeling” …little did I know that by simply BEING love…love would be waiting around the corner, and the answers I posed to the Universe back then would be answered within a few months.

This love is not one of giddy skipped heartbeats, it is not one of excitement and fascination, it is not overwhelming and anxious. It is not the hearing of harps or the feeling of fluttering stomachs. It is a love not felt by the heart, but a love felt by the soul. It is a love that has no words and no sound. It is a love that just exists…just as the sun rises and the water flows. It is a love that loses track of time and simply blows like the breeze. It is a love that has no constraints, needs or wants. It is a love that has its own energy. It is a love that needs no explanations or validations. It is a love that simply ‘is’. It is the love where two souls connect and there are no words, or not enough words, to portray the magnitude of feelings.

Just like the breeze blows and the sea ebbs, he flew into my life on the winds of change. I had no idea that I  would meet someone who would know me better than I know myself. I had no idea I would meet someone who could look into my eyes and see my thoughts. Not for one second did I think I would meet someone who I knew with every fiber of my being was a version of me in male form. This perfect creature cares not about my past,  he only wants to be my future…and without a doubt, I want to be his.

Who would have thought that this wonderful man would end up to be my hero, my prince charming…my fairy tale romance. Who could have thought that he was out there all along waiting for the alignment of the Universe so that he could stride into my life and sweep me off my feet. He is my best friend, my lover, my family, and above all he is my twin flame.

This too shall pass

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Winston (Kapoo)

People walk into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime. Each person has an influence or an impact on your character and your personality. Some help to mold you into the person you become and some are a sign post for who you want to be. I have had the pleasure of encountering so many beautiful souls who have made a lasting impression on me and who have crawled beneath my skin to become more than just ‘friends’…they have become family.

My life has been blessed. Each step I took along a path which seemed unclear and shrouded by darkness, these wonderful souls helped to light the way with their kindness, love and comfort.

I would not call myself religious. I am a spiritual being trying to make sense of this crazy world. I’m simply trying to connect with like minded individuals who I believe are part of my ‘soul group’. We are able to speak the same language effortlessly and easily without disdain, intolerance or sheer ignorance. We are connected by a higher power and even though we are not on the same journey, we are all on the same path of higher level of understanding.

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Carol and Bryan (Nanny and Grandad)

As I lay in my bed last night doing a little meditation, I had a brief flashback to a time merely 3 months ago when I held the hand of a man I grew to call my step dad….

I was roused out of my sleep at 3am by the nurse who told me to come quickly because my step dad was on his final ascent to the heavens. I remember feeling a huge burden of relief knowing that this was it…he was finally out of his misery. 2 years of pain and 6 months of absolute suffering was coming to an end, and for that I was indeed thankful.

As I walked into the room and I sat on the bed, I held his hand and rubbed his face. He was moaning so loudly with this blank expression on his face. He was looking at me as if he was trying to talk to me…but couldn’t. I kept telling him we would be Ok. Everything was going to be Ok. He needed to stop worrying and walk into the Light and allow the pain to diminish. It was a bizarre 20 mins or so as the moaning ceased, he closed his eyes and started to breathe rapidly. I was unsure if this was the actual end or simply a passing phase caused by the sickness.

It wasn’t until the nurse told me he was gone that I suddenly felt shell-shocked. He couldn’t be gone, I thought. He was only holding his breath. He would soon look at me and give me his usual reply when I asked how he was doing, “never better”. But it was not to be so, because this time, there was no reply…there was just deafening silence.

This wonderful, upstanding, kindhearted gentleman was my mothers partner for 19 years. He loved her with all his heart and soul…and in turn he loved me and my daughter with every fiber of his being. He was a man of few words and a man of even less affection…but his little Chloe was the apple of his eye and reduced him to a big soft-hearted giant. Even though he was a workaholic by nature, he made an effort to rush home every evening so he could see her before she went to bed. Chloe was a blessing for him. He knew that she was a little slice of the woman he loved so dearly, and for that reason he cherished her as if she was his own flesh and blood.

I never properly allowed myself to grieve and mourn his passing. I have spent my time trying to follow in his footsteps keeping everything going. I have ‘manned’ up to the situation and become the breadwinner. I have put my own womanly feelings aside and immersed myself in work and daily chores in an effort to keep my mind off my loss. Last night I was reminded that its not been 3 years…its only been 3 months…and its Ok to feel tired. Its Ok to feel alone. Its Ok to feel lost and confused. Its Ok to cry every time someone mentions his name. I guess I squashed my emotions when my mum died because I was pregnant, and now I’m doing the same thing because I refuse to allow myself to appear helpless.

I have had so many people rally around me offering support…some I have ignored, some I have thanked graciously and some I have opened up to. Weird thing is, no one will ever understand the deep pain and the fresh wound that I try to bandage each day. I meditate, I breathe it out, I release the thoughts and energy into the universe, I burn incense and I pray. I pray everyday for strength. I pray everyday that I make it to the next day. I pray that I can remain calm and unnerved. I pray for peace of mind and determination. Above all, I pray that I will be ok.

I thank God that Winston walked into our lives all those years ago, and I thank Life for blessing me and Chloe with the most amazing man who was our lighthouse in the dark. Unfortunately that lighthouse glow is now diminished…and as I sit in this boat bobbing on the ocean of Life, I try hard to steer me and my daughter to safety and away from the treacherous obstacles. I sit in the boat and I reminisce about all the people I have loved and lost, those who have been my rock when I needed it the most, and those who continue to offer a dim glow which remains as constant as the stars in the sky.

I know that my feelings of distress and loneliness are but fleeting because… “this too shall pass”.

The moment my repping days came to an end.

mummyYesterday made 6 years that my mummy passed away. She succumbed to her illness at approximately 11.30pm on April 23rd 2009. Today, I figured it would only be right to dedicate this blog in her memory, since my blog profile picture is her at the age of 10.

My mummy is my inspiration in everything I do, say and think. It was with her support and her encouragement that I was able to accept every challenge and obstacle in my life with grace and poise. It is because of her why I am who I am, and it is because of her love of the creative why I have started blogging.

My mum was a lawyer by profession, but as the years passed she morphed and changed like a caterpillar into a butterfly (several times). She was an author, a certified reiki practitioner, a mediator, a yoga enthusiast and fluent in french. Above all, she was a best friend, a confidante, a motivator, a hero…a mother!

She allowed me to soar high like an eagle, and if there were times my wings failed, she was always there to catch me. She always stood in my corner, ready to help me fight any battle – especially if she knew I was right. She gave me free reign to express myself and to grow freely like a beanstalk. She told me once – “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You can do anything once you set your mind to it”. She had a loving hug and a listening ear for every one of my friends – and all of them were known as “sweetie” and “sweetheart” as far as she was concerned.

The day she died it felt like the rug had been pulled from under me. It felt like I was free falling in an abyss with no sign of hitting the ground. I felt like I was in a dream which had suddenly turned into a nightmare. I felt hopelessly alone while surrounded by so many people. I did everything in an expressionless daze, totally unaware of the harsh reality that I was presented with. That was the precise moment my holiday repping days were over for good.

Every time I would close my eyes I hoped my mother was going to walk through the door. I had actually made myself believe that she had only gone for a little holiday and she would be back very soon. 6 years later…and she still hasn’t come back from her little holiday. I guess I’ve had to make peace with the fact that she’s never coming back.

I have framed pictures of her all over my house so that I can be reminded of her beautiful smile every day. Her smile could light up the darkest night, and it is her smile that I remember the most. It’s weird – as the time passes, the memory of her starts to fade…but her smile is what stays with me. I can no longer hear her laughter, or smell her perfume. I can barely see her face in my head, or remember the tales she would tell. Everything seems to be faraway memory…so faint…almost unreal.

My daughter did not get a chance to know her grandma – and for that reason I live forever in a state of sadness. My mum wanted grandchildren so badly. She used to tease me that I was going to have 10 and all of them would love her and call me ‘mean mummy’. (*smile*). I would throw back my head in fits of hysterics at the thought of 10 children, and I would say, “That’s absolutely fine. You can keep them! I don’t want 10 children anyway”. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I sat by my mother’s death bed. I never found out until after she was gone. If she had known would she have fought a little harder? Would she have stuck around a little longer? Would she have recovered completely? These thoughts are just ‘what if’s’ that float around my mind – I am fully aware that I will never know.

We didn’t always see eye to eye – but who does as a teenager? I really couldn’t stand her though, and I used to wish she was dead. As far as I was concerned my life would have been easier without her in it! Stupid teenager I was! – wishing my mother dead because she said I couldn’t go to some dumb party. Looking back, I’m appalled that those thoughts even came into my head. How could I have been so callous and unloving? What could have been so bad? As a teenager you never think your parents are going to die…they’re invincible. In your 20’s you never think your parents get sick…they’re unstoppable. So you can imagine the shock and the horror when you receive a phone call from halfway across the other side of the world, in a totally different time zone, and hear the immortal words – “whatever I say…don’t panic!”.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was working in Fuerteventura (the Canary Island), and the phone rang. It was my mum. She sounded a little weak, but nothing to get overly concerned about. She made casual conversation, and then said,

“I wasn’t planning on saying anything. I would have preferred if you found out after I was gone. I’m sick. I have breast cancer. Its stage 4 and there’s nothing they can do. I was told I had to tell you – but I didn’t want to”.

Nothingness is probably the only word I can use to describe the emotion I felt in that moment. I didn’t know what to say, do or think. This was in the February – I had just left in January after spending 2 months with her. I didn’t notice anything strange then and she definitely didn’t say anything. What on earth happened in the space of a month? Why was she telling me this now? Was this a sick cruel joke – if it was, it wasn’t funny.

I flew back home March 2009, when the company could finally release me, and I will admit wholeheartedly I ignored what I had been told. I saw her lying in the bed looking frail, but 2 months prior she and I were driving and behaving as if nothing was wrong. Who was that person lying in the bed pretending to be sick. I had convinced myself it was a joke…and she would jump up and go “GOTCHA!”. The only “gotcha” I got was when the doctor called to tell me she had passed away, just after a week of being admitted into hospital for dehydration. I guess she got her wish in the end – I got that final phone call from a stranger after all.

Just when I think I have cried all the tears I have left – a fresh wave of tears trickle slowly down my face. I could write and say that this time of year is especially hard – but I’m made of stronger stuff. I could say that some days I don’t want to face being a mother or an employee. I could say that there are moments when I want to run… to run fast and far away. But I can’t say any of that.  Because my mother is – and always will be- my inspiration. Her tenacity for life, her youthful demeanor and her positive outlook, is what gets me through my darkest days – and when all else fails – I remember that smile… that smile that could light up the darkest room

death