All posts tagged: life

“You Disappear When You Get Old,” She Said.

It was a mild autumn afternoon by the river, the water still and the light all toffee and caramel. We were ambling along the water’s edge when an elderly lady came walking her puppy – a silky terrier no larger than a rodent. The pup made instant friends with our two-year-old. There were giggles and face-licking, shrill yapping and shivers of excitement. So it was that I got chatting to a complete stranger. The elegant lady shared openly of her life, a story of immense sorrow and high joys. Her journey was intriguing – I was captivated. I must have stood there with this woman for 20 minutes, until she became self-conscious, realising she had interrupted our stroll. We exchanged names, shook hands and walked our separate ways. In all that she said, there was one sentence that resounded – because it wasn’t the first time I’d heard it. “You disappear when you get old,” she said sadly. My friend (let’s call her Liz), now in her 80s, said those very words no more than a week …

Finding Beauty in the Ashes

I climb in, turn the ignition and drive out our street, our city, allowing these wheels to eat up the distance. My stomach is a piece of dough. Pushed, pulled, beaten, flipped, flattened. It is 4:10pm. I kissed them goodbye: one, two, three, at the front door. Then I climbed into the driver’s seat, alone, no chatter in the back seat, no husband fiddling with the aircon. Just me. It’s warm for October and my cotton singlet top and sunnies feel deliciously summery, the sun still massaging warmth into my pores. My striped red and white tote in the boot has a change of clothes, a pair of pyjamas, a book, my Bible and a box of muesli bars, because I don’t trust hospital food. The road yawns ahead of me, wide and quiet, undulating from bush to townships to crops until I reach the coast and all its blue hopefulness. You’re close now, it says. I’m grateful for the kilometres between us, the peaceful preparation this plane has granted, making malleable the mishmash of …

The Measure of a True Friend

I have acoupla thousand ‘friends’ across my different social media platforms and other connections. As a measure of my friendship support, most would say I’m in a good position, right? Perhaps you’re the same. Relatively well endowed in the ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ department. But what happens when things get tough? Most of us don’t share the reality of life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat… we share the highlights reel. And in this virtual world, many of our friends are like those noddy dogs on the dashboard of old folks’ cars; constantly agreeing, liking what you post, commenting with little heart emoticons. We collect friends and likes as a hoarder collects things. They seem necessary. They make us feel good. But when when life gets hard, they are a poor substitute for quality. What does it mean to be a true friend? In a world afraid to say the hard things for fear of sounding judgemental, offensive or even tight-laced, I would venture to say that a true friend is one who is unafraid of speaking the …

Why Wait Until 12 Weeks When You Can Share Now?

Some of you will be aware that I’m now working part time for Emily’s Voice, an Australian media campaign that shares stories of real women and families in an effort to uphold the cause of the unborn – in a loving, compassionate and heartfelt way. It’s true that my writing for Emily’s Voice has given me less time and focus for my blog. So I thought I’d share with you one of the many stories I’ve been writing for this wonderful organisation. I encourage you to head over to the Emily’s Voice website too and check it out, see how you can be involved and make a big difference in little lives.   I NOTICED that glamorous mummy blogger Sophie Cachia announced her pregnancy early to friends, family and 121,000 Instagram followers recently. She penned some poignant thoughts in an article for popular media website Mamamia. “Societal norms prevent us from freely announcing pregnancy until after the 12-week mark,” she shared as she also revealed the fact she was 9 weeks pregnant. “I didn’t make the …

Two Victims or Two Gifts

My children have terribly picky eating habits. “Man cannot live on honey sandwiches alone!” I’ve often said to my five-year-old, who laughs and parrots back, “I can, mummy!” A rare breakthrough in the consumption of greens came when a friend bought said child a gardening kit complete with terra-cotta pot, paint and paintbrush for decorating, and a packet of watercress seeds. He painted a face on the pot, planted the seeds and in no time at all “Cresstopher” had grown a crop of lush green hair. The part for motherly rejoicing came when he gobbled down his cress and mayo sandwich – and asked for more. So, you will understand why there is a tray of cress perpetually on our kitchen windowsill and, though I’m no green thumb, it is diligently watered daily. These fine fronds of green line the innards of my son’s sandwiches (along with lashings of mayo), because spinach leaves, lettuce, cucumber or any other green filling is, “YUCK!” I quite enjoy the process. We lay out a bed of cotton wool before …

I Never Thought Abortion Would Cross My Mind… But It Did

Leading up to Christmas, I want to share with you FIVE GIFTS of LIFE. These are five real stories of local women who fell pregnant young, outside of their plans, and made good anyway. Each Friday between now and Christmas, I’ll publish another. First was Rachel. Here’s the second, Stacey: In the space of a week, Launceston woman Stacey received a little feet pin in her letterbox and happened to be watching television when an Emily’s Voice ad aired – five times. It was the ad detailing Madeleine’s story of grief following her decision to abort her own baby at eight weeks. Stacey was 16 years old, eight weeks pregnant and not a believer in consequences. With Madeleine’s story on her mind, the pin in her hand – with feet the same size as a 10-week gestation baby – she knew that the wrestle in her head was over. “I never thought abortion would ever cross my mind – I always thought it was wrong, but when it came to me finding out I was …

Proof of God.

You know those moments in life you wish you could bottle? The ones that make your synapses zing and your nerve endings tingle? The fleeting moment when you stand in awe of just how precious life is. – When winter light falls on our city just shy of dusk and, from an elevated view, houses seem to drink of it until their windows glow. Within, people are busy cooking dinner, bathing kids, debriefing after a long day, getting schoolwork done, lighting the fire, laughing at the dog. The tender motions of normal. – When you’re right and he’s wrong and the verbiage flies back and forth like a tennis match, only the projectile is heaving with increased breadth and ugliness, gaining speed and venom until you don’t remember the point you were trying to make, let alone what started the argument in the first place. You rub the palms of your hands down your jeans as if the friction might reignite your angry passion but instead, stealing a glance at your forever and always, you both start …

Life: A Dangerous Topic

Forty-three years ago, photographer Robert Wolfe snapped a photo of a living, two-month-gestation baby. A golden droplet the size of a mandarin segment encases the undeniably human embryo. Head, eyes, arms and fingers are evident in exquisite detail. The fingers of the doctor or nurse hover below, giving scale to the dot of life they are about to grasp. The photo was taken during surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy at the University of Minnesota in 1972. The doctor who administered the anaesthetic beheld, “what I believe was the smallest living human ever seen.” This is what he described: “The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. The tiny human was perfectly developed, with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was transparent, as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers. The baby was extremely alive and did not look at all like …

Baby, the World’s a Crazy Place

Surely this is the most luminous point of life. Right here where I hold the gaze of two sets of blue-spangled eyes, their innocence and adoration as naked as their bums at bath time. The daily heart-swells of gratitude for my children are a serendipitous part of my day. I hope they never stop. What a charmed space to occupy; wiping their tears, singing them to sleep, making them giggle, helping them learn, watching their firsts. This little window of blissful simplicity is where we place the greatest value on life. Infancy is the peak of human worth. When life at this point is marred, the injustice leaves our faith in humanity black and blue. I stroke the downy back of my baby girl’s neck and her whole face flushes with glee. Her legs kick and her arms shiver with excitement. “You have a world of contradictions to contend with, my sweet,” I whisper into her hair. I wonder if she will grasp the truth amongst the mixed messages. The contradiction of Valentines Day, to begin. This …

Twelve Weeks

This is a work of fiction that I wrote a while back. I feel rather vulnerable sharing it with you – for many reasons. Firstly, I don’t write a lot of fiction! And while I call it ‘fiction’ there are elements of truth embedded. You might be able to pick them. It’s also based on the topic closest to my heart: how immensely precious life is. I would be so grateful for any constructive feedback xxx TWELVE WEEKS Blood runs black beneath the nib hovering at Allira’s wrist. Jim smoothes the design on its scrap of paper before pressing back into flesh. He’s a redhead with blue-green eyes, freckled skin and a half-hearted goatee. The acrid whiff of cigarette smoke loiters at his teeth – he was drawing on a rolly at the shop’s steps when Allira arrived. He took his time to finish before walking in to set up. Allira sat on the couch to wait, gaping at the framed sketches of skulls, bare-breasted women and taloned creatures. The music was angry. Finally, Jim …