Home is… where?

An absence of purpose.

If there are readers out there that have wondered at my absence these past few months, I was collecting new thoughts from new changes and new challenges.

It’s amazing how the concept of ‘home’ can surface in more than just as your dwelling of residence. Even then, the place you live is not necessarily ‘homely’. You don’t always feel at ease, safe and secure in your abode, or with your housemates. There are different places and people I feel at home with, even streets, parks and rivers. One thing I have struggled to find since the passing of my beloved mum is the place I reside to have that feeling of ‘home’. A sense of feeling safe, at ease, settled. Yes, this was a spiritual, emotional and mental residence I have been continuously working on within myself, but also of a literal sense. I required a residence that I felt ‘at home’ in. Retrospectively I realise that so much of this came down to my inner quest, I nevertheless spent a decade uneasy. I tried to dress up my surroundings but to no avail. I pretended to cook for myself and keep a domestic life, but I could see no point in doing so. I was constantly ready for the next event to necessitate another move to spring up from nowhere.

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Autumn in Coburg, Vic

I eventually found it, a little piece of paradise that was my own home, and moving from it after nearly three years was my own choice. I found it here, too, in the wonderful suburb of Coburg. I got to spend three months in an old, dingy house, constantly cold but feeling safe and at peace. I found a routine and also found joy in every moment I walked out into my neighbourhood. My soul has claimed Coburg, and the northern suburbs of Melbourne as a whole, as its spiritual home. It’s funny how, after spending a seemingly infinite amount of years altering and adapting yourself, the moment you feel you can finally take a leap forward and let out that long-held breath is the moment when the world decides to test your assurances. Yet, that doesn’t need to be a bad thing, nor does it need to send you reeling backwards. In fact, sometimes it is just that final bump in the road that is needed to jolt you into place.

The passing of my housemate in Coburg was sudden although, in retrospect, not really surprising. A friend I made earlier this year at ‘school’, we had a friendly and warm dynamic in the old stone house. After being notified of her death, I immediately reverted to fight or flight, and stayed that way for weeks, instantly in crisis over where to go and what to do. The decades of PTSD training my brain had undergone had made it a master of meltdown, yet I still somehow found myself a roof over my head.

And what a roof…

After my freefall of fear, I landed safely on my feet in shoes of cushions… no shockwaves or hard landing. My new home is two bedrooms, quite spacious, and has a cute little courtyard with luscious garden. Most importantly my housemate instantly felt like home. Two weeks felt like two months, two months like two decades. A kindred spirit, we spent my first night in the house laughing until it hurt. She is one more family member I never expected, particularly in such a short amount of time.

She has provided such solid friendship, love, support and laughter in such a short amount of time, and it is hard to believe I haven’t known her forever. In my anxieties about assignments, she has encouraged me without pressure. In my moments of self-doubt, she has pointed out my awesome without being condescending. My chemical imbalances and overall temperament have been more balanced in the four months I’ve lived here, and the calm has been almost surreal.

I may still be terrified of the path I have chosen for myself and may often feel like I’m too old to be single and childless, but I feel like I’m truly home for the first time in years. Whatever happens from here I can handle it from a safe and secure space.

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The Dark Moon

In the shadow of the grief of others, I know not how to speak.

Yes, I’ve been in those same holds before, medieval stocks,

But I recall the pains of an event long ago.

No matter how dark the night, or indeed the day,

My final thought upon enactment is always of my loves.

I could never allow them to feel that undying ache again.

 

So how does one come to that final point of relief?

To know that feeling of leaning forward and looking deep into the abyss,

to have actually jumped into it I…

well, I cannot even fathom the concept of a shade that black.

 

Has she never experienced that unyielding pain from those who left only questions?

I can only presume not, as for someone so genuinely thoughtful to have left those she cares for so undone…

The family left to mourn will never be the same.

 

If peace was what she was searching for in the dark,

then I hope that is what she found,

on her solo travels late on a cold winter night.

Blindsided

When all is said and done, where do I stand without you? Am I one entity myself? Or am I still intertwined with you somehow?

Where do the shadows take you? Where does the ash blow? If not for the wind and the passing of seasons would you still be here now?

Do these colours still reach you? Do they swirl and sway around you? Does the sky still burn brightly in your eyes or is all just dull and grey?

Can you hear the music playing? Can you hear me sing and dance? Does the melody call you and the tempo still pulse in your bones?

Do my whispers reach you? Do you hear me when I cry? Can you see that I need you to hold my hand and to make me smile?

Why can’t I rewrite history? Why can’t I challenge fate? Can I just go back and warn us all, make better use of time?

Still, here I sit without you. I’d stand but I’m too tired. I don’t think I’ll ever get it, I hope I never lose what’s left of you

But I’ll continue on, I promise. I’ll keep walking, step by step. I just wish I believed in an afterlife, so I didn’t feel it was all for nothing.

It takes a village

Today was Mother’s Day. I guess at 9:40 pm I should say that today IS Mother’s Day. Either way, it is an event I have not really had to deal with for 14 years now, yet it always deals with me. Surely by now, I would be OK; it’s not her birthday, or anniversary, or even Christmas. I guess in ways I am, but it seems to always creep up and catch me by surprise. It’s so regular though, I wonder why the surprise still occurs. Still, I have spent the day trying to read for assignments, trawling social media and walking around my new favourite suburb, all the while wondering why I was so restless. Until a dear friend relayed the love, thoughts and encouragement of her parents, who I hold so dear. It’s then that it really hit me, and the lid slid on the big gaping hole in my life. But I want to make it clear that it is not the grief or the feeling of loss that defines me, it is more about the ability to acknowledge that loss and still exist.  Continue reading “It takes a village”

Spiralling down the Rabbit Hole…

 

jackson pollack rabbit hole
‘Rabbit Hole’ – Jackson Pollock

“Do it in Canberra,” they said. “It’ll be fine,” they said.

Once I had returned to Canberra after a time, it was decided I should be able to start getting some kind of treatment at the hospital there and avoid the costs and stresses to my family of having to travel to Sydney so regularly. Enter the lumbar puncture (if it was also a bone marrow aspirate I’ve blocked it out). I fasted….. And fasted…. And fasted. “They must be giving you gas” my mum concluded: Nope! Hours went by and I ended up on the table with NO ANAESTHETIC OF ANY KIND!!! She could hear me screaming. It was a rare thing to see her furious, but that’s what I saw that day. I still cannot watch such procedures on reality or fictional tv, nor talk of or hear about them without feeling a sharp ache in my hip and recoil from the revisited ‘ouch’ of the 14 gauge needle in my hip.

It seems odd to be able to say that, as excruciating as that moment was, nothing compares to the stabbing in your heart and soul when you lose your beloved mum. As a 21-year-old woman, I needed her as much then as I did as a kid. I needed her to teach me life skills, guide me through my choices as a young adult, vet all my boyfriends, hold my hand through pregnancy and meet her future grandchildren (turns out that one not so much for me). We were only just finding ourselves in that space where we could actually relate on a human, adult level. I had finally let go of the teenage angst and enjoyed her company as the fun, funny, intelligent, generous, golden-hearted woman she was. We had been through so much together, and I valued and loved her beyond words. Continue reading “Spiralling down the Rabbit Hole…”