jmgoyder

wings and things

New chapter

Well, I have sold the farm to my lovely neighbours and will be moving to a little cottage in an adjacent town soon. It won’t be for another month or so but at least it is finally happening. The emotional difficulty of this decision (for both Ming and me) has long passed, as we have both realised the need to be pragmatic. The house is ancient and needs renovating, and dealing with 5 acres of lawns is ridiculous as I am not the least bit interested in gardening, although I did try (briefly).

I feel somewhat guilty for not responding to the blog posts I receive every day on my email, but I have been a bit preoccupied with the above. I think, once I am resettled, I will get back to blogging but I am not sure yet.

It is now over two years since my beautiful husband, Anthony, died and the grief is still fresh. I am trying to not let this grief get the better of me – and succeeding I think. I loved/love him so much.

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“Mingisms”

Ming is a master of the inappropriate comment or, sometimes, behaviour. For example, his Christmas morning ritual used to be running around the house naked, laughing his head off. Anthony and I had to turn a bit of a blind eye.

Anyway, today, I was waiting at Centrelink to re-establish that not only did I exist but that I had been volunteering for years (somehow these details had been lost). I was sitting next to a couple who I knew vaguely from volunteering and we were catching up when Ming rang to say he and Amanda were lunching soon at a nearby café so I said I would join them if I got out of Centrelink sooner than later.

All of a sudden Ming appeared at Centrelink, saw me and came over immediately to introduce himself to the couple I was sitting next to. He shook their hands, exchanged names and then he said he couldn’t stay and, in his usual loud voice, announced “I am that woman’s spawn!”

Then he left and I had to explain to the couple I was sitting next to that he had an unusual vocabulary.

Oh, the laughter was beautiful!

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A note to our son, Ming, on the second anniversary of Anthony’s death

Thanks Ming (Menzies Goyder) for always reminding me of your dad, Anthony. You have the same larger-than-life presence, the same laugh, the same booming voice, the same gregariousness. The other day, when you sat in your car for ages before coming in, it reminded me of how Ants used to do the same thing and it used to drive me mad! Your love of loud music, dancing, your easy-going nature, and your love of me … the saddest thing for me is that you never really knew Anthony the way he was because he began to get so sick when you were just a baby – one disease after another. In a few hours it will be the second anniversary of his death. Thank you for being with me that night and thank you for your support ever since. I am choosing to spend today alone because the memory of that night, when Ants pushed my hand out of his and we went outside and then, five minutes later, he died, still haunts me. You have been my rock (well, mostly!) and not only do I love you for being you, but I also love you for being so much like Anthony. Best son anyone could wish for. And you gave him such joy!37595561_1321704467965247_8882265699846717440_n

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All is well, Ants!

Me: In two days it will be the second anniversary of your death, Ants, so I am a bit distraught because the memory of your actual death is a bit haunting for me.

Anthony: Jules, everything you are doing is spot on! Ignore the naysayers, embrace the support of your family and friendship circle, and forgive me for my part in what is happening now.

Me: Okay.

Anthony: And Ming will be fine!

Me: Okay – I will take your word for it then, Ants.

Anthony: I now have a better view – this could possibly be called a heavenly perspective – but never worry about me because I am well thanks to all of the other lovely people here.

Me: Can you look out for R who recently died?

Anthony: Already met him – great bloke!

Me: I love you Ants.

Anthony: I love you too, Jules – stay strong.

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August preparations: Imagined conversation 82

Me: Hi Ants.

Anthony: That wasn’t a very enthusiastic ‘hi’, Jules.

Me: I am selling the farm and I am worried that this will hurt you.

Anthony: I’m already dead so nothing can hurt me.

Me: You’re not here, Ming’s moved out, the maintenance is getting ridiculous, and I guess the bottom line is I have fallen out of love with this beautiful place and its quaint old, ailing house.

Anthony: Jules, you do whatever you want and trust your instincts. I left the farm to you so it is your decision.

Me: Thanks Ants. I miss you so much….IMG_4201

Anthony: I will applaud you, whatever you decide, Jules.

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Exciting news!

My mother, Meg, who has featured in many of my posts over the years, has now launched her own blog. This is good timing as I am taking a blog sabbatical.

Anyway, her blog can be found at:

https://thatandalittlebitofthis.home.blog/

She is wise and funny and interesting so, if you feel like checking her out, it will be worth it!

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Imagined conversation 81

Me: Well, here we are, Ants. This is the last of our public conversations.

Anthony: Has it helped?

Me: Yes, it has helped me to talk to you better in my head; it has helped me to see how grief can be a gift (my mother said that); and it has helped me to be grateful for what we had rather than dwelling on what we lost when you died.

Anthony: You are a champion, Jules.

Me: Yes, I know.

Anthony: So what are you going to do now?

Me: I am going to put our 81 imagined conversations into book form and look for a publisher, Ants. It makes sense to stop at 81 because you will never be 82.

Anthony: So morbid!

Me: Not at all!

Anthony: You were the best thing, most joyful and interesting person, to ever come into my life, Jules.

Me: And you were/are the absolute love of my life, Ants. And then there was the gift of Ming!

Anthony: How is that young chap – my son?

Me: Our son!

Anthony: Our son! Okay!

Me: He is a weird hybrid of you and me – fascinating!

Anthony: Apart from you, Jules, that boy/man was the best thing that ever happened for me and I am so proud of him.

Me: Me too, Ants.37595561_1321704467965247_8882265699846717440_n

Note: Unblogging for the time being … thanks to my friends/bloggers for your grace x

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The ungiven gift

You were always going to buy me one
always going to
going to….
You wanted to so much so that
every Christmas
and Mothers day
and all of my birthdays
I held a little less hope
and was embarrassed to have hoped
for such an extravagance.
Unnecessary
ridiculous
until it became a whimsical joke between us
until you forgot
or remembered
and worried about the expense
then felt bad
that you had let me down somehow
until I told you that it didn’t matter
and as your memory gradually splintered
it didn’t matter anyway.

For years I forgot all about
this beautiful ungiven gift
until one day, when you were particularly worried about how much money we had in the bank,

I told you a pure white lie.

I wanted to alleviate your confused anxiety
so I pretended that we had won a lot of money on lotto
and the long-ago, work-weary farmer in you
beamed with delight and relief.

It was a brilliant lie and the first of many
that seemed to electrify your skinny brain cells,
unchoke and nourish them
and remind you of the ungiven gift.

Bring me a catalogue so I can choose one for you, you said.
Okay, I said.
But of course we both forgot all about it.

I lied when I said I would be back in half an hour.
I lied when I said that the overcooked scrambled egg you got for dinner
was crayfish.
I lied when I said that your dead mother was alive and well and cooking a roast for us.
I lied when I said you were getting better every day.
And you believed me
because you trusted me more than anyone in the world.

And the lies of golden silence also became the norm
when, on your 80th birthday,
you thought you had just turned 50,
when, having forgotten how to walk,
you told me you had just been on a 20 kilometre run,
when, thinking our adult son was still a toddler you could see playing with his train tracks in the corner of your room,
I nodded in agreement
and shared your delight.

One day, not long before you forgot how to speak,
you reminded me about the ungiven gift.
It was just after I had given you my daily reassurance about our bank balance
to which I always added at least one zero.
Have you found one you like? you asked.
Not yet, I said, squeezing your big, gnarled hand.
But of course we both forgot all about it.

Just before the first Christmas,
I was wandering through a shopping mall
not sure what I was looking for
not looking for anything
my heart pumping its new tune of panic
my eyes blurry with the constant hay-fever I excused them with
(such a seasoned liar!)
its shimmer nevertheless caught my attention.

I stopped in my tracks and stared at it
wiped my eyes on my sleeve
stared again
felt the ghost of your smile touch my lips

….and I somehow knew.

Make sure it is authentic, and ask for a discount, you whispered
My fingers are too short, I whispered back.
Try it on.

With a calm, unfamiliar certainty
I walked into the shop
and tried it on.
A gift from my husband, I told the shop assistant proudly, as she gift-wrapped it.
You must have a wonderful husband, she said.
I do.

On that first Christmas day
I opened your gift by myself and put it on
then I took it off and put it back into its little box.
I didn’t tell anybody about it
because I wanted it to be a secret treasure just between us.

And all these long months later – now, almost two years
I just take it out and wear it when I am by myself
I don’t know why that is,
it just is.

The ungiven gift
given
of an emerald ring.

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Imagined conversation 80

Me: Oh, Ants, everything is terrible!

Anthony: I know, Jules, I know.

Me: So why haven’t you done anything to help me?

Anthony: I am a long way from being an angel yet.

Me: Did I do the right thing?

Anthony: Yes.

Me: What could I have done differently?

Anthony: You could have done it sooner.

 

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Imagined conversation 79: Christmas eve 2018

Me: If you were here at home, back in time, Ants, we would have been sneaking bits of the Christmas ham and drinking champagne, then you would have eventually gone to bed and I would stay up for hours, wrapping presents to put into his pillow-case, leaving the empty pillowcase on the end of his bed and secretly filling the identical pillow-case (blue) with as many presents as I could fit into it! You thought I was extravagant but I was just doing what my parents did and, anyway, it was Ming, our only child; I wanted to give him the world + lego.

Anthony: It is quite common for middle-aged women to feel a bit lost when their children grow up.

Me: Straight to the point as usual, Ants – I miss you.

Anthony: I miss you too, Jules, but I mostly miss seeing Ming growing into a man of my calibre.

Me: Your arrogance is breathtaking, Ants!

Anthony: Jules?

Me: Ants?

Anthony: I am with you.

Me: Okay.

 

 

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