wings and things

My mother’s courage

on September 23, 2013

My mother has had an extraordinary year and somehow survived it. The other day, she found a diary entry. The following words are hers.


Written in the midst of recovery and rehab after falling off my bike and two fractures in the pelvis and three in the wrist resulting in a plate. Three and a half weeks in hospital and six weeks with home care after returning home.

Added to this was the possibility of failing eyesight, when my second eye was diagnosed with wet macular, which had taken away the sight in my left eye.

I wrote:

Can I find a way to meet this new challenge, this extra disability. For yes. I am disabled. I hear perhaps 10% of conversation, lectures, discourse, chat, and now, my eyesight too, is dim.

My world, once sharp and clear and vibrant with song, and colour and clarity, is muted, damped down, edges dulled, disintegrating. I can’t remember what it was to step out, sure footed and light hearted. “Take care”, “hold rail” “look down” “the footpath’s out to get you.”

Care free. What’s that? Unthinking, devil-may-care, impulsive? Gone now, forever?

Would hiding in the safety of my home, no risk, be better than this half life?

Is the smile becoming fixed, a give away. That vacant, lost, bewildered look that usually only comes with senility.


Not gone in mind, though sight and sound have left me early, far too soon.

I must decide. These storms of sorrow washing over me to drown my essence. Can I push up the trapdoor of this thing that threatens me. Have I the strength or will to fight the demon of despair .

Count what you have, not what you’ve lost. You know that others have lost more. Yes. Much, much more.

What should I change? How do I embrace and prosper?

Look in, look out, look up, look here.

The things I used to do so well, now cause me anguish. What substitutes? What gifts and visions unexplored?

Show me O God, what plan you are enfolding. The years ahead must hold a treasure true, as yet uncovered and unseen, for grief and loss has hidden you from me.



56 responses to “My mother’s courage

  1. mimijk says:

    To be grateful in the face of despair…to consider the alternatives and remain humble. To keep lifting your face to the sky. Yes. Beautiful Jules – I can see the amazing capacity for love and life that you and your mom share..

  2. bulldog says:

    Wow… and Wow again… what a share… makes one feel stupid for complaining about little things… we don’t know how well off we are sometimes ….

  3. this entry has made me more thoughtful and grateful–this piece was beautifully wrought–the anguish gave way to hope and she asked the questions we all ask
    hope the next year is kinder to her

  4. I want your mom’s thoughts and attitudes in my head. And I too wish her a better year.

  5. jmgoyder says:

    Even though I was involved with my ma’s recovery, I hadn’t seen this until now.

  6. Colline says:

    What amazing words. What struck me is that she realised she had a choice with how she would deal with her failing health. She is truly an inspiration.

  7. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Yes, what amazing words. Obviously the gift of writing runs in the family.

    What a courageous woman your Mother is, Julie.

    Life is certainly all about choice. Not necessarily the choice of the things that befall us, but the choice of how we deal with each challenge as it arises.

    Just as some people see a glass partly filled as, half empty – others see it as half full.

    I love her sentence “How do I embrace and prosper?”

    At this point, she is already thinking positive. So whatever happens in the next year, your Mother will see it in the best light.

  8. Granny of Bunbury says:

    This is just beautiful, and it lifted my heart and spirit to read those words written by your Mum. I shall keep them and use them when I have trouble looking forward.

  9. cecilia says:

    How absolutely stunning, what an inciteful woman and indeed very brave. Thank Meg for sharing her words with us too I will remember them for a long long time.. c

  10. What an inspiration she is. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I see where you get your awesomeness. Your mother is a force of incredible strength, I am humbled by her beautiful and honest words. Hugs Jules. 🙂

  12. Another brilliant writer! And so inspiring in the face of diversity…so glad I read this today. x

  13. Your mother is very inspirational! Love her courage through her struggles – now I know where you get your strength from. xo

  14. Dear Meg,
    Reading your words gave me chills. Whether this is read back to you or not, I feel a need to let the energy flow to you directly for now I am not only inspired by your daughter, Julie, but you. I write with tears welling in my eyes as my heart eases some of the pain it’s held over facing aging with a chronic illness.

    I wrote to Julie yesterday (a Leonard Cohen quote) it’s the cracks that let the light in. Your words brought clarity to those words for me, igniting faith.

    I know you recently traveled to the UK for a wedding so am assuming that the unfolding plan has brought you smiles.


  15. janechese says:

    No kidding about your mother’s courage-beautifully written with a strong heart and mind. Now I know where you get your strength from. Blessings to you both.

  16. Now I know where your gift with words comes from. That’s a beautiful Diary entry and speaks to all of us. I am particularly touched by her describing her present and thoughts of her future. It seems we will always question what we should be doing with our life. I see where you get your strength as well. You mother is an extraordinary woman. It makes me consider my own mother, and how strong she was. Women are tough!

  17. FlaHam says:

    Julie, Meg is one great sounding lady, and it would be a pleasure to know her. I see where you get your courage and understanding from, and your willingness to continue the good fight. Thank you for sharing this, it will help me on those days I start to bitch and whine. Thank you, Bill

  18. Wat an extraordinary woman you mother must be, Julie.

  19. This is such an inspiration. As I was reading, I was thinking that no one, nothing can interfere with a carefree attitude…and there it was. My mom has been the same type of person. Even in her current diminished state (at 93 with dementia) her attitude is an inspiration. We have great role models, don’t we!

  20. Rhonda says:

    Remember Julie love…the apple does not fall far from the tree. Your mother is a wonder…and you, a wonder’s daughter. xo

  21. ksbeth says:

    wow she is a brave and powerful woman )

  22. Wow what moving and powerful words, your mum is a strong and brave woman.

  23. Terry says:

    I love this because it is rare to actually see into the life of an older generation. It grieves me how life is taken a way and the mind retains sharpness. Yet she still holds positive thoughts. What a wonderful Mum

  24. Really powerful words and thoughts Diane

  25. Now we know where you get your talent and your grit. Lovely.

  26. adinparadise says:

    Bless your mom, Julie. She’s an inspiration to us all. “Count what you have, not what you’ve lost” really speaks to me. *hugs* to you both.

  27. Beautiful, and honest.

  28. Your mother seems like a courageous woman. A good role model. Now I see where you get your strength from.

  29. Your mother is awesome! I love that she makes the conscious choice to not just survive and make do with her current limitations, but to prosper! “What gifts and visions unexplored?”

    What a courageous and inspirational woman! Huge thanks to you and your mother for sharing this!!!

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