wings and things


on December 28, 2013

My mother and I went down south yesterday for an overnight visit with my younger brother’s family on their beautiful, remote block of bushland. Ming was supposed to come too but he is still struggling with post-op. pain and that horrible post-anaesthaesia blah so I left him home (and the little break was good for both of us!)

It was the first time we had seen the kids minus their various braces, splints, crutches and wheelchair (due to injuries sustained in the accident in October in which Ming was the driver). Of course, they are not completely recovered, but they are certainly getting there in leaps and bounds.

And they glow! These three children, one 13 years old and the twins, 12 years old, have always has a special glow about them. They are high achievers (as was evidenced in the school report cards they eagerly showed us), but they are down to earth and philosophical about the trauma they have been through. I watched my mother relax into their antics – watching them swimming in their beautiful, blue dam, making crazy jokes, doing card tricks, riding the 4-wheeler, munching out on my brother and sister-in-law’s amazing steak, potato salad, coleslaw and then pavlova, and my heart did a few somersaults.

We exchanged our Christmas gifts with each other and everyone loved what they gave and received, and I bantered with my nieces and nephews, unable to keep up with their clever witticisms, as usual! My brother’s quiet chuckle and my sister in law’s loud laughter (she and I are both rather loud and vociferous), and the children’s glowing eyes, were like some sort of blessing.

Another bonus was seeing my brother’s second oldest son who is a young replica of his dad. He adores me of course but soon needed to leave to see his mates – haha! As he was leaving, I said that I had a Christmas present for him and I wanted one back so he said have a beer. It was only later that I discovered that they weren’t his beers to give – cheeky, gorgeous brat! My gift to him was super hot chilli sauce – mmmm – he might not adore me so much any more! On a more serious note, it was great to be able to hug him after so long.

Driving back home through the forests of karri trees, my mother and I spoke of how this visit had helped to lighten the load of unbearable grief and anxiety. I am not a grandmother (and probably won’t be for some time!) but I can imagine how horrific it would be to be the mother and grandmother of so many injured (either physically, emotionally, or both) by the biggest mistake in judgement Ming will ever make. The relief that four out of the five injured are almost back to normal is immense.

Now of course the hope is that my other brother and sister in law’s daughter, whose recovery will take longer, will soon be back to normal and I have never realized before how beautiful ‘back to normal’ is, until now. She, like the other children, has a quirky sense of humour and has been heroic in wearing a head-to-hip brace for soooo long now, with style and stoicism beyond her years.

I don’t think anyone in my family has ever been through a more difficult few months. Geographical distance, misunderstandings, frayed emotions, private versus public dilemmas, forgiveness, underlying resentments, joyous reunions, hugs and recriminations, guilt, fear, love and bewilderment have all factored into the way we adults have coped in the aftermath. So the recent past has been ghastly, the present is sliding into a cushion of peace, and the future is, as it always is, uncertain.

The cushion of our visit down south is what I will rest my head on tonight because sleeping properly has been impossible for so long; my mind races back to that night constantly. Tomorrow I have decided to wake up, smile, and live again.

It is all getting better, not worse: recovery.

45 responses to “Recovery

  1. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) says:

    Sounds like a wonderful day, Julie, my friend.
    For you AND your Mother.

    I guess the important thing is that everyone forgives and moves on. The youngest will probably manage that very quickly (as children always do). I hope their example will infect all those involved (and their extended family).

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas Day – I am still catching up with blog posts after a few days away and I always read the most recent first, so I daresay I will put my foot in my mouth somewhere along the way (if I leave a comment). Vicki x

  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    This is lovely, Julie. Sounds just wonderful. Sounds worthwhile, too.
    I hope everyone recovers okay. You’ve got wonderful family ties, Julie. Sounds solid.

    Oh – & merry Christmas & new year, while I’m here 🙂

  3. janeslog says:

    It’s been a bit of an Annus horribilis year for you but we will soon be on to 2014. Did you not ask if as local anaesthetic was suitable for Ming as they use this now in NHS hospitals in Scotland? Fortunately pain wears off gradually every day so he will take comfort in the fact that the pain will be less tomorrow than it is today.

  4. What a gift your holiday seems to have been. You write so lovingly of the things that matter most to you, the people in your life. It’s refreshing. I’m relieved for all of your family’s healing and getting through this. And doing so together.

  5. I really understand what it’s like to walk around and have almost a constant feeling of ‘a knot in your stomach. and the inability to get to sleep…. I’m so glad it’s easing for you Diane

  6. Such a beautiful piece Jules. I am so glad that you and your mother had this special time together.:) You have a wonderful family, it’s only logical because you are so wonderful. 🙂

  7. Am new at following your posts…found you after you posted on my blog. It’s good to hear of recovery. As you said in an earlier post, everyone is alive and will mend…and that is always good news.

  8. Beautifully written and glad all are on the mend. What you’ll been through is enough for sevearl lifetimes.

  9. Judy says:

    What a perfect way to begin the new year, Julie. You will put this awful trauma behind you and move forward into a beautiful 2014. I feel your thankfulness and am smiling with what you wrote. Like my lyric line of: “It pours, then it clears – I see a rainbow through my tears . . .”

  10. Terry says:

    I am so glad your trip brought joy and a soft cushion to lay the pain and anguish. I am glad you went. You and Ming do need the break. All people need breaks! Hugs

  11. I hope you did indeed sleep well my friend!

  12. FlaHam says:

    Julie, the single most important aspect of your post was the statement “Tomorrow I have decided to wake up, smile, and live again.” The healing continues, both physically and mentally. It is taking some longer than others, but that is only life. Your own personal roller coaster will continue until it is all said and done. MY sweet friend you must find a way to stop blaming yourself. It wasn’t your fault, it was an accident. Ming was at the wheel, but it was an accident. There isn’t anything you could have done different that would have changed the outcome, and had you been able to change this outcome, then most likely something else would have happened with a completely unknown outcome. So again it is wonderful that “Tomorrow I have decided to wake up, smile, and live again.” Julie take care, and know you are loved far and wide. Take care, Bill .

  13. janechese says:

    That is really what this season is all about, isn’t it? Wishing you well in 2014 with laughter, new adventures and prosperity.

  14. viveka says:

    Julie, so glad that you had a chance to get away for a festival break … to get a chance to let you mind and worries rest on soft pillows. You had your fair part of worries for a long time.
    Ming has to live with his mistake … and he will learn from that and I think it’s fantastic what he will do together with the police – visiting schools and talk about his experience, that will be a plus in his book too – when he goes up to court.
    I’m a bit worried that Ming still suffers after his hospital visit – are things really okay with him????
    Seems like the post-anesthesia is still severer.
    I wish you and your men … only THE BEST for 2014 and thanks for 2013.

  15. ksbeth says:

    yes, and recovery can be slow, with setbacks along the way, but you all will get there. )

  16. Yes it sounds like a great visit and just what you needed to help you recover and feel lighter and happier.

  17. tootlepedal says:

    A step in the right direction.

  18. joanne lane says:

    Was a great healing moment for us all. It is good for you to see our progress….you should write about us more often..I like it.!!!! ha ha ha ha Love you Julie as do all your walpole family.xxxxxx

    • jmgoyder says:

      I would love to write about you every day because your family is such an inspiration to me. Very tempted to write a magazine or newspaper article about you guys but obviously this will have to wait until after the court case and will need your husband’s approval hehe!

  19. I feel your deep sigh exhaling slowly Jules.
    Forgiveness is not only to everyone’s credit but also help heal everyone’s hearts as well.

  20. A wonderful gift. Sleep well sweet friend. 🙂

  21. bluebee says:

    Your Mum is remarkable 🙂

  22. Judith Post says:

    This post was just beautiful. And I’m glad you’re moving forward. 2013 has been one heck of a year for you. I hope 2014’s better.

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