wings and things

“I heard it on the news.”


I was a little taken aback today, when I went up to our little local shop to get bread, and the proprietor said how glad she was about Ming. Seeing my confusion, she said, “I heard it on the news.” I told her about the reduced charges and she said she already knew which was quite disconcerting because we didn’t hear or see anything on the news. Then she said she was annoyed that they didn’t pronounce his name correctly and I laughed because how does anyone who isn’t Scottish get ‘Ming’ out of ‘Menzies’?

Ming and I are glad we didn’t see or hear his verdict on the news although I am now wondering who did. Oh well, I’m sure small town chitchat will only give it 24 hours and will mostly be positive and there is no point wondering. I suddenly realized I have been hiding away a bit by not frequenting the local shop, butcher, post office and petrol station as much as usual. It became a little nerve-wracking after the accident because I was never sure if people would ask me questions or avoid the subject (strangely similar to how people are not sure whether or not to ask about Anthony).

Stigma, embarrassment, acceptance, humility, guilt, miscommunication, shame, empathy, bewilderment, grief and joy; all of these factors and emotions and more have bundled themselves together, over so many months now, that it is difficult to know how to untangle what has become a maze that I have found the exit to. And yet, on opening the exit door, nothing looks particularly different; the grass is still brown from a long, hot summer, the mice and rabbits continue to plague us, the car needs washing, and I am very behind with the house-hold jobs.

I never experienced any sort of anticlimax as each of the children recovered from their injuries; it was just pure joy. And yet now that the court case against Ming is over, the joy of Monday has been replaced with a sense of nothingness which is, I guess, the space of anticlimax that precedes exiting the maze.

Tomorrow, I will exit the maze, having spent one final day within its mystery. I didn’t want to stay there but I had to figure a few things out like how to cope with people’s concern or lack of, how to move on with the newfound grace, faith and compassion I am already experiencing and how to be more grateful for every single moment of every single day, and every single person – especially my brothers’ families and my mother.

Tomorrow, if someone else says, “I heard it on the news,” I will allow my soul to smile as I leave the maze.

Happy Easter.


“I have accepted my Parkinson’s.”

Today I met one of the Anglican priests from my mother’s church (well, it’s my church too but I hardly ever go), because I had asked her to pray for me and my pompholyx and for Ants too. She is a beautiful person about my age who came out to the farm a few days after Ming’s car accident and prayed for us and for the whole family, and her name is Sarah.

We met in the parking lot of the nursing home at 1.30pm which was, coincidentally, the same time my mother was planning to meet me to visit Ants. I would have gone into the nursing home with Sarah but unfortunately, after showing her my hands, I burst into tears so had to ring my ma and say Sarah and I would do the praying thing outside and come into the nursing home presently.

So Sarah and I found a seat outside and she prayed and anointed my hands and blessed me while my nose dribbled as I stopped crying. Neither of us had a tissue so I had to wipe my nose on my shirt before we joined my ma and Ants.

They were sitting outside in a little garden area and, after the introductions and greetings, not knowing how much time Sarah had, I got straight to the point.

Me: “Ants, remember how Sister R. used to come over and anoint you with her holy oil?” (Sister R. is a Catholic nun who has been our friend for decades and, despite Anthony not being the least bit religiously inclined, he used to love this).

Ants: “Yes.”

Me: “Well Sarah can do that now.”

Sarah: “Do you want me to, Anthony?”

Anthony: “Mmmm.”

Me: “Yes.”

So Sarah prayed for Ants and anointed him and then we all sat back and had a conversation.

We talked a lot about life, the accident, our kids (Sarah has a daughter nearly the same age as Ming), my mother’s unfortunate collision with a glass door the other day, and my hands. Then Sarah asked Anthony various questions – about his childhood, his siblings, Ming and so on – that elicited answers. I admired her skill at drawing him out because his conversational skills are now very hesitant. Sarah was also very good at waiting silently for his response – fantastic!

Then, in answer to a question about something entirely different, Ants suddenly said this: “I have accepted my Parkinson’s and I still have the power to swear at people I don’t like.”

Oh how much I love this man!

Thank you, Anthony.
Thank you, Mother.
Thank you, Sarah.
Thank you, God (but only if you heal my hands and foot).

On the other hand, maybe I will have to accept my Pompholyx, just as Anthony has accepted his Parkinson’s disease.


Dust bath

My previous post published itself before the brilliance of its second paragraph – oh well!

Of course the second paragraph wasn’t brilliant at all – it was just something about how I enjoyed sitting, even scrambling a bit, in the dirt near the chook yards the other night. I was wearing my best white trousers because I had just come back from town, so I hesitated, not wanting to get them dirty.

Then, a swirly sort of thing happened and, without any hesitation, I plonked myself onto the ground and, yes, copied the dust bath antics of some of the birds. Well, I tried! I need a bit of practice I guess, but it was a hell of a lot of fun learning.

I am very glad Ming was out because he might have gotten the impression that I had gone mad. Not at all! Now that I am no longer worried about my clothes getting dirty, I am going to join the birds in more dust baths; it’s quite refreshing to get right down on the ground like they do.

What I like best about this dust bath thing is the way (if you are a human) you just have to let go of your uprightness, your inhibitions, your idea of ‘clean’, and every shred of your self-consciousness.

And once you are thoroughly dusted, you can lie on your back on the grass and look up at the sky and hope that one day Godfrey will love you back again. But, just in case he doesn’t, you say a prayer.

Dear God, I offer you my sleeping, so that you can rescue me from my nightmares and find me a small comfortable cave where I can rest.

Dear God, I offer you my eating, so that you can help me to swallow the fairy floss that tastes like lemon peel, so that you can help me to swallow the boringness of grated carrot, so that you can help me to climb the avocado tree for that one last piece of fruit.

Dear God, I offer you my walking around, so that you can help me to stop circling myself, and build a new path with lots of daffodils and maybe a few trees for the birds.

Dear God, I offer you my heart, so that you can help me get it off the treadmill and beat normally again. I offer you all of the ugly horribleness of me, so that you can help me to be beautiful again and, if isn’t too much trouble, I would like my freckles back please.

Dear God, how did you do all of that so fast?

I’m a little dusty!



I am not really sure what prayer is any more, but, whatever it is, I have rediscovered it.

Earlier today I reblogged a post written for Robyn by her friend, Resa, but like many a reblog, it didn’t get read by that many people on my own blog, so I thought I would add something here to encourage people to check it out AND to check out Robyn’s own blog at:

I have known Robyn since I began blogging and was compelled by her courage in dealing with debilitating physical pain, her talent for photography and poetry, and her immediate and generous friendship to me. But a few months ago she stopped blogging and I knew things must be badly wrong, so I sent her a couple of tentative emails, worried that I might be intruding, but she replied and told me things were not so good.

Since then, I have worried and wondered and prayed and been scared for her so, it wasn’t until Resa posted about Robyn that I knew about her impending major hip surgery this week. I cannot imagine the kind of physical pain Robyn has endured over the years, but I can imagine the hope felt by Robyn, and her family and friends, that this surgery will vastly improve her condition, and that it will take away the pain.

Many people who follow this blog already know Robyn, but if you don’t, please spare a thought and a prayer for her this week. She is one of the best people I have ever been blessed to meet.

I salute you Robyn, over and over again.

This is a prayer.



To my niece still in hospital:

Your name means wisdom.

As you wait, flat on your back, for healing, for the spinal brace to be fitted, for whatever comes next,
I have stopped eating garlic because I want to breathe out to you without stinking, even though we are 200 kilometres apart.

You have my freckles but you wear them like jewels. At your age, my freckles looked more like I forgot to wash my face after mud-wrestling. They’ve faded now but I hope yours never fade.

On your 14th birthday, the other day, when that grumpy woman wheeled your bed into the party room of the hospital, and told us off for lighting candles on your doughnut cake, I wanted to punch her in the face.

You told me to stop inboxing you so I did once I realised I had sent you 27 messages. Sorry about that, but I can’t seem to stop!

A celebrity kissed you on the cheek, your mother is a rock, your father is a mountaineer and you are, like your birthstone, a pure, shining opal.

Your nickname for me is AJ because I hate being called Auntie Julie. I love you for that.

I haven’t prayed for years but now I do – praying you will be okay, praying you will get the patience you need for the next months, praying for another private giggle, praying for every single tomorrow to be better than every single today.

Keep on opalescing, keep on being strong, keep on being you. You.



A wing and a prayer

Hi all

I just accidentally restored a post I thought I’d deleted so I guess it’s out there now. I actually just wanted to see what I wrote and if I embarrassed myself. Yes, I think I did! Oh well.

As a novice blogger, I have appreciated the comments and interest in my blog. One of the things I’m finding it hardest to do is to restrain myself from posting more than once a day so, despite the wise advice of a more experienced blogger to keep it as a once-a-day thing, I have another friend who says ‘go ahead and post away – the more the better’. It is good to be caught between these two opposing viewpoints.

This blog was never intended as some sort of outlet and I don’t like the idea that I might have given this impression when all I wanted to do was talk about the birds. However, some of the supportive comments I’ve received indicate that my ‘between-the-lines’ stuff has somehow hit the empathy button. I really don’t want any more of these comments please; I’m not fond of empathy unless I am doing it myself – hehe!

Tonight, Son confronted Husband with the fact that we need some respite from his Parkinson’s disease and he didn’t do this gently. So now I am about to go and pick up the pieces of my broken husband, tuck him in, then have a long talk with Son about the fact that Husband himself needs some respite from his Parkinson’s disease which is on-a-wing-and-a-prayer impossible.


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