A Charmed Life


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always my princess

It was Sunday afternoon, I was stood with my mother in the carpark of Pak’nSave Johnsonville when I heard the news. I have no recollection of how I heard; might have been on the radio, or a fellow shopper but the words registered: Princess Diana was dead. All I remember after that is silence. The two of us loading the car with our groceries in silence, the wordless drive home, every now and then our eyes meeting in silent acknowledgement that it was true. The tears would come but for the next hour or so it was just silence. Shock in silence.

That was 20 years ago this week.
20 years! Looking back on my own life next month I hit my own 20 milestone, as it will be 20 years since I left New Zealand. I have lived a whole lifetime in that time, the world’s landscape has changed drastically and there is now an entire generation who know nothing about that Diana magic.

And she had that magic, there can be no doubt about that, she had IT whatever it is. She was my consummate princess from the moment I met her in February 1981 when she became engaged to her prince and for the next 16 years I was my mother’s willing accomplice in all things Diana. There are so many Diana moments throughout my life; from pouring over magazine articles, to collecting merchandise, watching the wedding (I was eight and it the first time I was ever allowed to stay up past midnight) to going to an exhibition in Sydney of her dresses, seeing Diana at Government House on the Royal tour of 1983 to paying my respects at the British High Commission in Wellington the day after she died and at Kensington Palace when I would later visit London.

She was worthy of it too – my love – our love. She was beautiful and she rocked a tiara, she was a people person and she cared deeply for humans especially the downtrodden, she loved her two boys and she brought them up to be compassionate AND she was as flawed as the rest of us and she never presented anything but, she was real and as such her death felt personal to millions of us, the global outpouring of grief we witnessed in the aftermath of her death is testament to that. And 20 years on her legacy continues on through her lovely dynamite boys William and Harry and the service they do particularly in their focus on difficult issues like AIDS and mental health.

That day at the British High Commission in the condolence book I wrote “I am heartbroken at this reality, gone way too soon beautiful Diana, you will be missed so very much, rest now angel” and as I am sat here writing these words thinking about her I am also reminded of the times we live in, and this thought crossed my mind – it isn’t so much that she is missed though she is, it is more that the world could do with more of her kind of caring right now.

Diana – the Queen of People’s Hearts, always my princess 1961-1997

Sat Nam

And… I am loving Twin Peaks, in my very bias opinion it is the BEST television to have graced our screens since… well since Twin Peaks screened 25 years ago but before this series started I was wary about how David Bowie’s character would be used if at all. I wanted Agent Phillip Jeffries to be included but casting another actor would have been a disservice to our beloved Starman, so bravo Mr Lynch for the dedication (S3 E14) and the inclusion of Phillip Jeffries  – superbly done in Twin Peaks style. Cannot believe its ending already, only two episodes left, oh my days!#andWhoistheDreamer  Okay so P!nk has always rocked but how awesome was that speech on Sunday.  If you haven’t heard it, please click here, we need to be hearing and speaking this kind of speak more and more for this is how love wins #WearetheChangeMakers And lastly sending prayers of blessing and protection for those in Mumbai and Texas. May all be guided to safety and may the rains be calmed by the hand of God #OneLove

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why I think HE will make a great president

2017Yeah right! No I have not had a lobotomy since I last wrote nor have I lost my liberal do-gooder instincts, I just thought the title would make for a laugh. Seriously though – can anyone think of even one reason! 

I love the idea of a new year, a time to start afresh with new hopes and dreams. A rebirth so to speak. It is at this time of year I like to get in some extra guidance of the mystic variety, so this past weekend I took myself off to have my numerology chart done and a tarot card reading. I won’t go into what was said as it is uninteresting to anyone but me except I will say from past experience they have been eerily bang on. It is what was said at the end of the session that was particularly appealing to me ‘whatever happens remember you are a spiritual being having a human experience.’

We are spiritual beings having a human experience. Not for the first time have I heard this but it feels rather timely to have heard it now because who knows the trajectory 2017 will follow: Everywhere you turn, there is this feeling lunatics are running the asylum WHERE fake news is the order of the day WHERE we are days out from seeing a man-child take the office as leader of the free world WHERE (arguably) the world’s best healthcare system the NHS is increasingly in crisis to the point of collapse WHERE the tenet of democracy is being tested WHERE the next Great British Bake Off will air without Mary Berry WHERE previous cold war enemies are now in cahoots WHERE Katie Hopkins is still being employed to spread her unique brand of bigotry WHERE climate change is still being denied even when we see proof of decline everywhere. Who knows. But if we are spiritual beings having a human experience it really does not matter what reality looks like, all that matters is how we show up, what is in our souls – that part of us that observes quietly behind what we do, think, believe and feel, that part of us that existed before this human life and that will continue to exist after our present physical form transitions.

What gives me perspective everyday are four separate realities – the plight of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in April 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria, the imprisonment and sentencing to death by beheading and crucifixion of Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, the war in Yemen and the ever growing refugee crisis all over our the globe – the universe lead me to them and now I have made it my mission to be involved in these plights and as insurmountable as each situation seems, the people who I meet spiritual beings just like me whose only prerequisite is that we care, the acts of kindness I have witnessed make me hopeful for peaceful resolution, make me feel hopeful for our communal human experience, make me feel like maybe just maybe 2017 might be a bit of alright.

Happy New Year. May your 2017 be perfect and blissful in every way.

Sat Nam

And… Award season has began and I have but one word Moonlight. Moonlight is a raw, thought provoking, emotional, graceful, important experience. Moonlight reminded me that great cinema is about the storytelling. Moonlight deserves every award it has won and will win. Moonlight is not for everybody but everybody should see it. Moonlight ~ step into the light, witness the magic and be transformed  Every time I hear of oldies coming back I feel this nervous excitement. I want them back but I want them back good and preferably with the same original line up. I remember seeing Duran Duran live once with just Simon and Nick, it was just wrong without John, Roger and Andy. Then there was Bewitched the movie version, okay original line up was impossible but to leave out key characters and go completely off script was a dumb move. So it was with nervous excitement I awaited the Cold Feet and Gilmore Girls revivals (thankfully both were perfect in their warmth and nostalgia) and it is with nervous excitement I await Twin Peaks but if truth be told when you have been waiting 25 years for more like I have, nothing could actually stop me from returning to Twin Peaks because even when David Lynch is not good he is still kind of brilliant  I really really really did not want to write this year about the above mentioned man-child nor about loss, 2016 had far too much of both. I had every intention to go forward with that which makes my heart sing but as I have already spoken of the former I might as well go the whole hog as it would be remiss of me not to mention George Michael or my husband, as he was referred to in my circles growing up. Precious George, Its done then, god gave you the voice of an angel a generous heart and the most tormented soul. Ever since standard four you have been there with me through all the key moments in my life; when I needed to dance you had the moves when I was torn you helped put me back together. And even though I knew this day was coming here I am completely torn you are not in my orbit anymore and this time you can’t heal me, not right now anyway. Does it feel good to be free at last? I hope you can see how much love there is for you. Thank you macushla for the trail of magic you created, you sing with the angels now #HeavenSent #HeavenStole


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an open letter

Dear friends-who-have-children

I am not a mother.
I always assumed I would be.
But the universe didn’t see it that way.
And now, I have found peace with my reality.

I am not a mother.
But my life is not any less significant than yours just because you procreated.
And I write to you today, for the sake of our relationship, to ask for some consideration.

The same consideration I give you every time you call and then proceed to hang up two minutes into our conversation to attend to your crying child. The same consideration I give when you cancel our rare night out at the last night minute when your kid is poorly. The same consideration I give when we Face Time and you stick your little one on ‘to amuse’ me while you run around doing laundry.

Look, I get it. Your time is tight, you are sleep deprived and your priority, rightly so is your family; I understand this and I do not begrudge you your life. I don’t mind our short punctuated conversations that are mostly centered on the chaos (your word) that is your life, and I am fine having to be the one who schleps across town (or the world) to see you and it’s no problem picking up milk on my way. I don’t mind your offspring joining us as we catch up. I am happy to be the fun aunty. I will even babysit for you. I am not even bothered when your tot spills juice on my Gucci tote (well not that bothered).

But hello remember me? Please do not dismiss my life as less than. You are right I don’t know all that goes into raising a child, but please don’t say my life is easier or less complicated than yours. Understand when you had your child not only did your life change, so too did mine. I understand our relationship cannot function as it did but I need for you to spend an incey bit of that tight time considering me – we’re thinking of getting a dog, our search for a bigger house continues, I’m taking barre classes, I’m considering a career change, I heard the funniest story, I’m finally doing the business mentoring I’ve talked about for years, Orange may be in right now but it is still the most hideous colour, got tickets to see Hedda Gabler at the National remember when we had to act it out at school? I had to have a hs-CRP test to check my protein levels, what about Corrie seriously how clueless can Eileen be about yet another guy and what about that xenophobe campaigning for President in the US scary stuff  – this is my life, it all means something to me, it used to mean something to you. I need you to hear me every now and then or at least just tell me its gonna be alright. The last thing I want to do is put more pressure on you but just a little consideration please!

Love your friend-who-does-not-have-children

And Talking about scary stuff, less than two months! The most insane show on this planet comes to its climax in less than two months, then depending on the outcome we may have to endure a second show, I’ve given it a working title – The End of Everything Good. Seriously though, when you consider the candidacy for an elected official you are never going to like everything about the person. As long as we are able to think for ourselves we will always have own unique views, so voting is a process of who represents you best based on information you have. We know more about Hillary Rodham Clinton than any other candidate in any election in any country ever – FACT. I’m a fan, something I have never made a secret of but even I have been disappointed in her at times, like with her flip flopping over the years on the issue of same sex marriage (she got there in the end) so yes absolutely she is as flawed as you and I, but speaking of flaws consider the alternative. I’m not saying anything new here, however it is my duty as a concerned citizen of the world to speak up and keep speaking up for all that is pure, honest and good. Think about how Hitler rose to power and all the evil he unleashed and then consider all the similarities the GOP nominee has so far with him…  Americans, this election comes down to one question: What kind of human being are you? #I’mWithHer #YouShouldBeToo #ObamaOutHillaryIn  To know me is to know I covet Gwyneth Paltrow’s legs oops I mean wardrobe, so how excited am I she has released a clothing line and made it so accessible. Now if I can only grow longer legs! #VeryExcited #GOOPGeek  2016 the year of loss continues. Gene Wilder, oh what memories – the characters you gave us, the comedy you created especially with that other cool kid Richard Pryor pure magic. Charmian Carr – I still parade around in an imaginary gazebo, beloved Liesel forever sixteen going on seventeen. So long farewell Gene and Charmian thank you for the gems you leave us.


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hot tramp, i love you so!

bowie

David Bowie!
Now there’s an idea.
I have always believed the gods must have been on some serious peyote the day they created him.

So he’s gone then, my Starman is no longer of this Earth. The man I thought would live forever went and died.

And now here I am about to attempt to express how special this man is to me… where does one even begin, so fucken hard if it’s not the tears getting in the way, it’s the doubt as to whether I have it in me to do him justice. In therapy I am continually told to write my feelings down, but to write this hurts, hurts real bad. Too raw I suppose, still I will endeavour with my tribute of sorts to a man who blew me away time and time again. A man who still feels very present in my life; why just on Saturday I was engaged in a discussion about the meaning of After All, this coming after Friday on which as a fan I celebrated another year of him along with downloading the new album. Blackstar was all I played all weekend so I woke on Monday in such a lovely Bowie state of mind and then came the news.

Since then, every morning just before I wake fully I have this moment where I am smiling thinking all’s right with the world then I remember and I ask ‘Is it real?’ It is real isn’t it. He is really gone. A world without David Bowie. We live in that world now. I keep being asked how I feel, how does one feel when a great love dies – sad, in shock, heartbroken, rocked to my core – there are three thoughts that keep circling around in my head in amongst the grief: ‘People die, get over it’ and I know this, it is not my first loss but I suspect I will never fully recover from this one. There is only one other out there in the ether who could make me feel like this and she would not be where she is today if there hadn’t been a David Bowie. I have heard people talk about where they were when Lennon was shot, the grief they felt when Elvis died – I finally understand it; that sharp piercing pain in the heart, the dry retches, the shock I have experienced it all in the last few days.

‘But you didn’t even know him,’ oh but I did, I so did. David Bowie came into my life during the Nile Rogers years, when I was still at an age where the only concerts I was interested in were of the puppet variety like the Sesame Street musical. Regardless when his Serious Moonlight tour came to New Zealand he was everywhere which in the era sans social media meant the newspapers, television and the radio. I would go from watching Rainbow one minute to dancing to Modern Love the next. I was discovering music and I loved to dance so the album Let’s Dance fed my impressionable soul BUT the moment I fell for him was when I saw Labyrinth. This film – I saw it recently after many many years – that moment when he makes his entrance gave me the same tingling feeling I got when I first saw it only back then I didn’t know it was him, in fact it has often been the way that I would discover someone and they would turn out to be David Bowie. It happened with Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, the Pierrot phase. As Jareth the goblin king with his mullet, in the makeup and codpiece, he terrified me and something else which I now know as being aroused. Yeap I was aroused by David Bowie and he would continue to do so over the years. The movie lent itself to the romance, because I identified with Sarah for I too lived in a fantasy world.

From then on David as Jareth would come visit me, we would lie in my bed discussing Delfinia the world I had created as well as my real life woes. My teen years were a confusing time for me (I know I know like every other teen right!) I was both popular and smart enough but deep down I felt like an outsider. Having this wild imagination didn’t help because at that age all you want is to be like everyone else. The only time I felt a freedom was during those conversations with David/Jareth. He did talk back bizarrely enough. He helped me name unicorns (Delfinia had a lot of unicorns), he named a flying pirate ship Mistral and he always encouraged my uniqueness. Those visits ended some time in the last few years of college but he came back one more time when I was 23, this time as Ziggy (by then I was more familiar with his body of work) – it was the night before I left New Zealand for good I was on an adrenaline rush happy to be leaving, but in an instant the enormity of leaving behind family and friends especially my grandma hit me and then just as sadness threatened to take over, there he was at my window waving me goodbye. I took it to mean I was on the right track and the sadness abated.

I have come to know his body of work intimately, I have theorised the different stages of his work, but never been able to decide if he was riding the zeitgeist over the years or if he was helping to create it over and over again. I have been to countless Bowie themed nights (I predict that there will more to come in the next few months) and he is always my specialised subject when I play Mastermind. I have admired David and Iman’s love story; it is very clear that each was the other’s great love and best friend. I still find myself attracted to him, he only got better with age and given half the chance I would so have gone there. I have even dated men because they had some semblance of him, but his attraction for me was not just aesthetic, his energy and intelligence were a complete turn on. To have translated the cacophony that was in his head so masterfully into the different personas, the music, videos and films he created is no small feat. What genius existed within him to do this. He is was such a man. I was happy to be lead by him. He always upped my game. A few years ago the Guardian published a top 100 reading list as recommended by him. I had only read eight books of said list and as a voracious reader I decided I was going to complete that list, I am still working my way through it. On last count I was at 16, only 84 to go, with titles like ‘On Having No Head: Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious’ and ‘Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir’ they aren’t exactly easy reading. So you see David Bowie has a role in the story of my life.

I watched the video for Lazarus last week and it left me feeling cold. Later after I had listened to the song a few times and considered the lyrics (as is always the case with his music, I always search for the meaning) that coldness gave way to what in hindsight I see as foreboding: ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven. I’ve got scars that can’t be seen. I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen. Everybody knows me now…’ David Bowie was saying goodbye. And in the most classiest way, through his work. Reminds me of the last two songs Queen released with Freddie. I love the idea of Freddie and David together again along with Lou, and Lennon and Jimi, oh yes the party just got better in heaven.

I always thought I would see him perform live, I always felt it was a matter of when not if and the dreamer in me believes in a parallel universe I will. If he ever graced me with another visit I would say to him ‘Thank you for being exactly you. You gave a girl who felt like an oddity permission to be exactly who she is and the confidence to make her own rules. You and you alone made her dare to be brave. You darling man, you remain forever my goblin king, my starman and my moonage daydream. Thank you. Thank You. Thank You.’

Generations from now will discover him; they will listen to the music, see the different incarnations, go to museum exhibits dedicated to him, watch the films and the television appearances but they will never capture the essence of him. I have tried to explain my feelings for him to people who don’t him well – yes these people actually exist – but the fact of the matter is if you don’t already feel it you will never understand. The era of David Bowie, they were the golden years – a one off experience, never can be repeated. I heard the term Generation Bowie today – that’s you and I – the lucky ones. Are you going to be okay? He may have transitioned taking a big piece of my heart with him but the point is he existed in the first place and there is something joyful in the knowledge of this. The sun will keep on rising and I will continue to be exactly me so yes I am going to be just fine… eventually. For now though I need to cry.

Sat Nam


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the answer is always LOVE

Peace

All weekend I have been trying to make sense of the senseless and I have come up with nothing. Zilch. Nada for my woe so here I am stuck in this weltschmerz state of mind.

That human beings are capable of such awful atrocities towards their fellow brothers and sisters is not something I – a believer in all things peace and love – can even begin to comprehend AND yet here we are again AND we will be here again and again until… until what I don’t know. All I know is the world we have come to know, the times we are living cannot be changed by normal allopathic means. The time is upon us for that awakening. That energy shift. That big fat bloody miracle.

‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’~Martin Luther King, Jr.

How many of us have been fortunate enough to fall in love with Paris, well now the time has come to fall in love again. Whatever you believe in; a god, the universe, an energy vibration, an ing (as I call it) or even if you have no belief system, believe this:  We – as the wonderseekers, global citizens, inhabitants of planet Earth, lovers of life – have a challenge before us, these attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad seek to divide us. They aim to turn us into an us-versus-them society. We cannot allow this to happen nor can we rely only on the leaders of the world or ‘someone else’ to resolve this. The revolution of LOVE starts with you in every breath you take, every thought you think, every word you say, every prayer you pray, every action you make, every time you meditate – it’s on you. If I sound like I am repeating myself from other posts that is because the answer is always LOVE and I will keep going until I feel that seismic change which humanity needs in order to thrive.

So are you with me? If your answer is anything but yes – what is the alternative? Wait for that elusive someone or something else to heal our world and change your FaceBook profile picture every time something senseless happens. Solidarity matters but from where I’m standing it is not enough. I don’t think there is a choice. In the words of Michael Jackson and a legion of others ‘There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one… We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones to make a brighter day so let’s start giving. There’s a choice we’re making, we’re SAVING OUR OWN LIVES…’ #LetsDoThis

Sat Nam

Pour tous mes frères et sœurs à Paris and to all my brothers and sisters in Beirut, Baghdad and in all the world amour et la lumière tant d’amour et de lumière pour nous tous love and light so much love and light for us all xxx (thank you to my father who insisted I continue with French lessons instead of taking up typing or computer studies at school – it has come in very useful in the last few days, merci beaucoup père)

Also in the news:  “No one puts children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” Home by #WarsanShire. As we have been told, the diaspora of refugees has had a causal impact in the Paris attacks as, at least one of the people responsible used the refugee route to get into Europe. How many more reasons does there need to be to resolve this crisis! #RefugeeCrisis #TheTimeisNow #GivePrayLove ♥ Adele’s new song meh! Yes she has a phenomenal voice and yes her previous work was fab but that doesn’t mean everything she sings is worthy of number one. I did enjoy seeing Dixon from 90210 in the video though #TooMuchHype ♥ Election victory for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. About time! I love the countenance of this woman, I feel peaceful when I look at her face, obviously this has nothing to do with her leadership but any person who sacrifices precious time with their dying spouse for the love of their country and its people gets my vote. #ItsFinallyYourTime #WhoRunTheWorld

 


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embracing love

KeithHaringLike many of you, I feel heartsick thinking about the unconscionable loss of lives and the destruction caused by the earthquake(s) in Nepal. When tragedy like this happens I struggle with the ‘why,’ it churns over and over in my head until I feel like I’m going to burst. Of course what I think or feel doesn’t make the tragedy not exist so I know there is no point on dwelling, what is done is done, so I am trying to let go of the negativity and focus on embracing love.

Mother Theresa said ‘Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action’ and because I believe god is in the details I’ve compiled a quick list of ways to take responsibility for our own energy to embrace love (in addition to other goodies like meditation, prayer, being in gratitude…):

  1. Allow yourself a little extra sleep. I say this because sleep is something, as I wrote previously  I had to learn to appreciate. Now that I understand the value of sleep I actively try to get a little extra now and then whether it’s by going to bed a half hour earlier or sleeping in an extra fifteen minutes. I always feel better for it.
  2. Replace strenuous exercise with something less intense like yin yoga. I have an exercise regimen which I am very strict in following daily but I have learnt that is okay to have a day off but because it is not in my nature to do absolutely nothing, I find yin yoga to be a good substitute on these down days.
  3. Express yourself creatively. Dance and sing, get up and do your thing. When you are engaged in something fun and expressive you are less likely to stress and over-think.
  4. Tell someone you value “I want you to know you make a difference in my life. Thank you for being you.” It’s an instant feel good for the recipient and for you.
  5. Identify what you’re really seeking from technology. This is huge bugbear for me, for the growing reliance on technology does not sit well with me at all. I am pretty good at being disciplined about how long I spend online but I know there is still room to improve. There was time before Facebook and Twitter, it’s a bit hazy now but it did exist and it wasn’t so bad so whether it is acceptance, acknowledgment, or stimulation you are seeking from technology, switch off and look for ways to get that without logging on.
  6. Stop what you’re doing and look directly into their eyes when someone is talking to you. It is something I do naturally – maintain eye contact but increasingly in this age of smart technology it is getting rarer that I see people doing so with me. It’s not just good manners, it also makes you more appealing.
  7. Count successes. Coulda, woulda, shoulda… it’s human nature to think about what didn’t happen. Well I say Meh! to that and instead make a note of all the things you’ve done well, and give yourself permission to be proud instead of frustrated with what you haven’t done.

A special epoch in my life came many many moons ago when I shared a flat in London with one of my treasured friends and her partner (now husband). Looking back, we were very much like The Odd Couple for while we had a shared history (same school, same ballet class and a love of English literature), she loved to hoard and I so did not, and where I like routine she rocked a more boho vibe. Despite this, I am constantly reminded of the many lessons I learnt while we cohabited; for where I would reserve weekends for mundane tasks like house cleaning she would encourage me to:

  1. Be Together. She taught me to relax and enjoy each other’s company. One our favourite things to do on a Sunday was to veg on a sofa and watch the Eastenders omnibus or some obscure channel 5 show whilst drinking copious cups of tea.
  2. Go outside and immerse yourself in nature. With Hyde Park at our doorstep we used to frequent those grounds all the time. Before I was never one to like being near trees or grass but in this time I learnt how to make daisy hair bands and to love the feel of grass underneath my feet, dancing in the rain, laying like broccoli on the grass watching birds fly by and star gazing. What I didn’t realise at the time was I learning how to be mindful.
  3. Set aside some time to play. It probably speaks to our sensibilities but we did the most silliest of things; go out in our pyjamas, eat cake for breakfast, skip whilst holding hands and it was so much fun. As we get older and focus on the minutiae of life we tend forget what awful fun it is to stop thinking so much and be childlike. Okay you might look a bit naff on a swing but I bet you would have the time of your life swinging.

‘When we function from a place of positive energy, the world around us becomes more positive.’~Gabrielle Bernstein

In the spirit of this post today – embracing love  –  please join me in sending a kiss to the sky for our brothers and sisters who have lost their lives in Nepal (and in Tibet and India) AND spare a thought for a very courageous man… one Bruce Jenner. Never in this lifetime did I think I would ever say this but it seems that there is a redeemable member in THAT family. To Bruce, your bravery will save lives, sending so much love to you as you go about your journey to be who you authentically are.

Sat Nam


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it takes a village

village.jpgFirstly I want to start this week by thanking those who have reached out to me in regards to my last post about my phobia; your support and words of encouragement have overwhelmed me. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such a caring community.

As I go to write my post today it is with a heavy heart for it is with the knowledge that a family friend has passed away. Letting go and saying goodbye to someone who has graced your life is never without heartache and yet it is the way of life. I remember once when I was little, asking ‘why do people have to die’ To which the reply came ‘they just do when it’s their time.’

They just do when it’s their time and what remains are our memories which, no one not even death can take away from us. And I have such lovely memories of this ‘auntie’ (when you are Indian everyone is your auntie or uncle). I have this one distinct memory of the time when I was leaving New Zealand to seek pastures new, over 17 years ago. It was at a farewell lunch my mother had organised for me, one final hurrah with all our friends. There came a point after the eating and drinking had subsided when my parents, brother, grandma…  basically all my family became very emotional at the thought of me leaving, there was a lot of crying and hugging going on and who knows how this lunch would have ended if it had not been for this auntie saying ‘cheer up it’s not like she’s getting married’ and thus changing the mood in the room completely and that’s who she was, the effervescent mum. She was even one of the first mums I know to join Facebook, in fact the last time I heard from her was via that medium when she told me she had enjoyed something I had written on this blog. Always fun, always encouraging.

There is this African proverb I heard years ago which goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ When I think of all the people who ‘raised’ me; my parents, the extended family, teachers, neighbours, friends and the many ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’ I feel so blessed and fortunate.

Each and every person has left an imprint.

Each and every person is present in the tapestry that is my life.

So thank you to all those who played a part in raising me especially to all those ‘aunties’ and ‘uncles’.

You are forever in my heart.

Sat Nam


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life

I went to a funeral today and it has left me feeling reflective, relieved and happy.

The funeral was for a relatively new friend, we met when we were both unwell. Sadly this young mother stayed unwell while I was one of the lucky ones who got better. We stayed in touch sporadically over the past few years and then I got news of her passing and although the end was not a surprise, of course my heart broke for her family, her children and for what could have been. And so it was with a heavy heart I went to her funeral – a simple Jewish Ceremony – which to a Gentile like me was a beautiful experience to behold. I didn’t understand the traditional elements, but I believe there is something very calming about prayer whatever the language, and in any case it wasn’t necessary for I knew my friend was been given the farewell she meticulously planned and that was enough for me to know.

Back at her home, which she lovingly restored with her husband, I wandered through the rooms looking at the books on the shelves, pictures of her family, her teapot – which I knew well, having poured many a cup of tea from that very pot. I feel like a voyeur, being in her house when she wasn’t there and that made me sad, so much so I had to excuse myself and go to the bathroom. As I sat on the edge of the bath I took some deep breaths and remembered the last time I saw her. It was back in April soon after she knew her final prognosis, she opened her front door to me and I physically winced when I saw her. She looked so altered. I was caught completely off guard. She had the good grace to laugh at me and say ‘you think I look that good now, give me a month I’m going to look even better.’ We spent the next few hours laughing and drinking tea. Remembering this last visit gave me the strength to leave the bathroom and speak with her children and family. By all accounts the last few months had been awful for her, and everyone was relieved she was at peace now. I take much solace in that thought.

As I remember my friend while I drink a cup of hibiscus tea (which she loved and I tolerated), I can’t stop smiling as I go down memory lane. She was such a light. I was lucky to know her even if for a short time. So Emma, wherever you are now, I hope you are laughing and drinking tea because that’s how I will always remember you darling friend.

Love


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loss

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This past week saw the passing of a family friend and to counter the sadness that engulfed me I decided instead to focus on gratitude; gratitude for the life they lived, gratitude that this person touched my life and gratitude for the memories I am left with. I have lost many family and friends over the years as you do when you get older and each person leaves an indelible footprint in my life enriching my existence and for that I am grateful. Every life is a complete life; what matters most is not the length of time they lived with us but that they lived at all.

Love