Quietly Departed

Maureen o'hara quiet man John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in ‘The Quiet Man’

Technicolor dimmed today

flame, temporarily, extinguished

as titian hair and fiery eyes

 bowed, quietly, out

may the wind carry you 

once more, mavourneen,

to rise again

free in fields of emerald fire

your light

to live forever

I was saddened to learn earlier this evening of the passing of Maureen O’Hara. I had been chatting about her recently with Cole, in comments, when we each discovered a mutual admiration for this fine actress who embodied strength in the roles she played. Aged 95, she had, as the saying goes, ‘a good innings’ but I know, from my own experience, that the loss of a loved one takes no account of their age. My condolences to her family. She will be missed by them even while she lives on for the rest of us in film and was rightly crowned ‘the Queen of Technicolor’.

Virtual Conversations

Too little time to gather each memento,

Tokens only, second best, it’s true,

Each a valued part of all our yesterdays,

Virtual realities of you.

Here’s the service, china that you cherished,

Inside the case of glass so worldly old,

Incongruous among the modern,

Patina still polished, burnished gold.

There’s blue Willow Pattern, studied paintwork,

Aladdin’s lamp that took your fancy too,

Books on every subject that you purchased,

Read, shared, discussed, in nights where me and you

Sat up in the small hours drinking whisky,

Passion flying in between debate,

Nothing ever vetoed in discussion,

We didn’t know then time was running late.

Time, the bastard child of loving parents,

Belonging nowhere, orphaned while we muse

Each and every small memento looked on,

I’d swap them all for one more night with you.

My mother died five years ago, it’s not the anniversary of her death but she’s been in my mind a lot this while back. Dreams of her, conversations in the dreams, looks I know so well. Whenever this occurs I know there’s something I need to listen to, something I would have discussed with her, something that’s eluding my full understanding or something I’m ignoring. She was good on the somethings and the everythings. Nothing ever vetoed. Need to listen now. Or she’ll skelp my arse! And I’d welcome it for one more real conversation.

 

Remember

I cannot look

At photographs

That haunt or chill

My thoughts.

Seeing pictures,

Reading words

Hurt too much,

And so they ought.

 

Depicting something

Lost but loved,

Someone,

Who had to part,

Who held me in

A soft embrace,

Tender tended

To my heart.

 

Dead to life,

To earthly plain,

Another’s grief, a

Punished pain.

Remembrance all

In mindful mourning.

November looms,

The day is dawning.

Reaching out to Mum

Right. This is just getting ridiculous.

Let me state quite clearly…….. I did not come onto this site to be everyone’s mum.

OK?

Got that?

I am not your mum.

I love you.

I care about you.

I want you to happy.

I want you to be comfortable in your own soul.

I hurt if you hurt.

I feel what you feel.

I want to soothe your ailments.

Does that make me your Mum?

No. It makes me human.

Your mum is already out there..

Maybe she needs you to reach out to her?

I don’t know.

I really, really don’t know.

No kidding.

But.

If your mum, for whatever reason (And it better be a really good reason. Don’t give me any crap about how hard she is on you, or how she makes you do chores. Sob. Sob.), really is not there for you then, OK, I give in.

I don’t seriously need any more children. Really, I don’t. Although a gorgeous little baby would not be unwelcome. (Don’t go there. You’re too old. Stop it. Be a granny. Eventually.)

I hurt.

I mean. I really hurt.

I cannot bear the pain that children experience, without wanting, in some way, to alleviate it.

But. I am not your Mum. She is out there. Somewhere. Probably wondering about you.

Reach out.

Too often the child is forced to be the adult. But, sometimes, it is worth it.

Reach out.

In my belief, it is a rare woman who is not moved by their own child.

I qualify.

It is a rare parent who is not moved by their own child.

I either have been very lucky or very blessed to have the love of a good man. (And I use ‘good’ selectively).

So many hurts. So much suffering.

Seriously, I did not enrol to embrace what I encounter daily.

But.

But.

But.

I will never turn my back on a soul that is suffering.

Please, I beg you, find another way. A better way.

Leave me out of this equation if you can.

But.

But.

But.

If you exhaust all, and I mean all, avenues for comfort and understanding, I will not turn my back on you.

I made  that promise to myself a long time ago.

And it holds good.

Seriously, I did not come here for this.

I do not want this.

I want to explore me. Not you. Not you and your problems.

But, I promise you, if you have exhausted all avenues before you, I will not ignore you.

Please try, on your own terms, first.

Please.

We are all souls looking to be understood.

And everything I said I qualify with the right you have to seek help where you can find it. And the duty I have to provide it where I can.

First, turn to mum.

If that fails, I humbly ask you to accept that I will stand in her stead until she is in a position to hold you and comfort you as all mothers should.x

The Prodigal Son/Daughter – Revisited

The Prodigal Son/Daughter  (11-10-07)

There was once a woman who was left to raise her children on her own. She worked hard to try to make sure that the absence of a father in their lives would not mean that they went without. She gave them guidance and love and watched over them as if with the careful eyes of two parents.

Her youngest child got into a bad crowd and started to drink although he was too young to do so. He came home frequently too drunk to speak, except words of hurt and violence. He missed school and government bodies started to look closely at the parenting skills of the mother. They recognized that she was doing her best as her elder child was not giving her the same worries. They offered support and intervention but nothing seemed to penetrate the sense of the younger child.

Things went from bad to worse. Exam results were no good, attendance at school was at an all-time low and the police had even come calling; threatening her child with an anti-social behaviour order.

The mother cried and pleaded and prayed. One night, while the son was out drinking with some friends, they got into a fight with another crowd and some people were badly hurt. The younger child was stabbed in the leg and found by the police and taken to hospital.

The mother was called and rushed to the hospital where she kept a vigil by her son’s side until he awoke.

When he did he looked at his mother’s face and into her eyes and wept for the hurt he had caused her and the life he was leading.

On his release from hospital he went home and began to change his ways. His mother rewarded him with a laptop which she paid for so that he could study more easily and have another interest.

The elder son was angry at this and said,

‘You’re always saying how hard it is to manage on what you’ve got coming in. I give you what I can but he’s never given you a penny. Now you’ve taken out credit to buy something for him he doesn’t deserve. How is that fair?’

His mother held his two hands between hers and said,

‘You’ve never given me a moment of unnecessary worry. Your character is strong and with purpose. Your brother lost the plot for a long time and I thought he would end up in prison or dead. He’s with us again as he used to be – stronger now for what he has experienced. You both have all my love always. But when one needs me more than another, at a given time, it is that one whose needs I best try to fulfill. It takes nothing away from you and gives him the chance of a new life. And us too. For what would our lives have been with the loss of a son and a brother?’

The elder son cried and held his mother to him , understanding better the meaning of love.

Reason

(Sun. 22/2/09)

A long, long time ago in a land far away a princess awoke from a deep sleep.

Daylight had begun to filter through the windows casting a tentative finger into the darkened room. Lucy lay still, waiting. Furnishings in the turret room were still in shadow. She could identify every piece without much thought. There, over in one corner, was her mahogany dressing-table with the ornate gilt mirror hanging on the wall above. To the left her wardrobe stood guard, massive in its presence, the four doors stretching over most of that wall reaching almost to the door. To the right of the window a large desk covered in neglected papers occupied all of that side of the wall. From her position she had a clear, unobstructed view of the window although she could see nothing through it for the filmy curtains allowed in light but no image of the outside world.

She waited. Would the sun grow stronger and brighten her waking hours as she hoped? Or were there clouds without that she could not see? She waited. Immobile to any action other than this.

She did not think of anything while she lay staring at the window. All thoughts were kept at bay, locked in a separate tower in her mind. Time would determine further thought and action. The clock sitting on her side-table ticked by the minutes while she lay inert.

Faint noises from the outside began to permeate her senses. The sound of an occasional vehicle passing in the nearby street. A voice not too far-off raised in command to a dog which responded with an obedient bark.

Outside, the world was beginning to come alive.

For Lucy the world could wait a little longer. Perhaps forever.

Still she did not stir. Waiting had become a perfected occupation. If only she knew exactly for what she was waiting.

No night in shining armour would rescue her from this place. She shunned the thought. The light darkened imperceptibly. No one in the room below was demanding her attention. She had nowhere that she had to be other than the space she occupied.

The room had grown darker still. Clouds had begun to encroach on that little measure of light and Lucy tensed her body expectantly waiting for the onset of further gloom.

She was not disappointed. As each tiny, obtrusive thought began to find a foothold in her consciousness the room seemed to grow darker and darker. The ever-present bubble of fear in the belly of her being began to expand. It began to effervesce, shooting thousands of smaller bubbles along her limbs and through her torso. She gulped nervously, knowing that if she did not get a hold on her thoughts and control the spreading fear she would lose this day too.

It was already too late. The bubble from which the others had emanated and spread had grown so large there was nothing for it to do but burst and it did.

She gulped just as the internal explosion occurred. Her mind imploded simultaneously and one great wracking sob escaped in response to the release of pressure. A giant hiccough. A major bout to follow.

Lucy was no longer still. Or waiting. Her body now moved to the tune within. No harmonious melody was this. An orchestral feat of disassembled notes crashed within her mind, clamouring noisily and creating havoc where a tentative peace had existed a short while ago. To this timeless cacophony her body found a steady rhythm of rocking, an infantile attempt to find soothing comfort from regular tempoed motion.

Rocking was only interrupted by short, moaning periods of turning and twisting as she tried in vain to shake off the phantom that presided and filled her with fear.

If this were only a nightmare she could scream for her mother and, in doing so, awake from deathly dreams and be comforted in the arms of one who could soothe and wipe away the fears and tears.

She wept louder because she was not five and this was no dream. She wept louder but still tried to smother it because her mother lay below and Lucy did not want to see her pain mirrored in the eyes of one she loved so well. There was nothing her mother could do. Nothing anyone could do.

These were her dark days. The days of never-ending nights. Of winter without end. Of sunshine never reaching her soul. The mere thought of endless winter nights shook Lucy to her core and her terror and torment were complete.

How could she live in a world where nothing held any hope or sunshine for her? How could she move from this bed, shrouded in blankets but not cocooned in safety? How could fear and loathing and dismal phantoms find her here? She had hidden herself so well, she thought, from the outside world that filled her with dread. Here in her bedroom in the home of her family she ought to feel safe and secure. That had been the thought all those many months ago when she had all but retired from the living. A refuge in this place of safety surrounded by love was supposed to have been the antidote to her malady. But this zombie existence where her half-life only frightened herself and those she let near had never been the intention.

There was no place of safety, no hermitage where she could dwell in harmony with herself. She was her own fears. Everything that filled her with terror lived within her not in that world she had shunned. The torment and the tears belonged only to her. Her spectres were inside her mind, her heart, her soul. They had flowed through her blood and reached every part fed by it. She was the living embodiment of her own nightmare.

She screamed then. ‘Leave me alone! Give me peace!’

A sudden sound below made her realise her anguished cry had not been internal. Her mother soon would appear and Lucy could not bear, even in these extremities, to inflict that pain.

She gathered every ounce of will she could muster to control her precarious mental balance.

A light knock and the door moved swiftly inward. In seconds her mother was on the bed beside her, cradling her in her arms, rocking her and shushing gently in her hair.

Lucy wept louder. They both knew this physical comfort was only that. Mental anguish is not so easily assuaged. But still, there was comfort.

Wrapped in the arms of love the sobs subsided gradually. Petted and patted, the gloom dispersed. Each, ‘there, there’ chased the phantoms to their hidden closets. In her fingers, in her toes, in her belly, in dark, secret corners of her mind and the blood vessels within her heart. They crept away, diminished by the presence of love.

Only this immediate presence of love had that effect.

She knew they would return, that they would wait for a vacant moment, a vacuum to fill. In the dark days. In the lonely hours. In the empty minutes of each day. They would stay hidden till the next time. Shorter and shorter periods between each time. So short now, they seemed ever-present.

These enemies of life, these fear-filling suckers of life source were resident in her body. She had given them house room. Only she could evict them.

All this now known to her. The ever-eluding question was how? How to banish the deepest darkness? In the absence of sunshine? A bulb? A candle? One small match? A flint to strike the first blow?

A reason to live. A purpose to her being. A command to which her mind and soul would respond.

The now tiny bubble in her belly fizzed hesitantly. Dare it? Was this a good moment?

Still wrapped, but no longer shuddering, in her mother’s arms, she sighed deeply. One huge sigh. And another.

‘Mum, I have to find my purpose. My reason. For being here, I mean.’

‘That’s a good place to start,’ whispered her mother and tightened the hug for a few short seconds before releasing her to start a new day.

Mum

There is forgetfulness

And negligence

There is hurt

And there is pain

There are wounds that cut so deeply

And will cut you time again.

There are memories

Of kisses

And cuddles

Full of joy

There is happiness

And hopefulness

For each girl and every boy.

There are wishes

That you make for them

And plans

That go astray

There are times

Of great futility

And ones of fun and play.

They leave you

And you wonder

If all you’ve done

Was right

If the scoldings

And the loving

Were really worth the fight.

There are times

You only see the face

Of the child

You held so dear

There are times

You see the person

And they fill your heart with fear.

There are times

When being a mother

Is a gift

From up above

When all that is

Remembered

Is the gift of so much love.

But in all the times

Of wonderment

In all the times

Of pain

Remember please

Dear Mum of ours

That you are loved

Time and time

And time

Again.

(6-3-05)