Grief is Sneaky

As many of you will know from my previous post, I am packing up The Cave after living there for almost ten years to move back to my folks because Dad is ill, although coping very well – something for which we’re all very grateful.

In the clean-up, I came across a postcard that Charlie sent me for my birthday one year, while he was sailing in Alaska. It read “Hello there, from the other side of the planet. Happy birthday. I hope you get a jam-filled cake.”  I read it, smiled, reminisced for a moment, and then placed it in a bag with other papers for recycling. After all, it’d been years since our paths split. He got married last year on October 8th Shannon, the blonde American who swept him off his feet in just three days of meeting him. He felt bad, but ‘the heart wants what the heart wants’. When I happened upon the wedding photos on her Insta (it wasn’t difficult to track her down), I finally summoned the will to delete our entire chat history of almost two years, along with his number. I felt an inexplicable numbness, a tiny tinge of horror, and a pinch of relief. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the feelings I was having, weren’t ‘it’.

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Where there is Love, There are no Goodbyes…

This is what my friend, Trevor, said to me on Saturday when I told him about having to bid Eliza, Nathan, and their two boys farewell as they leave for the land of kangaroos ‘n koalas.

There’d been talk of emigration two years back already, but the wheels were only greased into motion earlier this year – the motivation being that their youngest child would be starting primary school in 2023. Paperwork was submitted, IELTS tests were done, prayers were prayed, and sooner than anyone would have imagined, visas – with permanent residence attached – were approved at the beginning of August! It was surreal.

For the most part, I was genuinely over the moon for them. After all, this is an amazing opportunity for them which will almost certainly assure their children a brighter future than what they are likely to have here in SA. A tiny part of my heart ached though – because at some stage, I knew they would really be leaving. It was no longer a dream, something of which we all talked, it was a foregone conclusion, a dinkum reality.

They fly out on the 26th, but because they are going to have one last family holiday, their last day here in Sleepy Hollow is this Thursday. We went to church last night to sing Christmas carols. The service kicked off with Little Drummer Boy – cue snot factory. Thank goodness for waterproof make-up. Afterwards we went for pizza at a local seaside haunt and collapsed into bed when we got home. I struggled to sleep, despite the joyful chorus of frogs enjoying the weather, which has been oddly rainy and humid the past few days. It’s our last visit for who knows how long kept milling through my mind.

I found myself grateful for writing them a letter to read when they arrive in Sydney. It was tough to write, not because it is sad, but because summing up almost a decade of memories and the value of a friendship so special into a few lines is no easy feat.

So, in mist as thick as pea soup this morning, we said our teary goodbyes. We hugged just a little longer, and a little tighter, as if not letting go would delay the inevitable. In Eliza and Nathan, I have not only found friends, but kin.

Will we miss each other? Of course – insanely!
Will we stay in touch? Absolutely!
Will we cope with the distance? You betcha!

I know that this chapter is going to be challenging (and quite possibly, tough) for them, but what a story they are going to write! With the love, determination, strength of character, and the faith they have as a family, it can only be a huge success.





Keeping Going

I’ve been out of isolation for almost three weeks. I’m grateful to report that I am getting stronger every day. The insane, rib-cracking coughing is almost finally at an end, but I still get tired very quickly. An hour on the beach on Saturday ended with me having a three-hour sleep when I got home. Every night I’ve switched off my light around 21h00, which for me is early.

A few things have changed since I took ill:

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Day 126: A Promise Almost Un-Kept…

After 126 days in lockdown, there is still no real sign of when a sense of normality will return. I know that life as we knew it before COVID-19 will never be the same, but still, having the freedom to do some of the things we used to, would be nice. Anyhow, I’m not going to rant. It just sets me off into a downward spiral.

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Day 123: Wyn vir die Pyn (Wine for the Pain)

If there was a Pandemic Prevention Olympics, South Africa would be on the podium taking gold medals by the barrel full. We’ve had the longest #Coronavirus lockdown in the world.

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Cape St. Blaize Lighthouse

As the lighthouse high on Cape St. Blaize winks and watches Mossel Bay was the opening line of my primary school’s anthem. Today I finally got to see that view for myself.

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(Emotional) Weekend Whirlwind

I am at the point again that when the phone rings and someone asks, “What are your plans?” I just want to hide.  Partly because I’m a little emotional, but mostly because of The Big Freeze that seems to have taken hold of the Sleepy Hollow Town I reside in; I’d much rather stay holed up in The Cave under my duvet with a book, or a movie.  Elizabeth was having none of it when she called with this very question on Friday last week.  She had been roped into helping a friend’s daughter (a young high-school learner doing photography as a subject) with her project on Saturday.  She’d also kind of already told her friend I’d be more than willing to help too.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was reluctant to get out of bed.  It was cold. And I was out of milk.  Not a good start to my day.  Anyhow, I did the no matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up thing and went to Elizabeth’s house.  I’d arranged for a friend, Joy, to do our make-up.  Hell, if I was going to have to be in front of the camera, I didn’t want to look like a washed-out ghost from the 1920’s.  Joy was quite excited to hear that the shoot was Gatsby-themed, because she has always thought of me as “the perfect Gatsby girl”.

My confidence boosted, and my lashes ab-so-lutely gor-geous, Dahling, Elizabeth and I set off the the venue, Deja Vu Vintage House,  where we dressed up in real vintage clothes from the era, right down to pearls, feather boas and cigarette holders.  Once I was all flapped out in my purple frock, it was as if I underwent a complete personality change.  My inner Gatsby-girl took over and I ended up having so. much. fun.

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Elizabeth, the two other ‘models’ and I laughed till our stomachs ached as we waved to random strangers driving past.  The student taking the photos also had quite a few giggles at our antics.  I’m sure the photos are going to be a-ma-zing!

Elizabeth’s elder sister, Olive, had made a delectable curry and rice to ward off Jack Frost’s spell.  I love Indian food, so it was a given that I would stay for dinner.  With a full tummy and a happy heart, I went back to The Cave and slept incredibly well.

Sunday I met up with Charlie at his place where we had a bite to eat, and I showed him how to make a killer fridge tart with 4 ingredients.  I’m a firm believer in few-ingredient cooking, because I deteest pantry shopping almost as much as I hate doing the dishes.

Afterwards we watched two episodes of Elementary followed by a movie called called The Book of Eli.

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One scene (of an attempted rape) triggered a minor anxiety attack in me.  I’ve become increasingly aware that my friends and some family don’t understand my condition, and as a result, don’t know what to expect, nor how to react around me.  The reading I’ve done on high-functioning depression states that sufferers become ninja-level-experts at hiding things.  I surreptitiously (I hope!) popped a chill-pill and curled back on my comfy kick-out chair, snuggled under a blanket.  Barring the upsetting scene, the movie is quite brilliant; with Denzel Washington in the lead, and Gary Oldman as supporting actor, how could it not be?

I will admit, I was feeling drained on Monday, and yesterday still, but today I’m feeling on the up-and-up again.  I’ve learned not to beat myself up when I’m not feeling sprightly, but to continue with one-baby-step-at-a-time.  I’m staying with Eliza and Nathan tonight, and I’m cooking (something I love, but don’t do much of at home, because the stove in The Cave is cursed – every time I cook on it for guests, it cremates the contents of the oven, making them a burnt offering!) On the menu tonight is (you guessed it), a few-ingredient, creamy seafood marinara pasta.

Catch y’all on the flipside!  Have a Wonderful Wednesday 🙂

 

 

 

A Randomly Obscure Subject: #RestroomSelfies

I’m not big on #selfies.  Of any kind.  I almost always look like a jaundiced bullfrog who had an extra helping of flies from the Lily-Pond-buffet.  On the odd occasion, I’ve taken one and though Oh. My. Word. Is that me?! But for the most part it’s Holy Crap! and then some other scary thought.

Of course, I have friends that are the Queens of selfies; particularly of the restroom variety.  Two come to mind.  I won’t mention names, but the first always shares a selfie from a restroom when she travels, whether it’s to a local retreat, or to The City of Gold or even Beyond Borders.  And she always looks so good.  She’s modest, so will tell me it’s the exquisite light reflected off the bathroom mirror, but we both know it’s because she’s a gorgeous soul, both in and out.  She can wear a paper bag and still look like a million bucks – a million bucks even looks good with hand sanitizer and beige-doors-that-don’t-go-all-the-way-to-the-ceiling-nor-floor in the background.

Then there is another friend, closer-than-blood who I believe on some level is a soul-mate.  She almost always knows when to drop me a text or some random picture of me that she’s edited with I ❤ U written on it.  Shit, when I typed that, I thought that sounds stalker-like but it’s not.  She’s married to an amazing man, but she and I have shared a great deal.

We are both on a constant journey to rid ourselves of the few extra fat cells that cling to our waists, so to motivate each other, images of healthy meals fly through cyberspace faster than plates from the kitchen to the table during a Gordon Ramsay dinner service.  When there is progress with Operation-Flatten-Muffin-Top, she will send me a selfie of her, with her tummy exposed, and I think I have got to eat more protein!

When she was a few days from being a Missus, she sent a group of us a picture of her in some obscure roadside gas station toilet, on the throne, with a rather descriptive caption.  I found myself think I hope she’s squatting, and that her handbag is not touching the floor

Today has not been a good day, yet like a ray of sunshine I just got a selfie from her, characteristic white public loo tiles in the background, smiling like a Cheshire Cat, captioned “I’m peeing”.  My first thought is Really, Sweetpea? but I will admit, I laughed.  Loudly!  Her randomness brought such a smile to my face.

I guess when you’ve been friends for as long as we have, the weirdest things can bring a guffaw from within.  Who would have thought restroom selfies too could bring some joy?