Sunday, April 30, 2006

A life worth living

I'd packed, checked in online, printed out the boarding passes and nearly overfilled the bath.
I settled in it, the water lapping the edges, bubbles up to my chin.
T comes in, tearful and shaky.
He's not been right for a little while, his skin is dreadful and he's had more tantrums than we would normally see...

He didn't see that it was worth continuing to live, he told me. Life just gets harder and harder, every year more difficult.
College, swimming, everything just looming in front of him.
He'd much rather not learn to swim, because if he fell in water, he'd drown and that would be the end of it.
And that would make him happy.
Tears fell onto the floor from him and I tried so hard not to join in.

We talked and mused and we tried to break down big problems into littler ones.
I agreed to write a letter to his teacher (who T reckons, doesn't understand him) and see if that helps.
Then we'll try the next problem.

T seemed better after. Later, Mw made him roar with laughter and I was relieved.
Last time T got this low, he thought of ways to "give up his life" and he now is older and wiser and could think of ways that would work...

And on CF someone suggested that people who get angry with a god who doesn't ease sufferings are "spoiled brats"- like children wanting an iPod.
All I want is for the 6 year suffering of my 17 year old to end for long enough for him to actually enjoy life and want to continue it.
Is that too much to ask?
If it is, I'm a spoiled brat and will continue to be so.
I want his sufferings to end and I see no reason why I should stop wishing that for him...

Off to France tomorrow, M holding the fort.
Why do these things always happen as I go away?

A message for all feeling despondent (like me..)

Here's something I found this morning that might help.
It helped me...

This is what you should do:
Love the earth and the sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to anyone who asks,
stand up for the stupid and the crazy,
devote your income and labour to others,
hate tyrants,
argue not concerning god,
have patience and indulgence towards all people
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

Walt Whitman
From the preface to the 1855 edition of "Leaves of Grass"

Hope it helps someone else out there other than me.
And just remember too:

Man gets tired- spirit don't
Man surrenders- spirit won't
Man is tethered- spirit free
What spirit is man can be.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


/self pity mode on
I shouldn't help hubbie test the wine for my niece's wedding while in a downcast mood.
Leads to all sorts of things...
Such as thinking about things. It is great being able to post in the pub again, great..
But what it does mean is that I spend more time lurking round in OBOB
And become acutely aware that I am no longer part of this group called "Catholic" "Christian".
I cannot post there, it is not permitted, even in innocent threads saying "happy birthday" or other such things.
I am no longer part of your community.
And that is reflected outside in the real world.
I no longer am part of the community here, the community that my family and friends belong to.
It's amazing what an impact something like this has.
It is more than just having a label, a word, it is a real separation from a group that once was my world.
And every now and then, when something has happened that brings it more to mind, it becomes very real to me and I deeply regret what has occured.

But I cannot see a way back. I cannot believe in the god of the bible anymore folks, I have tried and I cannot.
So I'm stuck here on the outside looking in.
When my heart wants to be with you all on the inside.
But it's not a place for me anymore.
However much I think and try and bend my mind that way, in my deepest down heart and mind, I know it will never come back. And I have to find a way to survive like this, in a world without god and without the community I used to cherish.
Most of the time I can manage it, it is just every now and then a little sigh comes my way and I long to be back the way I was...
And I can say it here because this is the one space I have where I can indulge a little self pity and hope that those who read will put up with it.
And I'll read this tomorrow and I hope my heart will not be aching quite so much then...

And Monday I fly once more to France...
Better think about packing.

/self pity mode off...

7am and all is quiet

I woke, sadly at 3am, my period of good nights sleep after Lourdes over...
It's been good though!
But I used the time usefully planning my trip with J
48 hours and I should be at Bristol airport.
I don't even know where that is right at this moment.
(Don't tell J!)

Just a little while longer and we should be in France.
Industrial action, plane crashes and delays etc. permitting...

Then 5 days with J.
She's hard work, like an older version of T but without the tantrums.
Her illnesses are pretty well controlled but she is so obsessional and unable to do a simple task like washing without asking about it 20 times..
(Shall I wash now? What soap shall I use? Is this the right towel? Where shall I put the towel?)

She is totally incapable of independent living and when my parents go, she'll come to live with us.
Where, I'm not quite sure, T has now totally taken over the small bedroom and M has done nothing about finding an architect to look at converting the garage...
Still, go with the flow.
Even if to get over to the window in the small bedroom means climbing over bits of dismantled computers and a game station...

Lourdes has been processed in my head and surprisingly I'm feel emotionally intact after the trip, which is a major shock to me.
Normally I come back a gibbering wreck
Maybe that will be Paris!
Or even NYC, which is looking more and more a bad idea the closer we get to it...

"Are you looking forward to a seven hour flight with me tormenting you all the way?"
Asked Mw yesterday, sitting on my bed and bouncing up and down, talking in a silly voice unceasingly...

In the end I got a bottle of Chanel No. 5 and chased him out of my room with it, only for him to return with a pool cue as a defence against the spray's reach.
We circled for a bit and I discovered by holding the spray high I could still reach him and he retreated, leaving son1 collapsed on the floor in howls of laughter.
Which was so good to see.

But 7 hours on a plane!!
Valium and gin for mum, I think!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wistful thoughts

One thing Lourdes always pulls out of me, whether I want it or not, is thoughts that have a certain wistful quality.
This is the place after all, where M and I met, where at 34 weeks pregnant with T I went into the baths and prayed for a safe delivery, where I have made so many friends and experienced so much emotion and love.
And pain...
When I finally came face to face with the grief that was the loss of what T may have been.

This year I wept once deeply, but mostly was too busy to dwell on my wistful thoughts.
That time is now...

One thing that strikes me is how I have lost a certain sense of belonging. Once I shared a common belief with these people, a common life view, a common purpose.
But with every Mass that I did not receive my separation became clearer and clearer to me.
And a gulf opened between those I love and me.
Because the only thing that will bring us back together is me returning to belief.
And that I can never see happening.

And that gulf also exists between my family and me
More worrying still...

So my wistful thoughts on last time I went, sitting at the Grotto at night and feeling so close to God, so close to others, now gone.
And on returning, unlike the others, not to peace and order but to the chaos that T leaves in his wake and the uncertainty of his future...
With no one to pray to and intercede on his behalf.
I'll go with the flow, meeting each challenge as it comes, but without the back up I once thought I had.
And the sorrow is not all consuming, but gentle and soft and liveable with.
I just wish he was like the ones on the street "with the nimble feet, playing out a normal part."
And I wish I hadn't lost my faith...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hitting the wall

I hit the wall today.
It was almost impossible to put one foot in front of each other.
My head hurt, my ulcer griped at me and my body kept yelling "Go back to bed!"
When I got into work I discovered two urgent full reports that needed to be in by Friday and no time to do them in.
On the up side, my tray was only one foot high with material
And I thought I had at least two spaces in clinic.

(I didn't but it made me feel happy for a short time.)

So I surged through paper work and turned up for the team meeting and left early to return to more paperwork.
I finished the reports, started clinic at 12 and finished with a flourish at 4.45pm, hardly drawing breath...
The med student was given a good guide of some of my nicest clients and seemed interested and appropriate. He'd also obviously been reading and studying, so he gets good marks from me today.
Finished just 5 minutes later, only to discover that we couldn't lock up because the alarm didn't work.
Two social workers, a nurse and a doctor puzzled over it and went round the building on several occasions to check all the doors were locked, to no avail. Eventually my method of screaming at the alarm and pressing "cancel" all the time got us back to the opening screen and we finally escaped.
We did have visions of having to stay there all night, protecting the base against the attack of the graffiti artists, who would love to come in and play round inside as they do outside...
Once home, I could tell all was not well.
T was twitchy and sure enough, blew a mega fuse about an hour later.
He was unbringdownable for a while until finally I got him calm enough to agree to go out with his dad for a drive.
Once home, we had a minor repeat, but bath and tablets later and he's calmer and even laughing a little at something he's doing with Mw.
And I thought
How lovely it was to leave those childrens problems behind me.
For one week, their problems were ours, now they are back with their parents.
But we have T
And at times, when I've been in work all day and come home to a raging banashee, my system starts to protest.
I'm so tired...
When will it end?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hot off the press...

Not we need really.
Besides being a tad inaccurate (the name of the trust, the number of children left on the plane, the fact that communication was going on- in the person of hubbie for one) it takes the focus off the good side of the week on to this last little bit.
How annoying...

And I'm sliding into post trip let down mode.
Earlier on I fell asleep while listening to the Waterboys.
I woke up praying, then stopped short as I remembered I don't do that anymore.
Or something like that.
And started to cry...
I'm just far too emotional- tiredness and lack of sleep.
And the doctor phoned- they want to see me again after my latest blood tests.
Probably means they'll force me to have an endoscopy.
Especially if I confess the pain hasn't gone.

So all in all, I'm feeling weak and feeble tonight.
I better be better by Sunday, as I'm taking J to Paris for 5 days.
And she is as much of a handful as T.

So I've just had a bath, with joss sticks burning and now I'm listening to Classic FM chilling me slowly throughout
The boys are settled (for ten minutes at least) and M has brought me a lovely cup of coffee.
And flowers have just been delivered from the group to say "thanks"

Sweet things to dwell on and to carry me through...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lourdes 7- Has anyone seen the ambilift?

So woken at 5.15am, no point going back to bed. We had to leave the hotel at 7am and that was pushing things a bit. My, R and V and I ran round like headless chickens as Matt laughed and demanded we put on "Kong" again.
Well, My and I ran, V & R, having gone to bed at 5am were extremely reluctant to do anything and I had to put on my stern voice...
But R got us all breakfast and the packing and medical bits done, we got on the coach and headed to the airport.
Hel came towards me there with a worried look.
"Don't tell anyone, but the plane's not left Manchester (its base.)
It was taxi-ing on the runway when a warning light came on and was waiting to be checked by the engineers.
People have had 12 hour delays before...

So I didn't tell anyone till the news came through that there would be at least 5 hours delay.
I did my round of the groups, checking out the feeds and meds situation.
Several children were on continuous feeds and bags were unpacked to ensure all was there for them.
Group 73, as ever, came up trumps, with Han and Mw inventing a game that the mobile ones played all through the delay.
With a brief break for lunch.
All took it in turns to walk Alice and Matt watched his DVD which we had decided not to pack and also played monopoly.
I was glad I hadn't objected too strongly to carrying it.
When finally we got to the plane, several of the youngsters were begining to get tired
The helpers weren't much better...
I doled out advice and sympathy and with the efforts of the helpers, the plane took off with no tears and landed on time.

There was then another delay- 45 minutes before any piece of luggage was removed from the plane.
One and a half hours before all the wheelchair children were off...
The ambilift was nowhere to be seen and chairs had to be carried up to the plane so we could use the arm to get them off...

Tempers were fraying.
M, the regional chair ( aka hubbie) was rung by me and asked to do what he could, but no one could move things on...

Finally, children and parents were reunited and I could go home with hubbie and Grandma
She had been out in Lourdes with another group.

And I got to hug and see my beloved children again.
Well one of them.
True to form, T wouldn't have it, while Mw hugged and hugged and hugged.

So what did I learn this week?
I'm not sure, I think time alone will tell...

But my dear friends both here and in real life...
I did not get my faith back.
It came nowhere close to that.
I know that was what M hoped and what others did too, my mother, my father, family, friends...
But it didn't happen.

And I have just to get on with things now, like living and loving
Because although I cannot see God, I can see that is a good way to live
It is the way I want to live and a way that makes you happy, even through pain.
I feel as though I have let people down, but I still cannot see.

It is as if I am now colour blind.
You all out there can see the green from the blue, I can no longer...

I'm sorry, but I cannot and will not lie to you or let you think that something happened when it did not.
I wish in my heart that it had, that I would get a revelation and I prayed one afternoon for something to come, but it didn't.

So here I am, still an atheist.
I hope we can still be friends...

Lourdes 6 -Anyone seen the lift?

Somewhat exhausted, My and I rose as usual and split the jobs while all others had a lie in.
Down we went for breakfast together alone, leaving Matt in the mercy of V & R, watching Kong. Again.
Again for the 5th time...
We chatted about this and that, suing people, with the glorious mountains in the background.
I mentioned that I would never have sued about T, because it just would have prolonged the bitterness, that had gone on long enough.
No one had woken up that morning thinking that they were going to brain damage a baby, no one set out to perform less than their best.
It was not intended...
My asked what happened exactly.
And once more, the words and tears started to flow.
Probably more than to any other real life person.
The story of T and my loss of faith, intertwined and told...

How I first got angry, then accepted God's will for T
How I then began to think and think about things that didn't make sense.
And how statements like Martin's- that God allows some to suffer so others may learn to love make me incredibly angry...
And once more I wept
And My hugged me and said nothing

And Martin came along and complained of a sore throat and I stopped talking and crying.
And went back into routine...
And discussed another difficult case with the leader of JS3 and worked out what I needed for them
So after going to medical HQ to pick up stuff, I went to the Carrefour once more as medical base in case any of the shoppers needed help.
I had the Tao of Pooh delivered to me, but had little chance to read it as a succession of others stopped to chat...
Then it was off to the Terrase for lunch (another vegetarian disaster with ham pizza again) and then up to the Ukranian Church.
We found the lift to take us up the steep hill and crossed the busy roads without anyone being run over by car or train.
The Mass was three short but sweet none the same, with all being thankful for each other.
Down we went to the cafe and I finally gave in and went back to the hotel to bed for two hours.
Supper was interrupted by the Irish, who insisted we sang "Rise and Shine" then off to light our candles.

Do candles work if you are an atheist, I wondered- well the prayers are those of others came the reply, you are being the agent.
So I lit them with Alice's help. Ironically, they kept blowing out at first, until I got a good flame going.
Then we moved by the river and Martin spoke about the water and we went and filled the bottles...

Back to Matt's room for night prayers (we'd done it all week as he needed to be connected to his pump at this point)

All said who and what they were thankful for and gifts were given, including the group photo (which I lost in the chaos that was Matt's room.) Matt was thankful for his helpers, as was I. Good boys both, full of love and compassion and kindness. Goodness and love oozes out of them both, without them trying or realising what they are doing.

And bed, eventually, after drinks and paninis from the Carrefour brought back to the hotel.
R&V went downstairs to join the Irish as we went to bed, as they wanted to chat to a pretty Irish girl they'd both been in raptures about all week (the only one making any headway was Matt, who'd been covered in kisses by her earlier that day.)
At 5.15am, R once more burst into the room, as the pump alarm was going off...
And it was Saturday, time to go home...

Lourdes 5- Why so complicated?


Trust Mass after several call outs which were easily sorted.

We arrived at the mass and joined thousands of others in the Basilica. Prayfully done, I thought, with due regard to the several bishops and higher there. Pope Benedict sent a message, but the biggest cheer was for Michael Strode, as he was presnted with a gift by Patrick after Mass.

During Mass, Matt went on the floor on the blankets and pillows we'd taken from the hotel with the others and we took it in turns to be his back rest. ("When are you returning the bed?" asked the manager as he saw us sneaking out with them...)

Which led to an unfortunate incident when R, in an attempt to lift Matt, slipped his hand on what he thought was Matt's back but actually turned out to be up my skirt...

Revenge perhaps for all those times this week I'd caught them both unawares in various states of undress as I barged into their rooms.

After another inadequte veggie lunch, we held a healing service at the hotel in which all were anoited for healing of body, mind and spirit.

Including me. I couldn't make an issue of it, it would have confused the children and I just shut my eyes and let it happen. I didn't say "ger off" or anything...

I also suspect Martin of having prayed for me as he winked at me when he asked for prayers for those in need of healing who "we do not want to mention by name here." And Jade prayed for Matt her brother and he put his hand high when Fr Martin asked for any more prayers

He pointed firmly and vigourously at his sister, Jade...

Not a dry eye in the house

Next the prarie (meadow, whatever you call it- it's big, it's green and you can run and shout there...)

For the traditional water fight. This is a Group 73 tradition for several years and often the highlight of the week...

I put myself on refilling duty, which was a bad idea, as the rule was, no firing at someone without a weapon in their hand.

I ALWAYS had a weapon in my hand that I was refilling, therefore I was continually being soaked.

Martin had purchased two large cannon styles guns which covered everyone far more than the little pistols we gave the kids.

And at 4pm, the balloons went up. All 5000 of them. The children had earlier nearly caused a premature release as we stopped to take piccies of the inflation. Then it was back to the hotel for tea and to prepare for the boys and girls night out.

I went to the Carrefour, briefly surfed but got chucked off by a couple eager to check their emails. So I sat outside and watched the world go by. My role in this was to be medical backup should either party need it (especially the boys, who had not a medic amongst them.)

But all was well and I had the briefest of chats with Al, my mate, who knew all and belongs to the "Cath, you think too much" school. She's also aware that I can't not think, and let me ramble away until I spyed the men returning to base and followed, at a discrete distance...

And I stayed in that night and listened to Martin talk about his vocation. And about parishes and being the boss and other things and how he handles all those with egos in his parish.

What I remembered most after was the tone of his talk. It reminded me of other authoritarian set ups I have known. And when I went back to my room, I felt strangely at peace. I don't know if I can explain why...

Part of my problem is the church. What Fr M said showed me how he is part of that structure of authority that over the years has tended to allow this message of love that was being acted out around us, to get lost in the rubrics of liturgy and rules and canon law and catechism.

Why so complicated?

Why not just take the essence of that bit of the message that works and live it? Like we do in Lourdes?

With that I went to sleep, at 2.30am...

At 2.45am I was awoke by a boistrous R, who informed us the alarm on the pump was going off.

So after sorting it, I snoozed till 5am, then woke with the sunrise over the mountains through our window (we never shut the blinds at night.)

Time to get up once more to do the 6am meds and the nebs and the catheter and everything else...

Lourdes 4- "There's a whole other side to that"

Tuesday was Gavarnie

Mass was due to be a joint one with group 120, to bond with our paired group...

JS3, however, had lost their priest for the day, so joined us as well.

The priest from 120 looked a bit shell shocked. He would be quite at home on a certain forum I used to frequent and was finding the Lourdes experience sopmewhat different to his expectations.

But Martin did the sermon, beautifully involving the children as ever. The backdrop for our Mass was the Cirque, the ring of mountains, still covered in snow and towering over us.

After Mass, it was donkey rides, face painting, picnics and drinks at the cafe.

And in the evening- fireworks! Matt was too tired to go out but we went up to the roof and watched the spectacle- by the end he looked cold and pale but oh so happy...

He didn't take long to sleep after all his bits were done and I settled to my waking night.

Wed was the Welsh Mass, with "Rise and Shine" as an impromtu finale. Archbishop Peter preached to the adults, with mixed feelings on this, some liking it but many upset that he did not aim it at the youngsters...

In the evening we partied. Alice got wound up so I took her off missing the delicious veggie pizza with ham that I was given.

Finally at midnight those of us off duty popped out for a drink and found a quiet corner and talked about Matt and Alice and their families. And Martin talked of this being the reason God allows suffering like Alice and Matt's- to enable others to love them and to learn to love.

"There's a whole other story to that"

All the words I could get out as I started to silently cry.

Thoughts of years of holding T in my arms as he shook and suffered- no way, no way no way (as Emma, another special child) would say.

Realising if I stayed, I would humiliate myself by bawling I got up, accompanied by Han, who had seen and left. I told her I was going back alone and needed to be alone and flew home.

And went to bed and cried and cried and cried for an hour, with the thoughts and the grief of years flooding out.

I was unaware that Martin had followed but missed me and returned to the others...

But instead of trying to stop crying, I let it happen, I allowed the hurt to be there and I held it, until finally it went quiet.


As I just started to sleep, in came My.

Like me, she doesn't drink.

2 pints or so and little food and sleep and My was, shall we say, tired and emotional.

She got herself to bed noisily and lay there, equally noisy.

My mood changed from sorrow to delicious delight at my friend's happy state.

I didn't sleep much after that and got up as usual early to do the meds..

My was unrousable at this point- "get off" was her response to the tea offered.

But by 9 she was up and ready to face Thursday.

And I put my false face on and chirped happily around the hotel...

Lourdes 3: On the run

One thing about Lourdes with the HCPT is that you are always on the go. Apart from the odd time like this, stopping at the grotto, even then the people involved have to keep an eye on their mobile (and speedy) charges. Other than Matt and Alice, they were able to walk.
And run.
Usually without a clear idea in their head of where they were going or why...
The girly girls were not like that, but found the walking tired them out, so ended up being carried on the shoulders of the helpers.
At least then we knew where they were...

But over on the meadow opposite the Grotto, they could run and scream and play football, and on least one occasion, have a water fight.
For some of the children, who only ever hear the word "no" and words that tell them how terrible they are, it proved too much.
In the begining of the week, one child would flinch from touch, even as simple as at the signing of peace.
By the end he allowed someone to give him a hug
Small victories that make this trip so special, so important.
His life may not change, but he will have the memory of people who felt he was important enough to take away and to listen to him and to give him a good time...
Maybe it will carry him through his difficult days.

Matt and Alice couldn't run.

Alice could walk, but unsteadily

Not being able to see or use her brain to think clearly, she would peer close up, trying to work out who she was talking to.

And she was, as it says in the Tatler for Wed, an "Excellent! Girl!" (page 5, half way down the 2nd column!)

I made up a little song about it- "Alice B is an excellent girl..and she listens first time." Alice loved that song and wanted it sung far more than the rest of the group could tolerate. But tolerate it they did.. "I don't think Beth has heard it- sing Beth my song."

But the children were not the only ones on the run...

Lourdes 2- telling and showing

I told V I was an atheist now
As I spend most of my life winding up my hubbies best and oldest friend, he didn't exactly take me seriously.
Neither did his room mate and partner in crime R
We were actually too busy looking after the wonderous blithe spirit that is Matthew to talk about it much ("if this is 2am it must be Tizanidine...")
The room was chaotic, suction and urinary catheters strewn about, the "rocket launcher" (oxygen cylinder) lying propped up next to the monopoly and the feed pumps beeping away in the background.
V & R (like My and myself) didn't even bother to unpack.
There wasn't room.
They also got used to us popping in at the usual awkward moments
Dignity for them went out the window.
And at the centre was Matt, lying there, cheekily guiding us all with his smile and his pointing (right for yes, left for no) and his mouthing of the word "Kong"
He watched it at least 7 times...

His glee at 6am when I went in to do the meds in making sufficient noise to wake up the sleeping V & R was a joy to behold, as was his delight in the use of syringes full of ice cold water to wake them up at 8am to help with the getting up routine.
Meanwhile, I got to be part of the bar staff, regularly popping down to get the meds stored in the fridge there. They chatted away to me in French and I nodded, not having a clue for the most poart what they were saying.
As always, the hotel tolerated noise, football in the corriders, painting, cutting, sticking, playdough and night prayers in the rooms at 11pm. Only 1 family booked out this week, we were told...
And they tolerated the messy rooms, resembling hospitals more than anything else.

And on Monday Fr M came to me with communion and I shook my head and declined a blessing and V & R realised I hadn't been joking
And Fr M looked at me and said nothing.
Later, 2 glasses of wine later in the evening, I apologised to him for not having said anything before.
He said he'd talk if I wanted.
Perhaps later in the week (it was 2am at this point)
I nodded.
But when the most time you spend asleep is 2 hours in a week at any one time, trying to find the words to talk about it proved none too easy.
And the focus of the week is outward, on these children who need so much but give even more back in return.
So little time for reading or thinking or discussing with priests.
And now, I need to have a doze again, to try and catch up on sleep before I go back to routine life tomorrow.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lourdes 1

Words are difficult.
They do not capture the intensity of feelings that a week in Lourdes can provoke.
From the heights of joy to the depths of despair.
And admist it all, a host of kindness and compassion and love, enough to fill a lake to overflowing.
Of the adults for the children and each other and the other way round.
Alice with her song, the excellent girl that she is, Matthew with his cheeky smile and determined manner and his inner strength despite his outward weaknesses, the wild and ruly ones, the small and cheeky ones, all adding to one week of memories and events that will be hard to forget and harder still to repeat.

And moments of grief as I looked for what I lost and realised it would never return.
Not my faith, but my whole son, instead of my damaged one.
And on my own, I wept and wept and wept.
How could a good God do that?
Despite what Martin said.

So, I will try and think and write a few of my memories over the next few days, to explain why I go and why, despite being an atheist, I will still continue to go.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Heeby geeby

Just over 4 hours before we leave the house.
I have packed, though not yet shut my case...
I am in mega manic panic mode, with all sorts of negative distorted thoughts running round my head and blabbering away about Lourdes on the internet until I'm sure everyone must wish I'm out of there.
But all will be well, as Juliana said, and I take my new confidant (HA!) approach with me...
Along with Nietzsche and the Tao...
What a mixture!

Still M and the boys are still sleeping sweetly while I bomb round the house like a banashee, occasionally stopping to write a few comments here...

Ironically I have been unable to find my doctors badge.
On the front it says...
I believe

It does matter, because it is a symbol of authority in the domain and a means of identification
But I would have felt uncomfortable wearing it, as I still don't believe in god
I do though, believe in love, in strength, in caring and sharing (chriz gave me that) and in kindness...
That's my start and I hope that whatever the stresses and strains of the next week, I can hold onto those.
Off to try and shut my case..
And remember to watch out for me on the website...
Look out for the hat featured above- it'll be me!
(or one of the other 20 or so in our group!)
I'll give a prize to anyone who spots me...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

This is the sea

Poor M
I think sometimes he wonders what he's done to deserve his scatty wife.
I insisted on reading the words of "This is the sea" out to him last night...
..and again earlier on when I got home.
I can't help it, I've had such a day and such a few months, when I find something that speaks to me like that song did last night, I cannot keep it in.
So once more he was the patient recipient of my mutterings (which are far worse than the ones I post here.)
He tolerates me well!!

now you say you got trouble
you say you got pain
you say you got nothin' left to believe in
nothin' to hold on to
nothin' but chains
you been scourin' your conscience
and rakin' through your memories
you been scourin' your conscience
and rakin' through your memories
but that was the river
this is the sea

This is the sea
No going back to the river
No trying to remember how fine my life used to be
Got to go forward, no turning back...

I am still weary
Weary of the months of pain and fuzzy thoughts
Coming into crystal clearness
Hollow emptiness

But the great thing about it all is...
...I am still the same person.
I am still me and I still can do what I used to do.
My ability to love has not gone, nor my ability to be loved.
Nor my ability to laugh and feel joy and sun and rain and ice and breezes blowing
And when I face the hurricanes that our lives seem to create...
...I can still stand
I have not fallen
I have not been crushed

That was the river
And this is the sea
And I shall not drown.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I've had an odd sort of day. Things conspire sometimes to point you in one direction and that which I cannot talk about openly reared its head and I crossed the line marginly before jumping back.
Leaving me unsettled and uncertain...
And I so need to stay silent on this one.
/gabby mouth mode off

But T and I had a good day after a night in which he woke me up at 2am to say he had a headache and couldn't sleep.
As ever he spent the rest of the night snoozing next to me while I dozed on and off floating in and out of troubled dreams.
And we went to Harry Ramsden's and he had his chips that he loves so much. I got him the Pink Panther cartoons as a treat and myself, the Waterboys CD with Spirit on it...
Man gets tired: Spirit don't
Man surrenders: Spirit won't
Man crawls: Spirit flies
Spirit lives when man dies
Man seems: Spirit is
Man dreams: The spirit lives
Man is tethered: Spirit is free
What spirit is man can be

And then I once more did my Myers-Briggs to find out that yet again, I am INFP- see here for what that means about me:
INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder.
INFPs have the ability to see good in almost anyone or anything. Even
for the most unlovable the INFP is wont to have pity.

Their extreme depth of feeling is often hidden, even from themselves,
until circumstances evoke an impassioned response.

INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g.,
performance of duty for the greater cause.

What Spirit is man can be...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Because Maybe...

The fire in my heart is out...

I remember the last few times I've been to Lourdes.
That wait once there, to get down to the Grotto at night
The sound of the wind rustling the leaves in the trees
The Gave flowing past
The flickering candles, the smell of the wax
And the intensity of the prayers
Of others
Of mine

And the feeling that is was one of those places where heaven touched earth.

Where has that gone?
How did it go?
How could I lose that fire inside?
I didn't want to...
And am I now less a person because I'm not the same?
I've never felt that before, but something has made me realise that not everyone values you the same if you are not Christian
That if you are not Christian your thoughts and words and everything else are less valuable, to be put on the "reject" shelf.

Funny feeling.
Not part of the body anymore, cut off from the vine, withering and dying away

So off to Lourdes I go, full of doubts and angst and anxiety and pain.
Let's hope I find someone who is going to save me there, because I haven't found it elsewhere...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Get together

Had the get together before Lourdes yesterday
Went alarmingly well
The charges were excited and full of beans and contain probably two of the most challenging children this group has ever taken.
The parents were over awed by it all.
One is convinced we'll back out at the airport and send her home with her mum, as she's too difficult.
We're well prepared, though and having a paediatrician in the group (not me!) helps.
Having a psychiatrist is useful too...
And a surgeon- a well medicated group!
How could I have dropped out- My said to me at least five times that she wouldn't be going if I didn't- she's so nervous about it all.
I'm less so, although I think it's going to be the hardest but one week ever...

But emotionally, I'm going to go onto detached mode, as I think it's the only way I'll cope this year. It was hard enough at the Penitential service on Saturday, how difficult it may be if Fr M twigs I'm not going to communion and decides to pry, I just don't know. I don't know if anyone has told him and he's just leaving it alone or whether he doesn't know. I'm sure I'll find out, unless he decides to play it cool and ignore it all...

Meantime, my head is in pieces. Work, T's unsettled state, the mess of thoughts in my head, the insomnia, the tummy pain, the prospect of Lourdes- if I could stop the world and sit on a toadstool and think for a month, I'd be much more settled.
Might have a bit of a back ache though!!

So if you see words to this effect here..
"Gon out backson bisy backson"

Check out the nearest toadstool and see if I'm contemplating there...
And bring something soothing with you, as I cannot be taking any more stress!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Tears stream...

Tears stream
Down your face
When you lose something
You cannot replace

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try
To fix you.
Fix You- Coldplay

I should not drink three glasses of wine upon melancholia and 3 hours of T nagging and yelling and telling me how little he cares for me...
It just makes the tears stream
I hurt enough for myself, let alone for others...
Still, lights may guide me home, if I can focus enough to see them.
And if I remember that kindness matters and is the key to unlock the difficulties of life, maybe the hurt will lessen.
And maybe I can get myself fixed enough to continue to fix others...

"See the world as yourself
Have faith in the way things are
Love the world as your self
then you can care for all things."
Tao Te Ching: Lao-Tzu

and as we sang today in church (well I sang, most of the parents didn't know it..)
A new commandment I give unto you
To love one another as I have loved you
By this love you have for one another
everyone will know that you are my disciples.

So without this label of Christian
I'll be following the path of kindness and love
And if god is there, please show yourself! Don't hide!
I so want to see you...
But I do not need to see you to dance this dance.

Friday, April 07, 2006

More sensible talk!

Ok, over my little moody earlier..
Combination of a couple of difficult days, T pressurising me in all sorts of ways and the culmination of two months that I would prefer to forget.
And I do want it back, but I'm realistic in knowing that will never happen.
Too much information!

But plans have to be made for the future. I see Julia soon to discuss returning to addictions work and I need to decide finally whether or not to apply for the CRT job. The latter is a no no I think, M said tonight to me he couldn't see why I was applying for a job that I didn't actually want! Quite true...
And my expansion of reading material continues. I'm back with Nietzsche, which I may take to Lourdes, just to annoy Martin. I find him an enigma (Martin) and want to be able to defend myself if he starts. Remebering his thoughts on weed, I'm not entirely sure he's really capable of thinking things through, but we'll see.
And tomorrow I've got to be up early to play at the Penitential service for the kiddies...
Let's hope it all goes well...

Sorry about earlier- a bit brighter now. At least I've stopped crying, so that's a start!

Deep sighs...

Ok, pity post, that sort of mood triggered by something I've just read...
Skip if you're feeling down and go and get some ice cream instead.

Do you want to know how many mortal sins I am committing, according to something I read today?
In brief and none too accurately, loads.
By not going to mass, not receiving communion, not going to confession, etc etc. And mortal sin is a sin that
"brings death to the soul and offends God very much."
So I've had my chips, basically.
And I have tried so hard to make myself believe in god, I have honestly.

I've read and prayed and thought and not thought and I just cannot see him there anymore.
I thought I'd got somewhere, to a stage of accepting that god would find me.
But that seems to have fizzled out...
Because I want to be able to believe again as I did before, to join the prayers, the rosary, the chat and to really believe that he is there.
You'd have thought wanting to believe so much that something would happen
But it doesn't and I am left, false face on being happy and joyful but dying inside.

I wish I was in that blissful state of belief and trust
But it has gone, never to return.
So, I just have to accept it, have an occasional moan like now, but accept that for me, there is no god
I can create a god out of my belief in the overwhelming importance of kindness and loving all
But it will never replace the god I thought I knew and loved
And that I will just have to live with...
If I could turn back time

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Today has been a long day, all of it spent in clinic.
I had to move things round to accomodate a hearing I have to go to next week, so things worked out that I had two clinics running back to back.
This after the trial by fire that was the meeting with you-know-who yesterday.
So this meant today was a day of being dumped with a lot of stuff on top of an already battered ego.
Now stuff is a funny thing.
Some days, I can take all kinds of horrendous stuff and emotion and rage and sorrow and carry it round and hold it and detox it and pass it back processed and send people away happy.
Some days, especially back to back clinic days, by the afternoon, the stuff container starts to get a bit full, and my ability to be the holder of all things starts to diminish and the processing process runs out of steam.
And it just so happened to be a day of pretty graphic gut wrenching stuff.
I know that is part of my role, to be a container for these cowardly acts that humans do to each other, but now it's stuck and a part of me.
My head hurts, the boys are noisy and there is no peace anywhere in my house, my head or my heart.
And despite my absentmindedly saying two decades of the rosary while waiting for work to open this morning, no peace in anywhere like a soul either.
I'm one crazy mixed up atheist.
So in a minute I shall run the bath and light the candles and put on some classical music and hope that the boys can occupy themselves for more than five minutes and leave me in peace to try and process the day so that the night won't be such a challenge.
Evil is real and a terrible thing...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blowing away the cobwebs

Went out for a stroll to the bay.

It was so windy!

I tried to capture it on camera, but it didn't do it justice.

We went then along the quay to one of the docks, where canoe polo was happening

Brave souls in the cold and wind!!

Then back past the Assembly building

Beautiful, costly, building...

T laughed and shrieked and ran in the wind, let loose his feelings and voice to join the sounds of birds and flags flapping and his brother laughing.

I couldn't catch the wind, nor could I trap the joy he exuded, laughing from the depth of his being.

If only he could always be like that!

If only he didn't have to face an uncertain future, at the mercy of whatever system those that sit in that building put in place next.

If only I could be there always with him, holding his worries, containing his anger, guiding his wandering mind and keeping him safe.

But that is too much to ask and too much to bear the thought of him coming to harm.

So prepare we must and for today we run in the wind and laugh and shriek and jump and twirl

And join our hopes and fears for the future and place them firmly in tomorrow, so we can enjoy today...

Tenebris Interlucentem

A Linnet who had lost her way
Sang on a blackened bough in Hell
Till all the ghosts remembered well
The trees, the wind, the golden day

At last they knew that they had died
When they heard music in that land
And someone there stole forth a hand
To draw a brother to his side

James Elroy Fletcher

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

Lao-Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Light overcomes darkness
Being content with how things are, while moving and doing what is needed
Not passive acceptance, an active salvation
And kindness being the key
Simple things for a simple mind!!
Happy Sunday