Monday, September 24, 2012


I'm an independent kinda girl.  I'm also not one for dwelling in misery, let alone sharing it with others, and yet in the past couple of weeks I have found myself telling the story of my current family stresses over and over.  And over.  In fact its getting kind of boring, even for me.  My friends and SO have been incredibly supportive and positive, offering all kinds of help and insights and for this I am truly grateful.

Its incredibly hard to ask for help.  In some (yeah, screwed up) kind of way, to me to ask for help feels like a weakness. Like I'm saying I have failed rather than that I am just as human as everyone else.  And when that help needs to come from professional quarters it seems to me like even more of a failure, more of a weakness.  The reality is of course, that to ask for help - to acknowledge one needs it in the first place - is probably a good thing.  In fact the deep irony is that I ''help'' people for a living.  My job is to help people get better at what they do and to identify the areas they need support in.

But, seek help I have.  I have a list of things to do - a kind of action plan I guess, that I am hoping are going to make a difference.  A bunch of cheerleaders around me to keep me on track (and quite possibly, accountable).  A couple of very clear outcomes I want to achieve, and at last a sense of hopefulness that this thing, this horrible challenging, exhausting thing, might get sorted. Eventually.

How are you about asking for help?  Do you have a good support network?  Are you a lone problem solver or do you feel OK about enlisting the help of others?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

posted with gratitude

I started preparing for dinner at 7.30 yesterday morning, putting a gigantic piece of (home kill)  corned beef in my slow cooker - and reflected on the marvels of modern appliances as the day wore on.

I walked to school with kids, in the sun, and stopped to chat a while with other mums not seen for some time.

Back home to work - remotely and in the quiet - before I  picked up my son and took him to an ear/nose/throat specialist who explained the amazingly complicated human body in simple and 6-year-old friendly terms, and handed me a quote for $5000 to fix some ongoing health issues.  We stopped at the McDonald's drive through for some hot chips and returned to school in time for a PTA fundraising sausage sizzle.

All the while, the slow cooker bubbled away, the potatoes baked in the oven.  The bread maker did it's thing. The spa pool heated gently.  The ice cream waited in the freezer.   The ipod blasted out sounds whilst I vacuumed and steam mopped before guests arrived.  I wandered about Facebook in between times, catching up with friends in three different countries.

At three o-clock, I met with four other friends and their children at the ice cream shop, where we sat in the sun and the kids chased each other with over sized sticks and threatened each other with sticky fingers.

By 4.30 I was back home, pouring a glass of wine and surveying a clean house and a nearly cooked meal.

And then my friends arrive for dinner.  Four adults, 4 kids and teenager all enjoyed slow cooked corned beef, baked potatoes, massive platter of salad and home made bread.  We had a simple dessert of ice cream in a cone and warm mini donuts.

After dinner the children jumped in the spa pool (a new addition to my outdoor living space) and the adults talked about everything and nothing for an hour or two.

It was a day of amazing simplicity - and also a celebration of the marvels of technology.  But overall, it was a day of gratitude.  What an amazing place I live in.  What fabulous friends I have.  How blessed I am to have such luxuries and conveniences at my fingertips.

What are you grateful for today?

Monday, September 10, 2012

grief and grieving

Last week I attended the funeral of a person I had never met.  I was there in support of the closest families members of this woman and it was a strange position to be in.

It was a sad funeral, as of course they are, not least because she was very young, and left behind a young family, but also because she came from a widespread and fairly fragmented family.  My grief was for those children in particular, who I know have a tough road ahead of them coming to terms with the loss of their mother.

Funerals are the strangest things.  A microcosm of society - people from all walks of life whom would otherwise have never met, coming together for an hour and little more.  The ''religious'' and ''non religious'' both having to make sense of the possibilities or probabilities of an afterlife, as a way of coming to terms with death.  Children who barely understand, and old people who have seen too many loved ones go before them.  People who are truly grieving and others who are barely sad at all.  

And for some strange strange reason , those who are hurting the most seem to end up comforting everyone else.  Surely the children or parents or spouse deserve the most support and yet they are the ones who do the back patting, offer the condolences and have to be the 'strong ones''.  And worse still, in some weird way, there is often an intangible competition about who is the saddest. Who misses the person most.  Who had the closest relationship to them.  Who had the most to lose.   I am not convinced that our society has this right!

But there was also a positive that showed itself at this particular funeral, and that was the level of attendance from people who barely knew, or had never met the person who died, and yet came along, as I did, to support the grieving.  What an amazing gesture, and a reminder that perhaps most people really are as decent and kind as I want to believe they are.