It’s nights like this that get to you. Striking you down beneath the midnight blanket. As you lie awake. Thoughts. Memories of that one person whom lit your world with happiness, love and care (Mum) is no longer dancing beside you, but now above you upon the clouds in life’s song.
Since you can no longer sit side by side, talking to one another about everything. There is no more present moment between the both of you where you can exchange a hug, a kiss upon the cheek. Or the simple exchange of ‘I love you,’ Its all now just scenes automatically set on rewind and playback. For that is the only way to feel anything close to sharing the present moment with them.
As you toss and turn attempting to get a nights sleep. The conclusion hits you. You wont see them. Hear them. Feel them again until you dance together again upon the clouds. Shock. Anger. Denial. Sadness fills you. Tears struggle to escape your eyes. For already so many have been shed. You want to scream in frustration. But don’t. For the world is sleeping. So you keep in.
Over time people you are close to their true colours reveal themselves. They slowly cut conversations shorter and shorter with you, until you no longer hear a word from them. They think you don’t notice their silence. But you do. You begin to think your grief is a disease to which people fear to go near you or talk to you. Because the reality is to unbearable for them. They would rather keep in their bubbles, sew their mouths shut, than ask you how you are. Oh well you’ve come accustomed to it. Grief is a lonely, isolating journey.
You find solace in the only way you know how, reflecting with watery eyes on all the photographs that tell so many stories of what you shared with the one you lost and love. You continue to rewind and playback all that was with them over and over and over again until you finally get some sleep and hope that you just might reunite with them in your dreams. Even if it’s only for a short time.
I live in Melbourne, Victoria and I think I speak for the whole of Victoria.
From late 2019 till the current times of 2020 these times have been extremely hard for us all.
2020 ‘welcomed’ us with quite literally fire and brimstone. Smoke canvassed our skies for months.
Worry and concern plagued us for the safety of our firies. Our rural Victorians, their accompanying wildlife and our livestock.
Instead of morning alarms, for months we rang in the morning with Vic Emergency updates from our fire chiefs and our Premier.
Contact to outer Victoria was scarce.
Towns affected by the fires, their phone lines and electricity was gone for weeks.
Instead of friendly phone notifications from our friends and family, our phones pinged and dinged with the messages that another fire was out of control.
As time burned on. Acres got lost. Damage increasing 10fold.
Our hope was fading as clouds of smoke covered our horizons both literally and figuratively.
Once the fires were finally extinguished. Just before Autumn I may add.We continued to hold charity events, benefits anything that could send money to the townships and wildlife destroyed by this devastation.
Melbourne, Victoria as a whole was begining to gain our spirits back.
Joy started to fill our lives again. The air was clear. Our rural nature, the essence and beauty of what makes Victoria Victoria was finally recovering.
We are descendants of Bush Rangers. We are strong. We can get through anything. We will be triumph through our struggles…..
so we thought….
Mid March came along and along with it came covid.
With just over a months rest. We Victorians and along side us our Premier had to pull our bootstraps up once again.
Instead of alarms, Victoria welcomed the days ahead with death total. Case totals. A variety of different numbers and so fourth from the Premier.
Hope was deminishing once again. We had already been through so much in such little time.
We couldn’t see family, friends. Meet under ‘The Clocks’ do the things that make Melbourne. Melbourne. We were now the shell of once being the No.1 most liveable City in the world. Seven years running.
Most of us stuck to the rules. Staying in. Not seeing anyone outside our household.
Numbers started greatly decreasing.
Some restrictions were lifted.
Five people could visit one household.
Then 10 people could visit a household.
We were getting though this.
We are descendants of Bush Rangers. We are strong. We can get through anything. We will be triumph through our struggles. We got this.
Or so we thought….
A month or so had passed.
Stage 3 was shorted lived. Numbers weren’t moving.
Then the numbers and stats were ambushing us.
Stage 4 was quickly put in place.
Yet again the days were ‘welcomed’ by numbers and stats.
All Melbourne checking their phones for the notification ping of ‘The Premier is now live.’
When the Premier would finish discussing the latest updates and changes to Victoria as a whole.
Some Jurnos asked questions that would actually help Victoria feel reassured and informed. Other Jurnos on the other hand would repeat and recite questions on a political stance. To stir the waters in the political atmosphere. Not helping the current situation at all.
A witch hunt towards Melbourne began….
So many people and Media all over Australia were also repeating and reciting negativity towards Melbourne and Victoria as a whole.
Our spirits had already been crushed , damaged and pierced since the end of 2019.
To have most of Australia against us. Causing more grief and anxiety to us Victorians. Wasn’t helping the current situation either.
Why turn on your own family?
We are one. We are many.
But now it seems more like Most of Australia is one…and Melbourne, Victoria is not. Anymore.
Melbourne, Victoria. We had been through the ringer so many time in such a short period of time. Spirits crushed.
I will admit some people screwed up. Others did not.
Please think of us….
Fires prevented us from seeing our loved ones for months. Then Lock down continues to prevent us from seeing Family, Friends and ‘Meeting Under the Clocks’.
Each days that goes on in Lock down. We are alone. We are even more alone when most of Australia hates us.
As the ghost of Melbourne essences vapours on through the empty streets and cobbled stone lane-ways…..
We can only hope that things will get better.
Melbourne’s. We will come out stronger than before.
We are descendants of Bush Rangers. We are strong. We can get through anything. We will be triumph through our struggles. We got this.
Coffee in hand we will march through this. Together. As Melbournians.
Most of the time Love addiction is a result to abandonment.
For me this is very much accurate, I can pin point two key factors of abandonment in my life one intentional and one not intentional.
The first time I experienced great abandonment was when I was two-years-old.
I was in foster care due to my Mum having a very bad case of postnatal depression to which she required clinical care, as I had no one else to look after me I was put into the system.
My foster care ‘parent’ would lock me up in the laundry several times a day with soap forced into mouth. Whilst I was locked in the laundry I had to sit in the dark on the cold tile floors for hours on end, with consistent gritty taste if soap in my mouth. Being so young I couldn’t understand why this was happening. Also during my time I wasn’t allowed to sit on any furniture as that was for ‘their real children’ my foster parent always bellowed those words to me no matter where I was trying to sit.
The second key point that lead me on a road to love addiction was from the several times my Mum was unable to pick me up from school as she had been admitted to physiological clinics during my days at school.
This wasn’t intentional and I hold no anger towards my Mum, she was just unfortunately unwell and needed clinical care. But having your Mum drop you off at school and whilst saying good-bye you always exchange the words ‘I will see you at the gates after school’ A lot of the time I didn’t see her at the gates.
Now that you know the back story to why I have a love addiction, I can now go into detail to how this addiction affected me and my romantic partners.
I was always searching for love, searching for that feeling of falling in love. As I believed having a partner would fix all my problems and the feelings of abandonment would go away when I feel in love.
I didn’t have a lot of friends in my first high school, so to make me not feel so alone, I would find boyfriends throughout my years there. At least that meant my consistent dread of abandonment would subside. Some of these boys were sweet and treated me right. Others did not.
I would change myself ever so slightly to fit the version these boys had for a girlfriend in their head. Sometimes depending on the boy and their own personality I would be the rebellious, free spirited girl. Other times I would be the sweet and innocent girl. It all depended on who I was seeing at the time. I had no issue changing as long as it meant my feelings of abandonment would disappear.
Years went on with me changing and adapting myself to fit the image the boys wanted for a girlfriend. If me and a fellow would break up I would quickly be ‘in love’ with another person. As any moment by myself was a moment too long.
The things that mad me realise my love addiction was becoming a problem was when I started cheating on my boyfriends. I cheated on three. (That I recall)
It may seem odd that I can recall how many mens hearts I have broken, but it’s shameful to admit that I don’t recall all the boyfriends I have had. I have forgotten many of their names. I know its terrible but not uncommon with love addiction. Sadly cheating isn’t uncommon either.
It didn’t click straight away that my behavior was causing problems outside myself it took quite a few times of upset and heartbroken men to realise that what I was doing was wrong.
There were times when a boyfriend would call me and I would ignore their calls as I was in the arms of another man. I would only call them back when I was done and lie to them saying I didn’t have my phone near me. This would go on for weeks, if not months. Some would ask if I was seeing someone else others had no clue. The ones that asked I would deny and lie and keep on lying until I couldn’t keep up with my own lies.
Men act like nothing can hurt them but what messes with their heads and emotions the most is when the person they love cheats on them. It doesn’t just affect them at that moment it’s something that they carry with them for a long time until a good woman comes along and collects all his broken pieces and delicately put him back together again.
For a long time I wasn’t that good woman, I was the one that broke the men into tiny pieces.
I started seeing a councilor, social worker and psychologist to help me recover from love addiction.
I stopped seeing men and avoided any intimacy with men.
I needed to work on myself.
I openly talked to my councilor, social worker and psychologist about the issues I had. I come face to face with my own personal demons and tackled them head on.
Once I was in recovery, I started seeing men again, well only one man to be exact.
I didn’t rush into intimacy with him, or rush into a relationship.
From the start of us seeing each I was completely open with him about my past relationships and wrong doings I had done in them, especially cheating.
I didn’t want to start a relationship in a lie, as I had lied so many other times in past relationships and seen first hand the damage they do.
Luckily he was understanding and accepting of my past.
I think my addiction to love helped me understand and support him through his own addiction.
I wont go into detail as it isn’t my story tell but he felt alone and had an addiction, and wanted to fill that void of loneliness in him. Just like I had felt abandonment which I wanted to cover with love. With my own insight to addiction I was able to support him and give him the love and understanding that he needed to help him overcome his addiction.
I have now been with the same man for 8 wonderful years and been wondrously and beautifully married to him for three.
To anyone going through something similar, its not a weakness to get help. If anything, getting help is a strength. You are strong. You are brave. You can get through this. Help is available.
Bali’s humidity encompassed our bodies as we shuffled into the rental car. Alternative retro CDs were haphazardly placed in the glove box. A choose your own adventure soundtrack for our drive ahead.
Our car boated its way though the ocean of traffic bustling throughout the main roads. Cars honked loudly whilst scooters whelped to be heard.
To drown out the chorus of everyday Bali, I lucky dipped a CD out of the glove box. To my comforting surprise, I had selected a CD of ethereal Aboriginal Music. Oh how those songs reminded me of home.
I turned up the music, the symphony of chaos drowned out.
I looked to my Husband. We shared a secret smile, of being Newlyweds. Excited for the adventures we will encounter on our honeymoon. Anticipating the wondrous site we will soon see at Gitgit Waterfall.
The car juggled along, as mainstream Bali slowly transformed into acres and acres of freshly watered rice paddy fields. Waves of pe-tan-ie hats glimmered in the sunlight.
Slowly but surely we were getting closer to Gitgit.
The digital clock on the dash, flick, flick, flickered as the Kilometres rolled, rolled over.
I looked out the window, taking in all I could see.
Scooters, were fewer and further in between.
I turned to look to the horizon.
Villagers all in white started clustering together.
Offerings of fruit and flowers were carried upon women’s head. Elegantly and effortlessly they were following a pa-tu-lan-gan (bed like structure) held high, adorn with native flowers.
Silently I paid my my respects as we passed the procession.
As we journeyed on, we took a quick break.
My Husband thoughtful as he is brought sun-dried banana chips from a village vendor. The crisp banana chips melted in the mouth.
We sat upon the rocks and took in the vast landscape around us.
We were nearing Gitgit Waterfall.
The GPS droned on and on, telling us to go this way and that.
It took us a way, we least expected.
A mud road. With only two narrow concrete panels embedded in the ground. Indicating to us, to be precise as you drive along. If you turn the wheels ever-so slightly you’re surely to get bogged.
My heart galloped as my nerves were tested.
This road will surely test me. I thought to myself.
My husband recited words of comfort to me as we slowly drove along this questionable ‘road’.
I clinched my eyes shut. In hope it would bring comfort.
My hands were pressing against my lap. To which they would leave a hand-print on my leg for weeks to come.
We had finally met better roads.
A sigh of relief.
It was short lived as we got closer and closer to Gitgit the road was becoming ever-so winy and narrow as we drove down the mountain.
I looked out my window again.
The second I did.
I deeply regretted it.
All I saw was a great big drop along the mountain side.
Hands pressed against my lap once again. I clinched my eyes shut.
My Husband gave me a gentle nudge.
‘Look we are finally here. Here at Gitgit Waterfall’ he said with smile.
Relieved that we were no longer driving, I rushed out of the car.
We found a tour guide. Well more like he found us.
We started our stroll towards Gitgit.
Our tour guide pointed out trees of cocoa beans hidden between the walls of Mother Nature.
When we got closer and closer to the waterfall, vendors sat in their shops, pointing out all their intriguing items and clothing.
A whisper of flowing, rushing water slowly got louder and louder.
Gitgit was singing her welcome, to all that visit her.
It all started in 2012, I was helping my Mum fix her computer. That’s when I saw an internet tab open which read ‘Survival rates of breast Cancer’ My heart stopped. The world around froze.
In disbelief I said to my Mum, ‘Whats this?’ the look of concern came across as she noticed tears beginning to swell in my eyes. Mum took the computer and saw what I had seen.
She knelt beside me, of course comforting me in her time of need, because that what she did, she always put others before herself.
My shock turned into anxiety, I said to her ‘Are you going to die,’
Ofcourse her reply was ‘No, I’m going to beat this, I’m going to be around for your 21st birthday, your wedding and be there to help with your children.’ As she recited these words of hope tears swelled in her eyes. Mum never cried.
I cant recall if she had the operation first or started treatment first. I will be honest it was all a blur at the start.
When she first started chemo, I went with her, to be hopefully of some comfort to her during this scary time.
I took a deep breath as the chemo started to enter my Mums vein and held her hand tight, delivering her a comforting smile.
After a few chemo appointments, her hair started to fall out, she didn’t want to have patchy hair, so I went with her to get the rest of her hair shaved off. As her hair fell to the ground, I felt like what was will never be again. The walls of comfort, I was so familiar with were falling away just like my Mums beautiful hair.
Mum also went through radiation treatment, she had burns scaled across her chest. I tendered to her burns every day. Changing the bandages, cleaning and drying the wounds so they wouldn’t fester.
We had some good news during this time, after a few cycles of treatments, the specialist said that Mum was in remission. With that joyous news we thought we had gone through the darkness and seen the light again.
I was in Bali in 2014, when I tried calling my Mum. Over a few days I couldn’t reach her. I managed to get in contact with someone back in Melbourne, to whom it was I can’t recall (it was a blur)
I found out that Mum had fallen over and broken her ankle, this isn’t a normal occurrence with my Mum. Dread came over me.
My dread was confirmed, once back in Melbourne.
Mums cancer was back, but this time it was in her brain.
They operated on one but one wasn’t safe to remove.
The only thing that could be done was hope that treatment could shrink it enough to give her a better life for some time.
We were managing quite well with these new circumstances. Until we couldn’t.
We had nurses come to the house every other day to give Mum the care that we couldn’t.
One day the nurse came to me and asked if I could help get Mum out of the shower.
The short walk to the bathroom felt miles away.
Mum and I exchanged a look to one another. Our look said it all. It was time for palliative care.
Whilst Mum was in palliative care, I would visit her everyday and juggle Uni and part time job inbetween. Every day I would help Mum with her dinner.
We would chat, laugh, spend time together and sometimes fall asleep under the same roof like the old days. These are little pockets of happiness that I fondly reflect on.
When things slowly got worse with my Mum, I advised the nurses to call me if there are any changes or if they think she will me passing when I’m not around. As I wanted to be with her. So she wouldn’t been alone.
The last few night my Mum was with us, I stayed over at palliative care, barely leaving her side.
The last night my Mum was with us, my partner slept over too.
He left early in the morning to feed the animals. Shortly after the nurses came in to reposition my Mum. The were in and out within minutes.
After the nurses left, I told my Mum that I needed to go to the bathroom and to not go anywhere. Once I was back, I told my Mum I was back. I sat down.
Moments later my Mum looked at me. I held her hand and she took her last breath.
I wailed. The nurses hear my heart ache echo throughout the room. They came in. Called her time of death at 6am the 11th of February 2015.
I asked the nurses if I could help wash Mum. They said ofcourse.
We washed Mum, dressed her in her clothes. I put lavender talc on her (lavender was a favorite scent of both of ours)
I gave her spritz of perfume and took a couple of flowers from a vase and placed them within my Mums hands.