Categories
Poetry

Bright New Day

I send my heart

to those in pain.

Let me sit beside you in the dark.

Let me remind you:

darkness is the ship

to a bright new day.

Categories
Peaches In The Darling Sun

And So We Rise

And so we rise.

And so we gather all hope and find our way to peace again.

We think we have broken, we think we have lost our way.

Such beauty lies beyond that which we call failure.

Such strength waits for us patiently beneath the rubble.

Do not be fooled by the darkness.

It is only there so that we may know the light.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com
Day Three. And a new day begins. xx
Categories
Poetry

Sadness

How small we are in the largeness of it all.

Our tiny cries barely heard over roaring humanity.

But we each have a sadness, each of us, true.

Of your sadness, I say: I hear it.

I see it, as clearly as I see you.

And you must know that in my ears

it is as loud as it always has been to you.

It is as loud as it needs to be for my heart

to mend it for you.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

The Moment Divine

A brief note before my story begins. A note to the mothers, a note to the fathers. To those who have birthed live children, and those whose young ones were taken too soon. This story— my story, our story—may be distressing to some, particularly those who’ve experienced the birth of a sweet babe, born sleeping.

If this is you, darling human, please feel free to leave this post here, taking all my love and comfort with you. To those who wish to stay, thank you for holding my heart during these moments. It is a gift to share the depths of my humanity. It is a gift to know my heart has been seen, held and loved.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

C.S Lewis

***

I’ve asked if my baby has died and no one is saying a thing.

The midwife moves the doppler across my stomach as I stare at the wall lit by dim orange light (my favourite kind.) There is no sound, no heart beat. There are no voices. There is silence, loud as thunder.

I ask again. Has my baby died? Still, no one says a thing. There are three midwives there. Not one of them has said a thing.

My body begins to push, and once again I am taken by the strength of the contractions. If my baby has died, I think, then I need them to take this pain away. But it’s too late for pain relief, I know that. I’m already pushing. I am on my own, no matter what is happening here.

There is a stillness in the room that wasn’t there before, and I know it is the feeling of sorrow. My sister is across the room, and so is my husband; the sadness is theirs and mine, and maybe the midwives’, mixed together with an odd cocktail of hope and confusion. Is the baby alive? Why on earth won’t they say anything?

Finally I am asked to change positions. They want me to push. Finally they have found a heart beat. A little slow, they carefully tell me, but a heart beat, thank goodness. I will need to give a great big push, they say, and I am okay with that because the midwife has said the only words I have wanted to hear. ‘Brooke. Your baby is okay.’

At least two minutes.

That is how long I thought the very worst.

Now, we move on.

As I breathe between contractions— between pushes—my eyes fall upon the midwife’s necklace, a butterfly on a thin, silver chain. It makes me think of the angel chain in my sisters hand, the one I’ve given her to hold, so Nan can be with me. It had been Nan’s right before she died. I had given it to her. Now it was mine.

And there is the stillness again. In the butterfly, in the thought of my Nan’s chain.

Another moment divine.

***

I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl, that night.

She is perfect, and was so from the moment she was born.

I will never forget those moments of indescribable togetherness and comfort.

Was there a divine presence in the room? I’ll never know.

But I will always remember.

I will always be amazed.

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

Forgiven

And when she aches

she will know a world beyond herself.

Where thunder becomes her;

a raging fire, waiting to be.

How is this small softness

so wide with grief beyond the day!

How is this smile,

so often true,

suddenly drawn with a question mark?

They will know her pain

only as the tilt of an eye.

They will be forgiven by this one

before they see her sorrow there.

Always, they will be forgiven by this one.

Categories
Poetry

Forever Home

Sorrow is quiet and soft.

How strange, that during the saddest times, the quiet is the loudest voice of all.

Tonight, I send my voice into the stillness.

To honour the love and the sorrow that lingers when we lose our most precious hearts.

Quiet, the place where unconditional love floats free.

Peace. Our soft and gentle, forever home.

Categories
Poetry

Rainbow

In my softness I hold this gift, for you.

A small slice of home,

and a tiny sun to shine

only on you, sweet friend.

This rain will pass,

it will pass on through the air.

And in your eyes I will find

the joy

lingering,

calling from the horizon of you.

And in my eyes, the shine of knowing.

Knowing that rain built the very rainbow

that now shields you, for life.

Knowing you always were okay.

Every moment.

Safe.

Loved.

And on your way.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Categories
Life

Changing Seasons, Finding Home

We had small children. Three and six years old: button noses, tiny hands. When my husband and I separated, we needed to because that was the next and only step we knew how to take. We’d forgotten how to breathe our own breaths, and breathing each other’s breaths had taken both our souls.

The first nights away from each other after 11 years together were strange. We said, ‘How are we going to do this?’ Neither of us knew. We didn’t belong together, anymore, but we still loved each other…we didn’t know how to be apart. Not from each other, and certainly not from our children.

The children. I was ripped into a million flimsy shreds of soul tissue. I admit, a part of me was relieved at the thought of the new found freedom I’d have when the children stayed at their Dads house. I’d have time to find myself. Time to learn who I was as a human being— I’d never truly done that before. The rest of me grieved for the half of my children’s lives that I would miss.

No one ever talks about that part when discussing divorce. No one ever presents the true reality of what ‘splitting the children 50/50’ means. It means missing precious moments, it means not being there to hold their tiny heads when they vomit, it means not being able to comfort them the way a mother needs to at a primal level. I was learning this new, startling reality for myself. It tore me to pieces.

A friend had mentioned how I might like to keep an open mind (and heart, perhaps.) That maybe down the track we might rekindle what we had—she had travelled a similar path and found joy on the other side of separation. A second chance with her husband. A new love for each other beyond the grey. They’d even gone on to have another child after the devastation had faded; which was lovely for her, I thought, but not a likely scenario for us. Our broken parts had solidified. There was nothing of the old us remaining to encourage us to remember the beautiful pair we once made.

Months passed and though I thrived in my new world, finding and learning to nurture new and beautiful parts of myself, I was depressed. My soul howled when my daughter cried for her Dad. Three years old. (I still ache when she picks up the photograph of him that laid beside her bed while she was without the real thing.)

Although there was no shame for me around the idea of divorce, I was crippled when it came to my daughter. My little girl is highly sensitive. I am too, and no matter which way I spun it: we would both lose if this separation continued. I couldn’t see how future good times would outweigh the depths of that kind of despair; it was a joint pain, mine and hers. We all know what empathy feels like, but my empathy goes to the extreme. I embody the pain of others, as if that pain is my own. As spiritually strong as I had grown in my life, even I wasn’t sure I could handle such a heavy dose of pain, every few days.

Then COVID struck. I couldn’t believe the timing. As if a marriage falling apart wasn’t enough pain and confusion to navigate, now the world was falling apart. Supermarket shelves were bare and people in the streets walked around with frightened eyes, wondering things they’d never wondered about others, before.

I’ll never forget the eerie feeling in the supermarket; shelves of silver I’d never seen beneath the normal abundance of household items, not a toilet roll in sight. It was a feeling of doom, is the only way I can describe it. A feeling of charcoal and cold-grey stone. Who had I been sharing the world with all this time? I thought I had known. Now, I was frightened by the realisation that I had no idea.

Fragile me both thrived and fell, during COVID. I used my skills in writing to entertain and help others learn more about books and writing while in lockdown, and this brought my life colour, confidence and inspiration. I became a version of myself I’d only ever dreamed of. Intelligent.Wild. Sexy. Empowered. Free.

Still, I was depressed. Divorce, and what divorce would mean for our family’s future, weighed so heavily on my mind. I tried to frame each negative I found with a positive, and yet always I would find myself back in the same place. Not home. Home, for me, was where my babies were. Where my family was. My husband was a part of that family, and divorced or not, I would be damned if I would allow us to become emotionally separate. So we started spending time together as a family, and though it was odd and uncomfortable at times, it was home. Both of us knew that, both of us needed that.

I sit here, perhaps eighteen months later, twenty-four weeks pregnant with our third precious babe: my two little ones in the next room, my husband at work. I often think back to that conversation with my friend, the one who told me to keep an open mind. It’s hard not to giggle, thinking of the absolute unlikelihoods that have come to pass. A healing marriage. A new member of the family on the way. It’s broken, beautiful life: messy and glorious, and it’s mine. It’s ours.

Is my whole soul entirely happy? No.Will it ever be? Perhaps not. I am, and always have been, as deep as the ocean, as free as a bird, as soft as a petal. Very few people, places, things have ever truly fulfilled me.

But there is hope and there is home. There is a beautiful, supportive husband, who truly is a magnificent human being and father. I adore him. He adores me. We are good.

And, of course, there are my babies, still so small, still so in need of their Mum.

And I am here.

Still so achingly human, I am here.

Photo by Gelatin on Pexels.com
Categories
Poetry

Together, Alone

In the lonely hours

they cry for their humanity.

For the lost past,

for the uncertain present

they wander lost.

Together,

alone.

Categories
Life

Goodbye

No one would have seen it coming, least of all me. His death was inevitable: that part we all knew was coming.

But no one would have foreseen my reaction to it. Not the way it happened, not the way the emotional slideshow of me slowly played out like a blocked garden-hose building in pressure, waiting for the almighty explosion that eventually would come.

My Dad told me: ‘Aaron’s died.’ We were on our way home from our shared workplace, an hour and ten minute drive from the city to the country, where we lived. He did a good job, my Dad. Quiet. Calm. Matter of fact, but caring. My Aunty was the one that received the news. He’d been ill, which on top of the cystic fibrosis had finally proven too much for his already fragile body to handle. Someone should tell Brooke.

I’m not sure why Dad chose an hour long car ride to do it. Perhaps he and Mum felt it would allow me time to let it wash over me, I’m really not sure what they had expected. But one thing I do imagine they expected were tears.

There were none.

Not a single one.

When he’d broken up with me, I’d constructed a wall about a million miles high, and equally as wide to protect me from both the feeling of being rejected without proper means, and the feeling of loss I’d surely feel in the face of losing him. We both still cared for each other very much. Very much. Though, for family reasons that are a little too personal to share, here, he felt it best he protect his final years as best he could. By saying goodbye to me. I understood. Still, it hurt.

On New Years Eve (his very last one, as it would turn out) he called me at my Aunties house, where I’d escaped the boring walls of home for a much needed holiday. ‘Is Chookie there?’ he asked, to my Aunties amusement. I took the phone, smiled at my Aunty, and fell into our world, again. He’d missed me. I’d missed him, too. We laughed and chatted for a bit. Finally, we said goodbye.

A few months later, Aaron was gone. He was about twenty, from memory: I was eighteen. And I didn’t care at all that he was gone, and I absolutely would not be attending his funeral, so they could all just go on and forget about that, ridiculous nonsense.

The day of the funeral came. I got up, as usual, and made the long trip in with my Dad where I began my daily routine. Pick, pack, tape up the box. Pick, pack, tape up the box. I’m not sure what part of the work induced the explosion. Perhaps it was the ripping sound the tape makes when it whirls off the tape gun, or perhaps it was simply the fact that I was at work, in the first place. All anybody knew was that one moment I was fine. The next, I was wailing. Sobbing in the most out of control fashion I could muster.

My Dad took me to the train station. If I caught the early train, I should make it to the funeral on time, and so I boarded the V-Line back to the country and off I went to say my last goodbye to Aaron. Technically, not my Aaron, anymore. But, according to my heart…still very much, my Aaron, apparently.

The train ride was interesting. The poor lady across from me did her very best to pretend my dark sunglasses hid my tears (and quietened the accidental sob that sometimes escaped me. Meep.) The dusty town I arrived in was quiet, too. No one would notice as I wandered along the streets, searching for a church I’d never been to before, in a town I’d never been to before.

I wouldn’t ask for directions, either. More accurately, I couldn’t ask for directions, on account of me being that odd girl: too shy to talk to any human outside of her comfort zone. So I asked the universe for directions. My plan was (and this is no joke) to follow whichever direction my hair blew in the wind, because certainly whatever higher forces I was connected to would get me to the funeral. Bonus points if they got me there on time.

I walked. And walked. And walked.

Finally, and with no thanks at all to my hair, I found the church. A little late, but early enough. The funeral had just begun.

‘Chookie,’ Aaron’s beautiful Mum said, after the service, as she wrapped me in her arms, and thanked me for coming to say goodbye to her baby boy. She seemed happy to see me (really, really happy) and in that moment…I knew the explosion of me was meant to happen, that I was meant to be there. For Aaron, but for his beautiful family, too.

They may not have noticed my absence if I’d not gone: the church was overflowing with hundreds, all of whom, apparently, Aaron had touched with his cheekiness, joy and boundless wisdom, too.

But I was there. And his family did notice.

I was grateful.

Grateful the morning had brought about the most unexpected emotional explosion, ever to have rocked my world.

And grateful my inner walls had crumbled.

Right in the nick of time.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com