Surviving Mother’s Day

This time last year was a completely different story.

I went for a surf with some girlfriends early but it was cold & quite heavily overcast. And I was wearing a brand new steamer (full length wetsuit) for the first time.

I could barely move in the thing. Turns out adolescent boys’ steamers ARE a different cut to women’s (that’s what you get for trying to save some dollars). So catching waves was difficult, which put me in a bad place. And that’s where it went awry.

There were a few hot tears…. then actual sobs. Yep, I was bawling in the ocean. I told the friend nearest to me, “I can’t do this” and left. Somehow I must’ve calmed down enough to get to my car, pack up and leave without anyone seeing (or commenting) on my state, but at home I lost it again, having a shower in the very place where Mum had had the fall that put her in hospital for the very last time. I kept seeing her laying in that contorted position, helpless, painful & pitiful on the shower floor.

I put on jeans, a purple woollen skivvy with light woollen vest over the top and my ugh shoes and I lay on the couch. I don’t know what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop crying. At some stage, a charity collector came to the door and I was entirely unashamed with my swollen eyes & tearstained face to turn him away. He didn’t seem offended in the slightest.

Another girlfriend came by to check on me, trying to convince me to get out of the house but I wanted to wallow. I needed to.A Life in Words

They say the ‘first’ of everything is the hardest. I have to agree. In fact, apart from the first 24-48 hours after her death, nothing compared to that day, in terms of grief. Not my birthday, not even her birthday, nor Christmas or the anniversary of her death. Mother’s Day 2013 was my most intense experience of grief.

Today does not compare.

It’s warmer, it’s sunny and I had a better time in the surf. I can thank her – or the Universe (or whatever) – for these circumstances, but the important thing is really that I have found Peace, myself. I still miss her and it really doesn’t take much for my eyes to well up (hey, it’s happening now…) but my heart is not aching because I know she’s with me. She always will be, now that she’s free of the ‘meat suit’ the rest of us are trapped in. This is Comforting. And Comfort naturally allays Grief.

I love you, Judi. But we both know you know that.x

Grease Auditions & A Miniature Rose (5-11 May)

Monday 5/5/86 

9:25. Gotta get some sleep tonight. Have had late nights very night this weekend. Green Island was not really fantastic. The only ones who turned up were me, Sharon, Fi, Joannah, Michelle W & a girl from CHS – Tracy. Was quite boing. Perfect weather except a bit choppy which meant the water was “cool” Justine was there – doing scuba diving lessons. We talked a fair while with her (Fi & me) We swam, sunbaked, walked, ate and jumped off the jetty (it’s illegal now, though) Pity. It’s unreal fun. I’m so tired. Wonder if we’re riding tomorrow. I forgot to ring up mima about it. Sharon told me last night that [I’m omitting the name here for privacy reasons] ‘s not a virgin – I don’t know whether to believe her or not. It’s “strange” to think about.

Tuesday 6/5/86

Steven talks to us (Fi, Sharon & me) quite a lot (He did today at Big lunch) I wish Mark would come over. He must be either shy or hate our guts. I don’t think, somehow, that it would be the latter. I hope not, anyway. I ate a fair bit this arvy and did little HW. A Life in WordsRang fi & mima – said they weren’t going to ride but they weren’t on the bus. (Jemima rang fi later & said she would miss the bus cos’ she wouldn’t be ready in time, so they rode: left at 8:15.) I spent before school in the library with Sharon. Is 9:35. Wanna sleep & dream. I dreamt last night that I had a party & every (even people I didn’t know) turned up except Mark – I was “waiting” for him. Windy cool. Sharon gave me a miniature rose this morning. I kept it all day till it started to die so I gave it to Ngaire R. [Er, that’s not very appropriate, Liss]

Wednesday 7/5/86

I auditioned [for the school musical, which was to be ‘Grease’]!! At speech, mima’s worries got me excited & I decided I had to go, at least to give her moral support, if not to try out. After much ‘inner-brain argument” [Oh, THAT stuff. That happens all the time in my head], I had to go. And fared better than some others, if I say so myself. [This is strange – I don’t recall doing very well at all. In fact I thought my atrocious singing had knocked me out of contention pretty much immediately] Boring school day otherwise (cos’ I hate Wednesdays – everyone (mostly Mark) leaves the school grounds.) I wonder what activity he does? Am hot. Is 10:26. Last night I had a dream that Alan (guy at school) was going with me to a party, but Fi took him away – coincidence: today mima was showing him to her. Also I dreamt Fi took off on her bike & left me. Mim & her almost were going to grab a bike and go to Kentucky fried in town (probably leaving me) Hot. am I now It isn’t usually [hot] in the day[time].

Thursday 8/5/86

Back Seat again! This time, the bus was more full. Didn’t bleed much today. […in case you were wondering…!] If it’s the same tomorrow (hopefully – please!) I can go swimming at the Cascades on our Bio excursion. Had more auditions at lunchtime today. Mima & lotsa others were sent out. I got to read Marty again, but I don’t think I was too good. I wish….!! Cheery kind of day – felt happy cos everyone especially Joannah & Tricia & Angie are being so nice to me. young onesDrool over Mark like I do every day. I’m coming to terms with the fact that he’s out of my reach. Totally. And I think he likes Angela J, anyway. 9:50. Young Ones & the D Generation were’t so funny today. Intereference in Young Ones→ station troubles. [I think Cairns still had only two TV channels back then: the ABC and whichever commercial station the local provider FNQ10 was aligned with at the time. So we always had ‘Aunty’] Am tired. So there! So much HW didn’t get ½ done!!

Friday 9/5/86

My neck’s out. – has been all day. At first I thought it was just sore muscles all across my upper back & shoulders, but after a hot shower there was no difference. It’s still sore now. The excursion was pretty good! Mark didn’t talk to me at all, though Dwain – his partner, did. He took temp. measure for me, tho (didn’t talk, tho) and, there was one time when (for a while) he had his mirror sunglasses on, sitting on ‘high’ rocks. My idea being that he was looking at me (his head was turned my way but he must have figured that, being mirror glasses, no one could see exactly who he was looking at) ME? I hope! Told I was invited to Terry’s party. Would like to go cos Mark’ll be there, but hardly anyone’s going (girls, that is) Is 11:10 work 2morrow. Lotsa HW this weekend. Work tomorrow→ apparently Julia & I will hafta go to town & buy mum a mum’s day prezzy.

Saturday 10/5/86

‘So near and yet so far’. That’s what they say, isn’t it? There are all the (well, most, or… at least some of) signs that he likes me. He sat near me, looked at me (I sprung him sometimes (?)) and even came up to talk to me, but ___ Angela J had to come sooner or later. And it was always sooner. Soon “everyone” would be there & Angie (drunk) kissing Mark. I left & he even said ‘you can come back now’ (he wanted me to) But I (stupid, dumb, shy bitch) said no – so he went into the campavan with Angie & I didn’t see him again. [I had written about the party in another notebook in much more detail: describing how at one stage he was sitting quite close to me when Angie “came up and sat, spread-eagled, on his lap…kissing him, full-on, in front of me” which sent me packing but at a later point, he approached me as I stood solo leaning against a car. In no time however, a couple of other guys rocked up (one with a knife in his possession, which scared me) as well as Angie “kissing full-on, in front of me, again”. So I again made an escape – to a darker, more out-of-the-way place but he found me and told me (with regard to the knife-wielder) it was safe, I “could come back now”. But “thinking of Angie & him…wanting to save myself the discomfort…and hoping he’d stay with me” I declined and sat alone in the dark for awhile.] I should have talked to him more & perhaps suggested we go for a walk. Sure he likes me. WHY can’t I react?? I earned $19 at work, cos went shopping with Jenny beforehand (saw MW) & got M’s Day Prezzy – flannel sheets. Is 12:13. Am so depressed & hating myself (& Angie J) more & more.

[And in the ‘Notes’ section, just underneath my lamentation on 3 May, “longing” for a party, I’d answered myself with this:]

Hey yes Terry C did (10th) and the results? well go back to the 10th & find out (This silly little diary! I must get a bigger one next year – so I can write more about how I feel etc)

Sunday 11/5/86

Expected minimum tonight will be 19ºC!! Hooray!! Today, I spent all day on my art picture. So that means I haven’t done my english assignment or my Biology HW (& some maths) Too bad!! Sharon rang in the morning. We talked. (her problem with Terry & mine with Mark) She thinks he might have been trying to make me jealous. & that’s what I thought. [Ah…. no.] Hoped. I’ll just convince myself that he doesn’t like me – to be on the safe side (instead of getting my hopes up) & try and become good friends with him. brekkyTry is the key word. I woke at 6:30. So I got about 5hrs sleep last night. And it’s 10 past 11 now; Another late nite!! SHIT! Didn’t make mum brekky this morning. Felt terrible. [Mum was always an early riser, so it was often difficult to get her breakfast in bed anyway. Not that I am making an excuse!] In fact did next to NOTHING. All these people who rang up & said they’d made their mums brekky in bed (including Anthony W [my stepbrother-to-be]: yes!) made me feel terrible cos I didn’t. R.S. [Ratshit] Day!!

Séances, Black Forest Cakes & A Retainer Brace (6-12 May)

Monday 6/5/85

I was bored today. I think this long weekend has gone so slow. It’s cos’ I bin bored – I’m gonna keep saying to fiona (after every weekend) “what did you do on the weekend?” & when she asks me wot I did, every time I will reply “-oh, u know, the usual boring weekend I always have.” – Today I watched TV, ate, an’ even made up a new exercise plan which I will start 2morrow. The Bests came out in the arvy. We went to the park (there’s a slippery slide there 2, now!) Watched TV, went back (they’d gone by then.) Watching TV now. Have had a bath & tea. Did a poo just a few minutes ago. [Too much information? Thanks to “the Coxen Bowel Fetish”] Feel better. Am determined 2 have an early nite 2nite

Tuesday 7/5/85

Only 2 days of skool this week!! Going to the orthodontist tomorrow to get a plate – my 2 front teeth have started to ‘space’ again. I need the plate to hold them permanently – but I don’t need the late permanently!! Felt like rubbing it into Fiona about my lonely, boring week ends 2day, but couldn’t. Was hot. Sleepy, too. Art is due Fri (assignment) so German Camp kids get to hand it in on Mon. Just as well cos’ I haven’t started!! Got clay today. Made last things tonite after HW. a brandy snap, 2 doughnuts and a cream’n’strawberry tart. Is another early nite 4 me 2 nite. Exercises this morning took alot less time!

Wednesday 8/5/85

A Life in Words
My retainer brace looked similar to this
(that’s not my smile!)

Was busy today. Had to try and remember so much! German Camp health form, art money, swimming gear, art texts etc – god!! Had period 7 instead of period 1 (don’t know why) BP instead of History. Neither one any fun. Did paintings in art. My clay work’s drying slowly. Tim is a hunk! Mum picked us up after swimming (glorious day the stinger net’s gone!!) [For those who don’t know, some deadly marine stingers inhabit the coastal waters of North Queensland for many months of the year (approximately November-May) so swimming at beaches is only possible where the special stinger-net enclosures are based.] Got my ‘plate’ at orthodontist. It’s called a retainer brace – a bit fits in the roof of your mouth and wires (just one) goes round your smile! At speech mima said “Do you want to go out with Steven? He’s your height and quite spunky”. I changed the subject. Why? I just got nervous! (Jemima said (when I asked her) that she didn’t set Neville & me up. At another National Trust meeting. Have to wake early tomorrow to pack, etc. I’m gonna be soooo tired.

Thursday 9/5/85

Got everything done this morning! Even got a ‘white’ costume – I’ll be snow WHITE! Shame job at skool. I wore shorts (but that wasn’t the bad bit) Everyone musta thort we were crazy to go on a German Camp. [I don’t quite understand what’s SO ‘shameful’ about this. Unless it was considered ‘daggy’…but we were getting time off from school, so…?] But ….got Dorm. 2 again (5 of us + natalie & tania P.) Did activities like wotch slides (boring) & made paper beads (boring) While we did that, fiona’s group did skit & made Black ForestCake. Food was alright. Swam – was cold but very refreshing. Had disco 2 nite cos’ something wrong with Film. Was silly – no one danced. Have a feeling 2nite will be late.

Friday 10/5/85

Late nite got to sleep ’round 12:30. Others told ghost stories, so I blocked my ears & dozed. [Yes I was a scaredy-cat. And I still detest horror films. I don’t see the point of stressing myself with negative images & thoughts.] Fi & Beka on their way 2 loos ran into a snake. Wots worse, when we all called “snake” & “Mr Pudniks” [one of the teachers] no one came!! Were woken early for a walk. Long walk. Practised our concert items after brekky. We (Shane, Natalie, Tanya ‘n’ Justine ‘n’ me) had to perform Bremen Musicians on cards (I drew ’em of course.) After our skits, had free time. Swam – Had lunch then concert (u guessed it – ) on film! We won best act – got choccy! A Life in WordsMade & ate our Black Forest Cake after another swim. Lucy, Fi & me talked about what we didn’t like about each other. After Bath’n’ tea, watched Film. Not so gut [german for ‘good’] as last year. Rushed ending. Probably ‘nother late nite 2 nite. The others want to hold a sayonce. [You guessed it – I meant séance] Wish some spunks came. Tim or someone!! !!

Saturday 11/5/85

Last nite had big joke session after unsuccessful sayonces. Then another sayonce (unsuccessful) then sleep. Too tired to look at watches. Coulda been after 12 // No walk this morning, didn’t swim 2day. This camp was good! Wade ‘courting’ Jenny (we think (cos’ we thort we overheard him torking to Ian) [not keen on this ‘cutesy’ phonetic spelling I seem to like falling into every so often. I DID know how to spell ‘talking’…] he thinks “she’s the only one who’d do anything” and “the rest are moles”.) After brekky, packed and rest of morning (Besides session of scrabble & pancake making (and eating) and lunch) was free time. Boys came to our dorm, cos’ Jenny left early. We must be 2nd best! Had a whip fight with sapling branches. Free time – till parents came. Shane is nice – still a fond friend I think! At home, (Julia bought me 3 popsicles to win a prize in this competition. We’re close to winning PANAM HOLIDAY to Disney & Hawaii, or a stereo getto blaster or computer. Then I unpacked, bathed and slept 3hrs! TIRED!! Bests are here 4 tea. I’m off 2 have some baked alaska! [I remember this! Mum’s one & only attempt at Baked Alaska. She did well, but I think the amount of work that went into it was enough to put her off trying to make it ever again.] Lateish nite I s’pose.

Sunday 12/5/85

Today had to do English Book Review talk & art assignment. Wasn’t in the mood, but struggled and got English talk done in between reading magazines, eating and lazing ’round. Had shower and we went to Dad’s new house Is nice! Pretty big too. Got ½ art assignment written – rough copy. Today was MUMS DAY gave mum only a home-made button bracelet but dad bought round a plant 4 us to give 2 her. Lateish nite

My First Mother’s Day Without Her

I know I have dealt with my mother’s death well. I’m ‘lucky’ enough to have extremely solid spiritual beliefs which ‘remind’ me of the positive aspects of her no longer being Here. But she left her body just 19 weeks ago, so Mothers Day 2013 will be my First without her.

I don’t normally write poetry – I don’t think I have since school – but earlier in the week leading up to this day, these sentiments & words came to me, late at night when I would normally be sleeping. It’s more about me than her…but that’s all Grief is: Selfishness. We simply lament the loss of our Loved One’s physical presence. Our pain is for our personal loss. In this particular moment, I was mourning the loss of her physical affection, the real connection & pure love I felt when we hugged and kissed each other. There’s currently no one to take her place.

I found a pothole, A Life in Words
A chink in my armour.
There’s no one there;
No connection, no affection
No physical warmth
Only air on my lips.
You are the only one
I could bear
But you’re gone.
Not two thousand kilometres,
But light years.
My heart is still broken;
You promised you’d be in touch
Before you left.
I need your arms around me,
Please mum,
I miss you so much.


7-13 May 1984

Monday 7/5/84

Went to Fi’s at 9:00. Went to mim’s at 10. Still asleep. Came back 9:30. [what the?!] Polly said she woke a minute after we left! Went to beach with Brewers. Rough & strong rip. Visited the beachside shop now & then. At home, hurriedly dressed to see Julia off on her Lizard Island Camp. Shane was going, too. I think he tried to make me notice him. Got an ice block on the way home. Fought over the house plans. Mum wants it her way; always her way. Did essay. Wrote about when I came back from Outward Bound Camp & Julia told me mum was leaving (Gr6). [Well THAT’s a surprise to me. It proves how irrelevant Time is to your consciousness, in the long run. Memories blur into each other. I ‘d could’ve sworn I wrote that essay in Grade 7 (1982), as I have said previously. Also, I know my father & mother’s relationship disintegration spanned some time but I’d never have guessed it was 2 years (1981-1983). How terribly painful for them both] After, cause of fatigue, got shitty when something got in my eye & still won’t come out. Tried everything. I’ll just go to bed & hope it’s gone tomorrow.

Tuesday 8/5/84

A Life in Words
That little black thing sticking out the right side of ‘my head’ is my sad little rat’s tail

Speck is still there, but I’m used to it. Wrote out essay neatly before school. Ants got into my lunch – starved in PES. I was also whacked in the jaw – PAIN! Fi & me stayed in at art at Big Lunch. Got my haircut. Short with a scungy ratstail. It’s too small – looks silly. Watched Last part of “Return to Eden”. Was good.

Wednesday 9/5/84

Woke late, feel tired. Wore Julia’s peach & white striped Tshirt in PES! Got a bad graze & bruise on my leg, when at little lunch a boy pushed his mate into us & as he fell, stood on my leg, [we were sitting on the ground] pinching it to the ground. Stayed in art again, before leaving for tennis – “I’ma gettin’ betta!” Lenny couldn’t start the bus this arvy – fooling around with a spanner when the problem was the handbrake was still on! Got home 3:55 LATE! Wore mainly Julia’s clothes to speech – UMAH! Was fun. After, Lucy, me, fi & mim rode playing “follow the leader”. Geoff staying for tea.

Thursday 10/5/84

Yesterday, I accidentally walked back into Kel M. – he put his arm around me & said “Orr, Sorry Darling!” I ignored him – a bit!! Slow day until Jules came back from camp. Slept 3hrs & was delirious saying things like, “Is dad home?” “I don’t wanna go back”, “everyone hated it”, “no water”, “salty baths”, “dry island” [which it is – there is no fresh water source on Lizard Island. I’m no doctor, but it sounds to me like she was pretty dehydrated]. DISCO was great but I was wierdest dressed. Michelle S. & Sandra E. & Shaun H. laughed at my shoes. Didn’t get BP updated UMAH!!

Friday 11/5/84

A Life in Words
Stained Glass Art

BP book was almost complete when handed in. Busy little lunch – ate ½ lunch, changed shoes, changed into blouse & handed in my maths folder! Big lunch, all sat under our tree & talked. Finished “stained glass window” in art. Looks TERRIFIC!! Lotsa stupid jokes in German got Miss Schmieman mad. This arvy rang mim 10 times & Fi 2. neither were home. I knew they were together. Upset that they didn’t get me. However, I cried…..(but what’s new?) Watched the movie “Smoky & the Bandit. TRIFF!!

Saturday 12/5/84

Tennis was okay. 1/3 games. I’m getting better. Went to mim’s after. Had a swim, all played a game. Was great! Now are all going to camp out in Mim’s Nanny’s Yard. Am so nervous – don’t know what to take! Will it be cold? Will we be alright? Hope mim’s nanny doesn’t mind.

Sunday 13/5/84

Was great! Mima & Fi wre uncomfortable so slept in the house – Beka & I didn’t. Packed up, went back to mim’s where had brekky and played games all day. Beka left around lunchtime. After, we had a swim, then made patty cakes for our mums. Was dark & all kept hearing things, like someone calling “mima!” Scared to death! When got home, mum got uptight about me being away all day on MOTHER’S DAY. Feel so guilty. Mum worked all day – on mothers day.