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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Choose Joy

When I decide to "choose joy" as my words to live by in 2012 (or even for the rest of my life), I didn't realise I wasn't the only one. There seems to be a whole movement of people who are deciding to "choose joy" as their mantra.

It seems that one of the main sources of inspiration is Sara, otherwise known as gitzengirl.
She sounds like an amazing woman. Although she suffered from a chronic disease that made her housebound for over three years, before she returned to God, she was a very inspirational person who lived her life to the full. Every day she decided to choose joy. That is so inspirational. I wish I had been able to consistently do that three and a half years ago.
I love what her sister says of Sara's thoughts behind the phrase and her ability to meet this goal:

"Sara made a decision early on to choose joy... and she made that choice every day. She always said, the major word in that rectangle isn't joy... it's CHOOSE. It's looking around when life is difficult and trading every complaint for something beautiful in life that far outweighs it. I know for a fact that she definitely met this goal because there are a lot of people out there that have it "etched in their skin. :)"

A lot of people (some who knew her, many who didn't) have chosen to have a tattoo in her honour.

If I was ever to get a tattoo I would be tempted to get this one, from here

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Remembering Dad

Today is a year since my father passed away. 


I can't describe how I feel today. 

At least I'm not angry anymore.

For a long time after he passed I was angry. Angry with both of us for not spending more time together, angry for not talking more and keeping in touch, angry for all the time that we would now never get to spend together, angry that my cousins' children got to know their Uncle better than his own grandchildren did (he lived with his sister and they visited often when she babysat), angry that I really didn't know the first thing about him anymore or he me, and perhaps a little angry too that he may have known he was sick with cancer along time before and yet didn't act on it. 

My father and I weren't estranged but we certainly weren't close either. He had only met my two daughters once, just before my eldest daughters' third birthday. My son could count on one hand how many times he saw his Grandad and he is seven! We very rarely spoke on the phone. Yes, I am as much to blame, I know that. I did try, some years before to reconnect.  I found it so hard to call and talk to him. I felt like such an outsider in his presence and around other family members.

Even though he lives within an hours drive of my home I couldn't drive any distance for over three years. When I lamented at his wake that it would have been nice if he could have come to visit me during that time, an old friend of his said he probably found it hard to leave his watering hole.

I defended him to my mother, his ex wife, the love of his life (he never got over their divorce). She thought it was so unfair that he should contact me only weeks before he was admitted to hospital (he was diagnosed with lung and brain cancer). This may sound strange but I had told her at the time, after he visited I thought he might have been sick because it was so out of character for him to come visit out of the blue. And I had also received a birthday card in the October with some money inside. I think I was eight the last time I recall my father personally gave me a gift. My response was that I was thankful for the fact that at least all my children could now say they had met their Grandad. And although it wasn't pleasant, it was nice to be able to be by his side in his last days, finally spending time with each other, reconnecting with his family. It was also nice to know that he had been surrounded by people who loved him and who he loved.

And then in a flash it was over, two months later and he was gone.

Tonight I had a drink with friends and honoured him. As I am sure most of his friends and other family members did. There were many smokers at my friend's party (my hubby and I don't smoke) and I commented how appropriate it was that on the anniversary of my father's death I was surrounded by people drinking and smoking. He would have loved that. He loved a drink and a smoke.

I'll leave you with a poem I read at his funeral:

'His Journey's Just Begun'

Don't think of him as gone away
His journey's just begun
Life holds so many facets
This earth is only one

Just think of him as resting
From the sorrow and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days or years.

Think of how he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away

And think of him as living
In the hearts of those he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And he was loved so much.

A New Year...and a new blog to share

I've been wanting to join the blogging community for years. Or should I say rejoin it.
For those few of you who know me well, you may recall I briefly attempted it up until nearly three and a half years ago. My last post was deciding if we should stick with two kids or try for a third. It was dated exactly a month before my 40th birthday, which means I would have already been pregnant with our youngest (our third child)!

I have often thought it would have been very therapeutic to write about my experiences over the last three years (I've even been taking photos with blogging in mind). Unfortunately along with the joy of a new baby came the chronic pain of a pelvis that wasn't at all happy about the whole experience!   Sitting down to type, or write for long periods just wasn't an option. Plus I was trying to get my head around so many changes (with my health, my mobility and needing someone in my house each day to help me care for my children), not just dealing with a newborn. So, it didn't happen then.  Blogging that is. Now though, as I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, now I'm ready.  Now I've also (finally) decided to "choose joy".

In hindsight I realise it would probably have helped with my recovery if I had chosen to choose joy more consciously before now (and journal regularly too) but I didn't. I think I did what needed to be done at the time. There were so many other things to focus on. Other words to live by that came to me and seemed suitable at the time whilst I was fighting depression and chronic pain. Most days to be honest it was an effort just to remain positive, especially in the thick of it. With my husband's help I tried to be grateful for what I had.

Now that I'm able to better control my pain (and my depression) I'm ready to take on the task of writing a blog.

So here it is - my new blog...to share the fun activities I do with my kiddos, our crafting and creating, how my family and I celebrate and live life, my efforts at showing my love for my darling husband, family and friends. And of course my efforts at choosing joy.