Dear Fiona Mc Farlane,
Thank you for your tale of Ruth’s end of life and quiet demise. There is an amazing sense that you know so much about her complicated and confusing state of flux, between an imaginary world and the real one. Dementia, grief, love and dependence get explored with a delicate and controlled hand. You gives the reader a robust structure and then suddenly we are left to fill in gaps that unexpectedly appear in the narrative. Maybe this is what it is like for Ruth, as she feels herself losing control of her memory, her ideas and her sense of self. Change is sudden. Truth is distorted. Loss is real.
Dementia is difficult for everyone whose world collides with loss – of memory, of the mother they once knew, the sweetheart, the friend.
This is your debut into the world of literature. I find myself envious of the poise and power that a young female author has in this day. I wish you well as you write your way into a life that is real. May there be no tigers overshadowing your days.
If you are a parent you will have heard the drill about Positive Parenting and praising your kids. How we speak to our children and what we say is very important. But how we speak about ourselves impacts on them in immeasurable ways. So consider what off hand comments you make about your appearance, your memory, you incompetence, your failures and disappointments. Perhaps the way you speak about your lifestyle, your opportunities, your finance or your family could be communicating some pretty unhelpful message to those around you – your partner and even to you. Words are powerful and there is something transformational about speaking positively about yourself and to yourself.
This image from the amazing people at Kinfolk has me inspired to create all sorts of art with our harvest and garden. I may not have immediate use for a wallpaper of cabbage leaves, but I can arrange my daily harvest with purpose. I love mounds of fruit and vegetables about the house, in bowls and on platters. Posies of herbs and flowers – naive and nursery like, but perfect for home. I am looking forward to the seasons changing at the end of week and being able to use the Autumn leaves for sculptured displays. The promise of cooler weather, crisp mornings, a changing colour way out my window.
Are you new to Coconut Oil/Butter? In one of my more recent experiments to find a way to ‘tart’ up a very simple gluten free vanilla biscuit I made a chocolate rough frosting. The process is so simple. Combine melted coconut oil, cocoa or cacao powder, rice malt syrup and shredded coconut and mix until you have a thick paste. This mixture will ‘set’ once the coconut oil is allowed to cool. On these warmer days it is best kept in the refridgerator. A fun feel good filling for those of you who don’t want to use dairy or white sugar and who want the added health benefits of coconut oil. Enjoy!
So this year is full of surprises! One of things I did not expect to happen the year my youngest starts her four days of Early Learning is that I would be a stay at home mum. I now have more child free time between the hours of 9am -3pm. I can start and complete most tasks without interruption if I so choose. I can call a friend, read, grab a coffee, take a walk, visit the day spa, dream or create my own adventure. But three weeks into this new life I really cannot say I have been able to do any of these things well. I rush about doing all of the everyday home things, just like you. I do some of the house stuff better and with a thorough hand. I have de-cluttered and sorted several big areas that have been on my imaginary to do list for a decade. I have occasionally sat, stared at the wall and wondered what I am doing with my life. But….. I am living it. I am married to an amazing man, I have five kids who I am trying to love, nurture and grow in faith and I have a home. A family. A life.
Doing the home thing depends as much upon me being there as it does my man or my kids. Together we are seven and there are days when it is such hard work. Not just the physical monotony, the groundhog day-esque nature of daily tasks. But it is the emotional support, counsel and wisdom that each of us requires. It is balancing everyone’s issues, needs and demands and knowing how best to serve them. While simultaneously taking care of – me! Yep, me. I am not that good at that part. Are you? So the big surprise this year is not that I am at home or that I am not back working full time. But that the home thing might just be the thing that forces me to take care of myself. I can see I need to slow down, to rest more, to eat well, to sleep, to reflect and meditate. To be mindful and thankful. And all of these things take time. Are you doing the home thing?