Anzac Day

Anzac Dsy

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day, a day to remember those who fought for this country, and in particular, those who made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed in action.

For my father’s family, Anzac Day is probably the most important day of the year.  They rise early for Dawn Service, march again in the Civic Service, and drink a lot and often throughout the day to the memory of Pop and others who are no longer with us.

Many an Anzac Day has seen members of my father’s family stumbling out of the RSL just before, or just after, lunch time to continue their drinking and reminiscing at one of their homes.  No, they’re not a bunch of alcoholics, it’s just that Anzac Day is the one day of the year they really let their emotions take over and seriously remember those who have passed.  The rest of the year they have a strict image to uphold, and the public, and often the private, expression of emotion has no place in that image.

Pop, my father’s father, was a Rat of Tobruk.  He would often reminisce about the War, seemed happy to take part in Anzac Day ceremonies, and to talk about his experiences.

My mother’s father, on the other hand, would never talk about the War.  He rarely attended Anzac Day ceremonies, but he would attend the annual reunions held later in the year for his Battalion to spend time with his mates and remember those who did not return home.

The difference between the way the two men thought and behaved in relation to the War has always intrigued me.

Perhaps it was due to the difference in their personalities – one was loud and gregarious, the other quiet and unassuming – or perhaps it has more to do with their experiences in Service.  Of course, there is also the difference in that one was involved in one of the most well-known and often regaled battles of World War II, while the other fought in an arena so different it might as well be considered a whole different war.

Both of these men have influenced my life in different ways.

Because of the ever-changing factions and in-fighting in my father’s family, my relationship with my father’s father was on-off to say the very least.  I knew him more from the stories others told, until we re-connected only a few months before his death.  As a child he was someone to fear – he was loud, had a bit of a temper, and my earliest memory of him is standing out the front of his house with him yelling at my parents that he was not going to look after “your mongrel kids” as they drove away and left me and my brother there.  Not a good start.  As an adult, however, I came to know Pop as a man who lived life to the best of his ability with the ‘tools’ that he had available to him at the time.

My mother’s father, Grandad, on the other hand, was more like a father to me than a grandfather.  We went fishing together, watched cricket together, talked together and joked around together.  He was always interested in the latest book I “had my nose in” or what I had been doing at school.  Although quiet, he was a practical joker, and he was fond of telling me, my aunt and my cousins “don’t get wet” when we would tell him we were going to the beach for a swim.  Grandad was an anchor, a safe-haven, and is the once person I miss most in the world and wish ever so dearly that I could have really known him as an adult.  Unfortunately, Grandad passed a week after my 21st birthday – a time when I was confused, out of control, and unable to make sense of what I had lived through as a child.  I often wonder what he would think of me now, the choices I have made, and the woman I have become.

So, on this Anzac Day, as I sit on a beach thousands of kilometres from either side of my family, I remember these two Soldiers who did what they had to do during the War, and who also left a lasting influence on my life.

May they both Rest In Peace.

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Sunshine, mangoes & Mum – Published by ABC Open

Mango

Early memories of mangoes and Mum

My latest submission to ABC Open 500 Words – Sunshine, mangoes and Mum - is now available online.

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Where to from here?

Sometimes I get interrupted mid-flow when writing, so I end up with all these little ‘scribbles’ that don’t really go anywhere because I can’t seem to find my way back to whatever head-space I was in at the time.  Anyway, here’s an example of one of those ‘scribbles’

 

Leaving

Leaving

“What do you mean you’re leaving?”

“I’m leaving!”

“But, it’s the middle of the night!”

“So?”

“So, you can’t just leave.”

“You just watch me!”

Tiarn turned and left the room.  Dennis was stunned.  What was going on here?  He grabbed a jacket and followed his sister into the hall.  It was dark, so he made his way along the hall more from memory than from vision.

“Oh, crap!”

“Shh… you moron!” Tiarn hissed.

“Well, you shouldn’t leave stuff in the way.  I fell over it in the dark!”

“You shouldn’t be out here anyway.”

“But, you can’t just leave.  At least wait until morning.  Where you gonna go anyway?

“I’ll figure something out.  Go back to bed.”

“What did you wake me up for, Tiarn?  Why didn’t you just leave if you are so determined?”

“I thought you might like to come with me.”

“You didn’t ask me too.  It’s a silly idea anyway.”

“Then go back to bed Bozo.  I’ll see you around sometime.”

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Support and Listening (Reposted from Treebeardgarden’s Blog)

Support and listening

Support and listening

This has been reblogged from Treebeardgarden’s Blog - it is a very good account of how a different approach and change in perspective can make all the difference to the healing process.

As someone who has suffered abuse both as a child and an adult. I’ve always found it difficult to accept the support I have always needed.

I saw it as other folk showing me sympathy and that I did not need ever. I had enough of other people controlling my life.

These day’s being a little older and a little calmer. I realise that if I had accepted that support earlier in life then perhaps my eldest daughter would not have seen some of what she did and should never have seen.

The way I had been offered support in the past had been rather twisted. Being told that no matter what they would be there for me and then backing it up by saying you can’t help the way you are. I mean seriously, we’ll help you and you can’t help being a b*****d. This is how I always saw myself but no more thanks to finding my best friend and soulmate. She not only listened but never ever judged my past. When an opinion was called for, I’d receive an empathetic response hearing the love and caring in her voice. Not being judged for the first time in my life was a strange experience to say the least.
I’d been used to being told it all happened because of the nasty person I was…(View original to keep reading)

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Doubts

Doubts

Doubts

Doubts.  Doubts. Doubts.  

Doubts are everywhere.  Doubts are surrounding me, engulfing me, consuming me.  Doubts are eating at my soul, piece by piece, morsel by morsel.

What am I doing?  I’ll never be good enough.  I am never good enough.  Useless, hopeless, ridiculous.

No one understands.  No one knows the truth.  What is the truth?  What I know is true, no one else believes.

I’m tired of fighting.  What am I fighting for anyway?  What do I think I will gain from this?  Who do I think I am? 

Oh, what is the point?  I’m too stupid to be of use.  Too dumb to know anything.  Too scared to take a chance.  Too full of doubts.

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