#1957 Remembering him, and the memories

A part of me feels like I’m not allowed to write about my uncle, because I had only spent two periods of my life with him.

But today, having learned of his passing, I feel a tremendous amount of sadness for my Mum’s family, while also realising that I am more than qualified to speak about him, because he inhabited some of the most meaningful and memorable parts of my life.

When I was 13 I travelled with my parents overseas. Being a fresh teenager, the thought of meeting family that I hadn’t met before was not exactly thrilling stuff.

And yet those 3 months ended up being the best of my life.

Our home base was at my uncle and aunty’s house, and so we would return there often for days at a time, sometimes weeks, in between our travels around Croatia and the neighbouring countries where our relatives lived.

I remember how much he and my Dad seemed to click. Both fond of drinking the hard stuff at 40%, they loved their grapes, their gardens, and their gadgets. Both natural handymen. It was never too early to ‘cheers,’ and they were often caught having a good ol’ chat.

I remember the garden, the vines above providing ample cover as good as a ceiling. I remember the swing there too, and the kittens that crawled along the roof of these vines, and how I looked up at them.

I remember the ‘bunker’ at the bottom of the house, and I remember the random spa-type apparatus that sat on top of the garage! Me and one of my cousins sat in the empty pool as it were, on a hot Summer’s day.

I remember them taking us out to ice cream in the main centre. I remember us walking the streets, and them telling us where the bombs had fallen, showing us the concrete scars they had left on the road. They showed us where their son had gone to high school and proudly pointed out the court he played basketball in.

I remember more vividly the second time I visited my uncle and aunty, because it was more recent… it was when Hubbie and I were on our honeymoon.

Although it wasn’t yesterday, the memories are far fresher. I had the opportunity to spend time with them, now as an adult, out of the wings of my parents, 12 years on. Hubbie and I sat with them. There was still the bunker, the 40% alcohol, and the cherished garden. And of course, the cats.

I think he had a soft spot for cats.

On the few days we were in town, he kindly played tourist guide, driving us around to see other family members. We saw his favourite fishing hole, and he spoke fondly of his own family, and of his memories with them.

I often found myself staring at him and being amazed at the likeness between him and his son.

But what I remember most, is the day he took us to the train station, as we set to depart from Croatia.

We waved goodbye, and I said we would see him again one day. I watched as he turned, his head bobbing down in a sign of resignation as he walked away.

But that day never came.

I think of all of this, and I send so much love out to my family tonight.

I hope they too hold their own special memories of him that they’re replaying in their minds.

It’s just another sombre reminder that we must grasp each and every day with all our might and all our love.

Photo by Rahul on Pexels.com

RIP, M.G.

#1824 Goodbye number 14

Phwoar. What a day.

Today was the day that we said goodbye to our family home.

The home that my parents have lived in for 40 years.

The home that my sister spent growing up as a teenager, all the way until she got married.

The home that’s the only childhood, family home I’ve ever known… that I lived in for 25 years until I got married.

Goodbye, number 14.

It was an emotionally bittersweet day. Emotional because oh God, all of the above! So many memories are in every inch, every corner, every crevice of that house.

Through the rush to get everything out of the house this morning, I tried to pause every so often, look around, take a breath, and say a personal thanks to the house that made my years growing up, the best in the world.

Here is the emotional part.

I was reflecting on my life spent there as I walked around the empty rooms, a bit taken aback by the hollowness of it all. The furniture, furnishings, and all the photos and trinkets that made it such a loved home, were all gone.

But oh, those walls. If those walls could talk.

Those walls would speak of happiness, of laughter. Of sadness and shock, family coming together, and family celebrating to make the most out of life.

And love. SO much love.

Memories hit me as I walked into rooms, turned corners. Looked this way, that. People from the past resurfaced, along with people from the present.

In the lounge room, I saw myself sitting on the floor while my parents watched footy on the TV.

In the kitchen I saw my Mum cooking up a feast, our family sitting down to eat at the small round table, perfect for us in size, so perfect, to keep us tight and close together, as always.

In the garden I saw happiness. Friends, cousins, brimming around, enjoying a drink on a hot Summer’s day, folk music from the garage wafting over and adding to the festive atmosphere of it all.

The garage, ohhhh, the garage. Where so, so, so many parties and events were had. Birthdays. Milestones. Weddings. Day after weddings! New Years. And all of the Christmases that Mum cooked up a storm, catering for over 30 people like it was an absolute breeze, even though it wasn’t.

She made it look effortless.

Those were the days. Those were the BEST days.

The park next door. Hearing the squeals of happiness from our younger cousins as they took advantage of the play proximity.

At the front door, I saw my sister being led out in her wedding dress by my parents… then I saw myself, doing the same.

Deep breath.

The dining room showed me all of us, our big family, as we are now. The original foursome, us, being my parents, sister and I, but now with our Hubbies and our kids, filling up the table, eating heaps, drinking more, and playing music off of youtube on the mobile until the late hours of the night.

In my bedroom. The bedroom that I spent 15 years of my life sleeping, dreaming and hoping in. I had another room for the first 10 years of my life, but I claimed this one, sister’s one, after she got married and moved out.

It’s always been the better room.

I sat in my old room. Took some photos around me. And then here, I began to cry.

I remember watching Video Hits for hours on weekend mornings.

My childhood cat scratching at my window, wanting to be let in, and then me opening the window to shoo her, upset she had woken me… but when she jumped down from the window sill outside, I thought stuff it, you’ve woken me now… and so I would call her back in (she must have thought I was a crazy bipolar cat owner) and she’d snuggle up next to me as I slept a little more.

I’d open up that window, and talk to friends through it.

I talked to SO MANY people, through it.

I listened to music for hours on my bed.

I had sleepovers in that room.

I had sleepovers in that house! On the lounge room floor, covered in blankets and sleeping bags.

When Croatia played Australia in the 2006 World Cup, Hubbie-then-boyfriend and I watched it, me running around the house with a Cro flag when Croatia scored a goal, and Hubbie running around the house with an Aussie flag when they scored a goal.

I don’t remember who won that game. All I remember is the memories.

All the people who came, and went from that house. It would be in the hundreds. Friends, family, people who I grew up with, grew apart from, so many people have touched base in that house, shared a laugh, a dance, a drink, and made a memory.

Even baby girl. It was the first place that she ever visited, after her own home.

Speaking of baby girl… My waters broke in that house! And my own Mum’s waters broke in there, when she was pregnant with me!

Both sister’s Hubbie, and my Hubbie, met my parents for the first time in THAT lounge room…

News broke. Secrets shared. Heavy discussions were had. Tears shed.

People were welcomed. People were greeted.

People came in, and immediately knew that there was love. They were safe. They were in a memorable place.

And so today, the time came. We walked through the house. We took our final photos.

And we drove off, for good.

That was seriously bitter, right?

Where is the sweet?

Well, it comes with the choice. How blessed are we that this was born of my parents decision to move closer to me and sis, and not because of a bad circumstance.

How lucky are we that we get to say goodbye, together, in the best way possible… and how lucky that we still get to take ALL the memories with us?

Including most importantly, the people.

I am so looking forward to making just as many happy memories in their new abode. 🏡🏡

But my heart will always hold a very special and dear place, for number 14.

💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖💖

#1705 Day 207 of getting there: meditating with rainbows

I don’t really know how it started (much like everything lately) but tonight, Hubbie, baby girl and I ended up doing impromptu meditations on each other.

I think baby girl was laying across us, and I started with a few light instructions.

“Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in… and out.”

The fun really began when she took the reigns. Here are some snippets of what she said when she was instructing US:

“Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in… and out.

Take 3 more deep breaths.

Imagine the sun rising up.

And there’s a rainbow next to the sun.

And in the rainbow are unicorns… and kittens… and cats…

And any other animal you like.

Imagine lovely nature.

And when you’re ready, slowly open your eyes.”

OMG. How is my daughter a meditation guru with her soft instructions like that? Maybe something to do with the fact that she does yoga and meditation at her school, and during lockdown, with so much time to fill, she listened to and watched a lot of meditation and yoga videos online…

She totally has the knack. She will relax you and put you to sleep any day… in the BEST way possible. 💖

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

#1695 Day 197 of getting there: Many Thanks

Today I was humbled and moved to tears by so many beautiful messages and calls of support, love and genuine care, after writing my raw post yesterday.

Obviously my post struck a nerve. Did it strike a nerve because everyone is feeling some level of frustration or disenchantment with everything at the moment?

Is it because as humans, at one point or another, we have ALL felt alone, sad, and at the mercy of life?

My fear and my anxiety, may not make sense. It might seem trivial to some. Others may think it’s an overreaction.

We all feel what we feel. Our fears may be different, our approaches vary, but we can’t deny what it is we feel in our heart of hearts.

Whichever reason it was that people reached out, I was touched, and left feeling loved by all the thoughts that came my way.

And using my analogy, of the cat clutching onto some driftwood, slowly getting sucked into deep dark seas, further and further from shore…

Your love, your thoughts, your messages were like beacons of tiny light. only it didn’t lead this stray, wet, terrified cat back to shore…

You lifted the cat up. High into the sky. The cat reached up higher and higher, grabbing onto each sparkling ray of light with all her might, and suddenly realised…

She had something to hold onto. She had something, to rely on.

Thank you. 🙏💖

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

#1694 Day 196 of getting there: trying to get there

I am going to be brutally honest with you.

Not that I’m usually dishonest. But doing this gratitude blog, means I focus in on some positive moment, event, thing, person, expression, and amplify it.

So often in our lives, we focus on that which doesn’t work. That which doesn’t go to plan, or that which makes our hearts sad.

That’s why I do this blog. To prove, that no matter what, you can find something good in every day.

I have had so many bad days. More than you will care to realise. And each time, I chug on, write another gratitude post, think of that one thing amidst many shit things that is worth focusing in on.

But I am really truly struggling as of late.

My health has been hit with some setbacks. When you fall ill, without any understanding of why it’s happening, and it comes back again, and again, and again…

You really start to doubt things in your life. You start to fear. Anxiety grows, slowly at first, but then like a garden you tend to, if you neglect it for only a few days, the weeds spread out and cover your every thought.

This has been my life. This has been me. Health issues, as well as other serious thoughts, and isolation, are all colliding together spectacularly.

I clutch onto good things in my day, like a cat with its claws dug into a piece of driftboard, as it sails further and further away into murky and stormy seas.

It is hard to avoid the deep, dark seas.

I am becoming devoid of passion. I have no motivation for things that used to bring me happiness. I am not looking forward, to anything… even my appetite has taken a hit.

I used to look forward to baking new things, finding new recipes… I can’t be bothered anymore.

I used to count all the opportunities during the week in which I could write in all my side projects… I can’t. I feel fake.

I would love sitting on the couch at the end of the night, doing whatever I liked, for me, while the rest of the house slept.

Now it just makes me feel more alone and scared than ever.

Fear and anxiety is the main presence in my life. I can’t trust anything… I am scared of what’s around the corner.

I just want my life to go back to how it used to be. But it feels so far away. Isolation, the absence of seeing my family, my friends, is making it so hard.

Being stuck in the square box we called home, the anxious thoughts circling around my head, following me from room to room, are not helping.

I’m honestly going mad.

And although on a good day, I would be overjoyed and proud to share something like this…

All three of the tulips blooming.

Today? Nothing. A mere distraction, that I’m trying so desperately to clutch onto.

I try to snap other things, other flowers, trying to remember how they will look like this season, based off previous years growth…

But not even curiosity can save me.

So I turn to you, anyone reading, to ask for help.

Having poured my heart out to you, I ask, I beg…

If you were ever in a moment, or a spate of days/weeks/months, of intense and extreme fear and anxiety, where the emotions took over all your senses and clouded all movements you made throughout your day, what did you do to help yourself?

Is there anything you did to help yourself? What helped? What could you have done better, looking back?

I really need some guidance here.

Thank you. 🙏

#1689 Day 191 of getting there: loved ones again

It is…

Walking a doe-eyed dog on a leash.

Going to a new park.

Sucking up angel hair spaghetti.

Babycinos galore.

The gooey mess of chocolate mousse.

Sarma… home-made with love.

Smiles and surprises.

D&Ms.

A new-found love for blueberries.

A cat’s paws that are caramel-toned.

Conversations that turn into conversations before the old conversations have even ended.

Laughs and laughs and laughs.

Feeling the comforting pat on your back.

All of these things are sweet, and good…

But they are made all the more sweeter, when they come with a loved ones face.

Or one. Or two. Or three. Our four.

😍😍😍😍

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

#1688 Day 190 of getting there: Spring walk to the park

You know what’s better than a fresh spring walk around the block?

Well, a fresh spring walk around the block, that leads to a park!

Today was park 4 out of the 5 within our 5kms. It was spur of the moment, as baby girl and I were chasing sunshine-y spots in the late afternoon sun along the footpath, and I knew that taking a longer route, would also lead us to the very well lit up park not too far from home.

She was all too happy to take that detour. 😁

I’m just so tired of being in the box. Of being in the box known as home. Gee, I love our home, and what we have created, and what we are creating…

But shit. You need a break. I need a break.

I wanted the sun on my face.

I wanted to feel the early evening chill start to settle around us.

I wanted to feel the cold seep through my clothes.

I wanted to move my body, and stretch, and look upwards, shield my eyes from the sky, hide from magpies, and look for the regular neighbourhood cats that we just know would be friends with our mate Mister F if they lived closer.

I wanted to do, and feel it all. And we did. 💖

#1649 Day 151 of getting there: progress with puzzles

You might remember some time ago, I mentioned a cat puzzle I bought as the second lockdown was beginning.

That was on day 99 of my ‘getting there’ iso series.

52 days ago! 😮😮😮😮

Well, here is our progress:

I mentioned then that the insanely hard puzzle of sometimes repeating cat faces, is split up into 6 parts – A, B, C, D, E, F. Each section has a different letter on the back, so you can sort them and have some kind of chance (instead of no chance!) of succeeding in getting this puzzle complete.

Well above, that is all of section D done, with parts of E above it.

Only 1/6th. 1/6th! 52 days, almost two months, and we’ve only put together 1/6th?

You know how hard it is? It is sooo hard. It got so hard at one stage, working out which whisker went with which cat, and what white fur connected to the other white fur, that we left it untouched for a long time.

But now… we’re back.

Meow. 😺

#1597 Day 99 of getting there: the cat-astic third iso puzzle

It had to happen.

Winter spreading germs, and people are shit.

JUST STAY HOME!

Lucky for me, I somehow forecast this crap ( I have become strongly accustomed to expecting all kinds of shit, yes even for this glass half-full gratitude gal) and last week when baby girl was at school, came across this $16 puzzle at ‘the cheap shop.’

You know, ‘the cheap shop.’ That budget dollar shop where you’ll find onesies, kitchen accessories, cat litter bags, 50 cent greeting cards, 57 different variety of candles, a range of quirky homewares you think you need (but really you don’t) and also, some kind of party/decorating station in one corner of the shop.

All at below reasonable prices.

It was here I went “a puzzle might come in handy soon.”

And I had to get the most trickiest one yet.

A billion cat faces, mwa ha ha.

It meant that today, we had to pack up the completed Frozen puzzle that’s adorned our dining room table for the past several weeks.

If you find and follow me on Insta, you’ll see the delicious anti-OCD video action.

(Psst, @smikgwriter)

Anyway, we learnt upon opening it tonight that it’s split up into 6 categories… that is, A, B, C, D, E and F. Those letters are at the back of each puzzle piece, so by sorting them alphabetically, well half the work is kinda done.

Such a great idea. Well, we better get cracking then…

#1595 Day 97 of getting there: to have like-minded souls

It was wonderful that we got to see some of our dearest friends tonight.

Via Zoom, of course. 😉

We had a great chat with bestie and her hubbie via our computers. I tell you, technology is a Godsend at this phase of our lives.

You can’t be with loved ones, but by seeing them live, hearing their voices, and watching their mannerisms, in their lounge rooms, (with their pets!)… it’s the next best thing to being there with them.

After the video call was over Hubbie and I spoke about how wonderful it’d been to catch up with familiar faces, and people that we cared for. And I don’t know how it came into my mind, but I said to Hubbie “you don’t have to have the same interests. It’s not about that. It’s about finding like-minded people.”

Because we don’t all have to like the same things. Do the same things. Go to the same places. Eat the same food, or sleep the same way.

It’s about how our minds work. And you seek out people who are reflective of your morals, attitudes, and generally your way of life.

I don’t need everyone in my life to love writing. I don’t even need them to love reading. I don’t need them to love cats, yoga, the fact that I can’t stop listening to Queen at the moment…

I just need them to get me, and I want to get them.

It was a really lovely thing to contemplate, after a video call with friends who get us… as we get them.