Reading into things can get things way out of context. Each time we converse we bring assumptions and stories to the interaction. Like this one. The same memory, a different takeaway. All those years feeling guilty for moving away and for no reason.
Daughter – I am so sorry I hurt your heart. I was young and stupid. Reminding you of my bad attitude and teenage angst those many years ago was a bit insensitive. For you it cuts deep. I can hear it in your voice. You catch your breath and stay quiet on the phone. I didn’t realise. I want to give a warm hug but guilt sits on my chest. I’m so sorry. You had so much going on in your life. I didn’t realise or recognise how I was ‘adding fuel to the fire’ until now.
Mother -When you decided to move on – I was so concerned how you would manage. So young and yet so brave to secure employment, find accommodation, and move from the family home. But you achieved it all successfully. Not bad for a teenager! I become weepy for nothing important these days so don’t be concerned my dear sweet. It’s nothing important nor a reflection on the past.
I know the dark space that operations and medication can do to your headspace. This cards for mum. After a second operation less than a couple of weeks apart I know she’s struggling. When a loved one is in hospital you can’t always be with them, especially these days. That makes things so tough. Wish I could be there with her. This short poem is for her.
Love you to the moon and back but get that things are hard Thinking of you heaps today so thought I'd send this card
Imagine I am sitting there on your bed and all We'll laugh at life's twists and turns...beats staring at a wall!
We'll chat of meds that work best or needles that you score The kindness of your nurses and patients that do snore
This place is a pitstop and it's bumpy on the way So seatbelt on, hold on tight, lets take it day by day
Today I wanted to be here ‘in case the sh*t hits the fan’. Mum had a fall today and was taken away in an ambulance. She should be in a nursing home they’ll say. Well ‘don’t come the raw prawn with me’ cause we all know she just ‘won’t cop that’!
That old chestnut
People hint to mum that she should think about going to a nursing home. I’m sure ‘that old chestnut’ will be ‘back on the cards again’. I know she ‘wouldn’t have a bar of it’. Thing is oldies sometimes have no say in it. That really ‘makes mum’s blood boil’. See mum is such a private person. She loves her garden and her own space. The whole idea of being in hospital just ‘does her head in’ let alone a nursing home. She’d be ‘out of there in a flash’ if she could.
Stick to your guns
I was hanging by the computer ‘playing the waiting game’. My ‘heart was in my mouth’ when a call ‘came out of nowhere’. It was a real ‘blessing in disguise’. A stranger calls. She shares of how her nan broke her hip in her 90’s and was sent home after she recovered from a hip replacement. Her nan was ‘happy as Larry’. This stranger says “make sure you tell your mum to ‘stick to her guns'”.
It’s been a while since I wrote a piece on phrases and idioms. I hope these ones help you in understanding this uncertain space. A space where the very thing that draws family together can also pull them apart. We all want what’s best for mum but we all have different opinions.
Be here in case the sh*t hits the fan – be close by in case something bad happens
Playing the waiting game – Not sure what to do so watch and wait
Heart in your mouth – Anxious
Came out of nowhere – Unexpected
Blessing in disguise – Something unexpected or unfortunate that results in something good happening
Does your head in – Makes you angry or frustrated
Out of there in a flash – Leave in a hurry
That old chestnut – Repeating the same old story so it becomes boring
Back on the cards – Discuss something that had been spoken of previously
Wouldn’t have a bar of it – (Australian saying) Won’t tolerate or put up with it
Make your blood boil – Make you very angry
Don’t come the raw prawn with me – (Australian saying) Don’t pretend you don’t know
Won’t cop that – Won’t take that. Not happy about that
Nan’s bones were so brittle, hard surfaces were her enemy. She moves with her walker with absolutely no symmetry. Nan reasons it’s safer to be home alone. It’s safe and secure her castle, her throne.
Family and friends would visit and fear, that this sweet loving grandma that they all held so dear, was wasting away in her homely cocoon. She needs to get out and we think…soon.
(Read fast) Let’s go to the park. Let’s set up a table. Let’s get grandma organised she’s still with it, still able. She’ll get to see kids run round and play. Let’s get her out, yes lets sort it today.
Nan watches in terror as the kids zip around. She fears for her footing which just isn’t that sound. But Nan bless her soul won’t show her fear. She smiles, is pleasant, as family is dear.
BY DEE GRANT 2020
We all have different lenses of how we see the world. It’s the same with family. Seniors share of their concerns with me of being out and about and how scary it can be for them sometimes. Noone would ever know.They are amazing. Such true grit.
Going to a funeral online is strange, very strange. But that is ‘the way things roll’ these days with the pandemic. I watched through 3 different cameras, and 3 different views. Each person sits on their ‘socially distanced’ chair. Facemasks are worn as an accessory to somber attire. But I’m looking from a distance, observing from afar. I’m embracing a stilted sadness but maybe that’s what I’m ‘bringing to the table’.
For me the heart of the event was not ‘lost in translation’ within this virtual world. The sadness lingers and translates in ‘pride of place’ speeches and photos heralding the life of someone much loved. They ‘pay tribute’. I feel like a flaneur, slowly considering each word and gesture of his family and friends from a virtual distance. I get to know his family, background, and accomplishments achieved. I’m watching slides and seeing my neighbour from a totally different perspective. It is special and precious.
I am honoured to have made this acquaintance. You see, knowing him at this level was outside my usual ‘frame of reference’. We were neighbours, sometimes chatting at the lift or grabbing a coffee with him and his wife. I had only picked up bits and pieces of their world. But one photo truly resonated with me and put a smile on my face. There he is with his takeout coffee sitting on his walking frame near our local cafe. I can see the exact spot in my mind.
Rest in peace.
The way things roll – how thing are
Socially distanced – Guideline for keeping physically separated to reduce the spread of the virus
Bringing to the table – your contribution
not ‘Lost in translation’ – It was understood
Pride of place – treated as the most important thing
Paying tribute – honour and praise someone
Flaneur – People watching (French)
Frame of reference – set of ideas that you base your outlook on
You don’t realise that you need a bit of family in your life until you don’t get to ‘hang out with’ them. I had been feeling a bit of a pariah with my mum of late. I ‘love her to death’ but she just won’t let me visit her. That bad cold she had three weeks ago just kept hanging around and around. I kinda twigged something wasn’t quite right. Things were ‘a bit out of kilter’. So a couple of days ago I called again hoping to catch up. The bad cold was a bit better now she says but don’t come over. Then she ‘drops a bombshell’. Well probably in retrospect I should have figured it out. She shared that she didn’t want me around in case she catches something. I get it. I understand. This damned pandemic is a scary thing and the truth is she’s ‘no spring chicken’. Truth is I miss not seeing my family in these strange days. I was a bit glum about the whole thing until today I got ‘the fix’ that I needed.
My mother-in-law is an excellent cook and host. We were invited for Sunday lunch with a couple of the uncles and aunts. We shared stories around the table of what cousin so and so did, or what scam we had almost gotten conned by lately. Friendly banter went around that table ‘like clockwork’. It was so interesting hearing about those that have come before us and the antics they had gotten up to.
Catching up for Sunday lunch with my mother-in-law was ‘just what the doctor ordered’!
Hang out with – spend time with someone
Love her to death – love her very much
Kinda – kind of, a bit like
A bit out of kilter – a bit askew, not quite right
Drops a bombshell – make an unexpected confession
No spring chicken – no longer young, old
The fix – something desired or craved
Like clockwork – reliable
Just what the doctor ordered – helps you feel better