Western education 2013

Saturday, June 1, 2013

.....a reflection while I await a call....

..... one thing is for sure.... waiting can drive you a little crazy, so I have decided to write a reflection piece while taking some down time this afternoon.  Today is my class graduation party... I am not attending this event.  I am not feeling well physically today - queasy from a mix of sinuses and fatigue.  I can see out the window that the wind is picking up and I am grateful that I was able to put in a little gardenting, laundry and clean the bathrooms before heading upstairs to lay in my bed......

I love FB for all the posts that people put up and the connection I felt when I first began my cancer journey 4 years ago.  I was able to meet new people, laugh at their posts, cry at their losses and feel strangely connected in my isolation.  My husband and children were always there to support and love me along with some very dear and close friends.  I lost some 'friends' along the way in that journey and my ex-husband who stopped seeing his own children the minute he heard I was diagnosed.....

I was watching a video from youtube today that someone had posted.  Patrick Stewart had been asked  about what his greatest achievement was besides the obvious ones as an actor.  He spoke of a violent father who raised him.  He discovered a few years ago that his father was experiencing post traumatic (shell shock) from the experiences he had as a soldier in the war.  The violence against his mother at the hand of his father, prompted him to get involved with organizations that support women who suffer with domestic violence.  He also now supports an organization on behalf of his father.  I believe our life experiences shape who we are.

Both my parents are products of privilege who lost everything in the war.  My mother was the eldest of three sisters who was raised in a wealthy German home in Berlin before the war broke out.  She had maids, went on summer vacations with her parents and younger siblings until they had to flee from the bombings.  They lost everything.  I would only know my grandparents for a short time until my mother met my father and moved to Canada in the mid sixties.  My father managed to narrowly escape Hong Kong and his first memory is of his father running with him tucked under his arm towards the boat that his mother and sister would board with him and take them to Australia.  His father would remain, be captured by the invading Japanese forces and be interned in Stanley concentration camp Christmas 1941.  He would be killed by American naval friendly fire 8 months before the war ended and be one of 13 unlucky names on a tomb stone in the civilian side of Stanley cemetery.

My mother was resentful and had difficulties raising 4 children in a strange new world while my father immersed himself in his schooling at Western Engineering.  He had no role models other than the nuns who raised him at boarding school from the time he was 4 until he graduated at 19.  It was not uncommon for British families to send their children away to England to boarding school in those days if you had the money.  My father would go to Canada against his mother's wishes upon graduation and a few years later, would join the military, move to Baden-Baden, meet my mother and marry.  Two parents, dealing with their own disrupted childhoods, resentful of their pasts and trying to create their own family bonds while moving every two years without any help or support from distant or non-existant family members.  We were truly on our own. Mom aligned herself with my oldest sister, gave her an incredible amount of responsibility and leaned on her through some desperate times.  My sister essentially became an overbearing bully.  I would spend years as her punching bag and she would take pleasure in embarrasing me whenever she could.  I could never seem to stay out of her way.  December 2012 was the final straw after patiently putting up with her bullying for 48 years I contacted a lawyer and put in process an order for her  to cease and desist.  I am now just a casual visitor to our parents who live in London within minutes from my home instead of being the caregiver I had been in the preceding year.  My father has alzheimers and my mother has dementia.  I can no longer expend the energy to fix what was broken so long ago.  My brother supports my decision to finally break all ties with my eldest sister who can no longer hurt me anymore from her place 3500 miles away........  I am learning to move forward..... life is all about learning and seeing challenges as opportunities to grow the soul.

I owe a great deal of thanks to my husband who is always there for me and loves me through some of my most challenging times.  He truly is the better half who lets me know, with everything he does, that he is there every step of the way.  He is the strong one in a quiet, steady way.  My parents in-law are the parents everyone should have.  They love you no matter what.......My father in law has been my guide and sounding board for 15 years.  I am deeply indebted to you for your kindness, strength and compassion.  My mother-in-law Eve is a kind and gentle soul whose love for us and our children has created the family roots my children deserve.  I cannot thank you enough for being a part of our lives.  They are proud of me and celebrate each and every milestone.  Thank you so much.

I owe my life mentors a deep gratitude for the love and patience they taught me through raising their own children.  I learned how to be a really good parent to my children through Eileen.  She raised four children on her own using perserverence, faith in her abilities, humour and love.  She came from a tough childhood and marriage and learned to push through all that.  I know how deeply sensitive she really is..... most of us who have survived abuse do.  I love you Eileen, you have always told me the way it is and even when I didn't want to hear it, I was listening and took your advice.... today, I have 3 tremendously fabulous children and I thank you for your guidance.  I am eternally indebted to you.  You have been there from the beginning.... fate brought us together.

I am looking back out the window and feeling the serenity of sitting quietly by myself, listening to my daughter play in her room......a perfect afternoon as the clouds thicken, winds pick up and turn to see my ever faithful pets sitting with me. I am grateful.

1 comment:

Monia Butler said...

Wow! So, so lovely Marita. Xx