I’ve been back in the good ole USA for two weeks now. I go back to Australia on February 19 and we land on the 21st Australian time. I returned to the USA because another sibling has died. To say I am a basket case would be putting it lightly. I feel like a yo-yo emotionally. This is my last full day in Crestview with Judy and Eric. Adam and I fly to Oklahoma City to visit Margaret’s daughter, Cassie for six days tomorrow.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. We all lose loved ones at sometime. Bittersweet is how I feel most of the time on this trip. I have been reunited with loved ones that I haven’t seen in a very long time. Next year when I comeback, it will be celebratory. I guess you could say that this trip is celebratory as well but it’s filled with sorrow. I am happy that my sister Margaret is no longer suffering. She is with God and other family members who have died. I just wish I had more time with her but I can hear my mom’s words of wisdom echoing in my head when I was trying to feel sorry for myself when my dad died, “Be grateful for the time you had with him. There are others out there who never got to know their father or had their father as long as you have.” Mom was right though as moms usually are.
Those who were blessed to know Margaret Mason know exactly what the world is missing now. Margaret was a very humble lady who didn’t think she effected those she had come into contact with but I can assure you, Margaret may have been quiet but her presence will be sorely missed. She tried to live her life by the example of Jesus Christ and from the outpouring of condolences that we have received I can proudly say that my sister exemplified her Saviour and lived a surrendered life.
Chuck, Judy and Cassie spoke very eloquently about Margaret at her Mass. I know Judy wanted me to speak at the Celebration of Life that they had at Lifepoint Church but I was not drawn to do so. She and Cassie both spoke of Margaret eloquently. It is now that I will share my experience of Margaret and of loss but also of the expectation that I have of hope.
Margaret Alice was the 6th child of Alice Margaret Miller and the first child of Clement Miller. She was a quiet child with a gentle disposition. She had a great love of the Lord and lived by his example. She gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Cassandra Marie when she was 28 years old. She was a kindergarten teacher for a time and then became an enrolled nurse.
Margaret, Judy and I were very close. The last eight years, Judy and Margaret were pretty much inseparable. Margaret moved in with Judy after her husband Glen was placed in a nursing home because Margaret’s mental state had severely declined. She was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder which effected her so much she could not work. The stress had gotten too much for her of working, taking care of others, and neglecting her own needs so much to the point that she could no longer function.
Margaret was a staunch supporter of Adam’s and my relationship from the start, she trusted my decision to move to Australia and always knew what to say to make me feel better about what was going on in my life. I would say that she was like this with everyone she knew and loved because that is the type of person my sister was.
On this trip as Judy and I go places and people ask her about Margaret, I am moved to see just how much she impacted others. We went to a restaurant that they frequented and Judy had to console the waitress because she was shocked and horrified to hear about Margaret’s death. Words can’t seem to do justice for the way I want to express myself about my sister.
Margaret and Kevin are both now in heaven. Why is it that I have lost two siblings that I felt close to? I always thought that I would have more time to spend with Kevin but that didn’t eventuate. With Margaret there is less regret but the shock of not having on this earth is still feeling unreal. I thought that she would be here for my 50th birthday but I have to be thankful that I have had her as a sister. What a gift I have been given! Kevin was the fifth child of Alice’s and Margaret the sixth. They were 4 years apart I think. I thought of this parallel as I lay in bed with Adam. Chuck is the eldest boy of Alice’s with 3 younger sisters and a younger brother with the same father. Kevin was the youngest boy but the eldest to Alice’s three youngest daughters with the same father, Clement. 4 children with an older brother and 3 girls with Edward Koval. 4 children with an older brother and three younger daughters with Clement raising them. I grew up idolising Kevin and Margaret and now they are with God watching over us.
I will miss singing with Margaret and Judy at Mass like we did growing up or around the house harmonizing. It is such a beautiful memory to have but at least i was blessed to have the experience. Yesterday Judy and I went to a birthday party of one of our cousins that we hadn’t seen in 40 years. She has two sisters as well. We were all together and I felt Margaret with us. We learned how to paint a weeping willow and the colors we used reminded me of Margaret. I hung both paintings in Margaret’s room where Adam and I sleep. It just felt right to me.
Yes, I am sad that I have lost my sister but I live with hope that she is in heaven with all our loved ones who have passed because I believe in the resurrection of Jesus who lives and reigns now and forever more.
It seems like a very long time since I have actually sat down to write down some of my thoughts. Has it been a year already? At times it feels like it has been longer and other times it feels exactly right.
It seems that things don’t stand still with WordPress. It took me a little while to figure out the configuration to get to blogging but I found it. I will not be deterred. I feel like writing and sharing again. I am not even sure if anybody is interested. I am going to give it a go though and see what happens.
Things with me are going along at a steady pace. I am now studying through Charles Sturt University via the Distance Education route. I have completed 2 courses last term and in this term I am taking another 2 courses. It just started last week. Going back to school has been good for me. I had been busy getting papers written for both courses last term. I think this term it is only one big paper for Leisure, even if it isn’t I think I will do okay. I hope to maybe go up to 4 courses next term except I am nervous that I am going to muck it up. It’s kinda scary plunging back into study after so many years. The end result though will be a Bachelor Degree in Health Science (Health and Leisure). I am then going to hopefully get into a graduate program to become an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I will also be able to work as a Diversional Therapist.
It’s winter now down under. Last year didn’t seem so cold. There was actually snow inland up near the border to Queensland. I am sure most people from the northern hemisphere would just laugh at the way some people are reacting to the temperatures we’ve been getting here. It’s not like we have to run around with huge parkas. It’s a shock to the system though when you are use to running around in shorts but it hasn’t stopped some people though. I have seen them running around in thongs (flip-flops), shorts, and maybe a sloppy joe (sweatshirt). Adam and I are in our sweats mostly. We’ve also been putting on the heater at night. I am sure last year we only put it on in the morning to get the chill off the air.
I didn’t mean for this lapse to happen for so long. I just got busy and self involved. I didn’t feel like sharing because I thought it was boring but hey, maybe somebody out there missed reading my thoughts. I will do my best not to be such a stranger. I can’t promise to write every day or every week. I will try to do better though. I do enjoy blogging and maybe some of you guys like reading.
Any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section!
You have no strength.
Everything has got you down
and in the end you can’t think of how you are going to make it round.
Do me a favor if you please
And sweet darling just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
Feels like this rain will never end
Too much pain to deal with
But sweet darling just believe
that in the end you can cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
You may feel as if you have no hope
and you are at the end of your rope
there’s nothing else you can do to cope
But I beg you to just cling to me
cause one day and it might be soon
I’ll be the one to cling to you.
For those who are dealing with loss and feel there is no hope don’t give up. Hold on and know in the end what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! Lisa this is for you!
Maybe you have been reading my thoughts for a while and maybe this is new to you. I always try to keep things light and breezy. I know I don’t like being the one who is dark and gloomy. Who likes being around somebody who is all doom and gloom? Realistically it’s not possible to be little miss sunshine either but I do try to stay positive.
My husband and I traveled to America for my brother’s Memorial and decided to turn the trip into a month-long vacation. We were hoping to come back on happier terms. You have to make the best of a situation however you come across it. I think that is a no brainer. We wanted to do this trip next year. We had wanted to see all my siblings individually. We are doing this now; it’s just been expedited. I had wanted to be reunited with my brother, Kevin, to hug him and get to know his lovely wife, Lisa, and his step-daughter Sandy. I did get to see Kevin when we face-timed. Nothing though can compare to actually being in the same room with the one you love. I do take solace that I had got to see him even if it was through a video link because I hadn’t seen his face for over 20 years. We laughed and looked forward to seeing each other. Every thing though changed for us all as it is apt to do.
We are getting to go places that we had never been to before. Adam and I have never been to West Virginia. We have gotten some really great quality time with Lisa and Sandy. I know Sunday the 15th is going to be a very hard day for Lisa and myself. We have been pretty much inseparable since I have hugged her on the 21st of May. We felt as if we had known each other very well even though it had been long talks on the phone or typing on Facebook. I am dreading the 15th pretty much. We are going to have to part sometime. I know we will stay in contact because Kevin got us together. I feel very strongly about this.
I asked Lisa to join me on a road trip to see my brother Chuck in Philadelphia and my sisters Judy and Margaret in Florida. I would love to take her to see my other sisters in Nevada and California but Lisa has things she has to take care of back in West Virginia. We fly back to Australia on June 24th. The 25th won’t happen for Adam and myself because we will be flying across the international date line. We are used to losing and gaining days when we fly back and forth to the USA. Lisa and I had a great time traveling together down the eastern seaboard of the USA. I had never driven that much in the United States. We even took a trip to NYC with Chuck. Chuck was born in Brooklyn and I had traveled to NYC in 1996 with my mom, my sister Judy, and niece Cassie. Sandy, Adam, and Lisa were the “virgins” in NYC.
We started off in West Virginia and drove to Philadelphia. After Philadelphia we drove to Georgia so Sandy could stay with her cousin Mary. We then continued down to the panhandle of Florida to the city of Crestview. It’s sort of funny but I lived in the Fort Walton Beach area 20 years ago. It was interesting seeing all the changes and growth in the area. I looked forward to showing Adam the places I used to work and play at. We played in the Gulf of Mexico for a little bit. Today we are going to get our hair cut.
On the 15th we fly out to Las Vegas and Lisa returns back to West Virginia. I can’t wait for her to get her passport so I can show her our little piece of paradise. I know we are going to have a blast like we have had here. She has things though that she needs to sort out first before her trip to see us. I do know we are going to see each other again which is making me look forward to the reunion we will have. I know another post will be happening when that happens. After Las Vegas, we are heading to Los Angeles and then it’s back across the Pacific Ocean to Australia for us.
Yes, I know I had better laid plans in my head for our trip in 2015. I meant to take more time to visit friends as well as family but sometimes life happens and you have to make do with that you can. I know things didn’t turn out the way I had expected or desired. It’s not a perfect world. I had to make the most of what I have even with the sad ugly bits. I can build on what I have to make things better even if it’s just a little change.
If I can make someone smile or lighten the load even a little bit than I know I have done something good.
Ever had one of those moments when you just go where do I go from here? Yeah, I am having one of those moments a lot lately. In fact today, I was instructed to just go have a good think about what I want to do. I am really good at that. Thinking, it’s like a natural thing to do especially for me. I do it non stop. In fact at times it can cause insomnia. I can focus on things a bit too much at times that it will actually prevent me from moving forward. I will ponder, wonder, and concentrate on something come up with nothing but it’s still fermenting in the back of my mind until I finally get the light bulb going off. I like that moment the most when I know exactly what I will do but the real challenge can be finding that light bulb moment.
I can fumble around in the dark so to say not as good as my man but figuratively. You would think at 45 I would know exactly what I want to do with my life. I find though even though I might plan something, it won’t go according to plan. I can adapt. I am not afraid of change. I can actually adapt well to change and try to work with it sort of like a willow caught up in the wind bending to whims of the wind but not breaking totally.
I can be a very passionate person. I have lots of varied interests which can take me down many different tracks. I am just trying to find out exactly what I want to do professionally which will reward both my employer and myself.
There are so many things I need to or want to do. I know there are things that need to be done more like praying and meditating. I sort of pray while I am thinking. I have conversations with God a lot. I look for the answers in subtle signs or turns in conversation. For non-believers I know you may not believe but it helps me to do this sort of prayer while soul-searching. I can hear the sceptics going ‘Hogwash’ but it works for me and that is what is most important.
I need to sit down and do SMART goals. I know that would help me a lot. I need to look at the big goal and just break it down further into more manageable short-term goals so that I can get to the big goal. It just getting that big goal sorted out. I feel a bit like Robert Frost in The Road Not Taken. I have two paths I can go down and even if it doesn’t work out the way I think it will, I will still be glad I went on the journey that I took.
I will be soul-searching for a bit but I am sure I will find my focus. I will get encouragement and draw on the strength that I know I can handle whatever may come. Each day brings new challenges which will help make me be me.
Life is a journey. Where it takes you depends all on your outlook and adaptability. Let me take you on a little journey that I am struggling with and that is doubt. I believe in God but that doesn’t mean that I don’t doubt at times. I believe that there is such a thing as free will. God loves us so much that He wants us to love Him back but He wants us to do it willingly. He loves us unconditionally and wants us to love Him back the same way.
I was raised Roman Catholic. I try to do the right thing. I strive to do better but I fail more often than succeed. I have gone to bible studies. I have attended spiritual conferences and formation seminars. I strive to let the light of God shine through me but lately I have felt like a failure. I feel unworthy yet I want to do something that I feel so strongly about which I think God is calling me to do but I keep backsliding.
There is nothing wrong with doubt. When I was doing training for my certificate three in scripture teaching for the Diocese of Parramatta I learned that it is only natural.
If we fail to question, [then] our faith cannot leaven our everyday life and we do not meet God in the ordinary events. Gerard Hughes God Where Are You?p. 73.
There was a lot of soul-searching in that course but I have to confess, everyday I do soul-searching. I don’t mind at all because I like to think if I am not searching, trying to change and be open to the person I am suppose to be; I am not evolving into the person God wants me to be.
Then I wonder if I am rushing things trying to do things as I want and not as God wants. I keep telling myself that I have to do things and remember that if it’s meant to be, it will be in God’s time. It’s this see-saw that keeps me in the back slide.
I need to persevere and remember that adage I made up in that course when I had to fill in the line which said Faith is like…
Faith is like an ocean tide with its highs and lows but it is always there.
Where there is faith; there is also doubt. It is with hope that I also walk by.
By the end of the course I came to this conclusion. God is love. Where there is love, there is God. The calling that God has for me is still growing inside me. I just need to find others who hear this calling to help me along this journey.