Friday, 2 November 2018

LUNCHEON WITH MAM

It's hard to think of my mam as a widow. It's hard to think that one of her sons - my brother - no longer exists. It's hard to even contemplate how she feels: the agony, the distress of both of them no longer with us. And yet... life goes on - for all of us.

Visiting the elderly in a residential home - the 'forever' home for most, is facing life on the brink of death. I don't say this morbidly - but rather - matter of factly. It doesn't mean it is necessarily a miserable place to be. I have witnessed such kindness, consideration, devotion, patience, sweet vulnerability, wisdom and good humour. I often wonder if what I 'think' my mam would need or how my mam would feel, may not always be the reality of the situation.

Maybe (probably) I am totally off the mark.

Today, at lunch, in the dining room, I had the good fortune of a top of the table seat. Prime real estate.

John: "What did your mom say? I'm sorry - my wife died not long ago, and I'm just not coping..."
Fred: "I want to go back to my room. I don't fancy lunch. Please take me back. Oh, wait... is that ice cream?"

John: " she never had hardly any sick days. She was gone so quickly..."
Fred: "ICE CREAM PLEASE"

John: "Will you keep QUIET!!"

Robert: "Yes, that's from me, too, Fred. You're so noisy"

Mam: "It's a mad-house"

John: "It's like a circus. Everyone's performing 'cos you're here"

Mable: "Could I have some lunch, please?"

Mam: "What if I need something while you are in Sydney next week?"

Me: "Sarah will be seeing you on Monday, Mam. She will bring you whatever you need"

John: "Don't worry. Your mother won't ever go without here. Oh no. She is a Rock. She is a rock to us all...."

Mam: "Hmmm... the Rock of Ages, more likely"

Fred: "Room please. NOW"

Nurse Aid: "Would you like some tea? Sugar and milk?"

Mam: "No, not milk - tea. Do you have any? Can you get my daughter some?"

Tom - with his hands in his mother's mouth, trying to adjust her cliff-hanging dentures amidst partially chewed silverside "...It's ok, mom, I've nearly got them. Do you want them in or out?"

Mam - pointing over to a couple of ladies in mobile recliner chairs: "Sylvia is 96. Ninety six! Oh, and Phillipa is 94. Awwww....."

Robert to me: "Where's your little girls? They were here the other day. When will they be back?"

Rosie, standing, crippled over with arthritis, fists clenched and wrapped around her walker's handles, staring at me, searching my being while waiting for eye contact:
"Hell-ow"

Mam: "Rosie, this is my daughter. I was telling her about that cushion on your walker. It looks much more comfortable than mine. Helen - look at Rosie's cushion"

Rosie: "Well, goodbye then...."

Mam: "Goodbye, Rosie. See you next time"

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Machinists Wife on Debco Engineering


The Machinist and I have been partners in business for 30 years this year.  

We hadn't planned to travel to a foreign land and start a business.  It just happened by default.  The Machinist was offered the use of $15,000 to take over a machine shop; an offer made by the owner of a company he was working for at that time.  An owner who saw great potential in the Machinist.  An owner whose desire was to retire and travel the country.  

It was a great opportunity - from the land of opportunity: Australia.  

We arrived with less than $1500 in our bank account, but with lots of determination to build a new life.  We arrived with very little experience and lots of naivety.  

We used only $5000 of the sum offered to us, which we repaid within six months.  

Our new business miraculously survived through the recession.  We learned as we operated.  

We're still learning.  We still feel like new kids on the block.  We still occasionally feel like amateurs and that we don't know what we are doing.  We are, however, now equipped with a new tool:  Awareness.

And I have to smile as I think to myself 

"...it's been a long time coming..."

Ever wonder what it's like 'behind the scenes' of a wholly family owned and operated business?  

I'd like to share - via this blog and our Facebook pages - some of the ins and outs, ups and downs of running your own business.  The reality.  The nitty gritty.  My intention is that it may encourage, inspire or even - help another to not feel so overwhelmed or alone. 

Oh, and I'd also like to share a variety of conversations we have during our short coffee/ tea breaks - aka 'smoko' breaks.  They are often a source of hilarity.  I call them "Conflab in the Fab (Shop)"

Debco Engineering Pty Ltd - for business 

The Machinist's Wife - for home and family 




Sunday, 2 September 2018

Farewell to Thee, My Father

His second child, - my second of four older brothers - passed away just five months ago.

I was never really sure how much this news affected him.  He wept, but on subsequent visits, we never spoke about brother Brian's death.  I would have, had my dad initiated it.  But no.  Nothing. 


Was it the British 'stiff upper lip'? 


'Chin up and get on with it'? 


Or was it the opacity of dementia?


Some days, his cloudy brown eyes would drizzle tears - and then, momentarily -  he was asking for an item to be added to the shopping list. 


Oh, the dread, the pain of having to tell his wife - my lovely mam - that he had left us.  She knew he was soon to depart this world.  She was waiting.  She had predicted that the third day of his illness would be "the day". 


She was right.


She lifted her frail hand to her face and cried gently...."He has left me a few times during the earlier part of our 67 years.  I should be used to it.  But this is different..."




"Gonna take a sentimental journey
Gonna set my heart at ease
Gonna take a sentimental journey
To renew old memories"


Oh, the anguish of the widow! 


The agony. 


The grief.



I am so very grateful for my father. He was absolutely perfect for me. He was my jiggly belly gadget man. Soft, and tender hearted. Introverted. A loner, yet still comfortable in company - preferring to listen than to speak.

"I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the street of gold beyond the crystal sea
About the angels singing and the old redemption story
Oh and some sweet day I'll sing up there the song of victory"




I love you, Herbert Brian Hudson - BA PhD 
(Born again.  Past having doubts - HB Hudson)

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Farewell to Thee, My Brother

I learn that in death there are SO MANY lessons on life. Good lessons. I learn that my grief is secondary to the grief of others that I love. Others that loved him. I want to comfort them. In my rainbow tears, I realise the love I have for all those that loved him. But even every day life - between the sadness, I have "eyes to see". 

I am aware. 

Never before have I been so much in the moment.

My brother knew his time was nigh. That it was getting closer, but alas - I doubt he expected it when it happened.

Then again, who is ever ready? 

Who is prepared? 

Sitting next to the Machinist in the funeral parlour office, which smelt surprisingly fresh without the scents and cleaners, I asked Phil (first name basis) "Phil, from your experience - people who are grieving, do they grieve in strange ways? Ways that they don't expect?"

"Absolutely", he replied. "Basically, Helen - anything goes. Not to sound callous, but people grieve in different ways. When grief hit me, I blanked out for weeks. Months, in fact. I couldn't remember what transpired in that time"

He went on to tell us how he lost his wife, then 8 months later, his daughter...
"
I'm so sorry...."

"Thankyou. The thing is, I consulted with a great funeral director. He helped me so much. He explained so much, was ready to help and advise me - any time of the day. He was there for me, comforted me in his presence and assurance. Told me that I could conduct my families' funerals any way I wanted to - to honour them. And because of his help, in my time of deep sorrow - well - that's why I do what I do now..."

"So, Phil, you found your purpose?"

"I sure did. This is what I love to do. To be here now, for you - to help any way I can...THIS IS MY PURPOSE"

* * * * * * * * * *

My brother's crematorium music:
Intro: All things Bright & Beautiful (old tune - UK)
Intro: Lets Get Together - Bryan Ferry
Photo Slideshow: Protons, Neutrons, Electrons - The Cat Empire
Exit: Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick - Ian Dury & the Blockheads. 

Never in my wildest imaginations would I conceive a funeral director (A Funeral Director!) to create such inspiration, enabling a client to plan and execute a loved one's funeral with such fervour! 

I hope I did you proud, Bro.x

And to Phil - I'm so glad you found YOUR PURPOSE and you're LIVING IT.



Farewell to Thee

Feel no guilt in laughter, he knows how much you care.
Feel no guilt in a smile that he is not here to share.
You can not grieve forever, he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So talk about the good times and the way you showed you care.
Let memories surround you and he will live forever there.