Category Archives: Family History

A poem I wrote – Infant loss

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I am currently doing a free 6 week course at Future Learn called Literature and Mental Health via the University of Warwick. Current topic is “Speaking words we can’t find”. Asked to share – Are there any pieces of literature – old or modern, prose or poetry – that speak to you in the way that Katherine Philips’ poem speaks to Paula?

We have  been studying a poem by Katherine Phillips she wrote on the loss of a little baby boy which remarkably was written in the 1600’s.

I have also lost an infant baby boy. So this study is very very close to my heart. I was given a miracle of peace by God when I lost our baby infant back in 1997 which changed my whole life. For some strange reason I was easily able to talk about it too at the time but very few around me were available to me to listen to the extent I needed. So one day I got out my electric typewriter and decided to write about everything. I guess I just imagined I could do that all in one sitting. lol it isn’t possible of course. I eventually wrote 29 chapters.

But it is wonderful the very first thing I wrote was a poem. It was just a small piece of writing to lead into the actual main piece of writing which was the first chapter and so on. It was a miracle I wrote at all because I had three other little children to raise at the time I started and it came remarkably easy and I had never written a book before or since. I will add the link to this blog post to the university comment section to share it with others there but also because it was straight from a grieving mothers heart and I just see that it helped me to get it out, to see it in written form and others have been helped by it too. I have not edited it, it is the exact same form I wrote it. The very first thing I wrote before I typed up what is now the entire story. It doesn’t even have a title it was just the leading paragraph at the very start. To introduce the story. Again it is a miracle also this poem began it all because at that time I HAD never written poetry before either.

I have even kept it in the form first written. because as I have been learning in the course, the written form is also part of how we express our emotions etc.. It is religious in nature because my faith was exactly what was helping me through. All based on a miracle of peace from God through this terrible period when our baby son Tyler was born, became very ill when he was only a few days old and died at 8 weeks old from a heart/lung abnormality.

See in the address up top of this blog.. eternalpeacechild. It is all linked to what I experienced through this loss. My online name is peacechild4.

I have not ever published the book.. I did share the chapters on face book and with family and friends in written form and on a few websites but not as book form or even ebook form. Poem in bold so you know what is the actual poem..

 

I wrote this poem, a mother coming to terms with the death of my child.
I have seen much that I have had no control over. I have suffered the weight of feelings I can’t escape.

What I experienced alongside my child has survived.
So precious that I had to write this down.
Although nothing can take away what has happened.
I know throughout his life there was meaning.

If my son received the inner peace throughout that I have been given through my faith in Jesus Christ.
Then all that I saw, all that my child went through, that has produced my lack of fear to write, brings hope.

I have the calming reason to believe, that from my experience of peace. I am given assurance of how much more Tyler deserved it, and how a loving God would give all the more to him.

In my impression of Tyler’s story I endeavor to share how he received what I now hold onto.

Tyler’s Story never ends.
It just begun in a different place.



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City to Outback

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DAY 8 – DAILY PROMPT:
Create an adventure. If you live in or around a city, write about your life if you were to move to the remote country. If you live in a rural area, write about your life the first day moving to the big city. The world is a big place, both extremes deserve illumination.

((Used creative license here. Took this and wrote about my past and let it flow from that.. When I went from Victoria to Western Australia at age 14 and the huge change that was to my young life and our family. ❤ ))

For a 14 year old girl oldest of 4 children. It was a move I felt forced to make. Away from friends, leaving youth group and school and my pet pony was sold.

Other side of Australia seemed like another world away. And it was. Fitzroy Crossing was in the far north west Kimberley and on the other side of the continent. The only thing I knew about it was from a small write up in a library book my mum and siblings leafed through to find. No google back than. It did not say much at all. Police station, supermarket, hospital, road house and famous outback pub! Of course the major attraction was the river! A beautiful gorge Geike Gorge was situated not far from the township and people come from all over the world to see it and cruise its banks. It became a favorite place to visit in our time there.

It was extremely isolated. It would be an over two hour travel either way to the next town and there was nothing in between.. No shops, houses or anything from the road except I did love the beautiful boab trees that were scattered along the way. Amazing trees!! One boab tree about half way to Derby was so big and hollow inside it was once used as a prison holding cell!

One road in and one road out.

Ballarat could not be more opposite. Colder, green, winter was wet and we have a bad reputation about changeable weather, populated and even though considered a rural city. It has all the amenities of a much bigger city. The floor was cold when you walked on it. You could go clothes shopping!! You had access to health care.

Fiztroy Crossing is a majority aboriginal population. I do not think I had ever met an aboriginal person before at least I did not know anyone personally! It was a complete culture shock. It was hot, red dirt, no TV, lol that was in 1984!! I did not find that out till after we arrived. I would not have agreed to that AT ALL!! If you wanted to watch something entertaining it had to be on video cassette. I remember at one point a family friend every so often passed on a box full of mostly American sitcom recorded on video. I think we watched them and nearly wore out the videos every time it was our turn to view them. It was so different not having TV. You lost contact with the outside world. Radio stations became vitally important. The weekly newspaper was flown in or trucked in and were sold out pretty quickly.

No fresh milk. It all came in frozen or powdered. There was a local bakery that made fresh bread but sometimes the local baker got drunk or his workers did not turn up so there was no bread those days. You could buy bread frozen and kept in freezers.

The houses were ugly but had lovely big verandas to help keep them cooler.. Shutter windows, floor to ceiling to capture any breeze that might pass through. Some of the houses were on stilts as the mighty Fiztroy River which in the dry season could be just pools here and there would become a raging torrent flooding its bank in wet season and the whole town was surrounded by water.. Dusty. Everything seemed coated in dust.

For a teenager it was eye opening. I had to do my school by distance education. There was not a high school at that time. My younger brother and sister went to the local school. At least they had air-conditioning! Our house did not! Stifling temps during day and even at night it was hot at least for us!! Slept with just a sheet over you. Always fans to circulate the air.

Unfortunately only 4 days into our new life we had a family tragedy. My youngest sister at a welcoming picnic after church drowned in the river.. It has tied our family to that place forever. We no longer live there we are now back in Ballarat again. My sister was nearly five years old. My parents bravely stayed on for the next couple of years. It was very hard for them. They had committed themselves to serving as missionaries up there so they kept their commitment to the local people and to God.

How did I feel as a young person? It was bewildering. Life was slower up there. They had siesta time when the whole place seemed to shut down and people rested from the worst heat of the day.
The Aboriginal people were beautiful souls but seemed reserved to me. Very respectful of our family coming through such a tragic circumstance. The local people gathered around us. We hardly knew them but they supported us through such a horrible time. I remember huge thunderstorms that frightened the heck out of us as kids. My sister and I would drag our beds into the middle of the room so we were closer. It really sounded as if the storm was right over our heads and God was up there throwing his best at us. Heavy rains. Insects. Kind black hands that we gently shook every Sunday. Songs sang in local language over and over because thats the songs they loved! Sitting on seats that pinched your legs. Dogs wandered into the church service which was in an old stone and tin building without walls. Overhead fans whirring about.. I think for awhile we were just in shock. Shock at the loss.. Shock at the different culture.. Shock at our lives changing so dramatically.

I can see the deep dark hole where my sister was laid to rest and the mound of red dirt to cover her over again once the preacher said his thing. The crowd of dark faces who turned up that day was incredible because they didn’t know us. There was a deep respect for our loss you feel that even as a young person.. My little brother clinging to my dad. He was so insecure and cried out loudly whenever he could not find my parents. All the memories come rushing back. The heat. The flies. The faces that we did not know but kindly helped us through all the transition.

City to country. Different as day and night. It taught us to love and respect native Australians, see first hand how they have survived the stolen generation, injustice and past government stuff ups and how big and unique and beautiful our country is. It taught us community. It taught us the blessings that are modern amenities. Things like not having to travel to get to a hair dresser, see a dentist, go to a big chain supermarket and department stores, see a specialist, have your baby, flying doctors for emergencies. So much we take for granted.

That even in tragedy and hardship Australia is an amazing vast continent. In city and country we are indeed a lucky country and Australians are as diverse and unique as our land.. We pull together when hard times come.

(( Jones family 1984 November. In Perth.  On the way to Fitzroy Crossing.. My little sister Belinda still alive. Brings back many memories seeing this.. ))

((Famous Geike Gorge))

((Brooking Gorge))

((My mother, sister and brother.. at the back of the Primary School when the river flooded.. ))

I see my birth, I see my death..

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DAY 2 – DAILY PROMPT: 

Describe the circumstances of your birth. Now describe the circumstances of your death. Your first moments, and your last. Show the reader how you have changed, evolved, and perhaps regressed. Show us.  

I see my birth…
My mother and father I was their first. I still have my teddy bear a gift from my Uncle. Dads only brother. My first moments wouldn’t have been in my mother’s arms because they didn’t do that than. Weighed on a cold metal scale on scratchy paper, measured, dressed and handed to my mother. Cloth nappies.. Cleaned up. Dark hair.. 

I know my parents were young. My mother only 20. Younger than I was when I had my first. I know I was loved. Fathers weren’t supposed to be in with the mothers for the birth but I think my Dad was with my Mum. Wrapped in hand knitted bunny rug.

Doctor Faull was present in some capacity and continued caring for me till I had my own babies and saw them in the growing up years, that made him feel like family too. He was just starting out his career when I was born. The hospital has since changed. The rooms where I was born no longer exist they were pulled down. That makes me feel old. My mother was protective. Her childhood had not been really easy. My parents would have prayed for me daily and still do. I still live in the same town I was born in. I know both my grandma and nana would have visited. I never experienced having a grandpa alive. 

I see my death…
I will be with my children and remaining family members surrounding me. Hopefully with a man by my side who I have loved and enjoyed for the other half of my life. My relatives have had mostly lengthy lives so I imagine I’m well up in years. I will need to be touched and hold my families hands. I won’t have hearing to enjoy their voices. Maybe my eyesight has dimmed. Just to be close and die peacefully with people around me who love me. I will loudly sing hymns or fav songs of years gone by.. For once in their lives they will have to listen.. Tell them to update my face book ha ha.. I will have written some fantastic parting words someplace 🙂 or made a video to speak from the hereafter.. I’ve already told them to bring my body late to the church because I’m always late so why should I be different in death.. They will have a lot of crap to get rid of… They will miss me but I know I am loved and they know they are loved.. 

I think many prayers over the years might change the hearts of some and ohh how I will cry and laugh to see who is there by my side.. Perhaps things that have driven people crazy about me will become much more precious.. I will be wanting to go see baby Tyler in heaven.. And younger sister Belinda.. And others who have gone before.. And most importantly to see Jesus face to face.. 

………….

Because I believe in life after death I have learned that things on this earth are not as soul destroying as they appear and have whole different meanings in the spiritual realm. We will know things than that will change everything.. Faith to me will bring forth the spiritual harvest I have sown many tears over.. I truly believe so much of my life hinges on the very small presence I have here and now but in that realm with HIS glory added too is more than I can imagine and will see my dreams come to life as a celestial Disney land ha ha what a day. So many promises that I have yet to see fulfilled. 

It’s the hope that drives me on.. Keeps me going.. Soothes my soul over petty things that in light of eternity will be as opposite as night and day.

  

Letter to 21 year old self

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~Day 27~

Dear Sharon,

Happy 21st!!

I think back to that day and it was just your sister and yourself celebrating together.
Justin was up north. Your parents and brother were up north. I don’t remember why anyone else wasn’t there.
I am sure there were reasons and you had your reasons. I think the genuine few who might have attended were either sick or couldn’t come.
You were in your 6th month of pregnancy with your first born. I remember as you both sat there and enjoyed a very quiet meal. There was another bigger party going on in the same establishment.
You both noticed all the people together and the difference between you and them.

You were kind of a loner even back than too. Accept yourself Sharon.. You can be happy alone or with people. Either way you are ok.

Sharon you do have so much to look forward too.

I am your future self. I have only one chance to contact you.

So I am sending this to you on this momentous occasion. I have chosen this day for a reason.
To help you through everything that is to come.
To help you face the good times and the difficult times ahead. Yes there will be difficult times.
I won’t tell you what they are because things can and may change after you read this but I will tell you ways to help yourself get through your life as I know it.

You are brave Sharon. Never forget that.

Keep being yourself and let others be themselves too. You see this is the key. Don’t expect people to change but just love them anyway and most of all love yourself. God will be a major force in your life. I know right now your not aware of him the same. People have looked down on you because your married young and were pregnant out of wedlock. But you will have a beautiful family. Souls that bless Justin and yourself mightily… Just navigate the days ahead a little differently.

Stick close to the people who support you and show you love and acceptance in a way you can feel.
Justin is a good man but give him room. Let him be who he is. He isn’t your father so don’t expect him to be.
Don’t put expectations on people they will fail you.. Just love them and give them room to live the way they believe. Don’t just do your life like everyone else does. It is ok to be different. Please do not force your faith on anyone else as I know it has been done to you. I know that is what you have been taught. But it will cause major problems in your future. Embrace who you are but let people embrace who they are. Force does nothing but anger, repress and hurt people. I know it has shaped your life in ways you won’t realize which has been the reason you have abandoned your faith at this point. But true faith is freedom. It is the most beautiful thing on earth.

You see the people around you haven’t known the whole truth. They will misjudge you. Don’t live by what they say or how they treat you if they don’t accept you always. Understanding can be fickle because nobody walks in another persons shoes. Love doesn’t ever stop it draws out the best in people and loves them even at their worst and it may mean letting someone be free from what you hoped they might be.. It always believes and hopes and trusts.

Develop your creative side and when things get hard do not stop feeling or expressing yourself. This will save you a lot of pain. You are a creative loving expressive individual. Seek for people who are the same. When someone doesn’t get you or is hard to be around. Give them space don’t pressure them. Love them. I know I say that a lot but love isn’t force, or expectations. Love is patient and accepting of each other with all our flaws and strengths and it celebrates life in all its forms.. Find your own interpretation of the truth. Do not just accept what you have been taught. Let people also be who they are. Maybe doing this will change your life and whole direction!

Find your own way through. It’s ok to laugh and cry but everyone is not the same. Some are not emotional creatures like you.

Do not look to people for validation. This one will save you a lot of grief. You are loved by GOD always just as you are.. He doesn’t judge you like people do. He isn’t people.. HE made the people and yes they are like Him some ways.. But he is love and beauty and he will tell you this Himself when you most need it. He is with you always. He will never leave.. People will come and go in your life. He sees your heart and your deepest dreams and desires even when you forget them. He knows why you do what you do. You can rest in Him. He is good.. Remember that. People will say its about what you do. No.. Its about what He has done and especially for all of us through his Son and He has forever given us freedom to do and be. Seek Him and you will find. Even if you don’t seek Him He will always seek you.

You will make mistakes. They will never define you! Move on. You are forgiven. His grace is enough!!

There is not only one way to live life but only one source of life!

Enjoy your children.. You will have more.. Love them. It will go fast. Very fast. Let things go that you cant do and treasure every second with them. Hard times will pass. Your children will grow up and be good people and have their own views and they will make mistakes too. Teach them love and kindness and that they are valuable. It doesn’t matter what isn’t done but what matters is that they know God and you love them and accept them. Do what you can and be at peace. You are precious never forget that. No matter how people treat you. Remember you are unique and that is your power. You have much to give. Just by being yourself.

I really hope by sharing these simple things that you will be spared much pain and abandonment. Yes when you live differently to the majority people who shun you. People will misunderstand you but it doesn’t mean you are wrong.

There will be times when you feel very very alone and isolated. You are not ever alone. God is with you. If you keep telling him everything He will give you help through it and comfort you in ways this world could never help you. I truly see that these times are shaping you to help others because you can speak in a way that others cannot. These times are teaching you what real love is. Because love Himself is with you and in you and you have all you need. The rest is just added blessings.. You are enough!!

I expected things and was devastated when they didn’t happen. I tried to be someone I am not and felt lost. I always felt I did not measure up. I could never reach ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ was). Do not measure who you are against anyone else.. Be YOU in all your fullest measure!! You will have good and bad days. Be honest about it if even if no one else is. You will draw people to you with your open heart but not everyone has good intentions. Beware. Go by your gut. Go where you are accepted and tolerated and where you can be yourself.

Life is precious. Soul is deep. Spirit is always life and peace. Joy is present even in sadness. He is peace.. He is life.. He is hope. He is joy. He is not judgment. He is not rules. He is everywhere.
Your whole life you have been in a building learning things that are not Him. He is not confined in a building. He is not people. He made the people. He made the world. He made you. He made the little life stirring inside you. He made Justin. He made your sister. He made your friends. Life is beauty. Life is free. Life is not the bad stuff.. That is consequences of people not valuing and knowing the preciousness of life and not knowing the real HIM. Life is not just rules either but respect and kindness go a long long way and valuing everyone no matter who they are.

Even when you face pain. There is a way through. Look to HIM. He can give you peace like you wouldn’t believe. He meets you anyplace. He is everywhere. He is love. Oh my. It is not by humanity you will understand this. But by Spirit. That which stirs within. If you can see the world. People. Yourself by Spirit. It will change everything.

I love you Sharon. You inspire many in the future and by being free and enjoying your life. You will inspire many many more. People need you even if they don’t realize it.. Just like you need them!!

God bless and keep you. May His face shine on you and give you peace.. See you at the end.. Ha ha.

  

Today’s word is Love

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“Love” And my interpretation of it.

This digital art is two photos blended and framed. All done on my iPad using aps.

Of my sister and I.. Childhood with our father.. Black and white.
2nd is us both in recent years.
The way the photos overlap is extremely meaningful to me. Family.. Spirit.. Blood.. No separation.. Truth sets free.. Her and I overlap and are as one in both.. Love that.. I need to rest in that.. 

This relationship between us as sisters has been a huge personal struggle for me in recent years.

Gods Spirit has been speaking to me about just loving her through it. 

Loving her as I myself desire to be loved.

Overlooking offence..

I believe this kind of love is what we both need.. Just like God so loves me and sees me pure and holy through HIS Son.. My desire is to love and view my sister the same way.. 

It’s hard to be “real” without saying the wrong thing or saying too much.. 

So I hope my art expression says much more.. 💗

  

What deep down, have you hoped for all your life?

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To Matter. To Belong. To be loved for who I am, to be cherished.. To feel respected especially by a man for who I am as a woman and feel like I matter to them.. A romantic dream/day dream I’ve had for a long time is to share all my love and all my heart with someone and know I was treasured, wanted and I could love them in return and we could share our lives, hearts, bodies and souls… To share myself with another self… face to face, soul to soul.. Heavenly. That who I am doesn’t drive someone away but draws us closer together.. Bliss…

I’ve always been told its not about me.. Which is soul destroying.. Instead told…Its about being a mother. Being a good Christian.. Being this or being that. But hardly ever its just about being me. But wow I am me and I always will be me till eternity! Lol so why not be about me. I don’t think you can ever be happy and full till you are fully free to be yourself.. That’s when you can start looking outward and enjoy someone else fully and so on and so on.
Doesn’t every person deserve love just because…. They exist… God created us all different so we wouldn’t be all the same. And every single soul is precious huh!! Yes SIReee… But also Jesus said He didn’t just come that we have life but life to the full so why cannot we have the things we most deeply desire?? That would make life very full wouldn’t it!!! And don’t happy people…. well it spills out of them.. Life that is.. Ha ha think about.. Isn’t love making the spilling out of the the overflow of love and new life is born from that.
So a full life comes from deep down knowing we are valuable and it takes someone else knowing it too. Life is doubled when you share it and where love is returned a family is born..

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage
Lao Tzu

When I was married and my MIL was in our families company and we travelled anywhere I would quietly take a back seat in the car giving up where I usually sat in the front to honour her as special and worthy of sitting beside her son.
I liked watching my then husband honour and treat his mother special… I wanted to do what I could to make her feel that way too.. We didn’t see her that often so it was even more important to make her feel loved and special..

I used to work sometimes in my Grandmas book store when I was younger. I am the oldest in my family and I had the special privilege as the oldest to help serve in the shop and sometimes I received gifts for my time and effort.. One thing I received that brought me great pleasure is my Uncle who also worked in the store would sometimes take me out to lunch. I felt very grown up to go out and have lunch with my Uncle.
I could order special treats like a milkshake and as it was something I didn’t do in my normal life the whole experience from choosing a table, picking what you wanted to eat, being served and not having to clean up.. I felt happy and special and very loved!

This picture by Goog Guarino really speaks to my heart today.. I am worth value just being “ME” and so are you who is reading are valuable just because you are “YOU”

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Test run of my ebook

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Tyler’s Story – His Pain Our Peace

Above link via drop box is a test run to see how it looks – only the first chapter… Tyler’s story was written years ago but I’m attempting to put it all on ebook in pdf form.. Created with an iPad ap… Not really intending to make money just share the story so I guess it doesn’t have to perfect but I want it readable..

God gave me incredible out of this world peace through the birth, life and death of our infant son.. This is only one of 29 chapters of the story.. Its all finished just have to format it into ebook form and upload on the internet in one place. Its been online but not easy to read or find.

The text might be too big therefore it would come out too long a document so hope there is some way to bookmark it…

So hot here tonight.. In the midst of a heat wave and even late night my bedroom is hot and stuffy.. Too tired to format anymore..

A Glimpse

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There is simply not anything in the earthly language that could possibly explain the richness and beauty of what I am experiencing right now.. a forward vision of what is to come… Of an exquisitely set table that looks like it never ends.. Jesus Christ is standing in my view… His eyes pierce my soul.. but not a word has passed between us and yet He know the victory of this moment and our eyes meet and lock onto each other.. Across from me sits the very one I gave up half my human life for..
Looking very different to the human who once walked the earth for here they are pure and whole.
In an earthly split second as Jesus eye pierces my soul my whole life flashes before my eyes in particular the journey I went through with this same person.. The joys and sorrows. The beginning to the end of every earthly moment we shared. The moments I lay prostrate on the floor my face buried in the carpet with tears and snot mingled with the fibres… Crying and praying for this very one. Jesus smiles and so do I.. The swell within my chest is akin to a stadium going off at the end of a grand final the kind that keeps the crowd sweating and groaning and fidgeting on their seats..
I know now that every tear.. every prayer.. every pain… every ache and every sigh.. was worth it for this moment.. the joy etched on the face of my loved one and the smiling faces of every member of our blood family celebrating side by side. Knowing we all have eternity to share. That all that has gone past is nothing compared to the joy exceeding of living forever together with The Lord and all His children.
If I was to turn away and I believe for a long time I would have wanted too. I would see the Devil fuming, jumping up and down and cursing.. He lost, his every arrow sent to destroy us only broke me and poured forth holy oil that flowed over and drenched the lot of us.. I look away to my right and left.. seeing relatives down through the ages for as long as time existed stretching as far as the eye can see.. And again my chest swells with thankfulness and joy bubbles out.. Together many many souls have prayed and believed and trusted God for us too.. What an honour has been given the children of men to be His light where once darkness reigned.
Glory to God in the Highest… Peace on earth and goodwill to ALL men, women and children who still walk the earth, being born and dying till the age of man finishes..

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But We Have Each Other…

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Its a very moving experience to scrap book.. to create a memory book about someone.. I have been creating a scrap book for my mother since last year.
I didn’t touch it for a long time. Shifting house and just not picking it up again. I don’t know why. Working on it again these last few months.
I share a house with my parents so I have had to be careful creating it when she is not around. I think I have kept a good secret. Probably wonders though why I have taken a few more pictures in the last little bit and not shown them to her afterwards 🙂

This blog post is about one of the pages I decided to create only just last night. I only have 3 pages till its finished so closer to the end now than ever before but this one is totally different to any others. Planning stages yet but I have already written a poem which I will share here below..

It is my Mother’s 63rd Birthday today. But I still have work to do on it. My parents have recently gone on a well needed holiday and my mother is happy to receive her gift when she returns so I have had a little more time to work on the last few pages.

With all the creative learning and expressing I have been doing I am finding new ideas spring into my head that I have never contemplated before.. Its exciting and wow amazing.

This page will be about my mothers childhood. I have not done the album/book from beginning to end of her life.. more randomly as I am going through. This is a page about the early years and I have had such an experience doing this that I must write it down already.

There are no photos of my mother before high school that I have seen or am aware of. That’s huge. None of my mother, her siblings and parents together. The only other photo I am aware of and have seen is one or two of her father, my grandfather and he was on his own.

Immediately I have had to recall memories and things that my mother has shared with me over the years. I started searching online for pictures of families and children in the 1950’s.. That is the year Mum was born and the time period I am writing about.. My poem is about the early years and my own interpretation of what it was like for my mother and her siblings. Of course I don’t know many details. So I have to imagine and go off what I know and of course my own perceptions of what I have been told..
My parents raised me together, I had a good and happy childhood, they told me they struggled with money and there were financial difficulties but I was never aware of it as a child. They both bought their first house when I was very young and the only one born at the time so I know they were better off then many. So again what things my mother told me were told to a happy, secure child who didn’t know the struggles she did.. Perhaps it was worse for my mother, perhaps it was better. This is just my interpretation.

Its hard even to write this. There are things I wish I could say but would not. Things that might help others understand and fill in the gaps better. But I’m not so sure it is my place to say things about the dynamics of the family. None of my mother’s siblings are connected to me on face book where I will share this blog post but I have cousins that may see this and read this and you are more than welcome to share this with your parents.. I don’t know what my cousins know or even my own siblings of my mother’s story. Nobody but my mother has talked about her past with me. My Nana has since passed away.. Her name was Dorothy and she was not like me at all. She was a private person and held many things inside even to the grave.. Perhaps my sister and I have talked a little over the years. Maybe through this post things will be said to me I didn’t know. I hope though one day more of the truth will come out because even though this was in the past.. Its our family and wether we like it or not its important and precious and its our history. We bear the blood of our grandparents and their parents.. I think family traits pass down wether we like it or not and affect us as children, grandchild and yes great grandchild and so on. But unfortunately many families take things to the grave.

So from my poem and even what little I share here you are going to have to imagine too.

They were poor, not 3rd world country poor, but as far as I can gather it was six children and one mother for a majority of the time and in Australia there were no benefits for single mums that there are today. My Grandfather died when my mother was around 11 years old. From what I have been told of the early years he came and went and was not there all the time or even some of the time.

No relatives ever visited so that says something major right there. No photos and lots of kids so you don’t have to think very hard to imagine how difficult life might have been. Not sure when my Nana was able to work, how old the children would have been if she left home to work and how she supported them? I know sometimes the oldest daughter looked after the others. That was not easy on her or them but what else could a big family do?

I have looked for images about families for the lay out. I wish I could paint or draw a family shot but I don’t feel confident enough to do so and I don’t feel I could do it justice. So I will find pics that symbolise to me this beautiful family..

All of the pics I felt with any colour did not reflect how I felt that this family would have experienced life. Colour Tv’s only came into Australia in 1967.. but I feel they would not even have had Tv or maybe even running water and electricity in the early days. I don’t know its just guesses. I found the black and white images I came across evoked the most resonating imagery.

What I picture is ~ Kids doing chores because Nana couldn’t possibly do all the menial labours of raising kids and keeping a home without their help.. I mean no mod cons back then. I can see boys in overalls.. with patches. I can see kids playing in fields and collecting special treasures.. I can see chickens and a dog.. Chopping wood for boys. Cooking over a wood stove.. I can see sometimes there would not be enough food.. I can see Shirley who was the oldest daughter with a child on her hip, she is older than my mother.. I can see my Nana confiding in Shirley perhaps when she wasn’t old enough for the weight of it simply because she’d need a listening ear to tell about her every day life. I can see that she grew up way too fast. I know as a single mother myself. You do tend to talk more personally with the older ones at times because they are there..

I see that Nana would have been tired.. very tired at the end of the day and I don’t see her smiling if a picture was taken. No parent wants their kids to struggle and I don’t think her life was easy but she was proud of her children. I see hardship on their faces but I know they were not poor in spirit because Nana had a backbone..
All of my mothers family are survivors and my Nana wasn’t a weak lady at all.. She did the best she could without the support of family around her for whatever reasons.

I see tough love and care in her working hard to take care of them. I see the kids respecting her because they always have. I see that Nana might have been strict because if she didn’t they would run wild.
I see children sharing beds.. I see them trailing along worn paths to school along country roads.. perhaps there were days there was no lunch to take.. I see that each child would have had their own unique things that they hid away. When your in a big family you need to hide your treasures.. and the less you have the more special your own things are. I see them fighting but I imagine the four boys would have stuck up for each other. In all schools the poorer kids get looked down on.. it happens unfortunately. It would have made the boys toughen up and I imagine fights and difficult moments but as I considered all these things.. I couldn’t help the thought that they had each other. I mean how precious would your siblings have been when they were just about all you had.

Perhaps this is the first ever written account of these early years.. So it feels even more important for me to do this. I rarely see any of my mothers family. One uncle close by I see the most, one of Mum’s younger brothers.
I have learned a lot about the closeness of siblings by watching the bond between my mother and her brother Harry. My mother gave him a home for quite some time.. so I enjoyed getting to know him better. My mother was so loving I sometimes cried. I imagined back that the bonds they formed in those difficult early years gave them deeper love in honouring one another now. My mother would lay her life down for her family and she does and has in many ways. I saw my mother tenderly love and treasure her brother through very difficult times in his life which I think helped turn his heart to GOD and help him know he is precious.. I truly believe the early years must have deeply impacted all 6 of the siblings and shape who they are today and would have impacted us too no doubt. Its a healing place for me personally giving me more understanding how my mother is and how she raised me… I hope these memories might also be a healing place for others too and a time to think about and learn about our family history..

But We Have Each Other~

The nights are long…
The baby whimpers.
The night air is cold…
Our tummies can growl loud.
But we have each other…
We snuggle under threadbare blankets.
Little bodies share a bed top to toe or two or three in a row…
Sometimes Mother has to work away from home.
Oldest sister in charge…
But we have each other.
Long walks to school…
We all do chores when old enough.
Our clothes can have patches…
Father comes and goes and doesn’t stay.
But we have each other…
We fight, yell, and play tag.
Make up our own games…
No relatives visit us.
But we have each other…
Mother does her best.
She gets tired and we try to stay out of her way…
We have our own precious treasures.
Few gifts like other families when its birthday or christmas…
But we have each other.
Six children…
Four brothers, two sisters.
Our Mother who loves us…
We often move from place to place.
Life isn’t easy and we are not rich in worldly goods…
But we have each other.

By Sharon Peart

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