Darkness and light

by Veronica on June 24, 2014

in Cancer,Grief,Headfuck

Five years ago, we clustered around a bed in a palliative care ward, waiting. Holding hands, talking, but mostly, waiting.

It didn’t take long in retrospect, although the hours felt interminable, waiting for the next breath to come, the death rattle heavy in the room.

Until the next breath didn’t come and it was over. Months of appointments, of waiting, of saying goodbye over and over, culminated in one sharp moment when it stopped.

And then we all breathed again and had to go on without her. She stopped, but we failed to stop with her, and the hole of her leaving grew bigger as we missed her.

The first sign: wild ducks fleeing, circling frantically overhead like a crowd of mismanaged school children, no one sure where to go next. They hide in the trees and fall silent.

Not a bird in the sky, until we look closer, and see them, circling. Hunting maybe, or courting.

Round and round the eagles go, my eyes spotty from looking up at the bright sky, a cup of tea warm and heavy in my hands. The undersides of their wings glint gold in the sunlight, bright enough to make my eyes tear up as I look away.

We watch until they disappear over the horizon.

The crows return first, flying over, cawing their life loudly. Then the sparrows. A rosella. Our neighbours pigeons.

Life goes on, even with the shadow of death hanging over us.

Forty minutes to make three kilos of soap. Twenty minutes standing outside. Ten minutes reading. Today is broken up into blocks of minutes as we count down.

For a moment, everything will stop.

And then I’ll draw breath again and on we’ll go, into our sixth year without her.

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June has stolen all my words

by Veronica on June 21, 2014

in Grief,Headfuck

After five years, it feels strange to come to this place, here, and talk about grief. About how it changes, and yet doesn’t. About how grief never leaves you, the great whistling hole through your centre never closes right over.

Grief is grief is grief.

Missing someone never quite stops. Things happen and I wish, I wonder, I want.

It’s been almost five years and I don’t have words anymore.

A series of events conspired to send me into a place mentally I haven’t been for a while. I feel raw, the bandaids torn off with no warning. I think about writing and stop. Turn away. Do something else.

Do you really want to write about that? Open yourself up for more judgement?

I don’t know.

I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like I need to defend my life, my choices, my right to be here.

On Stateline last night, a family of acrobats twisted and twirled through the air, circus tricks and stunt work. They glossed over the fact that the house has no running water, limited solar power, there’s no money. Focus instead on the happiness, the family togetherness, the joy that living an honest life brings.

I watched and I laughed and laughed, feeling a kinship with a family I’ve never met.

How dare we be happy. How dare we choose a life outside of the suburban normal, nine to five, a salary and prospects of more debt to keep up with people we don’t like.

How very dare we.

I can see them, the unhappy people, hiding in the corners here, judging, waiting and watching like a dog waiting to be thrown a bone.

I’m disabled, I have to right to happiness. I ought to be miserable, a loser in the genetic lottery.

But really, I wonder, why does the life of one small Tasmanian family offend them so much?

It’s all tied to grief, to missing, to yearning. Someone came in and stomped around, tore down my walls; my defences. I need a thicker skin.

Maybe then I wouldn’t feel so sick when I think about writing about my life still.

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Look, I only support Pozibles when I think the rewards are cool enough to warrant my money. I look at it as pre-buying something, rather than donating. It’s not a charity, right?

Which is why I’ve been so happy to see cool Pozibles popping up lately.

This one is from my friend Sallyanne who is a professional balloonist, a single mother of three girls (one with serious complex disabilities) and a fantastic lady. And she’s offering you awesome rewards so she can get to a ballooning conference, which sounds like she might be trying to run away somewhere, but I don’t think so.

If you’re interested in a children’s entertainer for a birthday party or event, or a bouquet of balloon flowers, or a freaking jet pack, you really ought to check out her pozible.

Sallyanne is also my friend and she’s supported me while Eve was in hospital, being all around awesome. I feel like the least we can do is support her now. And receive SUPER AWESOME things in return.

Sallyanne Pozible

Speaking of super awesome things, you know who else is running a Pozible at the moment? Frogpondsrock. She’s met her goal, but with every dollar over, it takes the pressure off the travel costs she’s already paid.

Plus, it might allow her to do some cool things like see Lake Ballard at dawn, and buy fripperies like super powerful sunscreen so she doesn’t fry in the Kalgoorlie sunshine.

If you’d like to Pozible up a pledge, it’s basically like preordering her ceramic art, only it’s wholesale prices, not gallery prices, so you really can’t lose.

Also available are family workshops and corporate workshops – the former is great for birthday parties also, and the latter is a good way to make your work colleagues get dirty in the name of art.

Kim Pozible

So my lovely friends, if you’ve got a spare dollar or three hundred, there are things up for grabs you might otherwise not get at such good prices.

Go forth! Support!

 

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Yesterday, standing out in the paddock with the two youngest children, I waited for the lovely Helen from ABC radio to come up and interview me about my disability, reproductive choices and quality of life.

At the same time, I kicked a ball to Evelyn and tried not to panic.

Something I thought was nobody’s business but ours has turned into a Thing, and frankly, I have a headache over it.

You see, what you are saying when you say we should not have had a third baby, is that people like me shouldn’t exist. That I am somehow worth less as a person because of my genetics. When you judge my children based on a small string of genetic code and find them wanting, you are telling them they are worth no more than their genetics.

How is that not eugenics? This idea of some people having less value to a society because of their genetic fitness.

It’s a slippery slope, and yes, I know, your situation is different. But that’s the thing – your situation may require different choices to mine. Your situation may be entirely different.

Different people decide different things about having children all the time.

This is not the pain olympics. Your situation does not define mine, nor mine yours.

Asking me to say I was irresponsible for bringing children in to this world is asking me to regret my choices, my children. I can’t do that. I will never do that.

It also implies that had we known about Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, my mother should have aborted me, and so on, back through our family line. Cleansed the world of a genetic fault before any one could ever “suffer”.

But I’m not “suffering”. I don’t find my existence to be one of suffering. I don’t sit here, waiting for my life to be done, wishing my mother had aborted me.

When everyone else sees me as merely the sum of my disability, a collection of “issues” that they would “hate to live with” and “I can’t even imagine how you live”, I am busy getting on with my life.

This is the body I was born in. I don’t spend time regretting my inability to run marathons. Instead I do all the things that make me happy. And maybe I am lucky – my interests align well with my abilities.

I spend time with my family. We play video games and laugh uproariously. We read books. I write things (lots of things). I make soap.

We’re happy.

Let me repeat that.

I am so happy with my life and the path I am on.

I don’t spend all day dwelling on how my joints work. Do you? Do you spend all day noticing how your ankles move? Or how your hair colour affects the way people speak to you? Or how you breathe? Or how your eye movements control what you see?

Of course you don’t.

We don’t spend every moment of every day aware of our bodies and the things we can and cannot do.

Why would you think I sit here in a pit of angst worrying about how I can’t weightlift? Or run?

Ridiculous.

I’d been loathe to write about this again, because hear this: What I decide to do with my uterus is none of your business. Not even a little bit. Not an ounce. You don’t get a say. If I decided to go and have another five babies, you still wouldn’t get a say.

My disability does not define my worth, nor does it define the worth of my family.

Remember that the next time you feel inclined to say something to me.

Comments are moderated on this post and all others from here on in. It’s not something I ever wanted to do, preferring instead to foster a group of commenters who were adult and able to agree or disagree with me without resorting to vitriol and assholery.

That’s changed now and I am controlling the conversation. If you feel the need to comment like a dick and it doesn’t add to the conversation, I will delete you, but not before mocking you on social media.

You can disagree with me. You can comment with an entirely different perspective and situation. You can talk about your own situation or your reaction to my situation all you like.

But you can’t attack me or my family personally, you can’t attack choices other commenters make and you can’t spread your vitriol around like manure on the garden.

 

{ 19 comments }

ALL THE SOAPS

by Veronica on May 25, 2014

in Soapmaking

I’m working on the shop website today after realising last night May is almost over.

Where did the time go? I DON’T KNOW BUT SEPTEMBER IS GETTING CLOSER hold me.

Part of getting the website ready is doing bits and pieces each week so that once September is here and the final paperwork is finalised, I don’t have to spend a week adding all the products, their descriptions and details.

This means, product shots!

And because it’s Sunday and I haven’t yet managed a proper breakfast or cup of tea yet (Eve is quite unwell and has gifted Amy and I with the plague), I thought I’d share the photos here first.

You guys like soap photos, right?

Lemonade

Above: Lemonade soap. Sweet and sharp, this fragrance smells exactly like lemonade in summer.

Below: Lemon hand soap – “Potter’s Soap” designed for ceramicists who constantly have their hands in and out of water, and covered with drying clay. Also good for anyone who has issues with soap drying their skin. Scented with a tart lemon smell.

Lemon Hand Soap

Lavender Hand Soap

Above: Luxurious Lavender Hand Soap – another “Potter’s Soap”

Below: Hunter’s Night soap.  This fragrance is described as “Very sexy masculine scent, with notes of exotic woods, musk, oakmoss and hints of lime and cyclamen ” – I just think it’s delicious. My whole house smells like this one. You can see the discolouration on the edges, over the next fortnight the soap should turn a glossy brown.

Hunter's Night

Wild Wild West

Above: Wild Wild West. I probably need to rename this. The fragrance: “Top notes of Tumble Weeds, Basil Leaves, and Tonka Beans; followed by middle notes of Brushed Suede, Earthy Patchouli, and Amber Stone; all sitting on manly base notes of Aged Saddle Leather, Red Cedar, and Full Musk.”

I can’t promise I can smell all those scents, but it smells smoky and sexy, with an undernote of saddles and horses.

Below: Dragon’s Blood.

I held off on buying this fragrance, worried it would be too hippy. However, I can see why it’s such a best seller for people who make soap.

Warm, woody and earthy scent, with notes of amber, vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli & light tones of powdery musks and hints of asian florals to bring out subtle spice undertones.

Dragon Blood

Unscented with beeswax

Above: An unscented soap with beeswax. There is a very faint smell of beeswax and honey in this soap still, but nothing artificial to bother people with sensitive skin.

Below: Spearmint and Eucalyptus.

Originally I thought I’d use these smells to make a scrubby foot soap, but it’s so nice I made regular bath soap with it too.

Spearmint Eucalyptus

Edited to add:

If you’re interested in being notified by email when the soap shop is about to launch, you can sign up for my email list right here. HANDY DANDY.

Veronica Foale Essentials Launch




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