Reflections on life gone awry……

Even the Apple is awry

Even the Apple is awry

Naomi of the beautiful  blog  Coulda Shoulda Woulda sometimes refers to the influence of the   Mercury Retrograde on her life. Although I try not to be too swayed by these  astrological ideas, I am beginning to understand just exactly what she means, for it seems that not only  is Mercury  retrograding, and rampaging, through my  life, but the planets, in their entirety, are at cross-purposes with me and my family.

The current Mercury Retrograde runs from October 21 to November 10, and I will be glad when it is over 🙂  However, even though Mercury is supposedly responsible for making plans go awry during this period, it is also meant to be an excellent time to reflect on the past, review projects, remain flexible and, I am guessing, generally ‘wait your patience.”

The world's awry; Jack tries to help us find out why.

The world’s awry; Jack tries to help us find out why.

So, here are a few reflections on what has gone awry and what has not and what it all might mean.

*Reflection One*

On Oct 26th, my sister-in-law ‘lost’ her 92 year old father to good, old age, and our entire extended family ‘lost’ a dear friend, and the world lost one of its best citizens. When you have known someone for a long time, through ups and downs and all the vagaries of life, it’s hard to find enough words to explain that relationship and what that person means to you. Invariably a long life becomes shortened and condensed in to a few small, but significant, words;  and ,for me, these words are goodness, generosity, service and laughter and compassion; and not in the  constrained and limited sense of their meaning but in a larger than life, boundless, all encompassing  sense. Take each word and stretch it as far as you can and you will have some idea of the wonderful, wondrous man we  affectionately called “Uncle”  Doug.  Farewell, dearest  Uncle Doug;  travel well through the heavens,  as you did here on earth.

*Reflection Two*

On November 4, my mother, who is 91, was unable to walk for the first time since she learned to do so, some 90 years ago.  Despite a good diet and daily, much-loved walks, my mother has, in recent years, been increasingly troubled by osteoporosis.  This week, osteoporosis won its wicked, hurtful battle and my mother has had to accept that life without a wheelchair may now be the norm. Whilst the current situation was inevitable, we all hoped against hope that it wouldn’t happen.  Not yet, not yet. Yet it has, and, somehow, we all have to find the strength to cope and make the most of *what is*.

Miniature Roses for my Mother

Miniature Roses for my Mother

*Reflection Three*

November 5 was  Guy Fawkes Night . It would also have been my maternal grandfather’s 119th birthday.  Each year, when the fireworks start skyrocketing all over the neighbourhood, we joke that our grandfather’s birthday party has begun. When my grandfather was little he probably did think the fireworks were for him, but, later in life, when he grew to hate loud noises, and anything associated with violence, he, like us, no doubt wondered why we continue to celebrate an occasion with origins so far removed from our shores; one that honours ‘gun powder, treason and plot’ and  vengeance. Ghastly!  My grandfather, like Uncle Doug, was one of the world’s good people; he was a gentle man; a man of loving kindness and peace.

*Reflection Four*

And speaking of peace, at the end of this year’s Mercury Retrograde we will come to November 11th,  Armistice (Remembrance) Day, where at the 11th hour we will remember a day and a time, when  planets, politicians and people aligned together, once more,  and the awry became the all right again.

Rose Day

Remembering Rose Day

“Army regulations allow the wearing of a small rose on uniform on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, in a similar manner to which poppies are worn on Anzac Day.”  Both my grandfather and Uncle Doug were soldiers.

© silkannthreades

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74 thoughts on “Reflections on life gone awry……

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The news is looking brighter on that front 🙂 She is in hospital for a few days to receive some pain management and physiotherapy which will hopefully allow her to be up and walking again. Blessings on all the lovely young doctors and nurses who are so caring.

      Reply
  1. greenlightlady

    Your ability to put together a post about cooking or about sad life events and still make them so beautiful is a gift. I am sorry to hear that your mom’s osteoporosis has placed her in a wheelchair. (Your dog is precious!)

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Ah, it’s lovely to have your support for my ‘mix and match’ (or is it ‘mix and mismatch’ ?) style of post. To link back to your river walk post of the other day….you may know that the rivers in my part of the world are braided rivers….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braided_river ….sometimes I think the braided river is a good analogy for the way I write or think about things 🙂

      Reply
  2. lagottocattleya

    Interesting post as usual – and loving words about your nearest and dearest. I’m sorry about your mother, but I guess you are right about accepting and making the most of what is. That’s a thing we have to learn – and learn over and over again it seems. It takes time and effort to do so.

    I have never heard mercury retrograde either. Maybe that’s why so many things went wrong the last weeks? Hopefully it will mend now then so that Christmas will be a time of joy.

    I must say I adore your roses – beautiful! To wake up and see them avery day is a wonder. I also wonder about that apple of yours? What kind of apple is it.? Fine photo.

    Have a lovely Sunday.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mercury retrograde ends on Sunday so let’s hope everything improves from now on 🙂 ! Oh, I just realised it is already Monday here so the retrograde is over for me. I can’t remember what type of apple it was. I had two bags of apples and they were all mixed up in my storage basket. Perhaps it had some Braeburn in it; not sure. Hope your week goes well.

      Reply
  3. Marylin Warner

    I’m sorry your mother is now in a wheelchair, but trust me, you do not want the alternative. My mother-in-law’s osteoporosis became so bad that she suffered a compression fracture each time she turned even a little bit wrong while trying to walk.
    As far as waiting for things to level out, I love your phrase–“…and the awry becomes the all right again.” Yes!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We too are worried about compression fractures with my mother. 😦 Yes, everything seems to find its own balance eventually; it’s just that sometimes getting that balance involves a lot of see-sawing!

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Light-hearted | silkannthreades

  5. beautycalyptique

    you sounded so calm and wise with those words, and yet so sad.
    whether you hold to the astrological idea or not, life has a rhythm, and so the “mercury retrograde” phases, whatever we call them, occur and are important. we look at the failures of the past, we feel the stinging pain of “had I only” and “why didn’t we” and learn, well, ideally, we should learn. we can’t change the past, but we can shape the future. be more attentive. be thankful for life and love and friendship the moment they happen, not as the well runs dry…
    and while I wish your mother the best of health possible, I have to ask: have you changed her diet to help with the medical treatment? as in: ditch dairy for example? I’m sure you can find a nutrition specialist among the medics who can help create a nutritional plan adapted to your mama’s needs.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I do so agree that there are rhythms to life, ebb and flow, good and bad etc; on balance, most things turn out well…eventually. I am very touched that you raise the issue of diet because the implied attitude from medics, once a person reaches a certain age, is ‘oh well, it’s old age, nothing much can be done.” My own doctor says that, as much as diet is important, Vit D is the key component in preventing osteoporosis. Is that what you hear re Vit D?

      Reply
      1. beautycalyptique

        elder people need just as balanced a diet as everybody else, but made for them individually – intolerances must be weighted in, and food should be easy to digest (eg: no raw food excesses). but it’s so important! try to find a renowned dietary expert among the doctors. *good luck*

        as for vit d and calcium: it’s important to identify what in her diet steals calcium, and what can be done to add up calcium and vit d.
        try to look for latest research. re calcium the newest facts suggest: ditch dairy, ditch vegs rich in oxalic acid, ditch food containing phytic acid (eg: spinach) and phosphorus (eg: preserved foods, lemonades); ditch salt; add foods to the diet that are rich calcium like fennel, cabbage varieties, brokkoli, leek, soy.
        vit d is the hardest to get from food, but again, look up what you can find, or if you can find a specialist who can see you mother, check her data, ask her questions… I can only suggest *what* you should look for, but I’m just an informed patient, not a doctor or a nutritionist. even though I’m probably more informed than some doctors.
        But I hope it helps you!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I think you may well be more informed than some doctors! I am intrigued that fennel and leek are rich in calcium. I need to harvest my leeks!!! And there was fennel at the supermarket yesterday and I didn’t buy any. Fortunately where my mother lives in Australia there is the most wonderful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the markets; they are spoilt for choice.

        2. beautycalyptique

          that’s great! so you can help create a healthy, seasonal menu for your mother.
          tip: fennel is delicious grilled or baked with only little oil and herbs of choice (Oregano; herbes de la Provence). and of course, raw with slices of orange and freshly ground pepper. kale is also really rich in calcium. just keep asking the doctors questions! I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh, I have just found a yummy orange and fennel and arugula salad recipe; mouth watering. The dressing has fennel seeds in it; I have those already. In fact I used them the other day in a recipe because I didn’t have any aniseed to hand. Mind you I mostly don’t worry about dressings on salad other than a squeeze of lemon.

  6. Juliet

    What a lovely, thoughtful post. I too have been aware of Mercury Retrograde upsetting the apple cart. My mother had osteoporosis at the end of her life and ended up in bed. But she had a wax-eye feeder placed in a tree outside the window and loved to watch the birds coming and going. She also had beautiful blue glass decals in the window and other things to delight the eye in her room.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thankfully not long to go till Mercury Retrograde is over 🙂 Having something to look at/entertain is very important for all of us. I like to make sure there is a delight for the eye from every chair or bed in the house. Where my mother lives, there is a view over a golf course, so that is a great outlook 🙂 !

      Reply
  7. Virginia Duran

    I know your mother is aware about your blog but don’t think she’ll read my comment. So please tell her to take care on my behalf 🙂
    Secondly, I loved the rose pictures. This kind of flowers makes people cheerful, even if we are a long distance away 😉

    Reply
  8. Middlemay Farm

    Wow, I really loved this piece. My father was one of those beautiful men who took his life and his responsibilities seriously, but made us laugh all the time. I have a lot of hope for young men. I think most are lost in this more feminized society that at times seems bent on sending out insanely mixed messages to boys (and girls).

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Glad you enjoyed my post. I am not sure how our NZ society compares with yours. But one of my main concerns here is increasing levels of violent behaviour from both males and females. On the whole, though, I see/know lots of fine young men and women and I feel hopeful about them and their current and future place in our country (and abroad where many of them go).

      Reply
  9. tiny lessons blog

    Today I was one week ahead in my head (you should have seen my hubby’s facial expression, he was sure I’d lost it) …so I was already at the end of the period when things tend to go awry 🙂 Your roses are fantastic! Something to be happy about when even apples turn awry. Right? I’m sure life will soon return to its natural tracks whatever they may be – and we adapt making the best of what’s there.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Well that is an interesting place to be in; ahead of time instead of behind time. Most of the time we are rushing to catch up because we have fallen behind 🙂 Perhaps you are now happy that you have more time than you thought for your 50,000 words! Sadly, the roses aren’t all mine. The photos with the biggest and best roses are from a nearby rose garden. However, the sweet miniature roses are my very own. Let’s have a toast to getting back on track!

      Reply
  10. Forest So Green

    I love your miniature roses. I never heard of the Mercury retrograde so maybe that explains why I feel so tired today.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The miniature roses are sweet, aren’t they? And they have a lovely perfume. Yes, whatever it is that is wrong; blame it on the Mercury Retrograde 🙂 It feels good to heap the blame on something!

      Reply
  11. Heather in Arles

    I have been away for a few days, going through some sad moments with Toussaint or All Saints Day here in France. Loss. I am terribly sorry to hear of yours and those of your loved ones as well. It is amazing how the good ones reach so far and wide (hmm, I initially typed “wise”, a good mistake!)…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am ever so pleased that you have been celebrating Toussaint. I do wish it were more of a celebration here. I am finding it reassuring and comforting that my dear ‘honorary’ uncle died so close to All Saints. He was a man of deep and generous faith and it seems a lovely time to leave us to be with his beloved wife and his siblings and parents. Thank you for your understanding 🙂

      Reply
  12. YellowCable

    The picture of Jack trying to help gives me a smile. It is funny.

    I just love this “Not yet, not yet. Yet it has, and, somehow, we all have to find the strength to cope and make the most of *what is*.” I have a similar event this year. Life experience that I hope not yet. Yet it has.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Jack always makes me smile 🙂 He’s very special to me. I hope you are finding the strength to cope with your challenges. You always seem positive and cheerful.

      Reply
  13. Travelling Kiwi

    I love your reflections, and the way you tie them together.
    I have found myself increasingly disengaged from Guy Fawkes, and wonder whether we will at some time be able to let this celebration lapse – for the sake of our pets and small children if for nothing else. Perhaps here in New Zealand we could instead celebrate the 5th of November as Parihaka Day. You might be interested in this blog post about it: http://francis-ritchie.com/parihaka-day/
    And I think it would tie in well with Remembrance Day a few days later. The lovely video clip of ‘A Pittance of Time’ was very moving.

    I am sorry that your mother is suffering a loss of mobility after all these years of being active. I remember her as always having a positive attitude; I hope it will sustain her in this adversity. Sending loving thoughts her way – and yours.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am so glad you mentioned Parihaka. I think it would make an excellent day for celebration and remembrance on Nov 5th, especially as Parihaka seems to mark the beginning of the peaceful, non-violent protest movement in our world history. The blog article is excellent. Last night the Transitional Cathedral screened this film http://www.nziff.co.nz/film/tatarakihi which I believe is very good. Other than an item of the film, and one other small one today, I saw nothing else in our paper about Parihaka which I think is an appalling case of neglect by our main newspaper .
      Thank you for your loving thoughts for Mum.

      Reply
  14. KerryCan

    It’s so hard to watch people we love get older and then to lose them. I can’t decide if writing about it helps or brings the emotions closer to the surface. I do know that reading your words helps–it reminds me that others are going through similar struggles and are managing to do with grace. And I think I’ll blame Mercury, too, for things that go wrong–it’s nice to have a target for frustrations!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I , too, am not sure if writing helps but, like your mother with her poems for certain occasions, I sometimes feel the need to record/celebrate/remember significant milestones. Perhaps the writing is the start of the process that eventually brings ‘the helping’ or the ‘healing.” And I agree; it feels good to be able to target Mercury for our troubles.

      Reply
  15. Tracy Rhynas

    A lot to reflect upon, and a reminder that in these lives of ours we are not actually in control. My brother’s birthday is also the 5th November, and yes, when he was little he thought the celebrations were all for him! But then, he also thought the breakfast cereal Special K was also just for him (his name is Kevin). I miss wearing a red poppy this time of year, we don’t have them here….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How cute that your brother thought Special K was just for him! I used to think Guy Fawkes was great fun and loved the ‘ghastly’ rhyme as much as any child. But overall it’s not a celebration that ‘sits’ well for me anymore, particularly not in the New Zealand context. As for Armistice or Remembrance Day would you have a rose that you could wear? Not the same as a poppy though. Perhaps a family member could send you one from the UK or you could make yourself a true old fashioned silk poppy 🙂 ?

      Reply
      1. Tracy Rhynas

        Do you think I should finally break the news to my brother that the K doesn’t really stand for Kevin….? 😉 I actually have a lovely red rose bush in my garden, so I think a bright red rose will do just nicely as a poppy replacement on Armistice Day!

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          The red rose from your garden would be a lovely replacement. I know you will be remembering ‘home’ on November 11 but there must also be a great number of South Africans who served in both Wars. I remember seeing memorials to South Africans at El Alamein.
          As for your brother.. it might be cruel to tell him now ;), although if he has seen any of the Special K advertisements he might be wondering…..

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      The apple is just weird! Found amongst my bag of supermarket apples. Thought it might have been affected by a Mercury Retrograde in its formative moments 😉

      Reply
  16. Coulda shoulda woulda

    Gosh, I am so sorry to hear about it all.

    A passing is always hard no matter how peaceful and expected…

    I know debilitating conditions also wear on the mind so it will be a period of adjustment…I do hope going forward that is including mercury that this is a breather and looking back collecting ourselves and we push on with a new energy!

    Armistice day is perfect timing this year!

    Ps ta for the kind mention.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I tried to check the dates for the Mercury Retrograde in 1918 and I think the Armistice was declared in a non retrograde period in that year 🙂 As with all supposedly awry and ‘wrong’ things there is always a positive side to be found. I am sure you are finding that with your renovations……:) All the lovely scenes and discoveries you have featured recently on your blog have helped add pleasure to these recent ‘darker’ days of mine.

      Reply
  17. Just Add Attitude

    I didn’t know that the Mercury is retrograde at the moment but thankfully I have escaped things going awry, so I am lucky. You not so much at the moment, I am sorry to hear your mother is now wheel-chair bound and that you ‘lost’ ‘uncle’ Doug, your words are a great tribute to him.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Mercury retrograde is a new idea to me. Even though it’s been around forever, I have only just caught up with it. I am slow like that 🙂 It’s reassuring that Mercury is only retrograde 3 or 4 times a year and the rest of the time it is very well behaved. On balance that means things should go better more times than they go wrong 🙂

      Reply
  18. Clanmother

    When my father passed away a couple of years ago, someone sent me this quote which is a reminder that we live in the infinite. “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” Rabindranath Tagore

    We are getting reading for Remembrance Day here in Canada. Terry Kelly, a Nova Scotian, singer/songwriter wrote “A Pittance of Time.” I think you will find the story behind it as interesting as the song.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Goosebumps, goosebumps. How absolutely right; that 2 minutes silence is a pittance of time, yet so important to offer, to make every second count. The Tagore quote is beautiful, truly beautiful. Thank you.

      Reply
  19. ordinarygood

    Please tell me more about your apple! And Jack does look learned and happy to be on a chair if you please! Your roses are so beautiful and so healthy and have cheered me on such a grey day here. Mercury seems to be in full force here too – computer challenges, formatting challenges, an odd message on Facebook for me that caused me to feel awry, profound weariness abounding in the household……at least I can mutter at Mercury.
    Loss of life and physical ability and bodily comfort are tough things to have to experience. Sending warm wishes and caring thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your warm wishes are appreciated, greatly. And, yes, it is rather fun to unleash our mutterings on Mercury. The apple, I don’t understand at all. I discovered it in a bag of supermarket apples (Mahana apples, I think); I haven’t seen anything like it before. It really looks like two different apples in one. ( It didn’t taste that way). Jack, of course, is not supposed to be on the chair, but my son instructed him to go there so he did!

      Reply
  20. pleisbilongtumi

    Earth loves Mercury since they are best friends. Reflecting on life gone awry is the only nice way the human can do. Lovely tribute to those you love and there will be another one for us too. No one knows when!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      No one does know when. How right you are. All the more important that we enjoy every moment that we can, and even make the most of the awry moments too.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Why thank you and perhaps you are suggesting that I throw a torte in the face of Mercury 😀 Don’t worry I wouldn’t waste a beautiful schaum-torte! It looks delicious and I won’t throw out the egg yolks either. Isn’t your mother a beauty ? 🙂

      Reply
  21. jaggh53163

    “Army regulations allow the wearing of a small rose on uniform on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday, in a similar manner to which poppies are worn on Anzac Day.” What a lovely way to honor those days. I had no idea.

    Reply
  22. Mrs. P

    It is the beautiful people in the world that make us feel grateful for life and yet their loss is the heaviest and their absence missed most. What a beautiful tribute to those you love.

    Reply

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