On a cake and a prayer

In the small hours of Tuesday morning, I settled into bed and into my 15 minutes of  dedicated, purposeful reading with my current book   Heaven on Earth by Stephanie Dowrick. My bookmark was placed, from the night before, at page 118, and, when I pressed open the pages, this is the prayer that greeted me:

Watch, dear Lord, with those
who wake or weep tonight.
Let your angels guard those who sleep.
Tend the sick.
Refresh the weary.
Comfort those who are dying.
Soothe the suffering.
Have mercy on those who are distressed.
We ask this for your love’s sake.

Augustine of Hippo

I know very little about Augustine of Hippo. I don’t know exactly when he wrote this prayer.  I don’t even know if I like him, or his ideas, or would have liked him way back when. But it moved me deeply  that someone, a hugely long time ago (somewhere, perhaps between 386 and 430 AD) wrote the words that I needed to hear, that I needed formulated for me, in 2014.  It moved me that, on the very day I needed them most, they appeared before me. But, in truth, it was more than being moved; it was more as if Augustine himself,  scroll in hand,  had reached through the ages and said, “Here, take this, I wrote it for you, right here, right now.” Was it a miracle ? (Unlikely)  Was it timely? (Certainly)  Did the prayer work? Possibly, but evidence suggests not for the bone-tired sister I had in mind. But, for me, it did bring some peace and rest and I have repeated this prayer every night since.

Last Sunday, the recent, particularly stressful weeks of  letting ‘nature’ take its heart-breaking course with my daughter’s mental health came to the inevitable conclusion; and she was hospitalized for the sake of her health and well-being. No fun for anyone: not for the daughter, crying uncontrollably; not for the mother listening, helplessly, on the other end of a phone thousands of kilometres away, across land and sea, and not for the on-the-spot aunt, trying to cope, in utter weariness, with the complex needs of elderly, frail parents and a troubled niece.

A few days on, a few prayers later, another phone call to my daughter and I hear words that cradle me: “Mum, they keep bringing us little cakes. They are so delicious. It’s so good to eat cake again. ”  Thank you, thank you, anyone who wants to be thanked. My daughter is delighting in cake once more.

This is only the beginning for my daughter’s recovery. It may even be a false start. Years of less than perfect mental hygiene do not vanish at the pop of a pill or two. Many of the bloggers I follow are affected by mental health issues; by health issues; many are weary; many are caring for family; many are grieving. There is nothing unusual about these situations. They are part of the human condition. As Stephanie Dowrick writes  on page 150 ” First Noble Truth: In life there is suffering.  We free ourselves whenever we ask:  “How can I help?”

And, I would add, by asking, “How can we help each other?”  By being “Angels” for each other? By prayer, by care?  By simply being there, and here, and taking time to listen, to read, to be compassionate and to lighten each other’s load? And by reminding ourselves, over and over, that in life we can also find joy and laughter and fun….and cake. 🙂

Helping  make the Christmas Cake; circa 1988, New York

Helping make the Christmas Cake; circa 1988, New York

© silkannthreades

 

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162 thoughts on “On a cake and a prayer

  1. quarteracrelifestyle

    Gallivanta… I don’t know your name. I always had fragile mental health and was hospitalised twice many years ago through stress and trauma, I now work in peer support work and don’t struggle at all (until the quakes here last year and once again experienced alot of anxiety that had disappeared). I know how very hard this must be for you and that love and support go so, so far. I wish your daughter every happiness….life can and does get very much better. xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your lovely encouragement. My daughter has peer support/ and care support twice a week now and it is invaluable for my peace of mind; and it seems to help her, too. A very long way to go, I’m afraid, but at least there are some days now when she feels a little better. Sometimes a crisis has good points. 🙂 xx

      Reply
      1. quarteracrelifestyle

        Oh, it definately does. A hard way to go but I learned much about myself, I was always stronger than I thought I was. I am pleased she has peer support, most find it very helpful… I wish it had been around back then. Best wishes to you both. xx

        Reply
  2. Poetsmith

    I do empathise with you and your daughter as anything as traumatic as an earthquake would definitely be very stressful. Do hope and pray that she is recovering well. Yes, God is the greatest Comforter. May He continue to give you both the strength that you need especially at this time. Love, Iris. 🙂

    Reply
  3. jennyredhen

    Where in the world is your daughter??
    I think she needs to give up listening to Wagner.. he has composed the most depressing music of all the composers. Most of his music is very depressing. Sorry to say this but Wagner could be the trigger of all her problems. I am serious … she could be addicted to Wagner. You know how we keep going back to things…even though we know they are bad for us.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My daughter is as far from the earthquakes as she could get; ie Far North Queensland. 🙂 Now you have me thinking…addicted to Wagner? She is not listening to him at the moment so that sounds hopeful!

      Reply
      1. jennyredhen

        Hi Gallivanta, You dont have to reply to this I am just trying to help I am the person that was talking about Wagner. A lot of depressed people seem to listen to Wagner. i have noticed this. John Kirwan talks about the triggers of depression and how to recognise and avoid them . Maybe Wagner is a trigger for your daughter. Its a temptation to flirt with triggers or addictoions as they are usually pleasurable for a while..like the alcoholic who has given up alcohol for years thinking it wont hurt to have one drink and then slides black into full blown drinking again or overweight people who want to have just one chocolate biscuit and end up eating the whole packet. Its just a thought. Having a loving and caring mother is a big plus for your daughter.You dont have to reply.
        .

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          jennyredhen, thank you for your thoughtful comment. My daughter has just caught up with my blog posts and she was interested in your earlier comment on Wagner. We had a little discussion about it and she says she would agree with you that Wagner is addictive. Happily,(I think ?), she says she has been listening to Beethoven lately. 🙂 By the way, I am a fan of John Kirwan. I looked back in my posts and found this that I wrote exactly a year ago. You may wish to read it. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/in-whom-we-trust/

  4. writingwingsforyou

    It’s amazing how the perfect words reach our ears and our hearts when we need them. Ourangels lift them on wings to us. I loved hearing your daughter’s voice about cake. It’s the simple things in life that being us joy. We can keep on writing to heal.

    Reply
  5. Wendy Macdonald

    What a lovely mom you are to your daughter. A mother’s sincere love and prayers are in themselves a sweet cake of blessing. It’s a writer’s dream to think that words they’ve written may live long after they’ve left to comfort and encourage others. I’m so glad for books that light our dark hallways. As a mother of three teens I appreciate quotes like the one you posted more than I ever have before.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    Reply
  6. Britt Skrabanek

    Such a gorgeous post, Gallivanta! I do not know what it is like to feel this way, but I love your positive outlook which is always the best medicine. Love, support, and cake…those are all wonderful things.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Britt, the positive outlook dips and slips sometimes. But as you said in your latest post, sometimes we crash and that’s okay. 🙂 Hop back on the bike and get pedaling again!

      Reply
  7. violetski

    I am deeply moved by reading this post and honestly tears run from my eyes…..
    So sorry to hear about your daughter. Unfortunately I can’t send you a cake to make her happy again but I will pray for her, for her recovery and enjoying many more❤️
    Love and hugs❤️

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Violet for your prayers and hugs. In previous weeks when my daughter wanted me to tell her happy things I would tell her about Malus and your paintings. 🙂

      Reply
  8. tableofcolors

    What a beautiful post about life, the real life. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles, but as you so correctly said mental health is part of the human condition. I really hope that your daughter’s recovery will go smoothly although it will most likely take a lot of time. I wish I could give you a hug! The prayer was perfect.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Laila, reading your posts , with their lovely images and gorgeous food, is like receiving a hug. 🙂 And I always feel very good when I make those lovely spinach crepes. Thank you for your concern.

      Reply
  9. Letizia

    I’m so touched by your post, Gallivanta. I live far away from a family member who struggles with mental health issues and, at times, it has been difficult to be so far away. And I’m not even his mother so I can’t begin to imagine your own turmoil. But my family member has – after many many years of ups and downs, found peace at last: a routine, a support system, and contentment for the most part. I wish that for your daughter as well.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Letizia for your kind wishes. A routine, a support system and contentment sound perfect to me. I think that process is under way for my daughter. Hope so!

      Reply
  10. Juliet

    What a moving post this is. It must be agonising, being a mother so far away, when your daughter is in such trouble. But you found the way to reach her through prayer. The cakes sound hopeful. May the prayers continue to reach through to where they are needed.

    Reply
  11. cindy knoke

    Okay this one made me cry because of the sheer beauty of it. I am so glad your daughter is getting help and thrilled that she is eating cake! I am so happy you shared this post because you get to see how many people truly love you and care about you. You selection of quotations are truly moving and so hit to the core of what is important in this world. You know that I am a retired therapist who is very far away from you but if I can do anything, sounding board, strategy, etc please email me.
    One final thought, there is no such thing as a mentally healthy person. In 27 years as a therapist I challenged clients to bring me their emotionally healthy friend or relative and everyone laughed ruefully and acknowledged there is no such bird. It is true however that some people suffer more than others at various phases of their life which of course is so unfair. But ultimately we all will suffer emotionally and we all have feet of clay.
    Tell your daughter we are pulling for her. We are. Big time. Hugz to you my friend~

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Cindy, you gave me a smile..I love the challenge you gave your clients. It’s true; we are all on a mental health continuum. I wish I could send you “par avion” to my daughter. You would give her a smile too. My daughter encouraged me to start blogging and would often ask after my blogging friends. She knew you as the lucky lady who was going to hear Wagner, with her husband. Spending hours and hours listening to Wagner is her idea of heaven. 🙂

      Reply
  12. LaVagabonde

    So sorry to hear about your daughter. As someone who was submerged in darkness for many, many years, I can say that enjoying cake is a very good sign. I’m glad to hear that you’re finding some comfort as well. My thoughts are with you.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      That’s good to know and thank you. I reckon those thermal spas, as in Budapest, would be very therapeutic. I wonder if mental health is stronger in Budapest than in similar countries?

      Reply
      1. LaVagabonde

        Oh my, no. Hungary (Buapest is the capitol) used to be #1 on suicide rate in the world, and it’s still in the top 5. So the baths don’t have much effect on that.

        Reply
  13. lensandpensbysally

    I am deeply moved by your sentiments and words. The power of others who lived in history’s past to touch our heartstrings expresses the human condition, and it’s similarities no matter time or place. Burt I am mostly emotionally moved by your discussion about your daughter. I have learned that we are all affected by the imperfections of our humanity. Families are composed of varied individuals who give to us and we give to them. It’s a road of endless ups and downs that are unexpected and surprisingly wonderful and dreadful. My thoughts are with you. I am also touched by your continual spirituality.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Sally, thank you for your kind response. You reminded me of the latest All Right? poster which is called the Canterbury Roller Coaster. I hope you can see it here. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=237871386402820&set=a.115154102007883.1073741828.114498175406809&type=1&theater The words which go with the poster are these “The newest phase of our campaign…the Canterbury Roller Coaster. Did you know recovering from a disaster emotionally can take between five and ten years? We’re all at different places on our recovery journey – keep checking in with those around you and look after yourself too. We have more bumps and loops to go…let’s ride them together.” Your kind words and those of other bloggers make me feel we are riding together. I am sad that the trauma the earthquakes added to my daughter’s mental health will add years to her healing but at least I know it’s ‘normal’.

      Reply
  14. dadirri7

    thoughts and prayers with you from Spain Gallivanta … a beautiful loving photo at the end of your post, happy times with food, such a healing thing … and I am not surprised you found the right words when you needed them, the Universe is so good and loving, so wise and timely, blessings dear one ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your warm greetings from warm Spain. You and other wonderful bloggers are daily proof that the universe is good and loving. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Clanmother

    Ah, Gallivanta – an excellent dialogue. Your post and the life-affirming comments of our blogging community are a testament to the courage and resilience of the human spirit. The journey that you and your daughter are walking is not for the faint of heart. One thing is certain – we are in this together. The statistics on mental health issues is staggering and there is not one of us who will not be affected whether directly or indirectly. We live in a fast paced, mercurial world that challenges our physical and mental well-being on a daily, even hourly basis. I have been reading Joseph Campbell this past week. This is the phrase that spoke to me –

    “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I am so glad that your daughter enjoyed the cake!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We are certainly in this together, Clanmother. Interestingly, a hundred years ago, we were all about to be in a war which touched almost every family in New Zealand. Epigenetics http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes suggest that war trauma and stress can be inherited, passed on through our genes. Given the prevalence of mental health anguish in our society, and the way it touches almost every family, like that war did, I am inclined to agree with epigenetic theories. We are definitely challenged by our environment. My daughter enjoys her cake but she has been slightly challenged by the meat pie that comes with morning tea. That’s a novelty for her!

      Reply
  16. earthbornliving

    I read your post on Friday and it has stayed with me throughout the weekend. I imagine your daughter cradled in very special hands. I have worked in organisations where I was privileged to witness real healing and support and transformation with Love. “Hope lies in a poetry through which the world so invades the spirit of a man that he becomes almost speechless” poetry, prayers, songbirds, streams and fresh green beginnings to you and yours, from crisis and dark nights comes possibility and delighting once again in cake is a good place to begin. Thoughts across the miles ….

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Those are very healing thoughts. Thank you. The nursing staff I speak to each time I phone seem so kind. At the moment rest is the main treatment but, hopefully, there will soon be therapy and other healing strategies in place.

      Reply
  17. Steve Schwartzman

    You’ve reminded me of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha. Here’s how the site at

    http://www.pbs.org/edens/thailand/buddhism.htm

    explains them:

    “The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha’s teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. More simply put, suffering exists; it has a cause; it has an end; and it has a cause to bring about its end. The notion of suffering is not intended to convey a negative world view, but rather, a pragmatic perspective that deals with the world as it is, and attempts to rectify it. The concept of pleasure is not denied, but acknowledged as fleeting. Pursuit of pleasure can only continue what is ultimately an unquenchable thirst. The same logic belies an understanding of happiness. In the end, only aging, sickness, and death are certain and unavoidable.

    “The Four Noble Truths are a contingency plan for dealing with the suffering humanity faces — suffering of a physical kind, or of a mental nature. The First Truth identifies the presence of suffering. The Second Truth, on the other hand, seeks to determine the cause of suffering. In Buddhism, desire and ignorance lie at the root of suffering. By desire, Buddhists refer to craving pleasure, material goods, and immortality, all of which are wants that can never be satisfied. As a result, desiring them can only bring suffering. Ignorance, in comparison, relates to not seeing the world as it actually is. Without the capacity for mental concentration and insight, Buddhism explains, one’s mind is left undeveloped, unable to grasp the true nature of things. Vices, such as greed, envy, hatred and anger, derive from this ignorance.

    “The Third Noble Truth, the truth of the end of suffering, has dual meaning, suggesting either the end of suffering in this life, on earth, or in the spiritual life, through achieving Nirvana. When one has achieved Nirvana, which is a transcendent state free from suffering and our worldly cycle of birth and rebirth, spiritual enlightenment has been reached. The Fourth Noble truth charts the method for attaining the end of suffering, known to Buddhists as the Noble Eightfold Path. The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Moreover, there are three themes into which the Path is divided: good moral conduct (Understanding, Thought, Speech); meditation and mental development (Action, Livelihood, Effort), and wisdom or insight (Mindfulness and Concentration).”

    Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        I first read about Buddhism in 1968 or ’69, and I found much to like there. As seems to happen to any religion that becomes popular, followers of Buddhism over the centuries added layers of myth, ritual, and iconography, but the original insights are still there.

        Reply
  18. leapingtracks

    Gallivanta, as many commentators have said, this is so moving. You mentioned in a previous reply that sunbeams would be welcome. St Francis, as you probably know, said ‘A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows’. I think you are a sunbeam in your daughter’s life, and vice versa. This will provide both of you with much strength through these difficult times. Sending you both much love xxx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You and St Francis understand sunbeams completely! Thank you for your love and support. Right now the sun is shining and I am so grateful for it. In fact, there has been sun for several days which is just lovely compensation for the cold nights and frosty mornings.

      Reply
      1. leapingtracks

        There’s nothing quite like a nice run of sunshine, is there. We have had a similar spell here and instead of crunching up one’s shoulders against the rain and cold, one can relax and stretch back, take layers off and smile. It makes all the difference in the world.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, that crunched up shoulder business is horrible. At least where my daughter is there is lots of warmth and sunshine.

  19. Marylin Warner

    Loving, honest, beautiful post.
    I’m familiar with the prayer by Augustine of Hippo. It’s matted and framed and hangs inside the entry to the hospice wing in a local care center. It’s also on the front of one of the “Cards for Caregivers” they provide in the gift shop. It’s a touching all-inclusive blessing, and I’m so glad you posted it.
    Blessings on your daughter, on those who bake her little cakes and those who help her heal, and especially on you, her mother. Many, many blessings.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Marylin, your loving blessings for everyone are heart-warming. And I am very pleased that you told me that Augustine’s prayer is part of the hospice caring and care-giving in your area.That seems so perfectly right. Thank you. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Cynthia Reyes

    What a moving post.
    Thank you for sharing. It’s clearly a challenging time.

    Please email at cynthia.reyes@rogers.com with your daughter’s first name. I am praying for you both.
    Maybe that prayer comes into our lives when we need it most. I first read it (forget where, could have been one of Jan Karon’s Mitford books) in the years after being injured in a car accident – it was such a grim time. I read this prayer over and over. I love it and am very glad you found it.

    Please accept a big virtual hug from Ontario, Canada.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Cynthia, I love knowing your connection with Augustine’s prayer; that it found you, too. I will send you an email shortly; I am deeply touched that you would like to name her in your prayers. Thank you for that big virtual hug. 🙂

      Reply
  21. Leya

    Your daughter is in safe hands and expressed being happy about eating a cake. And, you have had good talks with her. Rest in that. I know it is difficult, because being a mother never ends. I know that when a person who’s been ill starts to think and care about others/other things, then he or she is getting better. My children also has gone through difficult times, over working things and exhausting themselves mentally. Now they are grown up and want to manage on their own. Gradually I have let go…trying to understand that I cannot and should not always rescue them even if I worry much about them…constantly.
    I think things are going the right way now for your daughter! It’s a feeling.

    Warm hugs to you, and my thoughts are with you and her.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, thank you Ann-Christine for your wise counsel. We do have to let go. I am guilty of over-rescuing in the past. I do believe my daughter is in safe hands; probably better hands than mine would be at this stage. More than anything I want her to achieve independence and the ability to live well without me. 🙂 Here’s hoping!

      Reply
      1. Leya

        I don’t know if I’m wise, but I do know that I too have been over rescuing. My son has clearly told me that he wants to manage everything on his own…that was a blow, but I understood. He’s 22. We will never stop worrying – being mothers. My mother still worries about me. I hope everything will turn out well! It really usually does.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I think our sons are much a like! Mine wants to manage without me, too, which is a good reminder to me of how I wanted to (and was!) oh so independent at the same age. 🙂

  22. shoreacres

    Reading of your troubles, I was glad to find Dame Julian’s words quietly tucked into your comment above. Augustine’s prayer is both tender and strong, but Julian’s great affirmation seems even larger and more sure, a declaration that all of it — the seemingly insoluble, the unutterably painful, the completely mysterious — will, in the end, be caught up in mercy and grace.

    Details are unimportant, but I will say I’ve had my own experience with situations where every move seems a bad one — the proverbial rock and the hard place. In the end, choice and circumstance generally combine to force a decision of some sort, and then we go on. My hope is that your experience of “all being well” in this situation comes sooner rather than later.

    And here’s an interesting aside. I spent time with friends on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in ’78 and celebrated Christmas with them in ’79. If I’d known you were there, we could have had tea!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Oh my goodness we were so close in 78/79. I actually spent Christmas 78 with friends in a place called Valhalla in Westchester County. I don’t know much about Julian or Augustine but, of the little I have read, I would say that Julian may be closer to my way of thinking and feeling than Augustine. That is a very superficial observation, of course. Our former minister who often used the Julian prayer would say “things tend to turn out okay” and really they do, but it’s hard to see how they will, at times.

      Reply
      1. shoreacres

        I think things do “turn out ok” in the long run. But our perception of things depends a lot on whether our horizon is eternity, or next Tuesday. 😉

        Reply
  23. Mrs. P

    “And, I would add, by asking, “How can we help each other?”… By simply being there, and here, and taking time to listen, to read, to be compassionate and to lighten each other’s load? And by reminding ourselves, over and over, that in life we can also find joy and laughter and fun….and cake. :)”

    Yes, sometimes that is all we can do. HUGS!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My dear Naomi. It has come through. I am reading it carefully. The link you sent is a gem.Cheered me enormously. A proper response to your kindness is coming soon.

      Reply
  24. restlessjo

    That hit me right in the stomache, Ann. My daughter has battled life-long mental health problems and some of my darkest days were when she stayed with me following a spell in hospital. She had attempted suicide and I used to wait outside her bedroom door, holding my breath, listening for any movement to reassure me she was still alive.
    Today she still struggles to keep her head above water sometimes. Her husband, whom she loves dearly, is delusional and needs medication to keep him stable. You never met a nicer guy, but oh, the troubles they have weathered, Ann. My heart goes out to you. I’m glad you can find some solace in prayer.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      My heart goes out to you, too, Jo. And to your daughter and her husband. I don’t believe I have met anyone who has, or has had, an easy, trouble-free life but some people do seem to have to struggle harder and longer than others. The best part is that, despite your dark days, you can take me on your lovely walks and travels and really lift my spirit. I thank you for that.

      Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I am glad you find comfort in Augustine’s prayer. Reading it reminded me of another prayer that I have found comforting, the Jesus Prayer http://www.svots.edu/content/rossi-jesus-prayer. Also, in my younger years, when I was afraid or deeply worried, I would repeatedly sing (to myself) a wonderful hymn which I first learned when I went to boarding school, Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dear_Lord_and_Father_of_Mankind I can’t find a good Youtube recording of it, unfortunately. I would like to listen to a good rendition and remember that divine sense of calm it gave me. Strangely, at the time of the earthquakes, when I was truly the most terrified I have ever been, not a single prayer entered my head. There was no room. 😦

  25. Tiny

    Oh dear Gallivanta, I’ve sensed some worry and sadness in your posts lately. Now I understand what you’ve been carrying. Our children’s wellbeing is always closest to our heart and when they are not well, we are not well. I’ve experienced that deeply when my son was very close to dying in an accident just two years ago. Prayer and being in the nature helped me to overcome the worst times, and now I am so thankful that he has recovered completely. I hope and pray that the care your daughter is receiving now will help her achieve stability and enable her to enjoy life again. The first signs are certainly encouraging. My warmest thoughts and prayers are with you and her.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Tiny, I have felt we were heading to this ‘crisis” point for some weeks now. Your senses are finely attuned, which is not surprising given your beautiful understanding of words and images and your love of nature and its creatures, especially Bumble. 🙂 What a difficult and frightening time you had with your son. I am glad that is a past memory for you (and him). Another of my favourite prayers is “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

      Reply
  26. Just Add Attitude

    What an incredibly honest and heart rending post, I am sending good wishes through the ether to you, your daughter and your sister. I think it is so much more than coincidence when we come across something or someone that helps we are saddened or in the grip of a crisis. I am glad you found that prayer. Take care. 😉

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. And may I have one of those beautiful flowers in the bowl near your door? 🙂 That would make me smile.

      Reply
  27. mmmarzipan

    Sending you so much love right now. I haven’t read the post about your daughter (yet), but from what you have written, and without going into a long-winded, over-disclosing story, I think your daughter and I have some things in common. I just wanted to say that there is hope (as I am sure you know) and that I care… and I am thinking of you and your family ❤

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It is lovely to have your care and encouragement Miss Marzipan. Really lovely. Thank you. Sometimes hope gets lost in the moment but I can usually drag it out from where it has been hiding. 🙂 I am glad you know it is there too.

      Reply
      1. mmmarzipan

        (((hugs))) I keep thinking about you and your daughter… and I am sorry that I did not pick up on something being amiss sooner… or at least, that I didn’t ask :(. You are an amazing woman and mother.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          You are a sweetie! Thank you. I have been far apart from loved ones since the day I was born really. (meaning I was born in Fiji and all my grandparents and relatives lived in NZ). So, I try not to worry about separation too much and just get on with making the most of what is. However, there are times, such as this recent crisis, when I feel HELPLESS, temporarily. I know you understand what it means to be far away from near and dear. 🙂 Hugs to you and the little ones.

  28. Lavinia Ross

    Beautiful post, Gallivanta. I hope your daughter can continue to find her way to the lighter side of life. My heart goes out to her, and all those who love her and are struggling with this.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
    – old Irish blessing

    Reply
  29. womanseyeview

    It wasn’t just that the prayer by ‘Hippo’ was comforting, it was also that you recognized it as such and you manage to find the light in so many ways…how painful for you to be so far away but so glad your daughter too is reaching out to find her light – and starting with cakes! You often refer to the trauma left by the earthquake there and for those of us who knew it only as a couple of news stories it brings home just how long people can suffer after these shattering events.
    Hugs to you xx

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Loving the hugs! My daughter’s mental health was fragile before the earthquakes but the earthquakes were the straw that broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes. So many others, much stronger than she is, have been affected too. Our mental health services are struggling to cope with the increased demands on them since 2011. In a way, it is a blessing that my daughter is away from this bleak scenario.

      Reply
  30. April

    What a beautiful prayer. I’m sending prayers for your daughter’s recovery. Enjoying the cakes is truly one step forward.

    Reply
  31. Dina

    Oh dear Gallivanta, I’m so sorry about your daughter, that must be very hard for both of you. What a strain the distance must be. Big *hug* to you, Dina ❤️

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Dina for your hugs. It is a strain but sometimes that distance can work out for the best too. I couldn’t ‘rescue’ her this time and, maybe, that was a good thing for both of us. Do your book fayries give you such worries? 😉 I think they worry more about you and your photographic escapades! Love to the Fab Four.

      Reply
  32. Sheryl

    My thoughts are with you and your daughter. It’s so hard when our children are far away during difficult times. It’s wonderful to hear that she enjoyed the cake, and is feeling better.

    Reply
  33. KerryCan

    Oh, my friend, what a lot you’re dealing with! And to be so far away from the person you want to help–awful. But it does seem that there’s a glimmer of progress–finding joy in small things has to be a good sign. And I’m glad you can find some solace in words, Augustine’s and, I hope, ours.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Kerry, it’s been a long, on-going story but her situation worsened dramatically as a result of the trauma of the earthquakes. Tonight we had a good conversation. I do find great solace in your words, and those of many friends. And now I am delighted to find Augustine words as well. When my daughter is well enough she, with her love of Latin and ancient history, will enjoy Augustine too.

      Reply
  34. gpcox

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your daughter. Her joy with the cake may help her to lead into a clearer and happier future.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I have just talked to her again tonight. Another good conversation and she is expressing her appreciation for the kindness of the nursing staff. Thank you for your prayers.

      Reply
  35. coulda shoulda woulda

    Dear Gallivanta, I am sorry to hear about this. I have a few friends with mental illness and it is very very hard to put it simply. The boundaries and symptoms not being tactile it is so hard to define and control with a ethereal illness that ultimately can have physical consequences. A cake and a prayer indeed and probably more of the latter. I wish the best possible outcome and recovery for your daughter. It may take time but as long as she is safe that is the main thing. It may sound trite but a problem shared is a problem halved. You are not alone in this situation and I hope you might go to a support group for relatives and friends? Going to those also is a great source of information and shared experience.

    PS I am a fan of St Augustine – he was so funny and of his time he wrote about St Ambrose reading only with his eyes which was considered a true feat back then.

    Here is a link if you are interested.

    http://www.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Manguel/Silent_Readers.html

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Naomi for your support. I think one person in four suffers from a mental health disorder; that is worldwide which makes the numbers affected quite mind-boggling. It is a universal issue yet it can be so isolating on an individual level. I am glad my daughter is now in good hands. If she were well, I would show her the article about St Augustine that you sent me. She would be intrigued by it as much as I am. I now understand more clearly why St Augustine’s prayer ‘spoke’ to me so vividly because indeed he would have spoken it before it was written. It was created to be spoken. This passage also paralleled my experience with St Augustine’s prayer…..” Believing that the voice is speaking to him, Augustine runs back to where Alypius is still sitting and picks up the book he has left unfinished, a volume of Paul’s Epistles. Augustine says, “I took hold of it and opened it, and in silence I read the first section on which my eyes fell.”The passage he reads in silence is from Romans 13-an exhortation to “make not provision for the flesh” but to “put ye on [i.e., ‘like an armour’] the Lord Jesus Christ”. Thunderstruck, he comes to the end of the sentence. The “light of trust” floods his heart and “the darkness of doubt” is dispelled” Your thoughtfulness in sharing this link has brought so much joy to me. Wonderful, though I must confess the darkness of doubt still lingers a little. 🙂

      Reply
      1. coulda shoulda woulda

        Very astute point that you bring that perhaps that is why he is deemed a great writer bc indeed he “speaks” to us. And yes I understand the darkness of doubt which is why I don’t want to say in a facile manner not to worry. I hope physical nutrition is also being explored as in my research some and I must specify only some illnesses have positive effects with omega oils of which many lack and coconut oil which seems to have shown great improvement even in cases of dementia.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          I think it would have been amazing to hear him ‘speak” to his students, or to his scribes, because, apparently, he cared about the ‘sound’ he was making which so few modern speakers do! I am completely with you on the importance of nutrition. Malnutrition has been part of my daughter’s trouble lately. Normally she loves her food and eats well.

  36. kiwiskan

    It’s hard to watch your children struggling with these kinds of issues – especially when they are grown up and too far away to help. All you can do is pray. I have a similar situation.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Exactly Maureen. And I find your Sunday posts extremely comforting as weekly prayer support. We are not alone in our worries and concerns. And the funny/sad thing is that, even though my parents are elderly, they still worry about me worrying about my daughter! I hate to worry them just as my daughter hates to worry us….but that is how it is with children and parents.

      Reply
  37. thecontentedcrafter

    Gallivanta, I am sorry to hear of these hardships you carry – the health and well being of our children is bound into our own souls at a deep and primal level – no matter their age, no matter the distance, no matter the cause. I have found in my life that the right words, the right question, the right thought will be offered to me, always from somewhere other than my own mind. It does not surprise me that you pick up your book in the small hours and open it to the very thing you need to read. Whenever we bring some clarity and peace into our own being it can radiate somehow to those who also need it. Your daughter had cake. A taste of the sweetness of life that has eluded her. I hope she will get to enjoy many more. My heart has been deeply touched reading this post.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Contentedcrafter, I am reassured that this has been your experience. I am sure it has happened to me before, but not with this level of clarity. Perhaps being fragile and tired I was more open to offers of help in whatever form they came. And, you understand perfectly, that it was not so much the cake, but my daughter’s enjoyment of it, and pleasure in it that made me feel soothed. Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply
  38. utesmile

    Sorry to hear about your daughter. It must be hard for you not being there with her. Prayers are powerful and helpful, may they continually work. Cake I agree always has magic and it is great that this helps your daughter. I can imagine you making lots when your children were young and that they remember it with joy! Hugs!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks Ute; and you are right, we did have some fun time with baking when the children were younger. However, when my daughter was in early 20s she taught herself to make the most wonderful cakes and breads.

      Reply
  39. Tracy Rhynas

    I am a big fan of wilderness areas….I think every garden should have one. A little spot where nature can just take its course – shame about the Monarch’s though.

    Reply
    1. Tracy Rhynas

      Not sure how, by my comment attached itself the wrong post!! Finger trouble I dare say…. Sorry to hear about your recent stressful times, hopefully joy and cake will continue to follow…

      Reply
    2. Gallivanta Post author

      A little confession……spiders enjoy creating wilderness areas inside my house too. I don’t like to disturb them but when I come to the kitchen in the morning and find cobwebs on my cooking utensils, I consider the spiders are really testing my love for nature.

      Reply
  40. Mélanie

    very impressive and quite emotional… ❤
    * * *
    @"circa 1988, New York…" – NY City, USA?… did you guys live there in the late 80's?…

    Reply
  41. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    That’s so true. Helping others is important, and what helps spread the wisdom of it even more, is “paying it forward”…

    Not to sound like a broken record here, dear friend, because soul health has its own rights and rules, but in the holistic spirit of healing: we are what we eat. I will send you an email!

    ❤ *sending hugs over there*

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Hugs received with gratitude. Sunbeams welcomed too. I couldn’t agree more about food being part of the holistic spirit of healing. A recent diet of take aways and pizza and the like was not doing my daughter any favours. Unfortunately when we are feeling really unwell our minds somehow forget to tell us that that sort of food is just plain wrong!

      Reply
      1. BEAUTYCALYPSE

        I sometimes get mad at how effectively we get conditioned, like pawlow’s dogs, by the industry and the industry-shaped society on what to eat when we are bored, heartbroken, sad, lonely, or any other state of mind that can be endured easily without eating anything – it’s always about sugar, empty calories, over-processed foods, and unhealthy fat.
        all sold to us as part of a fun, modern, hip, desireable lifestyle.
        notice how nobody ever craves a granny smith apple when they’re sad or bored, but hey, pizza, chips, milk chocolate, toffee, or a bucket of processed cow milk with sugared coffee – yes please.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Nath, your comment brought me a small smile. What you say is maddeningly true but it reminded me that when I was pregnant with my daughter and suffering morning sickness, all I craved were sour apples and sardines!!! In Zambia these were very hard to find but friends rallied round, some apples were found and some tins of sardines. I think I am very lucky that I was brought up in the days before processed foods and takeaways were common products. They don’t define comfort/happy food for me.

        2. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          you ARE very lucky in that department. but then it’s also the mindset that you have. my mum for example was born in after-WWII russia, but yet the advertised foods eventually got to her – it’s impossible to take sugar away from her today.

          on a loosely related note: there’s an australian documentary called “fat, sick and nearly dead” about a guy who lost a lot of weight by juicing for 30 days. it’s incredible how many people were in defense of their bad eating habits, and sad how others said they’d love to lose a stone but their friends and families would take the mick out of them, so “no thanks”.
          woof. woof.

        3. Gallivanta Post author

          I saw a small amount of that doco. Don’t remember why I didn’t see it all. But, yes, people can be very defensive. I do eat some sugar today but we had almost no sugar in my childhood diet which I always thought was very funny because we lived in a sugar mill town…we were surrounded by the stuff. I may have told you that the first time I was given chocolate as a child I thought it was dreadful stuff. It made me feel sick and I couldn’t understand why the people who gave it to me thought they were giving me such a treat!

        4. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          pretty imprinting experience, you thinking that sugar was dreadful. it might well have helped shape a healthy eating behaviour, don’t you think?

        5. Gallivanta Post author

          I do think so! I have slipped a bit with my eating habits but the basics were instilled from an early age and I haven’t forgotten them really.

        6. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          and that’s a great thing. in the end it’s only you who’s standing between your health and the wares of the food industry.

        7. BEAUTYCALYPSE

          btw speaking of industry.
          my favourite 😉
          do you remember my happy post about that palm oil alternative?
          I am now in touch with env. activists and other people in the know to find out more about it and to update the post with new information that will also make this news way less shiny. (why, thank you ecover for proving my all-time-point: stay informed.)

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