Solitude and Sacrifice

What a great day it has been so far! And it’s not even lunchtime! A night of good, comfortable sleep in a cosy bed, with plenty of fresh air and relaxing music, seems to suggest I’m making a recovery from my nasty little episode with an ugly abscess or ‘carbuncle’ as one Doctor gleefully named it before it was surgically dealt with. Painful? Oh yes! Less so now? Oh yes! I have had the solicitous attentions of the District Nurse every day and today we suddenly reached a different place in our connection. She asked me what I did on the computer. You know that moment when someone asks a question like that and you choose to be uninvolved or be honest? I decided to give her the complicated answer. She was genuinely interested and had to know the name of the Lost Daughters book so that she could buy it immediately! In a few moments we saw some of the other sides of each other, moved from patient/nurse relationship and nothing will ever be the same again. I value those times so much – a door opens and you can walk through, or not, you have choice, opportunity, but whichever you decide, a renewed sense of human nature, the quest for knowledge and a brush with the aliveness of the soul of another person.
Currently, here at Poddler’s Creek, we are in a pre-Autumn place, hovering on the brink of change. Sounds have altered, the barking dog sounds different from how it did a month ago, the light has mellowed, the breeze has a nip in it and the first hint of colour is in the leaves. I am nurturing some seedlings, some cuttings and a set of pot-plants, waiting for the ascent into Autumn, when I can prepare some little beds for herbs and transplanted iris, finish my courtyard and make it gardener friendly, easy on the eye and interesting to the senses. I have been a gardener all my life, over 60 years now. The first garden in a half wine barrel, when I hovered over a delightful little plant named “Mother of All Living” – a little creeper that loves stone walls, dry places and has a tiny purple flower; a type of Linaria, a Toadflax. My heart is warmed every time I encounter it and I have done so many times throughout my life, often in the most unexpected places when I was not looking for it but a beacon was welcome, a friendly face, an old friend. I have loved it always, even before I knew it’s name, but there was something about the name which helped me through the adopted childhood. Here was a mother to all living things, even me, who had no known mother except a substitute, a ring-in, who could not quite give me biological connection, but did give me a love of plants and had the knowledge to impart which had come to her from her beloved father.
I am very saddened this week by the death of an elderly father and by the story surrounding his death. He was dearly loved by his family and his decline took time and was keenly felt by all who knew him. In the last weeks his daughter, very stressed, took to phoning and messaging her nearly 30 year old daughter, half a dozen times a day. Said daughter has a job, is finishing a PhD and has had time to establish and grow a relationship to engagement. After a time she told her mother to stop making so much contact and to only do so if the old man had died or was in a critical condition. Within a short space of time he died, amid much lamenting, grieving and family strife, as various factions don’t speak or are in conflict. I found it infinitely sad that a busy grand-daughter who had been so supported by her mother through her early years, an eating disorder, various relationships and had made a habit of contacting her numerous times a day through her teen and early adult years could be so ‘focussed’ that she had not been able to be there for her mother as an adult at such an important time, for such a short time. When we live our lives consciously, it seems so important not to build regrets, to eliminate anything which will cause us heart-ache later or weaken or fracture important relationships and connections.
Some of those questionnaires which pop up on Facebook constantly are irresistible and this one on trees was one such for me. It seems in choosing the Cypress I have opened up a slew of deep questions, recognised the symbol of my chosen solitude and sacrifice. My choice is an old choice, nothing capricious or impulsive here!
cypress rock
The Cypress tree is a symbol of solitude and sacrifice. According to ancient stories, the Cypress tree has always been an example of sorrow and reservation. There is no overindulgence what so ever, as the Cypress tree limits its growth in flourishing. When the cypress tree calls to you, it sends a message of inner question. What are you sacrificing in your life? What are you giving up that would be aiding in your true happiness? You are the creator of your own life and only yours. Every individual should have the ability to play out their own journey and destiny. No one should ever be the ‘keeper’ of another. If you are feeling that you have been sacrificing yourself for another or vise versa; take a step back and examine what is really going on. The secret to life really is happiness. Every being on Earth should have the chance to experience it.

Thank you to the unknown photographers who took these beautiful photographs of such old friends.

2 thoughts on “Solitude and Sacrifice

  1. Some times…friends give us what family may not be able to. I had/have many friends that are/were the same age as my dad; who may or may not have given me more or less than dad did…doesn’t matter…Dad was Dad!

    In 2011 my Dad died! I wasn’t there; spoke with him the night before. Three months later my dear old friend was dying. Same age, same sex as my Dad. From the moment I learned of this friend’s approaching death, I volunteered to volunteer to stay with him. I’m a Hospice volunteer. I was with him and his family, whom I’ve known for over 25 years,for five days. This man gave me the most precious gift another human can give…his FINAL BREATH! I wish I was able to be with my DAD…but that wasn’t in the cards. My DAD knew how I felt about him and that’s all that matters.

    I went, a few months later, to the annual Hospice memorial service, where my friend’s name was remembered, but I went FOR MYSELF AND MY DAD. Hospice gave out tree saplings that year. I took 2 pines for my friend’s family; they were planted on family property. I took a maple for my Dad; it is planted on land that I love and tend.

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