“24”



Twenty four years ago (1990) on May 19 I had my last baby. 

While she left the nest about six years ago, it is only now that 
I will accept she has her wings and probably won`t be flying back 
here anytime soon!

I consider the 24th birthdays of my children to be THE birthday, 
the one when they become adults. Up to then they can still pull 
on my apron strings, cling onto my leg crying "mommy mommy don't 
leave me", ask me for money, call me at 1 am crying about a broken
romance, and I can still say "because I said so".
 Who am I kidding, I am 54 and still call my mother asking for money.

 


At least at 24, they should have the experience, a lot of the 
bad and some of the good, and at least have a direction of travel.
They should have their book smarts and be ready to revel 
in what is most important to get them through, street smarts. 
They should be starting on the road of their journey now, 
not hitchhiking with a guitar strung over their back, not 
hitting me up for bus money, not traveling in a commune of
like-minded fatty smokers dressed like a bohemian and heading 
for a beach party somewhere, but with an itinerary at least 
that promises some very rewarding stops on the way.
 And some fun ones too.


 



 



 



 



 



 



 



The world is their oyster, they have to decide what they 
make with the grains of sand at their feet.


It doesn't mean they cannot decide to change direction 
but at 24 they should have the internal compass aka 
common sense to know how to learn from their 
mistakes and avoid that direction again. They should 
have found out who they are, at least for the next decade. 
They should have seen the opposite sex naked, 
vice versa, or maybe not even the opposite sex, I don't care, 
but they should have some experience in that department, 
I am not one of those wait until your wedding night type of mothers. 
After all, when I got married, and I was 24 by the way, 
I had our first child seven months later. On her due date. 
They should have learned to laugh at themselves.

 


Enter Emelia, biologically my last baby I gave birth to, 
or should I say the baby had to cut out of me. I like to 
remind her of that, for some reason it gives me great 
pleasure to blame her instead of the pringles, soda pop, 
cookies and menopause.  
She is the reason for my bouncy flop and the end to my 
string bikini days. (What's that World?? Did I just hear
a collective "THANK YOU" ???)
OK, fine ! Before the flop it still wouldn't have been a great 
fashion statement but that is not the point. 
Emelia was born May 19,1990 a month early, the c section done 
by a doctor of very short stature, so short that when he stood 
up from sitting at his desk he didn't get any taller. So short
he had to stand on a stool to examine me. This was very hard 
to be on an exam table in "the" position when your husband, 
who laughs at his own jokes, is standing behind the doctor in 
your field of vision making dwarf signs. (The doctor thought I 
was shaking because I was nervous!) 
I had my first and last c-section with Emelia, who came out 
weighing exactly the same as her older sister,
7.11 and the exact height 21 inches.


 That is about all they have had in common ever since.



I did not get to hear her first cry or see her take her 
first breath when she came out from under my heart, from 
being tucked away, just the two of us,  I saw her about 
two hours later. 
I saw my first two babies born before my eyes, so I know what
the emergency circumstances of her birth cost me. That one memory 
of that one raw miracle moment that is absorbed into your memory 
permanently. 
But I got a different memory. It took me about two days to fully 
wake up and be conscious from the c-section because I got very 
sick very fast and had to have a lot of blood transfusions.
Day three I was just wanting to sleep, I had never felt post op pain 
like I had been experiencing, I was just plain miserable and not 
feeling very maternal at all. 
My attempts to slumber were being disturbed by the crying of a 
newborn down in the nursery about four rooms up. 
I kept waiting for it to  stop, wondering where the nurses were 
and why they were not doing something, take the kid to his mother, 
stick a soother in his mouth, find a breast!! 
(Like I said I was in a bad mood.)
Finally I couldn't take it anymore and although I was supposed 
to be on bed rest I got out of bed, held my gut, like it was 
about to explode open, in one hand, the i.v.pole in another 
and marched out of my room and down the hallway bent over 
like the hump back of Notre Dame. 
I felt like I was marching, `cause I was irate, 
but really I was hobbling. The halls were empty, no nurses 
around anywhere. 
I supposed if my guts blew open I would have to find some 
paper towel myself and take care of it.
I approached the nursery and there was only one baby in there, 
the rest, I supposed, were with their adoring mothers, rooming in. 
The infant was yelling, there is no other word for it. 
Not fussing, not weeping, not even crying, it was yelling. 
Eyes wide open looking around and as soon as I appeared her 
eyes were set on me. The little pink card on the layette said 
Èmelia Coryn.

F-u-c-k !
If I knew then what I knew now I would not have been shocked at all. 
At 72 hours old she was inquisitive, mouthy, and stubborn and she 
will always let you have her way. Not much has changed. 
I was faced with a choice. I knew I had to let go of 
either the iv pole or my incision because this kid was coming back
to my room. 
I knew instinctively it was the only way she was going to be quiet 
and I could go back to sleep. I was also aware I would be in trouble 
from the gestapo in white if they saw me out of bed. 
So I tentatively released my hand from my incision, risking a 
gory event, I was sure of it, and pushed the isolette down the 
hallway whispering to Emelia to shut up or I was going to be 
in trouble. `Shut up`yes I admit it, I told you, I was not feeling 
warm and fuzzy thoughts. 
She didn`t take her eyes off me, clearly sizing me up as if this 
was an interview for the job as Emelia`s mother.

 


I pushed the isolette up as close to my bed as possible, 
lay back down, closed my eyes, and she started yelling again. 

Here is the moment that made up for the one I lost when she was born.
I reached over to her, put my hand on her hand, she wrapped her 
fingers around  one of mine, and went to sleep. 
At that moment she didn`t need to be held or rocked or nursed, 
she just wanted to know I was close by. 
Our relationship has been like that ever since.
Five years later I adopted three more babies moving her 
from the baby to the middle child. 
She now had two older brothers and an older sister, and two 
younger brothers and a younger sister.
But Emelia is not one to get lost in the middle. 
It`s not just her good looks, intelligence, or 
almost six feet of height that makes her stand out, 
it`s her strength of character, integrity, and genuineness. 
I am so happy I passed on those traits to her!
Our 24 years together almost mimics marriage vows. 
It has been almost a quarter of a century of having 
and holding from that day forward, for better or 
worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, 
to love and to cherish. 
I tried to slip in the obey part but she would have none of it.
As I officially release my baby girl into adulthood, 
I remember, symbolically, these 24 things, 
the moments absorbed into my mind,that make me melancholy, 
or make me laugh, or make me happy, or make me wish the time
had not gone by in an instant. And I am not referring to 
her baby book for any of the information, 
Unless I remember it on my own, it doesn`t count.

 

 In no particular order:
 1) The time she went after two older boys who were bullying 
her older brother and told them to leave her ``bwutha`` alone 
or she would smash them in the face. 
(She was three, or should I say "fwee").
 2) The times her father smacked her on the arm or hand 
when she was doing something he disapproved of and she 
would look him dead in the eye, wipe off the 
``smack``  and tell him it didn`t hurt.
 3) The time she wanted to ``do her eyebrows`` unknowingly 
using her brothers electric razor and had to live with one 
less eyebrow for about a month until it 
grew back in.
4) She would never eat her food unless it wasn`t touching. 
Right down to the last grain of rice, she hand separated it, 
in spite of her father`s warnings that she was 
not going to have any supper unless she started eating NOW. 
She completely ignored him and continued on excavating her plate, 
and I suspect she slowed her pace down, on purpose. 
She was two.
 5) The time she wanted me to sneak up on her older sister 
who she told me through giggles was in her underwear, and 
take a photograph. The same day we were videotaping her older 
sister practicing her `modelling` moves and Emelia was in the 
background making fun of her, and quickly became the focus of 
the video.
 6) The time I rented a limousine for her and her friends 
on her 10th birthday and how excited she was.
 7) The day her dad and I surprised her with two eight week 
old Siamese kittens. We had intended to only get one, but 
there were two left. Anyone who knows me knows THAT wasn`t 
going to happen.
 8) The time I got a phone call from the horse ranch to tell 
me she had been thrown from her horse and was at the hospital. 
The horse had stepped on  her arm and her head when she was 
down, cracking her helmut. When we got here we found her 
arm was broken, her head was not. 
The drive to the hospital was the longest 
10 minutes of my life.
 

 


9) The time her first boyfriend accidentally saw me naked.

 

 10) The phone call I got from her telling me she had just 
found Harry dead (one of the two Siamese cats) and the long 
hug we had in the driveway when I got home.
 11) Giving her dog Jesse away, not realizing how close she 
really was to him. 'Always been sorry for that.
 12) Max, Zack, Thomas, Kohlea, Devon,Jens, Clay, Alex, David; 
acknowledging these are only the ones I know about. 
And it took ALOT for me even to type the 
name `Thomas`....%?$/*")* Oh and most recently the guy who 
should really edit his Facebook page in case his new girlfriend's 
mother decides to "creep" his FB photos and videos…..
(I didn't know you could, or SHOULD, do that with a garden
hose!)
 13) Her first crush, Skeeder Barrie.
 14) The big fight we had in the driveway.
 15) The horrific surgery she had to have on her feet and 
the metal poles had to  have through the top of her toes 
for six weeks. (She got her feet from  her father).
 16) The only arguments with the kids her father ever lost 
were with her. Her ``M.O.`` was to frustrate him to the point 
of exhaustion.
 17) How beautiful she was on her high school graduation day 
and how proud I was of her.

 



 


 18) The day she thought Lucy was actually going to be a bike 
for her 21st birthday, and the look on her face when I took the 
one pound puppy out of the bag and 
handed it to her. 
Their`s has been a love story ever since.
 19) The day she called her little brothers and sister 
telling them we had to go out and forgot herself for 
a moment and said ``out and go pee`` - a common 
statement in our multi-dog household. 
And I have to say I have never seen her 
giggle so hard and for so long. 
I think she may have snorted.

 


20) Toilet training her using....not candy, not promises of 
wonderful toys, not praise of how clever she was...
all that would work was a three inch giant dill pickle
she would hang out of her mouth like a stogie whilst 
doing her business.
 21) The dozens of hand written notes she would leave under 
my pillow telling me how much she loved me, 
I have most of them to this day. I wish I had appreciated 
them at the time as much as I do now.
 22) Cannoli, self help books in the mail, 
``a phone call, a letter or a visit``to Mr. Rennie 
and Say Yes to the Dress. (not HER dress!)

 


 23) The disastrous weekend we spent in Victoria thanks to food 
poisoning. 
One day we ARE GOING to have a do-over!!
24) The chance finding of her foot sticking out from her 
covers revealing a lie that backfired and her first official 
hang over the next day. 
(She can fill you in on what her mean mother 
made her do the next day!!!!!!)
I have not been a perfect mother but I have to say, in all honesty, 
I think she hasbeen the perfect daughter. 
I mean that. 
Her imperfections were perfect to me. 
They made me laugh just when I needed to, 
they made me look at myself in the mirror and try to be better. 
They humbled her father and put him in his 
place when that is where he needed to be.
 From the beginning of her life she is the one who made me get 
out of bed when I wanted to just hide under the covers, 
and I mean that literally and metaphorically.

 



 


Emelia, as you explore the big world  of possibilities, 
be optimistic, be kind always, love freely, 
take care of every creature, listen to your heart, 
listen to your little voice, 
remember you are always loved 
and give thanks for all your blessings as I give 
thanks for you being mine.
Your mum......forever and ever.

Until next time, keep being fabulous.

Sian Erith Thomson



 Until next time, thinking of my fabulous girl.X0

Sian Erith Thomson
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Caitlyn Jenner’s Courage

caitlyn-jenner-espys-2015-billboard-650

WHAT IS COURAGE?

I cannot remain silent anymore amidst the ongoing mocking, insulting, demoralizing and bullying of Caitlyn Jenner, and the outrage that exists over her “Courage” award. It is being said that there were athletes more deserving of the award, athletes who have or had physical ailments but achieved success, war heroes, and family members of athletes facing off with struggles of their own. They all have courage. Every one of them. As do people who are not famous, who suffer silently and beat the odds or achieve their goals in life. I also think it takes courage in today’s era to be tolerant. Because those who are tolerant get bashed and ridiculed by those who are intolerant of people who are doing NO HARM, who are trying to live their lives and their truth under their God, and in doing so are helping other “different” people in the process, inspiring them, making them feel less isolated, giving them hope. I think it takes the most courage to do something unpopular, publicly, that you know will attract the haters, that you know could put you are risk physically, and in Caitlyn’s case, knowing that the harassment will result in cheap shots and scorn right down to her private parts – taunts, put downs, indignities, all over social media. It is the haters who are cowards, because they cannot find the courage to accept something in others that they don’t understand or relate to, something that perhaps isn’t in line with their God, or their morals, but Caitlyn Jenner is not hurting anybody. Who cares what her DNA is? Who cares what body parts she has or doesn’t have? Who cares what she is wearing? Who cares that she has a lot of money, mainly because she is going to use it to do good. She is saving an entire group of people, mostly young people, from killing themselves because of hatred and intolerance. She put a target on her back.

Ironically, the award given to Caitlyn Jenner has Arthur Ashe’s name on it. Arthur Ashe said, “You learn about equality in history and civics, but you find out life is not really like that.” Nothing BAD comes from kindness. Courage comes from being kind when in a room full of antagonists.

Until next time,remember to practice the Golden Rule, it’s fabulous.

Sian Erith Thomson

My Girl.

September 4, 2014 is a day I almost lost my oldest daughter. She was the victim on a (sudden) domestic assault. “Sudden” because he had never physically attacked her before. It was bad. It took a long time for him to beat her as she ran for hiding places in their apartment, FInally she made it almost out the door but fell, and he slammed the door on her legs repeatedly as she grasped onto her dog Lucy and tried to crawl out. It was then she thought to call for help. But the neighbours has already called 911. He was arrested and taken into custody. Because the apartment was in his name as he was the main wage earner (as a police officer) she was given 4 hours to move out of the apartment. FOUR HOURS to relocate her life, her belongings, with no where to go. Thanks to the kindness of friends,and my brother and sister-in-law re arranging their day to help her pack what she could in the time allotted (before he got out of jail) Emelia made it out with basically the clothes on her back and her cat and dog. She was unable to retrieve her furniture, her bed which was a good one, and he subsequently sold it all. She was battered, bruised, traumatized, frightened, and lost. She loved this man and thought he was the one, and as she said 90 percent of the time they had a wonderful time together, laughing, sharing interests, he was her best friend. So she lost her best friend that day in a way you never want to end things with someone you love.
There had been “signs” that all was not right with him. Arguments would be initiated over trivial things. He couldn’t let things go. He was controlling. He often tried to make her feel inadequate. Leading up to the beating (which you can imagine was well done as he was a trained police officer) there had been an escalation in his fighting mood, and I had to intervene a few times in the 48 hours preceding the event to calm him down and talk him out of his hysterics. My last words to Emelia the night before the attack, when I had spent two hours on the phone with them on speaker, mediating this argument, with him saying Emelia’s attempts to settle things were nothing more than sarcasm on her part (bizarre), my last words were “Milly you have to leave him ,you have to get out of there this weekend.” The next morning it happened. It started over her rubbing his arm as a way of saying good morning. He took offence and just started beating her. He smashed her lap top, broke her phone, ripped the closet door off and destroyed her clothes, he hit her everywhere but the face, bruised ribs, scratched up arms, bruised thighs, calves, severely sprained wrist when he bent it back as she tried to defend herself, and a couple of good punches in the stomach. Emelia had never been in a physical altercation before. She fled and ended up in the street below, calling me, barely audible between the sobs. she was in medical shock. The Vancouver Police Department treated her with dignity and care. After it was all over, the medical checks done, the photographs taken, the statements given. they took her to her friends house where she would couch surf until she figured out what to do, where to go, where to live and how to get furniture, even just a bed., to give her some dignity in her recovery to start over. He had sold her car, much of her furniture while they were together, replacing it with “new” stuff, he preferred things that way. A police officer even brought her some food at the end of it all after realizing she had not eaten all day, and they continued to check up on her from time to time, as did Crown Counsel. It was gold star treatment for a domestic assault victim and I owe the VPD a debt of gratitude to this day for treating my baby girl with kindness and grace. He lost his job with the police force. They don’t put up with bullshit like that. He was charged with assault, mischief and uttering threats. He was put on a one year peace bond. That ends next month. My daughter, on her own, found more work in order to be self sufficient and to start over, working two jobs, working to exhaustion some 18 hour days, managed to get her own apartment in a nice area of town, furnish it over time off Craigslist, make new friends now that he was no longer in control and isolatiog her, and she benefited from the one year of counselling the Victim Services offered to her and lucked out with a wonderful therapist who really knew how to communicate with Emelia at her level. Her level of mistrust, victimization, sadness, sarcasm, and high intellect. Emelia is the Gold Standard for women in domestic violence situations. she never let it happen a second time. She did not go back even though it would have been the easiest thing to do because he had the money, the home, all she had to do was tow the line and hope that something she said didn’t brew and boil over in his paranoid, narcisstic mind. All she had to do was walk on eggshells. She chose the hard road. And it was hard. There were many phone calls home crying, sobbing, scared for the future, was it worth it? Was she doing the right thing? Her body was aching, exhausted. She missed him. she missed the man in the times he wasn’t emotionally abusive and controlling, But she could not erase the memory of trying to escape and the beating getting worse as she tried to get out the door. She remembered her terror at leaving her cat in the apartment and worrying what he would do to him to get to her. She used her common sense, and she continued on a difficult, often isolated journey away from him and towards herself.
It has been a year. She is a new person. She is physically healthier, mentally healing, has a new job with lots of potential for income and growth, an apartment that is hers, and hers only, with furniture that is hers, and hers only. She will be buying a car this week to commute to her new job. She is on her way.Many women who were beaten a year ago by their boyfriends or husbands remain in that living situation. Some left and went back. Others made excuses, thought they could change him, thought if they only acted differently themselves he would stop getting mad
and using their body to take it out on. My daughter said once is too much, and fought her emotional instincts to go back. She followed her head not her heart. She will fall back in love one day, when she is ready. She still doesn’t trust totally. She still carries hurt from that day. But she is laughing again. She likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror. She has made new friends, not friends he approves of. She has rekindled friendships he did not allow. Emelia has defined herself at 25. She is a courageous, smart, kind, giving person, who wants to be loved, one day, by a man who will never put his hands on her except in affection. She is a self made woman, who came back from the brink of darkness and horror, and did it all by herself. As all women of abuse must. People can help you do it, but you have to make the decision to reach out and take what they are offering. Too many turn their backs and return to the darkness because it is easier.
Emelia Coryn is a warrior princess. She is not one to mess with. She is the true definition of an independent woman in 2015, and she is going to make a difference in the world. She is an artist, a writer, a cat and dog mom, an athlete, a tough mudder, an evolving gardener, a loyal friend, who has overcome disappointments in her life with grace and a lot of humour.

That’s MY girl.

Until next time, be brave, be fabulous.
Sian Erith Thomson

Dear Aylan

Dear Allan
Man should never have to make tiny coffins and babies should not die in the sea. When I first saw you, you were wearing a red t-shirt, blue shorts, and cute little leather soled shoes with the Velcro undone. You looked like you had fallen asleep at the beach, on your tummy, bum up, waiting for your mama to come and get you.But you were not sleeping, you were dead.You became the world’s little boy, and the world is crying for all the years you will miss being alive, sharing your gifts, loving and being loved, especially by your papa who misses you to the moon and back. So many mommies and daddies are holding their little boys a little tighter today.I wonder about you Aylan. Were your eyes the color of the ocean that sent you to heaven? Did you put your own shoes on, like a big boy on the night of your doomed journey? Did you feel your papa holding you desperately trying to keep your head above the waves. Have you found your mama and your brother Galip in Heaven?Were you light and love, mischief and pranks? Or did you live your short life in terror and sadness, hunger and squalor?I am so sorry that you didn’t make it to Canada. It is a lovely place, where people care about each other, where little boys can go to school, ride bikes, and play games, where they have choices and friends and play dates and their very own dog and don’t see horrible things little boys should never see.They don’t have to risk their lives getting onto inflatable boats in the deep ocean to find freedom and safety.Your auntie said you never had a toy to play with. In Canada you would have had Little Tykes, and Hot Wheels and LeapFrog and Megablocks. You would have been lost in the imaginary world of the Lion King and the Muppets, sung songs from Frozen, played in the snow and made sandcastles at the beach. But the photo of you on the beach puts you into a club no child should be in. You join Phan Jim Phuc, the little Vietnamese girl running away from a napalm attack, and the unnamed Sudanese baby being preyed upon by a vulture. Maybe your photo is the one that will open people’s hearts to the endless possibilities found when we don’t look away, when we stop pointing fingers towards politicans, terrorists, nations, policies, bureaucrats, traffickers, and overloaded boats carrying children and mothers to their graves. When we say we are sad but what can we do?You are everyone’s little boy Aylan, and we are all to blame for the horror you went through, and the horror too many children of the world, behind borders that don’t matter, are living every hour of every day until they, too, pass through hell on earth to get to Heaven, too early, too tragically. All of us, in the whole world, can honor you by loving each other and taking care of each other and speaking up, speaking out, and not stopping.Maybe this time, maybe this time.You are free now and I am sorry it took the unforgiving unrelenting waves of the Aegean Sea to give you what you should have had in life on earth.Freedom. Love. Peace.Even now you are sleeping in eternity I can only believe that you were planted on Earth to bloom in heaven. Take flight, my boy. Soar.
Until next time, do something fabulous for somebody else
Sian Erith Thomson

Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

Another Mountie has taken his life, because of  post traumatic stress, and the R.C.M.P’s inability to care for its members who are terribly damaged by the work they have sworn to do, to serve and to protect.
 
This is very hard to hear. 
 
There is a brotherhood and sisterhood with mounties, whether or not we ever met each other, we share the training, intense, exhausting, intimate…we share the risks, we share the courage, the insecurities, the fear, the laughter/dark humor that often only we can appreciate, the bad days the good days. 
 
The first officer suicide that hit me was my troopmate, Manon Chamberlain, less than a year out of training, she shot herself with her service revolver, a young woman I lived with and shared meals with and classes with and drill with for 6 agonizing months. 
 
Traditionally in a troop, back then anyway, the french girls didn’t really like the english girls, but Manon and I bonded over bringing up the rear in most five mile runs! I miss her even though I probably would not have seen her again after depot. 
 
The lives of front line personnel are not easy. They/we have seen things only soldiers in combat can imagine. You don’t go home and walk it off. It stays with you as a permanent blemish on your heart and mind, a lump in your throat you try to swallow away but it comes back, over and over, the more you see, the more justice lets you down. 
 
We only hear of the police officers who die in the line of fire, never much who die from the fire in their souls, from failing at fixing things that just cannot be fixed, failing to serve and protect the way we intended. I have seen horrific things. My family does not know about it nor will they ever know. I am happy my career in the RCMP was not a long one because I think I was spared far more pain and trauma than many of my colleagues who take that with them into retirement, hopefully to a natural old aged death. The next time you criticize a cop for being rude or arrogant or unfair or unfriendly or make donut shop jokes or call them pigs or worse……think about my brother Ken Barker, and all the men and women on the front lines, from 911 operators to paramedics to firemen and women to emergency room staff, and then decide if you can walk perfectly in their shoes. Or if you even would want to.
Godspeed Ken….I honor you.

You were fabulous.

Sian Thomson, #37559

To mothers

“When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor’s gift.” 

-Maya Angelou
And this is why I post this narrative…it is my bread being cast upon the waters.

Estrangement between adult children and their mothers and/or fathers is known in 2013 as the silent epidemic. It is silent mainly because parents whose children have rejected them, who have taken grandchildren away from them, who have told them they never want to see or hear from them again, many times with no tangible or rational reasons given, feel such shame and grief that they don’t want to talk about it for fear people will think they must be horrible depraved parents. Well, that is not the case most of the time.  Statistics prove it.

My message to my fellow mothers?…..Be grateful for what is before us right now the present is the only guarantee we really have.

This year was my 28th Mother’s Day, and the 30th anniversary of my mother’s death. My 30th mother’s day without my mum.

I would give anything to have another day with my mum, even another hour. I miss her dreadfully, painfully, every day. She was my mentor, guide, advocate, safety net, and she said I was the light of her life. I never quite understood that until I became a mother. When a child has grown under your own heart, or when a child has captured your heart, there is not turning back. It is greater than any natural laws, it need not be acquired and it need not be deserved, it is there, unconditional unending, profound. It is full blooded, courageous, pure and poignant.

A mother is not be perfect, after all this is her first life too, but her love is perfect. It can be injured, it can be hurt, it can be tested, challenged, rejected, but it is undefeatable. . It can experience great joy, anxiety, terror and tragedy, it is immortal.

Even though my mum has been gone more than half my life now, I still feel her love every day, it has stayed with me, it is breathtaking, it is heart wrenching and it is beautiful.

As I grieve my mother’s absence and am so terribly sad that she never saw my children, never saw me as a mother, never saw her grandchildren, she never got to love them and they never got to love her, and as I yearn for that chance that will never come, that history could somehow be re written and she would be here, I feel like we are still in a dialogue even now. I know that a mother’s love for her child outlives her.

As perfect and undefeatable a mothers love is, there is nothing that can be done to save a relationship between a parent and a grown child. And sadly, little children lose too.

I have not seen my grandchildren in a long time. I only really got to know one of them, love one of them, cherish her, adore her, before I was dismissed from their lives. One minute I was there in the delivery room for my oldest two, I saw my daughter birth them, my heart was full, the moment the most precious of my entire life.

But I didn’t see it coming. Estrangement was unfathomable to me. I only know that it started with one of my children and then that child took another one along with them. Convinced them I was not worth knowing. I should not be a grandmother. I lost two children and three grandchildren.

Just. Like. That.

They won’t tell me what I did, they won’t let me communicate, defend myself or make amends, take responsibility, whatever is required to put our family back together. I cannot know what their perception is.  I cannot fix it. It appears they don’t want me to. It appears they are content in their loss of me. Maybe if they could get a glimpse of my best intentions, my conflict, my commitment, my humanity, they would come back to me.

I am in an abyss. I feel like I have been murdered but my heart still beats. How do you not be a grandparent anymore when you were one, ARE one, and you loved it and loved them and could hardly wait for the next day with them? How do you take that out of your soul once it has been there? You don’t. You can’t.

How do you reconcile that your children who you planned or maybe didn’t plan but loved the surprise, who you birthed, loved, nurtured, truly hate you with all their being- so much so they do not care about you, they do not think about you, they do not want you around them and their new families? You don’t. You can’t.

It is like being on death row for a crime you did not commit, but it is you who decides if you live or die. If you are freed or confined for the rest of your years.

I wish I could not love them anymore. I wish I could not think about them anymore. I wish I could write them off as users and losers and be glad I am rid of people who must have no sense of empathy, honor, loyalty, no sense of family.

While they deny me a part in their adult lives and in the lives of their babies, one of the things they cannot deny me, and the thing I hang onto the most in the darkest times, is that I am the one who gave them life. And in turn, part of me lives in their children. They are who they are in part because of me.  I nurtured them when they were helpless babies relying on me for love, warmth, nourishment, protection, it was me who watched over them and advocated for them, encouraged them, guided them, laughed with them, cried with them, forgave them and mothered them from the time I birthed them. I was the first face they ever saw. They have both slept under my heart.

It would be so much easier to just turn my back. But it’s that mother’s love thing again.

The truth is I worry about them all the time and can’t stop wondering what horrible thing I did to make my own children turn against me. How did the children who laughed, played, held my hand, cuddled, asked me for advice, showed love and compassion towards me, loyalty towards me, come to reject, shame and belittle me?

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.  (King Lear-Shakespeare)

This mother’s day was painful. It was filled with trepidation, what if’s and a slim and faint hope that the doorbell might go or the phone will ring and it will be one of them or both of them, telling me they are coming back to me. Even though I have children who love me and who I mean the world to, who remind me every day that there is a reason to be happy, to have fun, to count my blessings, to look forward to the future, to my future and to their future,  there will be moments in the day I will wonder if the other two have given any thought at all to their mother.

Sometimes the part of my heart that is broken, has pain so piercing and constant I can hardly breathe; it’s as if a cement block has been permanently placed on my chest. I don’t think it will ever go away. Grieving becomes a way of coping with the tremendous loss that now makes up my life. And even though the jagged edges of my own grief have begun to smooth out a bit, I also know that it will always be with me and forever define my family. It is not just me who has lost my children, but my children have lost their siblings, their nieces, their nephew. And my grandchildren have lost half their heritage.

And this mother’s day I’ve learned to embrace the paradox of unfathomable loss and profound gratitude for living.

But there’s no anticipating when grief will sneak up and wash over me like a rogue wave. It just happens. It can be a song, a special place, a little child playing with her grandmother at the park, walking past a toy section, or just a memory suddenly slides into my subconscious and all I can think about is the tremendous hole that now fills my life. I can be having coffee with a friend and laughing one minute, and find my eyes filling with tears the next. And that’s okay. In fact, it just brings my two missing children and my grandchildren closer to me for that moment.

The beauty of the human spirit is that we have a remarkable ability to continue on, even in the most adverse of conditions. But we will always mourn our children and our grandchildren in estrangement. Our memories of them are all we have.

A mother’s love is forever, but for those of us whose love has been rejected, our grief is always there too.

Until next time, In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer  (Albert Camus).

Sian Erith Thomson

Happy Birthday to My Mother.

 Everything was great until my mother turned 60.


 

We are a family known for great parties, and we had one planned for her 60th.

But around noon on her 60th birthday we decided to cancel the celebration. 
It would just seem in such bad taste to celebrate.
 Her birthday had become tainted.
 It was September 11, 2001.
 When I was supposed to be baking a rather lavish, creative and slightly 
complicated cake, I was sitting in front of the television watching CNN 
interview women who had been widows for a few hours, watching images 
so horrific that I couldn't quite comprehend them. The day those planes 
crashed and thousands of lives ended, life would be joined at the hip 
by this historic event.
 We had a small celebration a few days later. It made me sad that someone 
as loving and giving as my mother, a woman whose birth should be celebrated,
 especially by me, was now overshadowed by evil.
 My mother was 18 when she had me. In 1960 that was not something
 people could quite comprehend either, an unwed mother. So my grandparents
 sent her off to the United Kingdom to stay in a home until she had me, 
sparing her the shame and ridicule that would have occurred in her home town. 
Those were different times back then. You couldn't even say the word 
"pregnant" on television. T.V. couples had to be shown sleeping in separate beds. 
The idea of a music video involved Gene Kelly with tap shoes on singing in the rain.



 

 There had been some suggestions about abortion, and adoption.
At 18, and a "young" 18 from what I have been told,  she stood up for me 
and would not let anyone take me away, before birth or afterwards. 
As a result I was adopted by my grandparents, another courageous 
act by  my mother, done out of love and at the  sacrifice of her feelings. 
She did what was best for me, not for her. I had a great childhood, and 
although she went on to have three other children, as a mother myself 
I know it had to hurt her to see me interact with my mother, 
HER mother, call HER  mom, while I was told my "real" mother 
was my older sister. I don't care how old you are, or whether 
you have had other children who see you as their mother, that had to hurt.

 

 When my mum passed away, my mother stepped in and gave me the 
opportunity to still have a mum, so far I have had that blessing into my 
early 50's. She has been a grandmother to my children and to me she
 has been my best friend, someone I cannot imagine living without. 
She has been my shelter in what has seemed to be a never ending 
storm in the last 15 years of my life.  
I cannot imagine going a day without talking to her.
 She has not had an easy life. She has had more than her share 
of dark times, pain, heartache, and situations that most people 
would  find hopeless. She never gave up. She never lost her ability 
to laugh. She never lost her affinity for kindness and generosity.

 

 Today is her 72nd birthday.
 I was watching some of the anniversary coverage and speeches, remembrances, 
videos made of "where are they now", widows, children who were born after the 
event and never met their fathers, the dogs of 9/11, and stories that emerged 
from the ashes of the Pentagon, World Trade Centre and Flight 93 that 
literally dissolved into the ground in a field far away from its intended target. 
Because of heroes. 
Like my mother.
 And it was then that it occurred to me, that in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy we 
witnessed incredible amounts of hope, love, and courage.
 In almost every way this is a story of a miracle struggling to shine through 
the darkness. For many it was not a day that changed their life for the worse. 

Instead, things got better. The way people lived their lives, priorities changed, 
we appreciated each other more, people found love again, people forgave each 
other, estranged families were reunited, heroes were identified, and 
resilience seemed to be the theme that emerged from what was intended 
to break the spirit of innocent people.
 For too long, my mother's birthday has been overshadowed by the 
terrorist attack. It just seemed inappropriate to be festive while the
 rest of the free world observes a somber anniversary.
 But while we should not overlook what happened we need to remember 
that good was born on this day too.
 My mother is one of those good things.
 She also symbolizes through living her life, heroic choices, 
extraordinary courage, resilience hope, faith, and love.
 I think she was meant to be born on September 11th, albeit 60 years before 
this unspeakable act, because it is totally o.k to celebrate what emerged from 
that day.
 My mother is the personification of all that comes from hardship, sadness, 
pain, and darkness.

She is the light of my life. She is the reason I am here. She is the reason I want to keep being here. I wish I was as resilient as she has been in her life. I will never reach the gold standard she has set in her 72 years here, but I hope she has many more birthdays so I can keep on trying.


Happy Birthday to my mother.  

You are my 9/11/41 hero.