Welcome to another blog.
Before I begin, I would like to say after many month’s of writing a post every now and then for you to consume and devour, my fantastic daughter decided to make me a headed. So in the future we all know each post I write is part of making history.
Like most of my children when they are away from the nest and are undertaking various areas or stages of their life, we have a certain rule. The rule is: once a week, you must phone home!
Unlike my other three children, Scarlett likes to break this rule. On a daily or second day basis, we have received a call from her informing both her Father and I of her actions, decisions and outcomes being undertaken.
As you may or may not know, Scarlett is currently completing her clinical placement for her nursing degree. I know when she isn’t on the phone to us telling us how some doctors can be complete arseholes and other’s being charming, that it is almost sickening; she off attending to the every whim and need of her patient’s within her care.
From what she has discussed with me, Scarlett has had a very eventful week of self discovering. She has discovered the ability of inserting an IV drop without tearing the cannula out of the patient’s fragile vein. Not mention, she has performed her first ECG on an alive patient and the doctor clarified the results were correct.
Lastly, for a kid who hated and disliked with a passion doing any form of math in school; she now has the ability to calculate medication off the top of her head. All without becoming the latest recruiter of the 007 Bond series.
Through our conversations I have been able to hear her discover her braveness, caring side of nursing while maintaining her soothing and calming tones when in need. All the while absorbing more than she can possibly watch from an drama filled episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
I have heard many stories and tales about how she has thrown caution to the wind and fought for her patient’s right. Scarlett has told me about how she fought against doctors who have roughly shoved or pushed her aside and not acknowledged her voice when advocating for her patients and colleagues.
As a mother of Scarlett but also having been a patient in her care, I can state she is one of those nurses you meet as a patient and forever will be etched into your mind. Simply for the fact she shines like a bright light in a cloud of darkness and all the while, giving you a sense of hope.
Unlike Scarlett whose nickname or code name should be ‘Debbie Doubter’, I never have any doubt as to her abilities not lost faith in her when she has taken a stumble in her life. Let alone her own beliefs as to how she is going to cope or whether or not she was/is doing the right thing!
Today, I received a phone call informing me not of anything medical based or hearing my daughter cry over the phone. Rather, I was informed she had elected to visit and spent a delightful day with her maternal Grandparents in Brisbane.
Unlike like most people we know of, this would not appear to be abnormal but rather would seem like the nicest gift a grandchild could bestow upon her elders. What most people do not know is if you met my parents or had them as your child’s Grandparents, you would understand why Scarlett elected to go visit.
In the case of my children’s maternal Grandparents, each and every individual visit is done with much discussion within our immediate family as to the various scenarios that can or would occur. We check for any small or large possible sightings of blood loss.
Not mentioning the many mutterings of “are you sure?” as the battle armour is taken out of storage, cobwebs dusted off before being set off to be polished. As the drawing of the hour becomes clear, the spit polished armour is placed on with considerable trepidation while checking the arsenal of weapons is double checked, cleaned and primed.
Just like that, the witching hour has arrived upon you and the safety you once knew, no longer exists as you step out of the door. As you become aware of your not so safe environment, your weapons are fully locked and loaded while the night vision goggles you’ve acquired are in place.
It is only until you take the first step towards the closed front door that to the outside world, appears like it contains a ‘normal’ family; that you realize the breath you’ve been holding is released when you knock on the front door. Bracing yourself to be greeted, you calm down the hyperventilation attack you are having as you brace your armour closer and put on a brave smile.
No, I am not exaggerating rather in fact, I am actually understating what really happens when you are in the presence of my blood related family members.
Ah yes, my bloody family.
Like the say goings, ‘you can chose your friends but not your family’ has often been quoted far too many times as I have found myself lying on the floor. Coated and surrounded by the very thing that runs through my veins as I watch my family circle, waiting for the next opportunity to attack.
The life I have lived before I became known as Lois was spent living and surviving in a tank filled with grey white and white pointer sharks.
For those who have been brought up in a shark tank for a family home, I have become to know greatly of what sharks hunger for. That of course is for blood and loss of life’, preferably of the human kind in my family’s case.
My parents and brother are types of sharks that are simply not content with a little sniff of blood. Rather they feel the need to devour you into ragged chunks of humanity and as you flay your arms around, you realize the life running through your veins is turning your environment.
Once clean, the environment surrounding you now resembles a bright iridescent red as you watch them swim around you, taking more chunks. As you slowly bleed to death rather than drowning in your blood, you realize something of value.
The value you learnt was your family was never going to accept or love you like you loved them in return. All of the family sacrifices over the many years were for nothing as they had become greedier and greedier until one day, it resulted in where you were now.
Lying in a sticky, warm pool of blood as you cough the remaining amount in your body as your life starts to slip away. Until the final and last breath leaves you.
As the only daughter to my parents, my life was in many respects has and will continue to be pure hell.
I will not lie and say there wasn’t some lovely times in my life because there was. However these times are fragmented and never running concurrently. I have random patches of remembering laughter, happiness in and around me and feeling ‘special’.
However, the love I was given had many conditions attached in order to receive it. Of course these changed without notice, offer of additional information and sometimes were based on the current mood changing within nanoseconds as my Father’s mood changed.
Of course not knowing the ever changing conditions meant inevitably I failed. Failure was not accepted.
Maybe this is where Scarlett get’s the drive of failure and failing not to be acceptable in her world she lives and creates in. I know as her mother, I have watched her over the years of education being undertaken, the need and desire to prove she is worth every cell within her body and yet, have watched my blood family in return, turn their backs on her and continue to favour one grandchild.
When I lock away the memories of sexual abuse, I believe I handled the beatings dealt in spitting rage by hand or the feel of leather and furniture breaking the skin of my lower back.
The excruciating pain of bones being broken never came close to what hurt the most and as an adult, I can state has crippled me the most for many years. The most excruciating thing I have had to deal with was the deprivation of love.
Love in any form that is given whole heartedly by a person to another.
I can only describe it as this feeling or emotion:- You are standing in a bright warm light, your bones, your skin, your face is illuminated and a sense of safety, belonging and possession are yours to cherish. Without warning the light surrounding you is destroyed and the floor falls out from under you.
Now you are falling and when hitting the ground, you stumble alone in the pitch black. Holding hands out stretched as you feel wildly in the dark for something tangible to hold onto. It is in that moment, you grab for anything or anyone who is willing to give you a sense of ownership of where or who you are.
There is an unearthly, hollow silence, an eerie void of nothingness. In a way that can be described for those who have never had to experience this psychological and emotional abuse is: you feel incredible loneliness.
It hits you right between the eyes and in your heart that you are all alone!
So in order to get this love or any form of love, I endured things that I cannot share with you. I am sorry, I just can’t. Not because I have something to hide nor am I ashamed.
Simply it stems from the few who do know what journey I have undertaken and walked, these are the Guardians of my heart as they have walked the journey along side me. Have openly and willingly held out their hand, picked me up from my knees when times have gotten hard or difficult and have listened patiently to my story.
All the while I sobbed uncontrollably for I had finally found people who are and will continue to love me for who I am. Not what I can bring to their lives and at the end of the day, have nurtured and loved me when I have doubted myself in large periods of time.
Like Scarlett has told me when I have broken down and leaned upon her shoulder, “there will come a day when those living shall become ghosts and the full story can be told. You will no longer to in essence protect them or their identities for they will no longer be present on earth”.
I do however find this highly ironic because not once has it entered their minds, particularly when I was young and innocent to all things, to protect the innocent. But that’s the difference between them and I. I am more interested in bringing light to things that have happened to me and those who have been in similar situations.
All the while protecting those who do not know the horrid stories of what their mother or father are capable of doing to a friend’s daughter. As for that story, that is for another time or lifetime.
As to the question you are all sitting there silently asking: how did I and The O’Chunky family end up living in Siberia?
This story I am more than willing to answer but it has been a long and painful bloody journey that has destroyed my concept upon what is ‘normal, abnormal or plain fucked up’.
This journey having been undertaken by myself has left me conjuring up the life I have always wanted to be involved in. This family and lifestyle is something akin to The Waltons, the iconic 1970’s television show that brought a certain sweetness, honour, respect and loyalty to what families should present.
These were all attributes I craved for within my own immediate family as the inner presenting image we allowed no one else to see was one of deceit, disrespect and dishonour.
Not to mention I was brought up thinking the only way I was worthy of being allowed to stay within the home of my children and Husband was to work myself into an early grave.
As I constantly seeked and craved for approval and praise from my Husband because I had presented dinner on the dot at 5 o’clock. I had washed and fed the children so when he came home, he could pat them on the head before they were whisked away.
All the while never believing ANYONE would be remotely interested in me as a friend or possibly like me for simply being me because I had been brought up to think, “If only you were a quarter of the woman your Mother is”.
One day after Family Mass Destruction featuring myself and Them which gave to unheard combination of swear words and violence; something inside of me snapped.
It was in that moment after I stopped and looked at the carnage and sharks swimming around me, enough was enough.
In order to break the unnatural bonds holding me tied to a destructive lifestyle and equally destructive family bond; I had to confront those who had kept me in suspension, pain and sorrow for so long.
Taking whatever consequences came, I never looked back and as a result of doing so I discovered for the first time in my life, I was never going to be alone in the dark.
I told my Children and Husband, as I threw on my camouflage gear, slid my feet into my army boots and checked my stock of hand grenades and ammunition supply; that I was off to battle with my Parents. Than when I returned home after blowing shit up with my loaded bazooka, we would be going to a new destination.
We would be going to a new destination to live and the destination I had set my heart and mind on was Siberia.
Now anyone who knows my family, have heard of the code word ‘Siberia’.
Having been known for its formidable arctic ice winds, with mountains of snow and ice and for the simple fact, if you were deported to Siberia there was chance you were never returning.
In mine and my family’s case, we have our very special and unique version of Siberia and all things related to arctic freezing and death of social isolation.
My parent’s idea of Siberia is a place of horrible coldness and sheer darkness. Their version of Siberia is shrouded in feeling of loneliness, sadness and can be described as a place of depression. The light that supposedly shines from the moon is covered in cloud and you are surrounded by dark.
You are surrounded by darkness and are all alone, oh so very alone. You are left in no uncertain terms because you have defied God and royally fucked up. The term of imprisonment is determined only by himself, the Holy Father.
Before my willing departure, I have been deported to Siberia more times than I have had a nice roast pork with sublime cracking that pops in your mouth. I can honestly say the times I have fought deportation, I have discovered each and every time I got sent there; it is incredibly horrible to be there, so fucking alone.
As I left my family standing there in horror at the thought of being thrown into isolation and darkness, I threw on my battle gear and opened my mind and heart to a simple thought of, ‘Siberia, might be the place to heal my soul in peace’.
It was in that split second of having this thought, I felt this incredible peace flow over me. For I no longer resembled the frightened child, equally scared and frightened teenager before morphing into an angry and loathing woman.
Instead of presenting as a fruit loop wielding a battle axe and armour, I stood before my parents as a very calm woman who spoke eloquently. Just like that and without a backward glance, I walked to my car, climbed in and turned up the music before driving off.
For the first time in my life, I had a sense of peace flooding my system and when looking down at my hands, I pictured a light shining from every pore in my skin. All I thought was, ‘you can no longer hurt me with your bullshit and need to control everything’.
I left that day with my parent’s running after my car, screaming “don’t leave us!”
Now once upon a magical time, I would have simply caved and given into their request as I raced back into the folds of light. All of which supposedly represented their love and what they were willing to sacrifice to give to me and my family.
Just so I didn’t have to be that child and teenager frightened and scared of being in the dark and be alone any more.
When faced with the idea of me no longer being at their beck and call, my parent’s tried everything in their capacity to make me come back into the fold. They even offered me jewelry, trips overseas, money and anything I wanted.
Except the one thing I had spent my life craving from the time I was a wee child to the moment I walked away and that was unconditional whole hearted love.
Since they were incapable of doing that freely without anything attached, I packed up our belongings , threw the animals into the car along with my beloved and deeply adored family and we headed into the wilderness of Siberia.
It was after discovering what the true wilderness of Siberia, that hadn’t been fabricated by my parents and brother, I loved living in Sibera. For I no longer lived in a tangled web of deceit, frustration, sorrow/grief, pain and hostility.
In fact I discovered the sun shines here all year round and Siberia is a place of peace, tranquility, copious amounts of hope and terrific memories. All the while, I sit outdoors and languish in the sunlight as I still continue to discover the meaning of happiness.
In essence, I have finally discovered the much needed zest for my own life that has allowed me to live it the way I have dreamt of wanting it to be.
So with a worried heart, I listened to my daughter make her own adult decision to meet with my family once again. In listening to her and her decisions, I realise Scarlett was an adult and I have no need of trying to protect her. For she is capable of standing on her own feet.
Also, she knows and has accepted that Siberia is and will continue to be her sanctuary if she desires it to be. Both Scarlett and her siblings know and have witnessed the mortal dangers of swimming with sharks in unprotected waters.
However when I heard about her telling the Golden Hair Child of how she had deleted her on the context of her being “a bitch”; I felt a sense of relief and gratitude.
I felt gratitude for the lessons Scarlet has undertaken in her short but highly entertaining and adventurous life as it has turned her into a terrific adult. For Scarlett could have resorted to being a child and told her to go home and think of Britannia.
I also felt a sense of relief for Scarlett stood on her own two feet, without the protection of her family and bravely stood up herself. For the child and teenager I have watched over many years would have either resorted to being the wallflower and allowing her cousin to walk over and manipulate her. Or, she would have said something and then willingly laid her head on the chopping block before cutting her own head off.
Instead, my twenty something year old daughter stood toe to toe with her cousin and as a result, she neither became the sacrifical lamb or the wallflower. In a sense, I believe her finally stepping out of the shadows, allowing the past to be the past and gaining a steady foot has allowed her to flourish and stand up to her bullies.
Like any mother, I am proud to call her my daughter for she is simply not just a nursing student. Rather, she is an incredible woman and daughter, I am proud to call my own.
However, I need not worry of Scarlett when she comes to dealing with the sharks and the now famous tank for she has been blessed with a fine set of teeth herself.
Lois reporting from Siberia.