Coeliac and stress, and the emotional merry-go-round of life

What a full on and draining few months I have had!

Things have been piling up on me, and I have been really struggling to cope.

Problems with friends, worry about my health, and problems with my sons health. It’s all been a bit much to handle.

My son has been sick a lot for the last few years. Digestion problems, pain and cramping. We have been seeing a few different doctors, and I have suspected Coeliac Disease for a while. Finally they came back with a diagnoses, I was right. It’s not too bad when you consider some of the alternate diseases they were looking into. I can cope with Coeliac.

So now he needs to go strictly gluten free, for life. He is taking it really well, he just wants to feel better. Me…different story. I feel I have gone into stress overload. I seem to always be thinking about his diet, what he can and can’t eat, tying to find alternatives so he doesn’t miss out. Shopping now takes forever, reading every label on every product, double checking ingredients before it goes in the trolley. It all makes my head spin.

Then there is cross contamination to think about. Just one crumb can make him so ill, and do damage to his digestive system. So we need separate toasters, new chopping boards, it’s just insanely intense.

I have problems with stress and anxiety anyway, and major problems sleeping. So I can feel myself going downhill, slipping into the rabbit hole. The more I worry, the less I sleep. Then lack of sleep makes everything feel worse, and that makes me stress more. It’s like a horrible merry-go-round that just keeps spinning faster and faster while the music gets louder and louder…

I know I need to jump off, calm down, but just can’t seem to find a way.

I’m hoping a bit of time will make it easier, make me feel more confident and comfortable that I can do this, I can help my boy get healthy.

I just need to get through this part now….and some sleep sure wouldn’t hurt


An open letter to my estranged sister, on the morning of her wedding

An open letter to my estranged sister on her wedding day


I know all that has passed between us has been hard, and often hurtful, but there are some things I need you to know.

To start the past is the past, we both have faults, and we are who we are. We are different people, and will never ever be friends. But we will always be sisters, even if we don’t want to be.

Today is your wedding day. I hope it’s a happy day for you. I hope you can focus on the joy and love of the day, and that Mum’s absence doesn’t make it too hard for you. I know you will be thinking about her, and missing her like crazy. I know she would be so happy that you are finally healed enough to take this step. Take some quiet time to remember her, and how much she loved you. Shed your tears, but then put them aside. Mum always only wanted you to be happy. So be happy, for her.

I wish I could be there with you. Be there for you. That I could help you get ready, laugh at your nerves, pour you a drink. I wish I could be a part of your day, however small a part. I know why you didn’t invite me. I get it. It’s been so long since we have spoken. There is so much pain and hurt. On both sides. I know in my heart that you made the best choice for you, and I get it. It’s your wedding day. But man, I wish I was there. I want it so much it hurts.

I wish I could somehow change the past. Change the way we both acted.At least find some way to get past it. But the past shapes the present, and we both have to live with it. I want you to know that I am sorry for my part in our problems, and that I forgive yours. I really do. I’m not past the pain and hurt, but I forgive your part in causing them. I hope one day you can forgive mine.

I hope today marks the start of a beautiful marriage, and that your life with your family is everything you want it to be. I hope you acheive your dreams, with your husband standing by your side. I wish you every happiness life has to offer.

I really just want you to be happy. Every day, but especially today. Be happy.

I want you to know that no matter how far apart we are, how distant, you are still my sister. I still love you. I couldn’t stop if I tried.


the Freckle-Faced Monster




Holding a grudge takes vital energy away from other, far more important areas of life, and bitterness is a cold, hard pill to swallow.

Some things, some people, you need to just let go.

I have been working on this lately. Coming to terms with events that happened a few years back. Things that were the result of a lifetime of built up tensions. Trying to figure out how two people, raised in the same house, can see things so very differently. Can be so very different. Can become so far apart.

Many things have been done over the years, hurtful words have been spoken. Wounds have been made, and healed over, only to be roughly ripped open again. And again. And again.

There comes a time when for everyone’s sanity things just have to stop.

So they did. We cut each other off. Both for our own reasons, both believing it is the best thing. I still believe staying apart is healthiest for both of us. But man it really hurts sometimes. Knowing life is going on, but I’m not a part of it. Not being able to see my nephews grow. My boy missing out on growing up with his cousins. Not being invited to my only sisters wedding.

Nothing can be done about it, we have a toxic relationship. Both of us are happier and less stressed without the other.

However knowing that doesn’t stop the pain


Dark days ahead

It’s that time of year again.

The dark, grey and brooding time.

When no matter how warm and bright it is outside, I just can’t seem to see the sun.

It’s not that I want to feel this way, I just can’t seem to help it. I can’t seem to shake the knowledge of what lies around the corner.

You see, Saturday the 7th of May should have been my Mums 62nd birthday. Then Sunday is Mother’s Day. So two big, nasty, emotional days right on top of each other. Not even giving me room to catch my breath.

This is the 3rd birthday that she hasn’t been here for, the 3rd Mother’s Day without her. It should be starting to feel normal….but it’s not. It just feels so wrong. Thinking about it makes me feel so empty. Only I’m not empty, I’m full of the sharp and shattered pieces of what used to be, what should still be. What will never be again. The jagged edges of pain feel like they cut into my very being, leaving me broken and bleeding.

Yet in some small way I relish the pain, I perversely don’t want it to end. Because maybe when the pain ends, when the pieces are not so sharp, maybe my memories will be blunted too. Maybe I will start to forget. And the thought of that feels like losing her all over again.

So I take a deep breath, calm myself, and walk through the darkness. I know there is light there. I know there is warmth.

I know that no matter what, no matter where, I will always feel my Mum in the sunshine.

My Christmas Wish. Grief and loss in the holiday season


I’m missing you this Christmas

I’m wishing you were here,

I’m trying to be merry, 

to be full of Christmas cheer

I smile for all the kiddies

I try to play the game

but now that you are not around

nothing feels the same.

I look at all the Christmas lights

they are twinkling so bright,

but I feel a secret darkness

that is eating up the night.

I can’t get excited about Santa,

or singing Christmas songs,

because  you are not here with us

and that just feels so wrong.

There’s an empty chair at my table,

there’s a space under my tree,

I’m missing you this Christmas

I just want you here, with me


If Only


If Only…

If only I could see you again
see your precious smile,
what I wouldn’t give to hold your hand
for just a little while.
To hear your laugh ring loudly,
to be smothered in a hug,
to feel the warmth only you could bring,
to be safe within your love.
So many things I would say to you
I don’t know where to start,
I guess the only thing that matters is
“I love you, with all my heart”



It’s been 2 years without my Mum now. Two long, slow, heartbreaking years. So much has changed, so much is different.

I wish she could be here with us, and watch everyone grow.

Well, I survived last week. A little mentally battered, my heart a little bruised, but I survived.

It was a tough week for me. Mum’s birthday was on Thursday (she should be 61) then just a few days later was Mother’s Day.

I could feel the week approaching for a long time before it got here, and was waiting with dread. Anticipating how much it would hurt, what a mess I would be. My moods were very unstable…and bad. (totally had my bitch on)

I struggled to cope with work, being friendly and polite (both to staff and customers). I was horrible to be around at home. My poor family😦

In the end I decided to take Thursday off work, just in case. I really wasn’t sure how I would be. I’m really glad I did.

Not because I was a mess (I was, but it was bearable), but because I had an enjoyable day.

I sent Master J off to school, then had the house to myself while the other kids slept in. I took advantage of the quiet to let all the emotions out, and had a good cry. It needed to get out.

Then I decided to get on with things. I spent the morning working in the garden, concentrating on Mum’s memory garden. I always enjoy gardening, and feel closer to Mum outside. I tidied the garden, planted new plants, rearranged a little. Generally pottered about.

Then I went and cleaned up, and baked some scones. Mum was a sucker for a good Devonshire Tea, so that seemed fitting. When the little man got home from school, we took the scones outside into the garden, along with a big pot of tea (in Mum’s spotty teapot of course). We were able to sit around and remember Mum, with smiles and laughs (and yes, a few tears) It was really nice, and felt very cleansing.

The rest of the day was uneventful, my emotions all up and down and all over the place.

And then there was Mother’s Day.

I made an effort to keep the bitch at bay, and mostly succeeded. The kids and I walked the Mother’s Day Classic fun run. (Will leave teenage girl at home next time, bad attitude plus). Came home, opened prezzies, then lay down and watched a movie together. I felt very drained, so it was a good pace for me.

I mostly kept it together, but there was an underlying ‘sad’ all day. I guess that’s to be expected, and may never really pass.

But I got through. I made it out the other side, without doing too much emotional damage to myself.

I still feel flat, and very sensitive. I still have a super-short fuse. But I’m working on it. I will get there.

I still miss my Mum.

A Little Less

Well it’s been a busy few weeks here in Flower-land, what with trying to study and learn, while still trying to keep up with work, the house, kids etc. Then throw into the mix my first ever trip overseas!!

That’s right, I left Oz (I came back though because, let’s face it, this country rocks!)

The Philippines.. it might not be everyone’s first choice in overseas destinations, but it worked for me.

You see, my Dad moved to General Santos, in the Philippines, around 6 years ago. He found himself a wonderful lady over there, and she finally convinced him to make an honest woman of her. Unfortunately my husband couldn’t get time off work, so my youngest boy and I set off to witness the wedding, and finally meet all of Dads new family. I’m so very glad we did.

During the lead up to the trip, Master J and I were talking about the different culture and way of living. The different standards, and poverty. I wanted him to be a little prepared for how things might be, and what we might see. Being the sweet and kind-hearted boy that he is, Master J immediately wanted to help in some way, however we could. He was especially concerned with the idea of children living with very little. We decided that maybe we could bring some things with us to help needy children. So we contacted Dad’s bride Macqui, and she told us about an orphanage not to far from them.

So the plan was put in motion. We decided clothes would always be needed, and some toys to play with. Master J went through his dinky cars and came up with a good sized bag to take. I hunted down all the bargains and super cheap clothes on offer at work.  A caring community member donated some Barbie’s. In the end we had a large sized suitcase FULL of stuff for the kids.

The goodies!  So didn't fit in the photo ;)

The goodies! Some didn’t fit in the photo😉

So we packed up, meet up with my Aunty and Cousin who were also coming, and headed off over seas!

After 2 flights we had an overnight stop over in Manila. All I can say is I am so glad my Aunty was there! As we left the airport the noise and confusion was overwhelming. People everywhere, and all talking in languages I couldn’t understand. I’m not a fan of crowds at the best of times, so I was totally freaked out in seconds. However we finally found a taxi, and started making our slow journey to the hotel. I say slow, because Holey Moley the traffic there is crazy!! Cars, tricycles and bikes everywhere, all going wherever they want with seemingly no road rules! Just beep the horn and push on through! We had buses and bikes within an inch of our taxi, always stopping and started, and constant horn tooting.

Trying to distract myself from the chaos of the roads, I looked out the windows and tried to take it all in.

It was like a punch to the gut.

Buildings in various stages of disrepair, power-lines hanging down, people digging through rubbish. Even a family camped on the side of the road under a makeshift tarp, cooking a meal on a small fire, while Mum breastfed her baby. Seeing that, knowing that is how some people live, it was a real reality check for me.

Random  street-scape in Manila

Random street-scape in Manila

The next day we continued our journey to our final destination, General Santos. Known as GenSan, it is a much smaller city than Manila, which made it much easier to cope with. Still very busy, still crazy traffic, but at a level I could manage. GenSan does not appear to be set up for tourists in any way, but is real. It’s down-to-earth, this-is-how-we-live Philippines….and I love it.

It’s full of bustle, people packed in everywhere..but everyone is happy. Everyone is polite, and so very friendly.

So we met up with Dad, and the holiday started in earnest. We finally got to meet Dad’s new family. They were so lovely, so pleased to meet us, and immediately treated us like part of the tribe. It was fantastic!  We went through Master J’s ‘Philippine’s Bucket List’ and started ticking things off.

we went on a little boat, or banca

We went on a little boat, or banca, along the shoreline

We went in many tricycles, awesome form of transport.

We went in many tricycles, awesome form of transport.

We rode in a Jeepney

We rode in a Jeepney, thankfully not too crowded

Then there was the wedding. Absolutely beautiful, religious and traditional, it was great. The best bit was seeing my Dad so happy. Knowing he has found a place for himself, and is part of a wonderful family. Master J was part of the bridal party, as the bible bearer, and as such wore a traditional Filipino shirt called a Barong. He absolutely loved it🙂

A few days later we visited the orphanage. Saint Gemma Galgani’s Home For Children. It was a small place, with only 12 children in residence. Some were orphans, others had both parents in jail. Others had been abandoned, and nobody knew where their parents were. There were a few groups of siblings there, as I was pleased to find out that they do not separate siblings. There was even a lady with a small baby. Her husband had recently gone to jail, and they had nowhere else to go, so they were taken in and looked after.

The lady who ran it was wonderful. You could see the caring bond she shared with the kids.

What stuck me the most was the children themselves. They had very little, lived very simply, but they were happy. They were clean and well fed. Full of life and energy. You could see they felt secure and loved. It was amazing to see what had been achieved with very little, relying on donations to get by.

So it was time to give out our donations. The kids were so excited, as were master J and I!! They were so appreciative of everything, so excited, both by toys, and having new clothes. The carer said as the clothes we gave were all new they will be saved for their ‘best’. For wearing to church, outings, and to meet prospective families in. The stationary went into a box for their art lessons, and the toys they played with straight away! As expected the little girls went for the dolls, and most boys went to the cars and started racing.

What was great though, was the puppets. Everyone loved them. They also really helped break down the language barrier, and allowed Master J to play and talk to the kids easier. He had a ball, and was really in his element, making sure that everyone had a toy or three, and that nobody was left out. He even hand delivered a puppet to a young lad that was wheelchair bound. He was mentally handicapped, and didn’t really seem to understand what was going on, but Master J made sure he didn’t miss out🙂 I have never been so proud of my little man.

The Filipino people, as a whole, seem to be a very happy people. They are very polite, and so very welcoming. The whole time we were there I didn’t hear a raised voice. Not one argument.  Just so many smiles

They live in what we class as ‘third world’ conditions. They don’t have much, and certainly nothing to spare. Wealth is measured by if you can afford tin for your roof. So many live in cottages made from woven palm leaves and bamboo. Families sharing a house with many generations, parents and their children in one room. Chickens and roosters are raised as necessity, and slaughtered often for the pot. Children play with what they can find, not plastic toys and electronics. Yet things are harmonious. Children laugh and play, people are happy.

Maybe we all could do with a little less.