Posted in Hiking, Photography

Golden October 

Germany was forecasted for a golden October. A rather mild month with warmer than usual temperatures and a gradual transition into winter. The foliage was beautiful while I was there, but didn’t fully peek yet. 

My mind has travelled back to the pictures in my mind many times since my return, wondering how everything has progressed and how it might look like now. Today on my day off I’m taking time to venture in search of my golden October, some solitude and a feeling of peace that is filled with moments of being still and wonder. 

Have a beautiful day everyone.

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Posted in Family

Unforeseen circumstances 

“ You picked a fine time to come visit. I might be admitted into the hospital”, were some of mom‘s first words, as I arrived in Germany. I had just unlocked the door to enter the house and found her standing at the bottom of the stairs in front of me. I knew that she had a doctors appointment while I was still En route to Germany and she quickly informed me that she had another appointment with a specialist the following day. All this happened before I could even properly say hello and greet her. “Hello to you too Mom, I missed you too”.It was the following morning, my first full day in Germany, as we made our way to the specialist and our first fight started over something silly. I knew that side of Mom all too well, but had hoped that we made some headway’s during my last visit in 2015. It was only my second day but the initial welcome and time spent enjoying coffee in the romantic setting of a castle from the prior day, seemed like a distant memory. Here we were, on our way to see the doctor and somehow it feels as if Mom knew what would follow and purposely tried to get some distance between us. Finally, we arrived at the office, but something went wrong and somewhere along the lines the ball was dropped. Nobody knew of Mom’s appointment and their was no entry in the books for her. All in all we had to reschedule for the following Tuesday and a whole week would pass before someone could properly tend to Mom and her open legs. It was later in the day that I got to see Moms legs for the first time. It took all of the self control I could muster to not scream and to hold back the emotions. It looked bad, really, really bad. I truly believe that she would have been admitted into the hospital, had the appointment not gone missing. Her lower legs and calves were swollen and dark red and blue, with open sores and water emerging out of the holes. Yet according to her they already looked better and a nurse would be by every other day to re-wrap and take care of her legs. I had to trust her word and in some ways, this incident, in a very strange and dangerous way, bought her some time, time with me, who picked this fine time to come visit, even though there was no time to waste in her condition. I was worried, but at least I knew I’d be close if she needed help and if things got worse. 

Over the next week, Mom would hum in front of her. Mmmm m mmmm, mmmm m mmmm, but she never complained or said anything. Still, I knew she was in pain. Her behavior made me recall the incident as I dislocated my elbow. I had made the same sound and it was now that I could recognize it again and realize that it was pain induced. The week passed and I kept my eyes on her legs like a hawk to look for worsening signs, but luckily didn’t find any. Instead our fights continued Tuesday through Saturday and I admit that at times I’d wished she would have been admitted into the hospital for my own sanity. Of course the reasons for such should have been for her health, but I didn’t know how to go on with the constant fighting. There was no resolve to anything and all it left behind was deep sadness. I too wanted the time with her, but this was driving me crazy. I’m not a person who enjoys fighting. It makes me sick, literally speaking now and it only aggravates the RA. I usually escape those moments as they are not worth my time and my health, but there was no escaping this time. I was trapped and felt like a victim, having to endure punishment whenever it felt to be unleashed. And then, finally came Sunday and the fights ended. 

Tuesday afternoon came around and we were back at the praxis. The prognosis wasn’t good, and although her legs looked much better, if you can say that while they were still leaking fluids, the specialist suggested hospitalization. Mom tried to postpone to a later date when I would be gone again, but we all knew there was no time to waste. I remembered our fighting days and the times I wished she’d be hospitalized. I now felt ashamed of those thoughts and I no longer wanted her to go. The news was tough, although no surprise and I knew chances were high that this could happen. But here and now, all became reality and it felt as our time together came to an end. She was expected in the hospital the following morning which would come way too soon. We sat at home and I spent what felt like our last evening together. I helped get her things together and packed her bag, despite her bag being mostly packed already. Standing by, just waiting on the steps, without ever being fully unpacked from hospital stay to hospital stay, the next one would come with certainty and would be around the corner. And here it was. I felt sad and alone, my heart was aching and breaking, and yet I needed to be tough for her and instill the feeling that all would be ok.

Posted in Photography

7 Days, 7 photos – day 6

” Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day. 

It’s almost the end of my week and the end of paying homage to my wonderful challenger at scottishlegend.wordpress.com. Thank you for nominating me and always being so supportive of my photography. This has been fun.

I would like to nominate another dear friend at wineandhistory.wordpress.com

I know no explanations are needed but I call this one “Staying grounded while reaching for the stars”

Posted in Family, Inspiration

The bigger picture 

The peace pipe continued to burn after this beautiful, mental and physically relaxing Sunday. As quickly as the fights had started in previous days, they vanished without a trace. Almost as if they had never happened and whatever the reason, we never spoke about them again. There was a silent understanding, a shared enjoyment of the peace that now filled the air and lingered like a comforting blanket. Perhaps it was that hot cooked meal from the previous night, that I secretly infused with the spice of love and magic, and which brought warmth and peace our way. I don’t know, but I believe that sometimes things can be as simple as sharing a meal together. It was in this case and it boiled down to time spent together. Perhaps it was simply time to lay our weapons down, being tired of fighting and trying to plead our opinions and feelings onto the other one. In retrospect I understand that not all things went that smooth, and after all we spent our life living apart from each other. Restricted to the occasional phone call and the even more seldom visit. What was it that we truly knew about each other’s personal day to day life? Did we really noticed each other’s journey, the things and opinions that changed over the years and the once sacred values that no longer had a place in our daily way of living? Did we pick up the phone to inform the other one of our progress, our newfound beliefs? Did even notice our own growth spurts as they were happenings? No, they just happened over many years, most of them subtle as time carved the experiences of our existence deep within our soul. Most likely we wouldn’t notice at the time and it wouldn’t be like we woke up one morning, feeling a visible difference, even though I can look back now and notice the changes. How, and when it all happened is unclear. I recognize the influencers, but to explain it into logical facts with dates and times is impossible. The same had to happen to Mom and every other being in this universe. It’s part of life and the path we walk and choose. Some paths choose us and not all are shared, some are walked alone and our loved ones and life around us has little understanding and knowledge of what that path really looks like for us and what it is that we experience. It may appear completely different from the outside, maybe we would do things differently and rely on the fact that we all have choices to change the course. And maybe we lack the understanding and should not pass judgement until we find ourselves walking that same path. Maybe only then could we gain the understanding of what it is truly like. Clearly there were things I would have done differently, things I couldn’t see eye to eye with Mom, but it was not a matter of forcing my opinions

onto her. I was worried about her and it will always be a part of my life, especially here being so far away. It’s a heavy burden I carry daily and for a better lack of expression, it sucks. Big time. 

The following Monday took me away from Mom for a good part of the day but we still found time together in the evening. I was hungry to spend more time with her and all I wanted was to strengthen the foundation from the previous night. After what took a little convincing, which basically resulted in me taking charge and leaving little choice to Mom, we went out for Pizza. I can only imagine and know that the times Mom was out in a public place were far and few, so it was no surprise that this one felt like a milestone. She knew that her “No’s” fell on deaf ears that simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and she gave in and got herself ready. I’m not surprised that she enjoyed herself and I still can’t believe Mom ate a decent size Pizza all by herself. Once again she enjoyed a warm meal as if she had to store and savor it for later times to come. It made me happy and sad at the same time. I felt as if I was gaining ground as the tough facade continued to crackle away, allowing more and more of her true nature to come to the forefront. She had chosen to let me in and finally be her daughter once again. Maybe momentarily, maybe lasting, it is yet to be seen and will largely depend on how much t8me she will spend alone again. The wall was something (perhaps from my Mothers perspective) to protected her feelings, something I wasn’t worthy of at times due to the pain of leaving her behind and alone. In her journey of troubles and pain, she didn’t know how else to deal with it and for years we lived bound by blood but through the pain of each other, caused from this separation. 

All this became clear and then something else magical happened. I forgave her for not knowing how to handle her pain and for hurting me in return. I never hurt her on purpose, I simply didn’t know. I don’t feel that it was meant to be intentional but due to not knowing how to deal with it. I felt her pain and her strange way of expressing her love for me, even though she has never told me. I understood the loneliness and the fear that was urging a sense of urgency. I recognize the disappointment she couldn’t control and the lack of simply knowing who her daughter was. Remembering the little girl I once was and the absence of witnessing the woman that I had grown into because I left Germany. It was me who took that away from her and in a way she lost her daughter as well as she had lost her husband. My Dad died at age 35 in an accident at work, and now I was gone too. With the difference that I was alive, but still unreachable and removed from her life. All this became so much clearer during this Sunday and Monday and for the first time I saw a picture that was much bigger than it ever appeared. Maybe it was always there but we wasted so much time talking past each other. Trying to force opinions and views, without the other being ready or in a place to understand. Therefore all it ever brought was frustration and pain and I’m not saying that there won’t be any in the future, but I’m saying that I have a better understanding. Our first days were tough, but I harbor no hard feelings and even more important, I have forgiven her. I think the restart button has been hit with the lighting of this peace pipe and may it be written in the stars that one day Mom can forgive me as well.

Posted in Inspiration

Field of dreams 

I love sunflowers and this view was one of the first ones I saw during my first country drive exploring my old stomping grounds in Germany. I had to stop and take a closer look. I don’t think I’d ever seen an entire field full of sunflowers. It was magic and I began to dream. I closed my eyes and softly swayed with the wind, allowing the breeze to play with my hair and kiss my face. I wanted to feel every moment and soak up the feeling of “home”. I was waiting for something, a sign that told me that this was where I belonged. The permanent reassurance never came, although during those moments I felt that I was exactly where I needed to be. I could have stayed for awhile and I almost forgot about Mom, who was sitting in the car behind me, watching, perhaps wondering what the heck it was that I was doing. She never asked and I never spoke about it. Something happened in that field, that day and there was a special kind of energy, a comfort of belonging. Peace….

Towards the end of my stay in Germany, I went back to my field of dreams and found it gone. Mowed down, there was not a trace left of the once standing tall and beautiful sunflowers. It still makes me sad, although I try to remember that in order for the “New” to flourish, the “Old” has to make way. It also reminds me to not take anything for granted, it might not be here tomorrow. Perhaps I should have returned earlier to the field that held such magic for me, but which I ultimately didn’t make a priority. Without consideration that time might not be there, it never came to mind that it could be any different than it was on that very day. 

Life has a funny, but more often strange way to put things into perspective. I don’t think we are ever done learning lessons that stretch us in ways unimaginable, that shed clarity and a understanding, that point out what our instincts already know, while suppling us with the aha moments of our life. 🦋