Around the Cauldron

Dear Poppy…

I’ve been trying to keep up with the blogging topics of the two Projects I’m apart of. I’ve got a few drafts going, but I can’t find the words of late. I sit down with the full intention, but nothing comes out.

I know why this is – my heart is broken and my eyes are sore from crying.

To think I almost didn’t go down to see you. I almost gave in and thought, “no, I won’t drive down. It’s certainly too much to fly.” But I’m so glad I did. I’m so glad I slept in my car and drove through the night. To be able to see you and Nanna in the same room one last time. To see the love you have for each other fill the room with light, only to dim once you had to go back. To see the tears fall from you both because after 63 years of marriage the separation was just unbearable.

We got to chat. Our dismay of there not being a Milo option on the daily menu, or the audacity of being served brussels sprouts. We got to talk about my car stuffing up, the door handle breaking… and then we got to talk about our family history. The 20+ years of research you’ve done dating back over 400 years.

I promise to see that research shared among the family, passed down through the generations. I promise to do it justice.

I have finally gotten my shit together, Poppy. Finally. It’s only taken 30 years, but I look back at that really awful stage in my life where I was in such a dire state of depression, once I moved back to Geelong from Ballarat it was you, Nanna, Mum and Dad who saved my life. I’ve told Mum and Dad this countless times, but I’m not sure I’ve ever told you and Nanna. If it weren’t for your love, your care, and you giving me something to live for, I doubt I would’ve tried.

And I’m so glad I got to tell you this. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to tell you just how much of an impact you’ve had on my life.

I am still in denial. Part of me wants to talk to you like I do Poppy Kook and Oma and Opa, but part of me knows you’re still in that transitional phase. Part of me is still expecting to receive a phone call from you telling me you know where you put that tube of Smith history that your cousin twice removed put together.

And I don’t know who was behind it all the day I got the phone call. I left work at lunch time with a dicky tummy. I stopped doing the dishes, came in this room, stared at the family history files holding Pirate…and the phone call came. I felt Oma’s arms wrap around me, and I heard you tell me it was ok.

As Pagans we celebrate the life while honouring the journey of passing. At least that’s what we say. That’s what we say when we can no longer cry because there are no more tears left to cry. That’s what we say when the cloud lifts and we formally accept that we will never be able to touch, hug, smile with, celebrate in the company of those we love. That’s what we say when the pain of loss has subsided to the point where we can feel something a little bit closer to normal.

But I’ll never get to pick the cherry’s out of your fruit loaf again like I did as a child when you were working at the petrol station. I’ll never get to talk to you about some random computer thing, or share photos and videos. I’ll never get to be excited that travelling back to Geelong means seeing you again.

I don’t want to accept this. I don’t want to accept this change that has come across our family. Yes, I know this isn’t the end and when you’re ready we can converse again, but that’s not the point! It’s not the point at all!

You were…are…such an amazing man. Your strength of will, your sheer determination, the love that you radiated through every pore of your being for Nanna, for your boys, for your grandkids and great-granddaughters…

Those who guide and inspire us aren’t always Deity and the Divine. Sometimes they’re the man who asks if you want a drink as soon as you’ve walked through their door, who has something new they want you to look at or help them with, and who insists on knowing your car is in good knick before you head home. They’re the man who helped raise you, helped you out of the darkest point in your life, and is who is so kind and gentle and caring and compassionate and strong and amazing that you want to be just like him. He’s the man who radiates love for this family and for his partner in crime that it belongs as a tale written by a Bard and told to a castle full of knights, or made into a movie and shown to the world as “this is real love.” He’s the man whose characteristics are those that I aspire to have within myself.

Sometimes a girl doesn’t need to look to Deity or the Divine for guidance. Sometimes a girl just needs her Poppy.

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