I have lost many people, pets, clothing, little treasures of all sorts over the period of my life to date and I dare say I will lose much more in what is still to be lived. The most recent significant one of these was about two months ago when my dear old aunt, the last of what I call “my grownups”, passed away peacefully. I cried a lot during the writing and reading of her eulogy but in amidst this grieving, I felt a great sense of relief for her, a joy that there was now an end to her physical suffering. Knowing that makes it easier for me to move on without further pain as it has done with all of the people and pets in my life who have passed on. It was for whatever reason their time to go and they are now at peace, as should I in knowing that. The memories will live on in my mind for as long as I have access to that.
The loss in my life that I continue to have problems with however is the not knowing what I really lost when my parents abandoned me at the age of three. For much of my life I viewed this as a so what, ho hum event, just get on with it, they just left, but I see it differently now. Abandoned is a strong word and one that I have only started to come to terms with in my later life after a lot of personal development training, counselling and meditation. The circumstances were, as I broadly understand it, that my mother left the family home in Moonee Ponds and fled to New Zealand about 3 years after this photo was taken. I am not sure whether I was left there or was staying with my grandparents in Maldon. Sometime after her departure, my Dad left for New Zealand in pursuit of her leaving me in the care of his parents in Maldon. They did get together again for a period of time in Napier and set up in a small corner shop. I do have a vague memory of my grandmother explaining this to me and that they had asked for me to be sent over to join them. However, my grandmother said we would wait and see how long they lasted this time before she would risk me going to join them. I can see now that she was rightly concerned, and for that, I am eternally grateful, that if they separated again how would I be looked after in, to her, a strange country. This was in the 1950’s and travel between Australia and New Zealand was not as simple a matter as it is today. From a small country town like Maldon it was viewed as an enormous undertaking so how could she step in and care for me at such a distance if they did separate again. And separate they did within a year or two. Both of them, however, stayed in New Zealand and my Dad only returned briefly to Australia for Grandma’s funeral in 1962. I was left, no, abandoned, to be brought up by my loving grandparents in Maldon.
Now in later life, I look at my grandchildren growing up in loving, caring homes with constant parental influences and shared experiences. Let me not mislead you, I felt constantly loved and cared for by my grandparents, but there is the generational difference for one. I remember my grandfather retiring from work when I was very young. These were a couple who should have been enjoying their retirement together without having to raise a young child and find the resources to do that from a pension not designed to cover it. There were certainly none of the solo parent type support services available then as there are now in our community. I know that there was very little financial support provided by my father, and I do recall my grandmother being very worried about how they were going to cover the cost of school uniforms and books when I started secondary school. It was the only time I can recall her sounding cross about my father. There weren’t any luxuries of course and sorry Grandma, I did feel embarrassed about going to school with patches in the knees of my trousers.
But it is not the physical environment that I am referring to here, but the loss of the emotional environment that only a mother and father can provide, or even one or the other if not both. The bond like no other between a parent and a child, the life lessons learnt as you grow together, the fundamental knowledge as a child that you are loved by another person that can probably never be matched by anyone other than your parents. The safety net of care provides carefree experiences for the child. The conditioning that is built by these experiences as the child matures and which sets up so much of the behaviour of the adult.
What did I lose?
** Stace says: This is my day 4 assignment as part of the Writing 101 course run by WordPress. The prompt was “Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t anymore”, and the twist, “Make today’s post the first in a three-post series”. The other two are “Ho Ho” about my teenage to middle age years and “Ho Om” about my later years and finding meditation amongst other things.
- My eulogy for Coral
- My “Just An Old Cap” post about losing my pets
- My “Ho Ho” post, the second of my trilogy
- My “Ho Om” post, the third of my trilogy
A touching account. I was absorbed in it.
I enjoyed your writing very much. You told the story aspect very objectively, allowing the reader to formulate their own thoughts…courageous! Until reading this, I always saw children raised by their grandparents as usually gaining more than what younger parents can offer, so you made me think! “What did I lose?” Is a powerful question, and makes me question my own thinking. I do believe in parental love being best (most of the time), as it helps one develop their identity. However, perhaps in some cases parents may be careless and value any child less than themselves. I do have one question, have you since met your parents or spent time with them after your childhood? Maybe your answers lie within you, in your gut feeling…which is always right. This was an exceptional writing piece in the message you developed and questions you raise.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments I really appreciate it. Yes I did get to know my parents in adult life but remember, this is part 1 and there may be answers in parts 2 & 3, tentatively titled Ho Ho and Om for reasons which hopefully will become apparent then.
Thank you for sharing this personal story. You did lose the story of the early years. The why did she leave me ? And what memories should be told by the parents from the first three years? I am glad your grand parents never left you and their love have been genuine. But they have properly also suffered the loss of your parents leaving you. Maybe someone is still alive today and could tell some small bits of stories from your life between 0-3 years? http//mariaholm51.com/2015/02/18/emotional-healing-for-babies/
I don’t think I got the link right unfortunately http://mariaholm51.com/2015/02/18/emotional-healing-for-babies/
The knowing the real people, the good and bad that was them. You had to fill in the gaps and it taught you how to write and dream and see beauty where others can not.
Thank you for such a beautiful comment in itself.
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I hoped not to overstep. It was what your question at the end stirred in me.
Congratulations on a powerful piece of writing. The loss of material things is tough but the loss of loved ones/family can be devastating. Have a look at Professor Sutherland’s Differential Association Theory. It makes for interesting reading.
It is so heart-breaking and so true that when a child is missing the basic parental love, the rest of their life is affected. This is a very brave and honest post. You portray your emotions with great clarity.
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Thank you so much, it is very supportive and encouraging. Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3, Ho Ho and Ho Om.
You have a rare gift for portraying emotion with great clarity. Perhaps it is your honesty and openness. Very well written.
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