The Tenth Day of Darkstroke’s Author Challenge.

Okay, so I’ve skipped a few days but I thought I would join in today. I’m suppose to post an old picture of myself. Don’t you think ageing is a funny thing? We all do it, but we are unaware that it is happening to us. I remember, as a small child, asking my grandmother about being old. The funny thing is then I asked her, she was probably younger than I am today. She said, that she didn’t feel any different. I have to agree with her, I don’t feel any different inside. I’m only really aware that I am aging when I look in the mirror, or at photographs of my younger self.

The only baby picture of my mother and me, also father and my big brother.

I guess we all reach a point in our lives when the balance of time tips the other way. It is at this point we stop looking forwards and start looking backwards, remembering how things use to be. Places no longer look the same, progress has overtaken us and things are done in a different way. I’ve always tried to be positive about ageing. All ages give you something while taking something else away. We all accept growing up and becoming independent from our parents, going to work, getting married and starting our own family. To do such thing we had to leave our parents, school, toys behind as we move forward into the future.

Paula at 14 years old

Our acceptance of the ageing process stops us from becoming a bitter person. It is too easy to envy others for their youth as we grow older. Our time on earth is short and we can waste it all too easily. I’m a glass half full girl. When I was born my mother was still mourning for a loss of a child. Her second son, Paul. In those days when a child dies a mother was told to have another one as soon as possible. My mother had wanted two boys, so I wasn’t the ideal replacement. She went on to have two more children both girls, and then twins who were still born. Mother never achieved her dream of having two boys. Her disappointment was tangible. One day while sitting in a cafe she told my sister and I if she’d had her two boys she would never have had us girls. The tone in her voice as she said those words cut through us. We knew she’d never fulfilled her only ambition in life.

I laughed it off. What else could you say knowing you were a disappointment to your mother. It wasn’t as though she could’ve sent us back. Growing up, I had always felt closer to my father aware of my mother’s distancing from me. Mother called me, Daddy’s girl, in a dismissive tone. My father told me when I arrived into this world Mother didn’t want anything to do with me, so he had to change and feed me.

In the late 1950’s the attitude towards mothers, like mine who were young enough, were told to have another baby, as though a replacement would repair their broken heart. Unfortunately no baby but a baby boy would’ve repaired my mother’s heart.

In my collection of short stories Day Pass like a Shadow, the story Burning the Midnight Oil tells the tale about the coldness of a mother towards her son. Also the story covers the theme of the death of a parent too. Even though I wasn’t the son my mother longed for I remained at her side until she drew her last breath on the day she died. She may not have wanted me, but I’m forever grateful that I was born. Mum had learning difficulties and she wasn’t one for sharing her feelings. One day when my husband and I took her out of her nursing home for the afternoon in a wheelchair we shared a memorable moment together. My husband went to pay at the counter. I was standing at the back of the wheelchair, leaned over and wrapped my arms around my mother’s neck. She patted my hands and said, “I love you, Paula.” My heart broke, and I sobbed. I had waited a lifetime to hear those words.

A collection of loss and death tales published by Bridge House Publishing.

Sometimes during those last few months before Mother left us, she would remember that I was busy writing a book. I never tried to explain that I was actually working on my third unpublished novel. On this particular day, my husband was pushing her in the wheelchair. We had tired to included her in our conversation, but she wasn’t very chatty. As my husband and I paused in our conversation, Mother piped up, “How’s that novel of yours coming along,” before falling silent again.

Remember as a writer none of life’s experiences goes to waste.

Have a great day, and thank you for reading my blog.

Paula R.C.

11 thoughts on “The Tenth Day of Darkstroke’s Author Challenge.

Add yours

  1. Hi Paula. This is one of most heartbreaking, yet, at the same time, uplifting posts I have ever read. Your ability to speak from the depths of your soul is astounding. No wonder you are such a wonderful writer. Keep up all the amazing work!!

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  2. Paula, my precious friend, thank you for this heartfelt post. In a few moments I leave for a 3 day trip to the mountains where we spread the ashes of my brother last year. He never got to see my first book published, but my mother–who passed a few months ago–did. I was also able to sign a copy for her. You’re so right–as a writer none of life’s experiences goes to waste. Whether positive or negative, they are part of us and fuel us as we take our writing ever forward. With all of my heart, I continue to wish you the very best of continued success in all of your writing endeavours! Hugs!

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  3. Your baby picture is fuzzy, but I can tell you were a cute baby. And then you were a pretty teen who grew into a talented and beautiful woman. I think if you were the boy your mom wanted you wouldn’t have ended up so talented. Struggles make us tenacious, and tenacity makes us work harder, and hard work makes us talented.

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    1. Bless you. Whether it was nature or nurture I was a tomboy. I wanted to be as good as my brother at climbing tree. I’ve always believed women are as good as men. This, I believe stems from my mother wanting two boys and not girls. At the end of her life, my brother and two sisters weren’t there for her but I was. Life never pans out as we plan. I’ve had a good life. Like everyone else there has been tough times, rough times, but just recently lots of laughter. So it has all been worth it. It has given me plenty of life experience to draw on.

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    1. Oh bless you. I felt in the end Mum made some sort of peace with herself, knowing I held no grudge against her. Mum was just Mum it was the way she was.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a moving reflection, Paula. Thank you so much for sharing it from the heart. It’s such a rare thing these days. Isn’t it amazing how our parents, whom we dismissed as senile, do actually keep track of everything that goes on in our lives!

    Liked by 1 person

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