July 2004

Honiara Project. “Take a team of 34 Scouting youth members, aged from 12 to 23 (average age 16), and 9 Scouting adult members to the Solomon Islands, to refurbish the Red Cross Development School in Honiara, the only school in the country to cater for kids with disabilities. Team Leader is Sophie Palavestra, aged 17. The Project Council contains 8 youth members & only 5 adults. One of the primary aims of the project is to involve the youth members in all of the planning, assessment, execution, leadership, cultural awareness, teamwork & fundraising aspects of the exercise.”

This trip to the Solomon Islands has been as cathartic as it has been different, hard work, exhausting, gratifying and hot. It has given me opportunities to take time out in what have been very busy days, and to appreciate and celebrate the many lessons I learned from and through Doris. And also to appreciate that I have a future. In many ways it has kept me so busy, that I haven’t had time to think, which is probably a good thing. I figure I’ve done enough processing already.

Thank you to those people who have let me know that they have been thinking of me. I do appreciate it.

My work colleagues agree that we really do live in the lucky country. The other day we looked out the window to see a king parrot and his mate just sitting there, leisurely picking away at the berries on the bush. They stayed for about 20 minutes. Just magic.

It seems that I have “turned the corner”. I came back from the Solomons feeling much stronger and feeling like I might finally have a little control over my destiny. Not that we ever really have any control if we listen to all that the spiritual realm has to offer, but still … Next step, hang out and continue the waiting game until Julie gets here. Just hope the embassy gets onto the application soon. Starting to idly wonder what it is that is so important that I have yet to do, that I had to lose Doris to make it happen. In some ways, Julie is the easy part – she has to be there with me to help me to put it together, whatever “it” is.

Here’s a nice piece of symbolism. Holly gave me a “Remembrance” rose about a month ago for services rendered. The first thing that happened to it was that one of the 3 buds fell off. Before I left, I put it in my bedroom and watered it, fully expecting it to die while I was away. When I returned from Honiara, it was loaded with new growth.

My thanks to Bev, my counsellor, who has the wonderful ability to point out, in very clear terms, where I was not so long ago and how far I have come since then. I still talk to her once a month, so that I can remain on track. It seems that the next few months are for me to be able to return to the point of enjoying my own space, which often is the last place I want to be.

I now have a regular spot at the Inservice Conferences of the ACT Ambulance Service, which enable me to tell my story, these days without quite so much of the emotion coming up and with the benefit of a great deal of hindsight. It’s a story that I have told so often that these days I don’t use any notes. My part in the proceedings is to relate the story from my own viewpoint, which always then leads into some of the more personal aspects of what Holly and Erica have to say about the processes involved in organ donation and often generates some very good questions that may not have been asked otherwise.

I get the distinct impression I have been doing a lot of background processing at a subconscious level over the last 2 weeks. I seem to be doing a lot of thinking, but not actually thinking of much and my tummy is continually mildly upset. So many different experiences and stages of this process that you seem to have to go through to get to the end, whatever that is.

And this from Julie to finish the month:

To My Undead
by Olufisayo Gali

To my undead
those left behind by the shadows,
A kiss from the grave
to wipe your subtle tears,
A rose by your bed side
to comfort you at night.
You are still my beloved.
Tears do not wash away the pain
but they soothe it.
Wailing does not stop the agony
but it comforts it.
Take heart my love,
I depart from you not in vain.
I wish a way to kill the sorrow
that although I live in your memory,
I bring you not pain but joy.
For your pain is my pain,
I cannot rest while you cry.
So smile a while my love
that I may see you.
That death may make meaning to me
and I can once again be your bringer of joy
and not your provider of sorrow.