Category Archives: family

Serving my Time

My childless friends said eighteen years
was steep for such a crime,
while I grinned back and said the tears
were few, and that my time
would pass too quickly; all too fast
my son would reach my height
and days of needing me would pass –
I wish that I’d been right.

I nursed him through the broken nights
and through his growing days.
I taught him all the wrongs and rights,
and cherished all his ways.
I slavered salve on every pain
of body and of mind;
so many cures that have no name
a mother seeks to find.

And now those years are past and gone,
and a lesson I have learned –
my jesting friends were all quite wrong,
where my child was concerned;
Those eighteen years were just the start –
the nurturing and tears –
they added muscle to my heart,
and strength to fight my fears.

My thirty-year old son has grown
but still he is a child.
He’s lost, confused and all alone,
his inner core defiled,
so now I find my mother’s role
has only just begun;
I’ll work with body, mind and soul,
until success is won.

One day he’ll stand up brave and tall,
his wants and needs aligned;
he will not falter, trip or fall,
his future redesigned.
He’ll come to me with his own plan
and lay it on the floor,
drawn up by his manly hands,
how could I ask for more?

.

OK, so the poem is a bit cheesy, but it’s sincere…

©Jane Paterson Basil

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My Cup Runneth Over

In a quiet village not far from here, a modest church waits expectantly, its ancient stones imbibed with the breath of those who went before, grooms who faced the alter, bravely restraining an urge to pace the floor, brides who carefully swept down the aisle, eyes shining as a shy smile landed like a kiss on the groom’s lips.

Today, the church is again filled with fragrant flowers, in preparation for the joining of another two lovers in joyful matrimony

Never have I attended a ceremony so infused with excitement, and I –  I am the mother of the bride – the slightly eccentric mother of the miraculous bride. I feel my smile widening as I greet the other guests. I am at my best today, carrying myself with something akin to dignity. I won’t be climbing trees in this dress. For once it will be easy to resist the urge to walk along the top of the church wall.

A woman stands behind a window at the front of a house, watching us in all our finery. I turn towards her, and am treated to an enthusiastic wave. I grin and wave back.

I want to call out “Just wait until you see the bride. You have a real treat coming.”

I want to tell her how important this wedding is.

The air fills with fresh possibilities as my family is finally re-united by the love tha Laura and Dave have for each other.

The bells ring to call in the guests. I enter the church sit down at the front, happy that this event will be witnessed by those I love the most. I’m trying to send a psychic message to Dave, the groom, to calm him, but my mind is too focused on the door, knowing it is almost time. The bells stop ringing. The moment has come.

The chatter subsides as we all stand to await the bride.
The door opens, and she arrives.
Stepping down the aisle, she takes her place beside the groom.

This is my amazing daughter, no longer my poor unhappy baby, my confused child, my damaged teenager, my dying young woman. This is my extraordinary Laura, grown into herself, finally healed, walking gracefully into her future.

The ceremony is beautiful.

At the reception, everyone is infected by Laura’s sparkly euphoria. We are all thrilled that Laura and Dave are married.

While Laura and Dave perform the ritual of cutting the cake,  I prepare to divide it into slices. Since I decorated it, it seems only fair that I should be the one to destroy it…

Mr and Mrs Galliford are currently in Cornwall, at the start of their honeymoon tour of the UK. They were going to travel around Europe, but they changed their minds. There’s so much variety in this country, and Laura hasn’t seen enough of She sent me a photo of her lying on a lounger – sunbathing!

Laurasunbathing1

I guess she’s got her love to keep her warm.

 

Enjoy your honeymoon, Laura – and the rest of your life. Your courage and strength has paid off. I’m proud of you, and grateful to Dave, for all the support he has given.

laurahappy1

I love you, Laura.

xxx

With enormous thanks to all my online friends who helped to make this possible, by praying for, and sending positive thoughts to Laura and I. Your messages of support picked Laura up when she was at her lowest, encouraging her, making her feel nurtured, and helping her to  believe that she could change her life. You also restored my faith in her, giving me the strength to do the things which needed to be done. These are no small acts, since you kick-started the miracle. Without you, I don’t believe she would be where she is today. I doubt that she would even be alive.

Does anybody have a tissue…?

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

A Thought

You can’t reach
prunish age without a few
cracks and bruises,
and you can’t
always
protect your children.

We tell our tales,
then cheerfully say,
“the breakages
shaped who I became.”

This is true,
yet who among us
wants our children to
suffer the pain
that we went through
on the way
to where we are today?

I think of you,
an extended picture of youth,
yet I
see the wounds.

I could say
my arms were full
of food for the hungry,
of balm for the lame.
I could say there
were too many places,
too few of me
but you needed me too.

While I know
you don’t blame me;
don’t even know
that you’re broken,
I wish that I’d
held you more carefully,
and when you fell, mended you
more skilfully.

xxx

©Jane Paterson Basil

I Ran out of Space

Saw her from my window,
arms crossed
against every remembered
and forgotten loss,
cold-shouldering
her shadow, practicing
self-defence, envisioning
black scribbles
on the unwritten
pages of her book,
all hope stolen
by tenacious history
that still physically
clings.

Her walk is like yours,
her hair –
and not so long ago,
you, too, were closed,
hugging despair to
your ribs,
but you shared
every ache with me,
venting your rage,
cutting me with your pain,
locking me into
your danger, enabling me
to lead you to safety.

I loved all of you equally,
but, in midst of the melee,
I ran out of space
and, without complaint,
she silently fell away.

xxx

©Jane Paterson Basil

Charred remains

forest-fire-424

You delivered him in pain,
yet with his emergence, pain eased
and love took its place.

His innocent face,
his little boy’s embrace –
they were sweet life to you,
and you trusted that nothing he would do
could take that away.

Slowly he grew.
You heard rumours,
but you didn’t think they were true;
each time he looked at you,
you got lost in his eyes;
taken in by his lies.

When deceit comes easy to a child,
danger can ensue,
and though he later rues his wayward ways,
he is not wired for change.

Thrills burn bright, making sparks fly;
they alight on those he claims to love the most.
When storms rage, the fire dies
leaving a lonely hole,
dusted with the charred remains of all your hopes.

You delivered him in pain,
and through the tender, loving years,
you tried to teach a better way to be,
yet failed to keep him safe.

Blackened by the flames,
flattened by the falling rain,
still you would willingly risk any pain
if you could only make him well again,
but you have no potency to deliver him
from the grip of his sickness.

.

The Daily Post #Delivery

©Jane Paterson Basil

One Breath at a Time

I’ve found a calming salve for the loved ones of addicts. This is the first post on a new blog. The brave philosophy and loving attitude of the author is inspiring. One breath at a time… One reviving breath of fresh air.

Bravo.

One Day, One Step, One Breath

Google defines an addict as “a person who is addicted to a particular substance, typically an illegal drug.” To me, addict has one definition: dad. My father has been (and still is) suffering from addiction his whole life. Life for him has been a roller coaster of being clean, using again, regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, falling off the wagon, recovery, and relapse. I was faced with a harsh reality at a very young age. Words like rehab, addiction, drunk, high, etc. were part of my vocabulary since I was about six. My dad has made me proud and disappointed me more times than I can count, and sometimes has managed to do both in one day. I love my father unconditionally. I’ve been by his side through every step of this battle and I will continue to do so.

Addiction is very misunderstood and addicts are…

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The Author of my Being. Part 1

MY DAD. By Jane Basil, aged 8 years and 7 months

My dad’s the best. He can do anything. He can draw and paint, make sculptures and pots,build walls and shelves, and fit doors and window frames. He can answer any question and tell you whatever you want to know. He’s the cleverest dad there is.

My dad’s quite famous and is sometimes on TV. People want to meet him, and talk to him about art. I think he likes the women that come to see him best. They come a lot. 

My dad treats me well and tells me I can do whatever I like with my life. He says the only limit is my ambition. He knows I’m a girl, because everyone says that when I was born he was thrilled to have a daughter, but he lets me do the same things as him. I can help to mix concrete, and put up a course of bricks. I can knock nails in straight almost every time. Yesterday I carried tiles up a ladder, and handed them to him, so he could mend the roof, but today I’m helping my mum in the kitchen.

Dad’s in the studio side of his workroom doing stuff I can’t help him with.

My mum’s lovely and ever so kind, and cooking’s all right, but it’s for girls. I’m certain there’s been a mistake; I was meant to be a boy.

>

I’m ten years old.
Naked women crowd our living space,
their painted shapes pressed against framed glass,
or shaped in oak and in clay, arranged just so, on every flat space.
Shelves bend beneath the weight of fat albums
brimming with glossy breasts and hips, captured in Kodak Bromide.

In the workshop, chippings curl beside finest chisels.
Deep within an oaken block, another naked form
waits patiently to be unpeeled by her master’s eager hand.
No more than a coy shoulder is yet revealed.
Her eyes have not been created, and cannot see the devan,
where a lady lies, and the camera clicks.

My mother speaks gently of the aesthetic beauty of the fleshy curve,
making no mention of lascivious urges.
I see no trace of bitterness on her face,
or guess at any untold ache.

I’m too young to think of lipsticked kisses,
of tangled tongues or stolen intimacies.
Too young to place the scent of my father’s sins.
I think he’s the best; I bask in his praise
and revel in every task he sets me.
He seems to silently accept that I need to be a boy.
Maybe he sees that it’s better this way,
as girls are prettier than me

To my shame, my body is changing.
I can’t stem the growth, or the flow of blood and time.
All the same, I feel proud when my father suggests photographs;
he’s taken no pictures of me since I was three years old,
and even then his act was unwilling.

I choose a bulky jumper to cover up my determined bumps.

After a couple of clicks, he wants me to take it off.

He’s my father, so where’s the harm?

(A lifetime later, I still blush when I see what he has done to me. My blouse is a shiny sky blue, and he has made me pull at the hem, exposing the shape of my breasts, and look down, as if I am admiring them.)

Next, he wants me to remove my top. I love this man;
if it were possible,
I would stand naked for him, but I can’t.
I’m embarrassed, but there is something else,
something very wrong.
I try to grab it it, to find a diagnose,
but I feel dizzy.
My ears ring, making me stutter as I utter my refusal.

I’m hot, and something is dying. I can feel it in the air.

His game lost, he selects his consolation prize.
He chooses disgusting French kisses, and a grinding grope.
I see his eyelids droop as he considers the ultimate crime,
but he crushes the idea.

With a sneer he says
“I think you enjoy being kissed like that.
I think it makes you feel good,
but you’d prefer it with someone younger.”

I can’t speak for horror and lack of oxygen.
I feel nausea rising.
Grasping the door handle, I stagger
out into the fresh air and spit.
I spit and spit,
but the taste of my father’s iniquity has spread
to my gut. It has filled my lungs
and is making its way to my heart.

I

am

ten

years

old.

Without warning, war has begun.

There will be retribution for my denial of his will.

There will be revenge that he dare not steal his filthy thrill.

He will bend my childish spirit and redesign my mind.

>

I chose not to include images, as none would be appropriate, except the photos he took of me, and my scanner won’t let me upload them – perhaps it’s concerned for my modesty.

to be continued…

©Jane Paterson Basil