Category Archives: memories

A rocky period when your children are teenagers …




I visited a friend who was in the middle of a heated argument with her teenage children. I felt rather uncomfortable about having walked in at such an inopportune moment but she was far too busy to notice. A while later, she turned to me, and in the most ordinary of tones said: ” Mother Nature is truly wonderful, you know. She gave me 14 years to develop a deep love for my children before turning them into teenagers!”







If Only …



eucalyptus trees Like the fields where I chased butterflies in my childhood, the mountain my husband loved to climb as a boy, or the beach where our children paddled and fished in tide pools, our house didn’t belong to me nearly as much as I belonged to it. I worked hard in the garden even though the roots of the eucalyptus trees bordering our property drank the water greedily; much faster than I could water it – leaving little to nourish the grass and plants.

Does a house have eyes and ears? If only it could tell me more about what it had witnessed. But maybe that depends on how often I ask that question and how much I am willing to hear.

I am an early riser, so I often sat on the landing which was sufficiently large to house me and our black Belgium Shepherd, Bonnie. I remembered how we had sat together for half an hour or so some mornings, me in my pajamas, the dog warming my feet as we huddled together under a rug to ward off the morning chill. Just before we moved, when our children were grown up, I sat there once again, without my dog this time, and replayed the past in my head.

I returned to the time when my three children were getting ready for school, rushing about noisily, dressing fast, lugging their heavy schoolbags and eating breakfast on the run. The house, like my heart, was filled with thoughts of my lovely, happy family.

In the stillness on the stairs, it was as if I could hear them all over again. I remember weekends when they were singing, listening to loud music, talking and giggling. I could hear the thud of footsteps in the bedrooms above me, showers running, toilets flushing, phones ringing, doors banging, voices rising and falling like wind through the trees. I heard lots of laughter filling the rooms and overflowing into a thousand empty spaces.

This house held countless memories from other times; times of want and times of plenty, good times, bad times, happy times as well as sad times. Our house was a memory bank that my late husband and I had invested in, beginning in the days when our children were young, hoping for a good return someday when we grew older.

But, when my husband became ill, we needed to leave our house as well as its memories. After packing up, it was time to go.  I decided not to glance back at the house and to try and remember the good things only. And we drove away to the much smaller apartment we had purchased; one that I’d chosen in fifteen minutes, less time than my husband would have taken to choose tomatoes in the supermarket. The new apartment now rings with the sound of our grandchildren’s voices. If only our son, Doron were still here with us. Now it is time to make sure that all of our grandchildren know why and how he died. The older ones know, of course but, how does one tell the young ones?


exotic_garden_photo_3Can I live by choice and not by chance?

Can I make changes and not excuses?

Can I be motivated and not manipulated?

Can I be useful and not used?

Can I excel and not compete?

Can I choose to listen to my inner voice?

Can I ignore the random opinions of others?

Can I be motivated by those I respect only?

Holidays are here again … and again and again



Hanukah                                                                Christmas

hanukkah 2                                         ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Most families with chronically ill relatives dread holiday time when other families are all happy and looking forward to yet another happy get-together, while they dread holiday time. Then, at these occasions, a (mentally ill person) a consumer, is expected to eat, drink and even enjoy the family’s company plus celebrate the fact that it is a time of joy and good will.

For me, times like these bring back memories and feelings of disappointment, resentment, sadness and a host of other emotions. For my family, holidays were not good times. Sometimes my son was in a psychiatric hospital, at others he was home but barely in a stable condition. There were occasions when he had to be taken to a psychiatrist during the ‘festive season.’ Once or twice the police came for him after ‘the voices’ had urged him to break the law in one way or another, so it’s no wonder I felt that way.

What did holiday time mean to my son? When a lot was expected of him, he was able to handle himself well for a few hours only, but then he would crash as the voices only he heard got louder and more insistent. He then retreated into his inner self, got agitated and even though each sibling present took him aside for a one on one chat, it only worked for a short while. He might have felt that we all cared about him but when dinner was served, he disappeared, quite sure that we had poisoned his food. He was also unable to process the noise of loud laughter and/or snatches of conversation. It was all too much for him. There were numerous times when he refused to join us even for a short while, but stayed home alone, which ruined any enjoyment we might have had.

Some relatives treated him like a child. While it’s impossible to tell  our guests what to do, or how to behave, we managed to take measures to keep a modicum of control and reduce our patient’s anxiety at those family functions. How? I found an ally; anyone in the family who was a supporter rather than a critic. If you have a friend who is able to accompany you to a family gathering, go for it but be sure to find someone positive and focus your attention and energy on that person. Together you can decide on the limits you want to set for the patient. Because we  can’t control the way others treat our ill relative, that doesn’t mean we had to let everything that was dished out pass without comment. I knew it was okay to speak out for my son. I made sure that he was kept away from the offending person and hoped that my ally would use distraction techniques.

It helped to bring something like a game of chess to help him escape. I suggested that he go to into another room where it was quieter and If that didn’t work, someone went with him for a walk, weather permitting. All we could do was to help him to focus on what was good. Of course I worried that there might be anxiety-provoking triggers at our family celebration, we found one or two positives. In today’s world, one would make sure that he had a smartphone or an iPad handy.

As anxiety can spike at any time particularly during holiday time, an understanding of what’s happening can increase our sense of control over the situation and so decrease anxiety levels.

I tried to be positive and to smile a lot. Did it work? Sometimes but not always.


What my life is made up of ….

wisteria 6


I seemed to spend my time dodging from work to family and to friends, as well as endeavoring to keep my health intact. If I missed a day’s work, I knew that I could make up that lost time. But, family and friends are made of glass and if I dropped one of them, our relationship would be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, marked or even shattered. It could never be the same again. Health? I knew I had to live at a slower pace, but could I? I am not sure.

So, what I’d been doing was striving for balance in my life. But, how could I achieve that? I tried not to compare myself to others because I thought it was the very difference in each of us that made us special.

I learned not to set my goals by what other people deemed important. After all, I was the only person who knew what was best for me.

I learned not to take anything for granted, especially appertaining to near and dear ones. I handled them with kid gloves as my life would be meaningless without them all.

I had learned how destructive it was to live in the past or in the future. By living life one day at a time, I hoped to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I could carry easily, so I was no longer afraid to learn.

While I still had something to give, I wasn’t about to give up. Nothing was really over until the moment I stopped trying.

For a very long time, I shut love out of my life, not wanting to expose myself to hurt again. Now, I no longer do so. Once again I have learned a lot along the way. The quickest way to receive love, it to give it; the fastest way to lose love is to hold onto it too tightly;  and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am and maybe it is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run too fast lest I forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to take risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words more carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way. But, I still have a lot to learn, and one day at a time, I hope to enjoy all the days of my life.

Knowledge is weightless, a treasure that I can easily carry, so I’m no longer afraid to learn.

While I still have something to give, I won’t give up. Nothing is really over until the moment I stop trying.

I very often admit how less than perfect I am. It is this fragile thread that binds people together.

I’m trying not to run so fast that I might forget not only where I’ve been, but where I’m going.

I am no longer afraid to encounter risks. By taking chances, I’ve learnt how to be brave.

I’ll always be aware of the fact that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.

I now endeavor to use time and words carefully as neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, rather, a journey to be savored each step of the way.


I’ve discovered that love…



Our brain is the  most outstanding organ in our body. It works 24 hours, 365 days from the time we are born until ………………………. we fall in love.

For a change, this blog will be on a lighter note, quite out of character from my usual blogs.

The most beautiful line one can hear is “But, I love you.”

The most painful one is “I love you, but,” …………….. 

                                                                                                red heart 1332305007T6R93I

Rather than choose the one who is beautiful to the world; choose the one who makes your world beautiful.

True love isn’t about being inseparable. It’s about two people being true to each other even when they are apart.

Falling in love is not a choice. Staying in love is.

While you’re searching for the perfect person, you might miss the imperfect individual who could have made you perfectly happy.

Love is about spending time with a person who makes you happy in a way that nobody else does.

If you love life, don’t waste time;  for time is what life is made up of.

Music is what feelings sound like.