Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Own Way

Do you ever mull over the question ‘who am I’? Lately I have been wondering what the answer to that question is. I admire people who are comfortable in their own skin and know where they fit into the grand scheme of things… I used to be one of those people. I want to be one of those people again.

I’ve said before that my life is split in two distinct halves; before Belle died and after Belle died. When Belle was alive I knew who I was; I was Aunty, not Aunty Carolyn just Aunty. I was also more than that; I was the ‘spare parent’. For 6 years I never went on holidays as my leave was always used for looking after Madeleine and Belle in the school holidays. I went to Madeleine’s graduation from pre-school, I took her to her first dentists appointment, I occasionally picked her up from school and watched every single dance recital and gymnastics competition. I always imagined I’d do those same things with Belle.

I was with Danielle when she was pregnant with Belle and had her ultrasound and I remember shedding a tear when I saw Belle on the monitor as I’d never seen anything so amazing before. When we used to go shopping I always carried a sleeping Belle in my arms and I loved the feel of her snuggled up next to me breathing quietly.

There were so many good times that I was involved in, Christmas, Easter egg hunts, birthdays,… but I was also there for the hard times too.

I remember leaving the hospital after the accident and not being able to get my head around the fact that Belle wasn’t coming home with us. Ever. It just didn’t seem right to leave the hospital without her; there was a part of us missing.

Making all the necessary phone calls was hard. Having to ring Belle’s pre-school was awful but ringing Danielle’s parents was heart breaking, and I prayed that I would never be in that position again.

The image of Belle’s tiny body laid out in that small white coffin was seared into my memory and it took a long time for it to be replaced with a memory of a happier time, but finally it has. When I think of Belle, and I think of her often, I remember the excited way she used to run up to me whenever we saw each other. She’d yell out Aunty before launching herself into my arms and then we’d go through the same routine of opening up my gold locket and naming the people in the photo inside (Nanna, Aunty, Laura, Hannah, Maddy and Belle). The locket was a thank you present from Noel and Danielle for organising their wedding so it was only fitting that at the viewing I placed it in Belle’s hand to keep with her always.

It was unthinkable that a few short months after losing Belle Noel and Danielle would lose Isaiah too, but they did. The day Danielle had her ultrasound with Isaiah was the complete opposite to when I saw Belle on the monitor, although initially we were excited when we discovered there was finally going to be a boy in the family it quickly turned to despair when we were told of the severity of Isaiah’s spina bifida… a few days later and he was gone too.

This is what I know: I’ve made mistakes – but never the same one twice; I’m independent; hardworking; generous and incredibly loyal! While a piece of my heart is reserved especially for Belle I’m fortunate that it’s so big there’s plenty of room to hold close to me all those that I love, plus anyone else that may come along. The greatest happiness in life is the knowledge that we are loved -- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves

It still amazes me that nobody has realised it but I’m a bloody good catch! I even own my own home… well probably just a couple of windows and doors as technically the bank owns the rest!

I hadn’t realised until someone recently remarked on it but I am a strong person! I’m the person people call on in an emergency; I’m the shoulder to cry on, the problem solver, and the practical one. I am Martha! That’s what they call me at work and until now I’ve hated it but it’s true. You need help reading illegible writing? Not a problem I can read it. Need help drafting a letter? Done! Lost a button? I’ll sew it back on for you. Need a tape measure? I’ve got that too (yeah, I don’t know why I had one in my bag either). I hadn’t thought about it until today but I can’t count the amount of times during the day that people come to me needing assistance with something, either work related or personal. I’ve mended people’s clothing (today I brought home someone’s cardigan to fix a rip), I’ve cooked for them, I’ve loaned them money but most important of all I’ve been there when they needed someone to listen to them. If being Martha means being a good mate then I *am* Martha, and proud to be it!

I did feel lost after Belle died, I felt as though I was wandering aimlessly through life, but now that I’m no longer as sad nor quite so broken I feel one step closer to working out who I am now but more importantly who I want to become.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets so I plan on making the most of it! If I get a chance I’m going to take it; if it changes my life I’ll let it. It's time to make my own way.

I’ll love the people who treat me right and I’ll forget those who don’t.

Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.