A Fortunate Life – Part I

A ‘heads-up’ to my friends and readers:

This post is NOT about my art and craft  adventures. It’s a not-quite-as-brief-as-intended look at a life which is all about over coming the past and creating a new paradigm.  It’s an overview, an autobiographical essay, a tale of loss and redemption, a catalogue of miracles and a paean of praise to those who have walked and who do walk alongside me.

It is a post about a journey not yet completed, a life spent searching for meaning and understanding and, above all else, a reminder to myself that I must never, never give up hope!

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‘Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change’:

Dr.Wayne Dyer

This year, for the first time in my remembered life, I have not battled with sadness, depression or illness in the month leading up to the anniversary of my birth.

This is a super-awesome victory that has left me feeling quietly joyous and very, very proud of how far I have come.

Today I begin the journey through my 65th year.

While the number says I am growing older, inwardly it is quite different, it varies.  I  can feel very, very young  or in-expressively old or even, some days, completely ageless. Sometimes I feel like I know absolutely nothing at all and other times I experience a vast understanding of life, the universe and everything.

I have learned that I am more than the sum total of my life experiences, more than appearances would have you believe and much, much more than was genetically gifted to me.

If you have read my page ‘Hello!’ you may remember my philosophy about life as a school-room.  I have been the slowest of students, remarkably recalcitrant at times about learning my lessons.  I have had some excellent teachers however, who have, at great pain to themselves, when it was necessary delivered the required lessons with unstinting ferocity.  

I have noticed that there is a pivotal moment in the journey when one arrives at the place where forgiveness is freely given and gratitude takes the place of resentment.  This is both progress and true freedom! 

English: Children reading in a school room.

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‘Traveller!  There are no roads; Roads are made by walking’

Celtic Saying

My life is peppered with fortuitous meetings with people of all kinds at just the right moments.  Some became long term companions on the journey, others stayed more briefly but may have pointed out a different track for me to walk before disappearing again. Some made immense impressions on me in one meeting. others influenced me over many years.  Some have been partners, companions and friends.  Others have challenged me, attacked or berated me – all have been my teachers.

Not all my adventures have had happy endings – in fact many of them appear to have ended fairly disastrously.  But after I have taken stock, licked my wounds and straightened myself up again I have stepped, often fearfully – but stepped none-the-less – into the next chapter…..

Every single adventure, every single experience, has offered me an opportunity to take responsibility for myself, my choices, my reactions, my successes and my failures.   I have been catapulted from places called Blame and Hopelessness by unseen forces and hands to see that I own a cup that is indeed, more than half full at all times.

I have learned that all of us are shining atoms of eternity and that this is just a place where we learn to love.  Really love.  ‘Agape’ as the Ancient Greeks called it.  The practise of unconditional, impersonal, indelible, enduring love.  Love that encompasses forgiveness, understanding and acceptance.   Love because that is all that can be done, love because that is what we are in the end made of, and love because that is how we turn this shining blue planet into a shining blue star.

Earth-apollo10

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This Is My Story

I was born, a second child, into something that, these days, might be labelled a ‘severely dysfunctional family situation’.

Both parents were deeply damaged souls, emotional cripples who bore five children whom they uniformly and unconditionally resented and detested and whom they damaged verbally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and sexually.  Having survived their childhoods, two of the five died of thrombosis, one at the age of 20, the other at age 32.   My younger brother coped with the nightmare of his memories with alcohol and drugs.  The very youngest child escaped the worst of the abuse due to the simple fact that he was only eighteen months old when the father died suddenly.  And, being the youngest he was mostly exempt from the insanity of our mother throughout her widowhood.  At age 13 he virtually moved into the home of his future wife and in-laws who taught him that there was another way of living and relating and being.

Then there was me who lived the first forty years of my life with no recall of anything before the night of my fathers death one month before my ninth birthday.

I was gifted with an inquiring mind, and an unwavering belief that there had to be something more.  I bought all the abuse of course, what child doesn’t?  As children we believe the words our parents say to us.  We measure ourselves in the world by the way we are treated.  We see the world through their eyes, adopt their beliefs and live to their codes.

Many adults still see the world unquestioningly, through the eyes of their parents.  I was gifted the opportunity to become conscious of all my inherited beliefs about the world

As a child I was mostly mute.  I lived in constant confusion about the reality of my experiences, the threats of what would happen to me should I  talk about ‘what went on behind closed doors’.   Nor did I have the vocabulary to describe the pain and confusion of that existence.

From a very young age, possibly before my memories began, I was fully conscious of my mothers differing realities.  The abusive, out-of-control one ‘behind closed doors’ and the public one where she was a loving mother with ‘good’ children or – depending on the circumstance – a loving mother struggling to do her best with her ‘awful, ungrateful’ children.  I was keenly aware of her mood, her needs, when to absent myself and when it was safe to appear.  My intuitive faculties were honed to razor sharp awareness.

This is a gift from my childhood that has lasted throughout my life.  I can walk into a room and know exactly what is going on, what is about to happen and even who is well and who is not.  I intuitively know what your mood is, what your needs are and even what you think you are keeping hidden from me.  I read body language really well, I can feel anger and danger from a hundred yards away and I know if this is a safe place to be or not without knowing that I know it.

To escape, to cope with life, I read.  I learnt about the world, about people, about happy families from books.  I read voraciously, it was my escape, my happy place, my sanity. I don’t remember learning to read, I was certainly never read to – but there is a memory that came back to me later in my life.  It is me, standing in the door of the classroom on my first day at school.  And then my mother’s hands pushing me in – I was terrified and didn’t want to go.  She pushed me in and shut the door between us, and I stumbled against a bookshelf filled with books and was abruptly mesmerised.  All the colours and pictures and words were so beautiful……  I was very young when I read my first Orlando the Marmalade Cat book and it was from that book I have my first memory of understanding what a happy family was.  It became a wish, a goal, a decision. I would have a happy family of my own – one day soon.  It was a promise I made to myself at the age of seven.

Orlando (The Marmalade Cat)

Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) (Photo credit: Burns Library, Boston College)

By the time I was twelve I was reading Shakespeare.  My favourite aunt, elder sister to my mother by twenty years – the one who knew something was amiss, but who couldn’t prove anything; the one who used to swoop in now and again and take my older sister and myself away for a weekend of safety and warmth and ease – reached to the top shelf of her book case and took down her copy of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare’.  She opened the big, heavy, gold-leafed tome that I so often admired at a particular page and, placing it reverently on a table, said “Read it slowly, ask me if you don’t understand anything…” and left me to it.

I read A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a delirium of joy,  The language, the words that I had never heard before and didn’t know how to pronounce and didn’t know the meaning of – the beautiful, juicy, evocative words.  The humour, the magical world of faerie and humans and feelings that leapt from the page to my heart sent me hurtling full pelt into another whole realm of existence.  I can recall the joy of that first meeting clearly over fifty years later.

From that point on the dictionary, the thesaurus, Readers Digests ‘Word of the Day’, beautiful and meaningful language, all became my friends. Now I began to keep a diary.

I poured my heart out onto the page, I asked my questions, made promises to myself and God – ‘If only’  ‘if only’  ‘if only’…………  I kept those diaries for many years – I referred to them as ‘my life in a box’.  But somewhere along the journey I felt I no longer needed the box or the life that lived in it and it was all burned.

Cover of "Complete Works of William Shake...

Cover via Amazon

Around about the same time that William and I met, another event occurred which stays with me.

One of the happier events we experienced as children were the Sunday dinners that took place occasionally when our favourite aunt came to visit.  On these days we all pretended we were a ‘normal family’.

One day at the dinner table my aunt asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

“A teacher” I said.

All hell broke lose as my mother forgot her manners.  She threw her fork at me – forcefully – down the length of the table.  It clattered against my plate and bounced onto the floor while she screamed that I had always had ideas above my station, I was no-one special and I would bloody well go into a factory like she had had to.

I don’t remember anything else about that day, but I did not speak my dream aloud for another twenty years.

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My mother got pregnant and was ashamed.  She forced the father of her sixth child into marriage.  He retaliated by drinking heavily and continuously and so another issue was introduced into the house.  And we children lay in our beds at night, pulling the pillows over our heads and burrowing under the blankets while they screamed and roared and fought.

My younger brother took the brunt of this.  It was he who confronted the staggering drunk with a knife in his hand while our mother protected herself with an upturned stool.  It was he who checked that the whiskey sodden man lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs, after our mother had pushed him down them, was still alive.  It was he who felt less of a ‘man’ because he could not protect his mother as she demanded he would do.  He was eleven years old.

It was my sister and me who learned to protect ourselves from the whiskey sodden man crawling on hands and knees towards our beds in the middle of the night.  It was my sister and me who learned to lie the next morning when he asked shame-facedly if he had ‘bothered’ us during the night.

And it was my sister and me who now had to protect ourselves from our mothers spitting hatred and attacks with the leather strap as she screamed at us we were whores and sluts and worse.

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While I was still just fourteen years old my mother took me from school and, lying about my age, got me a job in a factory.  I delivered my weekly wage packet to her for my ‘bed and board’ and she returned to me my travel money and ten shillings.

The day she dragged me into that factory was a moment of destiny.  I remember her hand clutched around my wrist as we moved from the elevator to the stairs that led to the managers office.  Standing at the bottom of the stairs, feeding a time card into the clock was a tall, handsome, young man who looked at me absently and smiled gently.  I looked back as she pulled me along and thought ‘He looks nice…’

Three years later I married him and we journeyed together for twenty years.

couple walking

Despite my mothers best efforts, her jealousy and rage – we married.  On my wedding day she told me he should be marrying her, as they were closer in age.  He was fourteen years older than I was.  Still, he married me and then he gifted me a safe place to grow.

He helplessly and wordlessly saw me through the fear and terror and the dreadful rage that would boil up and burst out of me from time to time.  Neither of us understood it,  it was just something that happened to me.

When he could take no more, something would escape his mouth and I would hear a question or a statement that would penetrate and make me take stock.  Once very early into our marriage, frustrated beyond measure, he roared at me “Why do you try to start a fight with me every Friday night?”  And in a blinding flash of clarity I knew exactly why and the first step was taken towards consciousness.  I was seventeen years old.

I wanted a baby.  For my childhood dream of a happy family to come true, I must have a husband and a child.  I had the husband, now I must have a child.  First, said my husband, we must have a house.  He was an Englishman, an immigrant who having arrived in the country virtually penniless, now valued security above anything else.  So for two years we both worked two jobs and saved every penny to build our own home.

I was a teenager, working menial jobs up to twelve hours a day.  I took correspondence courses at lunch times and evenings and weekends to complete the schooling that had been denied me.  I counted pennies, learned to cook and look after a husband who expected his wife to do just that.  I rode the waves of anger and depression and tried not to notice the kids of my own age having fun.

At the same time I was constantly developing personal skills.  I was learning how to relate to people, learning that it was safe to say what I thought and safe to ask questions.  I was learning how the world worked, how other people lived without anger and rage and fear as daily bedfellows.  I was watching how people related to each other, their shared smiles, the quick touches, those little moments of intimacy that pass between partners and friends.

I  still clearly remember the first time  I saw a naturally affectionate greeting between a husband and wife.   The wife was sitting in my mothers kitchen sometime after the death of my father.  Her husband had come home early and come looking for her.  As he entered the kitchen I was steeling myself against the angry words that would be said.  He walked straight up to his wife and leaning down kissed her gently on the cheek, patted her shoulder and smiled into her eyes.  Then he straightened and greeted my mother.  I was frozen in shock.  I know my mouth was open!  I had never seen such a thing in my life before and did not know what to do with it.  Later, I remember, I felt very, very sad.

And now I was seeing it all the time.  I got used to that, but it took longer for me to become comfortable giving and receiving affection.  This was not aided by the fact that my husband was a reticent Englishman, not given to public displays of affection.  For many years to come  I would flinch if someone made a sudden or unexpected movement.

Throughout this time I also observed closely how children were treated, how parents spoke to their children and how children looked and behaved when they were loved.

Slowly but surely I was learning, healing, warming and relaxing.  But still, I would find myself having to cope with the deep well of depression that would open under my feet at inexplicable times and swallow me up.  We both were.  

I continued reading too.  I read everything the 60’s and then the 70’s had to offer and I discovered the  writings of Carlos Casteneda, Lobsang Rampa, Ram Dass and others I can’t recall the names of now.  I read the Eastern Mystics and Gurus who were being published.  I stumbled past Buddhism, Catharism, Mysticism, Sufi-ism, The Koran, The Mahabharata, the Kabbalah and the Bible… … I even tried reading ‘The Golden Dawn’ but don’t recall finishing it.  Somewhere I read ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’  and a myriad other books out of the New Age movement.  I found myself immersed in the emerging ‘New Science’ and fell in love with quantum physics – a love affair that has never ended!

English: Book shelf

Eventually I got the one thing I really wanted – my baby.  I loved being pregnant.  All my reading attention now turned to devouring books on baby care and child raising.  I knitted baby clothes endlessly.  I loved my unborn child with a fierce and overwhelming love.  I poured into my womb all the love and kindness that was denied me and my siblings.

Six weeks before the birth of my daughter my sister died, two weeks short of her 21st birthday.  Her arteries riddled with blood clots which no amount of Intensive Care medication and attention could dissolve.  Years later I asked a wise old doctor what the spiritual meaning behind clotting blood was and he replied “Lack of love.”  And I nodded my head in silent acceptance of the truth.

Now I threw myself into motherhood.  I had no role model of how to parent properly, just my instincts and my compelling desire to make everything be alright by having the perfect ‘happy family’.  Yet still we all dealt with those moments of overwhelming out-of-control rage which were always followed with my tumble into the deep, black well of depression.

I had learnt that it is an awesome responsibility being a parent and raising a child. Despite my own lack of early memories I understood on a visceral level that children remember everything that is said and done to them, no matter how young.  I understood that a child needed love and security and someone to have their back.  I intuitively knew that children needed rules, values and compassionate discipline and that they needed to know they are loved and wanted and respected.

I knew all this theoretically and now had to practise it with my own precious baby.

It was hard, I made many, many mistakes.  Despite my love for my first child and then, twenty months later my second daughter, in those early years I found it very hard.  I had no help,  no wise grandparent to advise me and I was always second guessing myself, I was always somewhere in my cycle of depression and not coping.  I felt a failure at motherhood, the thing I had wanted more than anything else in my life.  My mother was right, I was no good for anything!

But then, one day inspiration hit – a gift from heaven, a moment of clarity – and everything became so much easier.  When I didn’t know what to do, when my patience was worn thin, I would stop and ask myself ‘What would my mother do now?’ A picture would flash into my mind, a sound, or some words and a deed and I would then do the opposite.  It was very helpful!

My girls became my greatest teachers, the best gift of my life.  I wanted to have babies so that I could have something of my own to love, yet what I  actually received was something I could never have imagined.  I received from them so much love and trust and acceptance that I had to finally begin to accept and believe I was worthy of it.

A door had opened and I happily walked through it.

To Be Continued

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Beauty is not in the face Beauty is a light in the heart - Khalil Gibran

Beauty is not in the face
Beauty is a light in the heart – Khalil Gibran

Thank you for dropping by, please do have a wonderful day  🙂

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60 thoughts on “A Fortunate Life – Part I

  1. Mahalo, dear Pauline. I have read this now and enjoyed it, actually smiled at many parts. You have encapsulated so much, yet chosen just the right and painful feelings and scenes — you want to be a teacher?! — to bring it back. I realize that I couldn’t finish it last year at this time because, uh, I was depressed. Functional, but at the end of my usual cycle, which I’d hoped was history, but was not. Ug. I’m so much better now (thanks to meds and love). I love how you describe our raison d’etre as love. Learning to love unconditionally. That is what it is all about.

    I had to smile that you loved Shakespeare as a young teen…my first published book (1986!) was called Putting on an Act and was about a girl who is reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream and trying to get out of a lie to a pen pal…she talked to a poster of William on her bedroom wall. Proof that you and are were cut from the same cloth, somehow. 🙂 Honi-honi, hugs and kisses, and much agape, Christi

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    • I am delighted that you smiled while reading this – it’s a sign you had recognition and understanding of the journey. [And that you aren’t depressed 🙂 ] It was never written to induce peoples pity – I wanted to share a small part of my story to show change is possible – and actually in the end it is a huge celebration because not only did I survive, I became ‘more than’ and learnt so much from the whole journey.

      I shall have to see if I can find a copy of your book Christi – is it still in print? I used the play within the play from MSND to introduce 13 year olds to Shakespeare – it was such a hit with them.

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  2. I had to come to read this in order to fully understand the last one you wrote. Eee, gads, Pauline, I could have almost written this. But mine was a cake walk compared to yours. As a fellow Virgo, Sept 2, and 66 this Tues, I think we are cut from the same cloth. We read the same books and I’m also a quantum physics junkie, my favorite subject! I get it only too well and also came out more intuitive and empathic. I know what everyone wants and needs before they do. Just not myself so much. I’ve been afraid to write about it even though I consider the journey, as you do, a positive one. My treasure was also my children and understand that subtle and sneaky rage that would catch me unaware. I’ve done almost the same spiritual search that you have. You know the saying, “when the student is ready, a teacher will appear”. I believe you are the teacher for many with this post. Have you ever read Dave Pelzers book The Child Called It” ? When I was done, my parents seemed quite nice and normal. It gave me some perspective. Now I’ll go back to your recent blog and post a comment there. This took awhile to read as it felt a bit like deja vu. Hugs

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    • Hi Marlene – I have been so surprised by how many have come back in time to read this post. How wonderful that we are so close in age and birthday and interests, though so very far apart in terms of physical distance. I did read those books many years ago – I used to read all the books about childhood suffering – but don’t any more. Thank you for leaving this comment – it is so lovely to get to know a little more about you. xoxo

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  3. As I’ve done in the past, I sat down and wrote my parents a note to thank them for what I used to think was an ordinary childhood, to what I’ve known for years was an exceptional one. I try never to take that for granted.
    What an incredible survivor, parent, talent, and woman you are. I am so very glad to have met you.
    Love to you, Pauline.

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  4. Dearest Pauline, here I am reading this again. I had forgotten some of the details, but remember the emotional toll of this powerful read, your story, your early life. Arms around you, today and always. I’m sorry this year has been hard. I understand.

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    • I have lived long enough and worked hard enough to be grateful for the experiences that tempered my soul in fire and made me strong and free. I have learned what love really is and how to be it. I have learned to live with the detritus that doesn’t leave because the damage went too deep – but I am not defined by it, I am more because of it. You are too.
      xoxo

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  5. Pingback: Things i’ve learnt from trees #6 | My DogaBlog

  6. Thank you for stopping by my blog Pauline. Reading your post has strengthened my resolve to continue my life work of bringing awareness to the need to create a society that feels good about itself. Your childhood experience, as horrific as it was, is all too common … and unnecessary. There is a better way, and awesome to you for finding it!

    Cheers,
    Fred.

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  7. Oh Pauline. I am in tears. Such a brave post. So beautifully written. I am so sad for you for such a tragic start to your life, but in awe of your courage and determination to make something beautiful of it. Big hugs. : )))xoxoxo

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    • Dear Anne – thank you – I have become convinced everything happens for a reason and we are given the opportunity to receive great gifts from our traumas – which is one of the reasons I decided to write my story. It all comes down to choices we make about what we will do with what happens and I don’t think being a victim is a good choice. Also I’ve been incredibly blessed! 🙂

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  8. wow Pauline, what a life!! I feel sad, but grateful to have read your story, to have learnt more about you and how you have come through such darkened days, [ live, love and laugh] is my moto, will look forward to your part 2, have a super day elaine

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  9. Talk about synchronicity, I’ve stumbled on it here. As I put my tissue aside, ( I weep for all of us that have had such experiences), I realized you have told a good portion of my story so much better than I could write it myself. I too am entering my 65th year. We have taken a very similar spiritual path with many of the same books leading us. I too, love quantum physics. You are so much braver than I to write this so clearly and deeply. I too, understand the rage and depression. They are the result of a life beyond our control. Only in the last few months has the depression lifted. I saw your comments on Gardening Nirvana’s blog and had to come by. Then I was compelled to read this. I know about the holes in the memory. They are a protective measure. Please, please, keep writing. You have such a talent with your words. Thank you for them.

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    • Hello, thank you for this lovely comment and welcome to the world of contentment! Y’know when I hit publish on this post I wondered if it would just sink into oblivion and be met with a resounding silence……… but as you say synchronicity is at work and so we are able to make contact. I’m feeling the pressure to get the next installment out – but I’m so busy learning new journalling techniques and making Christmas presents that I don’t know when that will be.
      The compulsion to write this first part was so strong I could not ignore it – it was an alignment of the planets with the New Moon obviously 🙂 But so stick around, always a pleasure to make new bloggie friends 🙂

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    • 🙂 Doesn’t this precis just prove that we have the opportunity to make good from all events? At this end of my life all I see are the so many gifts received from it,

      Thank you so much for coming by – I was actually just on Pinterest looking at some more of your gorgeous work – so want to take a class! 🙂

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  10. Pauline, your story is inspirational and I wish I could say unusual. Unfortunately, way too many children live in conditions similar to the ones you describe. My sister and I (who are both in your age group) blog about our early life at http://www.farfromnormal.net because our lives were Far From Normal. Thanks for sharing your story. I think it will help many people. I wish you all the best! Abby

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    • Thank you Abby! While I intend to continue my story from time to time, I do not intend to make it the focus of my blog. I know there are so many people in the world who suffer silently [ I work with many of them] and I also know that a way forward can be found from the words and examples of others. There are so many reasons why I am writing this precis of my life at this time, not least to honour my siblings who did not make it – but also to demonstrate that health, sanity and forgiveness are possible. Thanks for coming by today. I wish you and your sister well 🙂

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  11. Pauline, you are a gift to this world! I strongly believe that God puts people in our lives, in our path, in our journey for a reason and you have been placed in the lives of your fellow bloggers to inspire us. I know with certainty that you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You kept that spirit of hope alive; the little light inside of you kept on burning and today that light illuminates the lives of all those with whom you come in contact. Your resilience in admirable. Your courage is beyond measure. Your love is endless. Your ability to forgive is a true blessing.

    As you begin another chapter in your 65th year, I pray that you will always have warm friends, good cheer, and abundant love in your life. I am blessed to have met you in the world of blogging. Warm hugs for you, my friend!

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    • I am overwhelmed by your message Elaine. I thank you for these lovely warm words – I feel so fortunate to have also found you and my other Bloggie Friends – it’s a mutual admiration society 🙂 Hugs back to you xoxo

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  12. Hi Pauline, you know, I was wondering… did you get my previous comment on this post?

    I wrote it yesterday, but I did it really late on my tablet. I am not sure if it went through. I though it did. If you got it, but you didn’t like what I wrote, I apologize. However, in my head at least, I think I spoke from the heart, thought you were brave and that this post will inspire many. Of course, it was a much more elaborated message, encouraging and even talked about of my fav writers.

    Please, delete this comment. I was just checking that what I wrote didn’t upset you.

    Well, in any case, I send you my love and a big warm hug!

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    • Hi Patricia – no, I just double checked the line of comments and it did not get to me – darn!! I have open comments which means they don’t go through moderation – though you may have been spammed – I will check there too ….I so want to see that list of writers 🙂
      Thank you for going to the trouble of reading and responding and then trying again – I’ll have a hunt and let you know. Hugs!

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      • I am not sure whether to be pleased or not – but you are not to be found in the spam box – This means your original, thoughtful, list of writers and other kind comments never arrived. 😦

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      • Oh well 😦 I cannot remember exactly what I said, but I can tell you that I admired your courage to come forward, for wanting to have a better life, to grow as a person and to find your peace. I also mentioned you that I started reading when I was 18 years old, finding a way out of depression. I found Wayne Dyer and got hooked! I read his first book (your erroneous zones) five times!! It changed my life around. Another of my favorite authors is Neal Donald Walsh (conversations with God) and the latest one that I am in love with is Eckart Tolle (The Power of Now & New Earth) Spectacular reading!

        I also think this story will inspire many people and for them to hope for a better life.

        I will be more careful when writing a comment and even make sure it posted.

        I can’t wait to read the second part, I am sure it will be a wonderful journey after you crossed that door 😀
        Warm wishes!

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        • Yes, I know them all – I still read voraciously! The first book I read ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’ was written by Wayne Dyer blew me wide open and I have watched his spiritual/writing progress – with respect ever since. Thank you for the comment about inspiring others – that is my wish. I did not write this for sympathy – nor am I a victim of those events – I was once, but that is long gone…. now I just want to leave a document that honours my lost siblings, living and dead. Thank you for all your words and wihes 🙂

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  13. My goodness, Pauline, you’ve been to hell and back. You’re a remarkable woman with a gift for story telling and what a powerful story you have. Thanks for sharing your difficult and painful journey. I know you’ve grown into the calmer, healthier, happier woman we see here, but I’m sorry you had to live through all that torment at the hands of the very people that should be protecting and loving you. I can only imagine the torment they too grew up with. How else to explain such hatefulness?

    I’m saddened at the loss of so many siblings, all at such a young age. You’ve coped remarkable well.

    I’m happy to hear this approaching birthday is a happier one. Wishing you all the best on the continued journey around the sun. xox Alys

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    • Thank you Alys, you are correct about the parents torment and I will their story later, it explains everything. Do you remember I told you recently that I had lived my life backwards? This may explain that statement a little……. I really do consider myself to be a most fortunate person. I do not want readers to be sorry for me – that is not the aim – the aim is to spread hope where there may be none and gratitude where there is stability. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, I so appreciate your words and good wishes. xoxo

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      • I don’t think you presented this in any way other than hopeful. Some people give up, and others fight and move on to successful lives. You’re the latter and it shows. I don’t think readers will “feel sorry for you” but will be sad with you for enduring such abuse at the hands of two unthinking parents.

        And thought I do understand that they have their own ‘back story’ I’m still appalled at your treatment as a vulnerable child. I’m so grateful to have found you in this blogging community. xox

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  14. I read every word of your post and I am very inspired by your strength and courage. I also had a rough start in life and your journey fills me with hope. Many hugs, Annie

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    • Dear Annie, that is exactly why I wanted to tell my story – I know we can be more than our beginnings would have us be. Look always for the light, look for the gifts and heal yourself so that you can heal others…….. I am so glad I inspired you and gave you hope. I send you much love and strength and hugs.

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  15. I read every single word of this post , Pauline. So beautifully expressed words of sorrow! You have a golden heart and throughout your journey that ‘s been with you . 🙂 I wish you all the happiness for the future. Happy 65th Birthday.:)

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  16. Your writing conveys the hurt, sadness and joy of overcoming. Getting to the other side where you can look back and see what you survived!
    Writing my memoirs (which took nearly 3 years ) was the most healing experience I’ve ever known and I can tell by your emotionally charged post that you have overcome… Even though pain is still evident. I’m so proud of you and I look forward to getting to know this powerful woman that calls herself the contented crafter….
    Hugs and love to you my newfound friend!
    Sherry

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    • It’s all levels isn’t it! Like layers of skin, we burn down to bare flesh and rebuild. It is a powerful journey and brings more gifts than can be recounted. At this resting place in my journey I am all gratitude! I am so happy you came by today. Hugs and love right back 🙂

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  17. You hooked me in at “Heads-Up”, lined at “overcoming the past” and sinker-ed through the very last word. My heart broke over and over again for you. I admire your courage, your words, your amazing spirit and strength and weaknesses. I know how the story ends…you become a truly phenomenal and creative person….but am still looking forward to reading about what happens up until then. You shine.

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  18. I read ever single word of your post today Pauline and felt, sadness, appal and acknowledgement all at the same time. I’m so very sorry your early life was so scared by people you should have been able to trust. While it was heartbreaking to read, I want to thank you for sharing what I’m sure were painful times. I grew up in a household with a loving father but dysfunctional mother. To this day, she has no contact with any of her children or grandchildren. I’m a big fan of Wayne Dyer and love his teachings on how to make life better. Most importantly, Happy Birthday dear! Look how far you’ve come xK

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    • Exactly so, boomdee! This post is a celebration of how far I have come and acknowledgement of the fact that I am living proof that there is nothing we cannot overcome – and that is achieved only with the love, interest and assistance of other people. This is how I know we are all interconnected. Thank you for coming by today and leaving this message 🙂 Enjoy your part-retirement!

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  19. Such a deep and empowering post. I am truly sorry for the childhood you had but on the flip side, I am happy and/or relieved that through your experience you’ve become this wonderfully loving person that you are today. It is troubling to think some people don’t realise the impact they have on their children, and how words can shape their lives. But the fact that you learnt from it and shaped your own life is beyond commendable and I am in awe of you right now. You, my friend, are truly worthy of all the love and happiness life has to offer and has thrown in your direction.

    Cannot wait to read of the next couple chapters of your life, its nice to get to know you 🙂

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    • A deep and heartfelt thank you – I was quite scared to post this one, not knowing how it would be received …. But it is time to tell my story. I tell it with the hope that it will shine a light for those who struggle, show a way forward for those lost in blame and also so I can blow away the last of the detritus! 🙂 I am really, really blessed and send some of it your way too 🙂

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