Archive for September, 2012

Congratulations to Mitsey the dog

Posted: September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Everyone has a dog’s tale. My tale is at times traumatic but thankfully has a happy ending. It’s moral is not so hard to find – dogs really are your best friend; and we should never be complacent about their unconditional love, pure generosity and ability to bring happiness into our lives.

Most of all, dogs have an innate ability to empathise, sympathise and provide comfort to their owners. They simply are always there when needed. They are never shallow or fickle, do not withdraw their affection no matter what and always put you first, even before their own safety. That’s the definition of a very special best friend. But loving comes at a price. Dogs like people can get hurt or even worse still…

There are two little dogs that grace our household with their delightful presence, Mitsey and Fiona. They are inseparable and responsible for many of our daily laughs and precious moments. Fiona is a Shitzu cross, and our dear little Mitsey is a mini Fox Terrier/Jack Russell Terrier.

Terriers unfortunately go doggedly after anything that moves – rats and snakes. One day last week Mitsey went into battle with a tiger snake down by the river. She had followed my son onto the golf course near our home and while he was taking his shot on the 8th hole, somehow she disappeared, only to return vomiting and on the verge of collapse.

It’s the beginning of the snake season, here in Australia, and when the Spring comes, so do the snakes with a huge load of deadly venom, ready for their hunting and gathering season. Mitsey copped multiple bites and enormous amounts of venom. It nearly took her life.

A frantic dash to the vets and two vials of antivenene later, Mitsey’s life still hung in the balance. Her central nervous system was over-run with poison, so much so, she could no longer walk and her eyes had bulged to twice their normal size.

Over the next few days, she didn’t recover as expected. She could not blink or make her own tears and developed an ulcer in one eye. Her organs began to fail as the venom made it’s way slowly through her system. The only thing that kept her going was her big heart and fight to live. They told me later, the terrier in her meant she just didn’t give up.

One night when I rang to see how she was, the vet nurse asked me to make sure I looked after Mitsey when she came home because she ‘had a very soft spot in her heart for her’. She had prayed we would pay the the price of the two horrendously expensive vials of antivenene and despite being off duty had phoned four times during the most crucial day when Mitsey’s life hung in the balance.

I said we would have always done what it took to save Mitsey because she is priceless. We simply wouldn’t take a family holiday this year, but who really needs to book into a hotel and swan about a pool when the choice was so clear cut.

Mitsey is at home now, still weak, anorexic and taking constant nursing to get her back on her feet. But we are a happy family to have her back in the centre of our universe – our home. It is complete once more with our best of friends.

There is nothing like the power of families, and each and every member is special and makes up a wonderful and protective circle that provides strength in adversity, happiness and joy in abundance and the special moments that you remember throughout a lifetime.

We would not be without our best friend Mitsey. She has never been cross with me, never judgemental or critical, just full of joy to see me walk into the house of an evening. And little things tell a big story. Mitsey’s story will go on and I’m so glad it will because I know there are good times ahead because of her unconditional love and friendship.

 

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The Depression Session

Posted: September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’ve just eaten my way through a bag of pods and am polishing off the rest of my son’s corn chips and salsa. I am getting really cranky with him because he continues to eat the corn chips and there’ll be less left for me.

I chip him about it and say ‘well I’m only eating because I’m cranky’. He replies, ‘ah the depression session’.

‘Yep, you got it, that’s what it is.’

Well it’s not actually depression in its strictest sense, more annoyance at the pace of our busy lives. The sun is shining here, but I’ve got a million and one things to do. I’m looking at the outdoors and really wanting to get out there and soak up the sun, contemplate nature, my navel, whatever.

I read an excerpt out of a book this morning in the Sunday papers, between loads of washing and a dash to the shops. One of the major regrets people have on their deathbed is working too hard and too long in the pursuit of career, money, status, things, stuff….

Well, I’m not sure I fall into that category – I work to provide for a family and, well, my writing, I do that for the love of it. But, sometimes, there are moments in between the chaos of living that I would rather take off my shoes and spend time walking barefoot through the grass, stop and smell the sweetpea and jasmine, plant a few trees, sip a cup of tea on the verandah as the sun sets.

What is the latest ‘depression session’ telling me? It’s time for a holiday, a slower pace, and filling the bottle of life full again with meaning.

 

Trust first, think later

Posted: September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Experience shows us that it’s not always wise to trust at first impression. Or does it?

There’s an old saying that first impressions are always right, and if you think about it, there’s always an ever present gut feeling on most things that are important to us, and we generally act on our feelings even when logic is saying otherwise.

You meet someone and take an instant dislike to them, or you have a sense of ‘impending doom’ on a particular decision you’ve made. You question that decision and start to analyse – pretty soon you are changing course and thanking your lucky stars you pulled out of that one.

That ‘gut feeling’ is intuition, or even Extra Sensory Perception to some extent. It’s our inbuilt natural antenna that helps protect us and those close to us. Have you ever had a feeling a family member or child was in trouble – I know my mum would always ring when I was in trouble, always opening with the words: “You’ve been on my mind this weekend, is everything alright.”

I have those same ‘knowing’ feelings about my kids – it’s easy to spot when one of them is in trouble and even though they’ll never open up easily (teenagers generally don’t) I have enough of the ‘antenna’ type information to probe a bit to get to the problem. When the truth is on the table, it’s hard not to see it. That then opens the lines of communication towards a healthy dialogue.

But we live in a difficult world, you simply can’t trust everyone? Something I read tonight on Twitter made me stop and think about a thought that has been gnawing away for days. It came of course from one Tweeter, I unquestionably retweet, the Dalai Lama. He said: “A real sense of concern for others breeds trust, which in turn leads to friendship and a sense of security.”

Ah ha….he had given me the means to think further on whether we should trust first, think later. Here is what I thought.

– I should always use, and listen to, my intuition and trust my ‘gut feelings’

– I should not necessarily mistrust people based on past experiences of being let down

– It’s OK to be concerned about others and, generally, that will breed trust and a positive relationship

– My intuition should ensure that I don’t go getting too concerned about the wrong people.

So, based on that reasoning, it’s OK to trust first, and think later.

 

As a parent you can’t be everywhere for your kids. At some point you have to trust that the world is going to be a kind enough place to your child, and that with a bit of the same luck you had, they will survive – better than that, they’ll go on to live their dreams.

But not every parent gets to see that happen. Their child in a minute of absolute and utter hopelessness, takes their own life and leaves what can only be imagined as despair, futility, overwhelming loss and regret behind in the hearts of the very people who’s job was to protect, nurture and sustain that young life.

Worldwide research has demonstrated the strong link between suicide and bullying. Statistics tell the story that being bullied is a risk factor in youth suicide.

But why do people bully? Why is it, that because a child (or even an adult) is different, their peers find it so hard accept the differences. It’s got to do with peer pressure, sometimes even ‘pack’ mentality and today there are more and more ways that kids are connected to the ‘pack’. Through Facebook, SMS and live chat. More and more of their time is spent communicating within their peer group.

Cyber bullying is unfortunately a growing phenomenon. As we give away our privacy to online crowds, the potential for taking ‘pot shots’ at someone is just too easy to do now.

To understand what your child faces each day, with the unrelenting pressure to conform to someone else’s norm, imagine yourself at your child’s age.

Remember the dominence of the popular kids, remember the fashions you were forced to follow, remember how many times you shut your mouth because you didn’t want to be the ‘nerd’ who knew the answer. How many times did you dumb yourself down, do something you weren’t comfortable with or utter stupid words you never believed in.

And even if you were really good, really well behaved, sometimes you just got bullied. Maybe because your dad or mum didn’t have what was considered a good job, or you wore glasses, walked funny, had a nerdy sister – whatever. It didn’t really matter because at this point the power was already with the bullies, because you had given up your identity to be like them.

It takes courage to face a bully, whether you’re a kid or you’re being harassed in the workplace which is, unfortunately, a common occurrence.

Bullies thrive on threats and gaining your secrecy through fear. Intimidation is very real, either physically or through mental stress. If self-esteem is low, confidence hardly visible and add to that family upheaval, grief, trauma, and the pressures of everyday living, it’s not hard to see why a young kid with few defences will get boxed into a place he or she thinks is inescapable.

So for those of us that care about preventing any type of bullying, what can we do? We can celebrate differences. We can encourage individuality and, if we are parents, nurture our children’s unique identity so that self-esteem and confidence are not a problem. We can do our best to make sure that our child becomes who they were meant to be, inspite of the world.

You can follow me on Twitter @MaryannWeston