Life at times can be tricky. It can feel tough and brutal. Life feels hard sometimes. Life can be very loud. It seems as though for the big huge troubles, we pause, pull up our bootstraps and face it head-on. Not pleasant, however, we all have the ability to rise up and fight something big. […]
BLURB: A series of tragedies brings Vivvie’s young grandchildren into her custody, and her two estranged daughters back under one roof. Jackson, Vivvie’s husband, was shot and killed thirty years ago, and the ramifications have splintered the family into their own isolated remembrances and recriminations.
Sisters Elin and Kate fought mercilessly in childhood and have avoided each other for years. Elin seems like the last person to watch her sister convalesce after an attempted suicide. But Elin has her own reasons for coming to Kate’s side and will soon discover Kate’s own staggering needs.
This deeply personal, hauntingly melancholy look at the damages families inflict on each other—and the healing that only they can provide—is filled with flinty, flawed, and complex people stumbling toward some kind of peace. Like Elizabeth Strout and Kazuo Ishiguro, Deborah Reed understands a story, and its inhabitants reveal themselves in the subtleties: the space between the thoughts, the sigh behind the smile, and the unreliable lies people tell themselves that ultimately reveal the deepest truths.
MY THOUGHTS: This is my first Reed read (ha!) but not likely to be my last. I’ve enjoyed the way the author can weave past & present very, very smoothly and the way that life is portrayed as a cycle.
I actually found part of that cycle woke memories that I try hard to keep buried. Being raised primarily by a (at times) mentally unstable parent is not easy. Not to put down the character of Vivvie, but I saw similarities between her and Kaye, especially when Vivvie was at the end of her coping times. I know why Vivvie took the actions she did; & I strive to be the opposite in my life. Perhaps I’m trying too hard, but that’s not an open conversation for a blog!
I guess everyone carries a burden of some kind.
Four stars, easy to grade, harder to read.
I read this book as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription.
It’s fair to say that it’s been an awfully heavy month. I have done little else but work, cry, look after mum, try to keep the family sane, stitch & attend bootcamp. I can report that of all those, only work & Mum is the bit where I can consider it a pass.
If you don’t want to read on, you can take a pass here too. Thank you for your kind thoughts & prayers & comments over the last month. They are very much appreciated.
Let’s divide these up into sections:
WORK: I am up-to-date thanks to Jille taking care of one of my in-boxes for a week. I am currently starting at 6am, finishing just after 2, & picking Mase up from school, & into “normal” stuff after. I have run out of leave, as the rest of the adult family didn’t step up (yes, I am a little resentful here). I have another 4-6 weeks of this routine. It’s hard not having a proper lunch break/walk/escape from the office time. One of the buyers is also not speaking to me, the weirdo, as her work crush has been speaking to me! Umm – he has to, we work together?!! I have little patience for child-like, bitchy actions from people in their 50’s! I am treating this like a game & currently we are at day 12. I wonder if this can last until her retirement? Cross fingers!
BBM: I tried going to 2-3 of these a week. Unfortunately I’ve re-injured my wrist last Sat at the Strength HQ morning so can’t do half the stuff. I can’t STITCH either! Slowly going insane…cue the CRY. And the migraine, which is completely stress related. The GP yesterday put me onto Rizamelt, which dissolves in the mouth. So I’m more likely to gain a benefit, as the fast-acting migraine the other day left me vomiting.
MUM: So the 4 hour hospital appt turned into 5 days. The surgeon taking the lung biopsy cut thru her lung, & so she needed a chest drain. This gave rise to further complications. She doesn’t remember much, as she was pretty out-of-it, but at one point I honestly thought that she was going to die. Lung illnesses are scary stuff. The funniest point was when (high on morphine) she was glaring at one of the nurses, totally convinced the poor woman had kicked a squirrel! Yeah. We don’t have squirrels down here. Not even close.
The upshot is that we don’t yet have a comprehensive diagnosis. This is making Mum giddy, & it took a lot of talking to get her to understand that YES SHE IS STILL SICK and NO YOU CAN NOT GO BACK TO YOUR NORMAL. She likes to bury her head in the sand and ignore what she doesn’t like, which is one reason she got so ill, because she wouldn’t go to the GP until we forced her.
Her ANA tests are sky-high, which indicates an auto-immune disease. Her body is attacking her lungs. Usefully she tested negative for the more common strains, like rheumatoid arthritis etc. Her lung specialist has referred her to the RA clinic, as they deal with the auto-immune complications more than the respiratory clinic, then we go back to respiratory in 3 months time.
In the meantime, she has to eat regularly (at least 3 times a day, one meal fibre cereal & only 2 pc bread a day, which unknown to us was all she was having a lot of the time). Poop every day (instead of once a week). Take vitamins. Walk daily (cue a multitude of complaints). But she has lost 9kg since starting to see the specialist, so that’s good (it took 6 of us to move her in the hospital, as she was in so much pain she couldn’t help us). In another couple of weeks she can go back to the GP & see about clearance to drive & “work” at playgroup & school reading recovery again.
She will have to keep a healthy routine now for the rest of her life, and avoid people with respiratory illnesses themselves. I know this will be super-hard, as she needs to feel useful, but that should be a worry for another day.
If you got to the end of this, thank you! Well done! It was like a mini-marathon to run, & I guess you can tell that my personal stress level is super-high. I’m thinking I should probably take advantage of the work Employee Assistance Programme & the free counselling. Especially as I can’t stab things…
It seems so obvious now that I’m about to say it, but it hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. Here’s the reason I think we humans are bent toward a slower, simpler approach to life: decision fatigue. Think about those moments in life where things just feel… right. You’re enjoying a…
I blame Loren. She’s got me into this mess. But Hello, I am achieving things. I’m even starting a bucket list.
Remember how I am part of BBM, or Buttabean Motivation? On Sunday, a portion of us met at the Brownlee Ave carpark in Ngaruwhaia to encourage James, a Hamilton #BBM crew member, to tick off one of his goals – to climb the Hux. He’s the big guy in the white singlet in the photos.
The Hux, or Hakarimata Mountain, can be divided into two portions. There’s the relatively easy walk to the site of the 1922 dam (nice waterfall is just past this) or the more strenuous climb to the summit. No points for guessing what we did. 1K almost straight up, 1349 stairs. Kudos to the Department of Conservation team who maintain the track!
Being honest, I have to admit that by the halfway mark I was pretty much done psychologically. My calves HURT despite frequent stretches and I was sucking back water. Also, being girly, relying on my Evian facial mist to keep me cool. Si was carrying the backpack luckily so we weren’t really limited. It was at this point we kind-of ditched the main group. One of the wall quotes was the Henry Ford comment – Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right – and I took that on board. If I knew I could finish, I would.
Mase had run on ahead with Normo (a fellow westie) and Wayne, Zac following but I needed to pace myself. Si and I broke it down to 2-4 sets of steps, stretch, another 2-4 sets & encouraging each other along. Poor Si had run almost 25k the previous day, refereeing at the last day of the Tongan Tag tournament, so his legs were pretty tired anyway.
It took us the better part of 50 minutes to get to the summit; surprisingly the recommended time. I thought that I would have held us back. The view – stupendous. It was an almost perfect day (on a totally clear day you can see as far as Ruapehu, one of the Central Plateau volcanoes).
It took another 40 minutes for James to make it up. The majority of the group was with him, and we all gave him a round of applause and a high-five gauntlet as he came thru the last portion. You could see it meant a lot to him, to have achieved his goal, and that made it worthwhile in a lot of ways.
So next on my list? The Rangitoto climb. Pinnacles, Tongariro Crossing, the Auckland version of Coast-to-Coast. Round the Bays (at a walk). Waitakere’s Slip Track, and from Bethells up to Scenic Drive. I think that of those, probably RTB and Slip Track will be the easiest to implement.
I’m feeling more than a little off today. It’s the first Monday of the new fiscal month here at work, so it’s busy-busy-busy yet I want to play (as I write this I’m heading into the last couple of hours and I’ve cleared today’s reporting requirements and am up to the 23 store emails from Friday, so at least that’s something). As a family we have a new routine this week with Si away (we’ll see him briefly on Thursday but that’s it until Sunday). I am absolutely stoked to have finished Cloudsfactory A-Team (only 6 stitching nights!), a huge chunk of Persephone’s skirt for Stitch Maynia’s colour challenge (over 2K stitches or nearly half a skein!) and a new start on Emma Congdon’s Wise Words trilogy (altho for now I only want to do the Tolkien). Both my Secret Santas this year are really hard!!!
And on a personal note, I am struggling with forgiveness.
On Saturday my eldest brother let me know that his dad, my stepfather, is very ill and has been admitted to hospital. JM is 87, so this may be his time, but I am struggling to give a crap. I’m on empty when it comes to him & my (biological) mother – and that’s where I have an issue. Great that I’m not angry or disappointed or frustrated anymore – but where is my Christian spirit? My heart is so hard. I imagined visiting and telling him that I forgive their selfishness and the hurt they caused; but as neither honestly believes they have wronged anyone of us children this would be a waste of time, and would hurt me more. I’m having trouble lifting this burden. Please remember me in your prayers this week. x
I sincerely don’t understand the American voter right now. I’m supposedly the equivalent of the Trump voter – white, Christian, middle-class, married (ish!), with children, working outside the home – and yet I wouldn’t vote this way at all. Not saying that HRC is a better citizen, but his divisive, ridiculing, temper-inducing, lying, misogynistic rants are disgusting to hear. So his speech last night was a surprise. Who had his leash and why hasn’t they been in control the whole way thru? I can only think that as world citizens we’d be a lot more confident in the next four years if the campaign had been run like this.
To the good news – Corrections boss Ray Smith has recommended to the Parole Board that they reconsider releasing Vicki Letele under compassionate grounds. Common sense! I hope this sets a precedent for how we as a nation care for terminally ill prisoners in the future.
Here’s hoping for the decision today.