Abagail's Last Hooray

The phone call ended, Margaret put her hands over her face and cried, her tears making her nose run. Margaret had expected this call, but it was too soon, how was she going to break it to her mother. Margaret a very capable lady, she had been the PR for a charitable organisation. For the last four years since retirement and her husband’s fatal traffic accident she had devoted her time between her mother and her aunt, family, and various projects. Now one of twins had died. They were so different from each other. Her mother a quiet reserved lady who stoically accepted her lot, even when her husband died, she didn’t want a fuss making. Now at the age of 88 she was still criticizing Margaret on a daily basis, nothing was ever right and Ted, her husband used to roll his eyes and smile when Margaret complained to him.

Margaret’s Aunt was a joy to be with, her eyes twinkled she lived and loved life, she had travelled around the world. Her husband had been a very rich man and Aunt Abigail (Abbey to her friends and family) would say “What a catch, money and brains” They were not blessed with children but enjoyed life in the fast lane. Margaret’s mother, Alice always complained about Abbey’s antics “She is always going off somewhere” she would say.

In their later years after both husbands had died and although they didn’t have a lot in common, they began to get to know each other again. Alice loved to hear Abbey’s tales of her journeys and her antics which always caused great laughter between the three of them when they gathered together. Alice and Abbey were now in different sheltered accommodations and enjoying their separate communities.

Margaret was an only child, but she had four lovely children and nine grandchildren, so to her the family unit was important.  Abbey had had the diagnosis of cancer 18 months ago. Margaret had sat in the room with her Aunt when the Consultant gave her the devastating news.

“Don’t say anything to your mother yet, you know how she fusses and frets. I’ll tell her nearer the time I pop my clogs” Abbey smiled at Margaret, Margaret nodded, smiled back, and squeezed her aunt’s hand.  The prognosis was not good, it had already spread around her body and although she was offered all the remedies, she wanted quality of life and to be in control until the end.

Abigail with all her flightiness had known it was time to put her house in order, she did not want Margaret and her family to be weighed down with the responsibility which comes with death.

She made a will, organised her funeral, and had instructed Margaret the chosen hospice she would prefer. She wrote letters to family and friends to say goodbye in her usually comic manner. She began to get closer to Alice and finally told her what was happening.

“Oh, Abbey what are you going to do, will they be able to save you?” Abbey was blowing her nose, crying uncontrolledly “What am I going to do without you?”

Abbey looked at her sister and crossly said “Yes, I am alright thank you even though I am in a bit of pain, I am coping well, I think. I am dying Alice, so this isn’t about you, for the first time I am telling you it is about me and do you know I am looking forward to meeting my husband and going on my final journey”

Alice was dumbfounded she realised maybe for the first time in her life that she wasn’t the centre of attention that she needed to support her sister, her twin who she loved very much. Alice stood up and went and hugged her sister. They spent many an hour after that connecting and loving one another.

The day of the funeral arrived. Margaret had been quite surprised how organised her Aunt had been.  The instructions were no-one is to wear black, everyone in bright colours. The coffin was painted in rainbow colours. Abbey had always loved the Wizard of Oz and the song Somewhere over the rainbow and that was played as she went into the crematorium.

Her will again was a surprise she had booked a cruise for everyone in the family. Her words were “I will be with you as you sail away”. No one was left out and she had even thought of the nurse at the hospice as well as giving generously to their charity.

The words read out at the funeral had a resonance for all.

“in the end what matters most is:

 How well did you love, How well did you live and How well did you learn to let go”?

Family surrounds you with love

 

The Gate to another World opens

“Sit still Mary” Mary’s mum Betty was talking with her sister, Lily. Mary fidgeted, she was seeing her Grandmother who was smiling and waving at her. Mary had seen her before and had told her mum, but she was smacked and decided she wouldn’t tell anymore. Mary had also seen her Uncle George, who was Auntie Lily’s husband, who Mary had loved very much. Mary was 5 years old; she wasn’t sure why she was seeing these people when her mum and auntie could not see them.  She had been told they were far away in heaven, a place you didn’t come back from apparently. So, Mary pondered and fidgeted, and tried her best not to notice these people from heaven.

Mary told her best friend, Rosie, at school and asked her if she saw people from heaven, but Rosie had said she hadn’t seen them, but it didn’t mean they didn’t exist. And, during this conversation Rosie had said she had a friend nobody could see called Tara, who would come to her quite often and play with her. Mary and Rosie decided to keep their secrets and only tell each other about their sightings because they realised the adults didn’t understand and would get quite cross.

Many months went by when one day an agitated Rosie came to school telling Mary, Tara had said she couldn’t come anymore, but Rosie was to remember her when she grew up and began working within the church, then she would come back to her.  Rosie was so upset and told Mary that although she went to Church and Sunday school, she had never seen Tara there and she didn’t want to work in a church. Mary gave her a hug and said we can be anything we want when we are grown up ladies, and maybe someone else would come to Rosie instead of Tara.

Mary and Rosie remained the best of friends for many years. Mary kept on seeing the people from heaven even when she attended University. She was never afraid of these people but knew not everyone could see them. She had realised growing up it was something she just had to get used to and keep to herself, otherwise others would think she was weird in some way. She went on to work with children with learning difficulties and had a wonderful rapport with them. Mary would often sense feelings around the children and see the people from heaven connected with them, she would often get a message come to her suddenly about a certain child and the person from heaven would give reassurance through her for the child.

Rosie had similar experiences, she would be talking to someone and suddenly feel compelled to tell them something important to help them. Rosie was sometimes overwhelmed with the information coming seemingly out of the blue, but she found that she had the quality of being able to listen and understand a person and often hold their hand in the process. The person was always grateful and felt healed by the experience. Rosie didn’t go to University but went on to work as a PA in a charitable organisation organising events for fundraising.  

With life being so busy for Mary and Rosie they would make sure to meet and have a meal to catch up each month. It was hard to keep this arrangement but, it was a date set in gold for each of them. Today was one of those days, they hugged each other and caught up with each other’s daily life. Then began to discuss what was happening with the voices and the people from heaven. Mary had heard a new spiritualist church was opening in the next town. The launch was the following Wednesday evening in a Village Hall.

“Shall we go, Rosie, we may get some answers” Mary smiled but was a bit apprehensive about Rosie’s reaction.

“Wow, I was going to suggest this to you, I had one of those ‘messages’ to tell me to go along to the new church” Rosie smiled, her eyes had lit up, “Mary I know this is meant to be, we have talked for many years about how we both can ‘see’ , ‘feel’, and ‘hear’ things others can’t.”

“I mentioned the spiritualist church to my mother, she almost had a heart attack she got so mad, she said I would be dealing with the devil and not to go near” Mary shook her head in disbelief “I just didn’t respond and knew I would go anyway, thankfully, I don’t live with my parents any more so I can go without making any waves”

“So, let’s make it a date then, go along, if it isn’t for us then we don’t go again” Rosie said in quite a matter of fact way. “We both need this; we are not abnormal and maybe this will give us an insight to why we get these feelings”

Wednesday arrived Mary and Rosie sat in the church expectant, not knowing what was going to happen. They were greeted warmly and given song books. They looked around at the people attending, they looked quite ‘normal’, Rosie had giggled when she had said this to Mary. Suddenly the service began, there was a welcome from the rostrum for the Medium and all the people who attended. There was at least 30 people gathered in the Village Hall. It was a wonderful atmosphere, the singing of the modern songs uplifted everyone, including Mary and Rosie who were astounded at the number of people attending. The absent healing part of the service was so profound, and Rosie found herself tingling with anticipation to ask questions after the service whether there were training courses for the healing. Then it came to the part where the Medium stood and gave ‘messages’ from the spirit world. Mary turned to Rosie and nodded, so ‘hearing and seeing’ people from heaven wasn’t odd, some people were able to do this, Mary knew she had come ‘home’. As time went on Rosie’s healing went from strength to strength and one day Tara arrived to help her with the healing of a young girl suffering with cancer. She became a guide to Rosie.

Mary and Rosie are not unique, there are many people out there ‘seeing and hearing’ people from spirit, they have a knowing more than others do. We all have the ability, but some people are afraid, this could come from the childhood download from parental or religious prejudices.

Mary became a good Medium, Rosie and Mary were born to follow this path. Lots of people come to it much later in life. There are no rules for when this might happen, but following the path can bring so much happiness, not only to those who apply their gift but to those that receive the messages and healing.

If you are one of those who have a ‘knowledge’ don’t deny your gift. Follow the signs and let spirit open the pathway for you. Then joy will be yours.

Lunch on the Girder

“I didna know it would be this high, Joe,” Gino put a cigarette in his mouth ready for Joe to light it. “I need a smoke, give us light, quick I aint doing this no more whatever Papa says.” He bent to get the light and took a long breath in savouring the moment.

“You aint got used to it yet, Gino Papa will be mad if youse give it up now. He’ll say you’re a baby making a noise – you aint got to give in, anyway, look whats Mama done for us, one of her specials just for me and you, so stop ya gripe and tuck in.” Joe handed Gino his grub, a delicious homemade pasty.

“Gee, this is good, Joe, Mama knows her cooking.” Gino sighed.

“Hey. Guys, listen up,” Tom reading from the local newspaper, everyone’s attention focused “New York building is on schedule thanks to the commitments of the building force of dedicated men risking life and limb to give us the buildings we can be proud of for our future.” They’re talking about us lot; we should be proud why don’t we get the money if the boss thinks so much of us?” Everyone murmured, Tom was right but, they were earning, which was more than some were at this time. There were so many men in the district standing on street corners unable to work because of the slum, kiddies starving, women scratching to feed them.

“Yeah, but we got Jobs, aint we.” Jack reflected.

“Pat, are you drinking tonight?” shouted Sean. “My Mrs is letting me off the leash only for tonight, so how about it?” The men laughed; they all knew Sean’s wife was a bit of a tartar, so it was a rare moment of freedom for him. This was a Friday night, pay night, so it was a time to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

“Okie dokie, you call for me when you’re ready, do you wanna come Gino and Joe, let us stags show these boys how to rave!” Pat grinned and as he was saying this he gave his neighbour Tom a gentle push on the arm.

Pat’s exploits were legend, he had established himself well and truly in this new country, his Irish charm seemed to capture the ladies and his drinking escapades often got him into a bit of trouble, nothing to alarm, but enough for the mothers and fathers to warn their girls and lads to steer clear.

“You stop leading my boy, into a wicked ways” Papa Acardi said with a big grin on his face. “Gino is righteous like his Papa, eh Gino, and Joe will be pious like his Mama”. Papa Acardi let out a guffaw of mirth. The laughter crept along the line like a wave. All the men called Gino’s and Joe’s dad Papa, he was the oldest there, and the Foreman of the team. They had great respect for him, he was fair and expected his men to be the same with him. However, if a man crossed a line, he would be out. Papa would not stand for any nonsense, but his men knew where they were with him and would pull out all the stops because he was so well liked.

“Gee whiz, Rick, it is cheese again, what’s in your sarnies, shall we swap? I’m sick of cheese man but I suppose it was better than meat paste.” Rick sat deep in thought, his fiancé  had given him an ultimatum, she wanted him to find other work, she said it was too dangerous, but he loved working where he did, he felt he belonged to this small family from different nations all working hard beside each other, laughing, taking the mick with each other, looking out for each other, it felt home to him.  His Dad was a violent drunk using his fists and belt on his wife and kids so many times for Rick to count until one day Rick, aged 15 a strong tall boy, stood his ground in front of his mother to protect her and warned his dad there would be no more from him or he would beat him to the ground. Rick remembered that day so well, since then his dad had died, and he now provided for his mum and his siblings. He had them to think about as well, so it wasn’t easy.

“Are you hearing me Rick?” Ben nudged Rick and looked over at Jack at the same time. Jack was the quiet one, very deep, you just didn’t know what he was thinking but, he worked hard, and he kept his head down. Jack’s wife was in hospital suffering from TB so every penny he earned went on medical costs. He didn’t resent it, but it made things really hard. Thank goodness his parents were able to take the two kids and look after them, but they were such a long way away in Virginia. Jack’s parents really didn’t need any money sent, they had a small farm and shop and did reasonably well, so the children were well fed and comfortable. When Jack’s wife got better, they had decided to go and be with the children in Virginia for a better life.

“If you’re going on the razzle with Pat, Joe, count me in as well”, Dave called as he winked at Sid sitting beside him. Sid smiled, he was too old for the razzle dazzle, he liked a cold beer, tea on the table when he got home, a cuddle with his wife and sometimes a listen to the radio, he was quite happy with his lot.

“New York girl’s wonta be safe tonight with youse lot”. Papa stated with a sense of amusement.

Once again, the ripple of laughter filled the air. Dave was new to this team, he had worked for the company some time but couldn’t hack it with his new foreman, who seemed to want to belittle the men at every opportunity. He had fitted right in here, he loved working with Papa, and indeed, had discovered that Papa’s wife Maria worked with his sister in the laundry of the hotel in the city. Joe and he had become really good mates, they seem to gel with each other.

“Well, youse lot, time to get back to the job.” Papa called out. Lunch was over. The men oblivious to the surrounding, they had sat with the cold of the steel girder pressing on their backside. This was an everyday occurrence, no-one cared what went on many miles below them, their lives had intermingled with each other, through their work and families. They came from different continents but, together they were friends.

Today they were just having lunch.

Sue's Secret

Susan sat at the desk, her head in her hands. What on earth can she do now? She hadn’t told her husband. What was she thinking? Sue always picked the post up to bring to work.  It was easier to sort out any problems that might arise from the correspondence whilst she was there. She often worked late and was at her desk most of the day. 

The letter came out of blue; the Salvation Army had found her; she couldn’t fathom how. Her son wanted to meet her. She couldn’t face the turmoil. How was she going to tell her children that they had a stepbrother?

No this cannot happen. Sue screwed the letter up and threw it in the bin. Days went by, Sue was so busy at work and home she hadn’t even thought of the consequences of this revelation.

The last child of three was just setting off for university in three days’ time. Her life just beginning. Sue was so pleased, she felt that they had done well. Each child pursued their own course, and they were slowly getting on with their lives.

Gordon her husband was a Manager of a logistics firm. He was rarely at home, travelling around the world to secure contracts to grow the business.

Sue arrived home to find another letter without a stamp posted through the door. Her daughter was staying with friends, so there was a sigh of relief when Sue opened the letter.

I know the salvation army has contacted you about me. I have discovered where you lived. I just want to talk to you. My adopted parents know I am doing this. Please call me on this number: 07231 849225. I do not want anything just to talk. Please don’t ignore this letter.

Best Wishes

James

Sue began to cry, loudly at first, then the sobs taking her breath away. It was such a trauma at the time, Sue hadn’t cried like that for years.  The phone rang, it was Maggie a really good friend.

“Hi, Maggie” Sue gulped “Are you OK?”

“Right, I am coming over, something’s wrong I can tell” Maggie was not taking no for an answer “I’ll be right there”.

“And now he wants to talk” Sue had given Maggie the long sordid tale “How am I going to tell Gordon, he will never forgive me”.

“Sue, it happened when you were only 15, how could you have looked after a child then?”

Maggie gave Sue another tissue. “Your Mum and Dad were right it would have ruined your life. Look what you have done, Gordon will be alright with this I am sure”.

Sue was shaking her head; she should have spoken to him before they married. “I will have to tell him now; I cannot keep this a secret any longer”.

“Before you do anything ring the number and just talk to him” Maggie said nodding her head “That is the first step. You are going to take Elly to Uni tomorrow, so wait until you get back, when is Gordon back?”

“He come’s back on Sunday, all being well, it will feel strange being just us two in the house, me on my own most of the time” Sue had dried her tears concentrating on the now.

“It’s your 50th birthday in a couple of weeks, what have you got planned” Maggie was trying to stop Sue fretting about this latest upset, there had been many over the years and Gordon was not the easiest of men.

“There is a meal planned for that weekend, and Gordon has booked us a holiday in France” Sue stirred the tea and handed Maggie some biscuits.

Days later, Sue rang the number she had been given, her courage nearly went as the phone kept on ringing, then suddenly a breathless voice spoke up “Hello, how can I help you?”

“I …..,” Sue was suddenly speechless

“Is that you Sue” the voice said calmly “I am so pleased you called”.

“It is me; how did you find me?” Sue wanted to ask so many questions, but for now it was enough that she was speaking to James, her son of so long ago.

“I am married with two children now; my parents have been marvellous, and I just wanted to say thank you. I have heard your story and read in the files the trauma of my birth, and the distress you went through having to give me up”.

Tears started to fall; Sue was trying so hard not to remember how distraught she felt at the time. She had hidden the pregnancy from her Mum and Dad right up until the seventh month, then she began to bleed heavily, which meant she was rushed to hospital, and the baby came very quickly as she was haemorrhaging. Just remembering that time Sue shuddered. She was only young and felt ashamed of what had happened.

“It must have been very hard, I look at my two and I can’t imagine what that felt like” James continued “My life has been very good, you made the right decision, I am happy, and content and I just wanted you to know. We don’t have to meet if you don’t want to, I will leave that with you”.

Sue listened to this kind man, “I need time to think about it all James, I didn’t tell my husband you see, and I have three children as well, so you have a stepsister and two stepbrothers” Sue sighed.

“Shall we talk again, it is up to you” James was not pushing Sue, he realised this was momentous and he had said what it was he needed to say, but he would love to meet her just to satisfy his curiosity.

Sue decided to tell Gordon the next day, he arrived from New York and had the next two days at home. They were having a take-away meal tonight, and night in enjoying each other’s company.

“Gordon, I have something to tell you” Sue looked over at Gordon on the settee, he switched off the TV this sounded important. Sue told him the tale and waited for the roar of disapproval.

“Oh, Sue, I know all about that” Gordon came over to Sue pulled her up from the chair and gave her a big hug. His strong arms making Sue feel very secure. “Your Dad, the wise man that he is, pulled me to one side just weeks before we wed and told me the sorry tale” Gordon gave Sue a kiss, and sat her down with him on the settee. “He knew you wouldn’t want to talk about it again, but he thought I should know in case anything came up so I could be prepared”.

So much happened in a short amount of time. There was a great deal of discussion with Sue and Gordon’s children, lots of conversations between James and Sue. And eventually James and his family, including his Mum and Dad came for dinner one evening to meet his stepfamily as well as Sue.

There is much that happens in life, there are many twists and turns but what gets us through is the love we have for each other. We cannot change the past, we must live in the present, and look to the future. We make mistakes, we experience trauma, we laugh, and we cry but that is what life’s journey is all about. There are also perfect moments in our life we should treasure. Opportunities come out of storms that happen.

Sue got to know her son and was able to realise her actions at the time meant he had a wonderful life with good parents. There should never be any regrets, it is not worth thinking of what might have been. Live life for today, tomorrow will take care of itself.