‘Freedom is using compassion and empathy in its true form’

Walking and writing are both my favourite past times and both have been my saving grace too. If something is upsetting or worrying me I take it on a walk. While out walking I think a lot more clearly and with every step my surroundings be it the sky, plants, trees, sea, river, wild life all seem clearer.

I write every day, a daily diary, poetry or short stories.

I do not live in the material world I do not have many needs. Following the crowd being like everyone else is not for me, a lone wolf I will always be.

While out walking yesterday I thought on the word freedom and the Janis Joplin song ‘Me & Bobby McGee’ and the line ‘Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose’ goes round and round in my head. I think freedom is having positive thoughts, having a kind heart and empathy and compassion should be held close. Just simply be true to yourself and accept others for what they are. However, stay away from people who are quick to spite, judge others and seek revenge. To me people who live this way are prisoners to fear. There is no room for the above if you lead a life of compassion, empathy, peace and love.

My mother Valerie Rosa, was born 2 months premature 20th January 1941 she died July 30th 2020, at 4 10pm. She left this world holding my hand and hearing my voice. “Let go Mama of the hurt and pain and let your spiritual wings take flight. Fly around the world creating kind thoughts as you fly by. That evening Thursday 30th July, John and I sat in the garden raising a glass to Mama, a meteorite flew over us. John and I were astounded and both said ‘Mama’ My mother lived in fear most of her life, she could not let go of the pain, disappointments, grief and shame. She locked it all in. Yet, now and again the anger flew out and would bite and deeply hurt. I, her eldest daughter and her second child accepted my mother’s mental illness and her many times being sectioned. Yet, even I would run and hide because her distorted words and thoughts deeply wounded me and I needed time to heal. The last years of Mama’s life she surrounded herself with people who were negative, bitter, egocentric and judgemental. I stayed outside looking in, there was no room for me among her circle.

On a positive note from my mother’s death, I have grown close with her remaining sibling Jimmy. Uncle Jimmy, married to his wife Hazel for 60 years have three daughters, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. I phone them on a Sunday (I often phoned mama on a Sunday) Jimmy is a quiet man, a good man. A retired HGV driver a gardener and carpenter. I speak with Auntie Hazel we discuss books, life and often walk down memory lane. Hazel and Jimmy never knew I wrote poetry and that I am a published poet too. I gave them a copy of ‘Butterfly Kisses and A Bee Sting Mind’ and ‘Healing Garden’

My Uncle John was Mama and Jimmy’s eldest brother. John was born 1936 he died April 1961 aged 25. A month after I was born. John died of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy the inherited disease in my family on my mother’s side. My great Uncle Melvin was 18 and my younger brother Sean died aged 19 both had the disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

I recently found out that Uncle John wrote poetry and short stories. He kept them in book form but sadly the books were never kept. This deeply moved me and I wept. Then I took myself on a 10 mile walk. Thinking on Uncle John what did he write about? How did he feel when the muscles wasted away and he could no longer write? Questions, too many questions. Then my mind went back to 2006 after being tested and told many times I was a carrier of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and from this I decided not to have children. I found out the professors were wrong I was not a carrier and there is ONLY ONE carrier. From this devastating news, poetry found me. I had never written poetry in my life. I attended St Francis school, Ely Cardiff. In 1968 before we broke up for the Christmas break. I wrote a short story and I came top of the class but that day I knocked my two front teeth out and through fear this accident held me back. It took me nearly thirty years to write again. In 2006 poetry and stories found me and I would like to think Uncle John’s creative genes are in me.

As I write this blog, the novel I have written titled ‘Forbidden Love’ is in the process of being edited and proof read and will be out this year. Wonderful story teller Cath Little is working with Windsor Clive School, Ely, Cardiff. The same school Uncle John, Mama and Uncle Jimmy attended. She is telling stories on old Ely. Cath invited me to take part and I have videoed my Ely memories for the children of Windsor Clive School.

I went to St Francis school during the 1960’s and early 1970’s, our school did not have a canteen so we would walk over to the ‘proddy’ school Windsor Clive where they called us Catholics ‘Rock Cakes’ To their school canteen and where the school meals were plentiful and tasted delicious.

Kindness matters and people will always remember kind gestures and words.

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