11 November 09
On Wednesday I went to my God Motherís funeral. June Francis Eve
Newport. She was my Dads older sister. She was only 66. For
most of her life Auntie June had suffered with mental health issues. She
took tablets to lift her mood when she was depressed and tablets to lower her
mood when she was high. I remember her having a 7 day tablet box.
When I was younger Auntie June was said to suffer from manic depression. I
remember as a child she would spend weeks at a time in Severals Hospital, which
was a place where patients with mental instability went until their medication
was under control. In this place my aunt had electric shock treatment, she
also lived along side people that had sadly committed murder in their illness,
people on the outside who looked just like you and I.
As a child being an observer, when Auntie June was unwell it was quite
frightening. She didnít always make sense when she spoke, and at times
seemed quite aggressive. She didnít seem in control of her emotions.
And I remember her home being chaotic and untidy at times.
But most of all I remember her contentedness with her life. You could
have a conversation with Auntie June about anything. She had an
opinion. It was said that she was a super bright lady, somebody who once
could write 80 words per minute shorthand. As a child I remember feeling
really self conscious about the size of my nose. Auntie June said I had a
lovely profile. As a child I dreamt of being an actress Auntie June said
my stage name should be Amber St Claire because it was more romantic.
As a child I saw that the Love and support around Auntie June was second to
none. Both from Nan and Granddad and from her husband, my Uncle Dermott,
who was totally devoted to her. He was the nicest man I can ever
remember. He often seemed to be in and out of work. Once when he was
working as a Dustman or a road sweeper, he found a beautiful little old suede,
red wine coloured, Wordsworth poetry book, with gold edging on the pages.
He gave it to me as a gift and I still have and love that little book till this
very day. I donít know if that book inspired my Love of writing, or if I
was writing before that gift came, but anyhow, to have been given such a
treasure feels highly memorable and significant. Both my Auntie June and
my Dad wrote beautiful poetry.
Sadly Uncle Dermott died of a heart attack in his sleep some 20 years ago, it
ran in his family. My poor younger cousin at about the age of 14 tried to
revive his Daddy, but it was no use. That day Auntie June lost her primary
carer and her devoted husband and the boys their lovely Daddy. Years later
both Nan and Granddad then past away and my Dad prematurely died at 59, he was
Junes younger brother by 2 years.
I remember that although life at times must have been incredibly tough for
her two sons (my cousins were just a little younger than me) their Love
and tenderness towards their Mum, and towards life in general was and is just
awesome. They are now two of the gentlest, most sweet natured family men
you could ever wish to meet. Two men with the kindest souls.
We had a terrifically happy childhood playing 40 40 together over the marsh,
and making camp in the ancient caravan at the end of the garden. Nan and
Granddad had chickens and vegetables and fruit and home made carrot
whisky. They always laid the tablecloth when we came to stay. ďPut
the condiments on the tableĒ I remember my Granddad saying. On the side
there was always a little basket of warm eggs that the children collected with
my Nan from the chickens. The fox a couple of times killed the chickens,
until my Granddad was told to urinate around the edge of the chicken pen.
It worked. Fox never came back.
Nan and Granddad with hind sight led a very basic life style. They
never travelled. They didnít own much. They bought local or hand
reared meat and rabbits off the man up the road, sometimes for casserole,
sometimes for our pets. Granddad knocked up a hutch in half an hour, out
of scraps from his amazing shed. Often we would go out with the men
oystering and cockling, walk out on the tide to the island that often had sheep
on it. We would play happily for hours and then the tide would come in,
and the dads had to swim us all home on their backs, with their bounty.
When we got home there was always a treat of Cadburys milk chocolate, hidden in
a 1950 style cocktail cabinet and lemonade, or sometimes we would have ice cream
Swallows nested in their front porch just above the door way year after year,
swooping in just above your head. Rather than use the back garden every
one used to use the front south facing garden, and endless neighbours and
passers by frequently used to come and join in with a chat, a drink or the
At night time it was dark, there were no street lamps. (they lived down
a dirt gravel track) It was like going back in time. The family
would walk up to the little social club, where we would play endless asteroids
or space invaders in the childrenís room, or we would stay home with Nan and
play cards for copper. At night time all the children used to sleep in
Nannyís bed, with a feather mattress that used to leave the shape of your body
in the bed when you moved. There was a giant arched mirror over the top
which at night time used to feel sometimes magical, sometimes scary.
In later days I remember quite often just making the trip down to see them
all with my Dad, we would always take the romantic country route and Dad would
reminisce and tell stories, and go through the little old villages, and stop off
at some ancient pubs. Happy happy days.
This week I went to Auntie June funeral. My other poor cousin now 34,
tried to revive his Mum after she had passed away. But her time had
come. Having slept every night in her wedding ring and watch, the night
she died she took them off and left them on the side.
Iím sad that in later years I didnít spend more time in her company.
She lived not very far away. But modern life with 5 children and busy ness
and my commitments else where, meant that I didnít find as much time as I should
have, to be her way, with her. Although Auntie June was my Godmother, I
donít remember her speaking to me of God. I didnít think she had had so
much influence over my life.
I was so wrong.
At her funeral I found out what a wonderful and simple Christian she
was. And how in the nights that she couldnít sleep, because her illness
was keeping her awake. When everyone else was sleeping, she was spending
time with God, reading her bible. She then drifted off to sleep the
following day, in the company of others. Her minister talked about her
kindness to people, and of how she always asked how people were, despite her own
health. And despite not being an official member, she always supported the
church and her friends who belonged there.
The Newportís and the Bakers had a simple and gentle way of living that to me
was totally God Blessed. I remember my Granddad and my Dad being very
passionate people, sometimes loud and quick to defend, but always full of an
underlying compassion and Love. Their simple pleasures in life and their
conversations and relationships they had with people, were the most important
things. Possessions and the like were unimportant. Their lifestyle
and values have been the single biggest influence in my life. For although
they never often spoke of God and although they never proclaimed to understand
the great mystery, they lived simply, and humbly, and always with accessible and
My Dads family and you Aunty June have blessed my life more that I could ever
have wished. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me.
Sweet God Bless you all xxx
11th November 09
The Hand of God
I will forever see the hand of God in Love, and in sharing kindness and
In the innocence of childhood, and honesty, and the wiseness of the
In the compassion of all my fellow humans. In birth, in death and in
And forever, everyday, I see God in the cycle and breath of nature. In
the relationship between plants, animals and people.
But most of all, I see God in Love.
He has no hands but our hands xxx
Sweet God Bless you all xxx
November 5th 09
Oh dear blog
My soon to be 12 year old daughter is so wise. I have been in tears all
last night and all day today. My daughter asked me why I was crying so I
Last night I went to see Fr Paul. He is our new parish priest. He
is lovely. He explained to me that although I am welcome to carry on being
part of St Sabinaís community, as I have been for the past 16 months, I can not
be received into the Catholic faith.
Because although my first husband has problems with alcohol and aggression
and didnít want to stay married. And although my now husbands first wife
deserted him after a 25 year happy marriage, and bought a new home with a new
man. And although us being divorced from those first partners and now
married to each other for 6 happy years, the Catholic church sees us as still
being married to our first spouses, and therefore, us as living in sin with each
other. We do not qualify for annulment in both our first marriages.
My husband although christened C of E, has a humanist outlook, and he still
happily supported his first wife in her methodist faith for their 32 year
Catholicism after a long and seeking journey is my chosen faith. Every
part of me wants to be accepted by the catholic faith. I go to mass
weekly. Jesus reaches me every week in my little church. My time
there feels sacred. Daily I listen to pray as you go, daily I pray.
Our children have been received into the faith in our church. All my
children are baptised Catholic.
In my life after so much heart ache and so much loss, I need and want to feel
a sense of belonging and acceptance. And from the church community I
do. I knew it would be a long and difficult process to get an
annulment. But it now turns out that unless our first spouses die, or my
now husband dies, I will not be entitled to become a Catholic. This has
come as a complete and utter shock. And so the pain continues.
My daughter held me close and in her wiseness she said. But Mummy, God
already accepts you just as you are. She also said that what I had done in
Gods eyes was the right thing to do, because I divorced so that my children
didnít have to live in an aggressive marriage. And she said to me that
even if the church doesnít see me as a Catholic she already does. I
carried on crying as we held each other close. What an amazing child both
me and the Catholic faith have been blessed with. I Love my first born,
she makes me feel God blessed.
It seems that God wants me to be a free spirit at the same time as being a
mother to five little Catholic children.
A Spiritual Lesson
29th Oct 09
Today I went on an early morning, autumn dawn walk. I love the
escape. I love the contemplation time. I love turning up my iPod,
whilst my mind just drifts and empties itself of lifeís clutter. I love
the working through of unconscious matters. I love the untangling of
emotions. And I love the peace which fills me as I empty my mind over to
These past weeks have been emotionally draining, with conflicting thoughts of
Annulment for my first marriage, and of causing further heart ache, when already
past sadnessís have been laid to rest. I fully know of Gods blessings at
my first wedding, because for me God and Love were fully
present. For God is in me. The marriage may have been flawed
though, because I dont know for sure that John entered into it with the same
understanding and faith in marriage as I did, for he had no role model marriage
I know he couldnt believe in a God, when there was so much sadness
in the world. So deciphering the difference between our own failings, lack
of faith, Gods will, and now church doctrine is personally unclear.
I know I prayed to God every single day, to give us the skills to resolve our
issues, and we were not given them. But still there are
things that must be done in order to be fully accepted by my chosen faith,
because of the ancient institution which holds it. Divorce alone is not
These past weeks have seen sadnessís and endings and sketchy
beginnings. There has been fear of the future and of the soon to be
approaching imminent loss of elderly friends, whom I have grown to Love.
These losses, I feel like I will have to face, first hand and mostly alone, as
others who are connected have moved away. Not to mention fear of
unexpected losses, to which I am all too familiar.
There have been frustrations between me and a very special person, whom I
deeply love. Lack of conversation and expression, and then to compensate,
over expression. And silence and spoken truths and unspoken truths and
aloneness. So I try and read between the lines. I donít know why,
but I need to engage with people. I just am that kind of person. I
want to understand and respect peoples feelings and that is so difficult when
there is silence. I want to share and express, and hold close in life.
I need (as we all do) unconditional Love. Especially since I lost my
Daddy. I am fortunate my older husband has it in abundance, seemingly the
more I need it , the more he seems to have. Unswerving, unfaltering,
steadfast Love. I struggle with his humanist complete lack of
spirituality, and his non belief in eternity. But he does have faith in
the very goodness and rightness of life.
We talk often about our huge difference in age, and our few different
interests, and our few different friends, and in our maturity and Love and
faithfulness for each other, we understand that external friendship, can bring
both an alternative outlook and a richness to us as individuals, and in return
enriches what we share and bring to each other. We do spend 95 % of our
time in closeness to each other, as I am at home and my husband is in the office
up the garden path. We share our life.
I Love. I Love my friends deeply. I have always loved. Few
but deep. And no amount of distance or silence or circumstance or
distraction will ever stop me Loving. Because It is of me. And on a
daily basis, I know I shouldnít, but I forever desire that unconditional return
of Love, from the people whom I so Love. And on a daily basis I am
forever disappointed, when I feel it fall short. Then I feel sad.
And then I go on my early morning Autumn dawn walks, Today there was
the deepest, densest, most mysterious, thick blanket of mist all around. I
walked through the woods, along the old railway line, then along the sea
front. The sky, the sea and the land, were all one floating cool whisper
of white, with only the immediate path visible ahead. The grey pathway,
dropping into 20ft of icy ocean and then nothing.
But I did not feel alone. Although I could not see, for the life of me,
in which direction I was going, I felt held and protected. And I
understood that just to put one foot in front of the other on the short
immediately visible path ahead, was all I needed to do, in order to be guided
And so in Life, just like now when I am feeling a little lost and
uncertain and unsure of direction, in a random blessing of nature God teaches me
a comforting spiritual lesson and most awesomely that in all my aloneness, his
unconditional Love will never falter or fall short.
Amazingly when I arrive home, although still sad from a dear loved ones
silence, another dearest friend cheers me with a long, wise and special phone
call. Then another friendís lovely card makes it through the postal
strike. Then the arrival of some beautiful flowers and a heartfelt card
from another friend whom I had helped. One by one their loving kindness
And God teaches me how to be humble xxx
4th October 09
So Much Love
On Sunday I shocked myself by telling an old lady friend that I loved her. I
donít know where the words came from, it just happened before I had time to
think about it. Without a blink this lady turned right back to me and said "and
I love you too my dear, you have been a very good friend to me.Ē
During a sad week this has been keeping me warm. x
This week on Saturday evening when I was at mass we turned to offer each
other peace. For those of you who do not know, in the Catholic Church
before you take communion, you turn to the people around you, hold hands and say
the words ďpeace be with you.Ē I sit right at the back of the church, and
on a weekly basis a dear quiet lady and I always touch hands and offer each
other a simple brief ďpeace be with youĒ, before turning to others with the same
This week however instead of the brief blessing this lady hugged me close,
kissed me and said ďyou are a very special person my dear, peace be
with you alwaysĒ. I can not think what I have done to make her feels
this. But just her kindness was enough to hold me whilst I couldnít
contain my emotions any longer. The tears came instantly without warning
and the poor people in the row in front of me didnít quite know where to
look. I was already feeling emotional inside as it was the
first Mass with our new priest who seems lovely, but such a deep sadness
at the leaving of our most special Fr Martin whom I love dearly. I feel so
very blessed to have found such a place.
Last week Fr Martin's leaving mass was beautiful and all about loving
kindness. This weeks mass was compassionate and poignant and all about
eternal life, and the sacrament of marriage. So much love this
week. So much hurting and sadness. So much hope. So much
loving kindness. So much emotion. I have felt over whelmed with
emotion and exhausted.
The Holy Spirit deeply touching our lives.
We are only here for such a small amount of time, but with just a few words
or a little loving kindness we can make such a very big difference.
I know it can be difficult for those less expressive, but in what ever way
you can, show or tell somebody that you Love them today. It will I am sure
come back to bless you xxx
With my Love forever