A Story About Love

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Sunday MusingsThis is a story about love.

Three years ago, these two, Hubby and my mother were having a fun moment. All was well with the world. Recently, however, Hubby has been very ill and during that time, my mother who is now so frail she can barely walk, did her special thing – her ‘healing with the heart’ love thing, which reminded of a time 42 years ago.

Not long after we were married, Hubby was admitted rather dramatically to hospital with a suspected heart attack. After four days in cardiac intensive care it was discovered he required gall bladder surgery, but the night he was admitted, I was lost and needed my mother.

She was at a formal Latvian ball. I found the telephone number of the venue caretaker, a family friend, rang and asked him to find my mother amongst the crowd, and he did. Within half an hour, in all her finery, she stepped out of a taxi and I was wrapped in the loving arms of the one person I knew I could trust.

That night I was terrified and asked her, ‘Mum, is he going to die?’ She held me close, and with complete certainty, promised me that he would not. And I believed her.

We talked about that moment today, and she said that she truly believed she could save him with the power of love. And that’s how she still feels today. She gives that same love in this very moment to me, to my husband and to all our family. It is a mother’s love.

She is an Angel in our midst. I am so grateful that at 94 her heart is still so giving and that I have the blessing of hearing her loving words every day.

What a gift.

Inara Hawley © 2018

The Best Years

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Today is my 37th Wedding Anniversary. It’s the second time around for Hubby. Not for me though, and while the research says that second marriages are more likely to fail, they obviously got it wrong when it came to us. Ours continues on in all its glory and bliss.

Our Wedding Day

Our Wedding Day in 1976

Like everyone, we’ve had our ups and downs and spits and spats, but the hard times, and there have been some very hard times, pale into insignificance when compared to the love, joy and happiness we’ve shared ~ it abounds and bounces around like glittery stars, and with each bounce creates more and more of the same!

So, after all these years how did we celebrate? Well, we did our favourite thing ~ we had a lovely breakfast followed by a quiet day in, enjoying each other’s company and reminiscing about what a fabulous life we’ve had. And we have! We’ve done so many things together ~ we’ve worked as partners in business from day one creating and building our best life, travelled the world enjoying fabulous moments and wonderful friends, and created an enduring family filled with love and joy. Not everyone could take being together 24/7, but for us it’s been easy! We knew from the very beginning we were a good team.

Words of thanks, especially those which are written, are a wonderful thing. Eleven years ago when Hubby celebrated a special birthday these are the words I wrote …

‘We have enjoyed 28 wonderful and eventful years together, 26 of them in a committed loving marriage. We have spoken many times of the gratitude we both feel to be so very blessed. Over the years we have not only been each other’s most important support, but we have given each other many special gifts of love, hope and joy. Before our beautiful child was born, our life was only about us. Now, having shared the joys of parenthood and the many paths travelled together I am cushioned by the wonderful memories of the past and the ones yet to come.

I look forward to every day with you. You light up my life. You are a rock and a comfort … my handsome everlasting love. Thank you for the romance, the nurturing, the spoiling, the wit, the humour, the fun, the good times, and also the hard. You have never wavered for a moment. You have always done your best with a kind and giving heart. And thank you for being so understanding, for loving me so completely and always allowing me the freedom to follow my own pursuits… and also, for sharing your sadness and your joy ~ for sharing the real you.

Oh how our life together has grown, only because we have been so united and so confident that it would. We have shared so much yet the time has been but a blink of an eye. But we have never, nor will we ever waste a moment. We will always fill our lives with laughter, joy and happiness. As always, my heart is full. I salute and serenade you with love, love, love.’

The Best Years

Hubby and I today!

Those words are just as true today. People often ask me, how is it that we have such a good marriage, and the answer is easy ~ we’re worth it! We respect and hold each other in very high esteem. We have never tried to outdo the other ~ competition has no place in a marriage ~ instead we always work to each other’s strengths. And we learn from each other too ~ impetuous me for instance, has learned to ‘sleep on it’ while Hubby has learned to slam a door! We laugh every day, especially at the things that annoy us, and we do ‘silly’ a lot. We spoil each other, we celebrate the special moments, we have loads of fun and most important of all ~ we play the mutual admiration game and trust each other completely. My marriage is the most comfortable place in the world. I am treated like a princess by the kindness, most caring, funniest and gorgeous bloke I know!

We’ve had 39 wonderful years together, and if you were to ask me which were the best? My answer would be: all of them and every single one yet to come! As I was writing this, Hubby came in, took my hand, kissed it and said, “We got it right!” Yes, we most certainly did!

Inara Hawley © 2013

Dreams Do Come True

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Do you believe that dreams can come true? I’m not talking about those special goals we make and aim for ~ I’m talking about the miracles we wish for. In this busy world of ours where everything moves so fast, many of us don’t have time to sit and dream about miracles. But miracles do occur, and it’s when we hold tight to a burning desire with passion, that they come true.

So let me tell you a story about a miracle. In1936, a few short years before the Second World War broke out, a desolate and very unhappy young girl was living a miserable existence in an orphanage. Her legs were scratched and bleeding from the rough woollen socks she wore, her feet were wet because she had no gumboots, she was lonely, and she was sick. For you see she had spent most of her life in hospital suffering from tuberculosis of the spine. When it was time to leave she had no family to go to. Her parents and her grandmother had long since died, and her only close relative, her grandfather, had fallen on hard times. He lived in a rented attic crammed full of memorabilia, and the authorities would not allow him to take her, so the only place left was the state orphanage.

The safe refuge of the hospital was gone, and daily life was now about the survival of the fittest. But unfortunately her lungs and spine were badly damaged and still very weak, and having to fend for herself and deal with the harsh daily regime was not easy. She slept in a twenty-bed dormitory, and her life was dominated by bells. There was a bell for everything; for washing, for dressing, for eating, for school, and for sleeping. Bell after bell controlled her every movement. There was never a moment to recover. She had to be sharp and fast, something which was very difficult for a girl who was not physically strong. She even had to fight for her food ~ breakfast was a case of the quick or the dead, and she was not quick.

Getting around was also very difficult. There were lots of steps and it was slow going. She didn’t walk like other children, nor could she run or play as she still wore a spinal brace. And because her gait was different, the other children made fun of her and pushed her over. Years of living in an institution had left its mark ~ she was insecure, fearful, and lacked self-esteem. So she spoke with no one, and no one spoke to her. Her only respite was school ~ she loved it. Learning became her sanctuary and she excelled. It gave her something to hang on to and feel proud of.

When she was discharged from the hospital and moved to the orphanage she was given a parting gift ~ a book of her favourite stories, and the one she loved the most, was about an angel who was sent to earth at Christmas to do a good deed. The angel’s mission was to find a child for a broken-hearted mother whose baby had gone to heaven. The angel searched and searched, and on Christmas Eve, found the child he was looking for ~ a destitute orphan who desperately needed a mother. And in the words of the book, ‘by the love in the light of a candle flame’, the angel brought them together.

With heart and soul this little girl believed it to be a true story, and with burning faith, believed it was also her story. She slept with the book under her pillow and knew the words by heart, whispering them to herself every single night and praying to God and the angels for her miracle to come. So deep and intense was her belief that she was convinced her prayers would be answered with the coming of Christmas, only weeks away. Just like the story, the angels would send her a mother, exactly the right mother, to fill her life with love.

In this lonely existence, one day she had an unexpected visitor ~ her grandfather. And what he found not only shocked him, it made him very angry. He may have lost his wealth, but he was not about to let his granddaughter get lost in a world of poverty and struggle. He was still owed money from the days when he was a wealthy man, and if he couldn’t get the money, he was going to make damn sure those who owed it to him met his granddaughter’s needs. And so without ceremony he made his way to the doorstep of the man who owed him the most.

His actions set some very powerful wheels in motion ~ the wife of the man he visited decided to go to the orphanage and see for herself this child he was so passionate about. She was a kind and loving woman, and it was with a caring heart that she sat down beside a frail little girl in the dormitory. And as if it was heaven sent, the child beside her instantly knew this was the miracle she had been praying for. This kind lady with the loving eyes was her mother ~ she was certain of it. And without a second’s thought, she looked into her eyes and said, ‘Mother, when are we going home?’ These words were the turning point in both their lives.

Dreams Do Come TrueSo yes, dreams do come true. This was the miracle she had been longing for. The young girl was my mother and the kind stranger was the only grandmother I ever knew. And so it was that my mother spent her first Christmas in ten years in the care of a loving family. And as time went by their bond grew. With the blessing of my mother’s grandfather, within a few months they adopted her, and Omi and Opaps, as we always called them, became my grandparents. Omi did everything in her power to bring my mother back to health and Opaps lived up to his responsibility and gave her everything she needed, and more. Omi saved her life after years of illness and Opaps kept her safe during the war.

My two siblings and I became much loved grandchildren to our Omi and Opaps. Even though they had a natural granddaughter of their own, we were a loving part of their family, and many years later, when the meagre proceeds of their estate was distributed, it was divided equally amongst their four grandchildren. So their debt was finally paid, both in honour and in obligation, and the miracle of love lives on.

Inara Hawley © 2013

*This story is an abridged extract from my book, ‘Conversations With My Mother’, published for the family in 2010*