Monday 25 July 2011

Building Blocks

I have been in London a lot lately so haven’t had a lot of time to enjoy Belleau, hence the lack of blog action, but it does mean that I have had a lot of time to consider support and foundations, what with the fact that the hole in my garden has now given birth to a proper looking building and that I’ve had to spend a lot of time listening to the needs of the not so needy.

Tenuous as the connection is, I thought it was a good opportunity to talk about my own family and how life’s experience builds ones observations, understanding and outlook.

I come from a large family, two elder brothers and two older sisters, with me being the youngest by quite a large margin.  I’m actually closer to my nieces and nephews ages than my siblings, but I think this age gap is due to circumstance rather than planning.

I never had the privilege to meet Margaret and Gary, but saying that the rest of the family only had a fleeting pleasure. Everyone said Margaret was a beautiful baby, but fate gave her only a short time to make her mark, mums scream the only fanfare to signal her short life as she died in her arms.

Gary, a fine fellow by all accounts, had only a year or two himself, the Dr’s never seeming to have the skill or patience to instil hope, telling mum not to get too attached as he wouldn’t survive.

He had downs syndrome, a very scientific description of a life, though better than some of the alternatives I’ve heard. He also had complications, chest bones knotted into a restricting clot.

The Dr’s had said he wouldn’t walk or talk, but mum never gave up hope. She taught him to mouth words by placing her lips over his and managed to get him to stand on his spindly little legs, small victories and an emotional high-risk strategy, as even though his death was foretold the loss stayed with her all her life.

Eerily only one photograph of the many they took of Gary turned out, one of mum proudly holding him up in the background of a wedding shot, a picture that has always haunted me a little.

I guess I owe my life to him in some ways


  1. We get our strength and character from our family foundation, we can only hope our foundation keeps us strong.

  2. I agree with Mary. I also feel family dynamics are such a large part of us. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. I read a birth order book to see how birth order influences your personality growing up. I came from a family of six children and I have three children of my own. It was amazing. It was as if the author wrote the book personally for me. I took it all with a grain of salt though. House is looking good!!

  3. Thanks I agree whole heartedly with you guys. The house is getting tantalisingly close now, can't wait.