Sunday, 25 April 2010

Mountains just have to be climbed

Sometimes things I read have an astonishing impact on me. They stop me in my tracks of whatever complacency I'm into.

Three Cups of Tea did that. The idea that this mountaineer who owed his life to the villagers in an incredibly poor part of Pakistan, should then make it his life work to raise money to build schools for girls in the area regardless of the obstacles put in front of him ,made me cry.

Some blogs have had a similar effect, the story of the children in the nursery in Africa whose Lego bricks had no edges to clip together as they were so well loved and used, made me cry

The school in Africa who after having been built suffered a cyclone and the only thing remaining of the school was the floor, made me cry

The leaflet that comes through the door for the Salvation Army trying to raise money to give children a Christmas present in my own country, made me cry.

But actually however much I like a good cry, it's not a lot of help to anybody else.
And I have to decide if there is anything else I can do that is of a bit more use than tears. To the things above the answer without fail was yes.

But twice today I have burst into tears unexpectedly. The first time driving and listening to a programme on the radio. The programme is called the Reunion and it gets together people who shared a particular event to talk about it.

Today the people were a few of the affected by 13th March 1996 in a town in Scotland called Dunblane. A man burst into an infant school and sprayed bullets around killing the children indiscriminately . This date is etched on my mind and will be forever. The children in question were all five and that day was my youngest son's 5th birthday and he was just down the road from me in his infant school. I remember just sitting in my car hearing the news not able to move, but of course crying.

The fragility of life was never so close to me,it was a happy day for Alex, but for those other children there wouldn't ever be those happy days again. And even less for their remaining families

This afternoon the radio was again on playing music and the song the Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics came on. The song Mike Rutherford wrote after the death of his father. Suddenly I'm crying again.

I know why I'm crying, I'm crying because of the pain my beloved younger son has to deal with in his life. He has had a tough life for someone of 19. His father walked out on him (and his 9 year old brother and me) when he was three.

My sons have only seen their father once in the subsequent years for four hours, and at that meeting he threatened to take them away from me.

Alex once said to me, 'Dad must love me, he pays maintenance doesn't he' I watched my boys learn to unlove their father slowly over the years, as he didn't bother with either of them.

I have fought for them always, no more so when my eldest son reached 20 and their father finally stopped paying anything. That was okay for the eldest, but Alex was 14 and a half and he no longer existed for his father at all. I tried to take him to court in the States (a long story that ultimately failed despite my best intentions)

To follow that, around the same time I got breast cancer and the only person who really mattered to Alex was under threat of an early death.

It's not surprising that his life is so tough and that he has had made such difficult pathways for himself.

This weekend he's been up in North Yorkshire, three hours away from here, seeing about a job. He has a friend that is a bar manager there, who has told him that he can work for him. So he's gone for a looksee.

And my heart is bleeding. This clever, witty, funny young man is lost and trying to find a way forward in life to try and make sense to himself of the world he lives in. A world that round here judges him as a bad lot, if the neighbours are to be believed. The same young man who has phoned me three times to touch base with me, as although he knows he's got to move forward, and this might be a way to do it, he is scared. Not that he would ever admit that, but I know.

So like supplying some new shiny Lego, I am there for him. I will offer advice when it is asked for (and sometimes when it's not!) I will be there for him with unconditional love always. But I will not let him know that I cry about him, that's a secret for here. He would hate that, and would get bolshy and bad tempered if he knew and tell me that he didn't need my tears.

And in that he is right, cause tears alone won't do, it's the follow on from the tears that matter in life. The action of our pain for others, that makes the world a better place, if we can find it in ourselves to give with love to our fellow man, whether it's the boy who loves his mum, or the homeless child on the streets.

So I won't beat myself up for being sad today, I'll just accept it as something I can do as Alex is not here and I can indulge myself in his absence to let go of a little bit of my bleeding heart.


Lyn said...

Don't beat yourself up Mandy ... we are entitled to emotional moments/hours/days/weeks. Life is just like that. Sometimes the accumulated weight of every emotional moment or event erupts into an emotional tsunami. Just go with it!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Ok, now I'm crying too! I hope he now finds happier pathways for himself. BG Xx

Merry ME said...

Mandy, I've also been doing some crying lately. I don't feel particularly sad, but the tears come from out of nowhere trickle down my face then stop - like a quick spring shower.

I watched a clip from The Cove and cried. I sang in church and I cried. I saw twin babies and I cried. Letting the tears flow is a way to wash away some of the feelings that are too big to stay put.

My son is 37 years old. Just transplanted himself to St. Thomas, USVI. After his stint in Key West, and Hawaii, when he writes I know he's soul place. He had to do it on his own, in his own way. I can finally stop holding my breath.

Trust that you have given Alex your best, then trust him.

P.S.. I always cry when I hear THe Living Years.
P.S.S. Stones to Schools, the follow on to 3 Cups of Tea will make you cry but it will also make you nominate Mortenson for a Nobel Peace Prize!

Helen said...

Kindred spirits I think we are! Living Years makes me cry too. "I'll Stand By You" (The Pretenders) and Josh Groban songs always get me. Hoobastank singing "The Reason" triggers unbelievable emotion.

I just watched as my son Carl who is developmentally challenged walked out the door to his health club (he doesn't drive.) He will be 50 next year. I have noticed it's more and more difficult for him to accept the seemingly unlimited possibilities his 13 year old nephew and 17 year old niece move toward in life. Not that he resents them ... it just makes him sad. And I think makes him more aware of what he isn't able to do. My tears fall when I think of how truly amazing this middle son of mine is. He is honest, loyal, funny, sweet, thoughtful and a million other adjectives. I also worry about him when I'm no longer here. His brothers and sister will always be there for him ~ but no one knows him as I do. His vulnerabilities and strengths ~ his fears and his dreams.

So today, dear one, I thank you for writing this post ... it meant more to me than you could know.

I wish your precious son every wonderful thing in life he so richly deserves ~ and you too.

Von said...

Good wishes, tears are good and healthy and needed.Our kids can be amazing survivors, stick in there sounds as if you're going well.Won't bore you with the details of my Daughter's life and I don't have her permission either, just to say she came through the most difficult of times more than once and over years and is now the most intuitive, compassionate,supportive person and daughter anyone could hope for.When we hang in there with unconditional love it's worth it!!

lakeviewer said...

Oh yes, sometimes one has to cry out in pain, for things we can't change, for needs we can't meet, for errors we can't erase. Life is harsh, too harsh at times for the little ones, the innocent, the invalid. But, mountains just have to be climbed as long as we have legs and breadth to climb.

This post was most touching!

Sorrow said...

You are the best mum ever...
holding you close and crying for you...

Spadoman said...

Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your life and your feelings. many of us are taught that crying is a bad thing. My Mother told me, "Stop crying, everything will be okay." when I was doing so because of sadness.
As I aged, I realized that those tears cleansed my soul. I physically rid myself of some sadness or feelings and went on with life the better for it.
Good positive energy sent your way for you and for your son and for all you hold dear in your life, and for your courage.


Paula said...

Dearest, you do all you could and the is no more to be done. Be kind and gently to you. It is so important during times of need.
I am so grateful that you gave me the book you mentioned here ever since I am donating. Much love across the channel.

Mel said...

Between your writings and Helen's--I'm a weepy mess. But I figure that's a good thing, much as I dislike crying......

That's what loving without conditions looks like.

Diney said...

That was very moving and I felt myself welling up too. Unconditional love is a powerful emotion. Hope all goes well for your sons. You sound a lovely, giving and nurturing Mum x

Beatnheart said...

oh darling, at least your sons have a beautiful, loving and caring mum...You do as much as you are able and your son will find his way. Oh crumbs now we're all crying! Feel better and trust that your son will be ok..xx Cynthia

Innocent said...

Pedant's Corner.
BA Robertson wrote it, not Mr. Rutherford.... I think.

Pam said...

If our children are happy Mandy, we are happy. This is a post of such depth, and such a good one. Once you have children, the depths of sorrow and heights of joy know no bounds.Before children, the sentiment I expressed used to annoy me as self-grandiosement and exclusivity,but now I understand completely. What I cannot understand however,is how we as a species, are reluctant to take it to the next level, where the world's children become our concern also, and not as recipients of either our bullets or no longer needed toys and clothing,including the Lego pieces you have so heartbreakingly mentioned. When I stand up for our planet's children and plea for more recognition I am told it's called "Christmas".Whoopee. I think we owe them more of a moral debt than that materialistic once-off feast. I say to my daughter, "Let me know when and where I can help", but often her struggles make me cry which adds further to her burdens. Ultimately we know that we live in a very fortunate country with access to healthcare. The world can be harsh. We must applaud those who make it less so. xxx

Twiglet said...

A very touching post. If its any consolation - North Yorkshire is a most beautiful place to live - a huge county N-S with a wide variety of beautiful towns and fab countryside - I enjoyed life there for 30 years and I too was 3 hours away from all my family!

speck of dust said...

Now, whenever I cry I know it's healing me. I usually understand right away the root cause of the sadness (because for a long time, when truth is all muddled up I would probably sob at a film or something and not realise it's really about an issue in my life I'm not addressing). I am thankful for the wisdom I have with my tears now. Often is surprises me too. And if I'm hurt I usually feel anger before sadness. I feel a release and an acceptance with the tears. x

miss*R said...

a mothers love. ..
remember back in November, when my son's wife threw him out after 12 years of marriage.. and subsequently he was suicidal and had to move 12hours away from me and his boys to his uncles?... he has now found a full time job, and met a lovely someone.. and he is in contact with his boys.. [my heart bled for him so much too, just like yours does for your son..] Your son will come out on top.. and oneday soon, you will both look back and see the bigger picture.. what I call the Divine plan..
hugs to you dear sweet Pix xxoo

miss*R said...

'losing my religion'.. always makes me cry

Robyn said...

A warm hug for you.

All will be well soon as the beauty of youth is that it is a time for errors and new learnings to enable you to have a better life.

Keep loving and trust in a happy future.

It's healthy to cry sometimes
take care
Robyn x