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I was a very happy camper to see my daughter, who recently returned from an unfortunate trip overseas. Having been hospitalised and in a pretty bad way from bad food, bad water or bad who knows what, I finally got to wrap my arms around her and say " Thank God you are OK. " 

Her life, and those of her fellow travellers, had been in jeopardy. Some were ill and some were gravely ill. Hospitalised in a foreign country where language barriers made it even more challenging. Our anxiety " back home " was extreme. We felt so helpless. Because we were, well, helpless. 

It's a funny thing being a parent. No matter how old you are or how old your children are, they are our babies and we love them as if we still held in them in our arms and rejoiced in the miracle of their birth. 

So, after a brush with death from an horrific bout of God knows what that saw her so very ill in that foreign place along with her fellow humanitarian travellers, I finally saw her today. Still magnificently gorgeous, thank goodness.

My " baby " was home. 


No matter that she is on the shy side of 50. No matter that she is the mother to three adult children. No matter that she has a loving husband and no matter that she nearly died in a far-off country and had the stuffing knocked out of her ... my girl was home. 

Redhead and I looked at her and saw her looking well.


Though something wasn't right. The sunshine had gone out of her smile. Her eyes. She was herself but not quite herself. 

Hardly the young lady who had started her career in " caring " by being, what we call down under, a bush nurse in rural western Queensland. She did her training in one of the last " in hospital " training programmes in the country. Incidentally, she used her nursing to fund her way through University and has now completed her PhD and is a lecturer in an associated discipline.

She cared for kangaroos, men gored by bulls and old diggers who thought that they could still play rugby and then realised that they were not that ten foot tall and bullet proof after all.
Being in an ambulance and rocking and riding over a bull dust road and hoping like hell that she didn't let the drip fall out or that the patient was still alive at the end of the trip to have a " Nurse Nice Day " moment.
She trimmed the old men's toenails, fetched them back from the pub when they escaped the dementia ward and tap danced her way around the hospital and pretty much ensured they all had a nice day.
In fact I recollect her telling me about how so many of her older male patients died when she was giving them a bath.
" Mum I don't understand why my men die when I bathe them. What am I doing wrong? ? "
She obviously forgot that she was 18 years old, drop dead gorgeous and blonde.


Anyway, back to my story. We sat down. Chatted. Interrupted each other.  Complimented each other and talked about the family tradition of " pissing in each other's pockets. " 

What is this you ask?  Well, let me tell you. 

Pissing in each other's pockets is an old family tradition. 

It is a family thing. We love to say that we are marvelous. When we started this blog, it was all about getting feedback from the family. " Good on you!  Do it! You can do anything!"   

That is pissing in your pocket. 

I think we now call it being supportive of those we love. 

There are so many families who would shrug their shoulders and say " You're Dreaming. " 

Our family does not. 

We subscribe to the book of Positive Attitude and the wonderful series written by Uncle Bob ( I must republish the article I wrote about him ) who said that having a laugh can heal most wounds. 

So the three of us sat down, had a chat, and laughed. 

And laughed. 

We talked about childhood, family photos and times we had been overseas and unwell and looking for home. 

How home was a beacon of light and signaled safety. 

About how coming " home " to Australia was and is more precious than any precious metal or money in the bank. 



Anyway, to cut a long story short, my daughter was not the lighthouse that she normally was. 

Her lustre had gone out. A dimmer light than before. Most would not notice it, but we did. Because we are connected to her. We know her. She is one of us. 

I sat there and wondered "Has the light gone out in me? Is that the problem? It isn't her light, but MY Light? 

She suggested that we go for a drive. 

We did.

We drove past the places she loved and the places she knew and we told stories as we pulled up outside each place and I realised what was happening.

Life is made up of memories, no matter what era you were born in. 

Her memories were made up of a childhood that was as far removed from nearly dying in foreign lands as mine nearly dying in South Korea many years ago. 

The homing instinct when we are ill is profound. 


 Here is my point. 

As we sat, a Grandmother and Mother and Daughter, we sat in the home that we have known for so many decades... Redheads place. 

She trimmed Redhead's toenails and offered to paint them a pretty pink ( which Redhead declined ) and laughed when Redhead said that she wasn't ready for a bath just yet.

We all laughed because it was a family joke and only we would know what that meant. 

Suddenly, with convivial company and a rather generous dose of love, the light came back on. 

Her eyes smiled. Her face smiled. My daughter said to me " I always feel calmer when I am here. " 

We NEED home. Not a place of hostility or protests. 


Australia should be like Redhead's place, a place of sanctuary and a place where the lights come back on and we feel safe and back in the embrace of family. 



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