Saturday, December 28, 2013

Emptying out

Suddenly, after the excitement of holiday guests and then Christmas Day, with little voices shrill,  fast pattering feet, laughter and tears, tinsel and crumbs, feasting and fullness, everything has changed.
And you gasp, like one who has descended too fast in an aircraft, or driving down from a high hill.
Because after so much fullness, you have tumbled headlong into the emptiness. 
And you find yourself reaching for something that is no longer there.
Until you realise that there is only one thing to do, and that is to be present to the absences. And as you do that, other absences come crowding in: such as your parents who died 20 years ago. You find yourself remembering their love, and the way they made presents for their five children, in the evenings when they were tired from hard work.
You remember how they secretly painted toys that your father had sawn and assembled in his tool shed, and how your mother sewed at her old Singer treadle sewing machine, and how even though there wasn't much money, they made magical gifts for Christmas Day: a dolls wardrobe, with tiny hangers and little dresses; bride's outfits for the dolls, a scooter, a peddle car, and always a carefully wrapped special book.
And as you remember, and let yourself weep over the absences, letting the past roll into the present and fold itself in, just as your mother folded egg whites into the bubbly whipped yolks when she made her angel food dessert, you find that the absences have turned into presences.
Because you are letting them in.
A tui sings into the evening dusk and a keruru arrives to feed on the kawakawa fruit. You smell the air, and fill your lungs with the scent of renewal.
And you find that the emptiness, which seemed so vast and unbearable, has now become a fullness. The world is charged with beauty, even though the sun has gone and rain clouds are rolling in from the north west.

14 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - there's always that lull of adjustment .. before the peace can fill the emptiness ... the emptiness that is peace for your world ..

Glad you obviously had such a happy time .. now is the time for just being .. enjoy your summer time ... Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Hilary, I like that phrase, the 'lull of adjustment'. I'm settling into 'just being' now. Thank you.

silkannthreades said...

My time for having absent parents is drawing closer. I feel afraid of it sometimes but when I read your words I know I will handle it. All will be well and as it should be.

Terry and Linda said...

My grandmother always hated the getting use to the emptiness after company left!

Well said!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪HAPPY NEW YEAR ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Hotly Spiced said...

My mother had a Bernina sewing machine and used to sit it on the kitchen table and make clothes for us until late in the evening. We also had a wardrobe for our dolls' clothes with little coat hangers and my mother would also sew bride's dresses for the dolls! Amazing. Beautiful words and images xx

Juliet Batten said...

silkannthreades , they will always be with you in spirit. I feel their love even more now that they are not physically present. There really is nothing to fear. Thank you for your comment, much appreciated.

Juliet Batten said...

* Linda, sounds like your grandmother would have understood this post perfectly.

* Charlie, how amazing those similarities are! Right down to the coat hangers and bride dresses. Weren't we lucky to have such caring mothers.

Thank you Linda and Charlie, I appreciate your comments. So nice to find these points of connection & understanding.

Juliet Batten said...

* Linda, sounds like your grandmother would have understood this post perfectly.

* Charlie, how amazing those similarities are! Right down to the coat hangers and bride dresses. Weren't we lucky to have such caring mothers.

Thank you Linda and Charlie, I appreciate your comments. So nice to find these points of connection & understanding.

Vicki Lane said...

And sweet memories fill up the emptiness... beautifully written, Juliet -- your parents' presence is very real.

Juliet Batten said...

Vicki, my parents are very present to me, especially at certain times when memories are evoked. Thank you for your kind comments.

Penny O'Neill said...

How beautifully you capture the art "to be present to the absences", Juliet. My father passed away almost 45 years ago now, yet, I still feel his presence, especially at Christmastime, as does my mother, gone now 25 years. They are all around me, in my children and grandchildren, in the little touches of life and in the larger ones, and especially in the quietude of Christmastide they are found. Your post this morning is like a gift to me. Thank you, Juliet, and Happy New Year.

Juliet Batten said...

Penny, Christmas really opens us up to these presences, doesn't it? - 'in the quietude of Christmastide', as you so beautifully put it. to be reminded yet again how much we share, across the world. Thank you so much.

Juliet Batten said...
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Juliet Batten said...
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