Well hello again…….

Where are your stories oceangirl, why aren’t you blogging, are you okay, Hey!, are you still around and other odd messages…..

I cannot believe my last post was June 2021! My absence it seems, has been conspicuous. I love writing my blog so I really don’t know why I haven’t blogged for such a long time. I did try on numerous occasions. It just didn’t come. It is as simple as that. Thank you for sending your messages. I am so appreciative of your care and concern x.

Now. To the task of catching up……..

The apex of privilege is that over the past few months I have ever so slowly learnt to give myself permission to just be. To lay in bed a little longer, to leave cat hair on the couch because it is after all my dear companions home too and to watch the night sky for what seems like hours because there is no reason for me to be inside watching TV except when Gardening Australia is on ūüôā

I am no longer striving for unattainable perfection and I have set boundaries. No expectations, just gratitude.

Much has happened since my last post. There have been some life changes, good and difficult. Good people – such good people, happiness, sadness, inspired travel and more. My life is taking a gentler pace and I have let go of things that no longer serve me well.

My dear little gardening companion Zoe has passed. She made it to the wonderful age of 20 cat years which is the equivalent of 96 human years. Writing of her makes my heart turn to dust but then I remind myself that the grief felt for Zoe Clementine is born of love. Grief can be so varied and often it is not what we expect especially when it wraps around your heart like a fist. What an honour it was to have you as our lovely little companion for just over 14 years.

Zoe’s passing was gut wrenching but peaceful. Her little body was beginning to shut down and as much as it was heartbreaking, letting her go was the kindest thing. She went to sleep in my arms for the last time and for that privilege alone, we are grateful beyond words.

What a wonderful, tenacious, sweet, clever little cat she was. A great traveller and true adventurer along with being a voracious consumer of prawns and a lover of mature cheese. A delicate little cat with the biggest fighting spirit who adored being out in the enclosed vegie patch sunbathing regardless the temperature. Zoe was a little pocket rocket who had pretty much used up most of her 9 lives, she loved a chin rub and a gentle brushing and she loved nothing more than snuggling up. She could, when the mood took her, behave like a feline possessed, she could hold a grudge and she hated having her nail clipped. If cats had accents, Zoe’s would have certainly been French given her delicate features and jewel green eyes. She knew she was so loved and she will be missed for a very very long time……

The house is still a work in progress. More cracks appear in these old walls and the remaining ceiling of plaster and horse hair are sagging but I have a sturdy roof over my head. The garden is peaceful, lovely and continuing its transformation and the yields it offers up are fresh, nourishing and beautiful. The garden puts food on the table and fills vintage and hand-thrown pottery vases with beauty and that makes me happy.

Tom Tom and Boo (Thomas and George), those two wonderful furry beings are the best boys ever and love bugs personified, I became a vegan since my last blog post – I could never go vegan said every vegan before becoming vegan ūüôā and there has been some wonderful travel. All in all, everything is pretty okay in my little part of the world.

I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t think any of us are meant to but I noodle along regardless. Just one foot in front of the other and the path becomes more evident. I may not always know where I am going but no doubt I am getting to where I am meant to be.

None of us ever really know how the story will end but where was I in June 2021! Thats right. I was part way through writing about Robe…..x

Japan Part II – Japan became a blur as we both became more heartsick…….

This has been a very difficult post to write.¬† It¬†doesn’t¬†require comment nor judgment and nor does this post necessitate analysis but it does ask the contemplation and quiet consideration of¬†humility…………

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Two thirty am Japan time we received the call.  Gus had been rushed to the emergency vet and his prognosis was poor.

And then he was gone…….

I have no way of understanding why this happened or what possible purpose Gus’s passing served.  The moment was of crippling agony as it was brutally raw.

Our dear, beautiful and gentle Gus.  Lost.  There is no shame in saying we both cried our hearts out.  Sorrow at the loss of Gus and despair of Zoe’s terribly suffering.  Later that morning, and after very little sleep, I wrote down seven words.  A promise.  I always keep my word and my promises and of course I will honour this to the very end regardless of any consequence.  Always keep your word and especially keep it to the dead.

We grieved for our family so cruelly and forcibly removed from our care.  We grieved for the terrible impact this very poorly executed decision created and we grieved for the incomprehensibility of it all.  Emptiness can be so final and grief can be a strange and foreboding place to find oneself especially when the impact of it pushes you to the very edge.

I still cannot believe we lost Gus.  That he did not return home and that we also very nearly lost Zoe.   It has been almost two years and I still find his fur, his beautiful soft fur on the occasional piece of clothing and I do not want to wash it for fear of washing him away forever.

After he died, I drank until my head and my body hurt but it did not stop the ache of my heart.  I did not know when being forced against our very will to surrender our beautiful companions, a move so callously ordered of us, that we would never see Gus again.  I knew both of my companions would suffer terribly during that forced separation and I very clearly stated that fact to those who were driving this.  I am not too proud to say either that I begged for both my beautiful cats and for the smallest crumb of compassion yet this was so callously dismissed.  The entire circumstance of what happened is very untidy and very dirty and be assured, when a door is slammed in your face and you hear it bolt you also know things are about to get very, very nasty.

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Don’t think me oversentimental nor dare consider me a poster-child for victimhood in writing this post as the nefarious process used to order our removal, the clandestine execution of the QA and RTA, the gross administrative failings exposed, the duplicity and so very much more have been difficult and deeply painful paths to tread.   For almost 24 months I very gently pulled at clusters of tiny little threads.  Though often a challenging and laborious task, these seemingly innocuous little strands unraveled to reveal a great deal and their unfurling bestowed light to the very dark underbelly of all that occurred.

During these very long months, moments of uncertainty and a terrible bitter darkness crept in but thankfully now this steaming festering pile of feculence is no longer my burden to carry.  You will finally hear the truth and you will be given the opportunity to dissect between that and the force-fed bullshit and lies you have been constantly been told.  This candour too will come from those who hold positions to rightfully and legitimately do so and that is all that matters.

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The last photos taken of Gus and Zoe¬†before their forced separation and the splintering of our family……

I am aware¬†too¬†that¬†to be¬†vindictive and abjectly mean is something that sets¬†itself so deeply in some that it can never be changed.¬† These sorts of¬†people¬†need to harm and demean¬†in order to bolster¬†their own¬†flailing self-esteem and because they hold such¬†unhappiness within themselves and their lives.¬†¬†I am also well¬†aware of the little victory celebration held on the very day of our farewell with¬†notable ‘toasts’ to our demise over large Margaritas¬†and that the word Karma was uttered after¬†Gus‚Äôs passing.¬†¬†As¬†deeply distressing as that all was, I¬†accept that to endure this sort of¬†cruelty does not deem you to respond in the same¬†manner.¬† When the word¬†Karma was stated I thought, how very vicious¬†and heartless¬†are some¬†in that they have to¬†bandy such cruelty around, but I understood that¬†I could not hate¬†those¬†so¬†sneeringly gleeful at Gus’s¬†passing as¬†my compassion for their displays of hate, shallow ignorance and their great senselessness¬†needed forgiveness not retaliation.¬†¬† Karma is in fact a beautiful Buddhist term which relates to fate, actions and intent.¬† What it¬†simply means is that when¬†you intentionally set a course to destroy another you then must be fully responsible¬†and accountable for your actions.

I am also very proud of the fact we paid for all of our vet bills which ran into many thousands of dollars US and we paid to have Zoe returned home without begging for money (not that we would ever lower ourselves nor our standards to that) as some have done recently in order to have their pets returned to Australia.  Even though the organisation and its actions contributed to these massive accounts, to the death of Gus and to the suffering of Zoe they have stated they will not be responsible financially or otherwise.  Please note:  I am able to state this as it is a fact.  It is the truth. It is the actuality of what was stated by the Australian Defence Force.

I believe however, the most¬†difficult of all to¬†contend with during this entire time has been the¬†breach of trust.¬†¬†A trust placed in the ADF that they¬†would¬†uphold and follow all¬†of the correct¬†procedures and processes required for a QA and RTA, that the exercise¬†be an¬†ethically¬†and lawfully managed action,¬†that there would be transparency and accountability and that morally, no personal¬†agendas would¬†influence an outcome.¬†¬†When this sort of¬†betrayal is perpetrated it¬†robs you of your¬†innocence, your faith and it robs you of all hope.¬†¬†It requires of you to re-evaluate all that you have believed in and it allows you to see how truly cruel and how truly deceitful¬†humans,¬†especially those in positions¬†‘power’ and¬†organisations can be.¬† The entire process just seems now to come across as,¬†I don’t know, almost¬†schizophrenic¬†in its implementation!

Despite all that has¬†occurred,¬†I very much intend to live my life with kindness, empathy and humanity for¬†these values hold the greatest space in my heart.¬† And this is regardless¬†how much the¬†organisation, its hierarchy and the¬†‘very objectionable¬†pussy posse’¬†(last four¬†words copyrighted for¬†an essay¬†to be published)¬†who the organisation¬†recruited¬†to¬†do their very dirty work, tried to¬†strip me of my¬†very being. ¬†The sadness of this terrible mess has been catastrophic but I will not allow myself or my life to be a reflection of those who so brutally drove, encouraged and supported this.¬† Perhaps though, you cannot get to¬†somewhere good unless you have come from a deeply troubled and difficult place.¬† When you endure¬†arduous times only then can you¬†truly appreciate wonder and the good which comes from it.

There have been times where I have felt completely powerless.  Defeated by masterful stonewalling, evasion and lies but at no time did I give up.  I will never not raise my voice to injustice and wrongdoing for when you are silent, when you become a bystander or when you become a fence sitter you do nothing more than encourage persecution and I for one will never cower to injustice, to hatred, to hate speech or to oppression and I will certainly not cow down to the Australian Defence Force.  We are all truly capable of accomplishing the most extraordinary things when we are pushed to our very limit, so I most graciously acknowledge those involved in this heinous onslaught for pushing me to a point which has made me the strongest and most formidable person you are ever going to encounter.

Hate, defeat and despair are all part of the human existence just as love and kindness and compassion are and I know which I would rather have in my life.  Don’t ever allow anyone, no matter who they are nor how powerful they believe themselves or their organisation to be to rob you of your dignity, your spirit and your ultimate humanity.  No one has that right. No one!

You can either sit around feeling sorry for yourself or you can¬†get¬†up and do something about it.¬† We all have and will have to face terrible moments in our lives.¬† That is the very simple privilege of our human existence but it is how we choose to deal with them and those who have perpetrated these acts that ultimately counts.¬† Be the one to challenge when you know something is very very wrong, champion change, be inspiring and be the one to stand up and say ‚ÄėNot on my fucking watch you don’t!’¬†¬†The choice is ultimately yours.

Stay graceful in your darkest of moments and do not let your grief become indulgent.  It will linger long after an event so do something constructive and good with the agony it brings.  Pain may surround you but you can transform its discomfort to become something powerful and very positive.   Hateful barriers and those who build them are meant to be knocked down so do not ever, ever give up.

Part III of Japan coming soon……..xx

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