Sometimes you have to leave to be able to come back

Sometimes you just know that you really HAVE TO do something. „I need to travel by myself, I cannot say for how long, I just know that I have to do this!“
Nothing could have stopped me.
I left my hometown Hamburg not knowing when I would come back. I gave up my job, my apartment and my relationship to travel to Australia. No strings attached. Ready for adventure and ready to find happiness.
After the first excitements of making new experiences and meet a lot of people I just felt miserable. What was I doing?
I had imagined to feel free as a bee but I had never felt … continue

Go kiss your grandma on the cheek

I got a call Saturday morning that my grandmother only had a few hours to live. She was in Massachusetts. I was in California.
I didn’t make it back on time.

My wife, infant and I live an hour away from her assisted-living facility. Close enough where I could see her often-ish, but far enough away that, with a baby and a job and dogs and a house and yardwork and a million other trivial things that seem so inconsequential at the moment, it became too easy to make excuses to not make it down to see her as often I should’ve.
I can’t even recall the last time I … continue

Let’s bloom

The shape of the leaves was very similar to the smiling lips on an innocent face, the plant with pale green and ivory leaves arranged as if it were a human face; was my favorite on the window sill. But as life would have it, there are ups and downs, the only thing that works is to be consistent and positive. For a straight line on Electrocardiogram told me loud and clear, the person I loved the most is no longer my dearest dad but just a body.

The harsh winters took away all the leaves of my plant and all I could do was to look at it with … continue

Children to Mother

Her body is still warm. Less than an hour has passed since she embraced her everlasting peace. The witching hour rain a drizzling rhythm. The only other sound sterile monitors chirping feeding the surrounding sleeplessness of those dearest belonging to our beloved departed. Her skin is clean smooth and soft to touch. A snapshot of youth in this final moment. The grey haired crown almost invisible. All we see is the child she once was long ago. Seconds slipped away at the speed of light. One last kiss. Lips to forehead. Children to mother.

My mom passed away suddenly not so long ago. A generations’ old family blood curse cast … continue

Who Is Your Inspiration?

Who is your inspiration? Who is your idol?” one of my university lecturers asked us during my Masters studies at a Dutch Design School. She was hinting at famous designers, celebrities or architects. “My grandmother” I replied. “Your grandmother? Really? Why do you say your grandmother?” “Because she is a strong woman, and she is the glue of the family. She has survived cancer numerous times despite doctors predicting she’d have ‘a few months to live’, she is a true fighter and has a great sense of humour. She is like a second mother to me, but more importantly we are great friends”. My grandmother taught me that age is continue

The Second Chance

About two years ago my mother was diagnosed with cancer. For the third time. My mother is a strong woman but dealing with cancer again and facing a chemotherapy weighed heavily on her. I was with her when the doctor told her the news a couple of days before Christmas. I almost couldn’t bear the feeling of not being able to help her to get rid of this terrible disease. But of course I knew that I could at least be there for her. From the moment we sat together in front of the doctor my relationship to my mother changed significantly. Since I live abroad I reorganized my whole … continue

Progressive parenting?

We have a little white cardboard box at home marked: Box of bad memories. Do not often open.
Everyone knows where it is, approximately. It is not hidden away or locked up against prying eyes. Occasionally it becomes buried under housed debris; sometimes it disappears, only to be rediscovered with a new entry written inside. Anyone can use it, no questions asked.
My Mum was brought up in a large, hard Scots households, where expressing emotions or expecting empathy was seen as a sure sign of weakness of character and firmly discouraged. To her credit she was determined that the next generation be permitted such luxuries, till overwhelmed, the drawbridge … continue

Fascinating Age

I do not believe in fate. But instinct told me not to return to a safe life in the UK after just 4 years in Greece, a month after my husband’s unexpected death.
I’d no job, no income, just a tiny widow’s pension; I’d a rented, picturesque old flat with few conveniences, but the best view in the world, the Acropolis; advice and support of family, friends and neighbours, the Greek social welfare system in action. “As long as I have a bowl of soup, so do you” said my brother in law.
There was no sudden revelation or turning point back in late 80s as I carefully put on … continue

Laurel

“Maybe after Christmas,” I replied, worried he couldn’t afford this long distance call from London.
“No, come now. I need you. You’ll see, we will look back on this as one of the best periods of our lives.”
I had great misgivings. There’d been a passionate affair in Athens but no future– better just cherish the memory of the handsome charming fellow who had challenged my thinking, made me laugh, made me feel precious. I should be realistic, stay in Chicago after traipsing abound Europe with a friend, and return to high school teaching, even if it meant barren spinsterhood. And breaking codes of behavior, living with him in prim … continue