From Peter’s desk…

“I missed my chance……”

I learned the other day that I had been missing many opportunities to get closer to Grada.

Yes, you are hearing that correct.

Grada and I met 41 years ago and together we have been through many ups and downs, and recently I discovered that there was more to learn about Grada; things that I didn’t know.

It is all to do with Freddy our very friendly labradoodle, who likes a bit of fun every time I go outside.

He loves playing with balls more than food.

When it’s time for him to come in at night he wants me to catch him first.

He often races around the yard a dozen times before I succeed and then he makes it look as if I have won!

Well, the other night I tiptoed out the door after my shower on bare feet, in my boxer shorts.

Not a pretty sight mind you!

Freddy was in no mind about wanting to go inside at all.

Then I noticed the hothouse door was open so I gingerly made my way over the asphalt, opened the gate, and quickly made a dash to close the door.

But I wasn’t quite fast enough when I heard a rapid pattering of feet scamper past me in the dark.

“Oh no, Freddy had escaped.”

I dashed inside to don some clothes and shoes, yelling out to Grada that Freddy had done a runner.

By the time I was out to the drive he was up by the road with a very triumphant grin on his face waiting to be chased, which of course I did.

He stopped every now just long enough for me to gain some ground, then off he’d run again.

After running full pelt to try and head him off as he went through the school ground, only to have him dash out ahead of me once again.

I waited for Grada to arrive in the car hoping she may be able to get in front of him.

With no road sense at all, it was panic stations all around when other vehicles approached.

When he saw Grada approaching he recognized her car and immediately came towards her.

I breathed a big sigh of relief.

But it was again very short-lived.

Grada quickly jumped out of the car to catch him but he was still on for his game of “catch me if you can”.

He dashed off again.

Grada went to jump back into her car only to realize that it was slowly but surely moving backward and rapidly gaining momentum.

She must have put it in reverse and not park.

Thinking with her feet and not her head she attempted to hop in to stop the runaway car but she had to go around the driver’s door first.

She was knocked flat on her back onto the road.

I saw her fall but then quickly reappear not realizing what had actually happened.

Each from our own vantage points, we watched her car come to a crunching halt as it backed directly into a non-giving guidepost just before a fence and ditch.

My attention reverted again to our runaway vagabond after hurriedly shouting “are you ok?” to Grada, not giving her the concern she deserved.

Damn Freddy!!

Freddy was quickly diminishing from sight due to distance as well as the darkness of night.

And him being black!!

To cut a long story short, after another couple of kilometers run, dodging between cars and trucks Freddy was caught.

Thank you to the friendly concerned people who stopped to help and give us a leash when we were to eventually catch him.

I walked him back home to help tire him for the night while Grada drove home to have a bath.

I was still unaware of what she had experienced.

She never complains and whenever she was hurt in the past she demanded to be left totally alone.

When I arrived home 20 or 30 minutes later I found Grada sitting quietly writing her second book on the couch.

I asked, are you alright?

She nodded, and after I made her a cup of herbal tea, I went to bed.

Actually, I went to cuddle her, but she rebuffed, with: I just want to be alone”

So I left her alone.

Another chance down the drain!

But how was I to know?

The next morning when I brought Grada her breakfast in bed (a habit we created 40 years ago) she asked me to inspect her elbows.

Her left elbow had a nasty-looking pocket of fluid dangling off it, and was very bruised, and so was her right elbow.

I suggested taking her for an X-ray, but Grada insisted on healing it herself.

She asserted that she was a superfast healer, which was true.

She also had the skin of her legs and a bruise on her back.

Other than that she was fine.

I wasn’t fine though.

I was shocked and disappointed that she hadn’t confided in me how hurt she was.‘

Why are you always like that, as if you don’t trust me?”

I asked her while I wrapped up her left elbow with a bandage and some essential oils.“

Then she proceeded to explain what had really happened the night before.

I don’t know…” Grada sighs.

As she attempted to get back into the car while it was rolling backward, she got knocked over.

For a second she thought the front wheel was going to roll over her left leg because the door had knocked her to the ground and she was in the path of the wheel.

Images of the truck accident in 2006 swirled in front of her eyes.

Thankfully the wheel missed her and she jumped up pretending nothing had happened.

Once her car stopped, she hopped back in, chased Freddy, and once he was caught, she went back to her writing on the couch.

Thankfully she let me nurse her elbow and then she started crying.

I just wanted to be held closely by my mum!” She sobbed.

Grada’s mum actually died in 2004, and she used to be her security blanket when she was a child.

Grada’s dad had been quite passive-aggressive and didn’t like to see the kids crying.

That would sometimes incur a beating.

All those years….. 40 odd years… She would say “don’t’ touch me, I just want to be alone!’ whenever she was hurt.

Because I am a man, and in her subconscious mind whenever she hurt, she felt threatened by the dominant male energy.

All I needed to say and do was: Just imagine I am your mum holding you tightly and put my arms around her…. Instead of taking it literally and walking away.

Thankfully we finally had a breakthrough!

I promised not to take her words literally anymore and Grada promised to let me in whenever she is hurt or needs support.

I didn’t have to wait long.

A few days later, a heavy chopping board fell on one of her toes and nearly broke it.

As she was sitting on the corner of the couch, huddled over her badly hurt toe, she didn’t tell me to go away.

She allowed me into her space, and the pain was so bad and unexpected that she started to cry.

I was relieved.

When I asked her how that experience had been for her, she replied: “Difficult.”

“It normally takes all my concentration to keep it together, and if you are there asking how I am, or what’s happened, I fall apart and start crying and then I feel humiliated.”

But I survived it !!” She said with a relieved grin.

Can you relate to this?

There is a saying that we ‘marry our unconscious mind and then project all our unresolved trauma and shadows on our spouse or bestie.”

Have you noticed this in your relationship?

Opposites often attract each other and it takes commitment and willingness to work through the quagmire of conflicting emotions and messages.

Grada and I are still learning!

I found the four agreements to live by very helpful. (by Don Miguel Ruiz)

  • Never assume anything
  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personal
  • Always be your best.

These 4 agreements really inspire me and have helped me stay on track through some difficult moments.

I have missed many chances to step up in the past, but there is always another day and another opportunity for growth!

And remember that you don’t have to be perfect.

Life is about making progress, not about perfection!

Yours to a great life.

Peter (and Grada too)

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