Pieces about our loved ones; our given and chosen families
“It’s a family life still, a family of one, but it’s a million miles away
from where it all began.”
My Happy Bubble by Victoria Gray
In an atmosphere created, a mist, a storm and a sapphire. Gasping laughs swimming through and naturey memories created with the ones who stayed true. Phoning for a chat, always an option, to discuss how we all are and a means for advice.
Family by Amy Jane Dixon
My family is disparate and changes its shape, size and place like clouds in an endless sky, jostling ,bubbling, shrinking, blending, morphing, floating gently around me. Never quite still.
Their colours are those of moods and feelings.
My family is everywhere and yet sometimes nowhere.
I love my family
I feel free floating with my family.
Astvidas by Arijus Balaisis
He’s working with a company
A brick layers company
He does wet wash
On dirty walls of new buildings
His hobby is cycling
In the forest, on special paths
He lives in London
In a place called Grace
Close to the M25
He’s got a son
All his free time,
Every sunday, saturday
He spends with him
He’s very busy.
But we talk on the phone
Sometimes every week
Sometimes every second day
He’s in London, I’m here
It’s all on the Phone
Pater Familias by David Black
Father of the family and owner of the family estate
Memories inform me of a time when the family unit was whole. It’s a time, it’s a place, it’s a way of life.
Sunday morning go for a walk or a bicycle ride. Into the country, ideally with mum and dad by my side.
But where to?
The options were endless: Roger Dunford’s, Morpeth, Belsay Hall, High Gosforth Park, Rowlands Gill.
Perfect days, sunny days, family days.
It’s the 1980’s, it’s a roast dinner on our return.
It’s Charlie Chester Sunday Soapbox on the radio at tea time:
“With a box full of records and a bag full of post, it’s radio Soapbox and Charlie your host!”
It’s Sing Something Simple on the radio at tea time:
“We invite you to Sing Something Simple, a collection of favourite songs, old and new, sung by The Cliff Adams Singers, accompanied by Jack Emblow.”
Three is the magic number, just mum, dad and me.
The past is like another world now, but in the same house I see memories of family everywhere I look.
What would dad make of how things are going?
It’s a family life still, a family of one, but it’s a million miles away
from where it all began.
My Cats by Anne Raffle
First there was Sooty, all black, and a tom,
When he went out, he went with aplomb.
He often came back with a flea in his ear
His lady friend bit him. Oh dear, oh dear!
Then came Trixie, a cool tabby cat
The neighbours all fed her, she came back quite fat.
They thought she was homeless, no mum or dad
When she really was greedy, all the food that she had.
Katie was next, a black and white stunner
She was a lucky cat and stayed 18 summers.
She survived a house fire, a flood,
A house move and more
But kept going, we loved her and she made us proud.
Silver was named for her quick quirky ways
She was feisty and proud and would often just gaze
She liked being bossy and have her own way
But suffered bad health at the end of her days
Bramble was next, a shy tortoiseshell
She was loving and quiet and suited us well
She followed me up and downstairs, wherever I led
And was often there first, before I got into bed.
Missy joined us about 6 years ago now
She was rescued, frightened and hid somehow
We know when it’s feeding time, or she wants to go out
But she mostly sleeps, in her bed and dreams of who knows what!
At night she sits by the door, and guards us from threat
A growl, a few pats, we’re being invaded by a pest
It’s only next doors cat or a hedgehog come to look through the glass.
Don’t worry, I’ll scare it I’m brave she purrs
Then the doorbell chimes and she runs under the chair
Who’s brave? Not me, I’ll just go back to bed.
Family Tapestry by Kate Bowman
Fading, fading before my eyes
The change in her takes me by surprise
Dozing, dozing in her chair
She looks up, but we’re not there.
Competent strangers help her now
To choose a sandwich, an ice lolly, her clothes
Her face is familiar, but her gaze is not
Her voice has a tremor and she has forgot.
There’s a needle and cotton that stitch us together
One thread broken when we lost our Dad
There’s another around the corner just paused and waiting.
Time again to mourn and be sad.
Life moves on and we glance backwards rarely.
Focus on the future and our children before us.
Children strengthen and bring all into view
Past, present and future all stitched anew.
My Chosen Family by Kaye
I get on well with people.
I walk in the room and
Everybody says hi –
So many I struggle to remember names.
My family went their separate ways –
And when I came here
I was scared,
Backing off all the time,
Sitting like a wallflower,
Trying to blend into the walls
But now I have the confidence to
Mix with people
At my groups,
I was told
I was a part of the team –
If I can’t make it somewhere,
I’ve been told they’ll come to me.
It feels nice to belong.
I was self-conscious
I’m a part of the community.
I feel comfortable.
I have tears in my eyes because
I’d never had that before.
With my groups,
If I get confused,
I just ask for help and
Someone will go over it
Again and again
Until I get it.
They are so patient.
I want to be there.
And they want me there too.
It gives me a reason
To get up in the morning,
To get ready and
Leave the flat.
It means such a lot.
I’ve always struggled and
The little things mean
Such a big amount.
Family, not just a friend by Sandy Irvine
Sometimes all of us really do need a helping hand. John’s help during the move to our current house was invaluable. Things were a bit chaotic so we asked him, on the spur of the moment, to take responsibility for putting away pots, pans, cutlery, tins, packets and more in our ‘new’ kitchen. Once we had settled in, we realised how often he had made the right choice and, so, we didn’t have all the bother of reorganising things.
We had asked John to come along and help with the move, which he did like a shot. Yet we had not seen him for over a year but that made no difference. John is family. He is actually my wife’s cousin and lives some fourteen miles away. This little episode illustrates what can be one of the best things about families: provision of unquestioning support. We see John infrequently but feel that he is ‘there’ and we gladly reciprocated when times were tough for him recently.
Of course, friends and neighbours can be very helpful too. But family connections provide that something ‘extra’. Perhaps It means a little bit more in terms of long-term commitment. Perhaps it might involve more willingness to make that added effort. Indeed, in times of illness and bereavement, such support can be critical.
It scarcely needs noting that there are plenty of families whose members do not even speak to each other, let alone lend a helping hand. So notions of ‘family’ are very much going to be coloured by personal experience. But family connections do provide a bedrock in life for many people, myself included.
I’ve got all my sisters with me by Tony Moore
Where shall we start with family?
When we consider size – I must admit that I’ve got a big one. Family that is.
My Mam and Dad had three children between them – Myself and my brother and a sister. My Mam re-married to a man who already had three girls and a boy then they had a girl together. My dad married a woman who had two girls and a boy and then had another girl between them.
That equates to 11 siblings – 12 of us in total 4 boys and 8 girls!
Sadly, three of my four parents passed away early but I do have a fabulous stepmother remaining, Joan, who I and in touch with regularly.
I have also extremely fond memories of a Mam and Dad who I loved and were loved.
Not so fond memories of a stepfather who was a bit of a rogue with a temper to match.
Warm thoughts always of one of my younger sisters, Sarah who passed away following an incident with drugs when she was 29. Far too young. Always smile, mostly laugh when I think of her despite a tragic, chaotic life, she was always funny and uplifting when we got together.
And I think there we have it – can’t say any other than I get along with my sisters more than I do my brothers. Particularly those that I am closest to – Angela, Victoria, Joanna and Lisa – Lisa being the one that I have had most fun times with – we share the same sense of humour and sense of adventure – and we share fabulous memories of a great spontaneous night out on Newcastle’s gay scene that could and indeed should never be repeated.