I was just sitting in the back of the car while Neil drove, Dad sat in the front, singing his heart out to Frank Sinatra. I was remembering. Times spent with Dad, in the home and the trips that we frequently take him on.
One such time, we went to Waiwera, and found ourselves in an area that was not too familiar with me. It was along a single road, on the beachfront, but in an area that was quite private. We parked the car, and I helped Dad out. It was a lovely sunny day, so we ventured onto the beach, however, Dad seemed a bit unstable, so I held his hand to steady him.
It was odd. I hadn’t held Dad’s hand like that, since I was sixteen years old. One remembers these things. The moments when subtle little changes become the norm, and holding hands with your father was no longer the ‘done’ thing.
But on this particular day, he needed me. And I was there. I guess the little girl in me, needed him in that moment too. It didn’t last long, but it was just us, just a special moment in our collective history, that will always remain with me.
Walking through the home, alongside Neil, I held Dad’s hand again today. He was a little nervous, as we had to walk a different way than usual, but he gripped my hand as I led him through the maze of hallways.
He can’t think of much to say at the moment, but he does remark time and again, how much he enjoys Neil and I! It’s lovely. His shock of hair standing on end, his teeth seemed to have moved and he’s developed a lisp now. His hands, like my Nana’s, are bony and slender. His appetite seems to have returned, which is a big relief!
I remember so well the mornings you would whisper to me and awaken me at 3 am. I loved being woken by you; the sweet aroma of love that enveloped me as you took me through your Word and uttered your divine mysteries into my heart. As I look back at the things I wrote, I am aware of your presence, your calling, the hope I had – that now seems so shaky.
The cares of life, the pressures of the daily routine I fall into, the raising of children, the businesses, marriage and all its woes – where did WE go Yeshua?
I remember walking along the country road and hearing you speak so clearly to me. The dreams you would share with me, the laughter that would easily enrapture my soul. I think of the time you called me by my special name, a name only we know, and how in love I felt with you.
The times I would come and minister to your heart, as you had done to my broken one, and yet you seemed so besotted with me too. It’s a love story that is better than Disney or Hallmark, and yet I’ve settled for those love stories too now.
The worship that would flow from my mouth, emptying my soul into the ether as you showed me a new facet of your being. How I miss you!
I sit on the carpet and weep now, such deep anguish in my soul – without words, they seem utterly meaningless, just guttural noises and tears falling out of me.
I remember those times I would pray and ask you to hold me as I slept, I needed you and your comfort so desperately. And now, I have a physical husband and we watch endless TV series.
What once was a thriving love relationship based on your Word, your Presence and your Worship, has been replaced with many many programmes that fill the mind, scare the soul and leave the heart deeply grief-ridden and empty.
Walks that used to be two-way conversations, seem to be replaced with work. Or should I say, plug up the ears and listen to yet another podcast that will invariably dull down my pour neglected heart?
Being misconstrued as something that I am not, and yet being fully unable to be the real person you have created me to be.
Longing for you, and yet when I don’t get the response needed, just plop down and dismiss it all as emotionalism…..hoping it wasn’t, knowing it wasn’t, but in this current climate that I live in, your Presence isn’t necessarily a necessity….
Yeshua, how I need you. I realise how desperate my soul has become. I have all that I ever asked for and yet my soul feels dead. I find wonder in the dance, the hope, the dream and the memory. But I need you more than I ever have!
Looking back into diaries that stretch to twenty-five years, I went through a bad marriage, separation, divorce, rape, being a single mother, various diagnoses, depression, anxiety, poverty, debt, spiritual abuse, fractured relationships, reconciliation, different churches, different doctrines, and so the list keeps growing. But you were the One who was my main staple in all those times. These past ten years, there have been sporadic moments of you and your mystery, but they didn’t last long. It would be easy to blame my husband, children, business and the like. But the truth is, I haven’t needed much of you for the physical necessities like I used to.
Believe it or not, the truth is, I need you more than ever as we approach the end of days here on earth.
You are everything.
It just took having everything on earth to know how desolate I am now.
So I thought I’d be really smart and privatize this site just so that you guys could have the first look at my secret project – but that didn’t work! It turned out that you had to login or register via email, and that caused some issues, by some of the language I could hear in the other room!
Well, before I go ahead and do my reveal, I just wanted to give you a background on who Mirabelle is and why this book is important to me.
Mirabelle is based on a woman who was a dear friend for many years. She underwent most of her cancer journey before I met her, and over the course of getting to know her, the story she shared really impacted me.
I didn’t know many people who have had significant body parts removed in order for them to survive, but she is one of them. A large softball size tumour was discovered inside her that encompassed her bladder, bowel and internal genitalia. She had to have all three reconstructed over the period of a few years, and still to this day she doesn’t function fully. But you would never know. You wouldn’t know that her bladder is made from pigskin. You wouldn’t know that her bowel is made from some of her large intestine. You wouldn’t know that her internal genitalia were the last thing to be constructed, and she went without those organs for eighteen months.
So yes, to me she is one of the most inspirational women I have ever had the good fortune to meet.
Unfortunately, our friendship went south not long after I got married. My dear friend is someone who has an incredibly stubborn streak and if you seemingly wrong her, she cuts you off in the most powerful way. You don’t even know, she won’t even tell you, but slowly and surely, she backs off, like she did to me. And she will hurt you on purpose. Because so far, she has been able too.
It took me nine months to process the demise of this once incredibly close relationship. I’d never had a friend where things were shared so openly and honestly, so brutally and with so much humour! We were a dynamic duo when we went anywhere, and behaving wasn’t something that either of us thought to do 🙂 Going to Israel with her and with Neil was fantastic; I did feel sorry for the Tour Guide though – I don’t think he’s ever met a duo like us!
In amongst the pain, the despair I felt and the anger that would rise in wave upon wave, the Lord came to me one morning and gave me such love for this friend. Ex friend. I never call her that, but I guess that is what I am to her now. She has this book, and my guess is that she’s darn angry with me, but as I said to her, what started out writing about her, turned into a greater story that the Father wouldn’t let me leave alone.
I know that she loves Yeshua incredibly deeply, and I know one day we will reconcile. I also know that it will be different.
The character of Alex is based on me. It was with fear and trepidation that I wrote so much of my own personal story within these pages. To bare my soul so openly, I did query the Lord on this? But sometimes in order for others to heal, they need to know that some have been through the same thing. They need to know that they can reach out and touch someone who is similar to them. I know I am just a chick from Snells Beach, New Zealand, but God sees me differently to others.
When Mirabelle was released just over two years ago, we had just come back from a disastrous trip to Israel, and I was suffering from depression. I wasn’t in the right place to own this novel, or to accept the path that the Lord was leading me down, but somehow it seems right to do so now.
So, with all that background in mind, I am so pleased to show you the new cover that my brother (a 100+ Award winning Creative Director) has designed for when we re-release Mirabelle back out into the public!
We are currently working to get me out of my old contract with the Publisher in London, so that soon I can release this on our own logo.
The phone rang, I wasn’t going to pick it up. It was 9am and Sammy was just about to start his homeschooling. I then thought I had better do so, as I didn’t recognise the number.
I was in total shock and didn’t quite understand what was being said on the other end of the phone? My ex mother-inlaw had just dropped dead. My daughter’s two grandparents, divorced but amicable, had died in two months.
I spoke with Neil, and realising we live in the ever present world of social media, it was decided I needed to ring both the girls at work and get them home. As if grieving their Poppa (my ex father-inlaw) whom they were both very close too, wasn’t enough, now Nana had made her exit smack bang in the midst of Level Three Lockdown here in the greater Auckland area. There would be no rushing down to be with their father, no being with their relatives. No funeral, no memorial. Nothing. Covid rules need to be obeyed…..
The grief we feel is palpable. I was still very much part of the Hornell family, as is Sammy & Neil; we are a big blended ex inlaw/outlaw bunch who fight and love and have each other’s back at the end of the day. Things are day by day at the moment, but we hold fast to Yeshua, our rock and strong tower.
My last great Aunt died too. Level Four Lockdown. Her daughter is stuck in Australia and can’t come back at the moment. My Aunty Tuppy was like a surrogate Nana to me. In fact she was the younger sister of my Nana, and when my Grandpa died, her and Uncle Fred made a solemn promise to be there for us and be the surrogate grandparents. They did so well in that role. The only thing that bugged me about Aunty Tuppy, was she insisted on calling me Sarndra. I allowed it out of respect, even though my actual given name is Sandra. It was her term of endearment for me, and I understood that.
So yes, three deaths in three months, all in different levels of Covid19 Lockdown.
Poppa Ken, insisted on calling me his ‘Number One girl’, namely because I was the first daughter inlaw. We had the most amazing chats, he was a great conversationalist, who had big dreams, a grumpy temperament and so much untapped potential. He was gruff and hard at times, but never with me. I could get him crying easy! I loved him, and I miss him so much. He would turn up in his beat up old four wheel drive, and just beam with joy when he saw me. His health had given him what for the past decade, but that smile always came out when he was with us. He didn’t believe in God like I do, but he sure did believe in his love for us. He saw things very differently to me, but he taught me a great deal. He had the biggest, bushiest eyebrows I had ever seen! They grew so wide and deep, he longer had to wear sunglasses 🙂 Typical Ken, it was always his way.
Nana May, well she used to scare the daylights out of me! She was a hard taskmaster of a woman, who seemed to live most of her life hiding. Again, I managed to reach in and hear the heart of a woman who had been deeply misunderstood and so incredibly broken. I ended up being the only one who knew she had a heart condition, and that has puzzled me. She had three sons whom she adored, and yet no one but me knew. I found that out the day of her death. Again, so much untapped potential and dreams locked up in a woman who lived mainly alone, later in life, and who didn’t allow people deep into her heart. I guess I am fortunate – for I know some of those precious secrets.
I pulled up the family tree on the MyHeritage website, and with tears streaming down my face (what else is new?!) I put in the three recent death dates.
Ah, this year really has been shite for breakfast, hasn’t it? I don’t think there could be a living soul out there that would say 2020 has been a true blessing from Heaven. No one would believe them if they did. But what I am learning to do is seeing things from both a Heavenly and an earthly perspective. Some areas just aren’t as black and white as we’d like them, but they’re not meant to be. Yeshua reminded us, our Kingdom is invisible, not for this earth, and therefore as my tagline says, we are just Pilgrims passing through. We can’t make this world the be-all and end-all because it’s not. This is just a mere vapour, and one day soon, we will all be with Him, forever. Until then, we must occupy until He comes, and share our Beloved Yeshua with this cold dying world.
So yes, as I said a couple of blogs back, I had been feeling spent, until the Lord showed me the word ‘grief’. There’s no time limit on grief, and I’m not one to walk away from a challenge, so moving through this with the family in tow, is quite the journey indeed.