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SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

BROKEN WINGS

I’ve been thinking lately about life as it happened here in the cove since my return home in June 2006. From the writings on my shed wall and inside my kitchen cabinet doors, it’s been a real eye opener and makes me wonder at times if I’m really gone in the head as my mother use to say.

Since Broken Wings was first published in 2009 it was more than I imagined it would ever be. It brought me closure and I quietly put those demons to sleep and for the first time stood freely in my own light. It took nearly a lifetime to put it all in perspective before I was able to let my spirit soar. For many years I blamed myself for things beyond my control. Losing my mother to a disease that has reached an all-time explosion since the last fifty years or so, and have taken so many lives needlessly makes me wonder whose controlling human life and if man will see his own demise.

Each day is a new struggle for many. Cancer seems to be the number one cause of death, devouring mind body and soul leaving nothing but pain heartache and misery in its wake. Life, as we knew it upon this earth, is no longer a given. The dye has been cast.

When dawn breaks and I open my eyes, I feel blessed to have overcome so many obstacles thus far and thank God cancer is not yet one of them. I pray it never will. Besides wild dogs, it scares me the most! Each time I witness someone else’s pain brought on by this devastating disease once more it brings me back to my mother. I can’t seem to overcome it. I doubt if I ever will. I lived it through her.

Broken Wings released me from the guilt I felt knowing she had to die so I might live. After her departure, there were times I wish I had gone with her. Selfish thinking and where would I be if I had not made it this far? My children would not be here to carry on when I am gone. My mother would have died in vain, and she so wanted to live to see her children grown. It was her voice that carried me through. I hope I did her justice.

My journey was not an easy road but all the obstacles I had to overcome since my mother’s death left me strong in mind body and soul now. It took years to get it all out of my system. In the meantime, I muddle through life only half existing. In between finding my way back to my roots, I raised a family of my own, got married and divorced twice, knowing all along that I was never a perfect match for either one, nor did I choose the right path to where I wanted to be, all because of the pain I carried with me all those years.

Since my return, to the place of my birth, Bradore Bay, this place that had previously brought me so much grief, I realized how fortunate I am to be here and to enjoy the peace and serenity that surrounds me now. Even though I’ve battled raging storms emotionally and physically there were many times I question my sanity and at times, still do. Fifteen years passed so quickly and yet here I am among those ancient rocks at peace with myself and all that surrounds me. In the light of day I rise, and when each day is done, I settle down around the pond with the night.

I’ve met so many wonderful people since Broken Wings was published. Many stories are similar, we shared pain from the past and I became stronger because of them. Suddenly, I was no longer alone. There were those who understood and walked in my shoes. It helped me heal far more than any shrink could ever do. Driven by a promise to my dying mother who laid forgotten in a shallow grave in Bradore it became the utmost importance to follow through. Nearly fifty years later I left everything behind to fulfil that promise. Sixty years later, and the memory of her never fades. On her dying bed, she cried, “Don’t ever forget me!”. I never did, I never will! I hear her voice still.

The name of my first book, Broken Wings, came so easily, when it was all there in black and white. During the time when cancer ravished her I saw her as a bird with broken wings, I saw her time and time again as a bird with broken wings each time my father’s cruel hands beat her senseless. And on the day I heard her calling me, even though she was seven miles away dying a slow painful death, her spirit reached out to me, to heed her final words and to carry on in her wake. Upon entering that hospital room, I saw her again as a bird with broken wings.

It took me nearly a lifetime to fulfill that promise! In so doing, I brought her back, the way I remember her, through my child eyes and understood only too well through my woman eyes, the terrible life she had.

I wrote my story for several reasons:

1. To heal my broken spirit.
2. For my mother, May Laura Etheridge-Smith, as I need to fulfill the promise I made her on her death bed.
3. For my brothers and my sister, the legacy she left behind.
4. If anyone who found themselves in similar circumstances, having to deal with the rawness of life as we had, and in so doing Broken Wings brought them some degree of comfort, then I had accomplished much.

Since my return I’ve become one with nature. I became the wild berry that I seek after out there on the marshlands, and barrens, and among those ancient rocks. Each day is a new beginning. It’s the future I strive for now, not the past. Surrounded by all that nature has to offer, I am me.