the prologue

On the night before we left Sydney, we saw a one-woman show Every Brilliant Thing. Kate Mulvaney played a woman whose mother eventually committed suicide. The play was fantastic, funny, engaging, engrossing and powerful. Kate Mulvaney was spectacular in the role.

Our trip started off being about John returning to his country homes – to show me, to remember and reminisce, to “rootle about” as he says. I have been wondering why I’m going…….the play gave me some answers.

The mother of Kate Mulvaney’s character was deeply depressed. She attempted suicide a number of times before eventually being successful. My mother was deeply depressed but never succeeded in killing herself. She tried a number of times. The play explores what happens to children of mothers like this. So, as you may guess, I found it powerful and riveting. Us children, apparently, have an overdeveloped fight/flight/be still response. They are the 3 responses we have to stress, conflict and confrontation. Your body gets overwhelmed by adrenalin. Everybody has these responses to a varying degree. Us children have them all the time and don’t develop more measured and balanced responses over time that others do. I never knew this, after all the years of therapy….but oh well. And we blame ourselves, all the time, for everything, especially the part about attempted suicide. That I knew. Kate Mulvaney’s character tried to help her mother by creating lists of all the wonderful things in the world. Starting with 1. icecream, her list eventually totalled 1,000,000. Sounds corny I know but the list contained some very simple things like “yellow”, and some joyous ones too. She wrote the list from the age of 8 until about 45. Her friends added their own.

So, why am I going on this trip? Besides the obvious and that it will be fun, I have to ask what my flight is from. I hope to explore this as well as share all our wonderful and not so wonderful experiences over the next 3 months. John will share his “rootling about” and I will share my reflections and work on finding more balanced and measured responses to the things life throws at us. Oh, and we’re starting a list….

1. buying a prado.

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