The day began with my tram ride to work. I passed Federation Square filled with people, preparing to watch the “sorry” speech. The apology to the Aboriginal people of Australia. I longed to join the throngs of people witnessing the historic event. I felt sad that i couldn’t join them. I tried to see if i could get any live coverage on my phone, no luck.
At the top of the stairs in the office building where i work i could hear the speech loud on a radio. I followed the sound, asked the staff in the PR agency at the opposite end of the hall from my office if i could join them.
We stared at the screen of the live coverage, slightly delayed from the sound coming from the blaring radio. It gave us a visual of who was in the parliament chambers, and on the lawns watching the big screen outside. We could see when the applause and cheers happened, mostly coming from the largely aboriginal audience in the spectators seats. Most of the politicians looked serious and unemotional, except for the occasional nod of agreement by labour members.
I watched silently with the strangers in the office 15 metres away from my desk, i felt pride, and the emotion i’m growing familiar with, the joy/sadness, deep heartfelt welling up, gladness, sorrow, a place of healing.
I could scarcely believe what i was hearing, the Government of Australia admitting the shadow on the soul of the nation, the mistreatment of the people of the worlds oldest culture, the first people of this land.
I felt proud to be Australian, to be part of a nation-wide acknowledgement of the need for healing and a new approach to reconciliation. It brought up so many emotions, not the least of which was an awareness that i needed to get to my office at the other end of the building to prepare for a presentation!
I wanted to reach out to the people with whom i shared this witnessing experience but as soon as the speech ended i ducked out, thanking them for letting me listen with them, hoping i’d see them in the building again soon. My co-worker Natasha had just finished listening to it as well, we talked breifly about it before getting onto the days work.
That evening i had a meeting to plan for an upcoming workshop of the Work that Reconnects that i’m co-facilitating. I struggled to get there, trying to finish a report before leaving work. I arrived feeling drained and glad for the Indian food at the restaurant we met at.
I normally put my phone away for meetings but i’d brought it out to enter a meeting date into the calendar. There was a text message from my dad letting me know that Barbara MacAdams died in her sleep the night before.Â I couldn’t help but go into another emotional space and tuned the meeting out for a few mintues reflecting on how much i respected and admired the woman i called my ‘grandmother in-law’.
She was my dad’s sisters, ex-husband’s mother, my cousins grandma. Because she lived in North Vancouver i saw her more often that my own grandmothers while we lived in the area during the 80s. I enjoyed her more than most people at that age, connecting with her was effortless, and conversations were unlike those i normally had with people of that generation. There was something really likeable about her and i felt i could relate to her.
I’m sad to hear of her passing, especially on top of the death of my maternal grandmother in January. It feels likeÂ a bit ofÂ a double whammy. And i feel for my cousins and uncle. I had no idea the impact of the loss of Grandma Nichols would have on me. Barbara’s death was sudden and unexpected, and although my grandma’s death was anticipated for many years, i realize i’d taken for granted that these matriarchs would be around for a long time.
Once i mentaly returned to the meeting, i let them know where i’d gone and apologised for not being present, they were very understanding and didn’t hesitate to catch me up and ask about her at the end of the meeting.
When i got home, Emma had candles and fairy lights on in our room. It’s our 28 month anniversary. We try to do something special on the 13th of each month to honour it. I told her how i was feeling and she gave me the space to grieve and express the mix of emotions.
I felt sorry that i hadn’t visited Barb when we were in Vancouver on our trip to Canada. I felt empathy for Sally, Simon and David and hoped my messages to each of them had offered some comfort.
Another day of emotion unbridled. It feels like a phase or perhaps a new awareness of being with emotion when i would have stuffed it down in the past. Blessed be emotional freedom!