Monday, October 13, 2014

the truth is out there...

there's a 'joke' that nonvegans trot out time and time again which goes along the lines of "how do you know when someone's a vegan? don't worry, they'll soon tell you!" believe me, every vegan has heard it, and every vegan is sick and tired of it - considering we live in a society built on speciesism and the idea of human superiority and we are confronted day in and day out with atrocities committed against nonhuman beings enslaved by humans it's no wonder... ads no matter where you turn encourage the buying, wearing, and consumption of body parts, and nonvegans are only too happy to share their 'culinary delights' with all and sundry... the 'entertainment' industry beckons us to witness the broken spirits of those beaten into submission to 'perform'... zoos confine and display nonhumans as 'exhibits' and call it 'educational'... hmmm...

consequently i couldn't resist buying a t-shirt online a few weeks ago from the vegan street store, a "retro design (that) pokes fun at the prevailing attitudes a lot of people hold toward vegans".- my 'splurge' (which i don't get to do very often because i rarely have 'extra cash' to play with)... well my t-shirt arrived just the other day and this is what it says...



realistically, how can i not tell you i'm vegan? as the author of the blog 'there's an elephant in the room' so eloquently puts it...
"How do you know when someone is vegan? Well I’m guilty as charged. I will soon tell you. But the real reason is probably not the one that the ‘joking’ nonvegan finds so amusing.
When we meet others. even in the most casual of circumstances, we share information about ourselves, glean information about those whom we meet. Through this sharing, we find common interests, experiences and outlooks and we subconsciously assess the nature of any future relationship we may have with them or reaffirm our existing bonds. If I were to list the things that I consider are important about me and my experience in life I will tell you that I’m vegan because it’s the main thing there is to know about me.  It sums up my values and all the lessons life has taught me. Veganism has become synonymous with who I am as a person and to tell you that I am vegan is baring my soul..." read more in the post knock knock
for those who already know me, all i can hope is that my passionate belief in a non-speciesist world and consequent conversation will encourage you to think about the atrocities committed against others for your food, clothing and entertainment...
 "There is absolutely no way for humans to obtain the body parts and secretions of others without causing unspeakable suffering, exploiting their reproductive systems, mutilating and confining them, killing their children and taking from them every single thing that we would define as the things that make our own human lives worth living." ... from the post painful truth or comforting lies - it's up to us...
i grew up on the same lies that everyone else did, i blindly followed the status quo and ate and wore what society sanctioned - until finally i questioned and discovered the answers i needed to open my eyes, mind and heart and realise we are all sentient beings, we all share the quality of self-awareness... please, start asking questions - the answers are easy to find in this age of information... the truth is out there...



Sunday, September 28, 2014

one man's journey...

i watched this video yesterday and knew it was something that needed to be shared...

alex hershaft, 85 year old holocaust survivor and animal rights campaigner, talks about his life in the warsaw ghetto, and the connection he couldn't help but make between his harrowing ordeal and the holocaust that continues today... it's a fascinating insight into one man's journey through life, his awakening, his continued activism, his compassion...


"In relation to animals, all people are Nazis; 
for the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka"... Isaac Bashevis Singer

Monday, September 1, 2014

food for thought...

colleen patrick-goudreau is a writer, educator, ethics commentator and articulate, humorous speaker - she is a proud vegan and a tireless advocate for change, and i thought it was worthwhile sharing this recent talk of hers from the conscious eating conference -  "From Excuse-itarian to Vegan"... 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

when life overwhelms...

these past few weeks have been hard, so much emotional turmoil - heartache, pleasure, pain and numbness (and everything in between) vying for my attention... i've been totally overwhelmed lately...

i needed to move, needed to be closer to me mum, her health and ability to look after herself were declining - and i wanted somewhere shadow and petey were welcome, where i didn't have to hide them for fear of being thrown out should the agents find out about them...

irene, my best friend of many years and someone i call sister, offered to lend me the money to make it possible, so i started looking at a few flats... i applied for one and was upfront and honest about my companions - didn't get that one... i emailed agents about others asking if petey and shadow would be allowed, receiving either no reply or a firm no... i viewed a few more - how some get onto the market and they actually let you look through them i don't know - disgusting - there was no way we could have taken any of them, no way we would be comfortable in such horrid surroundings... i was starting to feel depressed and resigned to the fact that i would either be stuck where i was or always have to lie about the gang in order to find a place to live...

and then an ad caught my eye - well, the precise words that caught my eye were 'pet friendly' - and what a perfect position - just around the corner from work and a short walk or quick tram ride to me mum's place... i just had to go and view that one... such a quaint, lovely wee flat at the back of a block of only 6, with a courtyard and such good energy when i walked in... i knew we would be happy in that flat... so i applied and we got it - shadow, petey and me...

i picked up the keys on thursday 3rd of july - now it was real... but i got a phone call later that morning - my mother had been rushed to hospital... she'd had a 'minor' heart attack, had pneumonia - and they were aside from kidneys that were failing, and lung cancer that was taking its toll... she deteriorated over the next few days...

on the saturday irene happened to be in melbourne so we went to visit judy together... she was extremely distressed - they were poking, prodding and probing her and she yelled at us 'why didn't you take me to the vet, they put you down there' - enough was enough - we requested her doctor be called immediately and demanded they stop their intervention, which was her choice and desire - they even had that on record at the hospital - they were meant to be keeping her comfortable, what comfort did she have in the distress they were causing... within 5 minutes of speaking to the doctor intervention was stopped and morphine was given - what a change when the morphine took effect... she smiled, she was lucid, she talked and laughed about old times with us - it turned out to be a beautiful visit with mum... how terrible it must be for those who are alone, with no-one to speak up for them when they are no longer capable...

sadly that was really the last quality time i got to spend with her... more and more opiates had to be administered to keep the pain and distress at bay, so there were very few moments of awareness for her after that... there were times you knew she knew you were there, but there were many when she didn't have the strength to acknowledge anybody - but almost everybody that mattered to her managed to visit her and she knew, recognised everyone and managed to say her goodbyes - she knew she wasn't going to see them again... every time i went in i would wrap my arms around her - i didn't know sometimes if she knew i was there or not - but i would talk to her and whisper in her ear 'it's time to let go now mum, you really can let go now...'

those few days were so hard - even more so because now i'd committed to moving i had all of my packing to be done in between spending time at the hospital... i don't know what i would have done without my niece rebbecca who virtually organised moving me on tuesday 8th july - she came down from malmsbury with her partner ray and a big covered trailer and they pretty much did it all because i was a mess...

the next day, wednesday 9th july i visited mum along with my brother darrell and her best friend and soul mate eileen... after a while we left with darrell saying he was going back in around 10pm to sit with her overnight as he'd done the previous couple of nights (at last he was finally doing something for his mother - once i would have said too little too late, but this was really the right time for him to come through)...

i was so drained and worn out with the stress of the move and the work still to be done, the knowledge my mother was dying and being unable to spend the time i might have liked to with her, but also feeling i was failing in my responsibility to petey and shadow too... so i came home to slowly start the unpacking process and spend some much needed time with my nonhuman family members - such a hard transition they were going through with me dashing in an out all the time - i felt so guilty constantly leaving them in this place that wasn't really home yet, and i'm sure they must have felt neglected and abandoned...

it was 9.30pm when i got the phone call - mum had died... how sad neither of us were with her at that time, but according to the nurse who sat her last hour with her it was a peaceful passing... so i rang darrell and we both went in to say our final goodbye to her - you could still feel her essence in the room, she'd waited for us in that ethereal way... i'll never forget the moment we walked into the room and darrell went up to her, kissed her on the forehead, then picked up her hand and held it and said "mum, you know you've gone and left us orphans now!" - she would have got a laugh out of that just as i did (after all darrell's 62 and i'm 59!!)... we sat and talked and laughed and cried, but we knew when it was time to leave - the warmth left the room and we knew she was gone...

there's been so much to do since her death and funeral... tying up the loose ends of her life has been a harrowing process and there's been no real time for grieving properly... we collect her ashes from springvale on wednesday and being the st kilda loving womon she was it was her wish to be scattered at the st kilda gardens and the st kilda pier - you'll finally get that walk to the end of the pier that you promised yourself you'd make one more time mum...

unfortunately she will never get to see the flat we moved into to be closer to her... however she got to see photos of it while still lucid so i have no doubt she felt some comfort in the knowledge i'd come home - home to her st kilda...



if the slideshow doesn't view properly, you can view it online... bye mum

thank you to those very special friends who have been there for me and helped me in so many ways - from the mundane moving practicalities to the emotional support needed so desperately - you know who you are...


Sunday, May 11, 2014

when thoughts turn to mothers...

my mother is on my mind a lot these days... i'm watching a once strong, feisty, vibrant, active womon become the womon she never saw in her future, never expected nor wanted to be... feeble, confused, depressed, unable to make solid decisions for herself, unable to find much joy in life anymore... it's a hard, painful, frustrating transition for her, and one she often tells me she wishes would end... her dream these days is to lay down, go to sleep, and never wake up... 

i understand that dream... she turned 85 last month and has just had enough... chronic, degenerative illnesses and age have robbed her of her spark, her confidence, much of her vision, and her mobility and short term memory are failing by rapidly rising degrees... what lies ahead for her is hard to think about, harder to deal with... she is fluctuating between coping and crumbling, sometimes telling me she doesn't think she can live independently and look after herself anymore, then fearing the next step, entering a care facility, deciding now is not the time to start making those plans yet... being a working class womon with no assets, no money apart from a government pension, limits any option of the type of facility she would be able to afford...

i am concerned for her, and fearful of what lies ahead too... i have no sanctuary to offer her, i have no assets myself and no way to make her safe... i never want to have to make the decision as to where she will go, having heard some of the horror stories of many of the government funded facilities due to under-staffing and under-funding... i hope her dream comes true...

i have my ups and downs, guilt visits occasionally, but depression is a friend and foe that regularly comes to stay these days as our roles are reversed in our mother/daughter relationship, the daughter now the mother, the decision maker, the mother now the daughter, seeking protection and guidance...

my mum (1951); with me (1958)

my friend sailor lily wrote a beautiful essay, letter - i'm not sure what to call it - and sent it to me on my birthday last month - she knows the rocky mother/daughter relationship judy and i have shared, has seen the weight of it over the last few years, knows my fear and concern, understands my desire for my mother's life journey to end with dignity in her own familiar surroundings, with her memories enveloping her... i thought now was an appropriate time to share her words...
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Hey Judy! We’ve never met, but I’ve known your girl, your daughter, this amazing womon for well over a decade. Yeah not as long as you, hardly a moment in your life with her, just a blink really, or as long as a cigga takes.
But she’s hurting for you, Mother. She’s caring and crying for you Mother, and she’s doing it alone.  So Judy, so Mother, let’s have a Mum to Mum chat…

You have a river to cross, and you don’t have to swim hard or long. You don’t have to fight, and you won’t drown. Hey Judy, who I’ve never met: You’ve always been able to swim and keep people safe on your back, now is your time to float. When the burden is great know it is your time to float and be carried.

There is a great body of water, salty with life’s tears and spunk, with babies and friends and love, and its sole purpose, this river, is to take you a little downstream until you get to say “Yes, stop here, that’s my place.”

It will be your place. Not anyone else’s. In that place that you recognise you won’t be beholden. It’s just golden and dappled, or maybe a crazy club you once went to…Maybe a friend’s home.  Maybe a view you tasted when you were four.

No matter Judy - you will know it. You’ll be glad and grateful. When the time and the river take you there jump in with all the glee of a kid into the river. With all the happiness of a woman stepping forward into adventure or love, perhaps swept away in the currents, or perhaps quick to swim to the excitement of the other side, the embankment that beckons with green ferns and friends waving.

Hey Judy, be excited. This is it. Your time, your time at long-last.
And from me? By hook and by crook and default and error; you raised a child that became a girl that became a wonderful and powerful womon. Be proud! But when it’s time be nothing but that foot that carries you on, into the water, to take yourself back and forward and in and out to all the space and time of was and is and ever-ness."
----------------------------------------------

there are other mothers on my mind too... unlike my mother who has lived a long, full, mostly happy life and had the benefit of raising her children and watching them grow up, make their own decisions, choose their own paths and follow their journeys, there are many mothers who have never known that pleasure, never been allowed to nurture their babies and watch them grow, never known the wonder and joy of nuzzling, touching, sharing, only ever knowing pain, suffering, heartache and grief... these mothers deserve thought too - they deserve to be known and acknowledged - they deserve respect - they deserve the right to their own life and happy memories... all of us can do something for these mothers - one simple act can change their world, the world they have had no choice in... you have a choice - please, choose compassion, go vegan...