Back cover

Bridge is the tale of two souls intertwined, a mother and daughter in a battle of wills about whether to live, die or thrive. In 1986, a month after Heather Bruce had given birth to her only daughter, the paediatric neurologist told this new mother what to expect: ‘Blindness, deafness, massive cerebral palsy, massive epilepsy and profound intellectual impairment.’ Their journey began.

Structural bits: My rock, external fades away, banished, bridge, failure, sifting, reminiscing, sacrifice, the other children, sanity, an angel here on Earth, dance partners move on.

Along the way

Never would I have thought I would have gotten my life , traipsed through bundled up in boxes and thrown out.
Yet in the past 3 weeks that is what has happened: I got in ahead f the outrageous stakes – left my life for others to clean up/out!!
How did this happen? Sitting on my bridge . .
Sun at my back, talking to a dear friend in Australia about the writer’s course – out of nowhere – she offered to undo and clear out me from Brisbane..

How does it feel?
Emancipating. Cut loose.
Was only stuff anyway.

All clothes, personal anythings – and endless stationary, bits of notes beginnings of writing – all different journals and pens galore .. . nothing spared . .
Who got what?
Who knows?
Garden and my precious roses there – more will grow.
All my teaching tools? Who knows. .
Who did it does it feel now?
Like a massive load gone = thank you Covid.

Thoughts on homework – June 11th.

This time I may choose to not – all others I have done – last minute – or to do
I think I am up to my gunnels with this already.
If I need to do something I have never done before – I may angst for a minute – then JUST DO IT.
(Out of comfort zone). Loss of sovereignty.

‘New normal’ indeed!

1 – Stuck in kiwiland (all adult life in Australia and have always been my escape from parochialism – is TOO SMALL A COUNTRY TO CONTAIN ME. And can’t leave – nowhere to go when I do . .yet

2 – Making plans for an Aussie teaching tour with no certainty (Covid shutdowns again). Will it be more fares lost in ‘travel bank’?

3 – Lost – all the life I was living in – 4 winds scatter – all in storage in 4 different places. All writing in boxes, texts elsewhere . . Sense of self?

4 – Discharge all groups I have belonged to (expecting any recognition in a tribe). LEAVE being known as ‘an acupuncturist’ forever

5 – Prepare for sale – paint the damned house myself . . .out of favourite house, pack up and disperse.

6- Start back the govt hauranging to get recognition of the parental load being unreasonable – taking off the govt load as being unpaid for advocacy for daughter.

7 – Move into old cottage – we do not fit! In preparation for Australian uncertain teaching tour .

8 – No income. Reset.

9 – Out myself as a brain injury therapist (done).

I watch as my ‘want to conform’/overly responsible (means always to what I think others want/need – not to me) eldest daughter/not safe unless I do fit programme – always so it has been a revelation to watch it running me still. Stephanie Dale – as to the part 9 above – after the evening watching the process of your midwiving budding writers in print – all you said to others (as usual) was totally relevant
When I saw maybe got ‘no time’ – I really am not sure with all in the air yet another is possible -as I am only getting a handle on new dramas the others in points 1-8 are throwing out at me . .
Not excuses – juggling as fast as I can .
And that chapter I hid from myself – I opened that door as a mum who needs that book I have NOT YET written –
What to do about your brain injured child/stuffed future – it is time.
Be it birth injury, vaxx damage, stroke, road accident, coma or any other damn thing – in this case yesterday – premmie baby compromised – WHO knows?
Ah . .
Me .. .

June 9th –

DONE! (and always my way . .) In the interests of being good . .And DOING homework Inviting – who? For coffee? Hmmm . ..

No one excites/interests me here. . Sort of still locked into – all a bit too scared to go out . .. Thinking laterally. . Zoom? But who?? Not lived here for 15 years – just visiting – small country town .. thinking thinking – Wednesday passes. . Thursday – AHA! what can I do to assist?

(The rescuer emerged) AGAIN . . Mothering mothers. .Reaching out to homebirth midwives here – as they could potentially make such a splash with the work I have to hand over. Look up home birth midwives. Ring them all – leave messages, follow up with an email – talk to one – she is just off to a midwives weekly meeting – great – can you let all know – love to chat – send an email with what I have done/can do . .As they say these days. . Crickets .

Leave another message. . Now Sunday .Wondering – WHY would I want to try to stir them up – they will hear ‘I am better then’ and ‘training not prepared to do the job’ . ..and they are right – OK – ignore that. I deviate – plan to go back to Australia.( I now have another student in the group – there I potentially have FREEDOMS there . .).

Read the homework again ..Someone I admire. . No one more than the woman who allows me my life back.. Will she even reply???

HOW DOES SHE DO IT? Patricia – Kathryn’s carer.

AND SHE DID! Wonders. .I see Kathryn rocking in the background – a flashback to my working in a psychopedic hospital in my late teens – a job I would have done for no pay. There is my beloved daughter acting out as being what others see as extraordinarily odd. Making funny noises.. whilst her two mums bond.

We have plenty to catch up on. From there – I wonder – in wonder – HOW can anyone live with Kathryn 24/7 – with no respite – and all the hassle? Says her grateful mother . .and she lives for my daughter. . Email Patricia – Why Patricia?? Kathryn’s new mum . . Over 20 years she has been with her every minute. Me somewhat estranged (self imposed) as the distress of not being able to support them as she is so much more than anyone can imagine.

Tentatively I suggested a Zoom – she hardly ever – can I remember the last time?? Answered the phone? My taking it personally – do I NOT remember that Kathryn’s life dramas fill up every second in every life?

That inner script – I am the one who failed: guilty .. . as usual – pattern – I miss seeing what I have done. Only see that which is not accomplished. . beating myself up – the power of: ‘what if’ . .

WHAT IF?? The MP I had reached out to had mangled the story. What if she had gotten to Patricia prior to me warning her – what damage to undo then?? May have caused a bomb – Plan B is not we need alternative permanent accommodation – which is what she had tasked another to do . . HOW does it come to this?

As with my initial breakthrough – I think to metaphorically as well as literally – throw my daughter and her need for an advocate away. . why me?
What if I died?? She has a dad. Doing the opposite changed that – after 30 years!!! My process . . do not want to as I feel so failed in all I wish for her and Kathryn and what I have not been able to do – single handedly make it all better.

Failed even to go for Welfare Guardianship again – all through 6 weeks – let her go – pretend she is her own boss/cast her aside . Leprechaun on the shoulder – whisper whisper . I go into the Skye publishing room (like a shrine).

I am at peace,.

That project is put to bed enough for me to now rescue myself. . Uncovering the fear/not good enough /failure. . especially in the grief of the world I could not manipulate for her. .macro and micro . .

Together we have discovered a minor win – Patricia with a cash flow. From Kathryn’s dad. Heartened . . .I wonder – what is the govt doing with the respite/day care funds that are allocated and not used? Covid HOW does any parent of these incredibly damaged for life dependents live – through all they do?

SO grateful .

So lucky – I am not now her mother. . .Patricia feels so fortunate to have us to turn to with a problem.

My long lost soul sister – brought together by an errant glitch – profound brain injury and the angel on earth who now lives to be with her.

Thank you Stephanie Dale for setting this homework . .from there I found the right department (Justice) to sort out the Welfare Guardianship, Kathryn’s two mums bonded over the ‘he-done-me-wrong’ ex marriages and what is our beloved daughter’s best interests I felt as though I was not SUCH a hopeless failure and we all get on again . . Loins girded for the next onslaught

Steph’s answer

what an extraordinary encounter, day, prolonged moment, journey … in the interests of being good you excelled … the leprechaun on your shoulder … two mothers … so much I could say, just know the whole of it is received

This is happening backwards from the Writer’s Pilgrimage page

A week
Started off with such good intentions. .
And instead. .
I ACTED
The biggest next resistance (first – opening the wounded mother box and seeing how she had hidden in fixing all others – not herself for the past 30 years) to go was GET OUT OF AUSTRALIA/BRISBANE and CLINIC especially.
Doing it

Has taken over
As with all stuckness I have attended to over these incredible few weeks – there is that voice in head ‘not doing it right’ popping up as that bloody leprechuan in my ear . .
And ups and down of ‘who would want to know’ to reminding myself of the amazing words you read out Stephanie Dale the first week
How dare I not!
And here is no longer. .
Letting others get me gone . .
So very grateful for my life

May 8th

May I say. .
Perserverance (bloody mindedness) furthers.

As a result of being in this class . .
Change is afoot.
I signed up as I knew that I was the blockage.
To not only this book appearing .. . (out of hiding).
Yes – it is time.
Could be seen as being prompted – no other parent really (surely??) needs to go through this hell.
The convenient truth is that jabbing chemicals into us is not the way to health – and is in fact the way to ruin – as evidenced by my story . . .

I knew that so much else in my life was also stuck till I let this out. AND So many movements are now on as I have committed . .

Last night my daughter’s dad (who walked out 30 years ago and has been living the life.. .
Agreed to pay towards the extensive expenses her adoptive family cover.
YAHOOO!!!!!
As we were (1982 Venus)
As she was (around 2006) – as though posing for my wonderful man – her step dad – Duncan . . .

Mother – discovering the central character. .
Mine. Shona
And how she shows up in all the photos (week 2 was delving into all boxes of the past that had been dragged about from country to different houses back to countries and back again – and how she was so very present with all my children – and how she tried. .
And I assumed
And ignored.
So in my own story .
How did this happen?
The roses adventure – yes is coming – and as with the 6 sentences – my process seems as with making babies.
Hidden, there coming and gestated – till it pops out ..

This pilgrimage. .
Concurrently I am. .
Having midwived two of my student teachers of my work through their own maternal adventures, I am downloading as part of the pregnancy project – mine. .
Half way through – and there she is again – mum again . .
And an assumed part of the furniture . .
It seems. .
As we all are. .
Constants –
Thus the ‘who do we admire?’
I could NOT have lived as my mother did – in that monsterously large cold house – the ghost of her life lived through until death . .

I am so very glad I did not live in my mother’s life.
A shocker of self isolation and limitation – self induced.
Why was she in my life?
To be a role model of what I did not want – never ever wanted to even be female to be as she was – and yet – apparently on the surface . .she wanted for nothing – except what mattered.
Acceptance . . .she was still running that programme – unwanted 4th child. All her life – and I continued – unwanted mother. . as the eldest – I put up with as the responsibility gene was rampant – over giving to all . .
Self awareness and self discovery and self love.
Compassion.
My part – to give a no one else was . .
My own daughter – I would not have wanted to be her either.
Both of them – I gave as I saw myself as a sort of ‘Lady Abundance’
A font of replenishable resources. .
From above . .thus
Do Unto Others.

The outcome?
Dad is now contributing $$ for his very damaged adult daughter.
Would not have happened had I not gone past the resistance of looking at my part in this. (expecting to be the Ms Indispensible forever.
Given too much of me already.
Handing over.
Letting go.

Timely reminder?
My resistances are massive.
Yesterday was a different day.

Today I am recycling ‘who cares’ about my contribution?’
Toxic thought that.
Hope you are all bravely sifting through the gifts (no judgement) as they pop up.
Last night I planted a seed.
This morning I watered it.
We shall see. .

And where is Polyanna when you need her?
Roll on tomorrow

AND THEN ..

At my writing post.
A week laid out.
But.
Called to action.

She stumbles in.
A walker
I wonder how is she to get up the steps.
She has to.
Can’t be done in the house

I think – just a quick accident recall etc.
No.
We go through her rapeful past with dad as a toddler. She flits in and out of this here. Relations visit.
I use ‘magic’.
Though to me is life.

We are visited by the murdered great aunt. She who has watched over. I ask why he stopped? She as the 2 year old after months of nightly screaming – no neighbourly intervention . . Slipped out and appeared as the woman she would be and asked why he just did not kill her now?

Sent to live with the sister of the named murdered one – till his healing daughter called her ‘mummy’.

Dragged back to begin again. Roses?
In my mid May cold garden yet.
I pick.
She samples.
The tale of the rose bush she planted over her great aunt’s grave. She is asked to take it away as he – her own tormentor visits.
She does.
Take it home.
Odd smells.
Odd times.
Sensitive 2nd husband knows

Great aunt is safe. She is safe. A rose.

Today – no walking frame, feels like living – comes early (I am still abed finishing off a different edit – and they wait).

Couldn’t wait.
To come back.
Can’t believe. .
Yet it is so.
Today?
She goes to Aztec times to be raped yet again as the priest has his turn before the beating hearts plucked out.

Aliens visit with us first.
Very interested in what I am doing. Many with us.

Onto the steamer with her. Comfort. Body and soul anguish assuaged.
Safe.

How do I?
Is breathing.
All I do is let the flow find its flow.
Grateful is I.

Time variable . .

Depends on the day . .
Best seems to be late at night – fire going .
Theme – freedom and that evening we hear of the rushed loss essentially of human rights in NZ – and today the first of Level 2 – all out spending big – who cares – we are allowed out . . (of lock down)
I digress.
Yesterday- I sat here and wrote on freedom.

Today – what sets me apart/makes me see things the way do – Can’t NOT do it my way .
Thank you

May 12th

Not sure how far this voice inner ‘NOT GOOD ENOUGH’ voice goes back . .Driving this over achieving, over giving, over expectationed life.
The gift of last week was gestation.
Of so many other projects – in tandem . .
Not only was I going through ALL the photos of the 4 kids I birthed – but putting it all in context. Handing back those men’s pasts . .
*First week* – words . .
Failure and sacrifice came through most strongly.
*Week 3* dawns . .
Back to words –
Programme !
OMG! – ran my lfe as I rescued a dying bub from one horror – to get stuck in another . .
You may not know what I mean . .
Doman Delacarto neurological rehabilitation . .
Closed brain injury ‘surgery’ . .
Neuroplasticity – decades before ‘experts’ knew.
So . .
Next day . . . her dad
Keith – contacted and ?? is up to him now.
Even wrote a bit on my daughter’s dad’s story . .

Massive win finally – in someone in govt’s ear for the future .
Seriously – waiting for decades also for this one to fall into place.
.maybe?? 33 years of being my daughter’s advocate whilst $$ flies everywhere except for the humane necessitites of those most vulnerable – with no voice . .
I digress.

A house (40 km up the road) library is unpacked.
3 birth stories shared, filmed and catelogued (incl Skye’s ) – part for the Pregnancy Project I am unfolding as a different teaching venture of the Gentling Way therapy I have developed . .
A new FB page – just happened spontaneously – to out myself.
Roses writing every day – diff version.

Mother’s Day.
Eldest son finally opened up and thanked me for being and how he ‘loved’ me . .
Today . . .
Mentor of my youngest son and Duncan – Stephanie Dale – guard your heart – just found out that Jim from Wainui ended his journey today. .
And I tell myself – not done enough. . .
WHAT??

Mysteries of gestation – we take one step
The road unfolds . .*

May 9th

Process . .
Week 1 – Clearing the space (and facing what comes up).
Week 2 – Setting the space up – photographic journey into the past
Week 3 -Stories likely .. .
Will see – has sparked the way out of yet another conundrum!

May 4th

I have been beating myself up about not following your process. That programme – “I’m not good enough” is rife – those ‘middle circle’ conversations are but distractions. Means that USUALLY if I go my way it is the shortest and for me often the ONLY way to get where I need to be .
This has meant I have had to . . .
Do it . .
And not judge it as being ‘wrong’ – but in fact the only way I can do this.
As with jumping off that bridge – tried so hard for so long to NOT do

Observing the leakage of that process would not allow what was in fact filling up my life as a distraction – rescuing all others – and they need to do it themselves so not necessarily thank me but attacked for it. .
Until

The Pause. (COVID CAUSED)
I get to wake up.
AND
1 – Move INTO this house that we bought 7 years ago and I have only ever visited Duncan in. Now been here x 2 as long (8 weeks ) than have been in it at one time.
So . .
2 – That 2x boxes of photos?
Now in piles to hand over to the men I made – their pasts back. (her 3 brothers)
3 – That set of Skye/Kathryn writings?
All mostly found and accounted for.
(How – had to clear out ALL the furniture in two houses to get to where I could . .)
4 – Felt as though I ran away from it last week – as NO writing – instead I have been ordering.
Catching up with myself – going in time back and yet is allowing me now to be present.
And the future – beckons.
As it was in being Skye’s mum – ‘we only own this now moment’
“what I do with this breath, this thought – will set in motion the next’.
‘If I catastrophize – where does that lead me? (energy follows thought).

So I made my own reality – paying lip service to the apparent reality – physical – yes – then – thirty +years ago two other children to mother – yes – had to stay solvent – AND find out (and fund it) how to fix her – and do it.
And each step has uncovered what needs to happen next in what is in my face – no income from either country = massive outgoings in both.

THE PAUSE . .
For me to come home to me
And at same time I am mentoring – as you are – in my case a group of women healers. .
And their process. .
And the ones to come . .
And the hold up has always been . .

MOI!
Hence – gave myself ‘off’ a weekend – not that you notice with a world shut down – no rhythms of life happening past sun up sun down and constant rain with some dry sunny patches – those are outside and attacking the two sets of grounds I haven’t been in. And undoing boxes of my life waiting for later (now – to be processed.

PLUS – setting out the courses that the students at different levels are on – and negotiating all their stuck spots.
Concurrently – midwiving two of my own grads (hopefully they will end up being teachers of my work – their way) through their own maternal misadventures and getting them to see how those life PhD’s allowed them to be who they are NOW and what they now need – is . . .
Do what you most resist . .

At the same time – there is Heather 3 to deal with – and Heather 4 – and to reclaim all that was – whilst having still a foot still in this here and now. The one no one could have imagined. . that will never be as it was three months ago . .

Parallels –
As was with working on Skye (and I had to take out the Kathryn name) – so far is she buried.
Questions –
How did I?
What allowed me to?
Answer
Driven (in others’ eyes)
Couldn’t NOT do it this way.

Q – Whose way?
Not acceptance but (could have been seen as – by others ) struggle . .
COULD NOT NOT DO IT THIS WAY.
Yet – it always worked – hence when I have said/say in clinic – “you are talking with Kathryn’s mother (see Vaxxed) what it means – I can’t accept the limitations providing as ‘outs’.
Those excuses – I can’t live with.

Tale is all about
Letting Go . .Buddhist tenet – to breathe is to suffer .
To let go . . .??
What I ‘want’ . .
(WHO IS ‘I’?)
What I think
(WHO IS ‘I’?)
What I expect
(WHO IS ‘I’?)
What I even could imagine – as every time I let go – more better than was possible when I was in struggle against what was mode – appeared.
Always.
Still.

Give Up . .
What does it mean to me?
AND – the Heather exercise.
I have written two of the three sentences for the back of this book – will have to find which piece of paper and in which room it now is . .
Happens. .
Comes when it comes and I am not always stuck to a journal dedicated to the task – and there are
DISTRACTIONS .
Skye was my life distraction – as you could argue babies are:
But – this is not the average baby story.
She was incapable of life.
Not really – she was trying SO HARD to opt out – and I kept her here.
(All my fault).
Not sleeping
Not poohing and once we established breastfeeding – not really interested in eating – so . .
Life – survival – always another curve ball.

Not realising that the vaccinations were the trip up – the tipping point – (I just got her to be able to . .)
And then . .

Always when I felt we were ‘there’ I found – as cycling/ walking up an incline/ hill/mountain – what looks like the top was nowhere in sight.
That inner pilgrimage – I keep hiding her (both of them – Skye and H3) as to be immersed – I had to have the room.
UNTIL then – could not live – was one or the other – the solution is – ‘my’ past room.

I have the past – waiting when I open the door – and can shut it and go about the day/week – and it is there – symbolic was needed – when I open it . .

AND . .
So much I have been saying over the past 30+ years – I will need this one day . .
And so it was
This I changed to her not him (he pronouns) and got done up nicely – so here she is . .
Living what you learn .

May 5th

Homework . .
Today’s version of the back of the book . .

“Do not expect anything of her: learn to live each day at a time’’.
So begins the tale of two souls intertwined in a mother/daughter battle – of wills to live or die, or to thrive. Either, both and how ‘life’ is to be even defined: across how many dimensions?

April 26th

I am moving mountains to my end.

The process – to get to the bottom of the heap and take the rug out from under. Let all fall down. Walk away.

It is what is happening. The COVID Pause a gift to me.

The Story is that of Skye’s Mother.

She left at the bridge. Replaced and a new life began . .

This writer’s pilgrimage process is to get this me there – to get this part of ‘the book’ project out.

Letting Go.

I am coaching the parts deeply hidden out as

It Is Time.

FAILURE – second days’ gift of a ‘word’

The pack of cards fell down.

All these words are being fed through in an order. .

Failure in my calling
Failure in what I set out to do?
Failure to pay attention to the story behind the story?
Failure to hear as I midwives others out of their’s?
Failure – (and the inherent judgement – loss of movement) is the the card that holds this life (and her’s and all others in the story) – from movement – so I shall shatter it all.

Into . . not stuck.
Flowing through us all
Currents of

Love
Joy
Spontaneity

Stephanie Dale‘s words

How dare you be the judge?
How dare I NOT let this out?

So many may need someone who has gone further into this morass to be led, as a hand through the mist – into the unknown.

Common is not the path taken.

Failure in WHOSE eyes – as a mother?
Failure to the Heather 3 she was. Goal – seen through the personality eyes as to fix – to rescue .
Word of yesterday.

RESCUE
Rescue who.
From what?

Skye as the master – leading into . .
Self and what it meant to be . .
Unconditional.
Only way to touch her.
Only way to elicit change.
Only way to be alive myself . .

Every breath all there is.
All I had in each moment – the next was decided by where I held my attention – to the prognosis (blind, deaf, massively epileptic, and contorted with cerebral palsy with profound intellectual impairment – ‘live each day at a time’ – ‘never expect anything of her’ – medical code for she will die soon.

Not on that mother’s watch.

What if she didn’t die?
What if she stayed a slug insensate and screaming?

Would I want to come through and be left in that mess?

Why did she come to me?

To the neighbour – or most anyone else = she would be left to the ‘judge’ decision’.

BUT – not being a follower but an outlier, only ever able to do life my way – she was silly enough to lob into my womb – she would be taken through the path this one felt was to be.

Loving her through the horror, the terror, the rage and the fury that was the one in such a helpless incapacitated body.

No – I would not leave her to die.

She tried.

I stopped her.

Over and over and over. . .

Allied – the battle – no sleep – and eventual with Satan – for her soul.

Such is this tale – not the common path.

FAILURE as whoever thought she could change the fate of another. LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH

Was the title I was to call it as I came out the ‘other’ side. When she was three years old – I realised that she would never be ‘normal’. What was the next goal?? And what was I to do with that? Could I live with this? Failing her?
AS if I knew what the story was even?

It was (now I wonder) for her – all for her.

Yes – I wanted MY life back – but this WAS my life . .

The instant I ‘got’ that she was massively brain injured from whatever she got from my body – back then at the Royal Children’s Hospital in early December 86 when I felt the mantle of being in a subset – of parents whose kids were not and never would be seen as human’.

A company I had never expected to join.

Previously a helper of . .

Having been in the role of trainer on a huge psychopaedic institution in NZ as a choice – would have been in that job unpaid – and here I was ..

Leading another out of hell into a supposedly better place – being conscious in the ‘world’ others judge to be real.

Standing on the bridge of the Shotover River.
NOT jumping – as I had stopped myself killing me – and her – as a release from this – for the time we had had so far (3 years).

AND . .
That Heather was gone when the river came.
AND that Skye was able to go too. Departed. .
Contract complete.
Kathryn Skye arrived.
Briefly . .}
A bridge again ..

Continuation – the gift of a word.
And what deluge it opens. .
From Responsibility to
Blame to
Worth.
Just like that – much unpacking – and vast AHA as I return to what is mine and hand back what is not.1

Stephanie Dale

Stephanie Dale Just like that. It’s full and rich. Love the image of leading others through the mist. As I mentioned previously, keep track of the words – continuation, failure, etc. wonderful to see the writing Heather , the story spilling over.