Is life's journey a series of tunnels?
You never know how long you have to walk,
You never know when there will be light.
Then there was this tunnel or maze which played a very significant part in my life. The nurses used to get to the Nurses’ Home when they ended their night shift at 11 pm or started their morning shift at 6 am. They told me that while this was a longer walk, it was much safer, and more comfortable if it rained and in winter time. They also suggested that I not walk alone because it could be quite scary, and one never knew what weirdoes may have sneaked into the tunnel. The nurses always walked in twos and threes. They advised that if I left Ward 11A at around 11 pm, and waited round the entrance of the tunnel, there were bound to be nurses heading back, and it would be safer if I joined them.
In November 2008, I started blogging and made many online friends. On October 30, 2010, it was Halloween, and many internet memes I had joined were featuring on this theme. I don’t believe in Halloween and didn’t post ghosts and witches’ photos. For the topic ‘dark’ I posted a photo of a tunnel of my local Westfield shopping mall, making it black and white. It turned out very effective as a dark and fearful picture.
I didn’t make the connection to the tunnel of 1989, but when my fellow blogger Ginny commented that it was like a hospital corridor, her comment opened up a flood gate of memories. She seemed to be able to read my mind despite the fact that Ginny is thousands of miles away in the USA.
Here is the link to it. As a picture tells a thousand words, no matter how I describe it, I can’t beat the photo. You may like to view it.
When I walk through this tunnel-like walkway, I am reminded of my friend Gwen Bettridge telling me," There is always light at the end of the tunnel." This was during her visit to me when Deborah was born.
She said, “There will be sleepless nights, there will be piles of laundry and nappies, there will be piles of dishes unwashed in the kitchen sink”
It seems I had unconsciously posted that shopping mall tunnel which resembles another tunnel which had been etched in my mind. Twenty-one years ago, my son Andrew was born, I chose to be with him until he died. The hospital kindly gave me a room in the Nurses' Home.
The block was quite a distance from the baby's ICU, and was connected by underground tunnels like a maze. If you missed a turn, you could end up in another block and be lost. When I walked past what the nurses call the groaning dragon, the boiler, I wanted to walk quickly as the dragon not only groaned; it shook and created an earthquake. Every day, for almost 50 days, I walked this tunnel twice. It was not a walk I would wish for anyone.
On November 21st, I walked that walk for the last time. The next day, I left the hospital's main entrance with empty arms.
Ginny, I had not shared this with anyone, not even with my husband. Today, I am sharing this with the whole wide world.
*Oh, Ann, I am so sorry. Your comment has moved me to tears. I have walked a lot of hospital corridors in my time, and I just had the strangest feeling about this one. Overwhelming sadness. Sadness in sympathy for you, which I did not even know at the time. Also what is so strange is my post I have planned for tonight, which is about babies who have passed away. Many blessings, Ann. Ginny*
*This is a wonderful photo for this theme. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your son. George*
*Oh Ann, This is heart-wrenching... I am so sorry... That had to be a low point in your life.... We all walk through the tunnels of life -- and they are hard. BUT -- there is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel... God Bless You, my friend.
CO was on a working trip to Singapore. I was at home with Sam. I had asked Robyn Dove, my pastor’s wife, to read my novel, “Mail Order Bride” and she asked if I would write the story of my life. Although when friends read the notes I wrote when Andrew was alive, they encouraged me to try to get them published.
It was this post of the tunnel, or rather Ginny’s comment which got me thinking again about the piles of notes I had written in 1989. I had not got back to them. When I wrote them, it was a diary to recount those turbulent days and a record for my children. Deborah and Gabrielle are now in their twenties, and have not read my notes either. The notes went with me to Singapore, moved a few times there, and came back to New Zealand in 2006. CO wanted to throw out all my correspondence.
I said, “You can throw out my family letters, but no way are you throwing out Andrew’s notes.”
I am glad I kept them. The first night was hard, I just flipped through the loose pages, I didn’t read. The second night, I started. I had to work during the day, I had to force myself to sleep. Sleep eluded me; my mind was working overtime. Transcribing from notes with scratchy handwriting is much more difficult than tapping on the keyboard and thinking at the same time. It is good having the hard copies. I can tell when my emotions were up and when they were low and how long I had been writing and when I wrote. The hand writing ranged from beautiful to “chicken scratching.”