Anzac Day. 25th April 2020.
Due to the Covid-19 lock-down throughout New Zealand, there are no public services to commemorate Anzac Day.
Instead, we were encouraged to stand out at our mailboxes at 6am and remember those killed in war and also honour our returned servicemen and women.
I thought Anzac Day might lose a lot of its beauty and solemnity with our not being able to gather with others - no singing together of our national Anthem, no speeches nor laying of wreaths at cherished monuments.
But Coss and I actually liked the simplicity of standing in the dark near the road. As we listened to 'The Last Post' on our little transistor radio propped up on top of our mailbox, a pink glow appeared and the sky lightened up between the trees.
Who else out there gets goose-bumpy and teary-eyed when hearing the bugle on Anzac morning? Then the minute of silence makes us reflective and thankful. Thankful for freedom.
And then the National Anthems of both New Zealand (In Maori and English) and Australia do the heart good.
I know it gets a bit cliche when we keep hearing what a fabulous country we live in, but hey, what a fabulous country we live in! Don't you just want to skip and cartwheel when you find yourself on a deserted New Zealand beach, the sun sparkling on the water and the sand warm between your toes? When the man fishing from the shore has caught nothing but still has a sun-crinkled grin for you as you duck under his line? When a young woman walks past you with her overly-excited yap-at-every-seagull-dog and she too smiles and says, "Hello".
And yet it can always be better. New Zealand has various social problems that we all need to help fix. Domestic violence, child abuse, depression and suicide.
Today we honour and thank those who fought for our freedom but I am also thankful to everyone who helps New Zealanders get un-stuck from their destructive lifestyles or mental illnesses. We can all bring a different kind of freedom to Aotearoa.
Well, as I am on this philosophic roll, (the only roll you will get out of me - forget the cartwheels mentioned above) please let me tell you about an incredible woman, just a few years older than me, who, only several months ago, lost her beautiful grown-up daughter to breast-cancer. This daughter had two young children of her own so of course the loss was devastating. I cannot and do not want to imagine the pain her family went through and go through still.
Well, the Covid-19 lock-down has been a haven for this woman who feels like her heart got ripped out. Home is where she is shielded from all the well-meaning questions as to how she is getting on - the kind we all ask of the bereaved without realizing that they may actually be unable to answer without collapsing in tears or railing against the universe that bomb-shelled them with tragedy.
Are you ok? How are you? Are you sure you're ok?
She knows all the questions come from kind and caring hearts but there are so many of us asking the questions. Needing time alone, lock-down gives her permission to heal without offending anyone.
And so, even the dark cloud called Covid-19 has its silver lining for someone out there.
I love this woman's honesty and hope I will always speak my truth quietly and clearly like her.
Over and IN! ( my bubble)