How come I’m so lucky?

You know, when I was struggling with depression, one of the things I couldn’t do was look at the television news or read the newspaper, as I shared in my book, ‘My Beautiful Flower’.
The devastation effected me; The murders, the plane crashes, the individual country catastrophes. Everything was bad news. I wasn’t alone in this respect, lots of people without depression can find the news upsetting to watch. It’s the instant media coverage that shows you people’s tragedy’s and pain right at their moment of despair. You can’t help but feel their pain and add it to your own. Every station seemed to have  reports on serious events around the world. Bad news in that instantaneous appearance is like an epidemic. It can seem like it’s on your own doorstep and that it will soon happen to you.
Especially when something happens to citizens of your country. I’m not sure anything can top the sadness of the ‘Berkley Tragedy’, when six of our beautiful young Irish college students were killed in the freak incident of the balcony collapsing. That pain was shared by all of us Irish at home. The loss of these youth in the prime of their lives was a difficult burden for us, but inevitably, it is the parents and families and friends who have to carry the real burden of loss. It’s easy to understand why people then live in fear. Preventing themselves living to the fullness of their lives.
As a mother who has given the freedom of travel to my second child, this time a girl of only gone twenty, I am indeed so grateful to God that he doesn’t give me that difficult cross to carry. Because I know the weight would be too great to bear. Sarah will finish her three month job placement with Busch Garden’s in Virginia on the 7th September and thankfully her experience is a safe and fun one.
But do we all get our own type of cross to carry? I think we do. Although I think nothing can ever compare to the loss of your child, each person in life has a challenge to deal with.
 I’ve been fairly lucky in life, accident wise. And thank God again, my children and extended family seem to be lucky physically also. But we do have our challenges, none the less.
Things don’t come easy to us dysfunctional women of Ireland. We learn the hard way in life. Maybe because we had little education growing up and fathers who spent a lot of our growing up time angry and drunk. Speaking for myself, I take a long time to learn about life and I more times walk myself into trouble rather than out of it, (Actually, I think I’m getting a bit better on that issue, I’m 48 now after all!)
And again, maybe because we didn’t have great education, we found ourselves in minimum wage jobs. We have to work much harder than anyone else just to be able to borrow to have the things we want.
I’m not whinging about this and I know that probably 80% of the population is in the same boat as well as suffering the stress of sickness and loss in their families.
But let’s not underestimate the stress that money worries can cause.
When ‘The Celtic Tiger’ arrived in the 1990’s Ireland, our cost of living rose rapidly. It was the first time that ordinary Irish trade workers could afford material things that they had only seen the rich enjoy, like dressing up in designer brands, going on cruises, having new homes and new cars. We began to invest in the stock and property market as advised by the government for better returns on our hard earned cash;
 Remember, we earned this money, we were doing nothing wrong! We were all trying to aim for that comfortable retirement plan. When the crash came in 2006, it wasn’t that we weren’t able to cope with being poor again, we had only had a short taste of wealth to begin with, but now, we were back to the 80’s on an earning thresh hold. Our payouts are now rising at the current inflation rates and our income is heavily taxed so there never seems to be enough money to cover it all.
I dressed one growing primary school girl in uniforms yesterday and got all her books and supply’s for the coming year. I’ll have a college fee due for my second year art student daughter in September and I just wonder how people manage with more than two dependent children!
I really feel sorry for my husband who has managed so far to keep his construction business going through-out these past eight years, pay his employees and keep a family going. Myself and my husband argue over money. I guess he thinks I spend more than I should, that I might be able to get some things cheaper. He honestly doesn’t believe that I am a very contentious shopper! Especially since the recession, I can tell you the price of milk in various stores! I really do know where to get the best value. Both my girls were born with learning difficulties, Yasmin’s were more severe, but Sarah’s was quite social. Sarah’s love of horses since she was age three has helped her grow and mature through her life. It has given her a skill that she is confident in. Yasmin’s difficulties were more physical, but she loved horses too! Having her own pony has given her great physical strength and personal confidence. Having your own horses in livery and at competition level, I will tell you, takes every penny you have; But if you could see how it’s helped my girls, you would follow that route for your children also!
I wouldn’t change a thing. I gladly do without my own luxuries to make sure that I am educating my children, physically, emotionally and nutritionally. This is my challenge.
Jean xx

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