• Stephanie Hammond

Getting rid of the crap ...

When my first husband died, I was in shock. If I hadn’t had my two little girls I’d have probably got on a plane and run away. But I did have them and I had to stay and find a way to go on. I stuffed down the pain and grief and during the days I learned to smile and ‘put on a brave front’. For ages I cried myself to sleep each night. Bit by bit I learned to look forward. I put a wall around the inner core of my heart. I let my family in next to that wall and built another wall around that part of my heart. Superficially, people thought I was ‘calm and serene’. What they didn’t see was the turmoil going on in my inner self.

And so I continued, not really facing my loss. Thinking of him was painful, talking was hard, for years. I felt betrayed and abandoned. To my twisted thinking, he had a choice to live or die. After all, he only had a compound fracture of his leg and a few internal injuries. He chose to die rather than live and be with me. My resentment hung around for decades without my even knowing it was there and such a huge part of me.

Then forty years later my brother died - on the same date, 8th October, that my husband had died. Was this a coincidence? I didn’t think so. By now, life had taught me to examine the coincidences for the hidden messages they held. My brother and husband had been good mates. My first thought was that he’d taken my brother away from us.

That year, 2006, I was living in the USA and made several trips back to visit family and friends and especially my brother. I’ve written before how important my brother was (still is) to me. I was devastated at his death and struggling to cope with the grief, compounded by the death of a grand-baby earlier that year. Simmering underneath, like a volcano, were my unresolved griefs from over 40 years ago.

I never enjoyed Christmas much. And that Christmas was even worse in the anticipation. I was staying with a wonderful woman and her daughter and Christmas was shaping up to be a lovely family time. But I just wasn’t able to get into the spirit of it. All I wanted to do was stay in my room and cry.

I don’t recommend what I did. It worked for me. It might work for another. Know this about me. When I notice some serious flaw in myself, I gotta do something about it! And deep-seated crap takes drastic action to get rid of it sometimes. This time, I walked to the liquor store and bought myself two bottles of Jameson’s Whiskey.

That night I drank all but a quarter of a bottle of it. The alcohol broke down the walls in my heart and I spent the night crying and spewing my grief up from the depths of my soul. It was cathartic, purging me of my grief - not only of losing my brother and grandbaby. I was releasing the resentment and pain of losing my partner at a time when I needed him most. And I found myself dealing with the loss of my childhood and my father.

Yes, this deep-seated 'stuff' I’d carried around for so many years needed a massive help to clear away. Looking back at that night, I saw it was the start of something new. A massive healing had taken place and I saw my life in a totally different light. I knew it would never be the same.

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Last Days in Atlantis. (Young Adult Novel)

Mari is thrust into a position of responsibility as the warrior leader of the Atlantean Hill People before she's ready. She strives to make choices that are best for her and her people against a backdrop of deception and intrigue. She becomes entangled in the power struggles between her people and the rulers of the City of the Golden Gates. 

Events test her trust in the traditions of her people and her confidence in those who are dear to her: the Elders, her mother, and the young man she is expected to share her life with.  Mari believes she has failed the task and struggles to overcome her feelings of grief, guilt, and betrayal as her very survival is threatened. 
 

I have written two children's stories about Beatrice, a young angel-in-training with one large wing. The first to be published, Beatrice Learns Compassion, was illustrated by my granddaughter, Bella, when she was 10-years-old. Bella is currently illustrating the secon book, Beatrice Spreads Joy. 

The Beatrice book is available on Kindle. It's suited to young children. Print copies are available to purchase through the contact page