• Stephanie Hammond

Life is a daring adventure, or nothing.

My early years weren’t a model for a happy life. There were traumas and stresses that seemed insurmountable. But in amongst it all there were many joys and happy times. Looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This life I’ve lived, and am living, has been a wonderful adventure.

Helen Keller, born blind and deaf, wrote:

  1. Life is a daring adventure, or nothing.

My life has definitely been an adventure. I’ve travelled widely, met some amazing people from all over the world. I’ve enjoyed the heights of the Himalayas and the warmth of the Mediterranean. I’ve driven alone from the west coast to the east coast of the USA. I’ve tramped some of New Zealand’s amazing Great Walks. I’ve scuba dived and have yet to sky dive. I’ve abseiled and have yet to try that facing forwards.

Of all my adventures, my most amazing and wondrous one is as a mother. I bore seven children in all and have three step-children. Each is so different to the other and each is my teacher. My heart fills with gratitude when I see how they deal with the intricacies of life. I love to hear their stories and laugh and cry with them as they open their lives to me.

And there are grandchildren who never cease to amaze me in their resilience to life’s challenges. And then there are the great grandchildren - and before I die, there will be more! What joy!

In the beginning, I nearly didn’t make it. Now here I am, 70 and half way through my amazing life. Wow! What does the future bring? Whatever it brings, I am not alone.

Life has taught me ‘never say never’. Just when I’d decided I would live my life out alone, I met my soul mate. We met in an unconventional way - at least it seemed like it was unconventional. But for the 21st century, it was a very conventional way. We met in an on-line dating site. We moved in very different social situations so wouldn’t have met otherwise, even though we lived in the same city.

Now I know the joy of being with another whose heart is so loving and generous that little children and dogs and cats all make a beeline for him. He has a ready smile for all and is interested in others. He is always ready to lend a helping hand. Now I’ve found him, I realise I’ve been looking for those qualities in a mate all my life. They are the qualities my father and my brother both displayed and which were etched in my heart as the epitome of a ‘real man’. A man I could trust to love me unconditionally. A man who would accept my love in return.

It’s been a wonderful roller coaster ride getting to this stage in my life. I’m eager to fill in the gaps in my story, describe for you the tunnels of despair I got lost in time and time again. And most of all, I want to invite you to share my discovery of the light that inevitably awaits at the end of every tunnel, no matter how long it appears to be.

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