A dream comes to mind as one of my most memorable experiences. Having my dreams interpreted by a Jungian psychiatrist to help me through a difficult period in my life; sparked six dreams, that I could remember, a night. The ultimate one left me on a high for three weeks! It was a very symbolic dream, where I had to bathe; escape with my baby, observed by three large yellow figures on the hill all with umbrellas. Unlocking the huge door of the walled city, the large key opened the door easily. I carried blankets, food and Francesca, the baby. We stepped into a boat with our provisions. The boat was set onto a railway track on the water. So it looked as if our destination was preplanned. I didn’t have to guide the boat and it sailed forth on the calm water. We were safe, and I felt enormously relieved. Those guides on the hill appeared to be protectors, or angels?
Another vibrant memory is of having my first baby. We were living in Italy. No prenatal classes were available, nor medical checks were necessary. My Mother came over from Australia, as her first experience of having a child was almost a disaster. She gave me castor oil, as the baby was late. (This too, is not recommended practice). I cooked the evening meal, my mother and I ate; as my husband and brother in law had not returned. After the washing up I went to lie down. Very soon I was feeling the effects of the castor oil. When the men had eaten I asked to be taken to the hospital, a converted C14th monastery. I had a huge contraction at the base of the 29 steps below the front door. The door was locked, so by the time it was opened I could feel the baby’s head. I was rushed straight through to the delivery room, where the baby was immediately delivered. Luckily for me the cord was not around the neck. (as had happened to a friend the previous week, and she’d lost her baby). The midwife then exclaimed something like,’ un’altra putana’, a derogatory remark about another girl being born.
This perfect baby girl was placed in a crib beside my bed. It was high summer and the heat was broken by a thunderstorm. She just lay there looking directly at me with such a wise acceptance and knowingness on her face. She was born on 10-6-1970 at 10pm. She seemed oblivious to the party going on in the room, where everyone appeared with drinks and cherries and strawberries to the horror of my Mother.
The third most memorable moment was when my Mother died. I arrived the day she went into hospital. For three weeks I sat with her. Sometimes we talked, and sometimes I sat and read. My siblings came with some children to say goodbye. My daughter, Francesca, came and stayed with me for three days. My Mother remained alert, retaining her sense of humour. I took Fran to the airport, and on my return she had retreated into unconsciousness. My eldest brother arrived that last afternoon. We sat and chatted. I did appreciate having him there. My Mother had been such a pivotal part of the family dynamics; keeping in touch with everyone and had played a major part in her helpful Grandmother role. When I’d returned from Europe, she’d been there for me. She and my Father had supported us through the tricky times. Here she was now lying helpless. Her death fragmented the once cohesive family group. It was the end of our childhood; now we had to be the grownups.