Dramatic Licence~~by Mark Huntley-James

We have been watching our favourite medical drama on DVD – all utterly preposterous, but very enjoyable, but seriously, can anyone have that many disasters in their life? I was grumbling about it to my partner… and I was reminded of a few things. If anyone were sad enough to dramatise my life, perhaps pack it into a three part miniseries (The Quiet Early Years, The Middling Stuff, The Gentle Fade), just how many crises and disasters are there, given a little dramatic licence?

Firstly, tick off the standard family bereavements, paternal grandfather in my teens, maternal grandfather in my late twenties, all the way through to my mother a few years ago. Nothing out of the ordinary, really, although plenty of scope to pepper the script with personal tragedies. Wait… one more… need to add Jim, the son of our neighbour when I was growing up, only a matter of months younger than me. Mum phoned to say he had had a massive stroke aged thirty – now that is a serious kick in the life experiences. All of those ‘standard’ family bereavements were in their eighties and nineties, but Jim… if it could happen to him, it could happen to me…

So now, roll on a few years, and changing jobs. After a number of years in the scientific civil service, I decided I wanted a job out in the real world. I deliberately took a month break between old and new, just to build a new back door. I thought it would be fun and interesting (which it was) but there was time pressure – a week before the new job, we were going to a convention, so the door had to be in and secure. And there had to be time to cook a whole selection of easily re-heatable meals for a family party just after our return from the convention, and then be ready for the new job on the Monday. And then…

Commuting by train to Slough – not my idea of fun, but scarcely a disaster. By my second week, I was experienced enough to know that something was wrong, just little signs, not enough people at the station, no west-bound trains, and then when I reached the office, not enough people. I was travelling East from Reading and getting off at Slough; had I been coming West from Paddington I might have had a front-row seat for the Paddington crash which killed 31 people and injured over 500 on 5 October 1999.

That’s got to count for a bit of drama. As it turned out, one co-worker was amongst the injured.

A year or two later, and I was driving to Slough, which has to be so much safer than the train. This was my “welcome to the game of Russian Roulette known as the morning commute”. On my first day, I was fractions of a second from being part of a multiple pile-up. I just happened to be in the outside lane passing the motorway junction East of Reading and saw the car three vehicles ahead drift into the central reservation.

That is not a good sight.

The first and second ranks of cars somehow dodged through the mess, those of us in the third managed to stop. That left a dented van parked up on the bank beyond the hard shoulder, a hatchback destined for the scrappy in the middle lane, and the initiator of the whole sub-second crisis parked against the central barrier, facing the wrong way. No one was killed, no-one injured enough to need emergency attention, but a tenth of a second or two different and I would have been testing the crash-worthiness of a Volvo.

Time to sit up and test your seat-belt.

The list goes on: near-misses on the motorway, test results to confirm it wasn’t cancer, the announcement of a redundancy round the day we were signing the papers for a huge mortgage, the employment hiccup that led to the move to Cornwall, or even just the day that Bitsy, a delightful cat who had been with us for nearly fifteen years, died curled up on my lap. One ordinary, run of the mill life, mostly filled with near-misses (for which I am very grateful) and still packed with stuff that could be an over-blown miniseries with just a little dramatic licence.

I suspect it would be hard to find anyone who didn’t have a similar list. It doesn’t all happen at once, there is no music to hint that it’s time to reach for the tissues, and no stunt double if it really does go wrong.

I’m off to watch another episode of over-hyped, unrealistic, and dramatic nonsense (only half a step from the stuff that happens to everyone at some point) and ignore the news channel with its snapshots of the people who aren’t lucky enough to have the near-miss.

Personally, I don’t have a dramatic licence, and wouldn’t want to have one in the house. The universe has a funny sense of humour about these things, and I can just imagine the licence whispering to those near-misses…

Closer, my lovelies, come closer…


OMP Admin Note:  Mark Huntley-James writes science fiction and fantasy on a small farm in Cornwall, where he lives with his partner and a menagerie of cats, poultry and sheep.

He has two urban fantasy novels out on Kindle – “Hell Of A Deal” (http://relinks.me/B01N94VXBC ) and “The Road To Hell” (relinks.me/B07BJLKFSS  ) – and is working on a third. His contribution to the One Million Project: Fantasy anthology is While We Were Sleeping.

He can be found online at his blog http://writeedge.blogspot.co.uk, his website (https://sites.google.com/site/markhuntleyjames/), and occasionally on that new-fangled social media.


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology

Holding Space~~by Christine Larsen

One beloved, long-term partner is in pain. The other fusses around, plumps the pillows, tweaks the blanket a little smoother. “What can I do for you? Should I call the doctor? The ambulance?” And the suffering partner says, “Just love me.” The carer thought that was what they were doing with all their attentive actions. Gradually they realise the act of ‘being there’; touching, holding, emotionally walking close alongside on this final journey, requires only the quiet but steady warmth of their love. Only? That is only everything to the needy one.

That’s ‘holding space’.

Another long-term couple share her last hours exactly as she has wished; not in a hospital bed, not connected to countless, soul-less machines. She lies on their old, worn lounge, just a shadow of herself now. Surrounding her with his love, he holds her hand and reminisces about so much they have shared from that amazing first meeting of eyes… of hearts… and souls. They whisper, “I love you forever,” and her peace is absolute.

That’s ‘holding space’.

When you’re giving your full empathetic attention to another who’s distressed, lost, ‘in need’ — with no judgement, no rush to try to solve their problems with platitudes; when you totally accept them, warts and all, whether or not you really understand their sorrow and fears, you are empowering them. You are telling them by your acceptance that you believe in their strength and ability to deal with their crisis.

That’s ‘holding space’.

Allowing another person to express themselves without fear of judgement or whether they are ‘telling their story right’ is like creating a bubble around them to protect them from the world and its intrusions; like giving them freedom to think and feel exactly ‘in the moment’. Remind yourself, over and over, it is not your job to solve their situation. It is your job to just be with them, loving them through this part of their life journey; hearing them with your heart; echoing their thoughts and emotions; always acknowledging their right to feel the way they do.

That’s ‘holding space’ in a most special way.

And what of the survivors of those first stories of long-term partnerships? What of their space when their loved one has peacefully slipped into that final sleep? Woven into their grief and loss will be a precious ‘knowing’ they recognised exactly what their loved one wanted… and willingly, lovingly, held open the door to their new reality, to simply ‘be there’, fully embracing the moment.

Having learned the lesson so well, the survivor’s greatest reward will be the ability to accept the hole in their heart that no other can fill; comfortably and comfortingly indulging in a large dose of self-kindness. It’s not suppressing or denying the pain of the loss; rather an acceptance of the inevitability of Life and the risk we take when first we love.

That’s ‘holding space’ for themselves.


OMP Admin Note: Christine Larsen is a writer, farmer, wife, mother, and grandmother from Australia. She has never been homeless or had significant cancer – yet – but has had exposure to both – creating a great sense of empathy and desire to help in any way she can. She is humbled by the opportunity to give one of her stories to the sincerely worthwhile causes of Cancer research and Homelessness.

Christine contributed A Bonny Wee Lassie to the One Million Project: Fiction anthology.

To find out more about Christine and her work:

ceedee moodling  (Christine’s website)

Christine Larsen, Author

 – on Wattpad

–  on Facebook

– on Tablo

– on Amazon

Old McLarsen had some Farms (farming memoirs)

ceedee4kids (Christine’s children’s book site)


Our short story anthologies written by over 100 writers are now available (links below) with all proceeds being donated to the charity organizations our group supports.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited member, you can read the complete anthology for FREE, and KU proceeds are donated along with the proceeds from the sale of our anthologies.

Our volunteer authors love to see reviews, and every review helps to make the One Million Project’s books more visible to Amazon customers, assisting us in our mission to raise One Million Pounds / Dollars for EMMAUS Homeless Programs and Cancer Research UK.

LINKS

myBook.to/OMPThriller

myBook.to/OMPFantasy

myBook.to/OMPFiction

myBook.to/OMPVarietyAnthology