A Weekend of Celebrating Inspirational Women #InternationalWomen’sDay2018
…an introduction by Maggie Kay
By Maggie Kay
At my birthday parties, you always tell the tale of how, as an eight year old girl, Mum tied a ribbon in your hair one morning between contractions. Later, newborn sister arrived, you walked to the local shop and bought me a soother in the shape of a teddy bear with your own pocket money.
And of how, a few months after that, on summer holiday, the babysitter said “You may hold your sister if she wakes.” So you pinched me. And I woke. And cried. And you felt terrible about it. The babysitter didn’t understand why you were crying too as you held me.
Back home we shared a bedroom in the attic. Twin beds in ‘non-identical twin’ halves. Mine, so neat – teddies in a row. Yours, alive with teenage shape and colour – make up, guitar, clothes. “Angie Baby” and Barry White woke us on cold winter mornings, recorded from radio onto cassette. You loved the music charts and always rembered who sang what and when – forever our pop music expert.
The eight years between us placed us a world apart. Yet when I was eight and you 16, I fell for your first love, Frank, too, snuggling up to him on the sitting room sofa whilst he sang me “Pretty Little Girl in a Blue Dress”.
Frank was guest of honour at my birthday party (the one where I broke into tears because I wasn’t winning ‘move the pea’ – too much emotion on my special day), wearing my best blue dress, of course.
And when I was 16, I also fell for an attactive, dark haired boy with a motorbike, who looked uncannily like your Frank. Motorbike parked in the same spot Frank’s once occupied, John was my first love.
You seemed so grown up – working, writing poems, getting serious with an handsome air traffic controller, Pete. Even more so, when, late one Christmas eve, you woke me excitedly as I was going off to sleep, “Pete has proposed!”, you told me breathlessly. I wore my first adult underwear with that bridesmaid’s dress, thrilled to be growing up too.
Happily expanding into our attic bedroom all by myself, I rearranged one bed under the alcove to break the symmetry and painted the woodwork chocolate brown. I loved having my own space.
But I missed you. And wrote my first ever published article in Jackie Magazine titled TLSAOBSF: The Little Sisters’ Appreciation of Big Sisters Federation, explaining how my new found space came with a loss. I was realising how much you’d been there for me, looking out for me, giving advice.
Throughout the coming years, you ‘got me’ like no other – understanding and supporting me with such care and wisdom. When we came to stay, you treated my teenage boyfriend, John, and I as adults. It was amazing to feel so respected and trusted.
I observed you making a wonderful job of creating a home and family. After a difficult start bringing a baby to term, you became a mother. Holding your first born, Karen, in my arms, an explosion of love like I’d never known before washed through me. A tiny taste of my own motherhood to come.
Sleeping in the alcove bed, staying the night to visit Dad in hospital, you were there the morning Mum called upstairs, ‘Your dad’s condition is deteriorating.” We saw Dad’s newly vacated body together and felt his spirit liberated. And you were still staying a few night’s later, when he came to ‘visit’ from the other side.
I admired you relishing your beautiful home and family whilst I went off in quite a different direction. And you always honoured my choices, too, the first to gladly call me ‘Srimati’ when I was ordained as a Buddhisst, understanding the significance of the spiritual path I was following.
My visits to you in lovely Ayrshire were havens of love, beauty, welcome and family – listening to Clannad in the car as we sped along the coast road to Culzean Castle, staying up until 3am talking passionately about life beyond death, sharing our lives and our stories. And Love. And Truth.
When my son Jamie burst into our world unexpectedly, you said you always knew I’d have my own child. And when I navigated the painful days of separating the family a few years later, you were the first I turned to. Totally unjudgemental, any problem is always safe with you.
During those first six months in Devon I must have spoken to you every day on my new-fangled mobile phone from my temporary caravan. My heart breaking with a million griefs, disoriented and alone, you SO got me through that time, dear sister.
Until I met the most amazing man (having moved to the cottage you had forseen with your inner eye). The week Pat and I truly connected, you were with Gran, sharing her passage to the other side with me daily by phone. You let me hear Gran breathing and told me how utterly beautiful and peaceful she looked when she finally died. I felt like I was there too.
Gran transitioned the night Pat and I truly connected and said “I see you” to one another. And six weeks later, without hesitation, you offered him some of her ashes to scatter – on a highland glen overlooking Loch Lomond – welcoming him into our clan. You ‘saw’ him too.
The next year, you helped create our wonderful riverside wedding. Styling my hair and make up, preparing the ritual space, telling stories, singing songs (“God help the Mister that comes between me and my sister”) and reading out a poem you wrote for the occasion, you were the star of the wedding video!
Soon, you followed me to Devon, yourself seeking refuge admidst tumultous changes. You made great friends with my closest friend Susanne and quickly with many more. A few months after you moved, a high street shop vendor said to me (when she heard my Scottish accent) “Oh you must be KATY’S sister!” as though I was the newcomer to town.
You found you were at home in the Totnes and Newton Abbot cafe scene and we enjoyed many a catch up over coffee. Likewise in charity shops where you exercised your exceptional eye for good looking outfits. It wasn’t long before my ‘Katy Collection’ wardrobe outnumbered my own clothes!
After a few false starts, you met such a special, special man. I never heard you chuckle like that before. Such deep contentment for the first time. Yet it was to be cruelly plucked away. How amazing that the night before Mike’s sudden passing, we three had talked long and deeply of love and God and life after death.
The next morning, I was there with you while the ambulance crew did their best to revive Mike. You came back home with Pat and I that night, wracked with shock and grief, sleepless by the open fire. And you were never quite the same happy Katy again.
Nonetheless, you didn’t give up. Inch by inch, you slowly recovered and rebuilt, your soul matured beyond measure. And settled in your beautiful Thimble Cottage and made your mark in the immediate and wider community and found love again. Wow!
No matter what is going on for you, you always care, you always have so much to give. And it is alway you I turn to. You were there for me during those rocky months when Pat’s health broke down. And it is you I imagine fleeing to if he and I ever have an argument!
I couldn’t be there enough for you, though. Overwhelmed by the demands of Pat’s poor health, bringing up Jamie, running a business, maintaining a house, making a living, I rarely had time to offer. (You were not the only one – as every friend of mine will tell you!)
The pain of that was real for us both, but we never quarelled and only twice had a day or two of tension. And finally (brought to the fore by current challenges), was completely resolved in recent months. I let go of my defensive armour. And cried. And said sorry. And you understood. And there was nothing to forgive.
Almost exactly a year ago, on my birthday, we met at the Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes. You were full of fun and had arranged a secret birthday cake and candle to be brought out to me. I loved it! More importantly, we were together again having been kept somewhat apart in recent months by a so called ‘best friend’ (who you forsaw was not as she seemed.) You were glad I had now seen through that.
It’s nearly my birthday again. What a journey this year has been, a journey you have met with such awesome courage and grace. Who would have guessed what lay ahead as I blew out that birthday candle last year?
My darling sister, you are leading the way again. (I’m remembering your fortune cookie in the summer which said you would be a leader.) This time, the rite of passage your are leading is not first love or getting married or becoming a mother. This time, you are leading the way into the Beyond.
Though it utterly breaks my heart, I also know this passage will yield gifts. I will learn something about my own inevitable passing. And as my heart breaks further open, I will bond closer and closer to loved ones (that’s happening already). And I know you and I will always, ALWAYS be in communion – beyond life, death, time and space.
My spirit guide, Clarion, tells me “There is nothing to do. Carry on meeting each day with integrity and all shall be well.” That is very much how you are meeting this, my precious sis. I am in awe of that. I thank God for you and all we have shared, now and forever more.
Love is all.
Maggie Kay (Srimati), known as Kay to my family.
Author of Diving for Pearls: The Wise Woman’s Guide to Finding Love
I wrote this in early February 2017, just as we were learning not much more could be done to heal my darling sister. She passed away on 23rd April, our beloved late gran’s birthday.
Known as the Inner Wisdom Coach and formerly an ordained Buddhist, Maggie specialises in meditation, mindfulness, law of attraction, metaphysics and spiritual intelligence for life, love and business.
As well as coaching one-to-one, she trains accredited Thrivecraft life coaches and meditation teachers and runs retreats and workshops for soulful entrepreneurs, coaches and well being professionals.
In 2016, with her son Jamie grown up, Maggie established Thrivecraft Home Hub, a riverside country retreat in Cornwall, UK, where she lives with her soul mate husband, Patrick.
Her new book – Diving for Pearls: A Wise Woman's Guide to Finding Love (O Books) – is a highly readable true love and spiritual adventure story laced with tips and teachings on meditation, Buddhism, inner wisdom and relationships relevant to all.
Maggie's vision for the future includes taking Thrivecraft worldwide via a new online academy; continuing to mentor coaches, well-being professionals and meditation teachers to grow and prosper their businesses; producing audios of her full range of guided meditations; and writing further books to inspire and support everyone to create rich, happy and fulfilling lives.
Buy Diving for Pearls on Amazon.
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