Big boys don’t cry by Trevor Plumbly
It was the season
It wasn’t an easy year for the Berbals, but we’re still hanging together. Ange had the pressure of giving up the family pile, all manner of family health worries and of course wrestling with the vagaries and intrigue of the NZ real estate market. Even Ems, usually breezy, chock full of job pressures, kids and carrying her habitual load of others’ problems seems a bit frayed round the edges. For me, it’s been a strange year, beginning with the discovery that my sight loss is on a bit more of a downhill slope than I’d wish for and, towards the end of the year, falling seriously ill for the first time and finding that reflecting on neglected personal values outweighed the desire to turn the hospital time into a private comedy.
Looking at the ceiling
As a child, open emotions simply didn’t exist and I, like others, have struggled to cope with displaying them as an adult. I’ve always felt comfortable with the idea that my family knew that my feelings for them sat a little more under the surface than most; this of course has suited me over the years. The illness provided an emotional wake-up, a decent belt of self-honesty reminded me of how long I’ve failed to tell my family how important they are and how incredibly proud and lucky I feel to be part of it all. Maybe it’s just musings from a hospital ceiling or an old door that needed opening, either way it feels good.
And as for you lot
To family, friends, the blog team, the blindy gang and relative strangers who sent their good wishes, suffice to say that other than ‘thank you’, I’m still left speechless and wordless by your messages of support. For me, it’s become a time for remembering and hoping. I’ve just finished polishing Mr Ballard’s grocer’s scales, and been transported back to a six year old, in ragged just about everything, believing the shiny brass bell weights were made of gold. I needed dreams then, they were hard times, almost Dickensian in a way, leaving emotional scars I’ve never shared. Some things, I decided long ago, are easier left in the cupboard. Looking forward, I hope that Pam and I will be able to enjoy each other’s company, watch our grandsons’ progress with the usual pride and protectiveness that comes with the job.
Sadly, we’re being forced to live in less gentle times and accept violence as part of our daily life; year by year human life is cheapened by one cause or another. Warriors these days seem to prefer the ease of innocent targets, rather than a common battlefield. December wasn’t a death defining month, but it pushed me to have a bloody good think; I’ve done that and it’s cleaned up a couple of dusty corners. I’ve got a fabulous family, great friends and it honestly doesn’t get much better, so please, this year, let’s take care of each other; after all, when you face it, we’re all we’ve got.
Best thoughts, from a half-fit, smiling, Trevor.