hold up…2003

I was still doing the healthy buzz, something I haven’t really stopped I suppose. I had given up sugar and dairy after a myriad of allergy tests and was continuing with the homeopathy. Body wise, it was doing wonders for my usually psycho periods; I was more energetic and alert.

Socially, I was good. I took the girls to Australia for a holiday slash alternative experience. They’d come in contact with a lot of negative associations with being Maori, being a female and being from a single parent home. For a long while, it was literally everywhere we went.

For me, I was confronting a similar strain of bullshit through my University endeavours. I had taken a ‘Treaty of Waitangi’ paper as a minor paper and it blew me away. I had a pretty good idea of what we, as indigenous people, had experienced throughout our history; however, confronting cold hard facts…was nauseating to say the least. It made extremely angry too. So the trip to Oz for all of us, was to gain some confidence, positivity and another life experience than what was ‘expected’ from peeps like us. It did what I expected; it was good for the soul and we all returned with a different sense of focus.

All of us girls also had to face some harsh ‘daddy issues’ that year. The girls hadn’t really spent anytime with their father since he’d dropped them off for the ‘8 months’ whilst he found himself. In fact, he didn’t ring, write or visit, or have them visit him. They finally got to see him during one set of holidays…and he gutted them. My older girl had a little pubescent tantrum and he froze her out…put them in the car and returned them that day. Then he booked himself a train ticket home and left that night…no heads up for them, a good-bye or kiss my ass.

And my father did a similar thing to me. He promised he’d pay for our tickets to Australia to see him, as that is where he’d lived for the past 10 plus years. I booked the tickets…and he didn’t pay for them…no now, not tomorrow, not the next day…in fact he didn’t make contact at all. I borrowed the money to pay for those…and we went anyway…t girls were looking forward to it, and I didn’t want to disappoint them…I’d done enough of that…and we needed it…desperately.

Conclusion…I never believed anything my father said again…and I’m still like that. For the girls…the little one still had hope…the oldest was thoroughly disappointed with her father…but she held out a smidge of hope…for a little bit longer.

The mother in law died around this time, and so did my lovely uncle. Seems to be the way here, one goes and then another…then another. We went to the tangihanga (funeral) up north; that’s where the girl’s family is from, and their iwi (tribe) is from there. It was a hugely sad time…gutt wrenching for the girls…they both did really well. The oldest, as I’ve said before, has a huge compassion for others and she was pinging left right and centre, just for everyone elses grief really. The youngest girl…well she has an amazing deep spirituality; not learned; just natural…that is quite intense and deeply moving to watch. She grieves with every fibre of her being…as it should be I think…she honours the dead beautifully…she’ll sing and cry and grieve and support those around her.

Our tangihanga lasts 3-7 days usually. It’s usually held on our marae (the ‘homestead’, or place where we come from – gathering and meeting place). During the 3 days, the body is laid, depending on the protocol of the marae, at the top of the wharenui (marae meeting-house). Family come and sit with them over those days…theres singing and crying…stories and memories…laughter and more crying. It’s a hugely painful but healing experience. On the final day, the coffin has the lid put on, church is held…the body buried. This is a really simplified version of the process, but it works…its hard and its tiring but it works.

We were on the day after the burial when we got the phone call to say my lovely uncle had died. And that wasted all of us. Physically, emotionally…and spiritually. It seemed to cruel to be true.

We headed down the coast, where my tipuna (ancestors) are from to another body, another marae, another round of grieving. It was hard on the soul.

When we got home, a couple of weeks later, my oldest girl started to unfold, unravel…fall to pieces.

She told me she had been sexually assaulted…three times already. I’m not going into details here…that’s her story…hers to tell.

But what it did to me…was mind blowing, soul destroying…it fucked me…hard.

But I no longer had the luxury of heading for the pills and bottle…and I sucked up my heartbreak…the fact that I had failed…again…I had failed her…hard. I got support…I tried to get her into counselling, but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. I went to the counsellor instead…to help me help her.

God I tried.

I filed a police report…but they said if she didn’t cooperate with them then they couldn’t pursue it…fuckers.

The first assault fucker…he’d topped himself…sorted.

For the second assault fucker…I cut the family member off…out of our lives.

For the third fucker…he was in the Army. I went to see him and his wife first. Confronted him…he cried like a bitch and so did his wife. But they only wanted sympathy for themselves; not to make amends. So I went to his boss…and got his pedo ass thrown out of the Army. Fucker.

But this led my girl down a dark path that I had hoped she would never have to go.

The little one…she knew there was something wrong, but didn’t understand what…

And I wanted to kill…slowly…every single one of those dirty fuckers.

My big girl…she found alcohol and drugs…even way out in the outback…and I was confronted with a replay of everything I had just finished trying to overcome…again.

And my heart…my soul…my very being…screamed and bled for my girl; my beautiful little girl.

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