I haven’t written for a while, many things have been going on and sometimes really personal things are only shared with family. It’s nothing dramatic but they involve family who need to have a voice of an advocate rather than a bias (own perspective) opinion. Also something’s need to remain ‘in-house’ when you are involved and they don’t involve you.
I want to talk about a person I met who is intoxicating, inspirational and just someone you know you want to have in your life no matter how long or short that time is. There have only been a handful of these people in my life where being in their presence is consuming, exciting, loving, exhilarating and leaves you wanting more, I gave birth to one , I married one and then I have met others whom we shared different times and relationships. Sometimes they leave when the feeling disappears or they find others who stimulate them more, they are not necessarily opposite sex based. Attraction takes many forms, intellectual, work based, sex based and are not always opposite sex based.
I am actually going to talk about Gill Hicks today, after hearing her speak at a UN International Women’s Day breakfast yesterday in Adelaide. For those of you who have never seen her speak if you ever get the chance to see her, run to it for it really is life changing, her humility and presence kept a room of over 2300 people quiet. For those that do not know this name she is the Australian survivor of the 2005 London bombings where she lost both her legs below the knees and lives to teach us all about forgiveness and peace.
Her journey started at the moment she realized she had a choice, looked at her injuries and had to be her own ‘first responder’ then wait for the rescuers to get her out of her seat. It was fitting to hear the first one who came to her was one woman (ambulance officer) who disobeyed orders and entered the zone to start treating the injured (they are still friends today). Gill makes jokes about herself and those people to whom she holds in the highest places of her heart that got her to the hospital despite the gravity of her situation, the Dr’s who worked out a system to take her from “unknown estimated female” to becoming Gill Hicks, then to fit her with artificial legs that have given her a life she feels she was chosen to do.
There is no hatred or self-pity in her voice or actions, she told us it was the wrong moment in time for everyone that day. She talks of her love and collection of vintage shoes prior to the bombing and then the steely determination to become a mum, this part of the story brought me to tears, I looked around the table and I wasn’t the only one. Her story becomes more poignant when she was given the Australian of the year award in England and she made a speech that had everyone holding their breath. She said during that speech that she realized she would never again feel Australian soil under her feet, the sand under her toes, feel the warmth and cold of the sea as it laps her ankles nor ever sit on a bar stool wearing thongs. There was no tone here, it was her statement of sadness of longing for the things she will never feel again.
She moves directly into her life now as a peace advocate, a mother and a survivor and encourages us all to become part of the solution. She places pictures throughout her story and shows us a video she is most proud of – which is posted on her website You CAN, Doves can’t.
Lastly she left us with this saying from her mother and which she had added to
Someone, Somewhere is Feeling the effects of something YOU have said or done.
I stood to clap her, then when possible I asked my girlfriend to take me to meet her, I am lucky enough to know one of her good friends who came to breakfast with me. There she was surrounded by politicians talking and hugging people. I was awe-struck and she was gracious when I introduced myself and thanked her. It was fleeting but it was enough for me, I also walked past the Ex Prime Minister Julia Gillard and dozens of school children trying to get their photos with Julia to get to meet this lady. I felt and understood the adoration for Julia but thought perhaps she could have had a bit more class and moved herself and the photographers away from area to allow Gill to be congratulated on her amazing life and story of love, forgiveness and peace.
To finish, Gill, Angelina Jolie does not hold a candle to your courage, determination, ambassadorship for peace, inner and outer beauty. She would be in awe of you and the amazing life you chose to be a part of and share and I hope our paths cross again soon.