Don’t mention the war

I do not know if many of you are aware of the Fawlty Tower’s episode in which Basil Fawlty says these words but they keep coming up into my mind reading this book Max in which the novelist Alex Miller tries to piece together not only the narrative of his friend Max’s (Moses’) life and origins in Poland but also his family structure.. I could not help but think of my father when the Polish invasion by the Nazis is spoken of in that book as a year later they invaded Holland where he was born. Max was working with and involved with the Socialist Party and this is why he was tortured by the Gestapo, the Nazis found records of his involvement and had him imprisoned and tortured for two years.

I was reading the book having a coffee after our walk through Manuka where Mum grew up amidst several tables of dog owners.. Jasper took a shine to the man sitting alongside me with his partner and their beautiful Irish Terrier.. Jasper was his usual loud and friendly self and I had to make sure that the other dog did not feel his territory was being invaded but Jasper acted with this man as he acts with my cousin’s son, Simon, leaning in with his whole head to get the most of the manly affection he could… this in itself started to bring up feelings around my Dad and father wound.

While reading about the Polish Invasion I did some research on when the Nazi’s invaded Holland as I was not sure of the background and history the invasion took place in May 1940. Prior to the growing Nazi threat in Europe, the Netherlands had tried to stay neutral which worked against them when the Nazis invaded, their object being to cross through Holland and Belgium to invade France..

My father left Holland some time in 1938 and he left his entire family behind but there must have been a lot of news filtering through to those of his squadron stationed in the Dutch East Indies about it.. From my own recollection of what I have learned in later years from my Godfather, who was his best friend and another member of Dad’s squadron, I am sure that it was around that year (1940) that the 18th squadron were flown into Canberra to collect B52 bombers and experienced a delay and that is when he met my mother

Jasper was looking in me in earnest during the car ride home, Dad did mention the war a little but spoke not at all about his Dutch family though his younger brother came to Australia too eventually and they ended up living near to us until Dad became obsessed with upward mobility and began to seek distance from his younger brother who was to his mind “only a public servant”, Uncle Frank stayed in the public service for most of his life and I did begin to reconnect with my cousin (his only daughter) a few years ago but when she found out about me sending money to Scott she started distancing herself from me which was sad to me, as we often used to meet up for a coffee.. That said she invited me last year for Christmas so I have to be mindful of reading too much into this and investing it with unneccessary drama..

I felt that deep longing and sadness around my Dad today on the drive home.. My thoughts turned to my brother and how upset he sounded on the phone talking of having to resuscitate his daughter during a seizure, I cannot but help think if my brother controlled a little less and opened to his emotions more, had not been as emotionally distant with Jen and such a workaholic this might not be happening to her. It is not that I am blaming him but often around him I find it hard to breathe and I had an episode of that constriction last night around my sister when she came over for dinner seeing how distorted her body is, how numbed out and what a huge tummy she has now from so many drugs and too much food with zero exercise, at some points during the dinner and lighting a fire to cheer her up I just found myself crying uncontrollably… All of those tears were for Scott too who is in such a state over no help when we have the means to help but I cannot.. Its all just a little too overwhelming right now. As I said to her while we were eating the dinner.. “It’s all a bit of a mess, really.”

Anyway, today I handed everything all over to the God and to the angels and we managed to get out into the crisp clear morning for a walk by 10.15. In meditation earlier I got a clear message from them to “hand over to us what is not yours to fix or control” Wow!! I was able to breathe then and know all I have to do is take care of my life and be there sometimes praying for guidance when I may need to step back..

Knowing when to move forward to connect and when to take a step back is a delicate balancing act for sure. I was also happy to come across a really informative article on the Anne Frank website which explained too, all about the detail around and preceding the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands.. I wonder what anxieties my father carried over his family, he kept up a distance from them for most of our life although my Oma did visit when I was only 2 years old before she died.. My brother continues this pattern with us. When my niece moved from Canberra around 2013 my living sister actually took on her old apartment in the hotel complex my brother built and then converted to separate apartments.. It is sad she left then as it meant when my sister and I moved back we had less to do with her, anyway her Mum hated my older sister and wanted my niece kept as far away from her as possible, my niece did not attend either Judith or my mother’s funeral at my brother’s insistence.. So so sad as Jen tried to draw closer to Mum in her final years.

All of this distance is sad to me and its also a shame my Dad spoke so little of where he came from just as so many European depression and World War survivors spoke so little of what they endured.. as it fell into silence what happened over those years in which Pluto transited through Leo still created ripples and shocks waves for the Pluto in Cancer generation and their descendants which continue to reberverate and spiral all along the ancestral line.

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