My husband and I met very romantically at a rubbish bin in the basement of the apartment block in which we both lived in Alexandria. It was one Sunday afternoon and I heard doors opening and closing straight outside my door. So I thought, the next time I hear that door slam, I am going to get a bag of rubbish and head out the door and see who it is. So the door went and I was off! Out the door to find no one there. So I had not choice but to continue down to the basement/car park/laundry/rubbish bins. As I neared the bins I saw a guy who had just done his washing (how domesticated) he was not only clean he was super hot! I couldn’t help but think….hot and clean…what a superb combination! So he had finished his business and we exchanged the pleasant hi as we crossed paths. I reached the bins, disposed of the rubbish and got half way back across the carpark when suddenly everything went dark. I stopped still in my tracks, staring into a darkness that was so black I couldn’t see an inch in front of me. Just as I was wondering if I should start with lollypop steps, or run or cry….ding…..Mr hotness from the laundry had pushed the timer switch back on, the light shone thank goodness and he waited holding the door open for me. As I approached the door I thanked him as we proceeded awkwardly up the stairs to find that he lived directly opposite me. So I had discovered a lot; he was clean, hot and an annoying door slammer. So upon entry to our respective doors, in a silly nervous girly voice I said, ‘oh, you live here, hahaha, bye’ and walked straight inside shaking my head in embarrassment at how ridiculous I had sounded. So I thought mission accomplished, you know who lives there and now you can hope you never see him again. The next day fortunately was Monday and it was back to work as normal. I came home after work and checked my letter box to find a business card waiting for me. It read, ‘Hi number 10 it’s number 12, knock anytime it gets boring cooking for 1’. So I had to make amenze. The next night I knocked….no answer. With bottle of French red in hand I gave it one more shot the following evening and the door opened. So number 12 turned out to be everything he had seemed to be in the carpark and more. After a few months we moved in together in a new place a kilometer down the road. We took our first trip together to Thailand and I soon realised he was the one! Previously having worked in London and travelling through Europe for 2 years and not finding a suitable life partner I thought I may be the last sad gherkin just left in the sad jar on the shelf. Fortunately the gherkin jar could be washed out and we had a colourful wedding at Whale Beach. I designed the wedding around 6 colours, yellow, pink, green, aqua, purple and orange. A river of colour streamed from the fishtail on my dress. I painted each of my guests a little canvas in either warm or cool colours. The cake was 6 layers with a ribbon of colour on each layer and coloured decorations bursting out the top of the cake. An easel and paint pots with brushes were set up and our guests all painted us a large canvas. The sun sparkled on the water, the bridesmaids wore tropical aqua blue and the boys were all in crisp white suits with tails. Everything was wonderful. We bought our first humble home and decided it was time to start a family and I fell pregnant. Everything was wonderful.
At 41 weeks,11 days after my due date, I gave birth to our son who died at birth. Everything was not wonderful. I had kidney failure, blood transfusions, and 10 days after the birth I hemorrhaged so severely that I was rushed into emergency surgery to try and save my uterus. Specialist surgeons were called in as this was not a case they had seen quite like this. They cut the uterine arteries in hopes they could stop the blood and save my uterus. So when I came around in ICU I had not idea if I could ever fall pregnant and have my own children. Fortunately miracles were performed that day! Thank you (Dr GIles and Dr Gard). Not only did I not die which is what all medical records had shown happened in any documented cases such as this, but they saved my uterus. I had a long road to recovery. I had to deal with the magnificent brightly coloured baby’s room we had created, that remained empty. I also had to deal with with the post operative, post baby body I was left with. I started painting. I used bright colours, yellow, red, orange, blue, green and purple. I knew that using a dark palette was only going to make me feel even more sad and make everything seem even darker. My painting was circular forms, and I Iet the colour run down the canvas. It was like the paint was crying instead of me and taking my tears away. The more I painted with colour, the happier I felt. I had difficulty painting in the beginning because I had blurred vision which was connected to the water retention and kidney failure. However I thought about Monet and his beautiful and tranquil waterlily gardens. As his sight deteriorated with age he works became more abstracted and the crisp edge of the waterlily became softened as it flowed into the pond. I just had to keep on painting. Colour was a healing agent for me. So time went on and I made it back to work bit by bit. I didn’t know really how to talk about it and the staff and students had all sent beautiful well wishes but when I got back into the classroom, I just needed to get onto talking about artworks so I could feel some sense of normality and I needed another topic to focus on rather than medical issues and loss. It was difficult because no one ever talks about the difficulties and the problems that can occur in childbirth, it’s only ever the wonderful things. When someone tells you they are pregnant it is the most wonderful miracle and no one would ever squash that news with the telling of disastrous stories. The specialist advised that we wait for twelve months before trying to fall pregnant again. In my true style, I just couldn’t wait, I’d been through too much and my desires for having a family hadn’t changed. After 6 months we fell pregnant. We were having weekly scans and checks at the hospital from 20 weeks onwards. It was a time consuming and a big commitment. We planned a cesarean delivery for two weeks prior to the due date just to be sure of no more horrifying drama. Four weeks prior to my due date I went into labour. I just wasn’t expecting it because we had needed to have this pregnancy so planned that I wasn’t ready for anything to alter that. We rushed in and could still have a cesarian and our little blossom, our baby girl was born. What a miracle, what a relief. Everything was wonderful. Now I could take her home to her room full of colour. There was not a pastel colour to be seen in the room. Sunshine yellows, funky pinks, vibrant greens, and gorgeous aqua blues bursting everywhere. Now I just needed to paint her a picture to hang on the wall. Colour had helped to guide me through my undulating landscape. When the going got tough…I got the COLOUR GOING!