why the fox?
a friend emailed me today to ask about why i choose the fox for my tattoo. here is the story... fox was my grandmother's maiden name. my mum's mum. my granny died of a brain tumour 3.5 years ago. it made me really sad. terminally sad. she was my guide. someone to look up to. someone to make fart jokes with. someone who always got it. she was smart and funny. yet she had not had the best life - her own mother died when she was 11 and she was never given the chance to say goodbye to her. she told me it was one of her most vivid memories from childhood. she was there in the room - her mother lay in a hospital bed dyeing and no one bothered to help her up so she could see her and say goodbye. those were the days when children were seen and not heard. only a matter of weeks later her younger sister claire died of lukemia. my grannie's teens were spent being passed back and forth between aunts and relatives who didn't want her. she married at 17. had 5 children. 4 boys and my mum. her eldest died in a car crash in the mid-70s. and another son of a motor bike crash in 1998. there was lots of good stuff too... 8 grandchildren. and she was able to meet many of her great grandchildren.
she got sick in early 2003. it all happened so fast. she collapsed mid-may. was diagnosed with a tumour and was gone by late june. that january she had to convince her doctor to book her into a specialist for further tests because she wasn't well. the specialist appointment was for early july. she didn't make it. as often happens around these events our family pretty much fell apart. it was the second such death in our family in 5 years and sometimes it feels like we didn't survive it either.
but now i'm starting to feel ok. my health hasn't been great and i've been so flat and closed off inside until recently (actually it - the awakening started when i flew in that old plane). now my health is better, i am starting to see a path. i'm feeling optimistic for the first time in years. i wanted to mark the occassion and commemorate my granny at the same time. last year i changed my last name from gillespie to fox - to remember her but also to give myself a bit of distance from my dad. (but, as oprah would say, that is a whole nother episode...!!)
one cool thing is that i was able to have her sewing machine. its an old singer. early electric model. i also have my nana's old tredly. so i'm doubly blessed to and it makes me feel so close to them - having their machines where they sat for hours.