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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 15


You know those times when you have to make a decision…..but you just can’t? I’m not talking so much about obvious things, like between which pair of shoes to buy, or what to make for dinner: I mean something that’s more complicated - like what to do when how you feel is pulling you apart…..when your head is saying one thing, but your heart is saying the opposite.

Okay, I know our heads and our hearts can’t actually talk, but you get my meaning, don’t you?

Well that’s what I’m going through now - but I can’t talk to anyone about it:- because the only people I’d usually be able to turn to, are the ones who are involved in it……….

It was something that Sarah Jane said to me the other morning, quite casually. We were having a cup of coffee, talking about the kids; well, mostly about how fast Rachel is growing up - and I said,

“That child is eleven going on thirty, isn’t she” And we laughed, and Sarah Jane says

“I look in her eyes sometimes, Mum, and it’s like I see this wise lady looking back at me. Don’t laugh, but it’s like Bubba is inside Rachel, looking out”.

“Why would I laugh, darling? Who knows…….maybe in some ways she is? The genes are there, aren’t they? My mother is a part of my grand-daughter, isn’t she?”

So we carry on talking about this and that, and about how things in one person remind you of someone else, specially their eyes……and that’s when Sarah Jane says

“Yes, funny that….it’s a bit like your friend Bob - he’s got the same eyes as Dad had, hasn’t he?”

And my heart actually thumped inside me! It was so unexpected…! I started to deny it, but then stopped……..because I suddenly realised she’s right…….though I’d never consciously seen it myself! But now I wondered how on earth I could have not noticed? It was just like those illusion puzzles…you know, can you see the old lady or the young lady? We get stuck in seeing life, a person, whatever, one way, then someone points out another way of seeing it, and from then on we wonder how on earth we didn’t see it that way in the first place!

And from then on we can never not see it that way…..! Well that’s what happened when Sarah Jane said that about Bob’s eyes being like Jack’s…..of course they are! How could I not have seen that all this time…?

And straight away then I’m asking myself if that’s what made me feel comfortable with Bob in the first place, that his eyes made me feel I knew him - even though I didn’t know that was what was happening? Wasn’t there a famous woman who once said that the most important thing everyone needs to be happy, not to feel alone, is to have what’s familiar to them.

So of course that started a whole train of thoughts, emotions, questions, inside me………and they all seem to be going in the same direction - is it Bob I like, or that he reminds me of Jack?

Because once I’ve accepted that yes, his eyes are like Jack’s, I begin realising that he has a lot of other qualities the same,as well... he’s gentle, but sure of who he is; he has a serious side, but also a fantastic sense of humour; and so on, and so on……..

But suddenly, one question hit me with such a shock, I actually felt as if I stopped breathing……….. it was Miriam’s quiet voice inside my head, asking gently

“Are you attracted to Bob?”

And the really strange thing that happened was that as I first shouted “NO!”, I immediately then said

“Oh my God, yes! Yes I am! And not because of how he’s like Jack…..they’re just parts of who he is; but the whole man is not Jack, but Bob, who he is himself - and yes, I find this man really really attractive. And I enjoy being with him, more and more………”

Maybe I don’t need to even tell you what happened next, you’ve probably guessed, but I will anyway, because, as I said, you’re the only one I can discuss this with; so what happened then was, I start to feel guilty, like in some way I’m being unfaithful to Jack! Can you believe it! It doesn’t make any sense, does it, after all these years since he died, but that’s how I felt, sense or not.

Until this morning: I’m reading the Daily Mail, and you know how on Tuesdays it’s always special articles about health and complementary treatments etc …? Well I’m reading something at tne bottom of the page when I find my eyes wandering to the top……….and there’s an article about grieving, and I start to read, and it’s as if it was waiting there specially for me! As if part of me knew exactly what I needed, and drew my attention to it!

And what it was about was, apparently when we lose someone we love, we go through different stages of grieving - shock, disbelief, anger, as well as the obvious almost paralysing distress and sadness; and we all have to go through these at our own pace. And then, when we’re ready to move forwards, the first thing is to know how, which is often the difficult part. And that’s when it’s like a wound that’s still open - or what’s that wonderful expression the Americans use …………? Yes, that’s it - “we don’t have closure!”

So I’m reading, and this woman goes on to say how the best way is to imagine you’re floating high up in the sky above you, looking down at yourself; and you can see the past stretching out in one direction, and the future in another. And because you’re floating so high, you don’t feel all the emotions, and you’re just able to notice things.

Then you float back over the past, and notice all the special things you loved about the person you’ve lost; all the qualities they had, what they brought to your life, and so on. Then next, you imagine you collect all these wonderful things together, maybe in a basket, and then you float forwards, carrying them all with you……

And as you float over your future, you start sprinkling all these lovely qualities along the way, like sowing seeds.

Then what happens is, they’ll plant themselves in your future, and from now on, they’ll attract to you people who have those qualities!

This woman says that’s what some of us do naturally, and as I’m reading that, it’s suddenly like a big light comes on in my head………that must have been what I did, without even knowing!

I must have planted all the things I loved about Jack into my future…….and Bob “picked some of those flowers!”

As I think about this now, having considered it all day, I’m seeing things a lot differently……..I don’t feel guilty about ‘being unfaithful’ to Jack, because, in a funny kind of way, it’s as if I’m actually honouring him, even more than just remembering him………!

Honestly, it’s been such a help being able to talk this through with you; though I think the decision I have to make now is if I should say anything to Bob - and if so, what?......................................................

It’s just gone midnight, and I know it’s late, but I just had to bring you up to date. After what we discussed earlier today, I went through a whole mix-up of emotions - happy about how I feel about Jack; a little bit scared that I’ll be making a fool of myself if Bob doesn’t feel the same as me; and then if he does, what happens next, and what and how do I tell the kids!?

But the one decision I did make was to find out who I am to Bob. and if it’s just friends then okay; but if it’s more than that? Well that’s okay too!

However, things never turn out like you think they’re going to do they? So when he popped in after he’d finished at the school at the end of the afternoon, and I was wondering how to bring up the subject, as it happened I didn’t have to... because when I asked if he’d like to stay for some supper, although it was only leftovers, Bob said

“And what’s wrong with leftovers?”

“Depends what they’re left over from, doesn’t it?”, I smiled.

“Well whatever is left over from something you’ve cooked, Min,” he said, “is bound to be delicious”.

And I suddenly heard myself blurting out,

“It’s not just my food that’s leftover, though - I suppose that’s what I am as well, isn’t it?”

Well, he looked so shocked; then he came and put his arm round me, walked me over to the sofa, and we sat down. And still with his arm round me, he said

“Well that makes two of us then, doesn’t it? But as you know yourself Min, there are different sorts of leftovers, aren’t there?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well there are some things that are left when there’s too much; then there are those that will make a very nice cold meal, the day after; but the best leftovers are those, like your barley soup, Min….” and he smiled at me,” ….that just get better, and with a deeper, richer, flavour, than before”

My voice was a bit shaky. “You mean like that old saying about a tune being sweeter played on an old violin?”

“Exactly! And you and me, Min, we’re both a couple of Stradivariuses in the world of leftovers! Right?”

“Right”, I said.

“And, if you’re ready to stop playing solo, as I am since I’ve got to know you, then maybe we should be a duet? “

And I didn’t have to ask any of those questions that had been going round and round in my head, or make any impossible decisions.

“If you’d like to……” I said, looking up at those eyes.

“I’d like to very much”, he said. And we just sat there, smiling at each other. And I felt as though I’d been travelling on a very long journey, and had come home again at last.



Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!


The Collection

1. Minnie >>

2. The Miriam Part Of Me >>

3. Melanie From Accounts >>

4. Getting It Off My Chest >>

5. Kids! >>

6. The Man On The Stairs >

7. Fat Chance! - My Lady In Chelsea >>

8. Having A Minnie Break >>

9. Thank You Terry Wogan >>

10. Maps! >>


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