Be you.

This blog is not an easy read, it’s a tough read but I hope if you do read it, you’ll find it is worth it. If you want to skip it then do it and don’t feel guilty!

It’s been a hard post to write, not least because I worry about how it affects those I love and know but also I have to write it …. for the people I love and know and also for those I don’t.

When your child dies…..and I’m sure for many other people who have lost a parent a sister, a brother a friend, a husband a wife, any loved one……but dare I say it…… maybe  even more so when your child dies and I put more emphasis on this because the point is so important……. for a parent…. our future is changed, forever, in that second.

When the consultant came into the side room of the hospital where we waited, in a part of the hospital I never knew existed, when as he opened the door in his blue gown, we held on to the one percent of hope, despite what we’ve seen, we hold on to the sliver that a miracle might happen, a miracle that might mean our  fourteen year old daughter has not died.  But.  When the door opens and you see the look of despair on the clinicians face, you see that despite his difficult job that this is one of his hardest days.  As he begins to spill out the words that begin with… I’m sorry…. you scream silently inside while at the same time inexplicably feeling empathy with this man who has had to tell two parents that their daughter has in fact, died.

In that second it isn’t only death.  It isn’t only loss.   As a parent it’s your whole future. Changed in that second. Gone. Altered. Disappearing dreams. Vanished.

I have mourned and continue to mourn for what I have lost, what future we have lost and this blog is about how I almost was not able to face the future without her.

Suicidal thoughts. Not something we talk about. Not something I’ve talked about much. I have a son who fills my heart and I would never ever ever leave him or hurt him and he is primarily why I struggled with the idea of writing this but equally young people need to know us older people aren’t perfect despite what we try to let them see, it’s not right not to talk about the deeply dark times – how else can they know it can be totally normal at times to feel this way and that there is a way out of it.

On occasion, over the years, I’ve allowed myself to imagine how it’d feel to be without the constant pain. Without the ache. Without the heavy tsunami of grief.  I have lived with the enormous guilt of these thoughts for the best part of the last five years until a very courageous person (thank you for letting me share this) confided their feelings of similar despair.  Of feeling suicidal.  Of not wanting to go on.   This person then gave me the confidence to share with them how I have felt on occasion and then during the last few months I have also shared these thoughts that I’ve had with three other people.  I have shared with them that sometimes the thought of not being here has passed through my mind.  I talked about the guilt.  I talked about the fact I would never do it to those around me.  I talk about how I wouldn’t do it but I had imagined it. I talked about how awfully guilty it feels just to have those thoughts at all.   I talked about how glad I was that I had eventually, talked about it.

Do you know what astounded me? Out of those people, every one confided in me that at some point in their lives they too had fallen to those levels of despair. Every one.  So, it’s either a huge coincidence or the truth is there’s a lot of people out there that have felt similarly and just don’t talk about it.

I thought long and hard about writing this blog. I know how it can affect my friends and my family and people I love but this is bigger than that. Suicide obviously kills. Predominantly it kills men and it doesn’t take much to work out why because men in general don’t share, don’t talk, don’t reach out. We have to find a way of talking about our mental health just like our physical health and we need to treat our mental health alongside our physical health. Understanding that what we eat and how we exercise and who we talk to and how we interact doesn’t just make us physically well,  how we live keeps us mentally well and sometimes we are all not mentally well, just like we can’t always be physically well.

When we are physically unwell we look after ourselves better, our friends and family help us or we visit a chemist, maybe a GP if it becomes worse and perhaps further on we may even need to go hospital. Our mental health is and should be treated just the same, however it isn’t . People don’t know if you don’t tell them and sometime people don’t know what to do so they stay away or they misinterpret your mental health problems for something else.. being quiet, being reserved, being moody.  Sometimes we need help for our mental health, that isn’t embarrassing to admit. It’s brave.

I got help.  Lots of it.  From multiple people – professional and not.  I still do.   I am very fortunate to have people who truly love me for the whole person I am. However had I not talked to them, they would never known I needed that help.

So talk please or if you are on the other side – listen please, because from my experience there’s a huge amount of people suffering in silence and sadly we probably all know at least one person who didn’t make it, someone who decided and went through with their thoughts.  Talking can’t solve everything but being silent solves nothing.  All it needed was for one brave person to open up to me about their feelings and I now feel I need to be open to others.

I’m well now.  Really well in fact. Happiest I’ve been in a very long time, I’m a little giddy on life and the reasons are many (x), with honesty brings clarity.  What I feel more than anything at the moment is that I am being me.  Truly me.

Be you.

Happy Sunday xxx

 

happy face

Advertisements

Dear Tes

I havent written to you for a while on here.

I saw this sculpture that was shared with me online by a friend … it initially took my breath away…. I’ve never seen anything that conveys what it’s like to lose you with so much honesty, passion and painful truth.

I look at it and it’s how I feel in a mirror image. A strong exterior.. but with a huge hole of grief right in the middle that spreads into every other part.

Recently I feel it most when I’m walking on my own. In the woods. I feel the leaves crunch under my trainers. I look at the height of the trees where a branch occasionally cracks under the weight of a hidden squirrel or a busy crow. I’ve learnt to fill my mind. It helps. But this is usually the quietest part of my day where I can’t always dull the ache in my stomach anymore.

I miss you and yet those words seem so weak and pathetic because of course I do. We all do.

I dont know why sometimes for days and maybe like now for weeks the cloud hovers. It’s not pelting down large rain drops or particularly black. It’s just above my heart making it harder to find anything really interesting or worth bothering with. It’d be so easy to get under the duvet and stay there but I don’t. I have always feared what would happen if i did. I wouldn’t. I couldn’t.

I was asked this week how I’d coped after losing you. I answered in a rather convoluted way because there’s no quick answer. As usual I feel guilty as i speak. For just being able to say that I found a way.

I finish the question by saying I never wanted to survive your loss by just.. surviving. There’s little point in that. I’m living. It’s bloody hard at times but I’m living. There’ll never be a day that I wish you weren’t living it with me too.

Love you Tes. In my thoughts and my heart. Every second.

Mum x

Love to you all too this Sunday x

(Sculpture – Melancholy, Albert Gyorgy, Geneva)

Fog

I’ve deliberated a lot about whether to post this blog.

It’s sad and it’s personal and it’s probably a bit heart breaking.

However I started this weekly blog after my lovely daughter died. It became a place to write about loss and survival and now I write on Sundays about something of significance to me that week. At times I feel guilty that the blog doesn’t often specifically relate to Tes and that I veer away from referral to grief.

Who wants to read about grief on a Sunday morning!?

So if you don’t.. and I totally understand that. Give this week’s blog a miss.

Four and a half years later and it can grab hold of me with such force it’s hard to breathe and I spend much of my time trying not to be physically sick. I cancel plans and I just survive. Do I talk about it? Will I upset my nearest and dearest by talking about it? Do I still stay strong and get up and go to work even though I want to cry buckets under the duvet? Do I tell anyone because then it’ll ruin their day and they’ll end up worrying about me? Will people start to avoid me if I tell them?

I went to Uni this week to start my MSc. When I got there a woman sat next to me and immediately started talking to me. They asked me this morning – what had I done that I was proud of, she said. I’m proud of the fact I’ve raised my children and now I’ve got an adult daughter and she’s not dead yet.

That’s what she said.

I managed to say ‘oh’ and I think I faintly smiled at her joke.

She wasn’t to know that on the drive on the way to my first day at Uni that at one point I had to physically bite my fingers to transfer the pain to stop myself from crying. If she did know she’d feel awful. I know that.

There’s not a huge point to this blog this week, there was a need in me to revisit grief because I know other people who have ‘lost’ read it too. There’s a point where I guess I just want to shout…. ‘I’m hurting’ but then I don’t’ expect anyone to do anything about it. You can’t.

So – not the happiest of blogs and I apologise but that’s been this week. The grief fog lifted yesterday. I didn’t realise until I found myself dancing in the kitchen while making breakfast. It’ll be back but like others I’ll find a way through it and despite the part of my heart that hosts grief…. the rest of my heart is still ready for a life of love, travel, walks, friends, family, plans, laughs and even this MSc!

Lots of love to you all today – go hug someone!! xx

7th May x 

It should’ve been my daughter Tes’s 19th birthday today.  My blog really took off when I lost her just over 4 years ago yet as I had an incessant need to write.  Over time my writing has moved away from the rawness of my grief and shock,  as anyone who follows it will see it mostly unintentionally focuses on a moment from my week, an observation, usually something hopefully encouraging.  


It is has been the oddest experience to feel unimaginable pain on a daily basis, to carry what feels like an immovable heavy stone in my heart and a permanent ache in the centre of my stomach but to also be overwhelmed with the desire to make the most of life.  

It’s just a little blog from me today.  I could write a thousand words about the awfulness of grief, birthdays are the hardest I feel – it’s a reminder of what isn’t here.  In Tes’s memory though I accept the utter hardship of it but I refuse for her memory to be about her end.  She had a great and fantastic life. One filled with love, books and passion. A life that made me proud and one that I remain grateful for.  It is hard to accept that was her life but that is…. life.  Unpredictable.  Not straight forward. Not as you expect it.  Which is why the urge within me to keep living and not just surviving is so strong.  

Tes had a poster on her bedroom wall – ‘make everyday beautiful’.  The meaning of that will be different to so many of us – be it getting under the duvet with a film, walking on the beach, reading your book, running through the woods, being silent, being loud, being alone, being with friends – whatever it is that might make our day beautiful, it’s worth trying to make it that day.

Have a beautiful Sunday xx 

The message

I receive her text early in the day. I read it quickly. Time stops for part of a second.  I close my phone and I park the text in the part of my brain that means I can only go back there when I can give it my proper time.

After a 12 hr day, a presentation, two dog walks, caring for my boy with a temperature, cobbling some dinner together, putting away some washing, getting the bins ready….. I think about dealing with the text.
First I open some post. There’s one for Tes from the bank. They say now that she’s in Uni would she like to know about the right account for her. It’s my fault. I’ve still not found the courage to go in and tell them. And sometimes, I like getting post for her. 

I pour a glass of wine and get my phone out. I read her text again. 

She. My counsellor says. It’s been a while since we met, is it ok to close your file now? 

She says I can go back anytime.

I want to text. You saved me. But I know she’d say. No. You saved you. 

That’s what she’s like. She takes no credit.
She’s wrong and she’s also right. Her safe space and insight gave me hope and she taught me that answers and strength lay within me.

I’m scared to sever this tie.
I know it’s right after three years to let it go. Sometimes I’ve had as much of a break as 12 months.  Then I had to go back.  It’s taken 3 years, 5 months and about 9 days to finally feel I can let her go.  Properly.  My counsellor.  With that I wrap myself in guilt which I also know is ridiculous. 

I’d like to share my reply. I meant every word

Hi. Yes that’ll be OK as long as I know I can delve in if I ever need. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you helped me survive. I’ll never ever forget your kindness empathy honesty and humanity. That’s not just someone doing their job. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

My blog has never been to advise or to preach but I do believe in learning from each other. Good and bad. If you ever find yourself in a place where things remain heavy and blurry always ask for help, it’s not weak. It takes strength.

Love to you all this Sunday.

Xx

Scared to death

Not my usual blog because this week I’m angry.

I try I try I try to be positive but bloody hell this week has been a test. 49 people dead in a club over in the States and of course Jo Cox – murdered for having an opinion.

Sensitive to me  because I’m gay and I’m also a woman. Did you know I almost entirely stopped using Twitter.  Do you know why? Because I’m scared of the repercussions of my strong views about violence against women. Women like me on Twitter are threatened with rape and murder. For having an opinion.  Some women like Jo are murdered. In fact 1 woman every 3 days in this country is murdered by someone she knows.

That’s what I’m angry about. Yes angry. This isn’t a one off. This isn’t just because someone has a mental health issue or just because he read the dire Daily Mail.  This isn’t just because our politicians breed hatred.  It’s because of ALL of that and much more.

I’m a feminist.  A dirty word.  All it actually  means is I want equality. That’s it. I don’t hate men. I love men. In my top three people in the world two of them are men.  For being a feminist i’m regarded as a nuisance or bothersome because… well I’d really  like women to stop being raped, assaulted and murdered for one.

And being gay on top of that. Well. What’s that like? I can’t go out without a man making a joke about a threesome. We let go holding hands almost automatically when someone walks towards us because we’re not sure if we’ll be abused. I’ve spent my whole life since coming out terrified my children will get a hard time and feel lucky because they haven’t . I’m told to my face that lesbians can be nasty bitches but gay men are funny. I’m also told in what I think is supposed to be positive that gay people are ok.. as long as they don’t kiss in public. In fact just last night I was surprised to hear someone I know upsetting a friend through their homophobic comments. This is the tip of the iceberg.

It’s still the best decision I ever made coming out but it’d be a lie to say it’s easy.

The reason I’m saying this is I’m part of a group of people this week  that were murdered for loving someone, for having an opinion, for speaking up. That makes me angry.

People are different.  That should be embraced not eradicated.

Jo Cox,  I am not just going to remember you today or tomorrow.  You have inspired me to have an even greater voice. You’ve inspired me to be even more passionate. You’ve inspired me to work even harder against that hate that killed you. I am not ever going to stand and watch or turn a blind eye or be scared to have an opinion.

Stand up for yourself.  Stand up for others.

Help, heal and hope. Not hate.

image

X x X

Living the dream?

I’m writing this on Friday at 12.21. I have to write while I’m waiting.   I’m waiting to go to Trystans funeral at 1pm. I woke up thinking about it and inevitably about Tes. My mind wanders and worries about everything I possibly can and then I got up.

I open the dark brown curtains of my bedroom. I’m surprised by all the mist hiding the stone bridge and the tops of the cottages. It’s going to be a beautiful day I thought to myself. Of course it is.

I wanted to find a quote for some reason. To sum up these feelings inside. The feeling of love, life and loss. Also the feelings of hope.

There has to be hope.

I finally come across one.

Live your dream, don’t dream your life.

I thought it encapsulated what I knew of Trystans very well. He seemed to be living the life he had dreamed of.

I then left the house early and walked in what had now turned into beautiful sunshine. Lolly took our usual turn to the left as we got to the top of the hill but today I carried on. I wanted to be somewhere new. I wanted to feel.  To see.  To hear. New things.  I think I also wanted my mind filled with the enormous quiet empty peaceful space. There was no sound bar the quiet rumbling of a tractor in the distance. I stop to gaze at the beautiful view of the rural emerald countryside.  It’s magnificent.

As I keep walking I thought about the quote and gave myself a bit of a talking to. Are you living your dreams Dwysan? I asked myself! No. Not all of them. And with that I made a few decisions in my head. Some big. Some small. I’ll keep you posted!

I must leave now and say goodbye to a friend. A young man who lived his life.

Let’s all live our life.

Now.

X

image