Changes

Inevitably this week with the loss of two prominent famous people I’m  drawn to write about loss.  Sometimes I try to write my blog without mentioning death or grief.  I know it can make an unhappy read. In fact someone told me a few weeks ago that my blog can be a very “hard read”.

I know that, so thank you for persevering.

I also hope that the essence of my blog shines through the greyness of grief.  Life is hard. For me. For you. Maybe not now.  Or always. At some point it will be. It’ll also be good. It changes.  It’ll be so happy you squeal a bit. It’ll be so much fun you’ll fill your eyes with unexpected tears from laughing.  It’ll  be exciting.  It’ll be beautifully full.  It’ll be both.

So here we are. I’m sorry I’m going to talk about death.  Two deaths this  week rocked the obituaries.  Bowie and Alan Rickman.  I almost cried at Bowie’s death. I don’t know why. I just felt so sad about it. He changed the lives of so many people by being himself.  He allowed others to know that was OK.  And Mr Rickman was in one of my favourite ever films. Truly Madly Deeply.  Go watch if you haven’t seen it but stock up on the tissues.  He always came across as a sincere intelligent and kind man. I didn’t know them but inevitably through their fame felt to know the tiniest part of them.

Losing people without doubt heightens your concern and angst about your own life. Especially when you’re hurtling forward through the  decades. I keep trying to live the life I want now instead of the one I thought I had to. I’m trying to stop wanting to please everybody because I’ve realised I can’t.  I’m trying to be less materialistic because I know a new sofa will never make anyone happy. I’m being a tad more selfish and am saying no a bit more often. Occasionally I even sit down instead of rushing to do the next thing as soon as I get in from work.

Gasp. You might catch me with a cup of camomile and a book for 15 minutes before I start chopping the courgettes and carrots. I find that really difficult to do. I feel selfish. But I’m trying not to. 

Learning from experience, your own and others is what’s important.  I’m still getting it wrong too. That is life.

I said to a friend this week in a very motherly way as she excitedly sent me a link to a new house she’s buying. .. be careful,  a house won’t make you happy.  I felt bad that I’d reacted this way but I wish that someone had said that to me ten years ago.  Because it’s true. A house doesn’t make you happy. Or a new car or that fabulous pair of shoes. Actually scrap that last one.  Shoes can make you happy!

I guess the point is what the point always is. Today do what makes you truly happy whenever you can.  We’re all busy but don’t be too busy for you.

Dwys x

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Where have you been?

i was asked today where I’ve been and was I going to write again soon?I’ve missed your writing was the message. I replied I hadn’t felt up to it. I replied I’d written a few drafts but hadn’t  wanted to post them. I just hadn’t  been up to it.

Just a few lines persuaded me to put something down and answer the question, where have I been? Where have I been this last couple of months?

I’ve been down, anxious, frustrated, annoyed. I’ve been wishing I could have a normal life back. I’ve been wishing that when I wake up every day it didn’t take some almighty strength to face the day. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been crying. I’ve not felt like going out. I’ve been to the doctor, I’ve cried on the phone to the doctor. I’ve been worried about things I didn’t know anyone could worry about. I’ve been a mum who has cried and a partner who has just complained. I’ve been quite crappy really.

And that’s why I didn’t write. 

As I write those things down though,  I have to remind myself what I’ve also been. I’ve been happy, I’ve stuck to my new running regime. I’ve discovered cooking new healthy foods. I’ve been a supportive friend and have supportive friends, I’ve been at work and taken on new responsibilities. I’ve been a busy mum and loving partner. I’ve  been out to a spa, met up with friends and had dinner out. I realised I needed help and saw my counsellor again. I’ve been taking photos and enjoyed walks on the beach.  I have got up every day and I have faced the world. 

So I’ve been struggling I guess but I’ve also been fighting with a smile and that is where I’ve been and that is where I am. 

Thanks for missing me and for making me remind myself that where I’ve been might be actually worth writing about x

The drive.

My blogs this year are going to be more about observations it seems…..So another post about a woman crying.  I wonder sometimes if things are sent to you.  To make you think. To stop you in your tracks. To make you ask a question?  What would you do?

A few days ago I was driving to work listening to Mr Sam Smith who frankly I’m addicted to at the moment.  Tottering along at a much slower pace these days. Before Tes I drove at maximum speed now I totter and look and basically don’t rush in any way. I get everywhere the same time that I used to!

Anyway I digress. As I approached the town half way to work and turned right on a lane scattered with grey stone buildings,  a busy garage and the odd for sale sign here and there. She sat on a ledge on the side of the road. Her face leaned forward but not far enough forward that her eyes could not be seen.  Tears fell down her tired face. She was trying to hide her involuntary anguished expressions.  She couldn’t.   There was a large bag next to feet. This seemed significant.

I drove on. I thought about pulling in but I wasn’t sure. What would this woman think of a stranger asking her if she’s ok? Would she welcome it or would she be offended? I drove on.  Then a flash. A memory of myself sitting waiting anxiously, almost 2 years ago, outside a house.  I was the woman sitting in tears alone.

And here was I driving on.

So I turn around. I have to. I drive back  and she’s still sitting there. I don’t know what I’m going to say. I slow down and I’m nervous.  As I indicate she looks at me.  As I stop she looks at me quizzically.  I know already she doesn’t want me to stop. But I have.

‘Are you ok?’ I ask.

She nods her head sadly, biting lightly on her lip, now looking at the ground again.

‘Are you sure?’ I ask.

Nothing.

‘Is there anything I can do?’.

This time she shakes her head.

It all took about 30 seconds.  I gently smile and close the window, put my car in gear and continue on my way.  I felt a little silly at first.  Had I interfered?  Did I embarass her?  Maybe. But what was the alternative?

I’ve read a lot on altruism and how we are never actually altruistic.  We don’t do anything apparently without there being something in it for us. I’m not sure I agree but perhaps on this occasion I offered help so that I wouldn’t feel bad. Whatever the reason surely it’s better to step out of your comfort zone and ask the question?

Sam Smith continues to croon through my speakers about his lonely hour and I drive on with hope that at least the woman will know whatever is going on in her life, people out there care.

We all need that in our life.

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Waiting

You haven’t eaten your last Easter egg.
Or will watch the new Dr Who.
You haven’t tidied your messy room.
Dozens of odd socks. Waiting for you.

You haven’t finished your homework.
Or bought new things for skiing.
You won’t see the new Hunger Games.
School clothes lie still. Waiting for you,

You haven’t touched your lip gloss.
Or straightened your hair with colour.
You missed your birthday and mine.
Curtains stay open. Waiting for you.

Your crumbs from your lips lie there.
Bed clothes next to your half read book.
Your iPod remains uncharged & your phone.
School books unfinished. Waiting for you.

You haven’t sat watching Ellen or Friends.
Or used your laptop to furiously type.
Your mail continues to arrive, unopened.
Clothes stay still, hanging. Waiting for you.

You haven’t kissed me goodnight, again.
Or smiled with me. Or cried with me.
Your stories with laughter have stopped.
You’re gone, but I’m still. Waiting for you.

By Dwysan Rowena

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Life & Death

You know when your friends have babies and they never tell you what it’s like to have babies, it’s the same thing. You know when your friends have babies and they don’t tell you about the aches in your ribs, they don’t tell you about the heartburn which makes you consume Gaviscon and Settlers like they’re a free drug. Nobody tells you of the nausea at the coffee bean you once loved and the fact you can’t even look at a cup of tea. Nobody tells you that you’ll drive miles for gravy granules and when you find the shop has shut you start hanging around various aunts houses in the hope they too keep gravy granules. Nobody tells you, you won’t sleep until you’ve had that gravy and new potatoes. Nobody tells you the smell of pork will turn your stomach or that really, anything will turn your stomach for 18 weeks. Nobody tells you that you will be literally terrified every day because you’ll be scared something goes wrong. Nobody tells you about kick charts, about immunisations, about grumpy midwives or visits to the labour wards. Nobody really discusses their birth plan or pain relief and NOBODY tells you about the actual pain!

After that, nobody warns you that the sleep deprivation continues for years and the worry continues a lifetime.

Why?

Nobody wants to put you off. Because the list above and the other million difficulties that come with being a parent is worth it and it’s so so hard to explain why – except it is, for me, and I think most – just love, makes it worth it.

My mum told me last night that when I was born she knew what I was thinking and she would look at me and know when I was going to wake up. She told me how her engagement ring went missing when I was a toddler and she asked me to find it, at 18 months old I walked to a tiny bit of grass in the garden and pointed to where I had buried it a few hours earlier. It was a lovely warm cwtch of a feeling to know you are loved and known like that. And it reminded me of how impossible it is to express the feelings of parenthood, of the love, of the hardwork, of the eternal change to your life, of the sacrifices you will forever make, of the corners you will fight, you can’t explain it.

And on the other side of birth there is the inevitable death.

Yesterday I sat at Alder Hey hospital and I felt such immense sadness at babies and young children and older children sitting there. My heart broke looking at the brave look on their parents faces and then I remembered that I had suffered, I guess, the worst of the worst, the actual loss of a child and it got me thinking, like birth – dying isn’t discussed openly either.

Again, nobody prepares you. Nobody can. What to say? You get a leaflet afterwards, ‘what to do after the death of a loved one’ and you read it and you see the words inquest, coroner, funeral director and autopsy and you think you wouldn’t accept it or that you would throw it away in the bin. But you don’t. Like a birth it happens and you have to get on and that’s the weirdest thing. Nobody can prepare you, just the same as birth. Not about waking up at 4am to write her funeral. Not about what colour coffin to choose or songs to sing. Not about how you return to work in a few weeks. Not about how work is impossible 4 months later. Not about how you will still manage to dance and smile sometimes. Not about the guilt you feel because you can.

It struck me the most important events in life are a kind of ‘secret’ we all keep. Even I’m keeping some because who really wants to know the dark, awful stuff about death and who can tell anyone else about their experience. You can’t. Because it is so personal, so unique, so different.

What we can share is the here and now, the memories, the fun, the smiles, maybe just maybe because it is easier, because it is less painful and that is fine. I think that is fine. Life is for living, not concentrating on the bad. Life is for living and concentrating on the good, on the joy of a baby, the touch of their skin, their first toothless smile, their clumsy attempts to crawl, their first gummy word and their hugs as they sleep on your shoulder. Life is about making the most of today, of this second and that’s why we concentrate on the nice stuff, the positives, the life.

And I think that’s a good thing.

X

Sent from my iPad

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Making me smile this week…

Some weeks you have to dig a little deeper but this week the stuff that made me smile…

1. Watching the dark sombre French film Amour at our local cinema ….that still has an interlude. I actually start anticipating the fluorescent interlude about ten minutes before it happens. Amaze bob

2. Going to the pub after the above said film with two lovely squishy fab mates knowing it’s a school night and you’re going to regret that third glass of wine. But not really.

3. Comforting a friend after she lost her poor cat. No reason to smile at the puddy cats demise but at her love for it and her stories of her four legged friend coming for walks with her for miles. Awww.

4. Pink iced butterfly cakes. With sprinkles. And edible flowers. Some colleagues know how to get on your best side. Yum.

5. Sharing a birthday Prosecco with a friend. I love the shape of that bottle!

6. Buying your nephews curly wurlys and watching them eye them up when you visit and stare at them until you remember to say they can have them!

7. Seeing a glimpse of my boy when he didn’t expect it as he’s walking home from high school with his mate and being worried you’ll embarrass him but actually he waves excitedly and runs over to say hello. Aww.

8. Getting a mention on Radio 1. Random but fun. I’m way out of their ‘catchment’ age too!

9. Buying a pressi for a certain someone’s birthday coming up soon, my daughter and she’s 15! Brings all those memories back of the awesomness of seeing her for the first time. I love buying pressis, just wish my bank balance was in agreement!

10. Sausage salad. Merlot. Tv. Electric blanket. Friday. Quiet. Home. Bliss.

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