Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Losing a Parent.

My Dad is strong, fearless and brave. Those were the opening words of my eulogy for my Dad and those were the words I'd written in my exercise book when I was 8 years old. It was accompanied by a picture of Batman...another hero.

There are not enough words to describe him. I said that too. How can you condense a persons life into  a few paragraphs? When I sat down to write his eulogy I found I couldn't stop. I had my memories and I wanted everyone to know what a great man he was. It was easy, because I knew and loved him.

Losing a parent when you're an adult is strange feeling. As you get older you know the inevitable is going to happen but you consign it to the back of your mind in the hope you'll deal with it. Fleeting ideas pass through your mind. How would one parent cope without the other, or how would you cope without one of them? The little things they do as they get older is a reminder of their mortality. The general loss of confidence as they get older. Their slight slowing down. Their little ailments that seem to become more frequent, the questions they'd constantly ask about the Internet and technology, and all the things they kept forgetting and all the things from the past that they remembered....more than once!

Which one you'd prefer to go first?
How can you think like that?
But you do.

They became a tiny bit more dependent on us. How did all that happen?   None of it stopped them from enjoying their life and none of it stopped us from loving them but you hope you won't have to deal with the inevitable.

It's something you don't want to think or talk about.

When the inevitable did happen the world stopped turning for a few minutes. I couldn't think. I couldn't talk. I needed to sit and assimilate the words. I know my brother did too. He told me he'd have to phone me back because he couldn't think.

My dad passed away overseas and we all needed to get to my mum as quickly as possible. We needed to be with her that night but the flights had already left for that day it seemed like an insurmountable task given the state we were in. My sister had found a flight to Finland with a connecting flight to our destination. She wanted to take it. Her husband was pushing her to take it. The chances were she'd be stuck on her own, in a place she'd not be able to leave were higher than I wanted. I wanted us all to go together. Let me think I said. I'll work it out. So I did. We were all with my mum by midnight having taken planes, trains and automobiles.

I've found it hard to cry and but I think it's too big. I know if I cry I might never stop. Tears seep when something moves me. I weep when I hear of someone else's sadness and I cry at a sad tune on the radio, but I can't cry for Dad. If I give into the grief that I'm holding in my heart then I would be giving in to the madness which might engulf me...and that would be no help to anyone.
Spending time with mum has helped me. Over the past couple of years I've realised that caring for others in the same situation helps me greatly. It helps me understand my grief, sadness or pain by seeing it reflected back at me. Obviously, helping mum is the right thing to do, but being with her I know that it's also helping me.

A friend once said that caring for a parent is an honour and a privilege. It is. I see that now.

She's having to start all over again, after having had Dad in her life longer than not and she's finding it difficult. Of course she is. She's never been a weak woman but losing dad has sucked the life from her. She's weak right now. She has no idea how life works without dad. But she'll get there.

My Dad taught us to be strong, fearless and brave. I think we're living up to his legacy. 

Monday, 27 July 2015

"Where have you been?" they cried?

Well..I thought the last post was the break in my 'block'...but it appears it wasn't!  Not that it matters. Shit comes in all sizes and I've had a colon full this year.   I couldn't remember my password as it's been so long, neither could I remember the email address I used. Useless, that's me.  Anyhow, I've found my way back, so for me at least, that's a good thing. I'd hate for it to be lost in cyber world and I'd hate for all the words to mean nothing.

I've been away so long that I've forgotten how it all works. I've forgotten about Twitter and I've forgotten about Facebook. It became so complicated, especially when Google decided to change its method of feeding the feeds and all of that complicated stuff so I decided I'd really had enough.  Following someone because they followed me, just to get a few more views. Working out the best ways to get read and to promote the blog. For what?  It really became pointless after a while.  I tried to read everything everyone wrote and I became disillusioned with the whole process. The gangs, the mummy brigades, the whole works! I didn't fit in...and I wondered whether I wanted to. I wasn't sure where I was. I wasn't really anywhere except in my own real life.

There was a point to my blog, but I lost it trying to second guess what others might read.  What I'm really I'm really trying to say is that I wasn't true to myself. The truth is...I'm a writer. I write for the love of writing. I'm a mother, a wife and a writer. There. I've said it. No use pretending. No use in trying to be anything else.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Bloggers Block.

I know you're not really that interested but I've been busy dismantling my life.   A bit dramatic, you think? Hmmm..maybe that's not quite accurate. OK, in that case I've been painting.  I've been painting everything!  I've painted the kitchen, I've painted the bathroom, I've painted some picture frames and I've painted some jolly nice hearts! 

You see, I've had bloggers block for a while.  I'd sit at the blank screen of the computer...and sit...and sit...smoke a fag...sit...make a coffee...sit.  It's made me feel practically useless so instead of just staring at the blank screen I thought maybe I should get creative.  I'm pretty good at painting. Not so good at sewing. Baking makes me fat...and exercising? Well, that just makes me tired.

So yes...I've had bloggers block ( I admit it!) and I felt (and still feel) that I didn't/don't have one original thought in my head!  Not one single one! Nothing I have to say is very interesting (still isn't, and please, I'm not looking for sympathy here).  I suppose my blog is a bit like my mind.  It jumps from project to project...thought to thought with very few paths, clear ideas or where it's going and where it will all end.

I love writing about the kids, but in all honesty although they amuse me I'm not sure it's fair to inflict them on the world.  I love the dogs and they make me giggle but really...a blog about the dogs?  I'm not that self indulgent not to know when something I find funny, others don't.  I'll be like one of those mums at the school gates who turn away when they see me coming.  "Oh here comes the boring know the one that always has a tale to tell...not funny!"

Can I just tell you this though? 

Ma phoned me the other day. She was crying with mirth.  Mirth I know.  Mirth is when something happens to someone else.  Mirth is merciless and can not be hidden.  I knew I would laugh but didn't know for how long.  They were in Waitrose, at the tills paying for their groceries.  Pa's become a little clumsy in older age and dropped his paper, whilst holding onto the bags, so Ma bent down to pick it up as he rummaged in his pockets for his wallet.  As he leant over to put his card in the machine he could feel his trousers slipping slowly down towards his knees.  Ma was still on the floor picking up the scattered paper but looked up to see the spectacle of my father holding onto the bags, rummaging through his pockets as the his trousers slid south.  Apparently (she said) she let out a screech of horror (which I interpreted laughing uproariously!), which attracted the attention others, not only immediately behind, but those in other aisles...who started to laugh.  I have visions of everyone pointing at my Pa...laughing.  It fills me with pain...but it doesn't stop me from giggling...just a bit!  Pa managed to hitch his trousers back up before it became a "offensive act" and scuttled out of the supermarket, with Ma trailing behind, weeping, barely able to walk.  When she stopped crying (with mirth) long enough, she called me.

Anyway, I digress.  I think I've had this conversation with myself several times over the past few years and I'm no clearer in my direction than when I first started. As it's only for me (my blog, I mean) and as I'm not trying to please anyone but me...perhaps I should carry on down this road...but if I do will the bloggers block continue?  Or has this little post broken the cycle? I hope so.  I so enjoy it here!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Is Venting good for you?

Okay, so we all like a little rant now and again. I'm good with that. It's fine.  It's normal. Isn't it what Facebook is for after all? Something annoys you so you have a little rant and release all that pent up angst and fury.  Keyboard warrior comes rushing to the fore.  Let it all out. It’s good for you.    But is it? 

I’m a member of a forum of which I’m quite active.  A few of the people on the forum are personal much as the internet allows relationships with people you don’t actually know in real life.  A few are also Facebook friends.  I’d posted something on Facebook which I thought was ironic, witty and sardonic.  However, someone to exception to the status and proceeded to lambast all similar posts on social networks on our little home (the forum). 

Now, I’ve taken this a wee bit personally as my status was clearly supposed to be humorous . This particular person waxes lyrical about being pious and saintly yet has the audacity to take others to task over something which is a personal choice.  What followed was a debate about people who don’t send Christmas cards, preferring to donate to “charidee.”   I think the “friend” was more cheesed off with the fact that people were posting it rather than the actual act.  What’s wrong with that?  Isn’t it a personal choice? The “friend” thought it was tacky publishing it for all to see, but isn’t it a way of letting people your FB friends know that you won’t be sending cards to them all?  
"Charidee?  Charity?  Wassat?"

 I send cards but the list has gotten smaller these days.  Relatives dying off; friends moving out of your life; lost addresses.  I used to love writing Christmas cards but now it’s just a chore.   Looking through my Christmas card address book (oh yes, I have one) I see the names of those no longer with us.  It makes me feel sad and it makes me feel vulnerable.  I send cards to people who are important in my life and people who I don’t see as often as I’d like, not to send a card for cards sake.  I send a card to a friend each year in the hope that one day we’ll be friends again; and I send a card to Mrs B down the road, so that she doesn’t think she’s been forgotten.  She’s not on Facebook.

But charity is a choice and there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong in letting people know you won’t be sending them a card, is there? 

One year I sent a card to a friend I hadn’t seen in years. We sent the yearly Christmas card but that was about it.  Soon before Christmas I had a phone call from her. 

“Is everything all right?” she asked 
“How lovely to hear from you! Everything's fine. Why?” I replied.   
“It’s just that Connors name wasn’t on the card and I wondered why. “ she said warily.   
“No, Connors fine...but he’s the dog”. 

Whilst it might feel good to get it off your chest research has shown that that “venting” could make you less happy and more angry in the long term.  Andrea Weckerle, president of CiviliNation, a nonprofit organization working to reduce online hostility and adult cyberbullying, said "Online hostility is a public health crisis. Lives are destroyed through aggression online,".

Actually, I feel a bit better now...thank you for letting me vent.   And she’s off my Christmas card list!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My Left Foot - Day 18

Yep, it's still there...marginally better but it wasn't that painful in the beginning so I can honestly say that it's been a bit of a breeze...until yesterday that is.
Yesterday, I thought I'd take a spin around town and do a little bit of well earned retail therapy. I thought I'd take a look at shoes as I haven't even been able to contemplate pretty shoes for a very long time.  Just practical ones...ones that didn't hurt.
I'd forgo the mobility scooter and take my chances on the crutches  I haven't been out since the operation -and I don't count the visit to the hospital to get the dressing changed and the visit to the petrol station, afterwards! So I was kind of looking forward to leaving the kids at home, especially as BH had volunteered to come home early to take me out for a coffee! How could I resist such a gallant offer? But I wish I hadn't.

It was...scary.  It was very scary.  I was invisible even with the crutches.  I was jostled. I had giant, audible "Tuts" whispered into my ear as able bodied humans whooshed passed. People came to stand in front of me as I peered at the baked goods.  I'd actually become invisible and a pest...both at the same time!

I was advised not to walk without the crutches in public.  People apparently avoid you when you're on crutches..apparently. Which wasn't apparent to me.

I kept my eyes to the floor in case, inadvertently came across an uneven pavement, or step. I couldn't move that fast and I couldn't avoid the crowd swervers.  You know, the ones who swerve out into the oncoming traffic because the crowd is moving too slowly, only to come nose and face to my forehead as I edged my way along hugging the shop-fronts. 

"Hrrumppp!!" one particular swerver admonished. My crime? Looking in a shop window.  He kicked my crutch (I'm sure in error) and had I not been resting on my good foot I would've gone "a" over "t"!

It's given me food for thought.  It's made me realise we take a lot of disability for granted as it's not ours.  Not the access, ramps or parking facilities but the small acts of human kindness, of thought, of care.
  • Being aware that when someone is on crutches they might not be able to take their hands off their crutches to prevent the door from slamming in their face. 
  • Thinking of assisting a customer who's appearing to have difficulty with a basket and is pushing it along with a crutch.
  •  Holding the lift as someone hobbles towards it and not keeping your finger on the "Close" button.  
  • Being patient in the car park as someone gets into the car whilst holding up the traffic as they couldn't manoeuvre their way passed the tightly parked vehicles. 
  • Thinking that because someone is disabled their capacity for coherence is limited too.
As we stood waiting for the lift to the car park (which had quickly disappeared on my approach) a middle aged woman turned to BH.

"Wassa matta wiv 'er. then?"

"Foot operation." he replied.

"Oh. My mum 'ad one and it was a nightmare. Couldn't get outta bed for a munf"

At that point I pretended I was deaf too...what was the point? She would never have got "it", would she? 

Friday, 26 July 2013

Overstepping Boundaries...get outta my zone!

We all know that personal space is that precious zone that others shouldn't encroach on. Sometimes we allow others in that zone.  Sometimes we allow others in to save offending them. Someone that gets up close and personal feels like either we're being threatened or comforted.

The other night I was at a party.  There's someone I've met on several occasions, and we've exchanged the usual chit chat, but I don't know her well. Each time, she gets up soooo close that her breast is rubbing against my arm.  She talks from the side of her mouth almost like she's whispering secrets.  I found myself leaning in closer. She's right in that comfort zone, but it's OK because it makes me like I'm a really good friend each time we meet.

There's another person at the party who also invades my space, but on this occasion I find it really off putting.  I move back each time they lean in. I know them well, but they just get too close for comfort and I find myself feeling very uncomfortable.  I want to say "Step're in my zone" but they continue to follow until I find my self pressing up against a chair or someone else...I'm invading their zone so step forward into the zone that's become a problem with them almost touching my nose.

Personal Space Calculator

My next door neighbour.  She invades my space. She cuts holes in the hedges when I'm not looking and each time I go into the garden I can see more holes she's cut through. The hole started off as a little hole and got so large that I had to put a shed in front of it!   It's driving me insane.  I've no idea why she's doing it, although she has mentioned that she wants the whole hedge down.  It's a weird one this, and I don't know how to deal with it.  Short of cutting it all back and sticking in a 9 foot fence which will take time, I don't want to feed into this "You cut a bit, I'll stick a another plant in, cut another bit, I'll find a piece of wood to block in the hole!"  I'm a little bit over sensitive on this subject.  We came home from our anual holiday a couple of years back and they'd taken down a 9ft section of hedging.  No discussion, nothing!  I told BH he'd better get round their PDQ otherwise the kids might hear some very choice words! So up went the fence which I didn't want in the first place. 

So that's boundaries and zones...I suppose one way to get them to back off is to lick their face!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

My left foot Day 11

I had a bit of a sneak preview yesterday. It's all looking pretty lovely. 

Who would've thought I'd be getting excited over a foot! I had to go and have the dressing changed and was a little apprehensive as she peeled but the layers but once the last layer came off and my foot was exposed I nearly wept. It looked great. It looks like it's healed...and it's all nice and straight and pointing in the right direction. 

I called in BH to have a look at the surgeons great handiwork and he peered over my shoulder squinting, exclaimed,

"Is it supposed to look all gory and mutilated? I'd get the Frankenstein boot on quick if I were you. You don't want to scare the kids!" 

He asked about the wire in the second toe and how they'd get it out...I stuck my fingers in my ears at that point and chanted "Lalalalalalalalala!" in case I heard the answer. 

As I stopped I caught the tail end of BH saying "...suppose they just pull it out!" 

The nurse explained exactly what had happened as immediately after the surgery I didn't really take anything in. I'd assumed they'd broken the toes with a hammer, used a sander 
and sanded down the bone..all very primitive like. I was surprised and delighted that they'd 
moved on from that type of barbaric surgery. What they'd actually done was broke the toes with a hammer, chiselled a V in the bone, put it together with a pin. Chiseled another V somewhere stuck in another pin. Stapled it somewhere, shaved something. The wire sticking out of the second toe was to keep it straight until it set then something would happen to it. I lost track with the first pin as my stomach was heaving ever so slightly. 

I told the nurse that I'd been wearing the boot in bed as I have a tendency to flex my toes and feet in my sleep and it seems to stop me doing it with the left one. 

"Wear your shoe in bed?" She exclaimed. " It's very unhygenic! You wouldn't normally wear tshoes in bed, would you?" 

So I gave it a whirl last night and what did I do? Flexed the foot! So on it'll go again tonight. 

I wish I'd taken a picture of the before.  I didn't.  I've taken plenty of it with the Darco shoe which rocks the foot backwards to the heel so that pressure it only placed on the back part of the foot.  I actually quite like it. It's comfortable but I won't be adding it the wardrobe as I've only been given one!
Darco shoe

I asked when I could start going out.  

"If you do go out then I suggest a chair."

"What sort of chair?" Thinking she meant one of those fold up ones that I could tuck under my arm...which might be a bit difficult as I'm still on crutches! 

"A wheel chair."

WTF!! Am I supposed to roam around the village in a wheelchair looking a fraud...I don't think so!  So I've been looking into the feasibility of hiring a mobility scooter! We've found one that might suit the whole family.  It has a back seat, a basket in the front and I thought we could add a side car so that BH could come along.

Mobility scooter
Mimi said she'd "Bling it up! " but I'm not too sure of the colour...

Luckily, I've had no pain.  I'd been reading horror stories of the amount of pain some have suffered and I can honestly say, hand on heart, I haven't had any.  

I've been doing a lot of sitting on my bum with my foot perched on the stool...watching daytime TV (which I've never had the chance to do!) or sitting in the garden under an umbrella watching the dogs and the kids frolic in the garden in this amazing weather.  They've been fantastic I can tell you...the dogs I mean!  I think they have this innate sense of something not quite right.  They've avoided my foot and skirt around me gently.  The kids however, haven't seemed to have mastered the art of avoidance and their patience has worn off. They don't see the crutches any-more and twice, each of them have inadvertently trod on my foot!   They still think I'm Super-mum and look at me in confusion when I ask them to empty the dishwasher!

Ah well......normality has resumed!


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