The Irish Hospice Foundation has produced a number of helpful videos dealing with loss and bereavement. This video entitled, ‘Living with Loss’ is four women who share their story. They talk about what it was like after their loved one died and how they were affected by the loss. They tell us what they found helpful and how they have managed to come through the early difficulties of bereavement. In the video they mention the benefit of the Bethany Bereavement Support Group and how it helped them to communicate their loss. Bethany Bereavement Support Group is a voluntary parish based ministry which aims to help the bereaved and grieving.
When my husband was in ICU I would come home from the hospital feeling tired and wired up too. So, sleep was out of the question as my mind was wandering around the world and back. So much information and anxiety! The house was eerily silent compared to the whirr and click of the machines which were keeping my husband alive. Having decided to go to bed I switched on the TV to watch BBC and Sky News. After a few nights I realised that if I left the news programme on but decreased the volume then I would drift off into a peaceful enough sleep. I finally got into that sort of routine at night. Listening to news presenters was an ideal but weird kind of sleeping tablet. During the day I would drive into the hospital to meet the ICU teams and visit Dave. It was difficult to see him there in a coma and hooked up to machines. He was just a shell of a man or so I thought.
Bank Holiday Weekend. Ugh! So, I had a 'stay in bed and stare at the ceiling' day. I hate those. I am feeling paralised and useless. My heart is pounding in my throat and I have nightmares during the short naps I get. I know, that getting up and doing stuff would help, make it better, but I can't. In five minutes I tell myself. Just another cup of tea... Go downstairs to make tea, only to get dirty looks from the cat. Her food bowl is half empty. I argue with her for a while but eventually she wins. Back to bed. I can hear people chatting outside, laughing. Bugger off! Someone's knocking on the door, but I CAN'T get up. Leave me alone! (Later I found that a friend had left a bag full of rhubarb, herbs and homemade jam by my door.) The whole day went by like this. I'm glad it's over. Yesterday was different. A nearly normal day. Early in the morning I took the hound for a run on the beach, my daughter and I went to the cinema, son came over for dinner, laughter and chatting. The cats had brought a huge mouse (or tiny rat) in the house, so armed with two brooms (and lots of screaming) I got it out. Where it died of a heart attack shortly after. (We had a similar experience recently with a bird, I'll tell you about it another time.)
Valentine’s Day is a day when the death of a spouse, particularly if the death has taken place in the past year, is felt even more acutely. An aching loneliness lies in knowing that there is nobody from whom a Valentine’s Valentine’s Day. Celebration of Love. Pictures of Cupid flying above. Valentine’s Day. Your loss more immense. Heartache increased. Pain more intense. Valentine’s Day. Remembering you. There’s no place for singles when everyone’s two. For many people, Valentine’s Day is yet another of those annual events when consciousness of being alone in a world of couples is heightened. Phychological research shows that the confluence of commercial forces, societal norms and personal pressure to participate in St. Valentine’s Day all contribute to stress surrounding the Westernised celebration of the day. This is not surprising. Valentine’s Day is the day when romantic love is privileged. Therefore, all those whose relationships have ended, who have broken up with boyfriends or girlfriends, who are single, who are separated, divorced or bereaved, feel the singularity of their situation on this day. It is a busy day for the Samaritans because the depths of loneliness, of difference, of exclusion, of feeling unloved, unwanted and unattached, are confronted by many on Valentine’s Day.
Joe Biden was Widowed Young News this week US Vice President Joe Biden will visit to Ireland brings to mind a speech he gave back in 2012. In 1972, twenty nine year old Biden was elected to the US Senate. One week after the election he lost both his wife and daughter in a traffic accident that also injured both his sons. Understandably, he almost resigned his seat. Despite his grief, he took the oath of office at the hospital bedside of his injured son Beau.
So. I'm off work on sick leave. Again I have found my inner self being in conflict with my work self. Stress and anxiety. How to cope? Small steps forward led me back to an activity that had been a joy to me throughout my life. I've rediscovered my love of reading. I joined the Galway City Library recently. For free. Hundreds of books from A to Z. I was going to substitute a novel instead of doing more therapy. I was taking a big chance but it's working.
Last Will and Testament of a Lover – by Clifford Ellis I found this book in the first few weeks after my husband’s death when I still could not even say the word death. I...
And the "Mother Of The Year" awards goes to... Where were we? Feeling miserable? Being a useless mother? Not sleeping? Too much crying going on? No energy? Yeah, something like this. So, school has started. And we survived the first week. Another big achievement considering I nearly poisoned my daughter. And I totally grossed her out. All in one day. Last Monday - first day of school. I started off do well. Got up early to fix her uniform, to make her lunch, to make sure she gets up on time. Doddle right? Just one kid left, nothing else to worry about... When we left the house I noticed I had used a blue thread to fix her black uniform. Oh, well. Spent the day doing whatever until it was time to collect Katie from the bus stop. As she walked towards me I noticed a somewhat not impressed look on her face.
I talk to my children about their Dad very regularly. Tell them funny stories about my life with him or stuff he told me about his younger days. I’m trying to fill in the gaps. I edit out the bad stuff because that was between him and me as I’m trying to keep a positive set of memories alive in their heads. They have lost a male role model. Someone who was there to teach them to drive, teach them how to make pancakes, teach them how to survive life and all its difficulties. A father offers a very different relationship to his children than the mum does. Of course, we both loved our kids and raised them together but, each parent brings their own skill to the job of parenting.