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.
It piddling rain here in South Galway and I'm in my living room covered up with a soft Pennys throw. It's darkish outside and it really feels like winter. Maybe we've bypassed autumn all together. I've been making pot after pot of my not world famous apple & ginger chutney. So, it must be autumn. Right!! The house is so quiet. Even Daithi the cat is staying nearby. I think he and my dog Lola feel the loneliness of the empty nest that I'm surviving in. Denis the goldfish hasn't really changed his routine so I'm pretty sure that he is oblivious to my plight.
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.)
Our son climbed Mount Elbrus this week. The highest mountain in Europe, one of the seven summits. Now, while this in itself is remarkable for anyone to achieve, it was something else for Philipp. Not only had he lost his dad just three months ago, he is also very ill. He doesn't talk about it much, it's not an illness one likes to talk about. Is isn't a visible illness either, so if you'd see him, you wouldn't notice. He's a bit pale, a bit too skinny, maybe. He wouldn't tell you that he is ALWAYS tired, that he's running to the loo ten times a day, every single day. He wouldn't tell you that he is in pain. He wouldn't tell you that he was hardly able to leave his room for two years, that he had spent his teenage years pumped full with high doses of steroids and tons of other meds.
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.
After Rodney left, after his party, I had so much energy. I didn't know what to do with myself. I just wasn't tired, even though I had very little sleep, it didn't bother me. For the last month I have been just so exhausted, all the time. My sleep is completely fucked up, as Philipp would put it. Instead of being awake until 4:30 AM, I am now staying awake til 6:30 or 7 AM. The amount of sleep I get is even more reduced, from 4 – 5 hours to 3 – 4 hours. I stayed awake for more than 2 days last week, eventually I fell asleep and slept for 14 hours. Waking up about 6 times, checking the date on my phone – yep – not the time, Rodney is still gone – back to sleep. Somehow my tired brain must have thought if I just sleep enough time will revert back. Didn't work.
What a month this has been! I was dreading it and so looking forward to things that happened this month. First Philipp's adventure. And I am still on a high about how well that turned out. (Did I mention just how proud I am ) And then there was the last weekend. I was so looking forward to seeing Rodney's friends. And, OMG, how I was dreading it. For many reasons. There was the obvious question - would I be able to let Rodney go?
Everybody’s grief is personal to them, and everybody grieves differently. There isn't a template, and there is certainly no handbook that will guide you.
How do you make an introduction that's not boring. My name is Susanne and I found this site only a few days ago. (OK, that is boring) I only put a short "Hi" in the members forum and got ever so lovely responses very quickly. I also offered to write a blog for you. When my husband became ill I set up a FB page to keep our friends informed, instead of having to call or email everyone separately. Yes, I'm lazy. Very soon I started writing longer pieces, and I realised quickly how helpful this was. The support I got in the comments from our friends, most of whom live quite far away, was immense and became a lifeline. But I also noticed writing things down helped me to cope better.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL I still ask myself this question every day, even though my husband died in 2010. It especially raises it's ugly head when things are going bad for me in work or financially or generally. I'm on sick leave again due to my medical condition of anxiety/stress responses. I do not like feeling this way and it takes a lot of work to get back to feeling normal. It's human nature right?? One part of my brain is telling me I'm a great girl to be as good as I am and the other part of my brain turns into a child-minded wreck. Sometimes there are no answers. There are only questions. Time after bereavement feels longer and more difficult to get through than before we have been bereaved. Or maybe it's because our focus has shifted to be on our own now and the adjustments we have to make in our every day life and dealing with the emotional fallout too.
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