Home Authors Posts by Dolores Duggan
If you did a straw poll and asked folk what is their favourite season I'd hazard a guess that a lot of the answers would be Summer and Spring. After all they are the two seasons of growth and renewal. What's not to like about Summer? The days grow long. The sun shines and it's holiday time. Spring is the beginning of the end of Winter. Daffodils poke through the cold, wet ground and Mother Earth awakens from her Winter sleep. So, what about poor old Autumn/Winter? I like being different. I am not a great fan of Spring or Summer. There's too much light around. I love the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that poet John Keats wrote about and and the Road Not Taken by Robert Frost.
I haven't posted in a while. Apart from being on sick leave from work for stress and anxiety I've caught a nasty cold and a really irritating cough. The runny nose is gone but the cough persists. I had a similar cough last autumn/winter. That lasted for four months. I just feel drained and tired. My daughter is on holiday in New York and the house is so quiet and empty. I really love the autumn season, so, I try to stay focused on keeping healthy in both mind and in body. I had the largest crop of apples in the thirteen years since I've lived here. I made loads of chutney and stored two full boxes of apples in my shed. Everyday I look out at my garden and look at the leaves turning into many different hues of autumnal shades. Leaves are scattered everywhere and the small wild birds are flocking around the bird feeder as they try to survive.
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.
I'm trying so hard to make sense of my World. This post may be an exercise in naval gazing. I make no apologies for that fact. Definitely a deep, dark look at the way I now view the world. There are plenty of opinions and advice given to us when we are bereaved: You'll get over it. Time heals all sadness. You'll find someone else. You've got to get on with things. You should be better by now surely?
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.
I've been watching the 2016 Rio Olympic games from the start. I've loved watching many sports over the years but, to be pretty honest I've lost my mojo for getting into all things Olympic because of all the doping and corruption scandals. I began to watch last week with a huge dose of cynicism. Today I shed tears while watching the rowing finals. Ireland's O'Donovan Brothers have won a silver medal. It will be the first medal in Olympic rowing that Ireland has won. I felt very emotional and move
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.
Raging against the dawn. Why now? Why me? I’m overwhelmed and feeling angry just about everything. I can’t understand why I’m so angry with life? It’s six years later after the death of my husband I am angry beyond any bounds every day and often at night. I am twisted with rage against the world. Can’t understand why this is happening now after all this time. My therapist advised me to let my feelings out. Free them and they would set me free. I answered by saying I was not an angry person. I accepted the trials that life put in front of me. I was a world class avoider of all things menacing and confrontational.
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.
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.