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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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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