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.
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.
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.
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over. Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand. Don’t abandon me with the excuse that you don’t want to upset me. You can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, “I’m sorry.” You can even say, “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that.”
This year more than any I can feel healing going on for me and I only say that to show that there is that hope to cling to. Winter and Christmas are bloody difficult times. For many here this is their first Christmas since the world stopped turning. The rest of the world keeps spinning but ours stopped on a particular day, on a definite minute.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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