We are just over the December half way mark and it is time to put my self reflection goggles on, and take a look back at what has happened this year- good and bad. My main aim is to reflect on each month and to look for the silver lining. Ambitious. Just a tad- but achievable. I thought about doing a gratitude list but that sounded so lame. Everyone does a gratitude list and I don’t wanna! Tomorrow my feelings may change -such is the nature of our emotions. The waffling stops here. It’s not all depressing.
My aunt was back in the U.K. from Costa Rica. 23/01. She arrived in a wheel chair on an oxygen support machine 24/7. I was like you are seriously having a fucking laugh, bud.. Where is my hippy aunt? She was in the best place she could be-in a geographical context- and she was going to get all the help she could in the U.K.
The doctors were brilliant but they couldn’t find a diagnosis until the 15/02. She was sent back home to live with my Mom. I received a call from my Mom at 07:30 am on 22/02. I needed to get to my mom’s house,now! I arrived at my Mom’s house. The ambulance was there and two paramedics were carrying down a grey, pallid limp form -a body with the head slouched down into a neck. I ran to over to the trio. My aunt’s pulse was a shocking 16 bpm.
At the hospital we were ushered into a private room while doctors tried to stabilize my Aunt. A doctor came in. He had his best poker face on.I was not expecting him to ask what decision we must make in regard to her life. Life is kind of like a big thing! Here is me and my ma playing fucking devils advocate. Do we keep her on life support or let her go free? Release the metaphorical dog- leash chaining her in this world of pain . Cancer doesn’t look like it will ever get into a la mode -the high fashion way. What kind of pain? how about having a whole punctured into the side of your lungs draining liquid from one and talcum powder poured into the other to dry out the remaining liquid. No! No more poking and prodding. No more pain. The morphine wasn’t helping any more, so we did what we had to do. It was grim. yes the Grimm Reaper took her -she didn’t know I hope-she hated shit like that- she was snowed with morphine.
We sat with her until her last moments. Singing Janis Joplin’ Mercedes Benz’ to her and ‘puff the magic dragon’. She used to joke that was why I became an addict. She didn’t know that the song had drug connotations until some one explained the other version to her. We used to laugh at this. A lot.
An hour later. Body still warm. I received another phone call. My Gran with Alzeihmers and Dementia had fallen in her care home and was in hospital in another city -freaking out- and waiting to go in for a hip operation. That! I mean to see her like that was fucking soul destroying. Do I always swear? I don’t know.. I’m not taking notes.. I’m posting them.
My husband to be celebrated his 30th birthday on 14/02. We lost our camera and I like a bitch blamed him. We went to buy anther camera to capture his special day.All was well again but the mood was dour. A round of a applause to me.
Silver lining: I understand how short life is and I understand how important it is not to hold grudges and resentment. I also learnt how much fun snow is. My daughter reminded me of the magic of snow. I was slowly beginning to learn that living in the moment is what really matters.
We found a new care home for Gran. She would never be able to walk again and her care-needs had changed. Around this time my other Nan started to become more involved in mine and my daughter’s life again. It had been a tough 2 year struggle to keep together, as a family, with social services stirring shit into the mix.
Mothers day. I was more concerned with my weight but I tried to mask it. I had a bit of mini celebration chez moi for my Mom and for me and my daughter. It makes me want to cry at how selfish I was. In March was also ‘world book day’ at school. I remember buying my daughter an Alice in wonderland outfit .I am not sure I read to her. I wish I could remember.
silver lining– I am good at self analyses and I am not in denial of what a bitch or how selfish I can be. I also can be a top draw kind of girl. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.
Easter! I got Isabella a few eggs and hid them in the house. The weather was a bit shit. England was having a rare off day -weather wise. I look back and see I was too wrapped up in my illness-again. It- the illness gets so fucking boring. It puts me to sleep from the monotony of it all. How fat/thin I looked. I was not in the present fully. I did give my daughter and family an average Easter.In my mind, I could have done more. Put on a’ better spread’ so to speak.
Silver lining- moments are precious. I realise how quickly life passes us by. We grow so quickly and maybe not in the way we want or expect. I have realised this: It is not too late. This April -2016- the weather and me will have a pow wow and I will win.We will go out side and it will be all about family and shedding the webs of winter… I will start reading more to my daughter- just like I used to.
I went to my partners mates 30 th surprise birthday. Why didn’t I think of doing that? I was too wrapped up in my own insecurities to give my partner the best birthday he deserved. He still says his birthday was awesome. I know in my heart I did okay but I could have done better. It took me some time to see that only very close family and a couple of friends turned up to his mates do.That was what mattered. Success was in a few people turning up. Not everybody came, but those that did made it that much more special.
We went out to York. A rather lovely friend gave me the opportunity to go and do something I love and to help me expand and find inspiration for my final project for my degree. We went to a theatre in York,U.K.
A play by Brecht. I felt newly born. This is where my heart grows wings and flutters. Such a lovely and simple cliche….
6th May.. I went to court with my supportive family and the judge revoked the care order on my daughter and praised me for being a good mother. At last some fucking recognition!
May was also my little girls first ballet recital, in a proper theatre. The motherly pride kicked in. Finally, I felt like a true Mom. I cried when I saw her dance. Three years old and on the stage – a natural. So delicate and obviously the best dancer out of everyone.
My Mom’s birthday. We went out to celebrate. Had a great meal. Mom was beaming – glowing -though that could also be put done to her Evian water intake.
Whatever right? She looked happy.
The TGI staff made her stand on the booth chair and have ‘the TGI happy birthday style’ sung to her. My Mom is quite shy but she loved it. I was also taken aback at my sudden admiration for my cousin. She was still trudging through life even though she was/is struggling -massively with her grief and coming to terms with her moms- my aunts -death.
Silver lining: I know what makes me happy. I understand the lesson life threw at me and grabbed it with both hands. I know how to kill two birds with one stone and get results I am proud of. Having fun helped me get a first in my final course in uni. I get it that what I do doesn’t have to be the best. That it is the gesture and effort put in to something that is important. Try convince the perfectionist in me. PLEASE!
I do have a good heart no matter how painful life can be with what it decides to throw at me. Happiness is just a few steps over the other side of that fence ,on the right. A few hedge rows back and next to the rainbow- side with the pot of gold or a riddle. It doesn’t take much to make people you love feel loved and special. It’s okay to laugh at yourself and be goofy.I do this a lot.
We spent a lot of time visiting my Gran. It was tough. I won’t lie. Sometimes I clock watched. Okay, I clock- watched every visit.This is the truth. I didn’t see a glimmer of fight in my Gran’s eyes .All I saw was death -void and menacing. Daring me to give Gran my time and my love. I had given up hope. I thought my Grans numbers were closer to ending than I expected.
June surprised us, islanders-living in the U.K. with a glorious sunny day. A perfect time for a family day trip out to a place called -‘Jerusalem farm.’ We got lost and there were no animals to be found.I blamed my partner. Poor man! Why call a place a farm if it has nothing that resemble a farm? Even the birds were in hiding..
We got to see a few tadpoles. Hooray! I kept the icy silence up for a good hour and then realised we were together as a family and we could make the day special without seeing any animals. Hell we could be the animals. We nearly lost my daughter’s shoe to the mouth of a stream but it was a great day out.
Silver lining: Expect the unexpected. Be kind to others.. I don’t need many props to make me happy -it all comes from within. Happiness is an attitude. We have all seen that quote or is that just me? Bubbles are a great prop to carry around- there is something that unties the inner child within me when I see bubbles. Oh , how can I forget a single Daisy picked from my daughter was one the most precious gifts I’ve ever received. Looking back, I need to get involved with my families life and bake more cookies .Don’t be so sure in my judgements- allow space for the unexpected.
More sunshine… lots of of bowing and curtsying this month to mother nature. Thanking her for her generosity. Another day out with my family including my estranged Nan. This is an epic moment because social services kept us apart for 16 months. We needed to rekindle our relationship again. We had both changed and learned a lot. It was an amazing day. It was also a shit day. I had put on weight. I refused Anorexia to geet the better of me. So, I took off my T-shirt and tanned in my bikini top. If you have ever been to the U.K. and not stayed near a beach ,on a hot day, and you then decide to whip off your top; expect outrageous stares of ‘who the hell does that flawed girl think she is?’ and prepare yourself or possibly get your face in the local newspaper.
Silver lining: I was beginning to see alcohol and other poison didn’t need to feature in my life just because it was a sunny day. I also learnt to relax and sit with my feelings and my body. I learned to enjoy spending quality time with my family. I learned not to run away from my insecurities but embrace them as hard as it was to do that. I learned to tell my thoughts to fucking pipe down . They don’t listen to me all the time but some of the time is a good start..
To reinforce this family time. I made more of an effort to get out and go to the park and spend some quality time with my daughter and partner. I would not let my oddities dictate that I wear a niqab to hide my skin .I was going to wear a short top and let it all hang out. I also learned you cannot expect to get away with emotionally neglecting a Bengal cat – named Tatiana. She will piss everywhere and even try and take a bath with me to get my attention.
One fine June day, we went on a day out to the seaside with my partners side of the family. It was awesome! It rained and rained but we did we let that stop us from getting our feet wet and introducing my daughter to the ocean? Do I have to answer? We laughed. We got to ride in a Cinderella style horse drawn carriage. . I realised how important this trip out was for not just me and my daughter, but for other people due to their own issues. I say his because when I saw the state of the weather I was tempted to pull a sickie. One day away from home is a gift. More days like it are needed.
Silver lining– don’t let the weather dictate my day- just because I live in a country obsessed with the weather does not mean I must become a slave to it. More practice is needed to find a balance between living like a hermit and roaming like a travelling gypsy.
It took all of my courage to shed my hang ups, to go and say goodbye to a great ex-tutor of mine. He was thee driving force behind my success in completing my acting performance degree in uni/college in 2009-11. It was empowering to allow him to see me as the person I am today. It waas his retirement party and I made the effort to see him in a way that didn’t make me feel awkward I went early -way before the party started- alone and had a lovely chat with him and avoided the big party. I don’t think he wanted to go, to be honest.
silver lining: it’s okay not to fit in with everyone. As long as I personally get to do what I want to do and it doesn’t harm anyone, then that is cool. I’m living life for me and not others. It also helps to buy a good whisky as a retirement present.
Family flew from all over the world to celebrate my gran’s 81 st birthday. It was dire to begin with- Gran had not recovered well from her fall in February. The light was dim. Expect the worst we said. We had a huge party at her care home. She came out with the words ‘I love you ‘ to one of my uncles. Her eyes were full of sparkle . They bubbled. It was a magic moment. I hadn’t heard my gran speak for over a year! She also burst out laughing when one of the staff tripped. My family saw a different side to me too. It was empowering and reinforced I was on the right road at last.
Silver lining: Money may seem like the perfect gift but respect is lasts longer and it is far more rewarding. I learned not to under estimate people. My gran had fought hard to get back to her new self in her journey with Alziemers and vascular dementia. Never give up on those who are lost. High English tea with my family is like a mad tea party. I love being a part of a contrary family. Always keep a sense of humour. The best medicine there is.
My daughter started pre school in her new school. When did she get so big? As a family me, her Dad, her Great Nan and her Bam Bam supported her to go with her to her first day at school. Did I cry? just a little. It was also my daughters 4 th birthday in Ocotober. I had to organize it all by my self.
Be around people!
Be a host to people!
aaaaaaaargh, my worst nightmare.
I couldn’t not do anything. She needed a huge bash and I couldn’t be selfish and just take her to a restaurant. She was going to be 4 years old.She needed to be around her friends.
I organised a tenpin- bowling party. I’m such a grown up! I chose a place I could manage my feelings and still get everyone to have an okay-ish time. My daughter was ecstatic- that is what matters, right?
And so, from a celebration of life it is inevitable that we need to celebrate a life lived full and into death.
My great Nan passed away at the grand age of 97.
silver lining– When I am left to wing it. I can do it and successfully. Not everything is about me. people have their own issues with socialising etc.. I understood how important a role model I need to be- more than ever. I am so going to to end up like that parent who is over- involved with my girls school and her education. What the fuck? Not such a role model statement but an epic epiphany for me.
I also got an insight into the fact that old people grieve too. It’s seems a given that old people should accept death, just because they may be closer to it than a younger person. I learned the value of listening and how powerful this can be to help a person. Hugs work too. I was starting to believe I could become everything I could possibly dream of and more. I Also came to terms with the idea that my Mom is entitled to a two week break in Miami without me,: as long as she comes home with gifts . Cheesy grin.
I graduated with a BA with honours. What an epic day. I had totally forgotten I would be a graduate, because my studies stopped in May and the ceremony was only in November. I cannot properly explain what it feels like to go to a ceremony and be acknowledged for all the hard work I had done. I also signed up to national novel writing month. I needed to get 50 000 words or more down for my first novel in the 30 days in November.
I did it!
I had my own birthday at home with my daughter and my hubby – be. It was low key and perfect in every way.
silver lining- A graduation and birthday ceremony combo can turn out to be the highlight of 2015, only if my hubby chooses the right restaurant. Which of course he did- he smashed it.
I have more empathy with others. I can get shit done when I push myself. I realise I am the kind of person who constantly needs a challenge or two to survive and feel alive!
Home made truffles are a bit of a nightmare. They taste so good my body can’t take it all in and I start changing shape…
Is half way over with. I have been training up and gaining skills to be a great volunteer. I have just completed another 12 week challenge – a support group to teach life skills, and help others create wellness recovery action plans for themselves . I’ve immersed myself in the volunteer sector. I am not even into 2016 yet and already this up coming year is brimming with new experiences, dates and appointments. There is even the chance to formulate a support group for people with eating disorders from finish to start. Every person I seem to speak to leads to new ventures and possibilities ,to collaborate and live on this planet doing what I was born to do. LIVE!
I have had panic attacks for nearly two months but I am reaching out for support. We put up the Xmas tree with no drama this year. My inner diva didn’t get the invite.
Silver lining: I get to drink a few cocktails on Xmas eve because I want to and because I can control my drinking. I will be with my family. Even though my uncle is a raging alcoholic, I’m glad he is still with us and not dead. Thats a fucking positive thing to put down. Hahaha.
I have an amazing husband to be. He has taught me what good can come out of a human. Isn’t that so cheesy but its also a teeny tiny bit beautiful. Admit it!
I almost love myself more now. ( okay need wrap up this post)
I don’t think I will ever love myself as much as he loves me; but I will make more of an effort to show him I love him. I’m not great with affection . Reaching out for help is scary but I have my WRAP plan. By the time the new sun rises for some people in other parts of the world, and who may read this. I will have support from my from my psychiatrist for my panic attacks. You have read my Daisy willows welcome? It is shorter than this post. Thanks for reading it this far and indulging me. What can I do for you?
Hard work is hard. It is draining and tiring but it is rewarding. Judge less – that is going to help me again. I’ve accomplished so much. 2016 has many lessons to teach me. I am forever life s dutiful student….