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Mad Russian afterlife​

 Good Morning old man, and greetings on this day when at last you dare to look at the mirror of your past, with the eyes of the real world.

What have you achieved old man in the course of tumultuous existence, and who are you? The real you and not the extrapolation of your wanted desires and unfulfilled dreams?

Open your mind, old man, and taste the result of your self inflicted iniquities.

Your soul may cry without shame because you may believe that you have remained as proud as your own bloodline.

However, could your genetic heritage be only a figment of your imagination of your own chromosomes?

You see old man: You still do not know who you are yet.

It is a fact that you have been a factor in creating life…

What was a pleasure became a string of destinies…. children… grandchildren…

And the usual follow up of renewed dynasties.

You believe of course that you will be able to watch, through another dimension, the survival tribulations of all your descendants and attempt to guide their steps towards wisdom and love.

Your inquisitive and caring nature will probably resist the call of the master of the universe to join his own renewal through the absorption of your soul. Once it has left your flesh, blood and bones.

I know, old man, as I searched deep inside your mind, that you are not afraid of death. The only fear you may have could be an inner sentiment that you have not yet fulfilled some of your more attainable, and realistic goals.

Wasted or unexploded gifts, which we all possess and often ignore…

These could be the regrets of an afterlife, and it could also be through the line of some genetic heritage that one of your ancestors is attempting to reach you, and guide you.

Look again old man and listen to the real voices.

* written by my grandfather Nicholas Szynkarski- an eccentric, legend, philosopher, opportunist, a man ahead of his time. This is the introduction to one of his many mini-memoirs & fantasies mixed with nostalgia. He used to type it up on a dinosaur computer. In the days when we had to dial up to get a connection to access the internet.  I’ve kept hold of one of his books. This is the intro.

Dementia -merely human.

“I think that the only reason people hold onto memories so tight for so long is because memories are the only things that don’t change, even when people change..”   Unknown

This is a post that I  have wanted to write  for some time but my heart is still raw with pain. I’m comfortably numb as the song goes . No words I write can do justice to what this illness does to people we love.

We have had the plague

Chicken pox

Aids and HIV

Cancer.

The new cowboy in town in Dementia.

He has all the traits of the best cowboy in town

  • A steady hand

  • A look that says so much but not something you can be sure what it is thinking

  • It is true to it’s word

  •  It takes Pride in his work

  • A true perfectionist 

It doesn’t mind who it  consumes and takes out it the process.

This year DEMENTIA AWARENESS WEEK May 15-21  focuses on confronting your fears about Dementia.

The Alzheimers society is reaching out to give you support and information. You don’t have to fight this alone.  REACH OUT

I found this  – it captures how I feel whenever I see my Gran  and how helpless I feel.

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I’m going to show you some pictures of someone who has loved me for a long time.

But first

I must close my eyes

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AGE : 15.

STATE: awake

LOCATION : Kitchen ( Gran’s home ) South Africa

Gran comes shuffling in to the kitchen

“Que ce qui pas?

“Can’t sleep”

“I will make you a camomile tea” in her French accent .

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She spent a lot of time and money putting me in rehabs and looking after me when I was growing up.

I am possibly the  first and only person to have seen my Gran cry  that I know of — I’m not proud but honoured she trusted in me.

AGE:18 years

STATE:  possibly drunk or hung over

LOCATION: Gran’s Bedroom France

Grandpa was  not doing well. My Gran broke down.

All I could do was hold her.

She knew Cancer and Chemo  was going to be the   un-doing of him.

 He still tried to look after his ‘Trois filles’ ( me, Mom and Gran) until his last breath.

The greatest love affair ever!  ❤

What a pair they made.

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Grandpa got a massive contract with Loreal in the 1950′ -1960’s . He was the main sales rep for promoting the  Loreal brand  in Africa.

They travelled everywhere

Madagascar

Zimbabwe

South Africa

to name a few.

Gran had spent most of her life travelling. Her father was a general in the army. Her step father some sort of captain and she spent a few years in the cote de ivory and other places.

They had 6 children together

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And two other sons who I don’t have pictures of. She was and still is the queen of the family.

So much elegance ,grace and charm. She suffered a lot of heart ache in her life. Lost love, her mother was jealous of her as were her two step sisters.

She was kicked out of her home when she was 16 years old and pregnant. She went on to become a femme de menage and a beautician to survive the streets of Paris..

When she met my grandfather she never had to worry about love or  money again. Even when he passed on  from Cancer. Her twin sons and my own mother  still  after her.

The relationship she had with my mother was unbreakable- even now. My Gran  still demands my mothers time and is happier when she has her to herself.

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This last picture was taken in 2012 -four years ago.  My Gran’s 79 th birthday

She loves to laugh and is still a social butterfly just like my Bella Bee-

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Alzheimers and Dementia does not discriminate.

A cold and bitter night in the U.K..

 The Wind screeched out  a name

A lady manages to fumble with the keys to a door and lets herself out. 

Where is she going?

No shoes,

a  flash of car lights, 

 Great big BULGING eyes

FLAP ,FLAP

 a night gown whips around the lady’s ankles 

She couldn’t live on her own any more. She was find walking the streets in her night clothes, by her carer ,at the time on the coldest night the U.K. had in 2013.

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Gran in her new home – the first of three new care homes she would move to until the present.

This was a place with bells and whistles on. It was like a 5 ***** hotel.

In the few months she stayed here.

She was found sat in bed  drowning in her own piss.

She had spread faeces all over the walls and under her nails.

The home said she was too much trouble.

Funny, they didn’t have a problem with taking our families money for the few months she was there.

New home – two days until Gran’s 80th. Her twin sons came out to surprise her

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The day my Aunt died of lung cancer . My Mom got a call from her care home to say Granhad broken her hip. She spent 12 days in a normal hospital ward.. Always calling out. Neglected.

WAS THIS WHAT SHE SAW?

We thought we were going to lose her.

Three nurses,

A grand daughter,

A daughter.

a sedative

2 -3 hours

a struggle

Another sedative

FEAR

SCREAMS

SWEAT

PORES

TEETH EXPOSED – FERAL

EARS POUNDING

THIS SOUND      – my idea of Dementia raging  in audio.

 

She couldn’t speak but she could scream and lash out.

 I don’t  think I slept for 2 days after that event.

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Christmas 2009.

Gran  in hospital . The last time she would ever walk

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Gran loved to walk

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Gran will never walk again.

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She had to be moved to another  home that could meet her needs. No fancy hotel .

Gran’s 81st birthday

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I go see my Gran every week with my Mom. I take my daughter. I don’t want her to forget my Gran.

She went from speaking two languages, walking, laughing, taking pride in her appearance to this person.

To being a person who would blanche if she knew what she was like now.

Maybe she does and that is what makes her so angry still. 12728922_10206394372312168_9205953428105637055_n

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Yes, she screams and she can’t talk and she scares me sometimes because I don’t know what to do to help her; but she is still my Gran and she has a mental illness. 

IT IS NOT HER FAULT!

Her home she lives in now have really put quality over quantity. It;s not a show home -it is a home -home -check out  ROBERTS TOWN CARE HOME FB PAGE  .

The only people who have got my Gran to a place in her illness where she is  probably going to be able  to come to my wedding ceremony in June.

May is# MAKE MAY PURPLE   month.

Across the world May is the month for creating mental health awareness.

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Willing to believe

Life is  not fucking easy. Can  just put that out there and state the obvious. One minute you are up and on a high and then you hear a tiny whisper of news and it brings you crashing down.

Not trying to get cryptic and poetic. It’s not my style.

My thoughts are all over the place.

First day down of facilitator  support group  training. -I can tell you it is not easy to facilitate a peer led support  group.

I’m not going t give up.

six hours of intense training -what did Daisy learn ?

The only thing I can think of at this moment is what my ma has just told me My uncle has a tumour – in his colon – cancerous- 6 cm big .

Oh and I remember this quote

“In the silence of listening, you can know yourself in everyone, the unseen singing softly to itself and to you.”

Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/824105

I think it sums up what a facilitators role is and the need to be self aware all the time.

I lost an aunt to cancer last February and another uncle not many weeks after that to Cancer. My Gran’s dementia is in the final stages. I’m trying to carve out a new life for myself, my daughter. I am terrified of losing my own mother.

I’m human.

 Conflicted.

Mental illness sucks balls

. I really don’t need it to start causing shit when I have so many important things I need to get on with.

Like what ?

Well my life.

My family,

my career,

Volunteering

I’m not going to let this beat me. No matter how many panic attacks I get, how many times I weigh myself  or how complexed everything gets. I’m going to get through this. I will be there for my family.  I will succeed in my goals with volunteering.

 Went to the dentist and his  assistant says to me

“you are one tough cookie.”

 So did the tattoo dude when I got my new tattoo 2 weeks ago .

Yes, It’s a good job I have lived the life I have.

I can honestly say thank fuck for every experience that has led me up to this moment.

I am holding up pretty good.

 I’ve done a gym session, had a bath and read my daughter a story. I’m not going to go into what I learned today.

I need time to process it.

I’m not going into my uncles condition.

 I need time to process.

I am going to try and distract myself and read your lovely blogs and posts. I want to write but I feel numb. I feel like if I carry on writing like this – no emotion will come across in these words..

In a way I’m honouring what I always profess to be. I am honest to a fault. Transparent.

I am the first person to mock religion but the first thing I thought about when I heard the news about my uncle was :

I am willing to believe in a God if it makes my uncle better. I’m willing to believe that  there s still hope,the operation will be a success .I’m willing to pray to something I have never laid eyes on if it will heal the suffering of a person I love.

My heads all over the place.

 

 

Ashes and Fedex

 *If you are religious you may take offence to this post.* Just saying 😀

Ashes as you probably know signal the end of a person life. Nobody really knows when/ what ashes were and are exactly meant to represent. The most common symbolism is mortality.

Come, now people… let’s just accept we are all gonna die.

  In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are. We all bear the mark of sin, from the youngest babies to the oldest seniors. We all stand guilty before a holy God. We all are mortal and will someday experience bodily death. Thus we all need a Savior.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/ash-wednesday-practice-and-meaning/

 

 My aunt died of Lung cancer on 21/02/ 2015. She wanted to be cremated. We honoured her wish. She was a free-spirited hippy Catholic and she would rather give up her mortality -riddled with illness and attached to this mortal life by an invisible leash – so with courage and dignity she accepted her fate.  Morphine may or may not have helped her speed up the process.

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IT IS TRUE I FOUND IT ON GOOGLE.

This is a bit of a random story. My twin uncles were supposed to fly out from Miami to the U.K. for her funeral. They do a lot of travelling and were on an upgrade standby.

They didn’t make the funeral – no upgrade.  There were no more than 10 people at her funeral. That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

My aunt wanted her ashes to be spread in the Miami ocean – as close to Key West as possible. One night after having consumed many drinks she said to me all she wanted was to leave the world behind and move to key west and own a bunch of chickens and just be.

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Her saying was

‘Eventually’  (as in it will happen, whatever it is you  out seek out and work for eventually it will be )

I’m kind of thinking she got her to wish -some of her ashes must have lapped up on to the key west isle shores by now. I don’t know about the chickens ..

When I think about ashes as a symbol of mortality or sin, I am not superstitious. My uncles wanted to get my aunts ashes Fed- exed to Miami.

Yes, that is correct.

FedExed!

 They didn’t want to travel with them in case my aunt came back to haunt them or they spilt the ashes or for whatever “rational”  reason. Strange men -my uncles-

twins!

 so, doubly strange. ( I will confirm I love my uncles)

Are they so scared to face up to their own mortality?

Why should they be afraid when they are so religious and God-loving men?

In the end , they paid for a three-week trip, for my Ma to go see them in Miami,as long as she travelled with my Aunts ashes.

I have an eccentric family.

 Knowing my aunt like I did, she would have been giving my uncles a few clucks(slaps)  around the face telling them to ‘man up’ or ‘put on their big boy boots’ – so maybe she got her chickens in the end.

A double cluck!

I remember going to a catholic school that had a church – my Ma and Pa got married in that church. My family thought it would be a great idea to send me to that school.

No problem, except I, have never been baptised.

 

So, every ‘ash Wednesday’ we all had to come up and be marked with the ash cross of a sinner. My corruption and evilness were made crystal clear at those times.

Maybe I did need to repent.

I was more bothered about finding out how many  Easter eggs I was going to get. No one really explained what all this lent fuss was about to me.

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 All I cared about was going on an egg hunt.  My Ma used to do a pretty impressive empty basket dress up and let me go hunting in the garden.

Ash Wednesday is a day to stare death in the face, to acknowledge our mortality. All of us will die. Christians who observe this holiday get ashes “imposed” on their foreheads, while a minister or lay church worker says, “You have come from dust, and to dust you will return.” In other words, “You are going to die. And here are some ashes to remind you, just in case you’ve forgotten.”

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/ash-wednesday-practice-and-meaning/

 Ha ha! . Okay, this is awesome – Why not come together to confess we are all a bunch of sinners. My main problem with this is: why the hell Catholics( and other faiths)  get away with  being such hypocrites?

 Catholics do have a bit of a reputation of being one of the worst abusers of our kind towards people with ‘the most sin’ – that is people with mental health issues.

My quest for the symbolism has left me with feelings that are a  tad flaky.

THIS IS A SHOCKINGLY AWFUL POST. APOLOGIES.

Let me try and redeem myself.

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The last thing I want to say about  my research on the  symbolism of ash is:

I symbolise it with  war, hate and crime and greed

Many religions have some form of their own  ‘Ash Wednesday’, to hold innocent people accountable for their churches sins. Not sins of the present-day people but the sins of those who were in the past responsible for them  (and whose bloodlines are still in power of the Church)-

the blood slaying,

the abuse,

the greed,

sloth,

power-hungry psychopaths.

I might not know  exactly where I’m going after I leave my mortal body but at least I don’t use some flimsy

‘Ashes to ashes dust to dust’ quote,

to bring people together to acknowledge their so-called sins.

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POSSIBLE POST MORTAL DESTINATION ?

 

If there is going to be any kind of day where people come together to acknowledge their sins. It should start with the highest church orders and governments of this world to repent and who use religion to control and warp our society.

Lead by example?

just going to throw that out there.

I don’t need a day  OR a 40 day lent period to know when I have been bad or good.

So, let me be bad and kick the pedestals from those who preach words to the ‘sinners’

Can you tell I’m not buying into this whole ash -religion thing?

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I think I would rather curl up to a good book of vampires, witches and wear wolves than carry on.

 My main message:

Ashes to ashes dust to dust

seriously now what is the fuss?

 –  that’s about as poetic as I get.

(ALL IMAGES SOURCED FROM GOOGLE IMAGES)

Thoughts about eventually

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’ Janis Joplin

 Today is the first anniversary of my Aunts death.

Long story short: Mid June 2014 She moved to Costa Rica to work. For the 5 months she was there she suddenly couldn’t breathe. The doctor said she had COPD and that she needed to carry a portable oxygen machine with her at all times.

She came back to the U.K. and was admitted into the hospital. She was in the hospital for nearly 2 months being poked and prodded. The doctors didn’t think it was COPD. It transpired that she had fluid in her lungs.

I don’t know if you know the procedure for draining the fluid but I want to tell you so you can understand how brave my Aunt was.

They cut open a hole on of the side her body -fed a tube through the lung to drain the liquid. Yes, she was on morphine but she still screamed out in pain. Then once the fluid is drained they need to dry out the lung. They cut another hole on the other side of her body and blasted talcum powder into her lungs. Yes, she was awake for all this.

We all knew what she had. Two months later, she was told she had cancer and there was no more they could do. She went to stay with my Ma. I went to visit her the night she got back home.

I couldn’t stay long, I said.

I have so many things I need to do,I said.

We must have a movie night, kissed her on the cheek.

Then went on my way attending to my busy important life.

7 a.m. 22/02/2015

RING RING

“Hello…”

“Daisy! Something is wrong with Babs she is not moving, I don’t know she won’t answer me –BABS! BABS! –   I’m calling an ambulance.”

“Ma … Ma?”  No answer. I sat up in bed and did not react and then I thought – fuck this is not good.

One call and a taxi ride later,

I get out of the taxi as the paramedics are carrying my Aunt down the stairs in a wheelchair and into the ambulance. Pulse monitor flashing 16.

We were allowed to ride with her. Get to the hospital. She is rushed in for emergency care. The doors slam in our face. A doctor comes out and leads us to a quiet room to wait. We wait.

A doctor comes back in. My aunt is stabilised but she will be on machine support for the remainder of her days. What do we want to do?  Ma and I look at one another. Ma’s face crumbles.

“No, we let her go! she has to go no more pain” I speak up. Mom is nodding. The decision is made. No time to call other family members. We are allowed to enter the room. We pull up two chairs and watch as she dies in front of us, snowed under morphine. It takes seemingly forever for her to go.

We sing Janis Joplin’s ‘Merecedes Benz’ .

Tears

Tears

Tears.

PLEASE GO.

The death rattle finally comes and it takes forever for her to drown in her own spit.

“MOMMY” my cousin rushes into the room. We all turn back to my Aunt. She has gone. It is all over.

60 years of knowing her alive and 20 minutes knowing her on her way to death.

She didn’t want to be chained to an invisible leash- an oxygen machine.

My aunt was awesome, everyone got on with her, we were great friends -always giggling, she didn’t take shit from me. She was a true hippy and a traveller. She could read palms. She fought a good fight. Life was hers -she owned her life. Life did not own her until the end.  We used to joke that I became  a drug addict because she used to sing me ‘Puff the magic dragon’ without knowing what the other meaning of the song is.

One last song

ME AND MY BOBBY MCGEE

FUCK TATI I MISS YOU. I LOVE YOU. Wish I could hear you laugh again.