Grave

I’ve written a number of posts recently. They are currently sitting in the draft folder, that graveyard for the unpublished.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with them: they’re just incomplete. I write without a plan or even a clear process – diary-like, I write what is relevant at the time. Believe it or not, I am conscious of making mistakes (although I am aware I do) and will leave a post for checking and publishing later. This, clearly, often doesn’t happen. When I finally go back to the post it is no longer relevant so I don’t post it. Silly, really, as this matters only to me.

I’m sat on the 12.47pm train to London. I shouldn’t be.

The plan was to get the 18.47 train. But then life spun, as it often does I’ve realised, and my options changed.

On Sunday evening, my sister text me quite late at night, asking if I was awake. She called me, and let me know that my cousin was in hospital in a coma. He had collapsed whilst eating and they suspected a heart attack or stroke. His own father had died at a similar age of a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of my Dad’s siblings had heart issues, as did my dad.

I haven’t seen my cousin for a while. He is older than me and since Dad’s death, I see less and less of his family. This cousin used to visit my Dad regularly though – one or twice a fortnight – and was one of the few people who did. He had shown me kindness in the past, and whilst latterly had clearly been poisoned by my evil step-brother, I was sad about him.

I didn’t sleep well.

The next morning, I was informed that he had indeed died, not of a heart attack. It appears he had choked on his food. The ambulance did not arrive for 50 minutes.

I don’t know any more than this. My guess is that his wife had suspected the heart attack and maybe didn’t check. Or perhaps she was unable to help him. Either way, my heart ached for her and how she must feel now.

Yesterday I felt low, grave, morose. I drove to town to drop off my PCR test but there was no excitement. I got home, exhausted, and messaged my boss to let him know I was not great. He offered the rest of the week off and after much stressing and contemplating, I agreed.

At 10am this morning I changed my train ticket, hastily finished preparations, and here I am.

I still feel low. I should be excited, and there have been moments of that, but I’m not really.

As usual, I have put my own pressures and worries on to this trip before I even started. This situation has just added to it.

What I will say, is that his face has been the only thing to make me feel an ounce of happiness. He is like a sunbeam, breaking through my dark clouds.

I can’t wait to see him.

Erm….no.

Have you read my last post? Please do. You will hear me tell you that my antidepressants have really helped me stay calm today, on the third anniversary of my dad’s death.

I’ve spent the afternoon crying and anxious. So, no it hasn’t numbed me.

Then just to top it off, work called me before. They have received the Occupational Health report – I haven’t- and the big academy boss wants a meeting on Thursday. Instantly, I felt sick.

I’ve called the union guy but no response as yet. I’ve been anxious and nervous ever since.

And no, Wildcard has still not discussed his borders opening and his desperation to see me as soon as possible.

Ok, then.

Underwhelmed

You never thought that I would write that, eh?

My state of being seems to be constantly overwhelmed although I do an amazing job of ploughing through it 90% of the time.

So why the title? Allow me to explain.

Today is the three year anniversary of my dad’s death. It’s a weird one, because I actually count yesterday too. On the 6th June 2018 we made the decision to end my dad’s suffering and take him off the respirator which was prolonging his life. He was tired, bruised and had suffered for two weeks in attempt to pull through. He was staying alive for us. Fighting, but ultimately losing.

That day we said our goodbyes. And then my sisters and I stayed with him all night, watching him fall unconscious, singing to him, talking to him, loving him the best we could at his bedside. So although he died at 1am on 7th June, we lost him on the 6th.

My eyes are stinging as I write this, but there are no real tears. Maxed out antidepressants will do that to a girl. If you remember, a month ago when all the crap with work started I was reluctant to up my dose – defiantly not wanting work to be the thing that put me on max dose. Honestly, I’m still not sure I should have agreed – I’m not the walking zombie I was four years ago. But I have taken them and today I am coping.

The fact is, for the first few years, every significant date seemed like a massive hurdle, a tsunami of emotion. Today, I realise it doesn’t matter what day it is. I miss him every single day. I wish he was here every single day. So the date is irrelevant.

Except of course it isn’t. And I probably will cry at some point. But, I’m not the mess I was last year, or the year before.

And I’m convinced dad sent me a little gift last night. Late at night I received a message from a friend telling my that Wildcard’s borders are finally opening and that at present, the UK are on the list for entry.

You know I believe in the power of coincidences. And for me, at this time, being told that is a gift, a message….

Life changes. It has its ups and its downs. It ebbs and it flows. And you just have to ride the waves, keep your head above water and keep swimming.

Being honest though, the underwhelmed title is less about me and more about Wildcard.

Last night, whilst morosely but stoically remembering the pain of my dad’s passing, I was also filled with an excitement and happiness about the news. (As someone with anxiety and depression, I am a pro at feeling conflicting emotions at once.) I went on to Ryanair to see the flights and allowed myself to reach in to the now no so distant future to when I can fly to Wildcard.

So this morning, I was even more looking forward to speaking to Wildcard. I sat, drinking coffee and attempted to complete a painting I had started of me and my dad. Up until this week, I haven’t had the strength to finish it (thank you antidepressants).

So when he called and we had got the daily ‘good mornings’ and ‘how are yous’ and ‘did you sleep well?’, I waited for the moment…

‘So, do you have any news?’ At this point he is in the car driving to work. He is a little late, as always, and 19 months in, I know the exact moments of his drive to speak and when to wait whilst he manoeuvres out of a junction etc.

He hasn’t mentioned the borders. Maybe he doesn’t know yet?

So I tell him.

“Ah yes, around the 15th I think.”

So he did know. And that was that. No hasty discussion about when I was coming, not even excitement that it won’t be long until we are together.

I was stunned. There was a few moments of silence.

“What baby?” He glanced at me as he drove.

Maybe this isn’t the time. He’s driving, he is late for work. It is my Dad’s anniversary. His friend died yesterday. We are still on amber.

“Nothing, I’m ok.”

And so, today, that is what I will settle for. An underwhelming ‘ok’.

Lost

Well-meaning people are beginning to get on my nerves.

“It is meant to be”

“It is a fresh start”

“A chance to try something new”

“A chance to do what you really want”

Here is the thing:

I’ve not just potentially lost my job. I’ve lost so much more:

Faith in myself

Trust in myself and others

Pride

My sense of achievement

Everything I have worked hard for

Who I am.

I’m not beautiful. I’m not slim or sexy. I’m not intelligent. But I was successful. I worked hard and I made it.

And now it is lost. I’m lost. Because I don’t know who I am without it. Or if I will ever have the strength again to find something else.

New/s

I know it has been a while. Sorry about that.

For a while, things just stayed the same. Work. Housework. Children. Videochats with Wildcard. Borders still closed.

Then I had some news. The bad kind. The sort that you don’t really expect.

Long story short – so unlike me – is I am going to lose my job.

Apparently, although I have been highly successful with positive feedback, pay progression and promotions year on year….apparently now I am crap. And need to go on to capability.

I have done nothing but cry for 5 days, so don’t be fooled by my flippant tone. I’m destroyed, betrayed and very lonely.

My union is on the case but…we both agree that I am clearly not wanted. The pressure is being put on to get me to leave.

Tomorrow I will not go into work.

I don’t know if I will ever go in again.

That is my news.

Oh, and the borders are still shut.

Helpless

Despite everything that has happened in the last 15 months, I can safely say this day has been the hardest in our relationship.

Not the time when he wouldn’t answer my calls as he was angry. Not the one and only time I ‘lied’ and got caught out. Not even when the myriad of exes have filed in, looking to rekindle their relationship with him.

Today has been the worse. Is the worse, still.

I feel utterly HELPLESS. I have sent texts periodically throughout the day but I have ruminated about every single one of them. How often should I message? Should I leave him to it to give him and his family space? I want him to have the strength to get through the day but feel he can let go with me. How do I word that? How can I show support from thousands of miles away when all I want is to be there with him?

Seeing his pain is torture. Feeling so far away and helpless is torture. Waiting for him to contact me, just so I know he is OK- as ok as you can be – is nearly killing me.

He has always been sensitivity supportive over my grief. His words have comforted. But at the same time, I knew they came from someone who has not experienced the extent of that grief. I wouldn’t wish that grief on anyone.

Yesterday, I saw in his face that he knew it was coming. She was sick, yes, the first round of tests showed that, but her decline had come swiftly before the scans and treatment could be organised.

When he showed me her frail body, she was sat up, and for a moment I had hope that he was just panicking. She would get through this. But I could see it in his eyes.

Later in the evening I messaged to check he was ok and he replied he was. I reminded him that he could call me whenever.

At 3.45am I awoke. I reached for my phone to check the time and could see he has messaged me 2 hours earlier. I took a risk and messaged back. Within minutes he was telling me she was dying.

This morning, grief straining his face, he showed me her sleeping peacefully whilst they waited for the end to come. He looked so lonely. He said how helpless he felt and I just wanted to hug him. I told him I understood.

His calls since have been fleeting. Minutes. He called when she had died and again when she had been buried. He has read each of my texts, eventually, but has rarely responded. I don’t know how to help, don’t know what support I can give. I don’t know if my words are comforting or annoying.

It has been four hours since our last call and two since he read my last message. I know he is not ok, how can he be, but I just need to see him, speak with him. Be there, even though I am not.

I know little about his customs and traditions but I do know that there will be prayers and family at the wake. I know from a previous time that it will go on late. As time passes on, it gets harder and harder to gauge what to do. The man I love more than anything is feeling a pain beyond compare and I am not there. I can’t help.

Envy

I have done well today. No tears until an hour ago. I want to think that is an achievement of some sorts.

Today would have been my dad’s 81st birthday. He died nearly three years ago.

I’m going to state a rather blunt fact.

I am not envious of people my age who still have their parents. Good for them. And besides, their dad is not my dad.

No, I envy them because they haven’t felt this. They have no idea, no comprehension of what this is.

My Dad’s illness and death broke me. I know that. And when I got put back together, I wasn’t the same – a bit like a broken teacup. I might look roughly the same but I am not and never will be. I don’t work the same. I’m weaker, more fragile.

Time will heal. Sure. This is kind of true. Time has taught me to go about my day to day life. It has shown me how to carry on, put one foot in front of another. Eventually, you learn not to cry every day.

The pain though, the pain never goes away. You just learn to deal with it. To sink it so deep in your soul that you can manage living again. But it is still there and it demands its time.

What happens then, is special days and holidays become the trigger. His birthday. Your birthday. His death. Fathers’ Day. And when those days creep in like a dark shadow, you feel the life you are clinging to, slowly being overwhelmed by that shadow.

So, yes, I am proud that I didn’t cry all day. But I am not surprised that I cried or that it hurts or that I miss him as much as the day he died.

The sting in the tail though is what this does to you. The repercussions. It makes you value your remaining loved ones with a vehemence you didn’t know existed. You demand more from your life, because death has taught you how precious this is. And you realise that actually, some people are not as important to you as you thought. And so you let them go.

The fear though, the fear of further loss, that is the most difficult. The ones that are left after your heartless, grief stricken cull…those that are left are cherished beyond belief and the fear of losing them crushes you. It wracks you with an anxiety that weaves around your veins reaching every part of you.

And so, you who have not know loss and grief yet, I envy you.

Stressed to self-satisfaction

It snowed last night. Not excessively, but enough to cover the ground and add an extra chill to the house.

Problem is, I have ran out of wood.

My house is heated by a multi-fuel stove which is attached to the central heating system. Dad always maintained the heating. You’d hear the familiar sound of him making a fire every morning and the sound of him cutting wood in the afternoon. It was a source of pride for him to do that until he became too ill to.

From that moment until now, I have bought wood. It is not cheap and a bone of contention as there is wood stored in my Dad’s shed but most is too big for the fire. The log splitter broke recently, as did the mitre saw.

I have replaced the mitre saw. But it is still in its box since I discovered there would be some assembly needed and I have no idea what I am doing and am scared of cutting my hand off.

This last week or so, I’ve been going out and breaking up wood with a rather blunt axe. Obviously, this has limitations. Up until yesterday, there was enough narrow wood for me to use.

Today, I woke up to the beauty of the snow and the sinking feeling that I have no wood.

Why have I not bought wood, I hear you ask?

I tried to. I ordered some over a week ago. It still hasn’t arrived and I have no idea why. The man is now ignoring my texts. It is Bank Holiday Monday and I refuse to pay £6 for a small bag of logs at the garage that won’t last half a day when I have a shed full of wood outside.

So, I glumly stayed in bed this morning, stressed and wondering what I was to do. I felt sorry for myself. I felt alone. I missed my Dad and the knowledge that he was always there to help me and I have no one to ask for help.

Eventually, I got up, put on my warm coat, walking boots and bobble hat and made myself go outside. Maybe, maybe, I would find some if I looked hard enough.

The brightness of the day, the crunch of the snow underfoot and probably the pride in myself for getting up and trying, put a little bounce in my step.

I searched, I put some effort in and managed to fill a large bag with wood. I also managed to find a bag of coal which I also thought I had ran out of.

I could have stayed in bed sulking and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I made myself get up and get motivated and this time it paid off.

I’m stronger than I think.

Stressed to self-satisfaction

It snowed last night. Not excessively, but enough to cover the ground and add an extra chill to the house.

Problem is, I have ran out of wood.

My house is heated by a multi-fuel stove which is attached to the central heating system. Dad always maintained the heating. You’d hear the familiar sound of him making a fire every morning and the sound of him cutting wood in the afternoon. It was a source of pride for him to do that until he became too ill to.

From that moment until now, I have bought wood. It is not cheap and a bone of contention as there is wood stored in my Dad’s shed but most is too big for the fire. The log splitter broke recently, as did the mitre saw.

I have replaced the mitre saw. But it is still in its box since I discovered there would be some assembly needed and I have no idea what I am doing and am scared of cutting my hand off.

This last week or so, I’ve been going out and breaking up wood with a rather blunt axe. Obviously, this has limitations. Up until yesterday, there was enough narrow wood for me to use.

Today, I woke up to the beauty of the snow and the sinking feeling that I have no wood.

Why have I not bought wood, I hear you ask?

I tried to. I ordered some over a week ago. It still hasn’t arrived and I have no idea why. The man is now ignoring my texts. It is Bank Holiday Monday and I refuse to pay £6 for a small bag of logs at the garage that won’t last half a day when I have a shed full of wood outside.

So, I glumly stayed in bed this morning, stressed and wondering what I was to do. I felt sorry for myself. I felt alone. I missed my Dad and the knowledge that he was always there to help me and I have no one to ask for help.

Eventually, I got up, put on my warm coat, walking boots and bobble hat and made myself go outside. Maybe, maybe, I would find some if I looked hard enough.

The brightness of the day, the crunch of the snow underfoot and probably the pride in myself for getting up and trying, put a little bounce in my step.

I searched, I put some effort in and managed to fill a large bag with wood. I also managed to find a bag of coal which I also thought I had ran out of.

I could have stayed in bed sulking and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I made myself get up and get motivated and this time it paid off.

I’m stronger than I think.

Grrrr

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is getting on my nerves today.

Like… the fact that I spend every day cleaning up but my house never gets any better.

Like…asking my teen son to remove the dirty dishes and rubbish out of his room- I don’t care what the rest looks like – and he won’t.

Like… my daughter has stolen my make up again and I swear that’s why I look so grim today. Not really.

Like…I ordered wood on Saturday and after days of excuses that I accepted politely, he still hasn’t delivered my wood or contacted me.

Like…I have loads of presents to wrap and I can’t be bothered.

Like…I went in to two shops yesterday and neither sold mincemeat for minced pies – really? They do know it is Christmas, right? Oh yes…I forgot that they started selling Christmas stuff in October, but apparently not a jar of mincemeat.

Like…I had to chop my own wood (poor cinders here) and some pieces WOULD NOT SPLIT no matter how many times I hit them in temper with my axe.

Like…I’ve had chapped and swolleb lips again for over a week. And it doesn’t matter how much vaseline/lip balm/various over the counter remedies I buy, it won’t go and I think it’s an allergy. And if it is, I’m going to have to do the stupid fodmap diet.

Like…my sister told me my mum was visiting today. I said she wasn’t because of self isolating. She said she was. I got my hopes built up. I made homemade Irish cream liquer for her, poisoning myself with gluten because I am stupid and forgot it is whisky and had to taste it to make sure it was right. She now isn’t coming.

Like…I want to see and kiss and hug my boyfriend and wake up next to him and see his beautiful country and discuss our future. But I can’t go and I’m sure I won’t be going until April. And his ex girlfriends are circling like vultures.

Like…Christmas has never been the same since my Dad died and I got divorced.

Like…while I was writing this rant, my dog has chewed my vacuum cleaner attachment.

I. Give. Up.