Return to the doghouse, or, rejection.

I’ve been home a few days now. I did start to write a post about my final day but didn’t know how to finish it.

I slept the majority of the two days I’ve been home so far. I don’t know why. Sure, travel tires you but I don’t normally feel this tired. I hurt my neck in the journey home- my back pack was far too heavy and I felt it pull. Since then I have limited motion to the right and felt sick with the pain. Maybe that’s what is wrong.

And maybe it is a lot of things.

Perhaps it is the state of the house. I left my 17 year old, seemingly mature daughter to take care of the pets. She had friends round and her Dad and aunties checked on her. The house was a mess. Think: sour milk that never got to the fridge, pizza boxes with mouldy pizza in and enough empty soft drink bottles to make a raft. Oh and she hasn’t washed a towel in two weeks. However, the pets are all well and alive so that is something. I’ve never left her alone before so maybe this is typical.

Maybe it is that I now need to think seriously about my future. I need to find a job or start my business. My hope of coming home with a sense of the future was dashed – I know that I must plan for myself alone.

Maybe it is the fact that my ex is barely speaking to me for going to see Wildcard and Wildcard is now barely speaking to me because he found out that my ex and daughter ended up getting me from the airport when my sister let me down. Yep, figure that one out.

And then this morning I was woken by my nearly 50 year old half sister – the one I haven’t spoken to for three years – at 6.30am crying and hammering on the door. She was drunk, in distress, and had fallen out with my even more aggressive half brother who had pushed her over. I have lots and lots of bad history with her, but I have good also. She is very much alone – a fact she is aware of as much as her blame for that. My Dad would be heartbroken to see her like that. She is involved with a man who is no good and as I sat there and watched her I just felt awful. She has told me some of the things he has said to her, apparently in jest, and I could see how this has made her change her appearance. His drinking and drug use have clearly increased her own drinking. But most of all, I just saw someone who was lost. Missing her Dad (she has no mum) and just craving love and attention to the point of changing herself. I saw me. And I didn’t like it.

How much of what I feel for Wildcard comes from that loneliness, that desperation for love and acceptance? I have lived a life rejected by my half siblings, simply for being born. In turn they have marginalised me from the rest of my dad’s family- only the ones who don’t get on with them, get on with me.

However much they chased me afterwards, my ex husband, my first boyfriend and Lost Soul played with my feelings enough and let me down to the point of rejection. I forgave and accepted and tried, but in the end gave up on them. Once I’d given all I had, there was no more going back – regardless of their promises and pain and love.

I’ve had issues with friends – the one who rejected me because of my relationship with Wildcard for example. And now there is work. Rejection if ever I’ve felt it. I’m not wanted.

So what if, my desperation for a life with Wildcard comes from that? He has shown me undue attention in two years. He is deliciously handsome and funny and knows me like no other. What if my desire to run away from the rejection here is a key incentive in my commitment to him? I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t thought of starting a new life there.

And he does hurt me, from time to time. He says things to make me nervous. He can be childish and maybe even a little spiteful – he’s angry with me now (even though he says he isnt) so his response to my ‘I love you’ is ‘I know’. Oddly, it hasn’t affected me like it usually does. I know him well enough to know why this has put him on edge. I know how he behaves when he feels this way. And I know, usually, it will blow over. He is still calling me and answering my calls and texts. He will stew, he may discuss, he will forget. Maybe.

But no matter which way you look at it, I was desiring more ‘finality’ in our relationship than he was. And that feels like rejection too. Maybe he isn’t ready. Maybe it is finances. Maybe he wants to meet my children. Maybe it is too soon for his parents. Maybe my behaviour freaked him out. Maybe I want too much, too soon. Maybe it is not meant to be.

And this, then, is my problem. I’ve lost all faith in my own judgement and thinking. The more I think, the less I know. The more I think, the more possibilities my stupid brain comes up with. So many, that I can reject and accept everyone with no clear decision on which is most likely.

So, I’m in the doghouse. And I’ve a feeling that I am the only one who can get myself out.

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.

A lonely place.

Grief is a very lonely place.

The fact is, no one fully understands your grief. Before I lost my Dad, I was sympathetic to my friend who had lost hers, but I didn’t understand.

And even now that we have both lost our fathers, our grief is unique to us just like we are unique as individuals, our dad’s were unique and therefore our relationship with them was also unique.

The same can be said of me and my sisters. Whilst we understand each other’s grief for our dad better than anyone else, our grief still differs because our relationship, our memories and experiences and our personalities differ.

Grief is a lonely place.

I need you to understand, those of you who are lucky enough not to have lost someone close to you yet, that grief never goes away. That pain, that loss… The emptiness and the overwhelming emotions that come with it… They never go away. They don’t get easier.

What happened for me is that I learned to deal with it. I found a way to lock it up inside so that I could carry on with my life. But that comes with a promise – a promise that at the right time, I open it up and allow myself to feel.

The only issue with this is that sometimes you are forced to feel when you don’t want to. Grief has its own strength and power and can never be entirely tamed.

Sunday is the second anniversary of my dad’s death. The grief has been building for days, unknown, in the background. Others have noticed but I haven’t… Until I did. Until it was too much and its threatening to take over. And I have still got three days left until that day.

Be patient with those that grieve because they are trying to fight a war they will never win.

An act of kindness

I survived! My first Christmas alone. Although I wasn’t really.

The morning started off as usual. I awoke early and made a fire. I wrote in my Dad journal and waited for my children to wake and my ex to show up so he could watch them open their presents. During the present opening, I got my first message from Wild Card, wishing me Happy Christmas and asking of I was OK.

After lots of present opening, my sisters and families arrived and we had more present opening and breakfast. There was strained atmosphere at times. My sister and I have still not spoken about her decision and I’m not the only one upset with her. But Wild Card’s advice has helped – it’s her choice.

Then they all started to leave. That was harder. I could feel the tsunami threatening to overwhelm me: the fear and hurt of being alone for the rest of Christmas Day. I made a plan: I decided to keep busy and tidy up, then watch The Holiday and have some food.

First, I did my hair and put some makeup on. It’s what I would usually do and I’m very much of the opinion that if you look good, you feel good. Then I started to clean up, music on so that I was singing and dancing as I went. And then, Wild Card called.

He was true to his word – I would not be alone, he would be with me.

We talked about my morning. Him, asking repeatedly if I was alright. He had never called me on his lunch before and I was a little overwhelmed by his kindness in calling.

At the end of the call as I sensed him going, I’m ashamed to say that my bottom lip started to go. It wasn’t him exactly… Yes, recognition that a man living overseas was kind enough to see my loneliness and was trying to be there for me made me emotional. But it was also fear of being alone for the next few hours. No Christmas Dinner with my family.

I don’t know why I bother to even try to hide it because he saw straight away. The minute he saw my emotion he refused to end the call until I was OK and we had discussed what was wrong. He ended the call again with, ‘You’re not alone, remember that.’

Later in the afternoon I got a text asking if I was OK. By this point I was watching my film and had finished off a bottle of bucks fizz so I was feeling pretty good. (Totally in love with Jude Law in The Holiday – if you like rom-coms you have to watch it)

I’d cooked a piece of turkey for boxing day, made myself some mash and ate a very simplified Christmas dinner alone. It was fine. By this point, it had started to feel like just another day. The wine was probably helping too.

Wild Card called again a few hours later. Seeing that I was in a much happier place, he teased me asking how his ‘crying girl’ was. During the call, my sister and her family arrived to visit and he said hello to them all and wished them a Happy Christmas.

I took the phone into the other room and he told me to spend time with my family now. He again checked if I was OK, told me to enjoy myself and that he would speak to me soon.

Whatever his motivations, and I know some people will think they are mercenary, that man took time out of his day to call and text me repeatedly to make sure I was not alone. He checked on my wellbeing and showed me care. Whatever happens, I will never forget that act of kindness.

Heartbroken

I’ve never had a Christmas without my Dad until last year.

I coped when I split up from my husband and we planned to share the children because my Dad was there. One year, he was supposed to go to my evil step sisters but stayed at home when he knew that I would be alone.

Since moving back to/buying my childhood home, I have cooked Christmas Dinner. There would always be a combination of people and my sisters and their families would often be there too. Even one year when I told my Dad it was not my turn and that we should await and invitation from one of them, he somehow persuaded me to invite everyone.

Last year, my children were due to spend Christmas Day with my ex. Knowing that this first year without our Dad would be difficult, and wanting to fill this grieving home with people and laughter, I invited everyone here, just as Dad would have liked. This included my ex’s parents and family and my in-laws’ families. Not everyone who was invited came but my house was full: for me, my children and my sisters, it meant our childhood home was full of love and laughter as well as the grief.

This year then, it was definitely my ex’s turn to have the children. It was also the year where my sisters would go to their in-laws.

I’ve told everyone that I’m more than happy to be on my own. I’ve painted a picture of a hot bath and clean pj’s, chocolate, wine and a Christmas food. ‘I’ll relax,’ I say.

Truth is, I don’t want anyone to feel obliged to invite me. I have never wanted to be a burden to my sisters: they have their own families. I have to live my own life.

Sure they’ve commented that I ‘can’t spend Christmas alone’. But that is very different to, ‘I want you to spend Christmas with us’ or ‘we want to spend Christmas with you’. If I can’t have a Christmas with my kids, my Dad, my sisters or a man who loves me then I would rather be on my own.

Tonight, I have found out that my youngest sister in not going to her in laws. She’s actually going to our evil step sisters.

I am heart broken.

This is the step sister who refused for my mother to be mentioned at my Dad’s funeral. It’s the woman who, one week after my Dad’s death, sent me a text message saying that my Dad hated living with me and that he felt like a prisoner. None of which was true, but she is so evil and jealous that Dad lived with me she would do anything to hurt me.

My three sisters and I have barely spoken to her and my step brothers since Dad’s funeral. Last year, my youngest sister tried to build a bridge by visiting her on Christmas Eve but was met with anger and bitterness.

Clearly I’m wrong. Clearly my two sisters have been in contact with her.

All the years that I have cooked and prepared family Christmases for everyone. Just because I wanted us to all be together. My ex used to be mad with me, saying it shouldn’t all be me and that I always ended up exhausted. I don’t care because my family was together.

I feel like my sisters don’t want to spend Christmas with me. That was OK when I thought it was because it was right that they spent it with their husbands’families this year. It’s not alright now. And no, I didn’t get an invite to my other sisters who is having all of her in laws at her house for the first time. And that was OK too.

Now I’m heartbroken. I’ve never felt so alone or unwanted or taken for granted in my life.

If my dad was here, I wouldn’t feel this way.

Just for a moment

Headlights full on,

I drive alone in the dark.

And for a moment,

Just for a moment,

I could imagine you there.

The way you would be sat,

the clothes you would wear.

The smile on your face,

the words you would say.

For a moment,

Just for a moment,

Everything was OK.

Then with a stab to the heart,

The memory went away,

And I was driving alone,

Alone in the dark.

I’m ok

This evening, the first for about four years , I’ve been out with my best friend.

We’ve been through a lot together in the 23 years we have known each other: weddings, pregnancy, house moves and renovations, holidays and ill parents. We’ve never argued but the birth of my third child and the start of her own business meant we drifted apart for a while.

We don’t talk as much as we used to or even see each other like we did. We’ve stopped buying birthday and Christmas presents. But when we are in contact, it’s like we’ve never been apart. And we’re there for each other, no matter what.

We have been out over the past four years – many times – but never just the two of us.

We caught up on so much tonight that we’d only skimmed over on the phone. And, on a trip to the ladies no less, I realised that actually I’m doing ok.

I miss my Dad – of course I do – but I’m functioning. I’m coping so much better with being alone when the children are with their Dad. I’m not craving human contact like I was and I don’t need my sisters’ support as much as before. I’ve got over my friend’s betrayal and although I miss our outings and adventures, I’m not scared to go alone.

Yep. I’m doing OK.

My life isn’t the way I want it to be. I’m not the say that I want to be. But I’m getting there, slowly slowly, and that’s OK too.

Lonely heart.

I didn’t expect to see you there. I mean, to be honest, I don’t think about you half as much as I used to do. And anyway, I’d had a bad day and so I had other things on my mind.

I’m self-conscious enough though to be pleased that I still had my makeup on and my nice jeans and jumper from when I’d been shopping earlier that morning. Less so that it was now accompanied by heavy walking boots, a rainproof coat and dog hair (and the dog of course).

Why’d I had a bad day? Long story, but along the lines that I felt lonely. Lonely is quite a regular feeling nowadays. My friend let me down. I miss my Dad like crazy. It’s Christmas. I’m lonely.

So, I attempted to walk off my sadness with my dog in hand, boots on foot. I didn’t know you’d be there.

Was I pleased to see you? Of course. There’s still that little thrill when we meet. A hint of a memory of what was and what could have been. But I’ve moved on now – you’ve moved on. We made that decision, didn’t we? That it wasn’t going to work? Yes, I know we were drunk. OK, yes, I did most of the talking. But I couldn’t cope with it anymore, see, the not-knowing. The backwards and forwards. So, for self preservation purposes, I called it a day on whatever it was. OK, yes, I will also admit that I have wondered what would have happened if I’d have just let you speak, but I got over that. It’s been over a year since then. I got over you, as much as anyone who thought they found and lost their soul mate can. Wrong time, wrong place and all that.

So I was pleased to see you because your addition to the tea and company I expected from my sister was welcome. You make me laugh, think, talk. That’s a good thing when you’re feeling lonely.

But… I do have to say though, that I was a little confused by some of what you said. The fact that one of the first things you asked me was “So what’s new? Have you met anyone new? Been anywhere new?” Of all the things that you could have asked me, that was pretty straight to the point. I didn’t answer that part. I wouldn’t have asked you, or anyone else that, so it surprised me that you would ask me that.

And then, later, when we were all talking, you said how you’d missed all this. I’m assuming you mean us together as you still regularly see my sister and brother in law. I was the extra ingredient. I agree, I miss it – you – too. So, OK, may be that one wasn’t so confusing.

What about this one..? We got talking about modern day women and what they want from a man and how it’s impossible. An interesting conversation. Then you asked me what I was looking for in a man… OK, part of the conversation: a woman providing an example. But did you have to then say that there was “only one man in the world like that, and that’s me.” Really? What am I supposed to do with that?

Then later, you mentioned that you had just started watching the film version of my favourite book. A coincidence? Maybe. But I wasn’t the only one to think that it was strange. Why tell me that?

And then, the moment that you pointed out our age gap.. I can’t remember the context, but this was an unexpected twist… That when we met the age gap seemed too big but now it doesn’t. I mean, age gaps don’t mean a thing when you’re just friends so.. you know, that naturally got me thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I also wasn’t the only one who noticed the name dropping of your girlfriend. Sometimes – if you don’t mind us both suggesting – a little needlessly. I’m sure that we also didn’t need to know that you have no sex drive anymore. Someone a little more invested might think you were hinting that you were less physically involved with your girlfriend but as I ‘called it a day’ last year, I obviously didn’t think this but I just wanted to add it in there as something potentially confusing.

I know, I know, we’d all had a bit to drink by this point. And honestly, it’s not the first time I’ve reflected that I probably imagined all these things. That maybe I am adding more weight to these innocent little comments than there should have been. Except… it wasn’t just me that noticed them. I mean, one of our party commented that you seemed more like your old self than you had done in months. Of course, I know that we have that effect on each other – people have commented on that for years. Just like they always thought that we were an item when… We weren’t. So what if they thought that some of your comments were a little suggestive too?

But yes, it was lovely to see you.

Obviously, in my current lonely state, it’s entirely possible that I imagined all the hints and suggestions. I’m back to those days of self doubt, confusion and heartache and I don’t want to go back to not knowing what’s going on.

What was that? What do I want then?

I’m not sure.

Ok, yes, I will admit that I have given mixed signals too in the past. But in my defence, I was confused. And protecting my heart.

No more mixed signals? OK, here goes…

If you told me that you’ve always loved me – no, less than that – if you told me that I’ve always had a special place in your heart. Or, that we were soul mates (yes, I know you’ve said that beforez but in this context)…

So, if, you told me that you missed me. That you always wondered what might have been. That you were scared of how powerfully we felt for each other and it was too much back then… If you told me that we were both older now, and you still felt the same after all these years. Then, yes, I would loan you my heart. Just for a while. Just to see if all that promise we have felt for all these years was truth. I could do that, if you said those things.

But, if you didn’t.. Well, nothing has changed then. I’d lose a little bit more respect for you as you’re either messing me about and still playing the game after all these years.. Or… You still don’t know what you want. And, you know what? You can’t blame your youth for that anymore. And surely, if you care for me as you say you do, you wouldn’t do that again.

I know we have history. So much of it. But that history has made me really tired of the “what ifs”. Has it not you too? So let’s not slip into old habits. Please. My lonely heart can’t take it again.

Training

Despite trying to train myself to get up earlier last week, the last two days back in school have been pretty tiring. Luckily, they have both been inset days and so, fine.

It’s a funny feeling to be back in work but I feel a sense of purpose again. My career doesn’t have the same emphasis in my life as it used to but it is still important to me.

Added.. pressure, I suppose… was caused by having to see my friend who went AWOL over the holidays. As a recap, we had planned to go away, she became awkward and contradictory about where she wanted to go and then said she didn’t want to go at all despite my best efforts to appease her. She then didn’t get in contact for the last weeks of the holiday.

On Friday, I bit the bullet and text her… just hoping she’d had a nice break and that I would see her Monday. Despite being frustrated by her actions, I didn’t want an atmosphere between us. She text back, and I felt more at ease on Monday. Don’t get me wrong, there was still a little atmosphere but we at least pretended we were OK.

Today, as my children aren’t back until later, I thought I’d invite her for coffee, just to show there are no hard feelings. I have learnt now that I can’t trust that we will have the same adventures as in the past but I hope we can still be friends. Turns out she is ‘busy’ and I received a rather lame excuse not to go. (It was the way she said it, if you get what I mean). She intimated that she would be seeing a previous friend that she had fallen out with before we started hanging out. I got the message loud and clear.

So, as my beautiful puppy and I went our first training session last night, I decided to keep up the good work by taking him for a walk in a local country park after work and practise what we had learnt.

It was enjoyable to get fresh air, to take in the views from the hill, the pink and white clover in the meadow and feel the crunch underfoot in the woods. I enjoyed the companionship of my dog and pride in his progress.

But I also felt a loneliness too – no doubt lessened by my actions to go for a walk – however it was still there.

I am saddened by what has happened with my friend. We have had many enjoyable days out together, lots of them documented on here. I’m not trying to be negative but I can feel something has shifted with her. Being honest, I feel a little used: I was a temporary replacement when her friendship broke down, and as I can drive, the friendship allowed us greater freedom – I know we both benefited from this.

Truthfully, I don’t have many friends. I have five good friends, of which she was one, but the other four all live a distance from me. I’ve never been one to live in someone else’s pocket and I know each one are there for me, as much as I know that when I see them it will be like we’ve never been apart.

My life has been consumed with ill parents, a failing marriage and my children for so long, I haven’t always dedicated the time I perhaps should to some of my friendships.

I’m close to my sisters and we spend a lot of time together, but as they are both married with a toddler each, I know that I cannot depend on them forever. Dad dying has brought us together even more than I thought possible but life does, and will, move on.

And so, allow me to feel a little sorry for myself tonight. I feel Dad-less, husband-less and friendless and it’s not a nice feeling.

In a sense though, like my little pup, I’m in training. This is a new state of affairs and I need to deal with it. My life has been on hold for so long and whilst I would never change those years – they’ve made me who I am – I am definitely in a time of my life where I need to embrace the changes; train myself to make the most of them and this life I have been gifted with.