Answers on a postcard please…

I have been asking myself for a week if it’s worth carrying on with my blog…this blog.

I have been asking myself if it’s worth carrying on with anything at all, in all honesty!

I have been living here at my Mum’s for seven weeks now, I have been home for a total of five days. I need to get back to London but I am trapped, I can’t leave for good because there’s stuff to do here, my Dad’s business needs dealing with and my Mother won’t let me handle it without her peering over my shoulder asking inane questions and telling me she is going to do it herself…training 70 +’s – is the next blog chapter.

In my quest for sanity, I have been chasing a complimentary medicine answer, the kinnesiologist told me that there would be a lot of emotions, a lot of ‘things’ that grief would throw in my direction, so I may as well deal with it all at once, ‘why the hell not?’ I thought. I’m bloody game. There’s a definition for alternative medicine on the NHS website, complimentary alternative medicine – CAM!

Since my Dad died seven weeks ago today I have seen;

  1. A kinnesiologist
  2. Doctor
  3. holistic therapist
  4. chiropractor
  5. reflexologist
  6. pyscho dynamic therpaist

The holistic therapist was a disappointment at the time, we just had a very long chat, she was kind and very nice, and then she gave me these tiny weeny pills, like tiny little balls, which look harmless but mustn’t touch your skin! Ooh, how harmless can they be? I popped the first lot anyway, and didn’t expect to have results…

Five days later I was on an emotional roller coaster that would take me to the highs and lows of my darkest feelings – wow! It frightened me slightly but I got through it, although looking back now, it’s hard to say if it was all par for the course.Whether I would have felt such extremes anyway (am I due on my period or menstruating?) Hmm, no, no, I honestly think that this was homeopathic aggravation. I met a lady in the village here at my Mum’s who treats her rheumatoid arthritis entirely holistically. I know these people exist but I had never met one. I was mildly impressed, until she mentioned that she had had a a filling WITHOUT anaesthetic…nothing, none at all! WTF?! How? I asked her, now trying to hide my incredulation! “I take myself off the Seychelles” she said, “I just transport myself there, and I don’t feel the pain.”…WOW!

I’m starting to think there’s really something about this holistic stuff…one thing though   – I haven’t been to the Seychelles…worries_worried_face-300x300.png

 

The diagnosis murder, I’m dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar FREE

Intro
I feel that my blog has had a few lives, and this is the self improvement life…I’ve seen that other people section it all out, maybe this is the thing to do? I don’t know. I feel like each area of my life has a knock on effect on the other so I don’t know if I could do that, I am reading Blogging for dummies so maybe that will enlighten me?! Anyway my Dad’s death gave me IBS symptoms which led me to the Doctors which led me to start taking a lot of tablets none of which seemed to help and one of which turned out to be anti-depressants…sugar-free

The diagnosis…
‘You can eat eggs’ said the Kinesiologist, yeah I know, I thought, they are not dairy…I didn’t say it out loud because in truth I was a bit scared of this woman. She was scarily intuitive, almost like a witch, she took one look at me and said, ‘you’re a very anxious person aren’t you?’ Erm, yes I replied, anxiously. Then she performed some weird tests which led her to say, “when did you stop taking the anti depressants?” She also said I was very easy to test and she didn’t want me to get obsessed with ‘the diet’ I just can’t eat wheat, gluten, dairy and the most evil and cunning of them all SUGAR! Very fashionable, I thought. Why is no one telling you that you should eat more fibre, no fat and use sweeteners anymore? I feel sorry for the producers of Canderel, their sales must have fallen dramatically in the last few sugar free years.

Anyway back to my diagnosis. You’re an addict, she said. Alcoholic I thought? Sugar addict she told me. Which is basically the same thing, if you think about it; because alcohol contains more sugar than ANYTHING right? And you wouldn’t give an alcoholic another drink soooo, consequently I am off the booze. I am off the booze and the sugar and the dairy and the wheat and the gluten…’we’ll keep it simple’, she said. ‘I don’t want you obsessing about a diet given your history. Right, I thought.

My friend alcohol
The truth is I have never taken anti depressants, even though I have had a lot of therapy and felt very anxious and frustrated in my life. I know that I am a negative thinker and have had plenty of CBT, I have tried a lot of different things so this is just one more. I would take anti depressants if I needed them, but I prefer to try and combat it with exercise, therapy and self improvement, because for me I know if I take anti depressants I may feel better but ultimately I will still think the same.

I have stopped drinking before in my life, not many times admittedly but I have done it, usually I’ve been absolutely miserable and replaced it with other sugar. Now, I know that I drink too much, and I know that it’s a depressant, and I know that it’s basically EVIL, but I love it. I love the taste, I love the feeling, I love the escapism and since my Dad died my Mum and I have been drinking most days.

BUT! I hate it at the same time, it’s a love hate kind of thing, I know that it makes me feel like shit, I am a rubbish drunk, I have made a complete fool of myself on numerous occasions due to alcohol and it makes me feel a host of other ugly emotions, mostly it makes me feel guilty and ashamed. I have a terrible memory as it is and I can’t remember anything after a night of drinking. What worries me most is that drinking is basically my social life. ALL my friends are massive boozers, it’s what we do. I can’t imagine having any friends left if I stop drinking. I explained this to my kinesiologist and she smiled and said she went through it herself about my age and yes she lost some friends, but she also kept some.

First hurdle
‘Hmm’, I thought, that night was my Mum’s Birthday, am I going to get away with not having a drink? A friend of mine was supposed to be coming over, I wavered, should I just start tomorrow…the day after, have a few more days on it…the conversation went like this;

Him: Well I’ll have to stay if I’m going to drink.
Me: I’m not drinking
Him: WHAT?! Why not?
Me: I went to see a kinesiologist and she’s told me I can’t drink for six weeks…
Him: A what? What the hell do they do?

I had to Wikipedia it;

Applied kinesiology (AK) is a technique in alternative medicine claimed to be able to diagnose illness or choose treatment by testing muscles for strength and weakness

Him: What a load of bollocks!
Me: You’re a vegetarian
Him: Just because I’m a veggie doesn’t mean I’m a bloody hippie.

He didn’t come over. I got through my first evening without a drink, granted it was with my Mum and her three friends, who collectively weren’t sure if they were even able to finish one bottle of Prosecco…and it only lasted an hour and a half. BUT baby steps.

Prescription
So my friends, it is with mixed emotions that I embark on this new journey, without alcohol. Sans booze. Who’s with me?!

So it wasn’t my wedding afterall

 

It’s the journey that matters

It was a relief that when my oldest friend (who’s the closest thing I have to a sister) turned up and said she’d felt the same on the day of her  Mothers’ funeral. She has since walked down the aisle with both my Dad and her own Dad; actually half way with each.

I of course haven’t walked down any aisles with anyone’s Dad and I didn’t think I would with mine, but as it turned out the three of us came down the aisle together, Mum, Dad and me. My little Mum clutching onto me as though her life depended on it and at that moment I think it probably did.

To say that it was a beautiful day was a bit of an understatement, not only did the sun SHINE on the day of my Dads’ funeral but as we left the house for the church I found great comfort in the army of friends and family that surrounded me. Like a bright, shiny, protective shield. Even though we were all in black.

And as soon as they dispersed to find a seat I was over come with nerves, because of course the really, truly hard bits, you do alone. Walking out to meet the coffin and then watching as the six pall bearers strained underneath the weight of it; the responsibility as well as the physicality. I wish now that we could of captured it somehow, the tennis racket of flowers lain on top, the moment of clarity when finally I realised that it was over. The days of waiting and planning, organising and busying myself with everything other than reality, they were over and here was my Dad for the last time in a wooden box with some flowers on top.

I bit my lip as we walked up the church path, pointlessly cursing it for being so long, and uneven, even though I had never noticed it before… and I didn’t let go, instead I held on to my Mum as she sobbed, clutching a little photo of her and my Dad on holiday in New Zealand. I didn’t let go of that lip until everyone had gone and only my closest friends remained. The sun shone and the people came, over 150 to the church. There were some genuinely funny moments, which I am so thankful for, light relief I believe they call it? My friend crashing into us as we left to meet the coffin, and she ran in late in a truly Miranda style moment which I will never forget, as the vicar turned to me and said, “I don’t know who she is, but I lover her!” Moments of colour and moments of black, fade to white.

There were so many people crowding into the wake my poor little Mum got trapped outside as wave after wave of people came to pay their condolences – first they were saying hello and then they were saying goodbye as they started leaving and she still hadn’t even stepped inside. I had never realised my Dad was so well regarded, perhaps they’d all just turned up for a free sandwich. Either way it was a wonderful turn out and they all seemed to have known him in some capacity. Everyone shocked and saddened.

I began the day on my yoga mat, as my friend said to me it’s my anchor, wherever I am there it is. It’s new. It’s very heavy (and actually I am not sure I will ever be able to take it with me anywhere as it will throw my luggage allowance straight over the top, however it is very pretty in a stone wash 1980’s style way and I love it.) I prepared for the day ahead like it was my wedding and when I caught my Mum applying her own make up I swiftly intervened and re did it, hair included. I spent three hours with my head in a plastic bag trying to tone my hair to a reasonable colour. I knew it would be a day of stares, of attention, of giving, of thanking, of understanding, of sympathising, of soothing and hugging. This I can do! As long as I have prepared for it appropriately, and prepare I did.

I applied a bright pink lip and a smile and I worked the room, I gave my attention to every one I could get to, I thanked them, I reassured them and I smiled. I gave them the show, and really I loved seeing all these people who had cared enough about my Dad to spare some time to remember him, it gave me great comfort.

And so it is over. People always say that this is the hardest part, and you know what? They’re right! I would do anything to go back to that part where we still had a funeral to look forward too…but such is life and the journey must continue, I went to bed crying and woke up crying as I realised that it was over, my chance to say goodbye was gone. I hope he would have been proud, he never told me he was, he always seemed to disapprove he would have hated all the attention of the previous day. He was a private man, private about his feelings and emotions, and I will never know now if he was proud, or if he knew how much I wanted him to be.

The truth hurts, and the truth is this…

I am an angry person…

I’ve finally admitted it to myself, finally. I have always known it, and yesterday a very close friend of mine who is wonderfully perceptive said, “you’re a very aggressive person’. This wasn’t a shock to me but I’ve been stewing on this new found characteristic and I find that I don’t like it. SURPRISE! Who wants to think of themselves as aggressive? Its SO UGLY! I can just imagine at job interview, when they ask you how your friends describe you; “Kind, loyal, adventurous, funny, oh and most people find me very aggressive…” – DOOR SLAMS IN FACE!

What do you mean? I reply. “Well” she said, “you’ve never had children and they soften you’. This was below the belt, SO its my fault for not having children now? Insert angry red face. I had arrived at her house and begun a rant about my Mother that has been building for days, we love each other but we haven’t spent this much time together since I was about 15. And being around my Mother is hard, even now at this time of crisis, no one pisses me off more than my parents, now my parent. They push my buttons, and I loose my temper, a lot. That angry 15 yr old girl is always there, bubbling at the surface and despite my best efforts I can’t always keep her down.

Yesterday had been a BAD day and I wanted to talk to my friend about it, to turn it over and find the solution, but instead she was insulting me, she was offending me, she was…turning the mirror to my face and it was UGLY. At first I was furious. We carried on chatting but underneath I was seething, how dare she how dare how dare she.

I went off to have my hair coloured, which took about six hours(I needed a new doo for the funeral, I know there isn’t a photographer at a funeral, but I feel the need to prepare for it in the same way I would for any ‘event’ – God I am a vile human being!) Anyway, I fumed the whole time, it stung me over and over, and I was angry. I wanted to lash out, to attack back. But slowly I started to realise that she isn’t the first of my friends to accuse me of this recently; two others have flung me the same bone. I’ve gnawed at it silently, internally but now I had something tangible, something real to pop on my sleeve, right next to my big fat beating heart.

It wasn’t until I got into bed and started Googling anger management courses that I realised, the truth hurts, my Mother loved to fling that expression at me when I was a horrible teenager, and as usual she was right. When things happen that I don’t like, when things don’t go my way I become very frustrated and in all honesty – angry. I run and fume, I do yoga and breathe it out, I have had a lot of therapy, but I am still an angry person, and my friend is right. I even dreamt about it last night, anger anger anger. (I am really not sure that RED will go with my new hair…)

CUT TO THIS MORNING – I wake up and go downstairs to make tea, I am trying not to have lactose now I have this IBS diagnosis, so I always have Roobios and soya these days, a friend of mine described it as like food, which makes me gip a little, but I really like it. Anyway my Mum appeared and I was overcome with relief, I had an opportunity to make it right, I have the opportunity, ‘I’m sorry, I wept, I am so sorry Mum…I am a horrible vile person’, and we had a hug and guess what I feel better!

I AM an aggressive, angry, vile and horrible person but I am those other things to, and I’m going to go on and get anger management, get more therapy, do a course and try to be more mindful. Mindfulness, I wish that concept had been around when I was growing up. I will try every day to be better person, I’m not giving up, I will apologise to everyone I have to, and yes I have considered that this might be the anger related to my Dad’s death but, I think, it goes a lot deeper than that. So thank you my friend, thank you for making me see my UGLY self and giving me the opportunity to do something about it.

Patience…

  

These words jumped out at me as I leafed through a magazine my Mum’s neighbour brought round. It sounds more like a threat than advice doesn’t it?! 

I know for a fact I take all sorts of things for granted. It takes will power not to, doesn’t it? To appreciate every moment. You must be very present. That takes control…

Life gets in the way, that’s the trouble. Every morning, well most mornings since I’ve been here in my new role as my Mum’s companion, I’ve set my intentions for the day – on my yoga mat. (Well it will be on a mat now. I’ve just ordered a very flash, very expensive new mat as a friend said to me, ‘let that be your anchor, wherever your mat is that’s where you are’.) My intentions are good; be patient. 

But it’s hard to keep patient all day, as soon as my Mum gets up she starts with, ‘I’ve been thinking’ and a stream of consciousness comes out. And I bite my tongue and try really hard to be patient. Mostly I’m doing better than I would of done before Dad die, but she is fucking hard work. 

She’s worrying about her future constantly. So am I. Both of us have ended up on this new path. This new future and it’s uncertain. For both of us. 

I’ve joined the half an orphan club…I know many people have already had their membership a while. Perhaps you can help me to know what to do next? What do I do now, my Dad’s gone and it’s just my Mum and me? That’s all we have. Just the two of us. 

Can I really go back to London and live my life? I just can’t see how it will work. I’m worrying about the next stage and we haven’t even had a funeral. 

My Dads funeral is on Thursday. Lots of people are coming and I find myself looking forward to it in a perverse way, a chance to say goodbye and move forward. To what, I don’t know…


The day after my Dad died…

It’s been five days since he died and so much has happened if feels like a month and yet it’s not even a week. 
I don’t feel sad all the time and despite the awful, life changing event that’s just happened I’ve laughed a lot, which I feel terribly guilty about.

Yesterday a man called the house and asked to speak to my Dad and I told him he couldn’t because he was dead. Just like that, he asked me why I was laughing and even though I didn’t know I was, I replied that I hadn’t meant to say it so bluntly. 

He was a broker cold calling my Dad I believe, to sell him something, but he said ‘you sound very happy, have a nice afternoon.’ And he hung up.

I froze. My heart pounded in my chest and I felt sick, hot and then cold. Had this man exposed my inner most feelings? Am I happy my Dad is dead? 

And then I realised; it’s a joke to me, it’s ridiculous, my Dad isn’t dead! It’s a joke right? It’s a ridiculous prank! He can’t be dead…he just can’t. He’s got so much to do, he’s got art classes to go to, tennis to play, business to attend to, he’s got to show me how to do his accounts…

I wanted to shout and scream at that fucking broker, I wanted more than anything to be able to tell him that he had no right, no fucking right to comment on how I was feeling. Who the fuck did he think he was? How dare he! 

It’s just very hard to except this new normal, this news that my Dad is not coming back, that’s the trouble. It’s such a new and intangible concept that I can’t seem to quite reach. I’m trying out the words, repeating them over and over and trying to imagine our lives, Mum and me, without him. 

My own life has ceased to exist except through the love and support of my beautiful friends. And that makes my concept of my new normal seem even farther away. I have made one decision – I won’t leave my Mum. I will be here for her till she’s ok, I’m not going anywhere. So for now for today this is the norm. There’s so much to do. If my Dad’s really not coming back…

And then my Dad died…

I wish this was the excuse for not having blogged for so long…

(Nb: It was in fact the fault of New Zealand and it’s appallingly terrible wifi…but more of that fascinating rant later!)

I wish it was tomorrow I can’t wait for tomorrow because then it won’t be the day my Dad died anymore. 

To set the scene I am now back in the UK, my best friend has returned to York to begin her life there and I returned to London to try and put the pieces of my ‘laid to one side’ life back into some order. 

I’ve been job hunting, for a few weeks now…after turning down a full time position whilst we were away…which in hindsight seems a bit reticent. But that’s the sort of thing you do when you’re travelling and freedom seems to be the answer. We came back a week early due to a lack of funds so I’ve been swanning about on coin fumes for a few weeks wondering if I should have a career change…

Then my Dad died. I was en route to Gloucestershire to see my God parents when it happened. Needless to say I’ve spent today driving up and down the motorway. I don’t know what I expected the day of my Dad’s death to be like but I didn’t think it would be like this. 

I did however have a premonition before I knew, whilst I was in the car, about the possibility of my Dad dying and how inconvenient it would be to have to drive back down the country…and then it did actually happen. 

Amazing what you can think without meaning to or examining the consequence. Today my life has changed irrevocably and I keep making innapropriate jokes. For example; in my head I wondered if my Mum and I were to get a dog if we could call it Dave my Dads name!

Tomorrow it will be the day after the day my Dad died. The coroner will come round and explain the details of his death. Then I have to decide if I want to see the body of my dead Father. Maybe we will do that the day after the day after my Dad died.

Rest in peace Dad. I’m glad it was quick. I know how scared of death you were. I really can’t believe you’re gone, it will be another day tomorrow – it will be the day after you died…