6 articles Tag grief

Walk

This is for my Dad.

If he were ever to read this blog, he’d know what it means.

The rest of you just get the privilege of listening to Foo Fighters for six glorious minutes.

Love you, Dad.

Six Months

My Dad texted me today. It said “It’s exactly 6 months today since I lost my sweetheart”.

How can it possibly be six months already?

But I checked and it is. Six long months since we’ve heard Lorraine’s voice or seen her face. Six months since we held out hope, right until the last second. It’s sunk in now. Or at least, 99% of the time it’s sunk in. Then I’ll be sitting there and it’ll hit me like a ton of bricks. I can’t believe she’s gone.

I’ll always regret not spending more time with her, not getting to know her better, not putting in more effort. I feel guilty that I told my Dad that Sausage couldn’t call her ‘Nanny’ as she had two nannies already and it might confuse her, a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction of loyalty to my Mum. I feel guilty for not visiting more when she was ill.

I know that guilt is an empty and futile emotion, but it’s one that’s stuck with me over this past six months.

There have been times that I’ve worried about my Dad, worried about how he’s coping. There have been other times when I’ve looked him in the eye and been overwhelmed by sadness. Most of the time, I’m just so damn proud of the way he’s coped and the way he made a dying woman comfortable and happy. I can’t begin to imagine how he must feel, but I think his text speaks volumes.

“My Sweetheart”.

We miss you, Lorraine.

I’m doing Race for Life next month to raise money for Cancer Research. I want to do everything I can to be able to say that I contributed towards the effort to ridding our planet of this disease, once and for all. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at Just Giving

Grief and Faith.

Some of you may know and some of you may not know that my stepmum passed away at the end of last year and while we’re all dealing with it, there are times when it still feels very raw and painful. On a seemingly unrelated note, Husband was bought a book on Buddhism by my little sister for Christmas and when reading it, found the story of Kisa Gautami. It goes something like this:

Kisa Gautami was a young woman from a wealthy family who was happily married to an important merchant. When her only son was one-year-old, he fell ill and died suddenly. Kisa Gautami was struck with grief, she could not bear the death of her only child. Weeping and groaning, she took her dead baby in her arms and went from house to house begging all the people in the town for news of a way to bring her son back to life. Of course, nobody could help her but Kisa Gautami would not give up. Finally she came across a Buddhist who advised her to go and see the Buddha himself.When she carried the dead child to the Buddha and told Him her sad story, He listened with patience and compassion, and then said to her, “Kisa Gautami, there is only one way to solve your problem. Go and find me four or five mustard seeds from any family in which there has never been a death.”Kisa Gautami was filled with hope, and set off straight away to find such a household. But very soon she discovered that every family she visited had experienced the death of one person or another. At last, she understood what the Buddha had wanted her to find out for herself — that suffering is a part of life, and death comes to us all. Once Kisa Guatami accepted the fact that death is inevitable, she could stop her grieving. (source)

If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ll know that I’ve been musing over faith, mortality and eternity and while Christian teachings allow us to take comfort from the idea that we’ll live forever in Heaven, what I really like about the Buddhist parable is that it makes no promises. It doesn’t speak of clouds and winged angels and halos, it simply teaches us that in grief we are never alone as everyone has suffered loss and that it is an inevitability in life.

I don’t know why, but I find this very comforting and have felt strangely peaceful since Husband told me. What do you all think?

Guilt, Grief and SSRI’s.

Let me start by saying that this is one of those blog posts where I feel a bit like I’m ripping my guts out and smearing them all over the page (apologies for the rather visceral visual…). It’s very personal and there’s always that worry that someone will take what you say and use it against you. In short; be gentle with me.

As you can imagine, the past few weeks have been something of an emotional rollercoaster for myself and my family. Grief is an unfathomable creature, making you feel one way and then another without so much as a moments notice. I imagine I’ve been quite difficult to live with, really.

I’ve suffered most of my life with some form of anxiety or depression, remembering even as young as four or five the abject panic that set in when I was away from my Mum, the cutting out of primary school 5 minutes after I was dropped off and chasing my mum or nan up the road, begging not to be left. Anyway, the point is, I’ve dealt with it for about 20 years and have largely managed to resist taking tablets to get by. I’ve seen counsellors, been given diagnoses and had them taken away again, but I’ve always maintained that there’s no point in giving myself a false high if there’s something underlying that’s causing my issues. I’m anti-paperingoverthecracks, if you will.

A couple of days ago, Husband was listening to me pour my heart out for the millionth time, about how sad I feel, how I feel completely and utterly cheated out of the chance to get to know Lorraine better, something which I took for granted while she was alive and am completely rueing now. At her funeral, I found out she was a fan of The Only Way is Essex and Alanis Morrisette, two things we have in common that I never knew about (despite THIS post. Yes, I know, I got sucked in. What are YOU saying?!) I’m struggling to get my head around the fact that she’s no longer here, my heart actually physically aches for my Dad when I think of how devastated he must be, how he’s got to go about his daily life despite the fact that his world has been torn in two.

My family life is suffering because of my grief, and while I know this is normal, I hate the fact that I’m grumpy, snappy and prone to tears at the drop of a hat. So, I asked Husband, shall I go to the Doctors? Well, he said, you know they’ll just offer you anti-depressants. And it’s true. I don’t know if it’s my surgery or all of them, but ours seem to have a stash of pre-printed prescriptions. Anything physical; antibiotics. Anything mental; anti-depressants. It’s like a conveyor belt where you get handed one or the other, no questions asked.

So, do I take them? I came to the conclusion that it’d be largely pointless. Hear me out, this is not me casting judgement on people who DO take them. Some people’s depression genuinely does come from their body’s inability to process serotonin adequately and they need a helping hand. My ‘problem’ isn’t chemical, it’s real. I could take anti-depressants but when the time came for me to come off of them again, the ‘problem’ will still be there, Lorraine will still be gone and I’ll still miss her. Sure, they’ll give me a boost for now, but I still think I’d be better off going through the natural process and dealing with each stage of grief as it comes.

I was explaining to Husband last night that although I still feel overwhelmingly sad at times, some of that sadness is giving way to a really intense anger that was worrying me. He gave me a wry smile and told me to Google ‘stages of grief’. Step One, denial, Step Two, anger. So while I might be feeling awful at times, at the very least I know I’m normal. And that’s something to be positive about, right?

I don’t know how long it’s going to take and I feel guilty for saying I even want to feel back to normal already, like I’m doing Lorraine a disservice by not permanently grieving, but I know for a fact that it’s not what she’d want. She adored Sausage and would be gutted to think that I was making her suffer with my behaviour. So, I need to use every ounce of mental strength that I have to stop me slipping back into the mire of depression, as it can be so bloody hard to get back out of.

Wish me luck…

The Gallery – Faces

I haven’t done a Gallery post in a while; in fact, I haven’t done a blog post in a while, at least not one which required me to commit my own words to a page. Those of you who know me will know that my family lost a member last week, my stepmum Lorraine. Lorraine had been battling cancer, melanoma to be precise. She was 42 when she died, in fact it had been her 42nd birthday just ten days earlier, which she’d spent in hospital.

I still can’t believe she’s gone. When I think of my Dad, I think of them as a pair – Dad and Lorraine, it just trips off of the tongue. But sadly, so fucking sadly, my father is now just ‘Dad’. I cannot even begin to tell you all of the emotions that have gone through me in the last two weeks, I’m utterly, utterly devastated, as is Husband and of course the rest of the family. Unfair just does not even begin to cover it. I’m not quite able to write about this in the way I’d like to, not able to do Lorraine justice with my words as I still feel largely in shock.

A few days ago, I was going through my emails and I found some pictures of Sausage that I’d emailed to my Dad a couple of years ago and one pictures stopped me in my tracks.

It’s a picture of Lorraine holding Sausage.

You can’t see Lorraine’s face, only Sausage’s, but the look on my infant daughter’s face says everything you need to know about how she felt about Lorraine. Indeed, how we all felt about her.

I hope, in time, that I’m better able to write something that does justice to the woman who touched our lives and whom we already miss so much. But for now, I’ll let this picture and Sausage’s face do the talking.

Cancer is a C*nt.

I feel that I should preface this post by saying that there is a lot of bad language, a lot of emotion and a whole load of anger. If you’re sensitive or easily offended, don’t read it as I will not apologise for a single word of it.

What do you say to a person who has been told they’re going to die? When a person is ill, even seriously ill, but there’s a glimmer of hope you can do your best with “I’m sure it’ll be fine” or “stay positive” or even “don’t worry, I’ll be praying for you”. But when someone has been sent home from hospital, being told that there’s no more that can be done to save them from a disease, what do you say? That’s not a hypothetical musing, I genuinely need some help with this.

Because what I really want to say is “Fuck you, cancer, you’re a cunt”.

It may be a complete cliche, but cancer is indiscriminate. Cancer doesn’t give a fuck whether you’ve been a brilliant person, whether you’re too young to die or have a shit load of potential that won’t be fulfilled. I’ve heard so many people say “It’s not fair, why do nice people get ill when there are paedophiles and serial murderers in prisons who never suffer?”. And the only answer I can give is that cancer DOES. NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK.

I cannot even begin to imagine how scary it must be to be told that you only have a certain amount of time to live. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m terrified of my own mortality and I think that comes from my internal conflict over the afterlife. See, I do believe in a ‘higher power’. I look at the universe and I feel that I couldn’t not believe in a higher power, at the very least something or someone to plant the seed from which everything as we know it grew. But I also have a more scientific, reasoned side to brain which tells me that everything is carbon and will be once again, and that’s all there is to it.

But then, I’ve not suffered, have I? I’ve not opened my eyes in the morning, only for the pain to kick in and just wish that it would all go away, wishing for sweet release from a body that’s letting you down.

I just don’t know how to get my head around it.

Maybe it’s down to experience. My Nan died about 7 years ago and while that was utterly heartbreaking, she was an old lady and she’d been ill for a while. It’s easier to reconcile something when you can get your head around the timing.  Old people are supposed to die. It’s shit, but they’ve had their life, left their footprint on the world and we can let them go with the most minute amount more ease than someone whose death is untimely.

I guess the point is, I’m really fucking angry.

I’ve not cried. I’m not quite sad yet. I’m numb, I’m waiting for the worst to happen, I swing from being confused to enraged to totally and utterly devoid of words to even explain how I feel. I can’t even begin to imagine how my Dad must feel, how her Mum must feel. All I know is, I’m devastated for them all.

So, I’ll say it again. Cancer is a cunt. And that’s all there is to it.

If any of you want to donate to Cancer Research, I’ve added a widget in my sidebar. Thanks.