What I thought about today – Day 5

Some days are just meh and blah and the recipient for a host of thumbs down (tangible reasons totally overrated). And in the paradoxical writhing of those days it’s ok to feel a bit sad and a bit flat. It’s also ok to feel a bit under appreciated and a bit under-loved.  The real woo-hoo part is that you get a “get out of jail” free card to not play nice, to not be co-operative and to be able to say (with complete carte blanche ) …….

“Before you go any further, today is not the day and I am not the one”

Such a succinct comment should be immediately followed by vigorous pointy use of your extremities for maximum impact.

Permission granted to be foul and growly, sweet scented roses need manure to bloom.

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What I thought about today – Day 4

Relationships – good, bad, long, short, professional, intimate, random – pretty much every minute of the day is linked to a relationship of some description. I suppose given the nature of us bipeds, relationships come with the territory but they can be a tricky old thing.

Himself and I have been together for almost three decades. Someone told me the other day that it’s quite an achievement, almost three decades, so yay us I guess. We have a “good marriage” I think – lots in common (but not everything), similar views on politics, religion, finances etc Compromise though still plays a leading role, you learn to pick your battles for lack of a better way to put it. Do you face the possibility of losing yourself in making compromise though? I don’t think so, I think you have to know yourself super well, be cognizant of your worth and be comfortable in your own skin. This sense of self will give you the ability to be a functioning one of two and understand the complexities that come with having a life partner. Do I have “don’t even go there” triggers – absolutely and so does he but they’ve been on the table from day one.

So after all that and despite perhaps sounding like a leaking pipe of psycho babble, what I want to say is that relationships take work. It’s not easy, disagreements are going to happen but they need to be the rarity not the norm. Respect your differences and revel in the similarities.

What I thought about today – Day 3

Sadness is the theme du jour. Catching up on the news and reading about the apparent suicides of two survivors from the Marjory Stoneman school shooting and a Dad from Sandyhook. I grieve for anyone who is in such an overwhelming place that the only apparent solution is to close the book forever – can’t fathom the loneliness and helplessness that must be all pervading. The anguish of the people left behind again is another festering quagmire all of its own. Could I have done more and what did I miss?

I find I tend to take on board a lot of the emotional stuff doing the rounds (evidently an empath I’m told – if you need to put a name to it) and it’s hard let me tell you. The happiness and joy highs are a fun thing but when loss, heartache and sadness are on the march it’s quite overwhelming at times. There have been days when all I want to do is crawl into a hole and hide and I have (well not the hole bit but you get my drift.) Most of the time though you pack it, wrap it and stack it away. I verbalise a lot, I write sometimes which seems to help balance everything out. It’s made me acknowledge myself, my worth and made my boundaries stronger I think. All good but if you’re out there and you’re battling *fist bump* I see you.

What I thought about today – Day 2

So it’s technically still today and I’m still thinking about stuff. The world is a very judgey place. Your race, your gender, your religion, your sexual orientation, your physical appearance, your mental aptitude, your political views, your ……… (There’ll be more but my brain has recoiled in horror and called a time out). Forward, clear and unbiased thinking seems to be just a pipe dream.

What is wrong with humanity you have to ask? Have I been guilty, absolutely and it’s still a conscious effort not to make snap decisions about people based on the above “put them in a box” way of thinking. Most everyone has got some sort of story to tell that shows a different side and a different reasoning behind their lousy behavior. It doesn’t make it right but it does make the bigger picture a little clearer. There are without doubt those individuals though who remain sewerage worthy residents because they don’t have a story and are just dire human beings and their true colors will show eventually. These additions to the story will also hopefully get their just desserts as speedily as possible.

So bottom line,( in my opinion, you know the thing we’re all allowed to have even if you don’t agree) – turn off the judgement tap with a big brute spanner. Having an opinion gets a thumbs up, not agreeing with the process/principle/dogma is also fine and dandy. Fight the good fight but leave the people out of if, that’s not your job. Use your voice for change, not retribution (easy to say I know but we have to keep trying). Here’s a stellar example *insert eye roll here (judgey I know but damn) ” If you don’t like your country’s policies change the blasted government don’t wreak havoc on its citizens.

What I thought about today – Day 1

Most days are just a mundane flow of thoughts and routine blips on the radar and then you get days where you think, a lot. So I saw a video clip on social media the other day of a young woman, in her 20’s I would guess, taking part in some sort of parade. She had on a t shirt and shorts so perfectly adequately clad. I still fail to see how your choice of clothing apparently gives other people any rights over you but just in case you were wondering. Anyhow there she was, bouncing along and seemingly enjoying the experience when some disgrace of a man comes up behind her and starts putting his hands all over her. As it would he certainly got his arse handed to him as she physically beat him off and was then aided by another young woman who chased him away.

What really pissed me off and got me to thinking was that it’s the 21st century and yet there still isn’t anywhere that’s completely safe as a woman where you can go and enjoy yourself without some fool getting in your face. For clarity, because I know there’s going to be some “gift to the world” out there who’s going to want to justify something, I’m straight and married to a good man. With that said, even if I was as alternative as ….”…….. (insert your own example here because what is alternative to some is everyday living to others) what gives any person the right to assault (because that’s what it is) another person because apparently just because defies explanation.

As much as I’m sure there are incidents of women sexually and mentally abusing men, my train today is men abusing women. So yes the #metoo and every other inspirational campaign that involves women taking back their power is relevant here. Wait, did I hear somebody roll their eyes, you better damn well believe it – the time is now. So here’s my thing – speak up, every time – support each other, every time – believe what she says, every time.

“A woman is unstoppable after she realises she deserves better”.

When Dad does dating

So after my mom died (Grief is a real thing) and Dad moved to the retirement village it was a case of so what now? In short, my father is a people person, he must be around people and be interacting with people all day every day.

The retirement village was supposed to tick all those boxes and provide him with hours of entertainment but nobody reckoned on the crippling depression that grabbed hold of him and hung on tight like a blood sucking leach in a dank swamp. He socialised, with some subtle prodding, which later progressed to a metaphorical forklift to get him out of his chair and out the front door but he did socialise. The yawning chasm though was at night, when everybody battened down their hatches and went about their own business and he still wanted to have a person to talk to and share a meal with etc etc.

I’ll tell you one thing for free, when your parental becomes the aimless one and you take on the role of “advice giver” it is a rough and rocky path. Beyond frustrating because what makes sense and is reasonable to you will most times be a foreign language in your parentals life. Anyway after many months and many phone calls and many “Dad you need to put yourself out there, life isn’t going to come to you”, he did just that. He started “dating” (the word seems dodgy given their age group but you know, made a friend, acquired a partner – whatever) a lady at the village who had lost her husband about three
months after my mom died. Was it awkward, oh yes, massively so. It all looked so wrong, which is quite ridiculous given the circumstances, but to see him with another woman just freaked me out – and yes I know that is despite me being the one telling him to get out in the world.

Those first few months were quite something and I’ve honestly not been that uncomfortable for some time. Lots of time talking to my mom and pondering and musing and reasoning and trying to come up with a strategy so that I could move forward with a relationship that was clearly going to form part of my life fabric (and it has, 3 years now). Very deliberately I reshaped how I was going to do things, what I was prepared to do and what I was prepared to “put up with” for lack of a better way to put it. I was, in all honesty, initially resentful of how different he was with H as far the little things go – buying flowers, helping with grocery shopping which had not been part of his relationship with my mom until a good friend pointed out (useful to have good friends) that perhaps he had realised what he hadn’t contributed the first time around and didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Fair point and food for thought but it wasn’t easy at the beginning.

Did I mention I have a brother, well yes he lives in a different province and a new woman in my fathers life proved a bitter pill to swallow. Round 999 of talking and explaining and reasoning that she was a really nice person and good for my father and took some of the stress off me and there is an uneasyish truce in place. My father of course thinks that he’s happy so all the family should be happy and is totally oblivious to any undercurrents – this is not a new thing, the subtleties of living have passed him by for as long as I can remember. A close knit family is a blessing without question but comes with its own
matched set of baggage. My husband, who comes from a family with a completely different dynamic and has a father who is cold and remote (the complete antithesis of mine) has I think been bewildered on many an occasion by all our stuff but has proved dogged in his support of whatever decision I’ve made.

And my father and H? All good from what I can see, three years in and contentment reigns supreme – long may it last, are you listening universe thanks.

Grief is a real thing

So grief, grief is a real thing let me tell you. I’m not sure I really understood the whole process of grief and grieving until we had roughly 18 months of onslaught. I’d been sad before, obviously, you hear about death, you lose a beloved pet (and I howled like a banshee for days after that), contemporaries of your parentals pass away etc etc but it’s only (in my opinion) when it comes knocking at your front door that you really get it.

So first of all my mother in law died, we weren’t close but she died ugly (rampant alzheimers and all the accompanying stuff that goes with that) and I needed to be support for my husband while he dealt with her passing and his father and siblings and all their stuff. I need a new word for stuff but you know – emotion and baggage and arguments and discussions and stuff! Then 6 months later my feisty, never ill, full of life 86 year old mothers appendix burst and she dies two weeks later in hospital. My father literally fell apart and I put up my hand and said it’s ok, I’ll sort it out. You see, I told my comatose mother on the day she died that it was ok to say goodbye and I would look after my father and well that’s a promise you can’t exactly break. She, in her infinite wisdom, had always done everything from cooking, cleaning, finances, shopping for groceries etc etc My father was just, I can’t, I don’t know how, I don’t know what to do. So in the next 6 months we sold his house (at his request), moved him into a retirement village (best decision ever) and tried to find solid ground to stand on. The phone calls were endless and I can remember one night going into a room in our home, switching off the lights and curling up on the floor with my arms wrapped around my head and thinking I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do everything for everybody, when do I get a chance to grieve? Did I tell my husband the depths of my despair? No I didn’t (rightly or wrongly) I’m also the “strong” one, always the one who picks up the pieces so I did, I picked myself up and got back to getting on with life. I think the first time I really cried, well other than at the funeral because who doesn’t cry at funerals (I hate funerals with a passion let me reiterate but we did it because my father thought it was the right thing to do) was driving home from work on my birthday roughly 10 months after she died. It was in the winter and cold and dark and I wept for my mother for 8 kilometres and then I packed it away.

I’m jumping around here but about 4 months into project Save Father, one of our dearest friends also died from colon cancer. He was in his 40’s and once of the loveliest people you could wish to know – his parents have now buried both their sons (the first one in a car accident) so you can imagine walking that road of pain. On the day of his memorial, we got a call to say that my father had been involved in a car accident and was being rushed to hospital. You seriously cannot make this shit up – the photographs from the memorial are something, I look like a ghost. My father was lucky with relatively minor injuries but the psychological impact was massive combined with everything else.

Grief and grieving is an individual process – I don’t believe there is a guaranteed or recommended formula for everyone to follow. I do believe time is critical and that there has to be a line drawn in the sand and when you get to that line its time to start living your life again. You don’t forget, ever, but you remember how to live and why you need to live.

Its now three years later – I’ve had some health issues, nothing major but enough to give me a wakeup call. I’m quite convinced the utter overwhelmingness of the stress and grief was a contributing factor. What has grief taught me? I’ll tell you one thing its taught me –  to take care of myself and make myself the first priority in my life. I consciously avoid people and situations that are stressful and I have redrawn my boundaries – I put up with a lot less than I used to. You’ll probably find that there are people that think I’m selfish but that’s ok because I know my truth and the people that matter know me.