Tag: life

A bad day and the impossible task

I already knew last night that today was going to be a bad day.

“Why didn’t you do something pre-emptive to stop it then, you daft cow?” (those are my words, and maybe what you’re thinking too.)

Unfortunately it was too late. I was lying in bed, fretting, listening to the husband snore, reading a blog I’ve become ridiculously immersed in (I think I’m as far back as 2013 posts from this woman now; her family story is fascinating and her writing is really engaging and fun) and wondering why I couldn’t sleep despite my body feeling so so ready for slumber.

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2017 highlights – my guest blog post for Nicola at pink-confetti.co.uk

At the end of last year Nicola, from pink-confetti.co.uk, asked on Twitter for people who would be happy to take part in her monthly guest blog series, which would have a different theme each month.

Pink Confetti blog header

I was lucky enough to be picked for the month of January, and the theme was 2017 highlights. Myself (and the other featured bloggers – Cat and Matt – I feel kind of bad that my name didn’t rhyme!) were asked to write about 3 blogging highlights and 3 personal highlights from last year.

I enjoy a good annual review (I didn’t do one this year, but you can read my 16 great things from 2016 here) and sometimes it’s easy to forget all the good stuff amongst the maelstrom of stress that comes with everyday life, so it was an enjoyable opportunity to look back on 365 days and take stock of the positives that 2017 brought to me.

I’d love you to have a read, and why not have a look around Nicola’s blog while you’re there?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Grief – 6 months on

Today should have would have been my Dad’s 60th birthday. Instead it’s 6 months since he died. 6 months. Half a year. That’s ages, right? Think how much can happen in 6 months.

I don’t know where I expected to be, grief wise, 6 months down the line.

Grief

People say that time is a healer, and I know that to be true. But, so far, time only makes things worse. For me, anyway. I feel like it’s getting more difficult to accept that my Dad is gone, because it’s so hard to comprehend that I’m never going to see him again. That all this stuff – 6 months worth of life and living and things – is happening without him and I’ll never be able to share it with him.

At first it just felt like I hadn’t seen or spoken to him for a while (even though that very rarely happened). But it gets more and more real as time goes on.

Today hurts every cell of my being. I ache with loss.

My Dad had an opinion on so many things, and he never hesitated to share it. All this house buying and selling malarkey would have been equally exciting and infuriating to him. He’d have been frustrated on our behalf with errant estate agents and sloth like mortgage applications. He’d have been excited at our moving and renovation plans. It’s almost impossible to comprehend that he’ll never visit our new home.

We speak about him often, in general conversation or around specific subjects. I’m very close with his wife, who is so young to be widowed and who he loved so much. Having her gives me a closeness to Dad, because she is so vivacious and full of life – their life and her own.

We talk about them

But, ultimately, there is no rulebook to feelings and dealings. Some days just thinking about him makes me cry, while others I feel pure joy at the memory of him. So many times I think that I must phone him to tell him about something that has happened at work, and then the fleeting moment where he’s still on the end of a phone is gone, to be replaced with abject sorrow.

What am I saying here?

It sucks. It still sucks.

I guess it will always suck.

I just wanted to put something into words, to mark today, to relive his memory.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

The last few days…

…have been up and down to say the least. Mainly down. The weekend started on a high, with a surprise birthday celebration for one of the husband’s old friends. It was great to see people we hadn’t seen in ages, and there was Indian food too, yum!

Unfortunately, from there on in, there was little good to report. The drive home was soured by receiving a property survey which was wildly different to what we expected (see Plans for 2017 for reference) which led to us maturely abandoning our weekend DIY plans in favour of sulking and feeling sorry for ourselves. Spirits were lifted briefly on Saturday night, when we celebrated another birthday, and I was delighted to debut my new velvet flares; I’m nothing if not resourceful/vacuous when it comes to being cheered by trivial things (more about them tomorrow).

A lazy Sunday and roast chicken dinner ended with choosing an early night over washing the pots and pans, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake because we woke on Monday morning – the most evil of all mornings at the best of times – to find a sodding leak under our kitchen sink. A considerable leak, that will no doubt drip drip drip all the way through to our downstairs neighbours (we live in a flat) and piss them off for the umpteenth time since we’ve lived there. So I’ve been unable to use my sink, dishwasher or washing machine until last night when a plumber came and gave an ambiguous response as to whether it’s fixed or not. Sigh.

In the meantime a pile of dirty dishes have built up, I’ve handwashed the husband’s work shirts (and wringing wet clothes out by hand is a workout in itself, I can tell you, and certainly more exercise than I’ve done in months!), and tried to placate the manchild into better spirits with takeaway, beer, wine, fake cheeriness and sitting on my hands to stop myself clonking him on the head in frustration.

On the plus side I scored this little light up beauty from Store TwentyOne for the bargain sale price of £7.

store-twentyone-lightup-carnival-star-lamp

It also comes in white. It’ll look nice in our new home, if we ever get to fecking move…

What’s going on in your world? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Signs from…somewhere?

It’s been a month today since my Dad died. Those words…they hurt. Some days I can say them quite matter of factly. Others, not so much.

On the day he died I couldn’t see as far as the end of the week, let alone further forward. A month seemed a lifetime away. But here we are. We’re surviving. Adapting. Doing him proud.

I wanted to share with you a whole host of things that have happened in the wake of Dad’s passing. Weird things. Stuff that, on it’s own, might seem just a coincidence. But, together, it seems much more. I’m not at all religious, I don’t believe in heaven (it would, after all, be so over populated by now!) and I’ve never truly believed that anything really happens after death, although I do struggle with the idea that someone can live a life full of laughter, memories and experiences and then it just ends and becomes nothing. Maybe that’s because I don’t want my own life’s work just to be snuffed out when the time comes, and I don’t want to think that my Dad’s character and zest for life just completely disappeared as he took his last breath.

I wouldn’t say that the things I’m going to tell you about have changed my views. But they’ve certainly made me think slightly differently.

signs-from-somewhere

As you know if you’ve read this blog for a while, my Dad had cancer, diagnosed in May 2014. It was already inoperable by the time it was detected and we’d been told the end was not far away back in August this year. He was starting to deteriorate quite rapidly and was due to go into a Macmillan hospice on the day he died. Early that morning he had a massive stroke and was rushed to hospital. I received a call telling me I needed to get there urgently.

Dad struggled on during that day, much longer than we all expected, right into the night time, sleeping or dosed up on morphine. All the family were there, in a private room with a big window. During the afternoon we heard a dull thud at the window and saw a tiny pretty bird bounce off the glass and land on the flat roof below. Rather than fly away he just sat there, looking at the window. He was like nothing we’d ever seen, certainly not a common bird, with red and orange markings on his head. He sat there for quite a while, before flying at the window again. The next day my Dad’s sister sent us a message saying she’d identified the bird – it was a zebra finch, known as the bird that sings while it sleeps. Weirdly, my Dad’s wife realised she had them as pets when she was a little girl.

When my Nan received a call to get to the hospital, that same morning, she noticed a white feather on the wedding photo she has of my Dad and his wife. When she got in the car to drive over, there was a white feather on the windscreen of the car. The morning after my Dad died, when someone came to visit, we found a white feather on the floor in the lounge. Most of the family have had feathers just appear to them, including three that fell in the garden and caught Dad’s wife’s eye while she was in the lounge with Dad’s Mom and his sister (one feather each), and one that was perfectly placed in her bed when she pulled back the covers one night. Even my Mom, who divorced my Dad many years ago but spent time with him a few weeks before he died, had a white feather appear on her lounge floor when she got back from holiday.

After Dad died, when we left him at the hospital, we went back to his house in the early hours of the morning. His wife originally said she wasn’t going to let anyone know immediately, then changed her mind and sent some texts to friends. A guy my Dad worked with about 20 years ago, who is now a hospital porter, text back immediately to say that he’d been called to take my Dad from the ward to the mortuary, and that he’d looked after him professionally and personally. Of all the people and wards in the hospital, the chances of that are pretty slim. It was a great comfort to us.

On the day we went to register Dad’s death, the registrar turned out to be a lady that Dad’s wife used to work with, who she hadn’t seen in years and didn’t know her whereabouts. The first thing she said was “I remember you, you married (my Dad). Who’s death are you registering?” Her face fell when we told her.

As Dad got more and more poorly, he asked me if I would like one his watches to keep. I kept putting it off, not wanting to face the inevitable, thinking there was plenty of time to have it. A few days before he died he told me to fetch the watch and insisted I have it there and then, which I did. I wore it on the day he died, and for the next few days after that, before noticing it had stopped, at some point, at 10.55. Dad died at 10.40. Maybe just a coincidence, albeit a close one. Then we realised that on my Dad’s wife’s watch it was 10.55 when he died. She’d noticed earlier in the day that her watch was fast, and not altered it.

(to add more significance to the watch story, my Dad had his own Dad’s watch in a draw for many years after he – my Grandad – died, and decided to wear it on his wedding day. It hadn’t been looked at or touched for years, so he took it out in advance of the wedding in order to replace the battery. The watch had stopped at the time he was due to get married, and on the same day (5th). He took that as a sign and didn’t replace the battery, wearing it as it was).

On the day of the funeral, a multitude of things happened.

I wore the watch my Dad had given me, that had stopped. I hadn’t worn it for over a week, and noticed it had crept forward a few minutes, in spite of me not replacing the battery.

Not long after we left home, I was saying hat I thought there would be a lot of donations from people at the funeral (we requested donations instead of flowers). One of the charities we chose to support is the Retiired Greyhound Trust. My Dad won a lot of money on greyhound racing over the years and owned lots of different racing dogs. As I said it, we saw a man walking a greyhound down the road. The husband had never seen a greyhound being walked as a pet before.

We went to my Mom’s house first, and I told her the strange coincidences that had already happened. I was talking about white feathers and how it seemed I was the only person in the family not to have received one. I realised I’d forgotten to put earrings in, so my Mom suggested I see if my little sister had some. As I opened the jewellery box, there was one odd earring – a dangly white feather. A coincidence, or a sign? Either way, it made me cry!

Finally, as I mentioned, my Dad was very into greyhound racing. A lot of his friends from the track were at the funeral, and at the wake in the pub afterwards. They all sat together and had the local race track streaming on their phones, betting and enjoying themselves as my Dad would have wanted (and as he’d have done if he’d been there!) Late afternoon they called me over and said there was a race coming up where they had a good tip, on a dog called “Bonny Lass”. Quite a few of them were betting it, so a few of my family got involved, as did I, betting £25. The form was that if the dog came out of the trap well, it would win. It didn’t, it came out poorly. A couple of the guys actually said “it’s got no chance”. But that dog came from behind, bearing in mind the race was about 30 seconds long, and it weaved through it’s race companions and it only bloody won! Photo finish, but it won! I won £100, the husband won £100, family members and friends won, it was amazing! Not only that, at the end of the race a beautiful full rainbow appeared over the racetrack, and also outside the pub we were in. It was like my Dad sending us all a win, and a big smile to let us know what he’d done.

Am I bonkers for thinking these things mean anything? Maybe! If they were happening to anyone else, would I think they were significant? Perhaps, perhaps not. And I don’t think any of these things mean my Dad exists in a parallel universe or is in heaven or anything like that. But it’s nice to think that somehow, some way, it’s a continuation of the energy he exuded in life letting us know that he’ll always be with us, even though he can’t be.

I miss him so much.

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

5 things about 2015

Firstly, Happy New Year! Hope you had a good one welcoming it in whatever way you chose.

I meant to post this yesterday but got distracted by procrastinating doing…er…nothing…so although it’s now 2016 and technically I should be looking forward and not backwards, well, tough!

Goodbye 2015

So I woke up yesterday morning wondering how come I was in bed (I got very very drunk on New Years Eve Eve) and whether I was in trouble with the husband for being a pissed up handful (I wasn’t) and between the drunken confusion and not being able to sleep because my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth, I spent a few minutes thinking back about the year and the things that defined it.

So, here they are!

  1. Family. I’m very lucky to be very close to both of my parents. They divorced when I was 21 and I’ve been through bad times with both of them, but we came through the other side. They’re always there for me and, because I’m an only child, they have no-one to compare me to so they think I’m great (kinda kidding here). And, you know, family is so important. My mother-in-law is an amazing woman and I know that when we’re in her company we’ll always have fun. My extended family are fun and close knit and there are times in the past when I haven’t made the most of them. Time is limited and precious and I don’t want to regret not making the most of my folks so in 2015 I consciously spent more time with them, and will continue to do so this year.
  2. My job. I’ll never be defined by my career because I’m strictly of the mindset “work to live” and always have been. But this year I got made redundant (which is cool because I was semi-looking around anyway) and I now work for a company that makes a difference to people’s lives. The ethos is very different to my previous role and I never want to go back to that corporate money making bullshit I was in before; where lies and bad morals are acceptable just to make a buck for the fat cat owners. Plus I get that warm fuzzy feeling hearing first hand from people who’s lives are literally changed. It’s good.
  3. This blog. I started this blog on the day I got made redundant; a knee jerk reaction to change and the thought that I might have a lot of time on my hands! And it’s been great! I wanted to start a blog for a really long time and never got round to it, and I wish I’d done it years ago. I love the writing process, I love the interaction with other people, I love having an outlet that’s mine. Long may it continue.
  4. My hair! Screw the deep and meaningful stuff, my hair has been a pain in the ass for the past year. Totes my own fault for cutting it off, but I needed to do it and scratch an itch and have now learnt my lesson. It’s long all the way from now on! (well, when it finally gets there).
  5. Not seeing friends. Back to the serious stuff. The husband and I totally overcommitted last year, in between holidays, and festivals and weekends away, and other plans. Great as it sounds, we didn’t nurture the core stuff. Friends we haven’t seen enough of. Birthdays missed. Presents not exchanged. Spending 3 weekends in a row in different hotels in different parts of the country because of gigs and weddings and trips. Something to change this year.

So, a retrospective, an introspective, and a goodbye to last year.

How was yours?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x