Thursday, 14 September 2017

Big day.

Huge actually. I am being seen by my consultant later this morning to see if I'm mended and presuming I am, whether or not I am able to run. Only another runner will understand the significance of these words. Of being able to get out with the wind on my face, escape the walls that cage me and keep me as the only parent in charge of three children. I always knew that I loved the freedom but I never quite realised the need I have to leave. To remind myself how unimportant the important things actually are. I am trapped in my own mind. Restricted by my own body. Broken by mistake and craving the faster heart beat like a junkie. 

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

What a load of bollocks.

It seems that I've reached the stage in grief where I am fucking livid. I am entitled to my feelings and I own them so I am allowing myself to say that the changes that have had to take place since my sister died, are through her utter irresponsible and selfish decisions. Idiot woman to think that it was okay. It bloody wasn't. Not any of it. You don't bad mouth, disrespect, influence or charge ahead without thought. We all need to take responsibility and I wish I could shout at her to think again before not thinking. 

Several interfering do-gooders are too opinionated and presume that they are entitled to judge, gossip and arrogantly believe that they could do better. Unnecessary trouble-making which isn't helpful. Not for anyone. Back off, I had to say in a polite way. I wish I could have yelled at them to wind their necks in but I didn't. I am not her. 

The summer is over. I have taken every opportunity to do as much as I could with the children. Have I had a moment to myself? Not really. Have I had a good summer? Of a fashion, yes, but has it been a relaxing, restful, love-filled few months? No, it really hasn't. The reality is that I am still alone trying to figure out the best way forward for all of us, trying to afford the fact that I cannot work and hoping that my knee is no longer broken. It feels better but it never felt bust so I have no real idea. I wonder whether I should chance it and run. But I don't know whether that would make it or break it and the risk is too great. I need support and my knees hold me up so I can't afford to take that chance. Anyone? Step forward, please. 

How many times do you have to say, 'I would love to see you' without being seen before you stop saying it out loud? How may times do you need to be treated like shit before you stop allowing the treatment? How many times do you feel that you're not quite good enough before you realise that you are so much better? So much better and so much stronger than you ever believed possible. Listening to the words, 'I will support you' when they are just words. Nothing follows the statement except maybe a pathetically intended, 'I mean it, I promise'. It's complete and utter bollocks. So, what do I do? I do what I always do and silently seethe with frustration and hurt. I feel ripped apart with unhappiness and a desperate isolation that I have created to prevent me feeling this way more often. I feel let down because I have been let down. I feel unsupported because I am not supported. I feel unhappy because I am not happy. I am alone because I am on my own. It really is that simple. 


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Mental health, my arse.

I feel insane. Not like a lunatic, crazy person, psychotic or on the outside looking in although, trust me, I have felt all of these things in my life. Nope I just feel fucking crazy. My life was pretty fucked up before I took in my nephew, my boy, the son I never had and then I go and instinctively add to it. I didn't make the choice of an extra child. It was as simple as waking up one morning and knowing what day it was. 

If someone had the conversation in front of me about whether it is possible to love a child like your own without giving birth, I would have silently known it wasn't but I can tell you that it is. Completely possible. I do. I feel exactly the same towards my boy as I do towards my girls and in a matter of months, I have a son. But it doesn't stop me feeling fucking insane. The bickering, the demands, the questions, the needs, the incessant urges for activities and to be occupied. I sometimes just want to scream at them all to 'FUCK OFF' because I cannot take it anymore. I still love them when I think like this so I never worry too much but if the opportunity arose for me to take off and leave with a backpack of t shirts and a nightie, a bundle of cash and the promise to be barefoot for the rest of my life, I think I might be tempted. I'd be off like a shot. Sorry kids, I am a human after all.

I just smashed a wine glass. It was an accident but the sound of splintering glass on the balcony as we sat outside in the South of France attempting to play cards was enough for them to be silenced and for me to walk away. I had to count to twenty in my head over the voice asking me 'What the fuck have you done?' I was more angry that I had wasted a glass of delicious rose and that the evening ahead seemed suddenly longer without it. I grabbed the car keys, muttered something under my breath making the kids fall into line and suddenly, life is resumed to normal but I am so tired of having to reach boiling point, my limit, before they listen to me. I am officially a fucked up crazy woman. My children are the best part of my life. They are officially my achievements. My job is pretty shitty as much as I love the family I work for, I am a cleaner. I wash, wipe and pick up for a family that isn't mine and they are grateful but it isn't the career I wanted. I didn't sit down in the Upper Fifth and say, "Oh, I want to be someone's cleaner".. Life just sent me down that path and I grabbed an opportunity when it came my way. I want more than that now though. I have less time for a so-called career but maybe I have less time on this earth than I think so shouldn't I fill it with meaningful, satisfying stuff?

I am on the look out for a job opportunity. "Do you have the time in your week?" I was emailed today when I suggested that I fill in for someone wanting a 6 month sabbatical. Not anymore, I thought but I didn't reply. I don't want to work for anyone unless they feel lucky to have me. I am pure gold when it comes to organisation, discretion, perfection, tidiness and loyalty. My next job is going to make me feel like jumping out of bed because I can't wait to get to work. I want to write. My book will be ready for a publisher by next week but I'm not banking on that. That's an extra. I'll write another one or two but I want my life, my daily life to be fucking awesome. I'm done with the shit, the gratitude that I am just about good enough, the tax credits because of my low income and the pitying looks. I am about to have a massive change and I'm ready.

Right, I'd better get the baby his milk, put a film on the iPad for my girls and pop my nightie on because it's almost nine pm .. Not everything is going to change..

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Can't change it.

I've lost count of how many weeks it's been since I went for a run. I guess I could work it out.. It's 8 weeks exactly. No wonder I feel so frustrated. I've had to rest my knee. It's that simple. I can't do anything about it. Some things you simply can't change. Some breaks you can't mend. It's really not the end of the world is it? 

But sometimes, when changes happen, it does feel like the end of the world. Like when my sister died at Christmas. I thought my life was over too. I couldn't breathe properly, my head wouldn't stop spinning and my vision was blurred. Grief really hurts. Slowly, day by day, you get used to it and then you find months have passed and with guilt, because the time has gone unnoticeably, you start to feel better, like your old self. It never quite leaves you though. The pain is too great to diminish beyond a dull ache. But you have to keep going. What else is there if we don't make the most of what we have? 

I've leant on an old friend of hers since I called him up to tell him that she'd gone. Like everyone else, he believed she'd fight on life support and pull through. I still think she might have done and is hiding somewhere to surprise us all but that's just my childlike brain blurring out the harsh truth. He was on my doorstep within a matter of hours with his arms out-stretched to hold me. This old friend of hers was almost a friend of mine way back but our paths didn't cross. I guess she has made us friends now and I'm fond of him. He's been a rock. From a distance. He's made me realise that I have possibility and I've realised that I am ready now, almost. I want to open my door to someone who truly wants to help me. Stand with me and with an arm across my shoulder give me unconditional support. My life has changed beyond recognition this year and I have lost friends as the months have fallen away. The phone hasn't rung. The offers haven't been there. I knew having a wee fella in this house would make a big difference to my life but I didn't think I'd lose friends. Life works in confusing ways doesn't it?

I have an opportunity ahead of me and it will mean a new beginning. It would be reassuring if I knew that I was choosing the right path but do any of us ever truly know which is the correct way? I follow my gut instinct, my heart and hope that sense will lead me to the answer. 

Friends may have fallen away but others have appeared regularly just asking, checking, saying hi. It is those quieter voices that I have been so grateful for and I won't ever forget the support. The busiest offer help. This ridiculous obsession we all seem to have to be busy. It's bollocks. Busy is a choice and I am guilty of it like so many but we can simply stop. Just make time. Put the kettle on. Open a bottle of wine. 

I am moving towards the sun. In a matter of days I will have my eyes closed spending precious moments with the ones that I love the most. Healing my soul through the true belief that I can. I will allow myself time to rest, recover and remain who I have grown to be. I will lie down and appreciate the quiet, the kindness, the love and the belief that I am good enough. And then, when I am healed and I have rested and appreciated how far I have come, I will put on my running shoes and, like a scrunched up piece of paper being fired from a catapult, I will run like I've never run before. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Shock.

I'm not sure you ever get over a shock. I learnt yesterday that we are all born with the built in fear of loud noises, the default is set jump which I do, more so than most. And the fear of falling over a cliff. Which I don't. The shock of sudden death is known as traumatic and can take years to accept and deal with properly. I accept that. I am still reeling from the loss of my sister at Christmas. I think we all are to be honest but life carries on and has that incredible way of smoothing out without much effort from us. We keep going, keep doing our thing, whatever that may be and time ticks on. It has been over 6 months now and I have completely lost this year. I have a small voice upstairs calling me and I'm hoping he might settle again so I can greedily write for longer.. It's doubtful.

My book is being looked at by someone who will help me get it ready for publishing. She doesn't want to change the story. She made me very proud of myself yesterday which is something I feel rarely. It's going to be ready by the first week in September. 

I am in shock that something that has been so hard to let go of, has been described as 'a brave, fascinating story'.. 

I am writing the sequel.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Higher love.

I'm back in the room. Thank God. I had a shitty few days. Not really shitty days but a shitty mood that in turn made my days shitty. Isn't it stupid how we let a bad mood destroy a perfectly lovely day? Childish really not to appreciate life as it is and be grateful that we are here after all. We don't need to be here but we are, so better to smile and do the best we can. There's already far too much moaning and misery without going along in a strop because .. what? I didn't get what I wanted? I may as well have stamped my feet in a tantrum. Although I couldn't. I'm embarrassed that I allowed the circumstances to monopolise my life for over 24 hours. I am hurt (yes I know I've said that already) but it's a constant thing at the moment. I can't shake it. I want to make it better. I want to tell my sister that it's okay because it is. It will be okay. I want to hold her hand as she lies in the hospital, unconscious taking her last breaths. I want to hold her hand as she flies home unaware that her life is over. I want to tell her that I will look after her children as best I can for the rest of my life. Unconditionally. Her boy who is now my boy. I love him with a deeper love than I thought possible. He is and always will be hers but he is mine and therefore so is she.

Shitty mood passed, I am waiting to see what my mobility will be for the next few months. I am stuck. I am stationary. I have friends who have taken my children to school and I have friends who have taken me to the supermarket but it hurts that I need help. And I do need help. We'll see what they say. It was a surprise that it was broken, maybe I'll surprise them by being mended already. Fingers crossed.

I'm having my windows cleaned tomorrow. Jobs being ticked off a list that I haven't had a chance to even consider. For months I have put my head down and charged ahead looking after my sisters boy, my girls and my daily business. Have I looked after myself? No I haven't. I have the chance to stop now and pay attention to what is important. I need to listen to my soul. At least when the windows are squeaky clean I will be able to see out towards a future. Because that's what I have ahead of me.

I am always on the go. I rarely stop. I am no different to many but I thrive on dead lines, pressure and time keeping.

"Just because you're not headed to a final destination doesn't mean you should assume that you have lost your drive. The stage between journeys can become a wonderful period of relaxation that prepares you for the path that soon will be revealed to you" Madisyn Taylor.

I talk to her. She tells me things and sometimes, I laugh because I hear myself saying something like, "Oh Shut up, Obviously I know that". Her boy was playing with a toy tractor in the dogs water bowl and making a bloody mess this morning. I said, "Why would you do that? It's the dogs bowl!" and she said "He's 2 and a half". But I'm here and she isn't. I wish it was different but I am so loving having him in my family. He fits perfectly. Literally like he's been here forever. Nothing has ever been this easy. He joined us when my heart was broken but has helped me accept that my broken heart is okay. It doesn't need to mend. It's okay to feel pain and it's okay to allow the pain let love in. The possibility of maybe, just maybe allowing myself to be happy. I might even consider sharing my time with another adult. Only maybe. I had absolutely and completely written that off and I'm not saying that I will because I still see a man holding a glass of wine in France as I sit in my nightie watching the sunrise. Of that, I am certain. I think I am almost 60 years old then but I'm very happy about that.

"You're very lucky that you still feel connected to her" I was told this morning. I am unbelievably lucky that I know, without doubt, that she is guiding me and sometimes, pushing me into situations that create a stir, a smile and a shake of my head. Her ex fell arse over tit in the fathers race in front of the whole school.. That was her. No question. My broken knee cap? Could she be that powerful? Probably not but she can allow me to sit still and be quiet. Hear her, hear myself and allow time to heal me and adjust to this massive change.  I am doing for her what she wished she could have done. Better, I hope. Not meaning to insult or be smart. I'm not implying that I am better but I am saying that I can do this. I've got it.

"Daboo Mummy" my favourite words ever. Fact.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcsfj9s_aBs

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Another shift.

I have bust my knee. Quite extraordinary and I can't get my head around it at all because I haven't fallen over and the X-ray showed an impact break. Straight through the kneecap. My consultant at the fracture clinic seems to think it might have been cracked for a few weeks and when I ran a 10K last weekend, the ligaments simply pulled the patella apart. I am in a leg brace and it will take 12 weeks to mend. That's a very long time for a mother of three to sit still. It's a very long time for a woman who runs four times a week to sit still. It's a very, very long time for a woman who usually 'does' to not do. And, again, you really find out who your friends are. Huge kisses to the ones that have stepped up. No pun intended. 

I started my life being abused. A few people know this, not many. I have never really spoken about it. To a councillor, a kindred spirit, a boyfriend who I was told I could trust because they would always be there for me.. Yeah, about that. And because I accepted being abused as my norm, I started life with very little self esteem. I didn't pick up much more throughout my teenage years and then into my 20's, it seemed I was attracted to abusers like a magnet on a fridge. Mental, and emotional abuse luckily more than physical although there was one who thought it was okay to thump me simply for breathing too loudly. WTF? No abuse is acceptable. My mind was played with, my heart ripped up and I was treated like no girl should ever be treated. I was never really good enough for any one of my boyfriends. That hurts. Truthfully, they were never good enough for me either but they didn't need to be mean and take with them the tiny bit of self worth I had. Boys in a break up are bastards. 

I am nearly 46 years old. I know that I'm intolerant of bullshit and bad behaviour but what else is there? If someone shows complete lack of respect, why would I want to be near them? I don't. Not one bit. It has reduced my friendship groups. It has alienated me from old friends who once would roar with laughter as I relayed a tale in the days when we felt invincible. The trouble is, as you get older, you soon realise that life is precious. We are not invincible and words more so than actions can really hurt. That's my main issue right now, I am hurt. It is physical and I'm not talking about my inconvenient broken knee, I am talking about the pain of losing my sister. The other half of me who witnessed my abuse and who wished she could help when she couldn't. I remember her saying after Mum died, how horrible it was for her to know I was being hurt but not being able to do anything about it. Maybe through fear, I'm not sure. I would like to think that I might have tried if roles were reversed. Who knows. I don't blame her for staying silent. She was, after all, only 5 years old. 

I'm intolerant and I'm impatient. Neither are ideal for a usually active woman but I am trying to accept this sudden immobility and use my time wisely. Which is why I am here, right now, today. All three children are out of the house until later and I am at my desk. No more excuses. I have been given the opportunity to sit and finish what I started years ago. Lucky me. I think.

And because this is me and my space, I can also admit that I am crying. A lot. I don't cry. Not really. But I am crying now. And on the flip side of the coin, I kissed an old friend at the weekend and I didn't expect that either. Not one bit. So I'm feeling lucky, sad and confused all at the same time.

Until tomorrow..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc8X3FXwQCg

Thursday, 8 June 2017

And on..

So I've woken up this morning to an unexpected situation. Another drama. Ain't that the truth. I'm surprised that I have so many Tory voting friends or am I? I don't care how people vote, I do care that people vote for what they truly believe in not what they feel they should believe in.. A hung parliament. Apt words indeed. Let's hope they make the best of the situation we have put ourselves in. Ludicrous. 

This is the first opportunity that I've had to sit down and tap away at my desk. I have a new desk too. An old table actually. It's perfect. I hope. It seems to be perfect so far. Life works like that doesn't it. Throws things at us that might appeal so we grab the opportunity, the chance. It's all about making the effort. Stepping forwards to embrace a possibility and doing the best we can. I guess that's how I see life anyway. I know others might disagree with me, a few certainly will but in my humble opinion, you have to make life what you want it. With kindness and empathy.

I had my cards read many years ago and while clearing out my old desk to make way for the new one, I came across the notes I had written down. It was at a time in my life (isn't it always?) when everything felt upside down. I had just left London with my baby and had no idea what to do. I certainly hadn't found my purpose or my path. Not then. But I had determination. Thank God. That was 11 years ago. I have walked a few roads since that day and taken more turns that I expected. I have held a few hands, I have laughed, cried, screamed, kept quiet. I have fought for change and I have accepted things that I can't. I have lost my mother and my sister. And then having lost them, life was taken away from them both. I have friends who understand that I don't need understanding and I then have friends who don't.

Some little thing is shouting out, "Mummy" from his cot upstairs because I have unsuccessfully sneaked out for a quiet cup of coffee and some time alone. My life has changed. I have been thrown an opportunity which I have grabbed. With both hands and my heart.

"You will have three children"..

Hindsight, a wonderful thing. Thank you very much.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Time goes on.

Ain't that the truth? Quite unbelievably too. Death is natural, normal, common, universal. We all experience it. What I have found to be unexpected was the shock that sudden death brings with it. Not even like the rug being pulled from under your feet but more like a giant's fist being smashed into your chest and then pressing down daily. It becomes difficult to understand even the most obvious logic. You are vulnerable, fragile (although I have disliked that word since someone used it against me as an insult- he was right to use the word, not right to insult me with it) and exposed. Death makes you public property for a time (not sure how long) where loved ones hold you, make you tea, bring you food that they have made especially and run you a bath but also to those that probe, ask intrusive questions, expect detail, question your final decision and take your curveballs personally. Death is over-powering. Death is quite simply a shocker. It doesn't matter what age or what circumstances, it is point blank final and that alone is suffocating.

An old friend came to see me yesterday. I met her when I was 14 years old (so when I say old friend, I mean a friend who I met a long time ago) and the effort she made in doing so did not go unnoticed. She has a 2 year old boy too. They ran along the track together as we snatched a conversation as mothers do. Mutually understanding that a broken conversation is as good as it gets but it didn't matter. The time we spent together was precious and I appreciate her love for sacrificing her saturday afternoon. Not many will do that. She hugged me and I hugged her back. True friendship that had grown apart over the last 3 decades but was still deep rooted. That's another thing about Death- the friendships you think you've lost through time or distance, surprise you. Fundamentally and luckily for me, people really care. Thank you.

Granny, Nanny or Mum? She was asked in the London playground last week. I laughed because I can. She is beautiful and youthful but her eldest son is 19 years old, so she could actually be a Grandparent. Intrusive questions that we all feel we are entitled to ask. Why are we so rude? I have been asked the most unbelievable questions recently. I will try and create a smile by remembering some.. I have a third book title which is "Don't say that!" and I am looking forward to writing it.

"Are you coping?"

"Are you joking?"

"Did she die as soon as she hit the road?"

"Did she die alone?"

"Can you afford to look after her son?"

"Do you really want to look after her son?"

"Has he had the snip?"

(this was when I realised the human being has very little control over what words are used in an uncomfortable situation and took the opportunity to find humour)

Maybe I should title the third book, "Has he had the snip?" instead although I don't want to encourage  the inappropriate questions. We are all so silly. Not one of us knows the right words at the wrong time. It's awkward and it's completely normal to feel uncomfortable in an unexpected and alien situation but somehow we all need to learn what NOT to say.

As my mother used to say, "If in doubt, don't do it".
As my sister used to say, "Don't tell me, show me".
And as I am now saying, "Say nothing, just hug" because the power of a hug lasts a very long time but stupid words last forever.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Change.

Funny isn't it, how often people admit to not liking change. I love a good shake up. Something to get my teeth into, a challenge, verging on a struggle.. maybe that's a step too far, but in general, I think it's healthy to have an alternative idea, plan, a project on the horizon. I did not expect for a single second to ever inherit a son. I am still in shock that my sister isn't alive. Can I write 'dead' yet? I don't like it but that's the truth. My sister is dead. Fuck, the sentence is ugly. It makes me stop and take a breath. At least I can?

Her son, my boy, is quite the most delicious species of male human being I have ever met. I'm not a huge fan (sorry but it's true) and I haven't had the greatest experiences (bad choices maybe) with those of the opposite sex. I think (in general) they are stupid and selfish and so self- satisfying that it really bores me but OH MY GOD, I am completely in love. He is way more handsome than any other 2 year old that I have ever met and he might be a little 'delayed with his speech' but my god, he can drop kick a ball. He is sociable and funny and so, so loving. And he isn't biologically mine but he is completely and absolutely a part of my family. He is the boy I never had. He is the one that calls me "Mumma" and with out-stretched arms says "Up" for me to scoop him up and hold him close. I adore him with every breath in my body. Exactly the same way as I do my girls. Sometimes more so and is that a terrible thing to admit? How can I love a child so much without having given birth to him? But I do. Completely. Without any effort and without thought. Fuck, I really am the luckiest woman alive. 

And then the reality of the change hits me. I clear out her home, her knicker drawer, her shoes, the kitchen bin.. A word of advice to anyone out there, chuck out what you don't need but most importantly, those things that 'might be useful' almost certainly won't be so don't hoard them.

The bulbs you plant will still appear as flowers in the spring. Your children will have manners and respect their elders and remember to do their teeth at night. The bins will get emptied and someone will open the curtains. The changes that life sometimes throws at us are manageable even when we think life is out of control and too much. Friends will appear from nowhere and they won't be the ones you are expecting to knock on your door. It's not an insult, it's because the ones you expect to know better, don't and aren't capable of dealing with the change in your life. It scares them. Death is terrifying. It is so final that until it actually smacks you in the chest, you cannot imagine the power it holds. Forever. And ever. And breathe if you can and are lucky enough. Amen. Be thankful for the ones that hold your hand. Hug the ones that show you love and accept the loss as a gift otherwise it will destroy you. 

Love you. Always will. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Happy Mothers Day..

And it will be. For too many reasons to list. It will be a beautiful day filled with complete love (and a few irritations I'm sure) but for the main part of it, I will celebrate (internally and quietly) that I am a mother. I will remember how I got here (even more quietly) and respect my mother for giving me my life. 

Many comments have been made to me over the years that I have taken incredibly badly (way too sensitive I am told, yawn) but it is the other comments that have enabled me to stand taller, appreciate that I am allowed to feel happy and given me an inner strength to keep going forwards. I have absolutely no intention (ever) of allowing specks (or buckets) of doubt seep into my certainty and make me question the choice I have made. Absolute and completely right. 

The birds are singing to start this earlier than early Spring morning. I have a cup of coffee and three children in bed inside. The house is clean (enough) for me to leave it today and the dogs were walked for hours yesterday and bathed so all is well. I am going to my favourite shop (with three in tow) to buy some scent and a pair of jeans. Wish me luck..

If I could change the circumstances of how I got here, to this point today, I would in a instant but I can't. Truthfully, I still cannot believe that my sister isn't here. She's with Mum and I guess that's the next best place she could be on Mothering Sunday. 

Big day.

Huge actually. I am being seen by my  consultant  later this morning to see if I'm mended and presuming I am,  whether  or not I am able...