Isolation trip

School summer holidays are in full swing and we have mainly been home based. Some splendid isolation. Summer holidays reinforces how much of our social connections are based around school. Without school my son has hardly seen any of his friends or spent any time with other children. Without the daily school drop off and pick up, my contact with the outside world has dried up completely.

So after three weeks of home based isolation we decided to make a break out. Just a small one to start with. We had a day trip to beautiful Northumberland.

DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE

LINDISFARNE

It was my son who pointed out that after our splendid isolation we had decided to go a place which is cut off twice daily by the tides. Let’s visit a splendidly isolated place. At least we got to see some people in the real world, especially in the queue waiting to cross the still flooded causeway.

Uplifting rain

Yesterday was a strange day. Started very warm, dry and still. Finished very wet, cold and stormy.

It was also one of those moods swing days. It started really well with my son in great form. Then one Family movie later it had suddenly swung to tears and dark hearts. Movies which clearly advertise bereavement in the description can be planned for or better still avoided. It’s the ones which suddenly drop these on you without warning which cause the trouble. From a happy family on a trip of a lifetime to suddenly a young family trying to cope with the sudden death of the mum. I can’t remember seeing that bit in the synopsis. It really hit me, lord knows what it did to my young boy. It makes you feel like a completely incompetent parent … why didn’t we opt for the Scooby Doo movie.

But yesterday we had an unlikely saviour, the rain. After two months of completely dry weather the heavens opened. Stood outside in the rain, being almost blown off our feet in the wind. It just felt great. Seeing my son getting drenched to the skin and loving it. Today I just love the uplifting rain.

One foot in front of the other

The school holidays have now kicked in. Amazingly the usual UK rain deluge has not accompanied the kids being off. Never thought I would say this but I can’t remember what rain feels like. It’s been over two months since our last bit of rain.

You get so used to something, you take it for granted and then when it stops you quickly start to forget it. It’s been over two years since my partner died and I’ve got a growing list of things which fall into this category:

– forgotten what it’s like to go out for a meal

– forgotten what it’s like to hold hands

– forgotten what it’s like to have an argument

– forgotten what it’s like to share a bottle of wine with someone

– forgotten what it’s like to plan a holiday together

– forgotten what it’s like to have a tug of war over the duvet

I could go on but you get the point. Well another thing on the list was I had forgotten what it was like to do our local walk which circles our village. We would walk this most Sundays.

Well today I crossed that one from the list today….well sort of. The walk used to take us 40 minutes, well today it took over 2 hours as I managed to get lost.

Vampires

It’s been a bit of a struggle over the last few months. We needed to try and break out of a world which seemed to be increasingly like Groundhog Day. It was my son’s idea, let’s go and see a rock concert. A few minutes later two tickets for the Hollywood Vampires were purchased.

This was my son’s first concert and he loved it. It was the first time that I had seen him laugh and really enjoy himself in ages.

He was just mesmerised by Alice Cooper.

He has always adored Johnny Depp and seeing him just made it that bit more special. It was also interesting that the concert paid homage to a number of rock stars who have died over the years. My son found it reassuring that you can look back and celebrate those special ones who have left us all too soon.

I must admit, it did me the world of good to. It’s the first time I have felt truly alive since my partner died. She would have loved it to, she always fancied Johnny Depp. I could never understand why she thought Johnny was so much more cooler than me.

On the drive back my son quickly fell asleep and I was desperate for a drink or a sweet. I quietly tried to fumble around the car for anything. After a few minutes I found something which felt like a small marshmallow. Strange I couldn’t remember ever buying marshmallows, but it’s a sweet. For about 10 seconds I chewed on this marshmallow, but it had no taste and just felt odd. Then that sinking feeling, that’s no marshmallow, that’s one of my son’s ear plugs which I had forced him to use for the concert.

What was that I was saying about me being as cool as Johnny…….

One small rose

The last present I gave to my partner was a Yorkshire Rose. In the turmoil of that fateful year, I cannot recall if she managed to see it flower before she left us. Well for the second year I’ve successfully not managed to kill it – very unusual for my not so green fingers. The difference this year is that the rose flowered on my partners birthday. Strange how one small flower can bring light on such a bleak day.

Backwards or forwards

The last garden Daffodil of the season has decided to bloom about a month after all the others started dying off.

And a dog trying to sneak into the picture

Somethings you just can’t control. Can’t control when the flowers bloom and you certainly can’t control pets..

The last couple of years has shown that I have little control over my moods. Even less control over that part of my brain which determines the memories or thoughts which will be flashed in front of my eyes. No control but definitely a pattern exists.

When I’m in a positive mood I often drift back to memories from the past, the places and times I spent with my partner. I feel so blessed that I was given the chance to experience these precious, happy times.

However when I slip into darker moods, the same process doesn’t seem to work. Rather than looking back at happy memories, my mind constantly tries to force me into the future. Trying to show me the many places or events I won’t get to share with my partner. I find this so crushing.

Today images of New Zealand and Canada, those long planned trips which we can never share. Last week it was images of not being able to grow old together.

Hopefully tomorrow it’s a return to happy memories.

Winter is over..

Spring has finally arrived here.

A few weeks ago I overheard someone say “I think we are all ready for some sun now, it will cheer everybody up”.

Well the warm sun has arrived and yet I don’t feel particularly cheered up. I have been stuck in a ‘down spell’ for weeks now. Not the complete desolation I suffered after my partner died, just feeling low all the time, not sleeping well, often feeling sad, struggling to smile. The stuff which helped lift my spirits previously just don’t seem to be working currently.

Deep down I realise this particular down spell will eventually pass. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a weeks time, maybe it will take ….

The strange thing is that a few days ago, a friend told me that I seemed happy and over my grieving. How could he be so wrong. Well the simple answer is that I’m not happier, certainly not ‘over’ my grief. However I have obviously become much better at hiding my feelings, hiding the real me, pretending not to be depressed.

More Hair Disasters

In the long line of parenting skills I’m sadly lacking, hairdressing is near the top. This week witnessed another hair disaster. My son spoke the dreaded words a few days ago. “Can you help me sort out a fancy dress costume…..”. All went surprisingly well until it came to the hair.

A change of hair colour was required.

A can of temporary hair dye was purchased, and carefully applied. Bingo it’s the right colour, job done.

Unfortunately I missed the small print on the can, in particular the lines “apply sparingly” and “apply in short bursts, with only a few seconds application required to successfully dye hair”.

Maybe using the whole can up in one application was a bit overkill…

Well a few days later, multiple hair washes have failed to remove the temporary hair colour from my son. The hair spray also does a really good job of permanently changing the colour of pillows and bed sheets.

I’m betting that the temporary hair colour will outlast the first garden flowers of the year.

Winter continues

Tomorrow March arrives yet winter continues here. It’s bleak and very cold.

The weather is matching my mood. Today the world seems a cold, bleak and lonely place. Luckily my son will return from school soon and he will lift my spirits. Even the bleak landscape will start to be transformed. Its amazing what a snowman can do.