Bereavement and loss changes everything. My previous life foundations came crashing down. As I sat battered and dazed amongst the wreckage it was just impossible to see clearly. All I could think about was what was lost and how on earth was I going to be able to function as a single parent. My autocorrecttried to change that to single patient – that works as well.
I’ve talked about the impact on DREAMS many times. In the rubble of my former life , dreams and hopes were extinguished. All I could see was nothingness. My dreams had been stolen from me.
It’s now nearly 5 years on. I’m still clearing away the rubble but a new life has started to be built. Here’s what is sometimes forgotten. My old life was far from perfect. It had many issues, many downsides. I couldn’t rebuild the old life if I wanted to. Yes for too many months I did try to do that. Finally I realised the reality. Maybe just maybe I could learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again. Maybe this time I could build a new and improved life. Dreams and hopes play a huge part in that process.
YES they are back. Back stronger than ever. Ok they might seem like pipe dreams. They might seem really unlikely to ever happen. But that doesn’t make them any less important to me. They are a key part of my rebuilding process. Let’s see where those wonderful dreams and hopes take me.
Surely he can’t be still going on about work emails……yep those work emails often more about social nights out…..
Trips to pubs, meals out at restaurants. Even growing excitement for some to returning to nightclubs.
Each to their own…..
Since life changed for me these things seem like alien concepts to me. It’s been years since I’ve been to a pub, to sit down at a restaurant. Actually I don’t think that I’ve been a to nightclub this century… it’s that long that when I last went they were still called DISCOS…. My only social outings now are the occasional football match or rock concert.
Parenting, Aspergers Parenting, Bereavement, Single Parenting, Reduced size of the close family support network. These all contribute to a different social life. A struggle at first but not anymore. I’m relaxed about my changed social life.
So if you offered me a free pass out today. Definitely no pub. Definitely no nightclub. Probably no sit down at a restaurant. Actually probably no football now. Yes a concert would be fun. But this afternoon I would definitely take one option. Sat on a seafront, maybe sat on a beach. Tucking into a takeaway. Enjoying salty fish and chips. Thinking just how lucky I really am.
It’s inevitable that if you spend anytime on this planet then you will experience what LOSS feels like. Losing something precious to you. A person, a dream, a way of life, a friendship, a love, a companion….. It’s inevitable.
When I experienced LOSS I also LOST something else. MYSELF.
LOSS is about losing something permanently. Never getting it back. That’s why it hurts so much. All you can do is to try to learn to live with that LOSS. But with LOST it can be different. It doesn’t have to permanent. You can find it again. That’s what I did with MYSELF. It took several years but I have found MYSELF again. And here’s the thing, I actually may have found more than I LOST. I may have grown as a person. May have a better outlook in life. More appreciative of what is truly important to me. I definitely understand MYSELF better now.
Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.
Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.
20 years, 15 years….
Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.
10 years, 5 years….
The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.
I think as you get older you start to realise the true value of time. We don’t have a finite amount of time to do the things we want to in life. In 2016 that point was brought into the starkest focus for me. Time can suddenly run out…..
So when the penny starts to drop the question then becomes Do you then do anything about it.
We all need to find time to really live.
I remember taking a job on the south coast of England. In Portsmouth. I was there for 6 months. It’s such a cool town, with much to see and do. It was new to me. In those 6 months I spent one afternoon wandering along the beach and looking at the naval history. That was it. The rest of the time I worked and basically just existed. Don’t get me wrong I had the opportunities to do much more with my time but I didn’t. Not much living went on there. Was I happy – certainly NOT.
Things are different now. Life has become a little too out of synch. Much feels out of my control. Beyond reach. Opportunities are not so apparent. But that fact doesn’t stop time slipping by.
Still need to find ways to live. Seize whatever opportunities that do present themselves.
Sunny but cold. Cold we are used to, sunny feels like a pleasant change.
Spot the photobombing bug.
How can hand stands be so difficult. I have been trying to do one in decades. As apparently I’m hundreds of years old well then that’s a lot of decades of failure. Today joined the long line of those. But what chance do I have. I can’t even balance on one leg (somedays two legs is even beyond me). I tried the old wall trick again. Slowly raise myself against a wall. Let the wall provide balance. All goes swimmingly. Well for about second. Then the gravitational pull on my excessively large bum takes over and I hit the ground. Somedays my backside feels like a villain in the Marvel movies. It is inevitable….
But I keep trying.
One day just maybe.
There is always hope.
I remember back in 2016 and thinking I’m never going to be able to do this single parenting gig. I’m going to collapse. And yes I have repeatedly fallen over. Can’t blame my inevitable rear ended for most of those….. But I’m kinda still here. Still trying. Still doing that parenting gig. You never know I might actually get it right one day. There is always hope.
I had a scheduled call with the bank today. Just routine stuff. Routine stuff which you would just a year ago pop into the branch and sort out at the counter. Nothing is routine now.
Anyway during the call the bank person asked a couple of not really banking questions that kinda through me
“Can I ask. Are you ok. Are you coping. It must be so tough. Are you getting the support you need.”
That’s the bank saying that……
Now before I go on – I am ok. I am coping. A bit of support would be nice but it’s not happening. But here’s the thing. I could so easily be doing not so well in this single parenting gig. Really struggling. Getting no support. Desperate. Looking over the precipice. Sadly many are. In fact forget the single bit, many people are….
I became a single parent in 2016 following the death of my partner. In that time the only official person to ask how I was doing was that bank person. No doctor, no school professional, no education specialist, no one from the local services. NO ONE in the support areas has ever asked what the bank person asked. How many people are struggling and nobody finds out. Nobody asks. I guess the assumption is that those that struggle will always put their hand up. Sadly that might not happen.
I couldn’t sleep last night. Maybe two hours max. Event after I abandoned and a few minutes later I had a chamomile tea in hand and was channel hoping. I stumbled across some really cheesy B-movie. Then one of the actresses delivered this line
“The hardest thing for me after my husband died was having to be nice to my family.”
Wow. That must have been some family. But it got me thinking. What was the hardest thing about losing my partner back in 2016. Strangely worrying about being nice to my family didn’t feature. The Worst Thing Thoughts that did pop into my head were.
Telling a young son his mum had died
Feeling utterly alone
The dark thoughts
Losing all my dreams
Getting up in the morning and facing the world
That final goodbye at the funeral
Trying to sort through my partners clothes and favouritepossessions
Hearing her favourite song on the radio
The deathly silence in the house when our son was at school or asleep
Those were the emotions that I went through in the immediate aftermath. But then something else kicked in a few months later. As I started to clear my head this thought kept dominating my thought. Going forward – “I didn’t want to feel this pain of loss again“. The pain was too much for me. I needed to stop myself from getting close to people again. The feeling of isolation that came from thinking that was utterly soul destroying.
So there you go. I’m disagreeing with a cheesy B-movie, but every loss is different. So family pains can be just as intense as the many I went through. The B-movie did pass some time. It ALSO was so boring that I nodded off. Nodded off still holding my mug of tea. Yep I ended up wearing most of that. Thankfully only lukewarm. Yes piping hot tea would have been a pain I could definitely do without.
I was trying to free up some space on the blog so I was looking what old stuff could de deleted. Can’t believe I’ve tortured people with 1600 posts since I started back in 2017. You know what, I never got round to deleting anything. I was too busy reading my first few posts. Wow they were bad (I’m not saying I’ve improved over the years as well….).
Reading those first posts a couple of message shine through. I was understandably messed up and I was at my lowest point. There was hardly any hope in my words. Hope is often the first thing that LOSS takes from you. It did with me.
Well 4 years later HOPE has returned. I now have a better perspective on life. LOSS is still the worst feeling. Loss of Hope is just as soul destroying. But now I can see a number of new more hopeful dimensions to this dreadful process. It wasn’t all bad. My life focus changed. I realised just how unimportant a career is in the scheme of things. A career is not about personal development rather its often a way of missing out on those important family moments. Single parenting is a tough gig but you get more time with your kids. More quality time. Time is the most precious commodity. And yes doors to close permanently but life eventually does go on again. New pathways open up. Pathways which would not have been found without LOSS. New OPPORTUNITIES, new FRIENDSHIPS. New HOPE.
When we first moved into our little bungalow on the hill we had a beautiful Daffodil patch on the shared area in front of our house. At the time I would never have thought that 20 years later I would still be here. Certainly not still here as a widow and a single parent.
Over the next few years the daffodil patch seemed to flower less and less. The daffs would appear each year but more and more would just not bloom. The area was becoming such a shadow of its former self. Eventually I planted some new bulbs and now there is colour again.
This morning it dawned on that there is a message to all this. Life happens and sometimes things fade and leave us. But with patience and hard work life can happen again. That works for the daffodil patch and it works for me as well.