Sea

I was born by the Sea. Brought up by the sea. When I’ve been struggling in life I have often headed towards the Sea to breathe. A brilliant place to head to as a parent. Some of my best times have been by the Sea.

Even when I moved inland I would frequently find a way back for a few precious hours. Then life happened. A Pandemic changed everything. It must be over 18 months since my last trip to the Sea now. My longest time away.

So when life changes again AND IT WILL – guess where I’m heading.

Reality

Where are the Yorkshire clouds?

That faint red sun pillar is a bit like an X marks the spot.

I had been thinking about mountains today. Thinking is bad for me really. I should leave that to others better qualified than me. I should stick to reading the instructions πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. But I was thinking and it was me and TIME again. Years ago I set myself a goal of climbing or walking up every Scottish Munro (282), every Lakeland Fell (214), every Yorkshire large hill (38) and every Welsh mountain 3000ft mountain (15). For years I made decent progress. Maybe 20 to 30 a year. Then life happened. It’s been about 10 in the last decade and zero since 2015.

PANTS…..

So today I was trying to visualise restarting the project. Which mountains where nearest. How to pull off some summits. Much creative thinking was required. Just maybe the Yorkshire ones would be a start. Logistically difficult given life. Impossible currently but just maybe one day….

There is always HOPE. And getting back to that faint sun pillar and its significance. It marks the exact direction I need to head off in to turn that Hope into REALITY.

Hopes great but reality is better.

Time

Finding time to live.

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.

We can do this. We can do some of that living.

Trying

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.

Now let’s have one more go at a handstand.

Ski

Don’t panic this is not the weather today….

Time creeps up on you…….

I’ve never been one who worried too much about ageing. It is what it is. I was also someone who never really lost too much sleep on the ever growing bucket list. Plenty of time to catch up and tick those all important activities off the list.

Then life happened. Too many trips to funerals. Suddenly I was aware of that ever clicking life clock.

Last night I was watching a movie based on a family skiing holiday. A holiday that went badly wrong. The Will Ferrell ‘Downhill’ Movie. The most un ‘Will Ferrell’ movie ever. It was really good and rather unsettling, especially as the main character was probably about my age. As the movie went on I could hear that clock ticking just that little bit louder.

I’ve always wanted to ski. It’s right up on my bucket list. Near the top. I’ve just never got round to doing it. A couple of trips to a really rubbish rock hard carpet slope. That’s all I’ve managed. We had plans to go to Switzerland as a family during the winter. I could see a route to finally being a proper skier. Then life happened. Those plans evaporated. So last night I was watching that family ski in the movie and that ticking clock was deafening. Will I ever ski…..

It sounds silly but that thought really depressed me. I feel further away than ever from those alpine slopes. Time and my body is not on my side. Too many years of contact sport has left me with a ‘ previously enjoyed’ body frame. A couple of things need patching up. If I get them patched up then skiing might be out of the question. That ticking clock is annoyingly deafening.

Yet I still so want to SKI.

I guess all I can do is keep that dream alive for a while longer. Put off any patching work on the body and accept a few aches. Drop as much weight as I can and stay as fit as I can for as long as I can. Buy as much time as I can for that dream to come true AND JUST HOPE.

Just ask once

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.

That is such a worrying thought.

Pain

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

Empty beds

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 favourite possessions

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.

New Hope

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.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to an alpine paradise. To a country which is staggeringly beautiful. Let’s take a trip to Switzerland.

2015 was our families last trip here. Things have changed for us so much since then and certainly not for the better. But life has to go on. So I’m going to look at these treasured old photographs and remember just how beautiful our planet can be. And then dream of a return and the creation of new memories.

Come again

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.