Ebb

Sunsets just happen. Nothing we can do to influence them. Maybe move to a better position to saviour them.

Loss can come from a range of sources. External factors. From within. The loss of someone special. The loss of something so vital to us. So many potential causes. And so many different roads to travel. Each grief journey is unique.

I’m on my own unique road which I must travel. I’ve come to realise three vital things about my own journey

  • It is possible for me to LIVE AGAIN,
  • It’s just as ok to LAUGH AND LOVE as it is to WEEP AND BE SAD,
  • I’m not alone on this journey.

And one more inevitable fact. Grief is like the tides and the passing of the day. I can’t fight them, I can’t stop them. When they happen I’ve just got to let them wash over me. Experience them. Knowing that they will eventually ebb away.

Take care.

Doubts

Much needed colour on a very grey and damp start to the day.

Some days are just greyer than others. Yes still smiles. Somethings just don’t fail. But then you come up to the surface again and it’s still grey. Crack on with stuff until you can immerse yourself in the good stuff again. Up and down. Swings and roundabouts.

Might have said that before. Sounds familiar. Sounds a bit like the lines ‘I’m going on a diet’ and ‘I’m going to have an early night’.

Another thing I’ve said over the last few hours – a one day heat wave is due on a Friday. Every time I look excitedly at the forecast, it just gets warmer. Now it’s supposed to be 29C (84F). That’s really hot for Yorkshire. Now I wonder what the reality will actually be. Let’s show you the current weather.

Wet, windy and definitely not warm…. Less than 24 hours until we are supposed to be hot then. Doubts definitely building.

I read some haunting words last night that brought tears. A really good person having so much to deal with in life. Honesty about the pain and sadness suffered. Yet unbroken with so much spirit, heart and love. Definitely made me think about that person and what a symbol of hope they represent. It also made me think about my life. Its too easy for me to take so many things for granted. I’ve been a bit up and down recently. A few too many down moments. Far too many doubts. Yet I have so much to smile about. Things which I far too easily take for granted. That needs to change. I’m not saying it’s going to transform me into a constantly smiling creature but maybe it will make me more balanced and honest with myself. I might believe my life is tough but looking at others, it really isn’t that bad at all. I’ve been so fortunate in many areas. I need to remember that and be more mindful of what others are dealing with. I’ve had opportunities which have been cruelly denied to others.

So it’s time to be much more thankful for what I have.

It’s a good life for me and actually it’s frequently a wonderful life.

Heartfelt songs

Roman berries

Small and a beautiful berry. Not great to taste raw but apparently you can make great marmalade from them. I will leave them for the birds.

These 6 weeks tend to be tough for me. Your probably bored of me saying this but here I go again – me, me, me – in 2016 I lost my mum at the end of July, the week after the funeral I found out that my partner was dying and she died at the end of 6 week period.

Since then, this part of the year is tough. Best not make it any tougher.

I love music. It’s always been a special part of my life. Some would question my musical taste. I do like a bit of Leonard Cohen. Partial to a bit of classical music. Enjoy traditional Scottish music. But mainly it’s Rock. Often heavy Rock. Even some Mongolian Metal. But during these 6 weeks I have to be careful. It’s a fine line between smiles and tears. Let’s not have too many tears. With me music has the power to send me both ways. So for the next few weeks it’s a filtered playlist. No sad songs. Absolutely no sad songs. Zero heartfelt songs. No songs about death, dying young and lost love. Queens – ‘Who wants to live forever’ is just a big fat NO. The soundtrack to ‘Love Story’ is an even bigger, fatter NO. Don’t even start me on Terry Jacks – ‘Seasons in the sun’.

So it’s time for those songs about dragons, monsters, cars, highways, parties, card games, fun and high spirits. Yes love sounds but they have to be happy ones. That’s my playlist. Absolutely NO heartfelt songs.

Money, money, money

Clearly the blueberry has given up on this Yorkshire Summer and just assumed it’s autumn already.

MONEY. Not listened to that Pink Floyd song in ages.

Get a good job with good pay and you’re okay….

That’s how the song goes. It’s funny that I love Floyd but this is the only song of theirs that I don’t like. The sound of the cash till just annoys me. It’s kinda nice that when I finally got to see them live, I can remember the concert so well yet I can’t remember them playing this song. It’s so good when the mind works like that.

MONEY. Before the world changed in 2016 we were doing alright. Finding a way to maintain two quite well paid jobs while making sure one of us was always there for Hawklad. It wasn’t easy and took a shed load of planning, but we found a way. We had a nice house, two cars (our jobs headed in different directions) and we could afford a trip to Switzerland every year. We tried to save for the future so we didn’t buy much. But it was a comfortable life and we could certainly pay the bills.

Then the world suddenly changed. I’ve just realised how lame that phrase sounds. Took me long enough. Seismic Rupture might be better. Need to think about that…

MONEY. The last thing you should be thinking about after a bereavement is money. But far too often MONEY quickly looms over you when you are at your lowest ebb. Bills still have to be paid. Food has to be bought. The government wants its pound of flesh, death brings the delights of Inheritance Tax. Two incomes suddenly became one. Even that one….. Single parenting, Single Aspergers parenting, Single parenting to a 9 year old who has just lost his mum. My job became impossible to maintain. Suddenly I was scrambling for a part time job which worked round Hawklad. MONEY became a very scarce commodity. Trying to get my head properly round these scary things is the last thing I needed when my world had just been shaken to the ground. Trying to look at a shrinking bank statement is bloody hard when it’s done through crying eyes.

That’s how it’s been with MONEY ever since 2016. I was so lucky to find a job which was flexible enough to fit round the single parenting gig. But I was still trying to pay the bills. Working out which repair jobs would have to be kicked into the future – which is most of them. Only trying to spend on the absolutely essential stuff. Funny thing is how often schooling costs suck up any spare cash. Holidays are just not happening – the last one was back in 2015. When we do have to buy items the first point of call is always the previously enjoyed or damaged sections. Our one extravagance, concerts, are always in the much cheaper – restricted view areas. We never turn down hand me downs. I’m currently looking at an exercise bike which was surplus to someone’s requirements and is held together with copious amounts of electricians tape.

MONEY. How needs it. With hindsight it’s clear that we are so lucky. So many are in a much worse position than we are. I’ve found a job that kinda fits our lifestyle. We have a nice house and garden. Live in a lovely area. Friends are wonderful. Financially it’s challenging but we are just about stable. Money helps but it doesn’t buy you happiness. Thinking of Hawklad, memories and friends – money doesn’t buy you those things.

Remember

Sadly I won’t be able to visit here today. Its 50 miles away and currently just so out of reach. My mind will wander there today. Not for too long as my mother would give me a stern talking-to for fussing too much. So I will make myself a cup of tea and take a few moments to remember some mum memories.

  • Her famous meat and two vegetables Sunday lunches. She even amended that to Quorn and two vegetables for an awkward son. Followed by the best ever apple crumble and custard.
  • How she would call everyone (including the pets) Pidge so that she never forgot a name. You knew you were in trouble when she called you by your real name,
  • Going to her house and hearing Sinatra or Cash singing as you went through the door,
  • Walking into her living room and her first words being, Do you want a cup of tea and a biscuit,
  • Sat on a plane at Heathrow Airport with her and she started eating toffees to stop her ears popping. She finished all three packets of sweets before the plane had even started taxiing. And yes her ears popped,
  • The day she went into a small shop for a paper and she ended up being smiled at by one of Europe’s best footballers, who had come in for a prematch chocolate bar,
  • Every year asking me to put a 10p bet on the big horse race. I never told her that I always made the bet up to a £1,
  • Her refusing to be called Granny or Great Granny, so she became little Nan,
  • Every time I would take Hawklad round to see Little Nan on a Sunday and she would somehow have managed to find another Mr Men book which he had never read,
  • Mum with my oldest sister running out of the Dracula museum in a fit of giggles when a man dressed up as the Prince of Darkness had unexpectedly appeared behind them,
  • On a morning finding various little garden birds stood patiently in her kitchen waiting to be fed.

And so many more memories from a truly wonderful mum. So it’s time for a cup of tea and a biscuit. Time to remember. Days like this that photographs from so many years ago become treasures.

Love

The summer six week holiday of 2016 started and finished with loss. Since then I’ve been living with bereavement. Maybe a better way of saying that is to say I AM A BEREAVEMENT SURVIVOR. Probably always will be a Bereavement survivor. I’ve been very careful to use the word bereavement. Bereavement is that awful thing that we all must go through in life. It can’t be badged up in any fancy packaging and made it to be something nice. It is just awful, will always be awful. It means death, loss and the end.

Over those 4 years I have come to realise that GRIEF is something different. It’s not bereavement. Grief has an important extra component. Grief has one important word associated with it.

LOVE.

Grief and grieving is another word for love and loving. So grief is completely different to bereavement. Ok it’s intrinsically linked with bereavement and yes in a perfect world, it just doesn’t happen. But sadly it does and often far too early. However here is the key – Grief means Love and that is a beautiful thing. Bereavement is something you try to survive and live with. Grief is love, so is something you will always treasure. Yes it can be so very painful but that pain just reflects the depth of your love. That love will always be there. It will strengthen me. If and when I move onto loving someone else, it will make me much more appreciative of that new love.

So yes I am a bereavement survivor but more importantly I am a better person because of my grief.

K

Mum

Hopefully a sign of some slightly better weather. It was so cold yesterday afternoon that when we went outside for a talk, I had to dig out my winter down jacket. It’s supposed to be the height of summer. But our current weather patterns are mixed up. They have been for a few years now……. One day our leaders might notice this.

Dad you have never really been a beard person have you?”

No when I was in my twenties I did experiment with a moustache. Managed to get the nickname Goochy from that. But it was quickly ditched. Didn’t help that it was jet black apart from from little strip which bizarrely went ginger…..

But you have started having a beard now”

Well not exactly. A few dabbles with what I like to call a fashionable bit of designer stubble. Makes me look rugged……. trying to not laugh……

“So why did you start doing it. You never had one with my mum did you?”

No, never. But it wasn’t anything to do with your mum. She quite liked them. It was your Little Nan (my mum)!!!! She didn’t like them. She had a firm no to beards, no to moustaches policy for her youngest son. That policy was NEVER dropped. Even when I was well past childhood years and living independently, you would here the quiet but stern words “Gary you will be having a shave today, won’t you….”. Using my actual name was always a sign of trouble ahead. Only one response allowed. YES.

So Dad how did you manage to grow a moustache then?”

I was living 350 miles away in Portsmouth. It was shaved off the morning I was due to visit her…… She never knew.

Mums always know best…..

Timing

I drafted this just a few minutes before Wednesday deteriorated so rapidly. I guess it’s kinda apt now.

Sometimes your just in the right place at the right time. 20 seconds later and I would have missed the winged visitor.

It was the case with my partner. I was in the right place at the right time. She gave me the most wonderful times. Now I carry on with our Son. Trying to burn as brightly as she did. Hopefully making a few people smile along the way. That’s my excuse for the terrible jokes.

The timing of that winged visitor got me thinking. Yes I know that’s dangerous. 20 seconds later and I would have missed it. So if I had not answered that annoying telemarketing phone call then I would probably have never seen the winged visitor. So something annoying led to something quite wonderful. We (I) often forget that. It’s easy to think that ‘Bad stuff leads to more bad stuff’. Well it doesn’t always. Sometimes the bad stuff presents new opportunities.

Looking back I very nearly never took the job that led directly to me meeting my partner. I was due to take a better paid position somewhere else. At the last minute the organisation I was due to move to changed management structure. My job offer was rescinded. Next day I applied for the job that would change my life. A bad thing leading to something beautiful.

Now I’m not going to argue that the loss of my partner led to something beautiful. It was truly awful and will remain that way. But it certainly did change me into a better person and a much more complete parent. It forced me to ditch a career and opened up more quality time with our son. I certainly live a simpler more sustainable lifestyle now. I find it much easier these days to be thankful. So yes a truly awful event did lead to positive life changes.

I guess it’s all about accepting that bad stuff happens and not assuming that bad necessarily follows bad.

Tomorrow’s Rose

A few hours ago talked about a Yorkshire White Rose which has a connection with my partner. I said that it would become even more beautiful. Well here’s the proof.

This little bush produces the most stunning roses. The sadness is my partner never really got to see them. But they are such a beautiful tribute to her. That’s such a nice thought.

Take care everyone and remember to live. It’s can still be a wonderful life.

Labels

It’s yellow rose time.

It’s simple being a rose. Just got to worry about getting the colour of the petals right. Can’t have a White Rose suddenly going red. That’s just a no no in Yorkshire. Would I trust myself to be a rose – probably not. Hopefully the gardener would attach a label to remind me what colour I needed to be.

For the last few years I’ve labelled myself. First of all I labelled myself as a WIDOW. Initially I was a YOUNG WIDOW but the young bit was stretching the truth a little too far. I was also labelled a SINGLE PARENT. Son also correctly labelled me a MUPPET.

I can think of a few other labels I could go for but sadly they would not be widely accepted…

  • Chef
  • Gardener
  • DIY expert
  • Multilingual
  • Musical
  • 6ft tall
  • Thor like.

I can think of a few more labels which are more applicable to me..

  • I’ve been called a Socialist before – with some of my views, I probably am,
  • Plant Killer – oh yes,
  • Weapons Grade Cook – can’t argue with that,
  • Metal Head/Headbanger – the cd collection and the Iron Maiden T-shirt gives that away,
  • Newcastle United Fan – otherwise known as a Loser….
  • Little Bro – yes I am the youngest sibling but bizarrely I am the tallest…

But last week I was reading a post by a wise blogger who can actually call himself a gardener. Suddenly I came across another label. A label which potentially fits as well.

BACHELOR

I call myself a widow but in the eyes of the law, I am not. We were together for nearly two decades. Living as close as any couple. But we never got round to get married. We (I) thought we had plenty of time. My worst ever call. Going to take that mistake with me to my grave.

So given that fact then yes I am kinda a BACHELOR. It doesn’t sound right to me. It’s bizarre that until last week I would never have thought that label applied. Never crossed my mind. I know that I’m starting to overthink this. It’s only a silly label. It’s what’s in the heart that matters. But it did unsettle me for some reason.

Does WIDOWED BACHELOR sound any better.