Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland. A country which means so much to our family and is also close to our hearts.

A country which has just the most amazing views.

Ok we haven’t managed to make it back since 2015 but each year that goes by the urge to return keeps on growing. It won’t be easy but we will find a way. Create some new wonderful, life changing memories.

It’s a breathtaking place. That just keeps on giving. If you have never been then it needs to go to the top of your wish list. You won’t regret it.

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.

Typical Sunday

Sunday morning in Yorkshire. Like every Sunday morning for over a year now. Not enough sleep. Get up. Feed the pets. Exercise. Housework. Give Hawklad his breakfast. Feel frustratingly hemmed in. Isolated. Overthink life.

But eventually I start to breathe. Remembering what is important in life. In my life. Remembering those personal treasures that are so close to my heart. That always lift me up. That make me smile inside and out. And I realise just how truly fortunate I am.

Yes it’s been a typical Sunday. Well almost

It’s not RAINING…

WE can do this.

Meaning behind the door

My partner loved the Moors. She was always happy there. When our own family lockdown ends it will be one of the first places we visit again. It was one the first places visited after she had left us. It did take quite a while but we made it.

Is it really 4 and half years.

I have often talked about a vivid image that really helped me over that time. My grief felt like I was stood next to a closed door. A door that had suddenly locked shut and would never open again. I could see what’s behind the door. Memories. I can’t change or add to them. Just look at them.

So I had a choice. To stand by that locked door or take a leap of faith. Set off into the dark and see if I could find some new doors. Doors that are open allowing new memory experiences. I could either can actor or just a memory viewer.

I have mostly set off in search of new doors. Mostly…..

This door image has worked for me but I never fully understood its meaning. I always had a feeling that there was to it than life needs living. Why did it help with my grief. Why did it make me feel more at ease with myself.

I’m currently reading The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Suddenly the penny dropped.

In the book they talk about grief and dealing with suffering. They made a simple point that really struck home. Grief can either help lift a person up or drag them down. The secret is the focus. If you focus on the person you have lost, what they believed in, what they hoped for, their dreams THEN grief can have a positive side. It demonstrates LOVE. It can motivate you to live. ‘A determination to fulfil their wishes’. But if you focus on yourself then grief can bring you down. Focusing on things like how can I cope, how can I manage as a single parent, how bad will my life become. Those thoughts are negative and run the risk of dragging a person down.

Suddenly my image has meaning to me. Remaining stood by that locked door was not about my partner. It was about me. I was doing what I thought I needed to do. My partner had hopes and dreams that would not be nurtured by me remaining by that door. To keep those hopes and dreams alive, I HAD TO MOVE. Searching for new doors is best for my partners legacy, it’s best for our son, and yes it’s best for me. The end result is much more likely to be positive and uplifting.

It’s taken me over 4 years to suss that out. I actually don’t feel to bad about that. It took the great minds of the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu to work it out for me. That’s not a bad couple of minds to defer to.

We can do this. It will take time but WE can do this.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to Alpine heaven. A land which we haven’t been able to visit since the summer of 2015 but which still has a special place in our hearts.

Time for a bit of Switzerland love.

It’s school half term week here. If life had turned out differently then there would have been every chance that the next time we visited here would have been at this time of year maybe in 2017. Wasn’t destined to be. Maybe a much smaller family will try in 2022? Always hope. Switzerland is always there.

Dance

I came across a really sad story. A story which those you have experienced loss will so understand.

A Walker would take her dog for a walk each day. She would often bump into an elderly couple who walk hand in hand. Often she would even see them dancing arm in arm on a bridge over a small river. Then the couple disappeared for a while. Then one day she saw the man dancing on the bridge, by himself. Clearly holding his beloved tight as if she was with him.

My heart breaks for that man.

Life can be horrendously sad yet that beautiful act of dancing with a lost partner demonstrates the power of love. Demonstrates why life can still be special.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it’s time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland. One of most stunning countries on our planet. A place which has a close link with our family for generations. Due to life we haven’t been able to visit in person since 2015. But it’s still close to our hearts and we will return one day.

Although Switzerland is completely land locked you are never far from water. Whether it’s one of its myriad alpine rivers and streams or one of its 1500 stunning lakes. Water always seems to be in the forefront of any Swiss photo. This morning what would I give to be in this beautiful country and stood next to Swiss water.

Winter is coming

Winter is coming.

A time for wooly jumpers, gloves and warm hats. Sliding on ice patches. Snow ball fights, sledging and snow angels. Steaming hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. Writing names of frozen car windscreens. Fires and hot water bottles. Crisp winter walks with stunning moody landscapes. Long dark night skies filled with the wonder of the cosmos. Warming soups and stews. A perfect time to cuddle close to those you love. A time to feel alive.

Winter is coming.

A cold, bleak time. When the frequent bad weather forces you inside. Cuts you off from the world. When the darkness and howling winds matches the mood. When loneliness echoes around the surrounding walls that makes your home feel like a prison. A prison where the sentence is solitary confinement. Memories filled with loss and grief send shivers down your spine. Counting the long days until Spring returns. A time to survive.

Winter is coming.

I have experienced both. I know the opportunities and the threats it can offer. Which one will this Winter be?

Slow cooker

Tis the season for cobwebs.

Grief and Loss is an odd thing. I can feel fine then something unexpected sends those emotional waves crashing over me again. Four years ago those waves would be constant. Permanent high tide. These days the waves have largely ebbed with only the occasional rip tide. Because these tides are so unexpected, they really take the breath away.

The other thing is that these days it’s often random things that set me off. Definitely not the usual stuff. Not the kind of thing that I can prepare for. Just like last night.

I was trying to find a packet of microwave rice from the kitchen cupboard. It had clearly fallen off the back of the shelf. As I rummaged I came across a box. An unopened Slow Cooker. My partner must have bought this. I have been using the one I got from my mum’s house when I cleared it out. I now held this unopened kitchen gadget and felt incredibly sad. Those waves started to crash over me.

My partner never got round to using this. She never will…..

Not an old photo. Not a favourite song. Not an old letter. A SLOW COOKER had set me off.