Hard life

It’s a hard life…. And yes that sofa has been shredded by cat claws.

It got just a little harder, certainly on the hands, knees and back of the trousers…..

The only trip I get out a day is to walk the dog on the back farmers field. It’s normally just me, a dog and the sheep. But over the last few days one or two other walkers have appeared. This has changed the dynamics for Hawklad. Now he is not comfortable with me walking with the dog down the short, narrow alleyway to get to the field.

So the only way to keep venturing out is to climb our back fence AND then deal with the barbed wire obstacle.

Too high to step over. Do I jump or crawl under it.

Yep life has just got that little harder. Definitely more risky for the back of the trousers and what they are covering…..

Talking

It really is ok to talk about mental health. So why does it still feel so hard to do it? But talking is so important. We need to make it routine. So let’s talk about my depression.

I’ve been struggling with mild depression for a few weeks now. Actually maybe much longer. Feeling hemmed in. Hemmed in but kinda thankful I’m not physically meeting people. Low confidence and minimal self esteem. More hesitant. Finding routine tasks much harder. Difficult sleeping. Feeling emotionally worn out. Finding it just a little harder to smile.

It seems to have stabilised. Not getting any worse but no signs of improvement as yet. I do have an old supply of anti depressant but I haven’t used them as yet. So I’m plodding on. Trying to avoid the news and taking each day as it is. Trying to focus on the positives in my life and there are some wonderful ones. Need to remember that.

Yes it’s good to talk.

Change

Sorry going to milk our temporary farmers field lake for photos while it’s here. It does make such a difference to the view.

Time does make a difference. Look at schools. On Monday morning our PM said schools were completely safe and parents should send them there right away. Monday evening suddenly according to the same PM schools were clearly vectors for transmission and had to close immediately. Then on Tuesday the very same PM said schools were completely safe again but unfortunately staying shut. Having said that he has a track record of this. The man who championed Brexit to become leader likes to forget that before that he said “I would vote to stay in the single market (EU). I’m in favour of the single market”…..

So things can clearly change. One day I was one of two parents, the next I crashed into single parenting and the world of bereavement. Things can change.

But here’s the thing when they do change THEY CAN ALSO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. That’s why there is always hope. Good things can still happen. So yes I’m struggling through a period or depression. Yes it feels like Groundhog Day. But it can change.

I can do this. We can do this.

I would vote to stay in the single market. I’m in favour of the single market

Star Wars

A new day. New hope.

I should pen the next Star Wars movie.

**********

Dad what are you looking at Amazon for?”

I was kind of toying with the idea of getting ME a Lego set.

Which one Dad?”

I’ve always wanted the Star Wars Death Star. Wanted that for years. Maybe even the Millennium Falcon.

Are you going to buy one then?”

No. Definitely No. have you seen the prices. Death Star is £600 and the Falcon is £250.

Wow. Think of the milkshakes you could buy me with that money…”

Stop sniggering, I might just get that big box of loose lego out and make my own creation. Much cheaper and probably more fun.

Dad you could script out a new Star Wars movie..”

That’s an idea. Could give myself a role in the movie. Maybe a heroic Jedi night. Maybe the new Hans Solo. Maybe even the dashing new evil Sith Lord….

No Dad, only one rule for you. Jabba The Hut….”

I walked right into that one 😂

L

Galapagos

So no new animal photos this New Years. A year without the holiday zoo trip. So we replaced it with a few hours watching a David Attenborough DVD. Which worked out quite well and significantly cheaper.

Dad I’d like to go to the Galápagos Islands

Your mum went there on one of her adventures. I must find the photos she took.

What did she think of it.”

She really loved it. Well until one of the volcanoes had a minor eruption which restricted where she could go and then she caught a minor tropical disease as she left.

What happened.”

She ended up being holed up in a hotel room Ecuador. She missed her flight back.

Didn’t you fly out to check on her?”

What do you think. If she’s had a tropical pesky then she could keep it to herself. 6000 miles was as close as I was getting….

Yes I’m with you on that Dad”.

**********

15 years after that tropical virus the ‘avoid the pesky’ strategy is in overdrive here. It has been for 9 months. It will be for many months to come. I’m fairly relaxed about things but Hawklad most definitely isn’t. So we batten down the hatches. Get ready for the long haul. It might be an idea to stock up on those Attenborough documentaries. They are probably going to get some hammer during 2021.

Here’s hoping

I sneaked out for an early dog walk. That way Hawklad doesn’t go into Quarantine meltdown. For me and the dog. One thing about our son is that he is so predictable in a morning. After 3am that’s it he is asleep and doesn’t wake up until just before 8am. One of the advantages of the school at home project. This has been pushed from 7am. Much more natural for him, much less forced.

It does allow for a dog walk but sadly no run. Captain Chaos goes into bark mode when I try to sneak out without him. And it’s just a big fat NO to trying to run with Captain Chaos. He’s a dog that doesn’t believe in going in the same direction as the person with him.

But a dog walk is something. It’s a little win. We take any wins these days.

You might not be able to tell but it’s absolutely chucking it down with a howling Gale. But at least some of the mist has been temporarily blown away. Very squelchy under foot.

While someone had a little constitutional in the field I decided to play with the panoramic mode on my phone…..

This field is our sledging slope. Only ever seen us two use it really. Will it get used this year or next? Doesn’t feel like snow. But here hoping. That would be another little win.

Damp

It’s still damp and wet….

We seem to be stuck in this grim weather pattern. Definitely feels like Groundhog Day again. But one day it will change. The sun will shine. The cycle will be broken.

It’s funny how sometimes it’s the indirect things that truly demonstrates the changes in life.

Last night I was writing Christmas cards. I remember a few years back. I would sit with my partner. Christmas music cd on the hifi. Going through the address list. Even with the two of us it would take ages to get the cards completed.

Then life happened. Aspergers Patenting. Loss. Single Parenting. Isolation.

So last night I started writing the cards. The same Christmas music cd on the hifi. Then the change. I was through the card list after 4 songs. 4 songs….. What happened to having the listen to the cd several times. Hours down to minutes to complete.

The rapidly diminished card list tells me everything I need to know about the path life has pushed me down. But it is what it is. And actually writing cards is clearly difficult for me. One person almost got a happy Easter and my sister was almost wished happy birthday…. Actually I’ve always had a habit of doing that. Somethings don’t change.

View

Bit of a theme going here. Been thinking about the 20 odd years I’ve now lived in this part of the world. Looking out over the garden fence. Over the farmers fields and towards the next set of hills in the distance.

A lot has happened in that time. Parenting and family. Becoming an Aspergers home. Bereavement, grief and single parenting. Full time career to stay at home parent making ends meet through part time work. Isolation. Homeschooling. Greater awareness of what it means to live and finally starting to get my priorities right. Of the five neighbours we had when we moved in, 2 have passed away, 2 have moved into care homes and the last remaining neighbour is largely housebound. Yes new neighbours but they so far have kept to themselves.

And what about that view. Actually the only constant. That tree is a bit smaller and a bit lob sided due to a couple of lightning strikes. But that’s it. Nothing else has changed. That’s so reassuring.

Can walls come down

It’s like waiting for a bus. You wait ages and two come along at the same time. No posts about grief and then two arrive together.

It’s now four years since I lost my partner. Four years into the grief journey.

This morning I went to put the bin out onto the side of the road. When I looked down the street I noticed a ‘Sold Sign’ outside a house. It was outside the house of a couple I get on well with. Would often bump into them prior to the pandemic. Will be sad to see them leave. I know very few people in our small village now. The pandemic hasn’t helped but that’s the reality. Before the world changed for me in 2016 it was very much different. We knew many in the village. We would go to all the village events. Would visit people, people would visit us. Even when our son’s Aspergers stopped him going to village stuff, one parent would stay with him and the other could still go.

Then the world changed.

I didn’t want to venture out to these village do’s. I just wanted to build walls around myself. I lost touch with many. That was my bereavement. Not only did it rob me of my partner but it took many of my friends as well. That was partly my fault. The last thing I thought I wanted was company. It also didn’t feel right going out by myself. I had become programmed to being in a couple. Being single was something I had forgotten how to do. Most of my friends were now based on US being a couple. It must have been tough for those friends to adjust. To deal with someone grieving and now single. As a result over time many friends dropped off the radar. Increasing isolation. But at that time it was ok with me. It felt like how things should be. Me hiding behind the walls.

Then I began to change.

As my grief journey progressed suddenly those walls stopped being a useful self defence system. They became confines. Prison walls. Hemming me in. I came to realise just who much I missed company. Just maybe I had been wrong. When I was grieving and avoiding people, maybe that was when I needed company the most.

So now I’m trying to take those walls down. Sadly they go up easier than they come down. The pandemic doesn’t help. Being a single parent to a son with so many social fears certainly is restrictive. Also I’m nervous of social settings. But actually that’s not grief related, that’s going back to who I was when I was younger.

So here I am in 2020. Much further down the grief road now the question is can I bring those walls down.

Vexing

Time passes. It keeps on passing. A wander round this small graveyard provides proof of this. Many of the once proud gravestones are now weathered beyond recognition. Time passes.

Five years ago I had just driven to the crematorium to pick up my partners ashes. They joined my mothers ashes on the sideboard. At that stage a real urge to get on with laying my those two precious spirits to the earth. Definite external pressure for this. I remember listening to one so called expert talk about it being unhealthy for society for people to linger on those who had left us. Maybe that’s the hidden message there – it might be ok for the person grieving but it’s uncomfortable for everyone else. Anyway it seemed like the right thing to do. The only thing to do.

Within weeks I had scattered mum on her family grave. I remember it so well and I have already wrote about a bizarre memory from that experience. I was alone in the graveyard. As I started to clear some earth away, to my side I noticed a little squirrel. A squirrel apparently doing the same thing on a neighbouring grave. Was it a case of burying nuts or was it a burial. It made me smile, two souls getting on with important stuff, maybe the same stuff, almost happy to have company there. Mum would have loved that sight.

Now time to get a move on laying my partner to the ground. Partly in England and partly in Switzerland. A bit of a logistical nightmare. I secured the paperwork to allow for the transport of ashes overseas. Ready to begin.

Five years later…..still waiting to begin.

Now I worry. Have I left it too late. Have I missed the window of opportunity to follow my partners wishes. Being a single parent and with son’s Aspergers, European travel is a nightmare – feeling like it gets more problematic every year. No similar excuse for the English sites. But it just didn’t feel right. Should I really put our son through more grief when he was still so young. No right or wrong answer here. We all need to do what’s best for our close ones and ourselves here. Unfortunately just like most things, just like European travel for us, it seems to get more daunting the longer it goes on.

Have I missed the best time to do it?

That feeling is making feel very anxious at present. Will we ever get round to doing what we have to do? Was life really supposed to be this vexing…..