Cryogenics v Books

I was reading a little bit of a Carl Sagan’s Book to our son. Our son asked me to reread a couple of quotes.

We are like butterflies who flutter for day and think it is forever”

“Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors”

We then had a long chat about life, death and living forever. Cryogenics came up.

It got me thinking maybe books are a better bet than cryogenics. If you are talented enough to become a book author then your words can live forever. Books are so much cheaper. Books are not as frigidly cold and far more illuminating. I think Carl would vote for books.

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Changes is good just not that early

Today started off in the usual manner. Early morning exercise session listening to rock on the radio. Things going fine apart from the usual creaking body. Put me down for the a full body transplant, I’ve used this one up.

Then things started to change.

I hate doing the plank but apparently it’s good for me. This morning it became even more a form of modern day torture. Two cats decided to sit on my arched back while a dog attempted to lick my face off. Apparently this was one of the Spanish Inquisitions favourite tortures. But I survived.

Then almost immediately the radio signal disappeared. The sound of silence. So I quickly grabbed the first cd I could find. Black Sabbath Vol 4 and tried to complete the session.

Vol 4 is a fine album and features a rarity for Sabbath, a slow reflective song. CHANGES. This song finished off my exercises for the day. Normally at the end of a routine it’s an immediate mad sprint for the warmth of the shower. But not today. I just sat on the cold floor. Lost in thoughts.

A line from Changes had shaken me.

And I can still hear her last goodbyes

I can’t. As hard as I try I can’t remember hearing my partners last goodbye to me – blank. I can vividly remember her peacefully sleeping at the hospice as if it was yesterday. I can remember talking to her gently and holding her hand but as hard as I try I can’t remember her last goodbye. I can remember driving her to the hospital with our son but the conversations are gone. Why would I remember them at the time as she was only going in for a couple of tests and would be out by the weekend. I just can’t remember that last goodbye. That haunts me. Probably will always haunt me.

Sad Face

Working from home does have so many advantages. Fundamentally it gives me the scope to flex work around our son. The days of my career coming first have long since gone. Trust me the career first option is the wrong choice.

But home working is not without issue. The biggest one I find is the isolation. I just don’t meet people face to face anymore. This week I have had only one face to face conversation with someone not in our little family group. That’s why blogging is such a blessing for me.

Isolation. It’s bizarre that like our son I often dream of shutting out this strange world on our own deserted island. Yet isolation in ones own house doesn’t tick the same boxes. It frequently draws you into prolonged periods of sadness. Without our son in the house, it seems so empty, so many echoes of the past.

Today my thoughts kept drifting back to holidays with my partner. One image on repeat loop. An image which is on my screensaver. Sorry it’s Switzerland again. I always seem to be blogging about that beautiful country. It was just so special to my partner. The view is looking across the edge of Lake Thun to Spiez Castle (Schloss) with beneath it the hotel we stayed at adjacent to the water. Many days this photograph brings so many happy memories. However today I just keep thinking that I won’t be able to share this view again with my partner. Sad face 😔.

Today

DEEP BREATHS – MOVE ON

Grief is a double edged sword. Yesterday felt like repeated thrusts to the heart. Focusing on what has been lost. That ‘why did it happen to me’ feeling. Everything reminded me of the loss. That video. Sad songs. Radio advertising – anything from where to go for your romantic Christmas meal to the perfect present for your loved one. Her favourite painting. Her favourite cat. That empty bed.

The walk, the wet walk did help a bit. It did help me get focused and ready for our son.

Today I’ve experienced the other side of the grief sword. The positive side. Now the focus is on how privileged I am. Even someone like me was able to experience 16 golden years. Romance. So many happy memories. A beautiful, perfect son. Grief is really everlasting love. That is something which can’t be lost.

Keith Moon

At the start of summer I took our son to his first ever concert. It was something he was desperate to do but it was a bit of a leap of faith. Quite a lot of the rock concert experience involves stuff which can really unsettle him.

  • The noise
  • The flashing lights
  • The crowd
  • The unpredictable nature

That leap of faith was taken. Quickly he found a way of dealing with the crowd and the unpredictability. He would go to his seat, cover his head with his hood and concentrate fully on playing some games on my phone. He was so pleased that no one seemed to focus on this. But as soon as the lights went out the hood came down and he just soaked up the noise, the lights, the experience. He loved it.

So far he has seen the Hollywood Vampires, the Darkness, the Damned, Killswitch Engage and Iron Maiden.

The bank manager is getting really annoyed at me as next year (so far) it will be Thunder, Ozzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Status Quo and Kiss.

The Hollywood Vampires focused on celebrating the rock stars who we have died. Our son really appreciated this as it showed him that it was ok to celebrate people who we have sadly lost. One of the lost was Keith Moon. Fast forward several months and we were watching a video of the Who playing live. At the end of the concert our son mentioned that he was convinced that the drummer Keith Moon was in the team. That’s his way of saying that someone is autistic. It had never crossed my mind. When we did a google search we came across Roger Daltrey talking about Keith.

“I think he was possibly autistic maybe even with a touch of aspergers”

Again this just reinforces the importance of rock to him. He said it shows that members of the team can do something (rock) brilliantly.

Mr Jones

After the world changed I was caught out on far too many occasions by TV and film producers incorporating ‘bereavement’ into their scripts. It seemed like everything our son watched reminded him of death, So I started a vetting process which helped reduce the upset. It has been working quite well….

Last night we watched the third Indiana Jones movie. It’s a wonderful bit of escapism and I’ve seen it a few times. From what I could remember it was a safe movie. But those viewings were quite a few years before our son lost his mum. Back then my take on life was oh so different and some bits of the movie obviously didn’t register.

One scene in particular. It lasts less than a minute. Indiana and his dad are talking about his childhood. Suddenly the line “she kept her illness from me” and it’s a brief discussion about his mum dying. It felt like a dagger to the heart for me even though I’m old and grizzled. Lord knows what it felt like to someone so young. Its at times like that you wish the ground would just open up and swallow you. How could I miss that.

That is oh so typical of parenting. It’s never too easy and when do you start taking things for granted it comes back to bite you on the bottom.

Moments

Everyday I find a quiet part of the house or garden and just sit and think. I think about the loved ones who are no longer with us. Just 10 minutes of reflection, but it is so important to me. Just trying to remember some of the key moments we shared. Trying to reconnect. They may not be here physically anymore but in my mind they are still here, still part of my life. Today I remembered a trip to Lauterbrunnen. Holding hands with my partner drinking in the alpine air and watching in awe at the spectacular Staubbach Falls

The reflections are uplifting but are tinged with sadness.

Such a happy memory but oh so brief. Little did we know how few opportunities we would get to visit this wonderful alpine setting together. Sometimes life is hard and painful but I am thankful that I have these memories. Thankful that I had that brief moment in time and also thankful that now, a 1000 miles away Lautterbrunnen is there. The falls are still crashing down given other couples the same opportunity to create their own brief moment in time. So today on this day, this somber day I am sad but oh so thankful.

Halloween

We have some odd pets. This time it’s the big boy cat. For some strange reason as soon as we light the candle, the boy cat has to sit next to the pumpkin. If we move the pumpkin, the cat follows. Last year he did the same. Bizarre.

Halloween can be an odd time for our son. Before the world changed he loved the whole Halloween experience. Making the scariest pumpkin possible. But after his mum died it took on a different meaning. In his eyes it became a transition date. The cross over between the time he associates with death and funerals to the period of happiness and life. Over the last two years the period running up to Halloween has brought 3 major deaths – probably 3 out of the 4 closest family members. The period after Halloween brings fireworks, Christmas and anniversary of welcoming the mad dog into the family.

Halloween has now evolved into a mix of reflection for what has gone and for a celebration of happier times. Hence the pumpkin has now moved from the scariest possible to a sort of party boy. This is no bad thing.

Maybe the cat is waiting for the party to start. Waiting for ‘Trumper’ to start the festivities. I didn’t ask my son why he called this years pumpkin, Mr Trumper. I assume it’s because of the trumpet like thing in his mouth – can’t possibly think of anything else that the pumpkin could be named after….

Sunset thoughts

It was a stunning sunset last night. I’m not sure this photograph does it justice. As we sat on the grass and watched it my mind wandered. My partner would have loved this. She loved a good sunset. Since she left us every spectacular sunset takes me to a really sad and lonely place. I felt the cold pangs of sadness start to take hold. My son’s mind was clearly somewhere else.

Dad where is the sun

Slightly puzzled I replied that it was just behind those houses.

Can we officially say that the last sun rays have gone now”

Now completely shaken from my sad thoughts and wondering where this was going, I said probably.

Do you think Dracula would have liked a good sunset

Slightly lost for words, all I could splutter out was what do you think.

I think he would have liked a good sunset but a good sunrise would have scared the pants off him. Dad do you think Dracula ever washed his pants” and with that said he stood up and went inside.

So now I eagerly wait another sunset. Will my mind again wander to a sad lonely place or will it from now on take me to Transylvania and thoughts of Dracula’s pants.

Words of Wisdom

You’re only given a spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it” – Robin Williams

For all autistic people it mustn’t any longer be about what we can’t do, it’s got to be about what we can do” – Chris Packham

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other” – Carl Sagan

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength” – Dalai Lama

“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village” – Elaine Hall

It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone” – John Steinbeck

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim“- Vicki Harrison

You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchell

We’re out of our comfort zones with depression. I certainly was and whenever I have bad days now I speak to someone to get it off my chest. I have no shame telling that and that’s why I’m here today” – Ricky Hatton

Once you choose hope, anything is possible.Christopher Reeve

I didn’t succeed despite my dyslexia, but because of it. It wasn’t my deficit, but my advantage. Although there are neurological trade-offs that require that I work creatively/smarter in reading, writing and speaking. I would never wish to be any other way than my awesome self” – Scott Sonnon (World Champion in Martial Arts)

There is a time to live, a time to die, a time to laugh, and at no time are the three of them very far apart” – Spike Milligan

Life is too short to do the things you don’t love doing” – Bruce Dickinson

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow” – Jeff Valdez

The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma” – Patrick from Spongebob

“Bums to big” – Our son on why the Dodo couldn’t fly. Probably explains why I can’t fly as well.