Looking over the Vale of York I was pondering life. Pondering the wonderful things that I already have and what extra wonders might still come my way. I can definitely still dream big.
If you had asked me back in 2016 and 2017 I would have scoffed at the thought. Grief cruelly robbed me of many things including dreams. My dreams require a vision of future. Back then I could see no future, just a black void. I could only live through my son. It was his future and nothing else. Give him the happiest childhood possible. One day he would leave home and for me, that was it.
But with time dreams did come back and when they did it was like a dam bursting. I could hope again. I could see positive futures. Yes the old dreams are gone but new and very different dreams have replaced them.
Hope and dreams might be hidden but they are usually there somewhere. Maybe it just needs a bit of time and a period of pain. Maybe they need a chance meeting or a seemingly random event. But when dreams are rediscovered they might just be better than ever.
There’s a chap in the village who is an artist. A really really good artist. Has exhibitions. He has a talent for creating beauty. Even in his garden. He lets his garden go native. Will occasionally tidy it up but mainly just let’s nature sort the rest out.
Well this is what happens he does this…
This artist lost his partner a three years back. It really hit him hard. His world fell apart. Yet over time he has got going again. He has returned to making new art. He’s carrying on. He would give me a progress report every time I walked past his garden with Captain Chaos. Whisper it – the Cap likes contributing to this nature show in his own very unique way…. We talked about sitting down and having a longer chat.
Hopefully over the next couple of months I can pop over and he can show me his studio. We can have that coffee that has been on hold since the pandemic swept the world. We talked about doing this 15 months ago.
The 6 week summer school break is only a month away now. Not long. 30 days. Lots to do in that time. Even more after today.
Hawklad has decided that he wants a stress free as possible summer. Summer is difficult as he can remember the summer of 2016. First day of the summer holidays his granny died and then as the school returned he lost his mum. So summer can be tough even without his current anxieties levels.
Stress free means reducing exposure to those triggers that can escalate his worries. And what is one of the most common triggers. Movies and TV shows. I’ve frequently talked about how often story lines involve death, illness, broken families……
So I have a task. Compile a list of movies and shows that Hawklad can watch which are SAFE. No sadness, no illness, no bereavements. 6 weeks is a long time, so it’s going to have to be some list.
Here’s my list so far
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Wallace & Gromit
Kicking and Screaming
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Night at the Museum
The Lego Movie
Fantastic Mr Fox
Big Mommas House
The Office (US) but avoiding a couple of episodes
Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Remember no triggers. For example The Guardians of the Galaxy – top movie but just NO to the start…. For example Mary Poppins Returns – great movie but mum dies…. For example the Disney movie I’ve forgotten the name of at the weekend , really good apart from the one line about a serious illness.
You might not believe it but this is an official Yorkshire road.
The Road to …….
I live in a small bungalow with our son. Small so there is not much room to spread out. Well there is but remember it’s a boy house. Dad, Son, Mad Boy Dog, Massive Tom Cat and two Gerbils. The Gerbils are the sensible ones, but it’s all relative, they are boys as well.
So sometimes space feels at a premium. Especially when there are NO GO AREAS. Areas where LOSS still rules.
One half of the bed.
Boxes in the loft
A pile of cds – truly awful musical choices which have 0% chance of being played
A pile of videos – we haven’t had a video recorder in 4 years
A box case.
After the funeral in 2016 I had a crazed and largely mixed up clear out. Things like clothes and shoes went to a charity shop. But some things didn’t go. No idea why. They stayed in place and remain there today almost 5 years later. Yes they get dusted but I don’t even feel comfortable doing that. So I kinda just work round those areas.
The time is coming to finally complete the clear out process. Life moves on. It’s about living today not living in the past. Free up the some space for the boys. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy. The temptation will be to move out some of my stuff instead. But it has to be done. One more step down the road.
Loss is different for everyone, whatever the reason behind the life story. Each loss is unique.
It’s now approaching 5 years for me. The journey continues. Things change. Sometimes suddenly, other times gradually.
One of the biggest changes over that time has been with my attitude towards memories. When 2016 hit I truly realised their importance. Time can be short so it’s important that you create as many memories as you can. But here’s the thing, my mindset was that was for me there would be no new personal memories. Yes there would be new ones but they would be about Hawklad, not stuff I had done. For me that was it….
That’s changed now.
Time is still a limited resource and memories are still important. But it can’t be just about looking back. It is definitely OK to create new memories. That shows that life is not just about survival. It’s about LIVING, even after loss. So yes I want to create new memories. AND there is no reason that the NEW ones can’t be just as good or even better than the old ones.
You just never know. All you can do. All I can do is give LIFE a CHANCE.
Bereavement and loss changes everything. My previous life foundations came crashing down. As I sat battered and dazed amongst the wreckage it was just impossible to see clearly. All I could think about was what was lost and how on earth was I going to be able to function as a single parent. My autocorrecttried to change that to single patient – that works as well.
I’ve talked about the impact on DREAMS many times. In the rubble of my former life , dreams and hopes were extinguished. All I could see was nothingness. My dreams had been stolen from me.
It’s now nearly 5 years on. I’m still clearing away the rubble but a new life has started to be built. Here’s what is sometimes forgotten. My old life was far from perfect. It had many issues, many downsides. I couldn’t rebuild the old life if I wanted to. Yes for too many months I did try to do that. Finally I realised the reality. Maybe just maybe I could learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again. Maybe this time I could build a new and improved life. Dreams and hopes play a huge part in that process.
YES they are back. Back stronger than ever. Ok they might seem like pipe dreams. They might seem really unlikely to ever happen. But that doesn’t make them any less important to me. They are a key part of my rebuilding process. Let’s see where those wonderful dreams and hopes take me.
It’s inevitable that if you spend anytime on this planet then you will experience what LOSS feels like. Losing something precious to you. A person, a dream, a way of life, a friendship, a love, a companion….. It’s inevitable.
When I experienced LOSS I also LOST something else. MYSELF.
LOSS is about losing something permanently. Never getting it back. That’s why it hurts so much. All you can do is to try to learn to live with that LOSS. But with LOST it can be different. It doesn’t have to permanent. You can find it again. That’s what I did with MYSELF. It took several years but I have found MYSELF again. And here’s the thing, I actually may have found more than I LOST. I may have grown as a person. May have a better outlook in life. More appreciative of what is truly important to me. I definitely understand MYSELF better now.
Wind back the clock 20 years and a couple walked along a country lane and thought we must try that narrow path that runs along by those trees. Where would it take us.
Virtually every single time that couple walked that lane one voice would mention the need to walk that tree lined path.
20 years, 15 years….
Then it became a family of 3. Still they walked that lane and pondered that mysterious path.
10 years, 5 years….
The TIME ran out. Time ran out for that couple, that family. Since then the bereaved partner has finally run down that path. Found out where it led to. Definitely beautiful but such a powerful symbol of missed opportunity. The dangers of thinking that you have plenty of time. in reality the clock is always TICKING.
Sunshine, blue sky, dark cloud, storm clouds, dry, rain, snow, bright, dark.
That Yorkshire sky really sums up perfectly my mood levels since lockdown started. It’s a bit of everything really. Swinging from smiles to tear. Feeling full of the joys of spring to darkest winter coldness. Optimistic then pessimistic. Feeling contented then feeling boxed in. Calm then anxious. At ease with the world then frustrated.
Emotional never ending tides.
Yesterday I was fighting the tears. Life seemed bleak and so restrictive. Definitely feeling cut adrift, isolated and alone.
Yet today I can’t stop smiling. Ok life feels constrained but it also feels good. Filled with HOPE and WONDERFUL thoughts. Most definitely not feeling alone rather feeling part of a BEAUTIFUL world.
Ask me yesterday and I would say what am I doing. Today it’s WE can do this.
I’m the same person, I’ve not moved, I’ve not won the money lottery. No person or no asset has entered my world. So why the swing in mood. Could it be that we are permanently riding those emotional waves. Swings in outlook are to be expected. Good moments, bad moments. Maybe the secret is to look at each day. What are the things that weigh me down and try to do something about those. Then most importantly work out what are the things that lift me up so much. If you can identify those things (maybe it’s just one important thing) then keep trying to move towards those wonderful things in life.
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
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 favouritepossessions
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.