Putting off

The sun setting on another day. Another day of putting some things off.

Was it really 2016 when my partner died. Doesn’t seem like 4 and a bit years. But here’s the thing. I can’t work out if that time has dragged by or gone much quicker. 4 and a bit years just doesn’t seem right.

But 4 and bit years it is. That’s a long time putting stuff off.

The ashes are still sat on a cabinet with a view of the garden and fields. Not been scattered yet….

Her cds are still in a there in the corner of the room. They won’t ever get played. Doesn’t seem right to play them and we had completely different music tastes. Hawklad never plays cds and shares my music tastes. One day I should move them….

My partner’s photo albums are sat on the sideboard. I started sorting through them back in 2016 but stopped…..

I did quickly take her clothes to the charity shop. But then I found a few more items. These sit in the airing cupboard. Sat there waiting for me to decide what to do with them….

I sorted through her work papers. These are now sat waiting for me to have a bonfire to burn them. These are sat on the floor next to the desk. Just doesn’t seem right still to do that yet…

I could go on but you get the picture. Whether 4 and bit years seem like a long or short time. It just shows that loss and bereavement takes time. Each persons time will be unique to them. For me it’s definitely a long term journey. It’s also about Our son as well. What works for him. Long term means that we can take my time. Do it at our own pace.

Soul

We watched the Pixar movie SOUL last night. Felt like perfect timing. Trying not to give the movie away but it makes you think about life and what it means to you. Its really good, funny in places and sad in others. At times I found it uncomfortable as it was a little to close to home for me.

I came away from the 100 minutes thinking

Life is maybe not about the things I thought it was about (confirmed what I’ve been thinking for a while now)

Actually what are the things in life that make me spark and feel alive

Just how time is wasted

Fears of looking back at life and regretting lost opportunities

I can still grasp those opportunities…..

A few hours later and I’m still reflecting on SOUL. Life and the pandemic have kind of hemmed me in (hemmed many of us in). We have been in our own lockdown for almost a year now. Likely to be in lockdown for much of 2021. Time is to precious to just be content with performing endless holding patterns until life changes again. Have to find ways to live TODAY…

Snow

A little bit of snow. It does change the feel of the landscape.

We don’t often get lots of snow here. Not talking about a dusting, I mean really deep stuff. The last time that happened we were a family of 3. My partner would be out with her wooden ruler to measure the snow depth. She would do that before we could go out and wreck the snow with sledging, snow angels and snowmen. 2010 was a really good year for that. Yes a good year. Relatively healthy partner, a bouncy toddler and lots of snow. Too deep for the ruler. Well over 30cm and it stayed around for about 5 weeks. Good times.

So much has happened since then. It’s such a different world. It’s a much smaller family now.

Maybe deep snow will arrive again. That wooden ruler is still here. Measuring the depth will then pass to Hawklad.

Life moves on.

Silly little things.

I think I might be on top of things. The mind is heading in the right direction. I’m in a decent place and then….

And then something sneaks up on me. With me it’s often seemingly a silly little thing. Suddenly the friendly wind is taken from my sails.

I couldn’t sleep late last night. Just wasn’t feeling tired so I decided to watch a movie. Something requiring no thinking power. So I went for a mindless comedy. Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Haven’t seen that in decades.

The last time I watched this movie I was in a different place in life. Life was still yet to really hit me. So the movies ending never really registered. Well it did last night. Wow did it register.

Spoiler alert………

The jolly and silly little movie closes with Steve Martin sudden realising that the chap he had spent the last 48 hours in travelling hell might not be as happily married as he had thought. He goes back to find him sat alone in a cold train station waiting room. His wife had died 8 years ago, he was alone and suffering.

That scene just really hit me. So unexpected. I’ve been there. I was that man. I might still be that man. I so could imagine what he felt like, sat alone in that cold bleak place. Watching others live and seemingly having no where to go.

The movie ended well but I was shaken. Sad, confused, anxious. Even after many hours I’m still feeling shaky. All from one silly movie.

The next time I watch a late night thing then let’s play it safe. It’s QVC or Scooby Doo or the Real Fire Channel for me…..

Lines

Remind me not to fly my kite here.

It’s Christmas. Hawklad is happy. Very happy with his presents so far. Amazed that his Dad hasn’t messed up yet. Well apart from his new FIFA computer game seems to come wrapped with a free pair of scissors. I wondered where they disappeared to. Thankfully he has given me them back.

It’s an odd house these days. Probably something to do with it being completely MALE. Two humans, a dog, a cat, gerbils – all with an X and Y chromosome. That explains so much.

Maybe it explains one strange Christmas tradition. Hawklad has had that Santa conversation. So why do we still put out mince pies and a drink for Santa. A large pile of carrots for the reindeer’s. We even still draw lines on bits of paper pointing the big red fella to the location of the feast.

Maybe it’s time for someone to have that Santa conversation with ME…..

Can you spot

Can you spot the photobombing bird…

Can you spot the grassy hill that on every single step you sink 3 inches into the mud…

We put the Christmas tree up the other day. And it was another CAN YOU SPOT moment.

Hawklad put the decorations up after I had disinfected them. Then I spotted it. A tree decoration with writing on. Three names. Our names. I had forgotten about that one. That was a link to a different time. A different life. A very different feeling Christmas.

Every day it’s amazing what you can spot.

Dreaded

It’s always lovely to get cards through the post. Well almost always…

That dreaded card dropped through the letter box today. Don’t need to open it. Just look at the name on the front. My partners name.

This is now the fifth Christmas since the world changed. Over that period virtually everyone who needs to know, knows. So THOSE cards are rare. But not rare enough. When I see my partners name above the address my heart sinks. It’s a reminder of what is no more. It’s also a sign that somebody still doesn’t know.

The card is from someone who clearly knew my partner well. The message on the card makes that clear. This person also sends a Christmas and Birthday card without fail. The first name rings a bell but not a clue on the surname. Not a clue on the sender address. The postmark doesn’t give any clues. I will go through the address book (again) but my partner would often use nicknames rather first names. Needle in a haystack.

It’s amazing how one little card can take so much wind out of my sails.

Help

This is my favourite place to put my hot drink mug. Just the right size. Nice height. Views over the farmers fields. It was kind of the people who built the house to put this here all those years ago.

Sometimes you just have to do things yourself.

I remember having a conversation with a leading clinical psychologist just before she retired. She told me about the UK Health Service and its approach to kids like Hawklad. She was so disheartened. Increasingly parents have to fight for any support. The Government (this government) are intentionally making it more difficult to access public services and receive support. The view from the top is that it’s not the responsibility of tax payers to fund these things. It’s down to the individual. The more you can afford the better the service you can secure. The psychologist warned me that as soon as Hawklad became a teenager the services which have been secured will start to ebb away. Reviews by ‘independent’ managers will suddenly find him just above the support threshold and he will be removed from the support list. When he gets to adult life she said the support would be completely gone.

Hawklad turned 13 this year so where do we stand…..

  • He hasn’t seen a Paediatrician in two years (was supposed to be every 6 months). He has dropped down the priority list and is at the wrong end of the waiting list.
  • Zero help from school on his dyslexia. The NHS is prevented from providing any support as it has to come from Education budgets now.
  • Zero help with his Aspergers. The psychologist was not replaced when she retired and the service is on hold (4 years now).
  • Zero help with his ADHD as he was reassessed as being above threshold.
  • He did receive physio therapy help with his dyspraxia. He was due to start a programme to help with his writing and keyboard difficulties. But two weeks before the programme was due he was seen by an Independent assessor (never worked with Hawklad before). After 3 quick tests which lasted 4 minutes he was assessed as being above threshold and the service was withdrawn.
  • Grief Counselling still officially waiting…
  • The last support he has is an anxiety counselling service. But sine his last wonderful support worker was moved on, the service has started to dwindle away. No idea when the next support session will happen. He’s unable to venture out of his house ot touch objects due to his anxieties BUT as he is not in physical danger then he is classed as a low priority.

Sometimes predictions come true.

Sometimes you have to do things yourself .

Lift

It’s amazing what difference a little bit of sun makes. It’s a pleasant landscape. Last week or so it was the perfect landscape for a moody horror movie. Think Hound of the Baskervilles, think the start of American Werewolf in London.

Sometimes life is hard to fathom. You would have thought that the better weather would lift my overall mood. Pick me up. Bring smiles. Well that’s the theory….

So why was I stood in this field feeling down. Sad. Melancholy. Lonely. What was wrong with this view.

How can that happen. Is there something wrong with me. Am I missing something.

It was a while later before the penny dropped. For weeks my view has been restricted. Often no further than the next fence. Yes it was moody, it was also a limited view. No evidence of a wider world out there.

Suddenly the world opened up again today. My gaze lifted. It is such a beautiful world and yet it’s out of reach to me. No real chance of heading towards (or past) those distant hills. 950 miles that way takes me to the Swiss Alps. Look in another direction and it’s family and friends. Look behind me and it’s a frustrating football club and then the mountains of Scotland. Several thousands miles in another direction and it’s….

Those things have been out of reach. In all probability they will be well out of reach for a large part of 2021 (maybe much longer).

That’s why my mood fell. I was reminded of life’s potential. Reminded of life’s current constraints.

But I will keep telling myself that there is always hope. Maybe tomorrow if the sun is out again then my gaze will lift my mood as well.

Mud

Mud glorious mud. If only we could sell mud then we would be quids in.

Sometimes it feels like life is just a constant trudge through waste deep thick, clinging mud. Much harder than it was supposed to be? Was parenting supposed to be this demanding? Was the bank account supposed to be that empty? Was the career supposed to abruptly come to an end? Was my social diary supposed to be as empty as my bank account? Was I supposed to be this out of synch with life? Was grief supposed to hurt that much? Was I supposed to be walking these fields on my own? Why did depression and anxiety have to come knocking at my door?

But wait. Mud is good for the complexion. It keeps you grounded. Walking through it makes you stronger over time. You learn things about yourself. You grow. So……

Does a large bank balance matter – NO IT DOES NOT. Is living rather than following a career a better route to happiness – YES IT IS. So is parenting supposed to be this good and rewarding – YES IT IS. Is grief just another way of saying you love someone – OH YES IT IS. Do your real friends and those who truly love you always stick with you – YES THEY DO. Can I overcome my demons – YES I CAN.

Is it still a wonderful life – YES IT IS. It most certainly is.