Lost Stories

That’s a leaf that clearly has a story to tell.

We all have so many stories to tell. Wonderful stories. Stories that tell us about life. Characters. Events. Even reveal things about ourselves.

It’s sad when those stories are lost. When the are lost they are lost forever.

I’ve lost so many people in my life. Friends, grandparents , parents, even my partner. All had stories to tell. One of my biggest regrets is that the importance of stories didn’t sink in until far too late. Not until they had left this world. So many stories went with them. All I can do now is just shake my head at the thought of how little I really know about those loved ones. Can I even remember how their voices sounded!

Now I look back and wonder what could have been. If only I had found more time to listen. To ask more questions. To write some words down. Maybe even record them. How treasured would it be to listen to some of those lost voices again, to listen to them tell their stories. Even just to hear those voice again talking about routine stuff. Just before my partner went into the hospital for the final time she left me a voice mail. Seemingly nothing important, can’t even remember what it was about. Why didn’t I save that. Why didn’t I save that last voicemail from my mum asking for some items from the local shop.

These are real regrets. Please don’t make the same mistakes I made. Some mistakes can’t be fixed.

Friday memories

This is a photograph that I always keep coming back to. Especially today. It’s a photo that can take me in two different directions. Sadness or Happiness. Currently it’s in the direction of happiness.

A meal and a drink outside while gazing upon one the worlds most epic mountains, The Eiger. Then a walk from Kleine Scheidegg down to Lauterbrunnen. Snow on the tops but wonderfully warm. Walking down listening to our son talk about Dr Who and monsters. A two hour walk was just not long enough for him, he only scratched the surface of his Time Lord memory banks. Listing to my partner laugh at our sons numerous monster jokes.

Yes a beautiful day. All flooding back thanks to a treasured old photograph.

A new day

It is a new day. The world keeps turning.

This is what is best described as a free form post. Just writing as the words pop into my head and then I will post it. No checking or editing.

At virtually this exact time four years ago my life changed. Our life changed. I received that late night phone call. I didn’t need to pick it up, I knew the words that I would here. I was right when I did answer the call. It was the Hospice. My partner had passed away. Even though I knew those words would inevitably come it didn’t lessen the pain. The loss. I called her sisters and her mum. I decided to tell our son in the morning after he woke up. I then just sat. I sat all night. Trying to get my head round life and death. The new situation. My old world was gone. The door had permanently slammed shut on that place. The new one was already starting. But it didn’t feel like that . It was just blackness. No light. No new doors to walk through. Nothing. Such a big part of my life was gone. All those unfulfilled dreams suddenly binned. Nothing. What do I tell an 8 year old boy. How do I raise him up when I am utterly flattened.

Looking back. I handled that chat with our son as well as I possibly could. I bumbled through that next period of my life. Can’t believe how devastated I was but still the world kept turning. I felt like I was still looking for a new door to walk through but I just couldn’t find one. Actually that was wrong. I had already walked through the door, I just hadn’t found the light switch. That took much longer to locate. But it was there all along we just find it when we are ready.

Four years on I am filled with emotions and memories. I still feel that loss. I can still feel that dark chill to my soul which I experienced that night. I feel a deep sadness but I may not mourn today, we shall see. It might be a time for tears but it might also be a time for reliving happy memories. I will definitely remember the wonderful times we had. The ways in which our fallen member of our family left the world she found a better place. But I will also not forget that it is a new day. The new crop of dreams still need planting, nurturing and harvesting. I can definitely today look back as well as forward. Here’s to beautiful memories and new dreams.

Double Edge

It’s a beautiful sky but it heralded heavy rain and high winds. Basically a double edged sword.

I am almost four years into my grief journey. Seems like a lifetime. Certainly been through some tough times. Can still experience grief storms even now. But as I travel further down the road the landscape has definitely started to change. I’ve started to laugh as well as cry. If I can feel sad at times then surely at other times I can feel happy as well. It must be ok to start to live again. To dream again.

But here’s the thing.

A nagging doubt still exists. A small part of me still feels uncomfortable with the idea of me living and having fun. That voice in my head is whispering that it’s wrong. Trying to force an image into my head. Me knelt over a grave, with a rose, filled with sadness – visiting every day. The voice keeps saying that is what I should be doing. That surely is the right thing to do. It is your assigned life. You signed up to this. In effect a grief journey is fine as long as it keeps returning to the same spot.

It can be such a struggle to break free of those nagging voices. But I know I must. Life has to go on. We make commitments but then sometimes circumstances change. Life changes. It becomes a different world. Don’t change and you are likely to wither away. We have been blessed with a life, surely it would be wrong not to try to make the most of it. I will certainly try to do that. At times that will make me feel uncomfortable. I will never forget my partner. Will never stop loving her. But that doesn’t mean that I need to be knelt over the grave every day. Yes I will do that somedays. I will do that on the anniversary of her passing. But life has to go on. I will keep telling myself that.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly trip to beautiful Switzerland🇨🇭. A country which means so much to our little family. We haven’t been since 2015 but it definitely still feels like home.

This week we won’t be venturing too far away from water. All the photos feature beautiful Lake Thun.

It’s a wonderful deep blue coloured lake that sits on the northern edge of The Alps. So it is surrounded my imposing mountains and rolling hills.

Deep snow does not often fall here even during winter. But you are often surrounded my snow covered mountains. So very close. During the summer it is often very warm here. Then the cooling lake waters are such a delight.

During the summer months it is popular with those who sail, windsurf and swim. Lake steamers take tourists on relaxing trips across the waters. Those who like to fish come here all year round. It’s also a hikers and runners dream.

Lake Thun and the little town of Spiez are just so stunning. It’s tempting to spend all your holiday here. Why travel when you have all this.

Lake Thun also has one of the most beautiful little playgrounds in the world. Definitely one of Hawklads favourite places ever. A great place to dream.

You

This was a year ago. I stopped on one of my long runs to take this photo. It would have been just after 9am and Hawklad would have been in school. After the run was finished I would then drag my muddy body to the supermarket. Definitely seems like an eternity ago. I wonder when I will go running here again. Probably not in 2020.

We all need those things in life to hold on to. A person, a friendship, a love, faith, a hobby, a destination. It will be different for everyone. Maybe it’s one thing. Maybe it’s a range of things. But we do need these in our worlds. For our health and wellbeing. I remember listening to a politician who I really respected. He talked about his love of hill walking. How walking had become such an important part of his life. But he was sad because due to work demands he had been forced to stop something he loved so much. Tragically it didn’t work out for him and his life was cut short. We do need to hold onto these things which lift us up. We all need to find the time. Listen to what our inner selves are telling us and needing from us. Hold onto and treasure those things and people we love.

So running has gone. I’ve found better more enriching things to focus and care for. But I realise that I do need a fitness activity to replace running. Ultimately the exercise bike is monumentally boring. So at present running has been replaced with yoga. Briefly stopping to take a photo has been replaced with failing to get anywhere near holding a handstand. Happy Days. I feel another lego yoga post coming on. You have been warned.

Joking to one side, please remember to find the time for YOU. You need that.

Swiss Sunday

It’s Sunday so it must be time for our weekly virtual visit to beautiful Switzerland. It’s such a stunning country and means so much to our little family. Yes it been a few years since our list trip but the memories are still strong.

It’s a country where you always seem to be near a stunning mountain or a peaceful lake.

Those mountains are just so impressive. Towering over the largely unspoilt landscapes.

The mountains, lakes and villages just seem to work beautifully together.

So yes a place where memories are made. Like this fallen tree. Will always be that tree where a Dad trying to show off found out just how cold that water really was. I thought me being so streamlined would have not produced such an enormous splash.

A country with so many memories available. You don’t need to fish so hard to catch one.

Remembering the unique alpine sounds. None more so than the frequent ringing of church bells. In this land the bells are not drowned out by noise pollution. It’s such a beautiful sound echoing through the valleys.

So until next week, take care and remember it’s still a wonderful world.

#itsabeautifulplanet

Ok I know I go on about Switzerland. How I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. But I need to set the record straight. In my eyes we are so lucky to live in a world with so many wonderful places. Every country, every region will have at least one place. One special place. I’ve been so lucky to actually visit many of those places in Yorkshire, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Congo, South Africa and yes Switzerland.

Yes today Yorkshire is separate from England – must be time for the next King Richard III to take us out of the place which has became the play thing for the Madness of King Boris.

If I can’t physically visit places then I can see the beauty through virtual trips.

Yes we live in a world which can still be beautiful. It can still be a wonderful life. Surely it’s time for us to not to always focus on all the ugliness which fills the news these days. Time to focus on the beauty. Time to delete the #itsanuglyworld and get behind something like #itsabeautifulplanet. Time for us to promote those special places. To give others a glimpse of what is truly out there.

So I will give you my first offering. I give you Northumberland.

Thank you Roses

Roses, roses, roses. Thank you for roses.

Beautiful, resilient and a bit of fight about them.

A flower than can melt the heart and then draw blood.

England has even had civil wars over a white and red rose.

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I’ve always felt a strong link to roses. That’s not surprising since I come from the White Rose County. Yet the link is stronger than that.

The last present I gave to my partner was a rose. Since then that delicate white rose has been intrinsically linked with my grief journey.

We have another rose which is decades old and has come from my partners childhood home. So it’s a link with Hawklads past. Family members now gone.

I also often look at a rose and see symbols of life. Today I was looking at a rose and it made me think of friendship. Some of the rose buds seem to go on forever. If you are lucky in life you may find one of those friendships that do that, always special, always beautiful, everlasting. Yet you also see rose buds that fail to bloom. How many times have I had thought that I had found a great friendship yet for whatever reason things never seemed to take off. Then you come across those roses which burst into life, producing the most stunning flowers, yet within days they have died back and faded. Just like those friendships which seem like they will be the best ever and yet suddenly they end – wonderful but not ever lasting, so short lived. You just never know with roses and you just never know with friends.

Today it was friends but on another day I will see roses symbolising another part of my life. I’ve done it with grief, parenting and hope. What will the Rose show me tomorrow?

1000 odd days

This is a photo from 3 years ago. I stumbled across it while looking for some old climbing ones. Another typical Yorkshire August day – all four seasons in one day. It got me thinking – what’s the same and what’s changed in those 1000 odd days. See that’s what a professional accountancy qualification can do for you – I’m good at those complicated adding up calculations.

THINGS WHICH ARE THE SAME

  • Getting no dyslexia support from school,
  • Getting no Aspergers support or accommodations from school,
  • Still bereaved,
  • Still a single parent,
  • Still a metal head at heart,
  • Hawklad is still a lovely character,
  • No holidays, no Switzerland,
  • Pets causing chaos,
  • My football team is still useless,
  • Still see myself as European,
  • Brexit is still a shambles and a monumental exercise of self destruction,
  • Vegetarianism,
  • Can’t cook,
  • Still exercising,
  • Still 5ft 10 and a half (don’t forget the half – it takes me beyond average height),
  • Still not climbing,
  • Still can’t work out the TV remote control,
  • The garden is still a mess,
  • Still don’t like U2,
  • Still haven’t seen Avatar without falling asleep,
  • Haven’t seen my brother even though we live only 50 miles apart,
  • The garden gate still needs fixing,
  • The washing machine is still possessed,
  • Still having bought myself that ginormous telescope,
  • The blog is still going,
  • Still writing about the same stuff,
  • Still waiting for official recognition of my stellar poetry skills,
  • Still haven’t won the lottery,
  • Still losing my car keys.

THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE WORSE

  • As Hawklad has reached the teenage stage many of the health support packages have been removed,
  • The waiting list to see The Paediatrician is now approaching 2 years,
  • A pesky pandemic,
  • Hawklads anxiety levels,
  • Hawklads isolation from the world and other kids his age,
  • Due to circumstances had to stop running,
  • Boris,
  • Trumps antics,
  • Might be a metal head but the days of skin tight jeans have gone,
  • Lost a couple of much loved pets,
  • Don’t really see my sisters anymore,
  • School’s view of Hawklad – definitely revising his perceived ability levels downwards,
  • The number of times I have to shout or pull my hair out at school is rising,
  • I’m physically meeting less people,
  • The list of things on the need sorting out when funds are available is growing.

THINGS THAT HAVE CHANGED FOR THE BETTER

  • Hawklad understands himself and his Aspergers much better now,
  • Hawklad is overcoming his dyslexia,
  • I understand now that it’s just as ok to Laugh as it is to Cry, YES it’s ok to live,
  • Friendship
  • Close Friendships,
  • Faith,
  • Love,
  • Happiness,
  • One step closer to home schooling (hopefully),
  • My dress sense – I finally chucked out some of my pink climbing shirts.

You might be thinking that looking at the relative number of entries on these lists that the last 1000 odd days have been generally bad. But look at some of those things on the last list. It’s not about quantity it’s about quality. Yep looking at that last list, over the last 1000 odd days we have challenges but some really good stuff has still happened. That’s why there is always hope.