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.

Story to tell – two

We all have a story to tell. Every persons story is just as precious and important as the next. Our life’s are filled with good and bad times. A rollercoaster of emotions. Filled with memories. Some bring smiles, others bring tears.

2016, it’s August. A week before I had been to my mums funeral. My partner had not been well but currently no reason to be truly worried. A Wednesday afternoon and we drove her to the Hospital for an overnight stay and some routine tests. I can see her walking across the lawn to the car. We talked in the car. Can’t remember what about. Just general stuff I guess. After she is settled on the ward we are asked to leave so the medics could start the tests. Told to come back tomorrow to visit, maybe even to pick her up. It’s now Thursday lunchtime and I’ve returned to the ward. The Doctor pulls me to one side. A sudden collapse in her condition. I sit in stunned silence. Tests results are shocking and grave. The prognosis horrific. 95% chance that she will be dead within a couple of weeks. Zero chance of making Christmas. She is in and out of consciousness. It’s extremely likely that she is not aware anymore. If family need to say goodbyes then you need to do it really quickly. Driving from the hospital like a zombie – how do I explain this to our 8 year son. She never regained consciousness and died in a hospice a few weeks later. We never did have a conversation again. The last time we talked was in the car and I can’t remember what it was about.

That’s one of my stories. It’s not easy to tell even now. I can feel the darkness starting to sweep over me. But there are other stories. Stories which bring light and are easier to tell.

Holding our son for the first time after the birth. Looking into his eyes and thinking I’M A DAD. Then thinking he’s very small – don’t drop him. Then one overriding thought. How can something so small be so pigging LOUD.

Sat on a scary rollercoaster with Hawklad as we slowly pick up speed. Hearing his must reassuring words echo along the suddenly panic filled seats – “Dad I’ve just spotted two missing nuts and one support joint without any bolts.”

Sat watching a 4 year old Hawklad in Switzerland. He runs up to a man trying to do some post run stretches. He then spends 5 minutes excitedly telling this man all about Dr Who and The Tardis. Speaking to the man later to apologise we found out that the man had never heard of Dr Who and didn’t speak a word of English. What a poor confused person he must have been.

So we all have stories. Some bad and some good. That’s life for you. They add together to make up who we are. Actually taking the time to listen will open your eyes to another person. If you are fortunate you might even hear some back stories. Gain an understanding of who that person really is. What makes them tick. Without that understanding it’s not wise to jump to assumptions. Without those back stories you really don’t know anything about that person.

A story to tell – one

We all have a story to tell. All stories are just as valid and important as the next one. Sadly many stories are not told. Well actually that’s incorrect. Sadly many stories are not heard. They are replaced by stereotypes. Too many jumping to conclusions. A view that fits better into the needs of so called modern society.

This week again stories of single parents coming from The Government and it’s Friends. Scrounging off society. Shying away from work. A life of luxury…. That fits in with the message. BUT Cut to a supermarket. A parent is struggling to control a child. Those knowing looks and tuts from other shoppers. They have no idea of the back story. Just how tired that parent is. Trying to figure out a way to feed the family with so little money. Trying to cope with zero help. Being crushed by anxiety and living no life at all. Crushed by circumstances. It’s often easier for some people to cast the first stone rather than offer a hand of support.

The story of kids with Autism and Aspergers again often not heard. Drowned out by stereotypes and unfounded assumptions. Each and every child is different, unique. Each child has their own back story. But so often we here – uncaring, cold, demonic, unfeeling, lacking empathy, no sense of humour, unable to love, a burden on society, low attainment, not really like a kid should be.

Wrong, wrong , wrong. Every child is unique. That’s the point of this blog. Others bloggers do it far better than my drivel. But we try to show the real story of our kids. Hawklad has Aspergers yet he can be funny, caring, have empathy, play games, understand others, be funny, have talents, be lovely, have dreams they want to achieve, have a sense of humour and love. All kids deserve a chance. Deserve a childhood. All kids.

Everyone has a unique story. Maybe as a society we need to start listening.

Cool

It’s hot in Yorkshire. Very hot for us. 🥵 86F (30C). That’s officially beyond Yorkshire’s Safe Operating Temperature. Law and Order will break down. The Ferrets will start to get unusually frisky. The Rhubard will go on strike. Cricketers might even have to unbutton their top shirt buttons. Those rather fetching knitted handkerchief hats will need to be donned….

In Yorkshire we have two expressions for this type of unusual weather.

It’s Mafting…….

It’s crackin’ t flags ……. translates to – it’s so hot the the paving stones are starting to crack.

It was too hot for my outside weights and kettlebell session. I definitely left a water trail marking out where my exercises took me. A nice run through a cool forest would have been ever so nice. The photo was from August 2019. Seems like a lifetime ago. Almost seems like a different world. A lot of things have changed for the worse. Some new really bad things have hit. Yes some life stuff has remained unchanged. And here is the crucial thing. A few things, some new stuff have definitely been an absolute blessing. It’s so easy to focus on the bad stuff but actually some wonderful things have happened. My Life is better because of those things.

So in 2020 when some days life seems unduly bad, I need to remember the good stuff. Yes life can and still will be tough. BUT it can also still be exceptionally beautiful. It can be a wonderful life.

Reflection

This is one of those posts that start with a single thought. No real idea of the direction. Yes it starts with me being reflective.

When I’ve been at my lowest points in life, I’ve felt so very alone. Maybe the two go together. It’s such a hard thing to describe. The world closing in on me. Darkness and a lack of hope surrounding me. But worse is the feeling that I am alone. There is no one who understands me. No one who really cares. No one to turn to. No one who will just listen. Even those close to you seaming so distant, so utterly unable or unwilling to understand. The two worst emotions for me – No Hope and Being Alone. Here’s the thing. That wasn’t actually the case, it just felt like it. I had closed my eyes. Stopped looking. Started listening to the negative voice in my head.

But I’ve been so fortunate. Even in those dark times, I’ve managed to eventually find something which has pulled me through. Either a caring hand or a flicker of hope. That’s all it takes sometimes. But don’t believe for one moment that it is easy. Just reading a few words probably ain’t going to do it. Sadly too many don’t find a positive way. Having been in those dark places I can so understand that now. It’s so hard to pull yourself out of the darkness alone. AND it does feel like you are completely alone.

For those in the darkness. I send you my thoughts and love. I just hope you find something. That caring hand. That bit of hope. The will or energy to reach out. You may find that beacon of light already close to you but often it doesn’t come from the obvious sources. But so often IT IS THERE. WE can do this.

The Irony

The old Apple Tree. Definitely enjoying the sun and the rare windless conditions. A good day for a garden meeting.

Well today didn’t go as planned.

Son was primed for his garden meet-up with his new nurse counsellor. These things don’t come easy to him. Often it’s about trying to build a bond. A bridge. Only when that link is formed can any meaningful work be commenced. He had that link with his last person, we can only hope a similar one is formed again.

So yes he was as ready as he could be. The garden was setup…..

Then the call from Nurse Reception. Unfortunately the counsellor had taken ill in the car and had turned back. Headed home. Really sorry and they will rebook the session when the counsellor is back at work.

So hope that she is alright. These things happen. But the irony.

A session to work on Hawklads Health and Pandemic related fears cancelled due to illness.

The irony has not been lost on him. Oh sorry forget, HES not supposed to get things like irony….. A Doctor once said that to him during a consultation. Hawklad fixed him with a Paddington Bear Stare and said “Are you a proper Doctor?”. The Doctor looking a bit flustered and talked about his qualifications. Hawklad them calmly said “ok a Doctor but clearly not a very good one…..”.

So we just have to wait for another appointment. Absolutely no idea when that will be. Probably after schools go back in September? That’s another potential return complication. It’s certainly added a little to his fears, now. When the meeting does happen I’m betting on Hawklad asking for the garden chairs to be further spaced apart. Thats something which won’t happen at school.

We dust ourselves off and we just have to go again. The cancellation may be for the best. Stops anything unpleasant coming into our safe area. Plus it forces me to do something rather than rely on others. Just got to up my game.

Yes another odd Monday.

Visit

By the time you read this then hopefully Hawklad with have had a garden visit from his new nurse counsellor. We got a late go ahead with lots of safety caveats. Hopefully it’s a start.

Things are not easy for him. The hand washing is escalating. He now doesn’t feel able to touch taps or surfaces. Before he uses anything like an iPad then these have to be disinfected. All bedding including pillows have to be washed on a daily basis. Currently ok in the hot weather, dread to think what it will be like trying to dry pillows in wet weather. Clothes have to be changed several times a day. And this is just living in his home and garden bubble. A very small bubble. He hasn’t physically met up with another person his age since March. Actually I’ve not met up with anyone my age in months – it’s difficult since I predate the Dinosaurs…..

But there is always hope.

We have potential access to counselling. The weather is currently grand. We have a freezer filled with ice cream and slush puppy flavoured ice pops. We have a lovely (if slightly overgrown) garden. Hawklad has his pets. I have friendships. Birds of Prey fly close to the house. Disney Plus is ace. It’s the summer football break so my team can’t get beat. We live in Yorkshire. Nobody can see me make a fool of myself doing yoga.

So yes there is always hope.

Ebb

Sunsets just happen. Nothing we can do to influence them. Maybe move to a better position to saviour them.

Loss can come from a range of sources. External factors. From within. The loss of someone special. The loss of something so vital to us. So many potential causes. And so many different roads to travel. Each grief journey is unique.

I’m on my own unique road which I must travel. I’ve come to realise three vital things about my own journey

  • It is possible for me to LIVE AGAIN,
  • It’s just as ok to LAUGH AND LOVE as it is to WEEP AND BE SAD,
  • I’m not alone on this journey.

And one more inevitable fact. Grief is like the tides and the passing of the day. I can’t fight them, I can’t stop them. When they happen I’ve just got to let them wash over me. Experience them. Knowing that they will eventually ebb away.

Take care.

Get it

The rain is finally starting to pass. The cold is moving on and the temperatures are slowly rising. Perfect time to visit a Rose.

Over time we all lose things that are so important to us. That could be love, friendships, people we care for, pets, our health, our passions, relationships, parts of our very essence, our personal freedom, a space to breathe in, that perfect job, our hopes and dreams. Life can be so very hard.

Often it’s so easy to think that you are alone dealing with these things. That no one understands. It’s such an unsettling feeling – thinking that no one GETS YOU. Believing that you are alone in these struggles. I’ve certainly been there. When you do open up, the awkward or baffled looks you get. The indirect suggestions to ‘get over it’, ‘move on’ or ‘sort yourself out’. The overt signals to ‘please shut up and change the subject’, not even wanting to listen. Often these come from those who seemingly know you the best or are close to you. Friends, family and partners. You do end up feeling isolated and alone.

But there are people out there who understand, who have been through similar experiences, who care or genuinely will listen. Just got to find them. Maybe they end up finding you. Maybe it’s just a random encounter. They could be many many miles away. That’s what happened with me. I’d given up hope, fully accepting that it was just me alone taking on this struggle. But I was randomly found. Suddenly I was genuinely listened to, understood again. BELIEVED IN. Now I don’t feel alone on this journey. Yes I can do this and if I do fall then support is there. A shoulder to cry on and a comforting hug. Will always be so very thankful for that. 💙

Time to breathe

Maybe too many days we feel hemmed in. Surrounded by the same walls. Dealing with unyielding constraints. Fighting seemingly never ending battles. Difficulty trying to believe in dreams. Struggling to breathe.

Well that’s certainly me…..

The days of climbing rock faces in Scotland and the Lake District. Walking and running along wind swept beaches. Standing under the mighty Eiger and Matterhorn. Walking and touching history. These all sometimes seem such a distant memory. Things which might never happen again.

But there is always hope. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Yes it could be those four walls again but it could just be somewhere else. Somewhere we can breathe. A chance to spread our wings and soar again. That’s a lovely feeling. So I dived into my photo library and randomly picked a journey. A time when the wings were unfolded. Yes that is in the past BUT it could also be tomorrow.