Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I am

While writing the last post I was reminded how I have not linked up to the Sleep is for the Weak writing workshop for a while. So I have decided to take Josie's advice and just take the plunge - and I am seemed a pertinent follow on from the last two posts.

I am...
... individual. I don't mean to but I do things my own way and this can make me unconventional at times.
...creative.  This is not a boast, but it is just who I am. I am not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg with the creative / individual comment.
...a wife and mother as well as being a feminist. I wonder at times if there is any conflict between these but as they are all so much part of me I accept and enjoy!
... kind. I have foot in mouth disease, but I genuinely think that despite some of the outrageous things I say (by accident) I always try to find the good in everyone and everything. I try never to pre-judge, and give loads of benefit of the doubt.
...40 but I still feel that I have loads of life and new beginnings to come. need of a bit of a kick up the bum! I need to loose some weight and refocus after this year of hell.
...ethical. I believe that all my actions have impact in the world at large. I have no expectations for friends and family, I love them as they are, but I won't be serving Nestle coffee and fois gras in my house.! At 40 I realise I have strength and weaknesses, sometimes my looks would frighten a small child but I can scrub up. I have had great times, sad times, done things I am proud of and things that I would prefer to gloss over. Good and bad, I'm me and really quite happy with who I am - just give me that kick to remind me to make the most of this life.

Good Grief

 I don't think that there is a good way to die, but at times I think that my Dad's was the worst. He had early on set dementia (like Alzheimer's for younger people) and it took years to watch him slide towards death. It is hard to say when charm turned to eccentricity and eccentricity to inappropriate behaviour, and likewise his stuttering became aphasia and then he just forgot how to talk.

As he got more ill I decided to give up my job and study for a Masters as I could study from my parents home and be around when I was needed. As his health deteriorated by personal life seemed to be on the up. I met the Provite and two years later he asked me to marry him.  It has great to have something positive to think about to distract from the illness - and  I realise how important it is for me to know that the two men I love the most got to meet while my Dad could still just communicate.

We could not really predict the trajectory of the illness so we set the wedding date for two weeks after I handed in my long study for my Masters in September and the planning began.  Sadly my Dad did not make it,  he died six months before our wedding.

It was great as we had something positive to focus on after the funeral, we had the reading that included 'A time to weep, a time to laugh' at both funeral and wedding as a poignant reminder of the tumultuous year.

But maybe we focused two much on seeing the good side and glossed over the need to weep. I remember after the funeral everybody came back to the house; I was walking in after the private family burial and being accosted by someone who was insistent that we talked as his son was getting married in September - I remember repeating calmly to him that I wanted to put down my coat before talking, time after time when he did not listen until I finally just fled upstairs. That seemed to set the tone for the mourning. 

All seemed to be going well and it is now eight years since his death. This year my usual calm has been shaken, as readers of the blog may have noticed. After reading 'They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life' by Oliver James I was determined to unpick my past so that I could be a better parent to the Pickle.

This dredged up so much! My parents had a simple facade - if there was a duff decision, it was my Mum's fault and if anything was cool that was because of my Dad. Nobody presented it that way, but folklore is often based on prejudice and this myth was built up. I do have a rocky relationship with my Mum but I have been forced to accept that it may have been a little unfair.

Then my Father in Law died...he was the most amazing man and his death came as quite a shock even though we knew that he had terminal cancer. He just seemed so strong and indestructible. My first concern was the Hubster, then his Mum and my step children. But why was I finding it so hard to keep it together?

I was crying when walking the dog, crying at my desk, generally crying when the Hubster was not around to see me! I felt like an Oscar Wilde character "To lose one father, Ms Dawnay, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two looks like carelessness". I was not sure if I was crying for my Dad, for Leon, for the miscarriage, depression that was settling on me from general life  - but I was sad and I was crying!

I survived the funeral - thanks to my amazing sister in law's gentle comforting. I was not a soggy mess, just a few appropriate tears (although what is appropriate is any body's guess) and I was strong enough to be there for the Hubster.

I am now feeling strangely free - I have cried away so much past hurt. I feel as if I am starting to move ahead and can look more clearly to my future. After a year of feeling blocked in my issues beyond my control, I can now start to plan again. I appreciate that this is the resolution of over ten year's grief.

As I feel stronger this weekend was a stark reminder. Our lovely friend Rob was building us some gorgeous book cases (that we originally commissioned about 3 or 4 years ago). I was thinking of Leon as previously he has done built all our amazing furniture, I realised how hard it must have been for the Hubster. As my grieving comes to an end, I hope I can be truly strong for the Hubster - as trust me, it is shit, but sooner or later it does get better!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Getting it out

This one is dedicated to Dawn AKA The Moiderer . I owned up to not being able to blog when I am on emotion overload and she has encouraged me to work through things. I have read her blog and it is always honest ranging from the laugh out loud to posts that have had me sobbing - I hope to take her honesty as inspiration.

So I am going to start off by giving an assessment of ME - what my blockers are and then I would love your feedback on what to unpick first.

Here is a school report of the factors affecting me. Which one should I unpack first on this blog?

Subject: General Well Being
Grade: A-
Summary: Sarah is generally very happy with a clear grasp of the issues that really matter.

Subject: Grief
Grade: B+
Summary: Sarah's husband recently lost his father, which meant that Sarah needed to take on a caring role, supporting her husband. This role was somewhat hampered by Sarah's residual grief for her own father who died eight years ago.

Subject: Motherhood
Grade: A
Summary: This grade is primarily for the joy that Sarah received from being a mother. She tries hard to strike a balance between being a fun Mum who always listens and a firm operator who keeps in check her daughters determined streak. She loves sharing the simple things in life from cooking and the garden to exploring science and world cuisine with the Pickle.

Subject: Fertility
Grade: C-
Summary: Sarah would dearly love another child and a sibling for the Pickle. Somehow she fails to remain totally focused on the task, aware that diet and fitness would greatly enhance her chances. After initially pursuing alternative therapies she is being cared for at the RBH fertility unit and has a few more months of chemical enhancement before IVF remains the only option.

Subject: Business
Grade: D
Summary: It has been a tough waiting year for Sarah as she has been unable to optimise the potential of her great idea through factors beyond their control. She is not complaining and has stayed sane, which may have been beyond many in her shoes.

Subject: Material wealth
Grade: B-
Summary: Sarah does not lack any of the basics, she has food an shelter and a wonderful home with potential. Everything in Sarah's material life seems to offer potential that she has yet to capitalise on. She has started the renovations in every room of the house pending more time and finance and the business growth has stalled pending the new version of the site going live. Six years on she is still grateful for heating, hot water and an inside loo - that we had to work so hard to install.

Please let me know and I will try my best to be honest and open in my response in my quest to tackle my fuddle.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Always and forever

I did not mean to say those words, but maternal love is a funny thing. The Pickle just woke up and could not find me wondered downstairs in tears, so I scooped her up and told her how I loved her and was here for her, always and forever.

The irony could not be more acute - I am downstairs unable to sleep because the Hubster is away comforting his mother as his father died yesterday. Always and forever? My father in law was an amazing man, and I do think that his impact - and love - will be around always and forever. He was a Dad of five who could combine grit with tenderness, and the strength of presence that was an inspiration. But always and forever? Yes, certainly. He is the Hubster's role model and he is reflected in so many of his best qualities.

We can't promise to live forever, but I sincerely hope that, like Leon, my love for the Pickle throughout my life will give her the strength of character to support her through good times and bad, always and forever.