The Dark Place

Sometime ago I wrote about my dear Mum passing away.  It was almost four years ago.  Last night I felt very sad, this is how I still feel about my Father, because he moved in with another woman the day after my Mum passed.  Everybody thought he was a devoted husband of 53 years, his behaviour has forever changed how I feel about him, these are my thoughts, when I let myself go to the dark place he created, when I stop fighting to stay in the good place.

I am still so haunted by all the things I don’t know, all the secrets you keep.  I am so very angry.  Did Mum know? did she find out? Is that why you both suddenly moved away all those years ago, away from your children and grandchildren?  Did Mum find out and it caused her illness, did the stress bring on the cancer?  Why don’t you have any guilt?  why did you give away all her precious things to Charity straight after the funeral, without offering my sister and I chance to keep things?  Why did you betray her memory?  Why have you no shame?

I can never forgive you, you have wiped out every good childhood memory I had.  All the happiness has been eaten away by your lies, deceit, dishonour and betrayal.  I don’t know who you are.  I am so tired of being so angry.  So tired of not knowing what really went on, so tired of wondering if your behaviour ultimately took my precious Mums life before her time.

After the first two years without my Mum, I decided to stop churning all these thoughts back and forth in my head.  I made a conscious decision that each time I started with these questions, I would have a safe memory to block them out.  It was hard at first, it took practice, but eventually I felt bleak less and less.  Now the dark place only lasts for minutes, occasionally.  I would urge anyone with such deep hurt, depression or darkness they can’t seem to see a way out of, to talk to someone, anyone, a friend, relative, priest or doctor, or me.  It is so important not to go through these things alone.  Once you talk about it, you will find out that you are not alone, many people have struggles and demons.  Don’t suffer in silence.

 

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Kindness

I recently visited an elderly couple related to a friend.  The husband is 93 years old and his wife is 89 years old, both of them are as sharp as a whip.  So there they sat in their lounge, it must have been  100 degrees in there, it was 70 degrees outside and they had the heating on! and God bless them the room did smell fusty and … well … of old people.  Later that day it occurred to me to wonder which is the worst of two evils, that you have lived so long and your mind is still sharp but your body starts to fail, or that your mind fails and your body is still strong?

A friend of mine, who works in healthcare, recently told me that she came across an elderly man in her hospital, his spine was so curved he was almost bent double, she asked if he needed any help, he told her he came to the hospital every couple of months to replace his hearing aid batteries, they got talking and he told her his name was Arthur and he was a hundred years old! he comes to the hospital on the bus by himself because his wife had died years ago and he had no relatives, he loved his outing to the hospital as he would get to see and talk to people, but the journey was starting to get too much for him.  My friend was heart broken by his story and asked him for his telephone number and offered to bring him to the hospital anytime he needed his batteries, she also said she would pop in and see him regularly.  She also told her husband to set another place at dinner for Arthur.  I was so touched by her story, she is such a kind person, lots of her friends posted on Facebook about organisations that put people in touch with elderly lonely people that need friendship.

It restores your faith in humanity doesn’t it.

 

The Angry Dawn

I have an old friend, I have known her since I was fifteen years old, over twenty-five years now in fact.  She is a really nice person, no nasty or mean side to her, never talks people down, she’s just really a pleasure to know.  But, I am a little bit cross with her at the moment.

My friend and her husband live in a beautiful house, when we visit we have our own bedroom/bathroom, however the bed is extremely small and my husband is six feet three inches tall, to make matters worse the bed has a wrought iron headboard and foot board, so needless to say he can’t fit in it easily.  Bless his heart, he is almost sixty-five years old and a year and a half ago he told me he didn’t want to stay overnight at their house anymore as he didn’t get any sleep and was seized up by morning, which I can totally understand.  So over the course of the next year we had them come to us, we see them about every two or three months, it was easy as we did bbq’s and invited other friends, we hosted New Years Eve etc..  So eventually my friend said, ‘You must come to us, it’s been ages’.  Having had a couple of glasses of wine, I suggested we perhaps come for the day and have lunch, but she was insistent we stay the weekend and she would make dinner, so I plucked up my courage and tried to tactfully tell her that my hubby didn’t fit in the bed and was getting too old to sleep on the floor, to my amazement she told me she had wondered about that, with him being so tall.  Well as the conversation went on she said we must take their room, it would be no hassle at all, she insisted, so we made a date to visit.

Unfortunately that date was altered as some extreme weather came in and the snow was so severe that people were advised only to travel if necessary.  So we made a new date.  The week we were due to go her Dad was taken into hospital, so we delayed our trip again, (He is ok now).  Last weekend we did get our visit in!.  When we arrived she put our bags in our USUAL room! I must have had a funny look on my face (I’m a bit like an open book apparently!), and she cottoned on and with a gasp said she had forgotten, My hubby didn’t want a fuss so we said it didn’t matter.  We had a lovely evening with them, great food, lovely wine and a good catch up.  Of course poor hubby had a horrendous night, scrunched up in the tiny bed, poor guy, he hardly slept.  The icing on the cake came at 4am.  My friend had decorated the room some time in the recent past and done away with the curtains, only leaving a blind in the window, which was totally ineffective, the sunrise came streaming in at 4am and that was the end of any chance of another wink of sleep.  I was livid.  I usually have an eye mask in my overnight bag, but it wasn’t there.  I had to use my next days clean underwear to lay over my eyes, hubby did laugh, despite me furiously saying, ‘No bloody curtains!!! for heavens sake, who removes curtains!’.

Needless to say, no more overnighters at the sleepless hotel!

What has made me feel more annoyed as the days have passed is that, if my friend told me that her husband had been sleeping on the floor because he was too tall to fit in the bed, I would have died of embarrassment, I would never have forgotten such an important thing, I admit I am a bit OCD when it comes to making sure things are perfect for guests, but I would have gone out of my way to make sure their next stay was as comfortable as possible.  If I had forgotten, which I wouldn’t, but if I had, I would have quietly gone upstairs and changed our bed and moved their things into our room.  I mean, is it me?, am I right to be a bit upset?, frankly, I think I am.

My Guardian Angels

I have always felt like I had a guardian angel, and I always felt it was my maternal Grandmother Georgina, but now since my Mum has passed I feel I have two angels watching over me.  Like most people I have had some narrow escapes and last night I got round to thinking about when I lived in Miami many years ago.

I worked as a waitress and always worked the evening shift, often not getting home until 1 or 2am.  I drove a beat up old Cadillac, must have been forty years old!, it just about had locks, no A/c (in Miami, in summer!!!!), barely there brakes and a trunk that wouldn’t open.  I was thinking about those days last night and it occurred to me how lucky I had been, the worst thing that happened to me was on arrival home one night, I looked down as I walked into the house and there was a HUGE cockroach on my boob, I almost had a heart attack, batted it off then stood on it, what a vile crunch, but at least it was dead! Now you must consider that isn’t bad going, as every night  I walked to my car alone after midnight, drove through the streets home, having to have the windows down due to the lack of A/c, with my Sony Walkman blaring in my ears, singing at the top of my voice to Barbra Streisand (amazing I actually wasn’t shot for that alone!).  In light of what could have gone wrong with my personal safety I guess I got off lightly, unlike the cockroach. You are indestructible at 23 years old! (you think!).

Happy days!

Gratefulness

Last night I was hungry, I had eaten a small low calorie dinner and by 9pm I was starving, as usual!, that’s the price you pay to lose weight (28 pounds since last May).  I am normally very disciplined and strong willed, but my husband was away with work and I hadn’t felt well yesterday, having started my day having to take an antihistamine for hay fever, an Imodium and two Advil !!! Just under the weather I guess.

Lately my thoughts have been with a dear life long friend of mine.  Seven years ago she had breast cancer, I went with her to all her chemo’s, she fought like a tiger and she pulled through.  Last month she found out it had metastasized and spread to her spine, hip and sternum.  She is an amazing girl, she is a fighter and handles everything with grace, dignity and a smile on her face, even making fun of herself, despite the fact that she is treatable, not curable and on chemo tablets for the rest of her life.  Even as your heart breaks for your friend, deep down in your soul you whisper those words that you would never let slip from your lips if your life depended on it – Thank God it’s not happening to me – as gratefulness secretly washes through you.

So I went to the cupboard and ate that teaspoon of peanut butter, very slowly, like it was a lollipop.  Never did anything taste so good, as that which is forbidden!

Good health to you all dear readers, my quote today is:

‘Enjoy the little things, for one day when you look back, you may realize they were the big things’.

And if you want that teaspoon of peanut butter, have it! …. occasionally!

The Wall of Silence

Hello! It’s been quite  while since I posted, no reason really, I went on vacation in October and since then life has just been so busy! now Christmas is coming, lots of parties and fun to be had! I do have things I want to tell you about, but they are, well …, not exciting really and I would hate to bore you!

However, one thing that has caused me great upset recently is that a dear friend of mines Husband has become ‘mysteriously’ unwell.  At first he had some health issues, he is 74 years old, but not life threatening issues, fixable stuff.  He and his wife are generally fit and well, very active on the social scene and a lot of fun to be around.  Out of the blue she started saying to me he wasn’t doing well, I asked what the problem was, she told me he had a touch of glaucoma, but that was being attended to by the eye Doctor.  She said he worried that his metal hip was leaking, which he had checked and was all clear, he needed to have his two front teeth permanently fixed as they had been smashed in a biking accident a few years prior and the temporary ones needed replacing with implants, all of which was in hand with surgery scheduled within the month.  So I couldn’t seem to get to the route of the problem, she just kept saying ‘he’s not right’.  My husband and I are great friends with the family, having spent Christmases, birthday parties etc. with them all for many years now, yet a wall of silence seemed to be in place.  Planned dinners were cancelled at the last minute, arrangements to meet fell through, he stopped going to work, going out, driving etc.. Having now visited with them, I think the poor man has had a nervous breakdown.  Looking back the only issue he ever had was that he didn’t like one of the people he was in business with, in fact so deep seated was his loathing of this person that it bordered on absolute hatred of this persons business ethics and greed, he let it get to him, get under his skin, it became almost all he thought about, talked about, until in the end it tipped him over the edge.  I know this person, he is not the Devil incarnate, my friend has built things up in his mind that aren’t really accurate, until he has convinced himself of wrong doing that doesn’t even exist, but no words can convince my friend of this, he has let his mind wander down a path full of false cracks and potholes, convincing himself of crimes that don’t even exist, and his obsession has affected deeply the balance of his mind.

Thankfully he is under the Doctors care and is on a course of pills to raise his serotonin levels, we hope he gets back to some kind of normality very soon.  How delicate is the balance of the mind, he was the last man you would think this would happen to, kind, happy people, no money worries, minor health issues that are fixable, yet his personality has totally changed, almost disappeared, we are so very sad he has had to go through this, but I get two lessons from this, firstly, never let another person cause you to be so full of hatred, and secondly, mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of, help is out there, just don’t wait too long before you ask for help.

Good health to you all my friends.

Vile Vera next door

I have this really vile neighbour, and I bet lots of you out there have the same problem!  We have lived in our lovely home for almost twenty years and she was fine the first year, then the wind changed and she turned on us, and it was BAD.  We don’t know what we did, which I suspect was nothing at all, I had heard from other neighbours she was seriously unbalanced, but I was about to find out just how much.  Firstly, she waited for us to go on vacation and poisoned the ivy that covered the fence between our two back gardens, when we go home they were sitting in their sun room looking straight in to our sun room! I almost passed out! and she sat there giving me the F-off sign with her two fingers!!! I called the Police, but they didn’t want to get involved, so at great expense we had a six foot fence put up all the way along.  Then my beautiful weeping willow in the front garden died mysteriously, next there were small stones constantly thrown on my lawn, causing damage to my mower, the list goes on and on, we sent a legal letter through our lawyer asking her to cease and desist, in the end we put up a security camera and funnily enough all the vandalism stopped!  So as the years went by her daughter married and had children, this seemed to calm her down a lot, she even started talking to me and was pleasant!  I like peace and quiet, I hate bad feeling and I loathe conflict and arguments, so this was a good thing.  Today I came home from work and they had been having new fences put up, I said to her, looks really nice Vera, to which she screamed at me like a lunatic ‘It’s just a fence’, I was, as we say here, gobsmacked! So I asked her, why are you so rude to me? to which she replied ‘I don’t like you’.  I said that there was no need to be un-neighbourly and rude, especially as her husband is so pleasant, she then started screaming for her husband to come and listen to ME abusing HER !!!! There is just no talking to some people.  However, later in the day I was out watering my flowers and he was stood on his driveway watching me, so I nicely asked him if I could have a word, he looked like I’d shot him, but he did come over looking nervous.  I asked him why his wife was so rude and unpleasant to me, he said she was upset that I had been looking into their garden at their new fence (!), I really had to stop myself bursting out laughing.  But I kept calm and said I did not mean to cause any offence and that I had tried to say something nice to her, to offer the olive branch, so to speak, why is she so un-neighbourly, especially as he is polite and pleasant to me?, he changed the subject and started talking about his fence, new shed etc.. I let this go on for about half an hour and I ended by saying if there was any problem please always talk to me about it, I really didn’t want things to go back to how they were a few years ago (he wasn’t there much as he lived abroad most of the time with work, but he was aware she had the neighbourhood up in arms), he seemed to understand where I was coming from and I felt good that I had been able to calmly talk the problem through with him and stop a potential war from starting.  This couple are about 70 years old, if he dies first and leaves her alone, we are probably screwed!.

Something unimaginable happened.

Thirty-five years ago, when I was 17 years old, I had a friend who was half English and half Pakistani, she was a lovely girl, she wanted me to visit her family with her for a few weeks of the summer over in Pakistan.  The region was a little unstable at that time and my parents didn’t want me to go, to talk me out of it they offered to pay for me to have a holiday in Florida and stay with a family they were very friendly with.  I was persuaded, it was Miami after all!  And so my relationship and life long bond with this family began.  I visited for many years for three weeks over Thanksgiving.  They were lovely people, the house was filled with kids my age and older, children, step children and even baby grandchildren, it was a happy house, music played, lots of laughter, big family dinners, I just loved my holidays there.  Over the years there were weddings and other celebrations that my parents and I attended, happy, happy days.  In the early days when I was 17 I had a huge crush on one of the sons, he was my age, good looking and sweet and he didn’t discourage my stares! teenage crushes are hilarious when you look back on them!, now after all these years I know we would have been totally incompatible.  As the years went by he travelled and met a pretty Italian girl, they got married and went on to have a son, and they lived very happily in Colorado for the last twenty years, as happens, I lost touch with them many years ago.  However, of late some of the siblings have found me on social media and some wonderful old relationships have been re-established.  Through social media I saw pictures of him and his family, his son is now 17 years old and they looked so happy.

Four days ago he was in a horrendous accident, he was cycling in the hills with a friend and fell and broke his neck, he was airlifted to hospital but his brain had been starved of oxygen for too long and he was in a coma that he would never recover from.  Yesterday the life support was turned off.  He was an organ doner, God bless his heart, he may be saving others now.  The family all flew in from all over the country and were with him at his bedside when he passed away.

I have been profoundly affected by his death, even though I had not seen him in twenty-five years.  I’m not sure why this has affected me so much, perhaps because he leaves a young wife and teenage son, more so because he was my age and he is just ….gone, just like that, he just isn’t in the world anymore.  I feel like life is so delicate, you can be just gone in a second, wrong place, wrong time and that’s it.

Mortal thoughts.

UPDATE: Since his organs were harvested, he has helped and saved over 50 lives, including his heart, which saved someone’s life and still beats on in this world, something good out of this tragic event.

Ageing – It’s wonderful!

I recently read an article by one of my favourite bloggers, Katrina Horton Food ( you should check her blog out, she’s great!), where she write about turning 50, it gave me pause for thought.

I’m 52 and I have to say I love it! The strange thing is the worst birthday I ever had was my 30th, I loathed it, I was working in Miami, I had no boyfriend, no sign of ever being engaged, married or having kids and it scared the living crap out of me! I remember thinking, where is my life going? I am homesick, away from my friends and loved ones, all for what?? so I packed up and came home, and I have never looked back.  I met my lovely Husband at 33 years old, we got married when I was 35 and we have carved out a lovely life together, I have a home and garden that I love and I am proud of, amazing friends, a great job (for the last 11 years), so I guess turning 30 was my turning point.

Of course ageing has it’s challenges and its lessons, the loss of my beyond fantastic Mum, seeing one of my dearest friends go through breast cancer (and recovering well now for 6 years), most of my parents friends have now passed away, especially the smokers, they are all long gone, two of my best friends going through horrible divorces etc..  When you look at the big picture you realise that gaining a little weight isn’t the end of the world, you can lose it again, a little laugh line is no big worry, you got it through laughing, I have learned that if you have your health, you have EVERYTHING, you must enjoy every day the very best you can.  When you were in your 20’s you would hear older people say things like ‘Life is short’ and it would go right over your head, by the time you’re in your fifties, you’re the one saying that and more!, so dear readers, do whatever you must to make the most of your life, be happy, be kind and smile as much as possible. xxx

Fantastic Weekend!

I just had the loveliest weekend, it was like stepping back in time, as I met some wonderful old friends I had not seen in over twenty-five years.  On Saturday I met my friend Katie, we worked together in the airlines when I was around twenty years old, then she moved away to the far end of the country to be with her fiancé, and as can happen, we lost touch.  Over the years I heard this and that, she got married, had a baby, got divorced etc.. but she found me on social media last month and a mere 2 days later we accidently ran into each other at an out of town store, we couldn’t believe it! She had moved back to the area years ago and had tried to look me up, but didn’t know my married name, isn’t life funny …. we were obviously meant to become friends again after all this time!  we spent hours chatting and catching up, she has had a lot of ups and downs in her life, but for the last few years she has had a wonderful man in her life and is very happy, and she hardly looked a day older than the last time I saw her, what a lovely re-union we had.

On Saturday evening my husband and I met dear friends for dinner, there was music and dancing, makes you feel young again!

Sunday was another amazing re-union, two friends I had also worked for the airlines with, almost 30 years ago found me on social media a few months ago and we finally met them for lunch yesterday, they hadn’t changed a bit, we had a wonderful time reminiscing and catching up, where had all the years gone we wondered, they have been married for almost 30 years, there sons are grown up now, so much time had just slipped away.  The two lunches catching up with my old friends left me feeling so happy to have them all back in my life, we were all so close all those years ago, it’s kind of sad that we did drift apart, but so great that we are all back together now, I can see there being some great get togethers in my future! There is always room in your life for more friends.