Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Progress ...

I haven't been here in a while, for me that signifies progress.

When I started writing this blog, about my Mum, I wasn't sure where it would take me.

It turns out it's helped me so much more than I could ever imagine. It has been so very cathartic.

One of the things I always struggled with was that I had never met someone like me, who had lost their mother when they were young, someone who could nod and truly get where I was coming from. This blog brought those people to me.

I have had emails and struck up friendships with people who understand what I went through and what I still go though every day. That in itself has been amazing. I hope in return that some of those people have been able to find some peace.

For more than 20 years I have bottled things up but finally I feel that I have put to bed some of my demons, For the first time in more than 20 years I have begun to think more positively about my Mum.

I still have my dark moments and I miss her every day but the bitterness seems to be ebbing.

Friday, 9 July 2010

I slept on it and out popped my pride ...

This was first published on Are We Nearly There Yet, my other blog, in April.

Once again has gone and done it again. This weeks Gallery subject is the 7 deadly sins. The sins are: Wrath, Greed, Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy, Gluttony.

Why she couldn't just have the subject as 'dog', 'child' or 'holiday snap' I don't know.

So, I spent FOREVER going through pictures only to find pictures of my children, our wedding and/or our dog which I decided were boring.

So I slept on it and the following morning dug these out and found some pictures I am very proud of.

Three pictures of a mother and child. My mother. I am the child. I only had my Mum for nine years. I have difficulty with memories during those years.

Luckily I have photos, quite a few in fact. I don't just look at the photos, I pore over them I wonder what she was thinking, doing, wearing ... just any glimpse of anything that makes me feel a bit closer to her.

Now that I am a mother they mean even more to me.

I think the would have been proud of me, as I am of her.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Conversation Stopper

When Mum died I was at middle school, where I would stay until I was 11.
I spent two years surrounded by teachers and pupils who knew that my mum had died.

High school and beyond was different. As social circles grew and changed there would inevitably be the 'getting to know you questions' ...

Do you have any pets?
Yes we have a dog

Where do you live?
Just down the road in Blahville

What do your parents do?
Well, my Dad is an interior designer and my Mum is dead

... followed by an awkward silence.

Just at the point the question relating to Mum was asked I would assume the position of 'rabbit caught in the headlights', my palms would become sweaty and I'd have the sudden urge to run.

I always felt deep embarrassment. not because my Mum had died but because it was so uncomfortable for me and the other person. They would say they were sorry and I wouldn't know what to say.

As I got older it was easier to answer the questions in a jokey manner or tell people that they had nothing to be sorry for and move on to something else.

I wonder if this is why I deal with most serious situations in a panicked slapstick humour state!?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Blogging Became Our Therapy ...

The article below features me. It's in April's issue of Company magazine which is out now and is part of a series of four stories entitled 'Blogging Became Our Therapy'.

This blog has been the most cathartic thing I've done in terms of my grief. Writing about my Mum and how I feel about it has helped me to understand myself better and put to bed some of the bad feelings I have.

My loss is ever present, but each time I write on this blog I feel as though I'm writing away some of the pain.

If you click on the article below it will open up so you can actually read it. On a lighter note, if you want to read about the photo-shoot relating to the article click here.

This months Company magazine is written lots of different bloggers, there is a competition here ... where you could vote for me if you are feeling particularly generous!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

It's Never too Late For Counseling

I had counseling for my bereavement 2 years ago, 21 years after my Mum died.

My Mum had been ill for two years when she died. I didn't know she was going to die, I had been sheltered from the harsh truth, although I knew she was very poorly.

When Mum died, there was a general feeling amongst the family of relief. As an adult I can see why. Everyone had watched my Mum suffering and in pain with terminal cancer. She was no longer suffering.

I on the other hand was confused. I cried, most evenings, and we all talked about my Mum, but the families relief turned into a lets get on with it attitude and that's what we did.  I suppose I just got carried along with everyone else.

I felt a bit silly when I first contacted Cruse 21 years after Mum had died, but they assured me that is never too late to get help.  They put me in touch with a local bereavement charity and I was put on their waiting list.  4 weeks later I was matched with a counselor, Emily.

Emily and I would meet once a week and I would talk and cry. After 21 years I had a lot to talk about and a lot of tears!  I would go home after each session feeling, somehow, lighter.  

Our sessions ended when Christmas came along and a series of events meant that we were unable to meet. It was then that I decided I was alright and didn't need to go anymore. I think I was probably wrong about that and should have continued. I am looking into going back to counseling. 

Here are a couple of charities that I believe could have helped me and my family if they had been around when I'd suffered my loss;

Winston's Wish, the leading children's bereavement charity believes that the right support at the right time can help young people to live with their grief and build positive futures.

The Way Foundation offers friendship and support to young bereaved people. They help widows and widowers rebuild their lives after the death of a partner.

I would advise anyone in a similar situation to go for counseling and get help sooner rather than later.  I think it could have made a big difference to my life.

The Fear

I often get struck by thoughts of 'what if?'. What if I die suddenly? What if I get cancer?

These thoughts grip me by my throat and sit in my chest, they make my heart race. They tell me that one day I might die and leave my children motherless.

Just like me.

That they will go through life in pain, bereft and wondering all the time what it would be like if life were different.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear. I drank too much, I smoked. When I was a teenager I put myself in a few situations which I now look back on and think 'how stupidly dangerous'. Every so often I would have freefall episodes where I would see how far I could push it. I was rebelling, taunting death 'come and get me'.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear, now it is ever present. Most of the time I am able to ignore it, push it away. I am, in the main, a rational person and I know that life is for living, not for worrying, but in times of stress it's there and it won't go away.

The fear is that one day I will not be here for them, to kiss their heads goodnight and tell them I love them, and I never want them to know what that feels like.