One Year Later…

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Last weekend we passed the first anniversary of the Motherships final flight. It’s hard to believe that a year has passed already. A lot has changed , but in some ways nothing has changed, because despite how it feels at the time, life does carry on.

I was going to write about it, and then I didn’t. I started a post, but the words just wouldn’t come. I knew what I wanted to say, but I was having a hard time making my thoughts legible and then a few days passed and the momentum was lost.

I’m not sure if the first anniversary of someone’s death should be a thing. To me it didn’t feel any different, because I miss her everyday. Lately though, she has been on my mind a lot.

No one tells you how you should grieve, but then again, why would they, it’s a unique and personal experience. Even now I find it hard to write about, not from the point of view that I find it difficult to talk about, but because I still don’t think I understand everything that happened.

The experience of caring for someone with dementia was so intense that when it stopped it was a shock. I used to liken my life to going home every night and being placed into a pressure cooker. It was almost like life outside didn’t exist because everything was so focused and intense. But when it stopped I felt useless, like I had no purpose any more. I had become so used to the routines and pressure I needed time to adjust.

People often say when a loved one passes that they wish they could see them again, just for one last time. Personally, I wouldn’t want that, not if she was going to be the way that she was. I do wish however that she could let me know that she is ok, hopefully at peace.

Time is a great healer and with it all the bad memories slowly become replaced. The words and memories of others become intertwined with my own and bring things long forgotten back to life, reminding me of the person my Mum was before the dementia.

I’ve healing of my own to do, those four years left me with my own scars, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

I wasn’t going to write about it, but I am glad that I did.

I always want to be able to remember.

 

Going forward, not backwards!

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My counselling is finished and that’s kinda scary because now it’s just me, on my own again against the big bad world.

I do feel different and others say they can see a change in me. That said, there will always be people who will not understand my anxiety issues or even try to. I wish they could walk a day in my shoes to experience what it is like to be on the inside looking out. I am making changes, but it is going to take time. I am a work in progress.

I am proud of myself, which prior to counselling is something I would probably never have said out loud or written down. I was committed to this process, I needed to make it work. All through the summer when things were getting worse with the Mothership I hoped that my appointment would come through, but it turns out that despite the fact that it was later than I hoped, it was  at just the right time, only I didn’t realise that then.

I’ve been given the tools I need to get on with my life, what I choose to do with them now is up to me. I need to continually challenge both myself, and my thought processes. In effect I am retraining and rewiring my brain. It’s a shame that my wonky leg is not wonky enough to give myself an occasional kick up the arse when needed, because believe me there are days I still find extremely challenging.

I’ve been through a lot these last four years and it’s only now I’m realising I am no longer on a schedule or dancing to someone else’s tune. Sure I still have to look after the Fathership by making sure he’s fed, has clean clothes and eats, but by and large thankfully he is self sufficient. Although he needs a good kick up the arse sometimes too!

It was my Mum’s birthday on Sunday. When someone passes without realising it you experience a series of firsts. The first time you enter the house when they are not there, the first time you notice their chair is empty, the first time you realise they are actually gone, the first Christmas, the first birthday and the list goes on. In some ways we are lucky as we’ve experienced all of these things within the first two months. It doesn’t mean the others are going to be any easier, but at least now we know what expect.

I have no doubt that my anxiety levels have lessened a little now I no longer have to worry about my Mum. I’m living a different life and learning what it is like to be me again. I’m hoping that now with the benefit of counselling I might even begin to like who I find, wouldn’t that be a game changer.

I’m never going to be perfect, and neither would I want to be. I just want to be be weird, be silly and be happy!

Last night I scared the shit out of myself, I seriously thought I was possessed. Why I hear you ask, why indeed….I was having positive thoughts!!

Change is coming and I’m opening my arms to embrace it :)

 

The Motherships Final Flight

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I have no idea how I am supposed to tackle a post like this, but I know I have been trying to for the last 7 days or more.

Perhaps I was scared that writing about it would make me actually have to face up to what I know deep down is true.

My Mum passed away. She’s gone. Not just out of the house any more, but gone forever.

People keep asking me how I feel and I am not sure what my answer is supposed to be, because I have no idea how I feel. No one gives you a handbook.

My life for so long was looking after my Mum, watching her decline and wondering what was going on in her head. As someone pointed out, we managed to look after her for as long as we could and this resulted in her only being away from the house for just over 2 months. I hope we did right by her and that now she understands we did the best we could.

There was never going to be a vast improvement, her refusal to eat and drink was worrying for all concerned, family and Doctors alike, but I never expected she was going to die, well not so soon anyway. There were moments of uncertainty when she contracted Aspiration Pneumonia, she looked so frail and her breathing sounded painful, but she still kinda bounced from day to day.

Last week, reports had been better, people were a little happier after their visits. She was in good enough spirits, chittering away and even recognised some people. On Wednesday we got the phonecall, the one that even though I never expected it, I dreaded. We were asked to come to the hospital, things didn’t look good.

The Doctor told us that after she had become unresponsive they had sent her for a brain scan which had revealed she had suffered another bleed, this one significant and sadly untreatable. All that was left now was to make her comfortable and wait.

We sat around her bed. We cried, we laughed while sharing stories and we waited.

Thankfully for both us and her, we did not have to wait too long. After she stopped breathing the first time, my Dad spoke to her, my Sister prayed for her and I sang to her, my Aunt and Uncle close by until a few minutes later she just slipped away in her sleep.

People tell me she is in a better place, whole again and happy. I have to believe that too, because it’s what is going to get me through each day. This ending, although sad, was better for her.

It’s hard to sum up someone’s life in words, but our Minister managed to do it perfectly, telling the 400 strong crowd how much of a character she was. There were nods of agreement, as each person no doubt remembered their own encounters with this wee woman who was so many things to so many people. A Wife, a daughter, a Mother, a friend, a nurse or even just a stranger who offered smiles and hugs without expecting anything in return.

She may have been small in stature, but she leaves a big void.

Rest in peace Mum, I love you x

Alternative thinking!

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Spectres Attack by pKrime

I would say I have quite an inquisitive mind. I like to know things. They don’t always have to be important or earth shattering pieces of information, they just have to be relevant to whatever it is I happen to be thinking about at the time. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will find it out and ensure I know next time.

I would also say I have a fairly open mind, unless I know for sure something is not going to work. I try not to dismiss things without at least giving them some thought, whether it be before or after the event.

Where is this going I hear you ask, well it’s going to lead you into a very interesting conversation I had yesterday.

My friend believes in ghosts, so much so in fact, that they have been ‘Ghost Hunting’. I however sit on the fence. I would not like to say out loud that I do not believe in Ghosts, lest later on this evening one jumps out and scares the shite clean out of me.

I have however had two experiences, both in my kitchen, that would lead me to believe that there is something else out there. Once while standing at the cooker I felt a tap on my shoulder. I was a little startled as I had heard no one approach. When I turned around to speak to the person, there was no one there. At the time the only thing I felt was quizzical, I didn’t feel scared, I just couldn’t really understand what had happened.

The second incident occurred about two months ago while I was standing at the kitchen sink. It had been a particularly stressful day, especially at home, and I was feeling a little despondent. While washing the dishes I had the sensation of what felt like a hand brush against my cheek. Again I wasn’t scared, but immediately thought of the shoulder tapping incident. For the rest of the evening, every time the phone in the house rang, I was convinced I was going to be told someone had passed away. Thankfully no one had.

I have also seen balls of light, that my friend explained could be Orbs;

Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth – Reference from: Ghoststudy.com

The strangest thing for me, is the fact that I don’t feel afraid, considering I suffer from anxiety and worry like it is going out of fashion. Hopefully it will stay this way, I think being faced with the likes of a poltergeist might be the end of me.

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Image by Jon Feinstein

Conversation then turned to religion, and I asked my friend if he believed in Heaven and Hell. Like me, he believes there is something. I can only speak from personal experience, but I know there are times when I have asked for help and have received it. You could argue that it was fate or chance, who knows, but I believe someone up there was looking out for me. I, like I have no doubt a lot of other people do ask the question, that if there is a God why does bad stuff happen to good people. I can’t answer these things.

My friend once read a book and shared the theories of it to me, sadly I cannot remember the name of either the author or the book. He (the author) believed that our bodies are vessels and that we live out a lifetime in them, for however long that lifetime may be. When we pass, our souls then transfer into another vessel and we begin another life. Curiosity piqued, I asked if this is where Déjà vu comes from. The book believes it is, the rational being that we reach the same point in our lives but choose a different path. It’s a nicer way to look on things. Instead of mourning a past life, we just celebrate the moving on to a new phase.

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Oops wrong vessel!

It’s all very interesting stuff and I would like to read more about the theories of others, even if the only reason is to challenge the way I personally think about things.

What say you, do you believe in ghosts and other worldly beings, yay or nay?