Tuesday, March 17, 2009


There's a poem some of you may have heard of. It's called Footprints. It's not very well known ;-)

Anyway I've always thought it was awfully naff. At best cheesy, at worst totally irrelevant to my life as a non-religious person.

But these past few weeks, when I've been struggling to cope with my dad's death as never before, I realised it's very relevant to me. I have said a few times that grief can make you feel abandoned, unloved, alone, isolated. In fact, like you are walking alone along the sand.

I have looked down at my footprints a lot recently and felt angry and alone - because there has only been one set of prints there. Abandoned when I needed help the most.

I can now see that R has been carrying me every step of the way.

The poor man, I think he must really be feeling the strain by now!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tonight, I talked with my mum for the first time in years. Of course I have spoken to her lots. But not really talked.

My family doesn't really do boundaries very well. So anything told to one of them, will be passed round the rest soon enough. Usually this annoys me, but as a result of my sisters blabbermouths, my mum phoned to tell me she is aware she made a lot of mistakes when she divorced and in the years afterwards. She's sorry she wasn't there for me more, or more aware of what was going on with my dad back then.

I couldn't believe it. I have never felt able to have an honest conversation with her. Because when we were children, if you said something you didn't like, she'd give you the silent treatment for anything up to 3 days at a time. Even as a grown woman, I am afraid of getting the silent treatment. But here she was, openly soliciting feedback.

It was the hardest step either of us could ever take I think. It has made me aware there is hope out there. A glimmer. That people can grow and learn. That because something feels bad today, it doesn't mean it will forever.

I know I will get through this.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Thoughts and the "little voice"

Sometimes (and since long before my dad died, in fact for as long as I can remmeber) I am plagued by horrible thoughts. The thoughts can vary but the end result is usually based around "It will all go wrong. It will be all my fault. I will never be able to put things right, because this will have been my Last Chance".

These thoughts can be incredibly self-fulfilling and looking back now with a (slightly) older wiser head, these thoughts are the reason I left university after 6 weeks the first time round. The reason I spent the whole of one doomed-before-it-started relationship telling the poor man that he would surely get bored of me soon and want to chuck me? The reason I quit my first proper job after 3 months, and my second proper job after 6. The reason why, when I was 15 years old and working in a cafe on a saturday, I used to feel sick every friday night. The reason I was convinced after a few months that my now husband was surely getting bored of me and was just too chicken to say it. (I was obviously wrong there). The reason why when being told I was to be made redundant, instead of feeling liberated, I felt bereft. The reason why now, when that has clearly led to interesting opportunities for me and I am clearly doing well in my new job, I still feel like it might all unravel any minute now. For my entire life, that little voice has followed me around.

Anyway, I have always tried to deal with these thoughts by imagining the worst case scenario, mentally preparing myself for it, and then carrying on, waiting for the worst to happen. It is a horrible way to live. I am only now seeing how much this has tinged my life until now.

Recently, after another awful weekend that shouldn't have been awful, I was grizzling on a sunday night. My husband and I between us came to the conclusion that I shouldn't even be giving these thoughts justice by trying to combat them. I should dismiss them when they start to creep in. We thought of a phrase - "my little man's an idiot". (It's a line from Seinfeld...) And you know what, it's worked pretty well.

But since last week, the volume of incoming thoughts has been much higher than normal. They are coming at me from all directions. It's been much harder to dismiss them because they are just so ..... voluminous! I can only conclude it's because last Sunday, the 1st March was what would have been my dad's birthday. I went to see some family, and was given a few bits of his. Not much, some photos of buses (!), an old french dictionary I used to love to borrow, and some thigns he had kept from me - a school play programme, a cross stitch I made him, and a letter I sent to him when he first moved away, In it I wrote "I miss you. Don't forget me". Then I told him a load of terrible jokes. What on earth must have been going on in my 7 year old head? I had no idea he had kept these things.

I like to think the most emotionally healthy of people would have been tested by that. It is really normal for me to feel winded by it. And it will get better with time. It will. It will. I just struggle to feel it now.

This has made me want to write about how a divorce, even 20 years ago, will still affect a family like ripples on a pond, when a death occurs. But I have to goto work now, so that will have to be another time.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Grief can make you feel....

Like you are being smothered with a blanket

Completely alone, even when you are surrounded

Like looking at the world through the wrong strength glasses - everything is a little different to the way it was before, and it makes you feel sick

Rejected. Even by those who are really trying to support you

Intensely jealous of anyone who isn't feeling what you're feeling. Yet completely unaware of anyone out there who is feeling what you're feeling, or worse

A need to get away from it all, in the most inconvenient of circumstances

Like you will never want to put food in your mouth again - what's the point?

A need to get out of your own skin. Because that might be the only way you'll ever stop feeling like this.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things I have realised

That it's possible to wake up one day and have grief hit you in the face, as fresh as if it were yesterday. It feels exactly the same is if it were yesterday. Only it's also scarier, because it makes you feel like this is something you might never recover from. I know rationally that things will improve in time. But when you're in the middle of it, it's hard to ever see a way out.