Last summer the apple tree in our garden was laden with blossom and then with fruit so much that the branches reached to the ground with the weight. I love the pink amd white and hot summer days when sitting under the tree is cool and shady. An ideal place to read a book, gaze up at the sky through the leaves or fall asleep on a Sunday afternoon. I took so many pictures, but this one reminds me of the dazy, lazy feeling of summer.
It feels almost like summer, a day for throwing open the windows and revelling in the sun on your skin. I wore pale blue cotton trousers and a summer top and sat drinking a skinny cappuccino and reading my book feeling like a pampered princess. Bare feet and arms and the sun on my skin is enough to raise my happiness levels from 0 to 10 in the space of opening my eyes. Hearing the birds singing outside the window and the light filtering through the blinds as I wake is good for my soul.
Throwing off the blanket of winter and feeling myself begin to emerge from a long phase of being cocooned has been happening over the last months. Healing from any injury or illness is a slow process. As I am shedding some layers of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually it seems they are all tied together. No big revelation there, but the process is something to be treasured as well as the outcome. For after all, we are all in the process of becoming. The thing is, how to learn to just stay in the process whatever and wherever it takes me? That being in the moment thing.
The curse of depression is a dreadful sense of isolation and disconnection which comes with it. Some days it seems like a deep dark place that you just want to hide in for ever. Add to that any addiction and the sense of isolation and despair increases. Being grateful is a simple skill in theory and one to practice for the sense of hope it can give.
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once.
I think everyone knows who should do.
The funeral is arranged.
Cards and messages and flowers, hugs and kind words surround us.
Tomorrow is A level results day. Son 3 is waiting . It will be a happy day I am sure. We are proud of him. This will be the first family moment that Nana is not here for. But she knew already he will do well, whatever happens.
I catch myself thinking to tell her things or noticing little moments of loss. My colleagues gave me a beautiful orchid today.Mum always managed to keep them growing beautifully. She gave me several. I killed all of them. Maybe she’ll help me keep this one!
Feeling low today. It was a real effort to a) get out of bed and b) get dressed, breakfast, get to work. Mainly I think I am feeling sadness and grief. Anticipatory grief I suppose as well as sadness at the change in the last week with Mum. I think it sort of hit me in a different way that she may not be here much longer. It’s a weird time. There is the knowing that there is nothing specific to be done. I see here every day and we are organising a family rota so someone else pops in too most days. But some days it is hard to get my head where it should be for work and other things. I can concentrate on what I need to do and then my mind drifts off. I check my phone constantly. I have it on silent or vibrate but then worry I have missed a call even though I know they can ring me on the office phone in an emergency. At night I have started having anxiety dreams. Last night I was in a car which was sliding backwards down a hill on thick ice. I had the hand-brake on but couldn’t stop it from slowly rolling away.
I thought about not going in to work today but made myself dress and put some make-up on. My make-up is a good indication of my mood, although only I can interpret it! When I’m low sometimes making myself get my moisturiser on a bit of mascara and some lip gloss is a good sign of ‘putting my face on’ to meet the day. Lip gloss is a big signal. Today I re-applied it several times! Of course I may also wear it to weddings and happy events so don’t take my word for this, I can be contrary too. So I got through today. Working with families sometimes makes me realise how lucky I am, today was one of those days. Also today a colleague went off on maternity leave. She is having her first baby and has been glowing with excitement and anticipation throughout the pregnancy. Today in her bright pink top she looked like a luminous space hopper. I gave her a bunch of freesia just because they smelt so sweet.
Tonight Mum was asleep or dozing when I visited. I read the paper and made small talk and she knew I was there and occasionally responded. She is very tired but seemed quite peaceful today. We are waiting for a special nursing bed so she can be moved more easily and be propped up more so she can have a different view. I will try to speak to the District Nurse tomorrow. They have to put in a request to the PCT ( Primary Care Trust) and a ‘Urgent” request went in last week. Urgent seems to have more than one meaning. She is wearing one of her new nighties that we bought last weekend and looking pretty and well cared for.You hera such awful stores of old people in care homes wearing other people’s clothes and not having their hair brushed. I am so glad Mum always looks nice and the staff take such a pride in their work. I am so glad we live nearby and can keep an eye too on what is happening.
Today is a day when it was so good to get home. We chatted over the day and have eaten our dinner of nut cutlets, salad and wholemeal pittas. I am feeling hibernating tendencies. I want to go to bed and hide under the covers where I can feel safe. I want to be a child again snuggled up with no serious things to think about and to pretend this sadness has gone away. I’m glad I can have a hug, a cup of tea and maybe sleep it all away for a moment. Denial is a wonderful thing. And real life will be here again tomorrow.
Mum had a small stroke today. Another TIA. Amazing how proficient we become at terminology, TIA’s, UTI’s, pressure sores, not mobilising, difficulty transferring. The language of nurses of care of old age and medicalisation. But I am very grateful for the care she has. Today it has meant than rather than have to go into hospital where, undoubtably on grim past experiences, she would become dehydrated overnight swiftly followed by infection and psychosis, she has stayed at home in her own room.
I was at work when I got the call to tell me that the paramedics had been out to see her. At first I was calm, logically there was nothing I could do right then. She was well cared for and sleepy/ half conscious. I would finish my afternoon at work then go to see her. 45 minutes later my head was in the shed and I had a little fall apart. That’s pretty good for me. Sometimes my delayed reaction response spans a day or two, even longer. So my fabulous colleagues packed me up and sent me off to deal with the important stuff in my life whilst they dealt with the important stuff in the lives of people I couldn’t deal with today. As the missus said tonight, ‘That’s why we work in teams!”
I collected son 2 for some emotional support for me and we went to see Mum/Nana. She has been pretty sleep all afternoon but opened her eyes wide when I said ‘J” is here and looked up ( and up as he is 6ft 7ins and smiled. She has gone off her food the last couple of days, its like she forgets to eat or how to do it and she isn’t drinking enough either. And she has the beginnings of some pressure sores because she has just gone off her feet completely. So we have a new care plan. She has a new pressure mattress, staff will help her to feed and drink and they will treat her sore places. The district Nurse is on the case, the Dr has given us antibiotics for a urine infection and we will see how we get on.
I helped to sit her up so she could have a drink, she was burning up despite a fan blowing and the window open to let any air in. Whilst I went to get her prescription from the pharmacy mum had a cooling bed bath, a cool silky nightie on and decided that although she couldn’t manage a sandwich she could swallow a couple of mouthfuls of ice cream. I sort of know how she feels. I sat waiting for the medicine drinking an iced latte and eating dates ( 9 ww points, noy a great sugar-free choice and a completely emotional eating decision. Oy!)
On a positive note Mum knew who we were as always, responded when I talked to her and said she felt “perfect” when I asked if she was feeling alright. I am so glad she is where she is, I know she is with people who will provide good care, who have got to know her well over the last year and to know us as a family too. She has all her nice pictures and photos on the walls and she smiled at a new bunch of pink and white flowers when I held them under her nose. I sat for a while after J had gone. I drank tea as she slept. She felt cool to the tough but in a good way and her colour was better. Sometimes her breathing was so quiet I couldn’t hear it. It reminded me of when the children were newborns and you wait for the next breath. One day, maybe sooner than we think, it will not come. When she was sound asleep I said goodbye and I love you and see you soon.
It is just another stage isn’t it? Lifes’ journey has one destination. Tonight I went for a walk with the dog by myself. We walked across the fields as the sun was getting low and the sky was turning pink at the edges. It was a perfect summers evening with a slight cooling breeze. I looked up at the sky and felt comforted by the vastness and beauty of it, so peaceful.
This weeks photo challenge is ‘colourful’. This shot is of the Kids Field at Glastonbury festival 2010. Both times I have been the Kids Field is one of my favourite places. It is full of magic, colour and play just as every childhood should be. It’s a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by, enjoy the crafts and play areas and watch shows designed for every age of child. As a 40 and 50 something the times I’ve been, my qualifications for entry are only that my inner child couldn’t resist.
These gardens light up a busy road every Spring. The attention to detail and colour is awesome and traffic slows down every year to see them. The gardens and the gardener always seem to me like an act of altruism, they can be seen best by passers-by rather than the house owners. For a few weeks every year they are a source of utter joy.
Summer is on my window ledge. The scent of sweet peas permeates the kitchen. They sit in a jug on the windowsill in all their purple and pink freshness. I collected son 2 from his volunteer conservation work yesterday and he handed me a bunch grown in their garden, wet tissue paper round the stems. An unexpected gift. He has no money so these little gifts are all the more special. A few weeks ago it was lettuce and radishes.
When your children are little and their gifts are a crayoned drawing or a bunch of dandelions they fill up your heart. So I find do sweet peas and salad.
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