Love, life and loss in 2018

Hello there! I have not updated for several months. Life just gets in the way sometimes. Before I move forward with my plans for the year ahead I want to share a little about what’s been happening and to explain a little about why I have been blogging so sporadically. I guess my story fits best under the headings of love, life and loss. This is a very hard thing for me to write but I have held so much in that I need to have an outlet and to maybe reach out to those who have been in a similar situation.

Life

My health took a turn for the worse last year and I really struggled to accept my disability. My surgery was unexpectedly bought forward, with 1 days notice, to October. Recovery has been brutal and there are doubts that the operation has worked. My surgeon has already raised the possibility of a more invasive surgery to follow. Having to use a wheelchair over the Christmas period opened my eyes to the ignorance of some people. I have never felt so invisible and insignificant.

Family has been at the forefront of our thoughts. My Mom got married in March, a joyous day albeit somewhat thwarted by the snow. We enjoyed an extended family holiday in August and discovered the joys of hot tubs!. The children are flourishing in their various endeavours and I have had many reasons to be proud of them this year.

A rainbow shining through dark clouds. Love, life and loss in 2018Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Loss

Loss. Where do I start on this subject? Mid year we lost Mr M’s grandad, a not unexpected event but still a huge blow to us all. This was further compounded when 2 days before Christmas we suddenly and unexpectedly lost his uncle. These 2 events on there own would be more than enough to cope with but a few weeks before Christmas we lost my beautiful, brave Mom to metastatic brain cancer secondary to ovarian cancer, caused by a faulty BRCA1 gene.

I have never felt such pain. Initially I held it all together. I had to get through Christmas for the children and went into auto pilot. Then I came crashing down. It’s the small things that hurt the most. I go to pick up the phone to tell her an amusing story about the children. But I can’t. It’s my birthday later this week and she won’t be there for the first time ever. Even though I am an adult with children of my own I always had the comfort of knowing that I had my Mom to talk to when the kids were being a pest or I needed an ear to bend. Now I don’t have that extra layer of security and it leaves a huge gap that can’t be filled. I miss her so much.

Love

Despite all this overwhelming loss the strongest emotion we have felt this year has been love. Despite all the many tears there have been moments of such joy and love and support. My family is small but those who remain have come together in the most amazing way. I have felt loved and supported. They have not judged when I have thrown irrational tantrums because I cannot cope. They have listened and understood and been there no matter what. We have grown closer and tighter and braver together.

Love, life and loss in 2018

When we entered 2018 I has such hope. I never anticipated ending the year in a hospice praying for a miracle that was never going to happen. I know 2019 will be hard for us all but I have hope that brighter days will come. I feel the love and support of my family and it gives me strength. Towards the end Mom asked me to be brave for her.

I will try.

For her.

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Down but not out

It came as quite a shock to realise that I hadn’t updated for 2 months. I cannot say that I was absent because I was having a marvellous time. Unfortunately the opposite is true. Life has been very hard lately. As a family we have suffered a bereavement, life threatening illnesses and struggles with disability. It has not been an easy road and my mood has suffered. I have taken time to think, to wallow somewhat and to adjust to our changing landscape but also to slow down and really absorb and appreciate what we have. I’m down but not out. Things will pick up and starting to write again is a step towards a return to normality.

Woman raising her fists. Down but not outPhoto by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Grief

It didn’t occur to me until recently that grief can take many forms and there are different things we grieve for. At the moment we are grieving in the traditional sense for a lost relative and I think in a strange way this is the easiest emotion to understand.

Grief when someone is seriously ill is a whole new ballgame and something I had not encountered before now. It doesn’t make sense and that makes it harder to deal with. You find yourself grieving for events that you assumed would happen. How can we grieve for something that hasn’t happened? For memories we just assumed our children would make? I don’t think I am explaining it well and that’s why it’s so hard to deal with if you cannot even voice it.

I am also grieving for the loss of my mobility. It sounds selfish and self indulgent but I am angry at my body. I long to be pain free. This isn’t the life I thought I would have and I resent the cards that I have been dealt. I want to be that person who accepts their situation with grace but I am not there yet. It is a work in progress.

Down but not out

Everything seems so very different from when I started the year full of plans for the months ahead. It would be easy to allow this sad turn of events define how we progress throughout the rest of the year. But we cannot. There is so much joy in life. When you are grieving you have to look a bit harder to find it but rest assured that it is still there.

I have been spending a lot of time doing things for myself to improve my mood. Some have been more successful than others. Sitting in the garden and simply watching the birds has given me an unexpected boost. I am scared of birds so how this helps is anyone’s guess but it goes to show that sometimes we have to take a leap to find our happy place.

Best foot forward

This subheading really appeals to my dark sense of humour.  I am literally struggling to put one foot in front of the other at the moment. I won’t let it stop me though. I will just get there at my own pace. I am definitely the tortoise rather than the hare  but perhaps that is a good thing? I have time to examine my surroundings and to savour the good things in our life. I may not be as quick as I want to be but every step forward that I take is a triumph. I can say with certainty that I may be down but I am definitely not out.

 What do you do to lift your mood when you are feeling low?