Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grief. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 February 2013


I have walked steep hills, to try and sweat the pain out.

I have cuddled my children.

But I still feel sad. So sad. And foolish and a little bit frustrated and very helpless.

I am not even sure I know why. Relationships of all kinds, at work and at play, are complex.

Shrug. Heavy of heart.

I just feel sad.

It happens, I guess.

I'll be right, I'm sure.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes...*

We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles and excited laughter. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

It has been a month of tears and stress and tense shoulders. Of swollen tongues and aching throats from decisions that were impossible to make alone. Of resentments and regrets and clunky pain that made my body feel like a bag of clanking rusting spanners.

A month of "I don't wanna". And that was just from me.

There are so many tangled emotions when it comes to family choices and choices over what do do with our family. Not least of all guilt and worry. Anger and sadness play a big part for me too.

And my poor kids really take the brunt of my out of sortsness.

I have really really really tried to shield them from all of my worry. But there has undoubtedly been a cloud. A scratchiness. An atmosphere. A treading on eggshells kind of vibe. Don't make Mummy cross.

I know it, I can feel it too. And even though I feel a desperate guilt, even though I hate myself when I look in and feel wretched that my moods affect them, I have felt powerless to prevent it.

And then, when I feel like I am truly going to break -  when I feel like I am just going to run away and leave it all - who to, I am not sure - something happens.

A barometer shift?

A pendulum swing?

The wind moving from hot northerly to cooling southerly?

The sun breaking through clouds?

Ice cracking and silk smoothing.

And I gather them up, to redeem myself in their eyes and in my own.

We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

And as always, a butterfly appears. He is probably always there. But he catches my vision. I stop. I stop being a cranky bitch. And breath. And look upon my children and run with them and play ball with them and laugh with them. And hold them close. And remind myself that when shit stinks, and when the going is rough, that when I stop and do what is right, this butterfly always appears as a stamp of approval.

I do not know if these butterflies are reincarnations of my Dad or my late brother. My brother, I suspect. But I am glad that they appear. After the fact, to remind me that when I get my head out of my own misery, that it will all be OK.

Do you get "signs" like this, ever?

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* Lyrics from the brilliant Ace of Base. ♥ that song.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

William. Dum spiro spero...

I am not sure which stage of grief I am at with this.

Six years on, a lot of sadness and stages later, you would think that I could at least pin point or name the emotions that spill from me?

But I can't. It is still, even now, just a mess in my head, in my mouth, in in my heart, in my history. And now, quite possibly a mess on my keyboard too.

At the end of November 2006,  my eldest brother, William,  took his own life.

He was a man of massive charisma. A man of immeasurable success in his professional life. He was a smart man. Intellectually, accademically and with a streetwise integrity that knew no bounds.

He had a beautiful son. (A son who I now love as my own.)

But he was a man filled with demons and a terrible debilitating depression. He was bi-polar.

He was in so much mental pain that even someone of his emotional intelligence (or perhaps, even, because of it?) could not cope. Just could not cope.

He sought help. He was given help. He was given medications by the barrowload. He saw doctors of every nature. He spent weeks that turned into months in private phychiatric facilities. He was so aware of his state. But no one could help. I suspect the medication actually hindered.

He attempted to take his own life four times in less than three years. The final attempt was successful. He electrocuted himself. It is a method that is known, I now realise, by police and medics to be the tactic chosen by those who are far beyond "crying for help."  It is, apparently, the suicide method of choice for those who are unreservedly determined to die. To escape their mental pain.

Between attempts, the medications was increased. The long term stays in private psychiatric hospital - self admitted, more frequent.

Between attempts he carved more creative success.

Between attempts he holidayed with us in Darwin.

Between attempts, he gave me away at my wedding.

Between attempts, he would arrive in Adelaide from Perth to simply spend an hour with me, to cuddle my two elder children.

Between attempts, he would sink beers with my husband as they embraced the viewing of the cricket they shared an adoration of.

He was my big brother. He was William.

He was a bear of a man whose love for me was totally unconditional.

He operated, as so many bipolar sufferers do, at a level of enthusiasm unrivalled in any other character I have ever met.

His ability to create, to plan, to stage manage, to make magical things happen was just phenomenal.

But with that, as I now know, goes the spiralling to deeper depths of misery than I ever want to contemplate. My heart shies away from allowing myself to think of the utter despair he must have felt.

The last time I spoke to him in person was as I wandered around a supermarket, four years ago. We would have been gossiping together over the 'phone and planning a virtual meal together.

But I spoke to him today.

Four years later. I still call his mobile phone number. His voicemail is still there.

And I hear his voice, and I just miss him so much. So very very much. And I am so angry. So very angry at all this waste.

William, I pray with all my heart that you are resting in peace.

Friday, 10 February 2012


Linking with the lovely Eden, on the subject of funerals....

It was 1986 and I should have been working for my final year at school. But I was reading novels instead. I would "study" at home.

The TV show Neighbours had just debuted, and I was hooked.

My Dad was ill - really really poorly. He would watch the soaps with me as I pretended to be on a break from my studies. He would pick up my novels as I finished them and left them around the house. He would peer at me over the top of his specs. I loved him so much.

He read the Vacillations of Poppy Carew by Mary Wesley the day after I did, way back when, in 1986. And told me how amusing he found it that the word funeral started with the word "fun". And that a funeral SHOULD be fun. I sat at his feet and we talked about what a funeral should be like. That it should be fun. A candle snuffed, and then a fun celebration.

He did not die for another few years. The grief was too raw to remember that he wanted a fun funeral.

His funeral was standard.

No songs, aside from the requisite hymns. He was not a religious man, but nor was he agnostic. The tunes fitted.

His wake was held at our house, and against all odds, it WAS fun. I remember someone playing the soundtrack from Salad Days, and as I passed round vol-au-vents and cups of tea, the atmosphere was jovial. Really fun.

I flick flack myself.

A quiet unassuming let's get it over with service in an almost institutionalised branded funeral home? Get it over with quickly. I do not want to inconvenience anyone. People pleaser me wants to make it easy. I do not want my children to bicker over choices or decisions, nor raise their eyes at any specific requests that they will no doubt perceive as weird or inappropriate.

But then I remember that novel and how much I loved it at the time, and how I loved the conversations I had with my Dad over fun funerals.

Horses with plumes and flame throwers. Bright bright flowers and a candy floss machine. No black frocks, nor graveside gloom. Loud music and friends and family from near and far. Huge hugs and kisses and laughter and delight. A spit roast and a piano. A face painter perhaps. Shit, I'd love a marching band too. A carnival.

I want my nearest and dearest to cry happy tears as they remember really really good times.

I do not want to die too soon - I do not want to miss out on anything. But when I do go - when my candle is snuffed...I want my funeral to be loving and so much fun.

And the song? As those happy tears fall?

The song I always associate with well spent grief -

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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Despite or because of?

Despite, or maybe because of the chaos that is reigning in my world at the moment, I am eating really really well and cleanly.

The chaos is same old same old but a level more intense - my Mum's severe ill health and negotiating the aged care system as well as doctors and hospitals.

I realise that when I am really stressed and upset, food is the one thing I can control in my world.

When I am stressed and worried and sad, as I am, the control, luckily, tends to be of a beneficial nature.

It's almost as if I am so heavy of heart and mind that my subconscious dictates I must be light of stomach and body.

When my Dad was very sick - twenty years ago now - before he died, and for a long while afterwards, I lost a lot of weight. Dieting was easy. Weight fell off me. I ate only to get through to the next day.  I was totally and calmly in control. I was able to dictate my eating in order to make up for the fact that I could not manipulate my grief.

More recently, back in 2006, when I got over the shock of my brother passing away, I found that not eating was and losing weight was a slight salve to my utterly out of control emotions. With a newborn baby and three children under three, I ate enough to sustain breastfeeding and not much else.

And here I am again. Finding it all so hard, and so sad, but finding food easy.

When I am happy, I eat. When I am sad, I diet perfectly.

Good grief. Tragic really.

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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Love letters...

The reason for my love letter to my kids? Because I believe the best love letters need to be hand written.

I always write love letters and thank you notes and postcards in my own handwriting, if I can.

I stash handwritten stuff around the place too. For my kids to find.

They don't really care.

They might care, one day.

I have handwritten stuff from my Dad that appears. Appears when I need it.  An old letter that he wrote to me when I first left home to go to uni will drop out of a book. I know every word - it is etched on my memory; but my heart swells as I stop and sit, and read that letter again.

I do not expect that my kids will have the need to find my handwriting for a great many many years. But when they do; when they need a link, a thread, a golden thread to their Mum, to me, they will discover my words, in my hand. I hope it brings them some calm, and some peace in their hearts.

Go over to see Eden? I am linking up with her today. She is a legend. And a blogging legend. I love her and I love the idea of her meme linky thingo...

Do you love your handwriting? What do you still hand write these days?

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Ten things I know...

Lissy, aged 19

I am in a very very busy place over the next few days/weeks.

I shall go into more detail later...when I get chance to breath.

In between times, a list - a list of ten things I know, today.

1. My Mother was once very beautiful. Today she is sick sick sick.
2. My children are amazing. Their tolerance and acceptance and resilience over circumstance is phenomenal.
3. I shall never ever smoke again as long as I live. Nor will I ever get addicted to alcohol.
4. Some shit is so hard to deal with you need to obliterate it with boiling water. Literally. Seriously.
5. The Aged Care Assessment Team here in Australia are underpaid and undervalued and overworked.
6. My solicitor (who is also my Mum's solicitor) is worth his weight in gold. He is the calmest and most gentle of gentlemen.
7. My lovely husband supports me, and strokes my head as I fall asleep, and I am so grateful for him.
8. You can play a lot of Plants and Zombies on your iPhone when waiting around hospitals.
9. It is fucking hot today in Adelaide - 36`c and overcast. I'd like a storm please
10. I have really really great friends - Sue, Dave, Kat, Mike, Paul, Emmy, Linda, Lynda, Tammy, Chad...without you, I could not deal with practicalities around my fragile mother. That you understand, and that you treat my kids and dogs as your own makes me feel safe. Thank you.

My Mum is even sicker. How is that possible? She is made of strong genes. She hangs on. I didn't think it could get worse, but it has. I just hope for comfort. For her, and selfishly for me too.

She is hospitalised, and it seems, unlikely to return home. I am not sure if I am relived or sad. She is wasting away, and it is such a futile waste.

It is a complex thing, when a child becomes the parent. I feel I have parenting her and her habits, for a great many years. The guilt is immense. I am not sure why I feel guilty? Because I feel resentment too? There is a lot of frustration and the premature grief over what could have been. And the sadness.

But I do know she was amazing, in her day. Those are the memories I need to maintain.

If your mother is healthy and well, know that she is to be treasured?

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Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Deli...

The shopkeeper watches her. From behind the counter of his old fashioned parade grocer that has turned into a gourmet deli, he is a providore of small goods and wine, tobacco and fresh artisan produce. 

He smiles a sad smile.

He has known her for over a decade.

He has known her mother even longer. These women, they used to appear together, and similar. These days, not so much. He has not seen the mother for a number of years. She has shrunk, from the local community, from life, into herself.

He keeps an eye on the girl as she moves around the small store, fond. He observes that she has lost weight, but still has tired eyes. Her movements are efficient. He wonders if she knows that despite the economy of her actions, she still displays a generous amount of care and worry?

Her children are not with her this week. Nor have they shared this chore for some months now. They are at school now. A useful protection from new and sadder memories.

The girl chooses quickly, from a list. A list, he notices, that is part of a further reaching diary of things to do.

Today's component of the list that gets shorter each and every week.

A list that used to pretend to be full of the promise of nutrient rich meals, a list of normality. Now they don't bother with pretending. Dog food, coffee, and the staples.

The staples of cigarettes and wine. Great volumes of both.

The fruit has disappeared from the list.

She still buys tomato juice and vanilla yogurt. And hopes that last weeks healthy produce may have been eaten. She will sadly realise, next week, that there is little point.

The point of the shopping, of the chore, is just the substance exchange.

She strides, still quick, taking note of crusty breads, rich mature cheddars and succulent pâtés. Creamy dips, some camembert, some gourmet crackers. Tropical juices, like nectar. Full fat iced coffee in a carton with some free chemicals, some cheesy chips with their divine orange crack dust. Her brown eyes flicker over the wares that are enticing.

She throws a block of chocolate into the basket. It will satisfy, perhaps. In the heart of her mind, she actually knows it won't help. The temptation is easier to fulfil that abstinence.

She pays him. Her card, the total cost of real food to substances is in poor ratio. The cost is high on her card, on health. Regardless of the cheap red wine, the volumes required come at such a cost.

She hauls the shopping bags from counter to car.

The providore watches her still.

He knows she will unpack the majority into her mothers larder. The wine is left out on a drinks tray, for convenience. She will clean up, feed the dog, deal with garbage bins and recycling. He recalls she deals with her Mothers post, with her bills, these days. He can hear an echo of the chatter they used to indulge in. Do they chat still? Or does resentment fill the guilty silences?

And then she is back in her car. And she sighs. Exhales. Relieved that the chore is complete for another week.

She sits for a moment without driving off. She wonders how long it will be before the time of day is justified for a glass to fill with red wine. Her Mother will feel the relief as she takes that first sip, as she swallows it to stuff down all the other stuff. The stuff that is too hard to deal with.

She reaches into her bag and breaks a chunk of chocolate and mindlessly eats it. It turns her brain off, momentarily. She swallows it, to stuff down all the other stuff...the stuff that is so hard to deal with.

We are all addicted to something.

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Sunday, 3 July 2011


I don't even know what I am waiting for.

Waiting for her to turn back forty years and come back to me?

Waiting for her to turn back thirty years and make different choices?

Waiting for her to turn back fifteen years and stay on a positive track?

Waiting for a miracle?

Waiting for the next stage, when I already thought the last stage was the worst it could possibly get?

She is waiting too.

I am scared we are both waiting for the same thing.

I wish I could tell what is going on in my Mother's mind.

Or am I relieved really, that I am not privy to such complications?

So, we will just wait.

Please forgive the morbid post. My Mother is very sick. I have posted that before. She goes from worse to worse. I am preoccupied by it. Pained and frustrated by the waiting.

PS Thank you to everyone who has emailed me recently. It means such a lot - invisible but lovely support. Thank you. xx

PPS If I am not around much, or not commenting on your blogs, it is not becasue I don't love you, but just becasue I am in self protection mode,  and I don't want to be a misery guts. xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Lucy in the sky...

♫ Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,

And she's gone.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds...
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds... ♫

Friday, 21 January 2011

Reach out...

As you will have read, my friend Lucy passed away last week.

Details & circumstances are here, on Mrs Neurotics blog.

Tomorrow, I am sharing in a memorial for Lucy, by doing a balloon release, in her name. The kids and I, we will will let red balloons fly, to dance into the sky.

(So too will many of Lucy's friends in Melbourne, and across other cities too.)

Which leaves me to say, if you have friends, online or close by, who you would feel lost if they left this world, tell them? Share how you feel? Tell them how tops they are? It may mean the world to them.

Naomi, Christie, Leanne, Sarah, Cailin, Christy, Sarah, Maxabella, Holly, Kristin, Christine, Mrs Woog, Allison, Shelley, Henrietta, Kim, Brenda Bianca, Tina, Franki, Emily,  to name but a few, thank you, for reaching out.

Reach out, tell your friends that you care, tell them they rock, let them know why they are so special to you?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Past tense...

We shared the same name.

I cry now, as I have to write that in the past tense.

She was my friend.
             And now she is gone. And that is just so so wrong. Goddamn it Luce, I want you back here right now. 
             We never met. How I wish we had. How I felt like we never needed to. We had all the time in the world, didn't we?

Online. For nearly 7 years. I have shared and laughed and cried with her.

We forumed and blogged and Facebooked & twittered and emailed, together.

We agreed to differ and laughed at our variance.  They didn't matter, because the parallels were enough.

I keep going to her blog with some insane wish that the fact that she is gone is just a cruel joke and that I will see her words, her quirky funny posts, peppered with swear words and tequila and unperfect things.
She helped me with her essence of balance. She listened, and her integrity and her innate perception guided me.

Her passion, her belief, her love. They were just... always there.

             She was, quite simply, one of the most awesome chicks I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
And I cannot believe how cruel life is that she is no longer here. I miss her.

And my tears are for the babies & friends she has had to leave behind.

She was my friend.

We shared the same name.

I cry now, as I have to write that in the past tense.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I have nothing much to say today...

I have nothing much to say today.
Nothing left.

Apart from these little links:

Donate here for the relief effort for the Queensland floods.

(If anyone is unlcear as to the level of devestation that these floods are having, it has been reported that 75% of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone. This represents a land mass twice the size of Texas and over five times the United Kingdom.)

And please donate here for my friend Lori, who starts a painful jouney into grief, as a result of the loss of her husband Tony.

Monday, 10 January 2011


For Lori

No funeral gloom, my dears, when I am gone,

Corpse-gazing, tears, black raiment, graveyard grimness.

Think of me as withdrawn into the dimness,

Yours still, you mine,

Remember all the best of our past moments and forget the rest,

And so to where I wait come gently on.

(Ellen Terry)

Lori, if there was any way in this world I could take away the pain, I would.

I can't. But I wish you every ounce of  peace of heart I can muster, so that you may endure.

Lori, you may not be able to believe this yet, but you will get through this.

And I send my love.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Last Post

The Last Post

Robert Graves

The bugler sent a call of high romance—

"Lights out! Lights out!" to the deserted square.

On the thin brazen notes he threw a prayer,

"God, if it's this for me next time in France ...

O spare the phantom bugle as I lie

Dead in the gas and smoke and roar of guns,

Dead in a row with the other broken ones

Lying so stiff and still under the sky,

Jolly young Fusiliers too good to die."

Monday, 19 July 2010

Eight Years Ago

Last year, on the 19th July, I wrote this post here, about the loss of my first baby.

Another year on, I am here, still, crying again, for the child I never got to hold.

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass us by?
Because you know I'd walk a thousand miles if I could just see you...

I am going to just keep busy today. And keep Olivia, Charlie and Lexie close to me. And be eternally grateful for them. 
And for anyone else who has experienced miscarriage or late loss, I wish for peace in our hearts. 

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sniff sniff cluck cluck grief sniff

Oh my oh my. I am, quite frankly, suprised I can even see the screen for snot and tears.

I was caught yesterday, totally by suprise, by my sister in law. The one who was married to my late brother. She wrote to tell me of the amazing talent of my nephew, my brothers beautiful son. Which I know he has, in spades. But it threw me totally into the most ugly ugly grief stricken sobbing. For an hour or so. Not pretty.

(Actually, sobbing sounds like it might be pretty. It was more like gulping and loud howling from within, which reminded me of the primevil sounds I made during each of my labours. Accompanied by copious amounts of snot.)

Which is a nice segue to my emotional cluckiness. I have 2 gorgeous friends who are due their babies in the new year. One is onto number 3, and another onto number 4. Another couple of friends are expecting number 2. Lovely Loreena is expecting her first.

I then had a call yesterday from another friend who is 17 weeks pregnant with her number 3.

I am truly overjoyed. (To the point that I had a little happy cry in Kmart as she told me!)

But I cannot deny: I am clucky. Bad hormones. Raging to be pregnant again. Itching to give birth again. Desparate to hold a newborn of my making at my boob.

I know it is mad. I know it is impossible. (Literally, physically impossible. A vascectomy and early onset menopause make it impossible.) But I just cannot help being clucky. Crazy, I know.

Then, to add even more snot to the blubbering mess, I ended up chatting to my trainer (who should be a councellor too, incidentally) and we ended up talking about Mum........oh and didn't that open the heavens. She asked me: if you feel you have been parenting your Mum since you where 12, you need to ask that 12 year old girl what she missed out on then, and give it to yourself now. Far out. Easier said that digested.

I have so much to "deal with". I feel like I am being asked to drag myself through concrete. I secretly know it will be worth it. I am just too full of snot. I don't have the brain space. Nor the time.

So, all in all, these things make me tired. Emotionally tired. I feel like a wrung out dishcloth to be honest.

But all these things that make me cry: the grief, the cluckiness, the fears over Mum, the need to take care of myself......despite them all, I am still kind of happy and not depressed. How does that work?

On the one hand I think "Ah, bugger it, this too will pass". But deep down, I think I kind of know that "This too will pass" is simply a mechanism to avoid dealing. And for as long as I avoid dealing with this type of shite, the more regularly this shite will just cause a stumbling block.

Ohhhhhh, I dunno. it is so tempting to just ignore it all and play Jungle Jewels.
We shall see.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Seven years ago today.........

It is very rare I allow myself to reflect on this one, but it is seven years ago today that I lost my first baby.

I cannot believe I am sitting here in snotty puddles over the anniversary of the loss.

It still hurts so badly.

If I could fall into the sky
Do you think time would pass us by?
Because you know I'd walk a thousand miles if I could just see

Sleep well little one.