The Dark

The Dark

The Dark

Until I was around 12, I slept with the light on! Not just a little soothing nightlight: the actual 3000 watt (or whatever it was then) light bulb than hung from my bedroom ceiling. No one cared about energy saving in the 80’s! Quite salubriously, I had the matching brown flower pattern lamp shade and wall paper that adorned half of my bedroom wall and bed cover. I think that brown was much more fashionable then. Not a pretty brown. Dirty protest brown! Usually matched with yellow. Of course, I did have a Glow Worm but, boy those things were tough to keep going…who can squeeze for that long?!

If my Dad would come in and turn my light out, I would instantly wake up. The dark did terribly frightening things to me. If I laid in the dark for too long, my eyes would make everything bright green and swirly, like some kind of kaleidoscope and the feeling of total unreality would be too much to bear. If I got past the swirls, I would feel like I was falling. Falling into a big black abyss. In hindsight, this was probably the warning of my anxiety issues that were to follow. Nothing to do with grief at this point; both my parents slept in the room next door. When she was not working, my Mum was busy having treatment or breaking her tooth on a Kitkat (never going to forget that one), so I was just like any other pre hormonal pre teen!!

The dark

There is always light!

It was for this reason that I did not particularly like staying away. Thankfully, I very rarely stayed at either of my Nannies; one lived next door and the other lived in Wiltshire, so with the amount my Mum and Dad worked, it was unlikely they would take the time out to travel (and we only had one car). Little Nanny lived next door. I separated them both by calling one little and one big. My Mum’s Mum was not big in the slightest but, in comparison to the other, she seemed it! Little Nanny’s house was always a bit spooky . She had a ‘healing room’ next to the toilet which was always closed (not that you would want to go in there anyway). There was a spooky picture of a grey bearded man on the wall that watched you if you peeked in. Not to mention Jesus! There was a giant tapestry of The Last Supper at the top of the stars and between Jesus and Beardy weirdy, you only went to the toilet if you absolutely had to. If by chance you did make the bearded gauntlet safely, your bits nearly froze in there anyway. Plus, the huge pile of Mills and Boon books gave you a very unrealistic impression of manhood. Not to mention the idea of your Nan reading them whilst sat on the throne!!!!

Big Nanny had a carpet in her bathroom. She also had a teas made and one of those silky fluffy blankets over the bed instead of a duvet (what kind of madness is this!). She also had one of those clocks that came out of a little case and then went back in it. To travel apparently. If I ever did stay there though, my Mum stayed with me and we slept in the same bed: probably for warmth due to the lack of duvet! Funny how you associate things with people. With Big Nanny it was peas with a roast; Birds Trifle and that cream in a tin that you have to shake for 53 years until it resembled anything dollopy. Little Nanny was Mills and Boon and Jesus.

The Dark

I am going to hell!

From when I was just old enough to understand; even though I am not sure I understand it now, my Mum had made me aware of her childhood and how my Nanny had lived her married life, or rather, not really lived, depending on how you look at it! When I see a patronising meme stating ‘We used to work at relationships when we were young and didn’t give up……’, this always makes me think of my Nan and I feel angry for her. Just remember,patronising meme creator: some women stayed in abysmal and aggressive relationships because they had no choice. There was no help and no refuge then. She had nowhere to go and four children to raise. But hey! , at least she did not get divorced !!!!!

I know what you are thinking. Do I still sleep with the light on? 🙂 Of course not! I have children so I sleep in whatever circumstance I can: at the bus stop..in the park! In the same way I had to rationalise with all my fears to alleviate my panic attacks, I have grown to realise that the world is still the same whether you can see it or not. Things are tough or they are not. Demons still exist but, not in the way we thought of them as children. I wish I could go back and tell my 7 year old self that these were the times I should treasure because these are the times before my life was turned upside down. I have been in the dark for quite some time recently. My other half tells me that I tend to dwell on the past when I have a hard time but, this is how your brain deals with now. I know that I will not stay in the past or in the dark in fact but, for now, I am grateful for my life. It has made me who I am. I just wish I still had my 3000 watt bulb!

 

Home

Home

Home

It was like an Aladdin’s cave! The wonders that it held were simply untold. Particularly if you were 11 years old. Naturally, I was never allowed up there but, sometimes (and only sometimes), he would go out and the minute he was out the door, I had free reign, providing Mum and Dad weren’t looking that is. My brother had his own floor of the house and being a tall 1900’s Victorian town house, it was full of lots of nooks and crannies that were so appealing if you were a child. Sometimes with curtains covering; sometimes with stairs that stopped.

Mum had loved this house for such a long time. She loved the garden and all the high ceilinged rooms and quite amazingly, we had been able to move into it and see her dream come true. Plus, it was only next door. As we lived above the café (in the scary house that I had mentioned before), we never really seemed to have a proper family space like other people had. Mum was always popping in to see the various neighbours to help out with things or just to have a chat and our immediate neighbours house had always been her dream. It was my dream too, but only because I look back on it now and remember how I loved it so. How exciting it was as a child and as a grown up, with a Dad in a wheelchair, I pretty much had the top two floors. Apart from the time that Dad crawled up the stairs like a snake so he could nose at the neighbours building project. This was the time I called him an ‘utter idiot’ and slammed every possible door; whilst he slivered back down the stairs again, giggling and then calling me to help him back in his chair….’Shuiieeeeeeeeeeeeee’….still giggling. What a sod he was!

So, when our neighbours wife sadly passed away, he told my Dad he was going into a home and my Dad was to have first refusal. Effectively, he bought it for my Mum. He never held it in the same regard because he spent all his time working. The day before he went into hospital and never walked again was the day he finished paying off the mortgage on my Mum’s dream house. She had been gone for five years by then. It wasn’t exactly an ideal house for someone that was disabled, especially when your ramp(s) are delivered from the NHS and they only have one available! Rather annoyingly, Dad still had the very old fashioned four wheeled wheelchair! But, we made it work. Whilst Dad was in hospital, I made it as suitable for him as I could. I decorated the bathroom downstairs and with the help of some friends, cleared out the downstairs ‘room of crap’ to be his bedroom. We added tiny ramps to each room so he could get around and were massively grateful for the Victorian town house which used to be self contained flats as he had every room he needed downstairs.

Home

Mum and a monkey….sorry, I mean my brother.

I worked hard on that house. I worked hard getting it ready for Dad and I worked hard clearing it out when I had to leave. Thankfully I had my previous in laws, who, now treat me like the anti-Christ but, actually, without them, I probably would never have managed. Or at least I would have completely lost my marbles. Sadly, it was the case that nearly everything got chucked. A five bedroom family home to clear is not the easiest task and although, I regret it so much, I had little choice but, to simply skip the majority of my memories. I can never get those things back but, I always have them where it counts. For as long as I keep those marbles anyway.

After I had finally moved and negotiated the sale of the house to the same person that had bought our café next door, I came to the house again. The new owner had some post for me and asked that I would come and collect it. I was hesitant because I really didn’t want to go back in. It was no longer my house and I wanted to only remember my house as it used to be. I wanted to think of my Mum catching me smoking in the upstairs loo (God knows how because I left the window open!), finding my brothers giant porn stash behind the curtain in his bedroom and, most importantly, those last months with my Dad. Buying him treats from Waitrose. Going to the dairy to buy chocolates, and then dropping them and running over them. Shouting at him for slithering up the stairs and trying to get him back into bed when the dog had pushed him off. Against my better judgement, I knocked on the door and was faced with a sea of builders inside, whacking the crap out of the banisters with a massively huge sledge hammer. I cried all the way up the road until I got home. It was only junk mail!

Due to our house previously being flats, we had our own fire escape into the garden from the second level. Under the stairs outside was an old dresser that used to temporarily house my guinea pig(s). My Mum bought me one from Devon County Show when I was 11. It was a boy. Magically, the little boy guinea pig grew a vagina over night and gave birth to eight babies. My Dad was thrilled. Anyway; the dresser now held my special offerings to Fairy Folk. General crap that no fairy would actually want. You know? Butchered ‘4’ Leaf clovers and a saucer of stagnant water. The Fairies left me notes all the time. They would apologise for their shaky writing but, it was tricky to hold a pen. I knew it was Grampy writing them actually and the writing was a combination of age and difficulty in holding a fag whilst corresponding.

Home

I wish my kids had the garden I did to play in.

He had the whole top of the house. My brother did. One room housed the ginormous video collection. One, the general living area with games console but, the room I loved the most was the one with the entire wall of CD’s. There was everything you could ever imagine, from Hole to Barbra Striesand to Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey and I couldn’t wait to get in there. After I had selected the video of my choosing, pilfered a book (usually Fantastic Mr F0x), I would peruse the collection of music available to me. This ensured that I could sing and watch myself in the mirror pretending that actually, I was most talented and attractive. After I had watched my video that is; usually skipping bits in case he came home and caught me. He always knew I had had one though because I never rewound them. Mr Anal 1992 would never have let that happen! It was only when I was older and he would let me play Trivial Pursuit with him (whilst wearing gloves), that I thought to peek behind the curtain in his room. That was when I discovered the giant stash of porn magazines. I will leave that there.

Home

My Love of music extended to my girls. This was my 3 year olds birthday cake.

I miss my home town a lot lately. I want to go and visit, walk around with my girls and visit the dairy. I would like to walk to the fields where my brother and I would take our dogs; Candy and Floss. Where we would spend all day. Have a Chinese curry that my Dad and I would enjoy every Thursday, after I had been to the pub. My Mum and Dad are still there and I am all the way over here; in a town that never really felt like my home. I am very happy and have a lovely life but, I miss it. I miss them. They will always be there but, it feels completely alien to be somewhere where they are not, even though they are in the ground. It may as well be a million miles away, particularly when you reach the part of the month when it is bread and water all round.

Whatever happens, I will always remember that I was lucky. So very very lucky and I am grateful every day. I have so many stories that I can tell my children to take me right back there whenever I want. Perhaps I will refrain from mentioning the special stash behind the curtain though. Perhaps!

Rescue me

Rescue me

Rescue me

Eughhhhhhhh! I hate driving! I hate it!

I have made no secret about my anxiety and panic attacks and how they affect my life. Actually, they had not really affected my life at all of late. Certainly not in the way they used to. But, I still have one thing that fills me with dread that brings back that clammy and ‘whizzy’ feeling which I thought I had said goodbye to long ago: driving to work.

I just cannot shift it at the moment. Not like I can with an ordinary panic attack. I have triggers that I use to eliminate them but, the art of distraction is not so easy to perfect when you are motoring along on the M5 motorway. As much as I have tried to listen to music, I find anything with too much base will set me off. If I have a bottle of water, I will worry that it will run out before my journey has ended and I will be too dependent on that as a solution. Even my long anticipated Rescue Remedy pastilles stayed in my glove box for the first few journeys as I was concerned that the ingredients may cause some adverse reaction, leaving me feeling even worse. Typical! Totally bonkers and irrational arguments for each possible solution but, isn’t this just the nature of Panic Attacks? I still find it so difficult to comprehend that this is my bodies actual way of protecting me as it certainly does not feel like it. The main and very pertinent difference with these panic attacks is that there really is no escape from my car. I am encapsulated inside my own little whizzing ball of anxious anxiety cloud.

Rescue me

My little nurse.

Ironically, on my drive this morning, I thought about exactly what I would write if I wrote a post about my anxieties. This seemed to help me. Suddenly though, something else would creep into my mind; remember the time I fainted after I had a tattoo….. cue; complete and utter panic that I am going to faint because I have thought about fainting. That’s it! I am going to faint! My car will veer into the path of an oncoming lorry and that will be the end of me. All because I did not pull over but, if I pull over, I have given in and will make things so much worse for myself. I absolutely and categorically can never pull over.

Then I start to worry about other things, ie; everything. I wish I had money, I wonder if I could crowdfund my life?  Can I afford to send my daughter to nursery? What can I buy for dinner tonight that is less than the £3.75 in my bank account? Oh my God! I am a failure. I have failed my life…. cue; foggy head, feeling sweaty and just a deep sinking feeling of impending doom in my stomach that lasts for one nano second. Then it is gone! It does not even affect the way that I drive (crap as my other half would say!) I mean, it is not the actual driving capability that worries me. It is the worry that I will get that awful low down dread and I cant do anything. Because I have to keep driving.

Rescue me

My life has been so much more colourful since I faced all my demons.

I have always had a nervous nature. When I was a child I can remember being worried about everything. It wasn’t just the death of my closest relatives that made me the basket case I am today. I was already one! So, I seek some solace in that. The path of serendipity and all that! When I was around 9 or 10, the age my eldest daughter is now, I saw a keyring in Clinton Cards that caused me to worry for months. On the front was a picture of a cartoon frog and each frog on each key ring represented a trait or premonition for each sign of the zodiac. The frog that represented mine had crosses for eyes and a knife in its chest with the title; MOST SCORPIOS ARE MURDERED! Who on earth designed these key rings? (This is my thought now) My thoughts then were, yes! You’ve guessed it! I would be next. A true Scorpio.

I spent weeks even months after, ensuring that whatever happened, I categorically could not listen to the news. It was easy at home as Mum and Dad were working but, In the car, Dad would always have the news on the radio, or so it felt like. So, I had to turn my Sony Walkman up to its maximum and ensure that my Shamen cassette tape (that’s right! I was cool!),  drowned out any news of any possible murders. If I heard about one, that would mean it would happen to me. Ironically, as my life got harder, I became much more rational in my thinking. Probably then, I realised that Life can be an utter bastard to you no matter what you do or what you happen to listen to.

Rescue me

Now I’m much more ‘well rounded’. Well I am in this picture anyway.

So! I shall continue to search for a solution to my ‘motorised mad moments’ in the hope that I can clear this chapter of negativity soon. As I continue to work and know that Nancy is in safe hands, I feel so much better about going , I even enjoy it. I will not be defeated again and nor will I feel so negative. There are plenty of people willing to do that for you and without explanation that its a wonder not all of us are a little bit mental (which of course we totally are).

 

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

Work Work Work

I am so slack! It has been an obscene amount of time since I actually sat my rather large bottom down and wrote a post. I have been agonising over it slightly because I keep thinking that I do not really have anything to write about. Not that anyone would be interested in anyway. Then I realised; that doesn’t matter! This blog is meant to be cathartic for me and simply sharing last years Facebook CooeyMrShifter memories rather than writing again does not really cut it for me.

As I have always said, I never plan anything that I will write. I make a conscious decision to either go back in time or write about now and that is about the limit of my planning. I find it incredibly stressful if I start to write a post and I do not get a chance to finish it in one day. I am slightly OCD about this kind of thing. I could not go to bed knowing that there was a CD in the middle of the living room floor (for example) and this is the same. As I write, it clears tension out of my brain. A little like unwinding a knot. That is why I do it. Plus, I am not particularly good at anything else. Apart from possibility having children but, I did fail at that a few times too. Not from my own choosing.

I hate not feeling just quite good enough. I always feel like I miss the mark on everything really but, when I write, even though it is about my own life, I could be anything or anyone I want. Someone far more interesting than I actually am. Unlike the people that I Love the most.

My eldest daughter has the kindest heart ever and combined with her natural aptitude to literature, I am 100% that she will go amazingly far in life. Middle child (as I have three now. Don’t know if I mentioned it!) is so completely and utterly free from any anxieties and negativity that quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that I created her. I know that she will live the fullest life imaginable because with her attitude, she will take from it exactly what she should. Something that very few of us can say we really do. The 10 month old does very little yet but, she appears to have an equal measure of eccentricity and an obvious love of music so perhaps she will be the Artistic Savant.

Work Work Work

A bit of light reading for the girls.

My Fiancé is a man of much fulfilment and offering. which, considering that he would rather stay in the house all day every day is ironic. He decides to do something and then he just does it. No speculation, nothing. He just does it. An admirable and frustrating quality all in one. He thinks that he hasn’t achieved much but, he has achieved everything. Me! I write this Blog. Also, currently, I am watching aforementioned ten month old cover the floor in sweetcorn. I bet I shall still see a lot more of it later though.

FB_20150210_13_11_40_Saved_Picture

We have a great relationship. We are each as hard work as the other.

So, I digress! At lot has happened since I last forced my Life Story onto you. The very thing I was dreading since I left the Maternity Unit has happened. I had to go back to work! Yuuuuk!! I am not sure what aspect of it petrified me the most. but, I hated it all. The drive. Leaving my daughter(s). Having to get up early and be so much more organised. But, probably it was the reality that I had to return to ‘normal’ now. I had given birth months and months ago and the flowers were long dead, cards in the memory box and I had to accept that I had to be me again. I didn’t want to do that. For such a long time, you live in your own little bubble of being a new Mum, however many times you may have done it before. Plus, I got to watch as much as crap on Television that was physically possible. Good old Breast Feeding!!!

Getting in on the selfie action.

Getting in on the selfie action.

I have worked for the same company for 15 years. I am certain that my Boss (who also happens to be my future Brother In Law) has found me hard work from the start. I do like my job though. I wouldn’t have stayed there as long if I didn’t. Even if it would be a pain to find a new one. To be fair though, I have had three days off sick since I went back so I may well get fired anyway!

This is why I also felt so negative about returning to work; It was a job I enjoyed. I still had friends there. Although, as new staff were employed, I seemed to be becoming the older generation of staff. Who wants to be the elder of anything? For the first time ever, it did not bother me that I could have a hot cup of tea or that I could have ‘me’ time again. I did not want ‘me’ time. I wanted to be at home with my little girl. It was unfair that I had to miss things from her growth and two days each week is a long time when you look at how fast she will grow . I felt resentful that I had to do this. Resentful towards who, I don’t know! The Universe. Life. All those crazy invisible entities that have a lot to answer for when I am hacked off! I also felt sad because this is the last time I will do this. This is the last baby I will have and all those first moments gone are gone forever now. Which is an irrational way to think. Totally unsurprising coming from me.

But, actually, now I am back at work (when I am there!) I feel totally different. It took a little while and I will still always be just a little neurotic but, I completely become involved in it now and find that I can concentrate on what I am doing with little distraction.  I am hardly sales person extroardinare but, I think I am OK at my job and it is good to add something else into my Life which I may be OK at. Strangely, I do not really find it stressful like I used to. I enjoy that my brain still works the way it used to before I expanded my Uterus for a third time. I am hoping the stressful part of me has changed. In the same way that I won’t mind if I don’t finish this post today. But, hopefully I will.   More importantly, now that I know that I can leave my Nancy with anyone else and she has survived, I am OK with that too. Now I am a high flying executive and all!! In actual fact I really should be a little less selfish and let Daddy and The Grandparents get some of the cuddles also.

1958031_631377390306670_7994413915372849754_n

No More Babies!

Next step, an actual date with my Other Half before he remembers that I am just a bit saggy and not nearly as attractive as over 75% of Instagram. But, I do have my own eyebrows!

 

Resolution

Resolution

Resolution

It’s been such a long time since I just sat down and wrote a Blog Post; actually, it’s been such a long time since I just sat down! Life goes by in a flash and mine is currently in a whirlwind of babies, children, back to work anxiety and breast pads! Christmas seems like months ago now. As does the freedom of eating and drinking whatever I wanted just because it was ‘Christmas’.The reality of January is always far worse than the reality of any other month ahead. It was a lovely time with my family though.

When I was little, our Family Christmas’ were brilliant. We would spend the day with our Uncle Barry and Auntie Marg, our Grandparents and Cousins at their house in Ilsington (not to be confused with Islington which is altogether, very different). We would have an unseemly large pile of presents, which lets face it, is important when you are 10 and we always ate our Christmas dinner off clear glass plates. I remember pushing the last of the peas and gravy around and thinking that our plates at home were always so….well….opaque. I only ever had Christmas pudding as a child because it had pound coins in it. This would be a major Health and Safety issue for 2016.

I hate Christmas pudding now! My Mother in law moans at me for having to make an ‘alternative’ pudding at Christmas but, no one moaned this year with the insanely chocolatey Malteser pudding with the sparkler on did they??? Nope!

Resolution

My first Christmas. I expect my Brother was secretly planning my demise…

Uncle Barry and Mum had their own tradition to buy each other a silly (ie rude) present but, each year, as the children got older and shopping evolved from the late 70’s, these individual presents became ruder and more phallic! They were left until the end of present opening on the assumption that the younger children would take their Keypers and Pound Puppies into another room as they were bored by then anyway. The last year I remember being all together as a large family was when my brother was given the ‘How to be a complete Bastard’ game. Nanny and her tipsy 700* year old Sister would say it was very rude and then giggle inconsolably whilst topping up their sherry behind the sofa cushion. My cousin was given a car one year too. I knew nothing about cars then (because I am Devon’s own Ayrton Senna now!) but, it was red! And she was given the keys in an Oil of Ulay box (In the days where you could be European and manage to pronounce the letter U all by yourself!)

My Auntie Marg died not long after Mum and Grampy. I am not sure how long after exactly, I was a bit busy at the time, finding those years just a little bit shit! When she died though, our Family changed and we did not get together as much. In fact, we did not get together at all. We never really got that back. Along with my Mum, she was a major part that glued us all together and all of a sudden, we just were left there hanging, all a bit wobbly (like my bottom). She was also used as the family incentive not to smoke as we travelled deeper into our teenage years but, of course, when you are a teenager, Death is no match for you, even when you know what it looks like all too well.

Resolution

Uncle Barry and Ant (and Kendall opening some 80’s cheese) Auntie Marg’s arms!

I still think of my Auntie Marg; she was incredibly strong, fiercely loyal and she adored her Grandchildren (my cousins) in a way that was so completely obvious that it was really the first time I remember feeling that your family is so incredibly important. When she left, we simply drifted into our own separate families in separate towns. We just stopped becoming a family. I miss her too.

I have started to struggle with how I feel again lately and I realise that when this happens, I simply need to write. Like a colonic for negative brain poo if you like! I am not quite ready for the ‘men in white coats’ yet but, the festive season is always difficult for people who have lost love ones, whether recent or historical and I am no different. In my own personal sense, I start to feel ‘hard done by’ and ‘sorry for myself’ and as mentioned in previous posts (so my counsellor told me), I start to revert back to the 16 Year Old me again. No one cares! My Boyfriend has no time for me! I wish I felt Loved! Naturally, these are all irrational and totally my own jumbled brains fault for those inadequacies but, when I feel sad or miss my Parent’s, that is exactly how I feel. Noone will ever make you feel as Loved as your Mum and Dad can and I have been without that for more than 10 years now.

I often think back to the person (who was quite obviously connected to my ex and has the empathetic abilities of a turnip),that very kindly pointed out that this Blog was simply a self obsessed request for pity. I think about this often. Not just because it was an extremely evil, personal and bitchy thing to say but, also because in a sense it was true! Every single person that has lost a loved one is often self obsessed. They feel Self Pity too. I fail to see how it is even possible that you can share your life and your heart with someone and then you are thrown into a void of knowing you will never ever see them again , just like that! (In this life anyway) However, people suffering this pain are also happy, sad, remonstrative, inquisitive, angry…shall I go on???  Every single person that grieves for someone lost can be every emotion at every God given time. This is quite simply that there is no rule book on how you deal with missing someone. Sure!, there are suggestions, self help and counselling but, the only way that any one person can truly deal with Grief is to give in to it and let it do what it wants. I liken it to being enveloped by one of those colourful parachutes; it wraps you up but, it can also be too tight and even though it is bright in colour, all the colours can also mingle into one colour too.

Resolution

Daddy xxx

So actually, No! I have not written this Blog, this post or any other so that you feel pity for me. I do not want pity. I would like it if you enjoyed reading it, if it made you a little emotional or made you want to hold your loved ones tight and never ever let them go. THAT is what I would really like. Otherwise, I do not really mind if you like it or not. I wrote it for me, for my children and for my weary mind when it starts to feel negative (or wobbly like my bottom again). I do not deserve pity for I have been very fortunate. I have been very lucky in my life and for the parents I have been given, I am extremely grateful and I always will be. I just wish they could have stayed for a bit longer.

 

 

*The 700 is for entertainment purposes only. She was probably 699.

I'd do anything

I’d do anything

I’d do anything

Well! I expect you are surprised to hear from me again! Trust me, if I could type one handed then I would have written hundreds of entries by now but, breast feeding somewhat limits your computer abilities. In the last six weeks, I don’t think I have eaten more than one meal with two hands; fine if it’s anything but peas. Peas are tricky. I think I still have one in my bra.

I'd do anything

She’s here! I am not in the pub yet!

I can almost hear you all groaning from behind your computer screens but, I can assure you now that, although I have now had my beautiful little girl Nancy, I will not be writing about her today. Or my perineum. You can jolly well wait for that! Although it is about Mums. My Mum actually.

It isn’t until you become a Mum that you realise what your own Mum went through. When I was 14 and an absolute bitch, My Mum would tell me all the time that when I had my own teenage girl, I would realise how horrible I could be. Now, I will have three! I understand now just how fantastic my Mum was, particularly as at this time she was having pretty horrific Chemotherapy. But, I will not be able to laugh with her about it or relive stories from when I was young and as I get older, I struggle to remember the things we did together. In truth, the main thing that I attribute to my Mum; is that she died. If that was the legacy I left for my three girls, I would be devastated. So, I am going to try my hardest to remember this as an adult, not with the brain of a 16 year old girl. That’s who I revert to when I think about my Mum as that is when she left us.

The majority of times that Mum and I talked the most were when we were in the car together. That sounds bonkers but, as my Mum and Dad were working in our café a lot, My Mum and I had time on our own when she ferried me around to various activities (as most Mums do ) I moan about it frequently!! Otherwise, we were all together as a family. Horse riding was on a Sunday morning and I always used to love it when she picked me up as we would visit a random garden centre or fruit picking farm before we went home. I didn’t really take to horse riding even though I did it for such a long time but, because of Mum’s background in the stables, I did it because I knew she wanted me to. But, I never loved it.This time in the car was when, as I mentioned before, that I can remember all the music Mum would play. When I have a bad day or need a pick up, these songs can take me back there. For example: Curiosity Killed The Cat – Down To Earth was a firm favourite and I have it on my special playlist. I felt safe at these times. This was when my childhood was as it should be. Before, it became about loss.

Our car had a certain smell; almost hot, whatever the weather. We had a dark Maroon Volvo and the seats were almost carpeted, as they so frequently were in the 80’s. My Dad never allowed us to have any other car because he always said that we would never be safer. That was true actually: Mum and I had a crash once on the way to school.Well, I say crash but, our car never actually moved from its stop position. Someone drove into us from behind and their car crumbled in half almost. We weren’t hurt and we didn’t need to be checked out but, I had the day off school anyway. I had toast and tea when I got home, in Mum’s beloved Willow pattern china and watched musicals all day. I collected them! Should have been on the stage really. If I hadn’t just become a ‘normal’ person.

I'd do anything.

My gorgeous girl is now the same age as I was when my Mum would take me Horse riding.

I was fascinated with my Mum’s life as a teenager. It always seemed so glamorous. Sneaking out of the house with my Godmother Ro to the latest party. Stories of her boyfriends and working as a waitress in a beautiful country pub. Of course, the side she never talked about when telling me these stories is that she never actually wanted to be in that house. She wanted to avoid a beating and not have to hide under her bed when her Father came home. This was her childhood but, she never told me stories about that: just of the fun she had. That was the type of person she was and that despite her childhood and the horrendous things she saw, she always remained loving, elegant, strong and fun.I knew from her stories that she was definitely a little wild and who would blame her.. Naturally, I did not follow in these footsteps as an adolescent.

She had a few notable boyfriends, always older than her, much older in fact but, who treated her like a Princess. Based on the father she had, this was unsurprising. Her relationships with men were always for replacement father figures who cared for her which, was really what she craved. Thankfully none of these relationships resulted in a broken jaw, only very beautiful jewellery. This was until she met my Dad: Tony. He was her savour. I know what that’s like!

I'd do anything

I try to teach my girls to enjoy every minute as a child and fill it with love.

The reason we were always milling around those garden centres and flower farms was because of my Mum’s passion for flowers. She loved them. Her interest didn’t really start until later life and after she was diagnosed as I guess she found it therapeutic. I say ‘later life’ but, she was three years younger than I am now when she was diagnosed. I never found these places boring, unlike my girls do now (until they realise that there may be cake involved) Instead, I loved listening to her talking about all the different flowers and what she was going to do with them. Always such beautiful colours and smells. Naturally, we would have cake too and I always ended up with something to bring home. A glittery butterfly or fury rabbit which were on a stick and ordinarily meant for a flower arrangements. The health and safety on buying a child one of those bad boys now would be unquestionable.

Mum ended up arranging flowers for our local church. There wasn’t the massive conglomerate of florists that there is now who simply arrange the flowers and deliver them ready. Mum would design them, buy them and trudge up to the church with her basket and her oasis and spend hours making the most beautiful accompaniments for a wedding or funeral. Most of these times she would take me with her and there was always some kind of adventure with it. Also, I would sit and watch and she would talk to me, sometimes about the flowers but, mostly about other things. The smell of oasis brings those times back to me. And that church, although, having both her funeral there and my Dad’s a few years later, the memories it held became slightly different for me. I still felt her there that day though. The day she wasn’t really there anymore.

I'd do anything

Rocking them socks..

Once, the vicar said I could take the tiny windy stairs to the steeple if I wanted and look out over the town. It was amazing. I wouldn’t do it now though! As a child you have no idea of your own mortality. As I grew up and more people left, I grew fearful of everything. Plus, I’m really claustrophobic so would probably poop myself! Ultimately, Mum would come up and find me so, she wasn’t fearful of that either. Thinking back, this was a gift of time together that most Mum’s don’t always get. For that I am grateful and when the memories of my Mum are taken over by simply remembering that she left me, I shall try and replace it with the times when she was there. When she was my beautiful, beautiful Mum.

I'd do anything.

Miss you Mum.

Dignity

Dignity

Dignity

Lavender candles, lovely warm bubble bath and a magical feeling of love and new life. This is not what childbirth is like in any stretch of the imagination. Even those annoying cow bags that pop out a baby in one hour and slip into their size six jeans for the post birth journey home would agree! However, if you are having your first baby, the minute you discover that the miracle of life is forming in your uterus, you cannot help but think that for you, it will probably be just like this. Let’s face it; Technically you are the first person to ever go through it and God Damn you are going to have the easiest birth since Copulation began!

Luckily, and unsurprisingly for me, the tranquillity and beautiful magnitude of my first ever pregnancy lasted for a whopping two days. Two days because no sooner had  I discovered I was pregnant than I was spending my days crawling round on all fours and sitting on the toilet for forty five minutes at a time. Just a little ‘nodule’ on the Ovary apparently. If that was a little one, I would have had to bite down on a whiskey soaked rag in the weeks that followed to cope with any bigger. Bugger, it really hurt! Any woman that has suffered with something on her Ovary or generally in her womanly bits will know that really, you just feel like you constantly want a giant poo but, it has taken the wrong turn! Still, it was better than the alternative we faced, as for a few days the doctor had told us to expect the worst and that this pregnancy may well be ectopic. Thankfully it was not but, in true spirit of Gynaecology departments all over, unless you were dead, you could wait a few days to find out for sure. (Although, my Gynaecologist rocks!! and looks like Louis Spence 🙂 )

Dignity

I have used this picture before, but it is disgusting and I like it!

So, apart from the constant need for a poo, the daily navigation of a spiral staircase on all fours and the hourly requirement for grated cheese in a white roll, the rest of my pregnancy seemed to pootle along quite nicely. The determination of this as an in-utero pregnancy was discovered during an internal scan but, I feel the intricacies of this particular procedure may be too much for some. Ironically, they cover it in what looks like a giant condom first but, as I said…I must stop there!

The fun really began when it was realised that all those grated cheese rolls had ensured a very yummy environment for my daughter and she clearly did not want to budge from where she stayed. Even after two weeks, she was not in the mind set to make an appearance and all the things they tell you that will encourage labour are about as useful as the birth plan they tell you to write beforehand. What you should really write in your birth plan is: give birth. In whatever way works for you. Oh, and remember the time you said that whatever happened, there was no way you were having an Epidural….Ha Ha Ha…..that was a good one Monty Python!

If when overdue, you are fortunate enough to have a ‘Sweep’, you will have had a lovely little insight into what might be waiting round the corner for you. I have had five in total and its a wonder I don’t have lady bits that could safely house the car keys. To be fair, I have never actually tried! I have friends that are nervous to have a smear test. Us Mum’s will have a little giggle at that. Blimey! When you have had a child, you are pretty much willing to save time for future gynaecological appointments by going in your pants!!

 

Dignity

To look at her now you would think she never caused me any trouble at all.

So…What happened for me the first time round?

As I have mentioned, my daughter Lani was two weeks overdue. Technically she was two weeks and ‘God knows how long in labour’ overdue but, lets not get pedantic! I had three sweeps (which incidentally is not a type of spring clean) and was booked in for an induction on the 14th day. Almost every Mum that has been induced kindly informed me of exactly how much more painful my whole experience would be with induction, which was kind! However, if I knew then what I know now, I would have demanded that Epidural from the car on the way in…Best invention ever!!…After wine.

I honestly can’t remember where I was or what I was doing when the contractions started. I do however, remember that I was wearing an orange top! I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t bad. Give it an hour or so and I shall be pushing my lovely (and tiny of course) baby into the world’. Well, on the second night…yes night..of these pains, I was ready to reach in and pull it out myself. The pain starts off like the feel of a fart collecting in your bottom region. Except, it doesn’t escape giving you immediate relief, it goes upwards where it shouldn’t. It swirls around your back passage and creeps up towards your tummy like ‘The Scream’ and the skin on your abdomen has become so tight that it would make Joan Rivers jealous. Encompassed with all this is the feeling that you must dispose of every fluid remaining in your body and you have the urge that you never thought possible to wee, poo and vomit all at the same time. Oh, and all those baby magazines you bought which suggested you have the special raspberry flavoured lip balm for this joyous occasion can stuff that lip balm right in their print press!

It starts off as a little trickle at first. I was watching Vicar of Dibley, the Christmas episode where she has to have several Christmas lunches and stuff sprouts into her mouth. I was thinking that I had to do just the opposite of that and feeling like it too. I also remember being really grateful at this point that I had a leather sofa (and that I was wearing my ex husbands trousers) but, it is not till you stand up that you realise the full fun of the ‘Gush’ that you are about to incur and the way that it actually feels, just that little bit satisfying…..

To be continued…. (because I realise I have not even got to the hospital yet and the fun increases by ten fold then) Oh and obviously Joan Rivers was alive when I had my first baby. RIP Joan (I know she wouldn’t mind)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

A Diary For Rusty

All the relevant pregnancy applications and baby magazines suggest that at this time, I should start writing a diary about my pregnancy. In true defiance style, when anyone suggests I do something, I usually do something different. I also thought, if I wrote how I was really feeling at the moment and you by any chance saw it in later life, you would think I was a horrendously mean Mummy!

So, I will just get that part out of the way: how one tiny tiny thing can make you feel so utterly wretched is mind blowing to me. I have spent the last few weeks with my head pretty much wedged down the toilet, apart from the time I was sick on myself in the shower that is! I have gone off all food, nothing holds any interest to me and the idea of cooking tea for my family is comparative to Chinese water torture. Especially as there is no way I will be eating it. Most days, I have barely been able to lift my bottom from the sofa. Ironic really as mostly I have been watching ‘Come Dine With Me’.

Regardless of this, and however many times I have chastised you for sapping all my utter being, I wanted to make sure that you knew that we loved you. That we loved you already. You were a big surprise, and not because you were not wanted: quite the opposite. You see, your brother or sister had left us just a month before you started to grow and we could not quite believe how quickly you were sent to heal our hearts after they had been unable to stay.

I have never really considered my skills as a mother, I just am one. I don’t know if I am a good Mum or not. I can only love you and your sisters with all my heart and fight with everything I have for you, every day. That is all I can offer you: me. Know that I will always be here for you, even the times when you and your sisters are making me shout at you for painting the walls or shaving the dog but, through all these times I will always be a constant. Heaven forbid that I could not be around for you for as long as I want. As your Mum, in whatever form, I shall always love you and watch over and protect you forever.

You are going to be lucky enough to have one of the most amazing Daddy’s that you could ever imagine existed. Your Daddy is without doubt, one of the most spectacular people to ever walk the planet. Even if he chastises you, even if he disciplines, you cannot help but realise that he will always remain, loyal, strong and protective and although he would never admit it to anyone, he is one of the most sensitive souls and with one of the hugest hearts that you could ever find. As soon as you meet him, you will be lucky enough to see everything in him that I do and feel utterly blessed that you are able to end every day with him as part of your life. He will be strict and funny in equal amounts. Embarrassing you sometimes with his silliness but making you proud to call him your Daddy. I am utterly sure of this. I apologise in advance for the fact that he may well pick you up from school dressed as a banana! I have no control over him!

A Diary For Rusty

Our Rusty

As for your sisters, they are both completely bonkers! One more so than the other but, you will work out which is which when you meet them. Lani is the most thoughtful child, caring and sensitive and sometimes overly nervous but, with a heart as deep as the ocean. Flo is on her very own planet but, cannot stay mad or upset for long and will fill your life with cuddles and laughter. I wonder if you will have a little bit of both of them in you. They will be so proud of you and if they had half a chance, they would no doubt dress you up in their Build a Bear outfits. I will probably discourage that.

Unfortunately, you will never meet one set of your grandparents, as your sisters never have but, I will make sure that you know everything about them. They look out for you from somewhere else I can guarantee that. You will however have the pleasure of a Grandma who, like Mummy, will always be honest with you. She is strong but, kind and caring and you know that she must be pretty fabulous because she has made your Daddy who he is. You will share your secrets with her over cake (which she will make) and giggle with her as I have done many times over the years. She will be one of the strongest people in your life and be a huge influence in your growing years. Grampa will tut a lot, wear bright socks and moan about politics but, however much we all joke that he is old and miserable, his eyes will light up when you enter the room and contrary to what he says, he will always be sad to see you leave. As he shows with your cousins now. He will always be there for you: and smile when everyone else leaves the room!

So, until we can all meet you in person, we will continue to play you songs that we hope you will like and even though I love you madly, I will continue to grumble at you for making me sick. Particularly as I should now be enjoying spoonful’s of mustard and grated (only grated) cheese sandwiches.

Love from Mummy xxx

 

Ghosts Part 2

Ghosts Part 2

My Dad was always falling out of bed! Sometimes the dog pushed him out and sometimes he simply turned over a little too far in his sleep and…doink! He could just about feel his legs but, he could not weight bare in any way. He could get onto the commode himself and from his wheelchair to the bed was ok but, there was generally a struggle each day. Once, he was so determined to come to the next level of the house and look out of our fire escape window at the gardens next door, that he tried to drag himself up the stairs like a merman. I was fuming with him that day! He got half way up and then slid to the bottom like a sausage. He thought it was hysterical (as he did most things) I, on the other hand was furious with him for taking such a risk to his already crumbled spine: I slammed doors and called him a ‘Bloody, Pissing idiot’! Again, he thought it was hysterical.

When my Dad was in hospital, I had some help to get the downstairs ready for him coming home. We were lucky enough to live in a large town house which used to be flats so everything was pretty much self contained for him. He had a bedroom downstairs next to the living room and a bathroom where I could empty the luminous green wee from his catheter bag.We built slight ramps so he could easily wheel from room to room.The house being so old, there were tiny drops into each downstairs room. Dad could pick up things with his special ‘claw’ which helped him grip and lift things that were slightly out of his reach. Mostly, he would use it to pinch my bottom when I was getting something for him or lifting the cats tail while giggling and singing ‘Pixxxeeelina’. Some utter bastard who drove like a numpty ran over my Pixxee after my Dad had died. I was devastated to lose that connection.

It sounds completely bonkers but, there are nights when I am feeling really sad that I will close my eyes and hold out my open hand, in the anticipation that my Dad would hold it: even if just for a second. Some times I beg him to do it or to come and sit on the end of my bed so that I know he’s there, that he misses me in the way I miss him. That he still thinks of me as I do of him and if he is proud of me at all. In reality, if he did come back to me, he would probably just pinch my bum again with that bloody claw!!

Ghosts Part 2

My heart will always be just a little bit broken.

There were some nights that I would stay away and although I worried about leaving my Dad, I needed a release sometimes. He had nurses come in and help him also. I loved my dad with every single ounce of my being but, sometimes the pressure of looking after him was too much and I needed to escape. I was happy for it to be just the two of us but, it did make me feel very negatively towards a lot of people who I felt had forgotten us. Something I am still working through!

My Dad’s prognosis was very bleak right from the beginning. He was given months because his Cancer was discovered so late and was extremely aggressive.He was a right stubborn old sod and he died almost four years later (even after Merman and slippery sausage incidents) He waited until I was married so he knew I would not be alone and he died five weeks after that.

Ghosts Part 2

My beautiful girl: if not a little bit weird!

Only weeks before, something happened which should have forewarned us. I often wondered if it was a consious forewarning  for my Dad. He would never have dreamed of admitting that to me, never. In the same way he would never admit about the baby in our previous house. But, it has always left me wondering. This is what happened:

I had been away overnight at my in laws and was returning as I usually did if I had stayed out,around late morning.The image of my Dad in his chair is one that I will never forget. He was sat in the living room watching the television and as his head turned to look at me coming in the front door, he turned ashen. My Dad carried a lot of expression in his face but, this day it was one of confusion and terror. There was a split second where I contemplated that the Cancer had spread to his brain and perhaps he had no idea who this intruder was. ‘Shu’?…..’You haven’t just come home?’ ‘You came home last night’. I hadn’t.

My Dad went on to explain that just as he was drifting off to sleep he was aware I was home. He said he had not heard me come in the front door but had seen me furtling around in the landing (I did and still do furtle an awful lot) and had called out to me to see what I was up to. I had walked to the entrance of his bedroom and stood in his doorway for a couple of minutes without speaking and then simply turned around and walked away. Of course, I say me, but it wasn’t me, I was 17 miles away watching trashy TV and no doubt drinking wine. My dad said there was no doubt in his mind that he was seeing a person, a solid entity (what he thought was me) that he had called out and asked me to get him a drink. We made a joke of it of course and japed that it would have been more than a little unsettling if whatever or whoever that was that night had actually brought him a drink.

This has always been a comfort to me, not frightening in any way but it is something I will take with me to my own grave and I will always wonder who exactly it was that came to collect my Dad. Dad didn’t have much time to worry about it as whoever it was accompanied him to the next world shortly after. I hope someone comes for me too when I am ready to go. I will have that drink though: Pinot Grigio naturally!

 

 

Ghosts

Ghosts

I can remember my old bedroom like it was yesterday. Actually, in truth, it was bloomin hideous. I had cream wallpaper but it was covered in brown and yellow flowers so actually it just looked brown. Half the wall was covered in a wood panel which had been painted white and I had a poster of Patrick Swayze which surreptitiously moved from the wall to the door, depending on how I was feeling at the time and how easy it made it to kiss him. He always kissed me back. Good old Patrick!

Ghosts

Of course Dirty Dancing was my favourite but he wasn’t too bad in this either!

Because our house was above the cafe then, the bedrooms at the very top were all attic rooms with the sloped celings. I would spend hours looking out my window. You had a birds eye view of our garden below. It was a large garden.My Mum was mad about flowers and gardening (hence my name) and she would potter outside for hours on end. She always made my dad build her things and when he had to build her a pond, there was almost a divorce thats for sure! I would sit out with her into the evening somedays,on my swing and making up songs.

My bed was in the corner of the room and I was incredibly scared of the dark. So I would sleep with the light on every night. Not a side light: a full light. I say I slept in there but until I was about 11 I had a tendency to creep into bed with my Mum and Dad. I could not understand their constant frustration as I only wanted to be close to them. However, now as I have my own children, the thought of my daughter still coming into bed in years to come fills me with dread. My whole future sex life eradicated until she was old enough to leave home. No doubt I would become one of those frustrated retirees who goes to yoga and looks at their Vagina in a hand mirror.

If I had the gift of fortune telling or hindsight though, I would have got into my Dad’s hospital bed and proclaimed that I would never leave until he left me. I would hold him for as long as I could, for every second that remained and he would know I was there, holding tight. In actual fact he would have probably thought I was the milkman as he was definately a little less lucid towards the end.

Anyway, one night when I was asleep in my own room, I was woken up with a start. It took a little while to register what exactly the sound was but, in the corner of my room I could hear a baby crying. It was so loud that I was sure my Mum and Dad would burst in at any time. I told myself it was a cat outside and merely took myself into my Mum and Dads bed. I would hear that baby cry once a month, always in the same place and always really loud. There was a particular night that I was already in my Mum and Dads bed and the crying woke me up from the other room. It woke my Dad up too because he sat up and looked around the room in a daze. I know for sure that he heard it. When I asked him the next day he denied all knowledge but what person in their right mind would confirm to their eight year old daughter that they had also heard the phantom infant in her room?

Ghosts

One of our Sundays out. Pretty sure this was Cricket St Thomas.

I was scared of that house. Even when we moved into our own official proper house next door and we used the old place for storage, I would rarely go in.If I did, I would run up the stairs and run out again, always feeling like someone was hot on my heels. I still have nightmare about it to this day and I often wonder if that baby was trying to tell me something.

When my Dad was well into his final months, I had decided to practice Reiki so that I would have a hobby to give me a break. My Reiki teacher was lovely and we would spend a lot of time on other spiritual subjects such as Tarot and past lives. We were talking about spirit guides one evening: not something that I really agree with and purely because if it were true, mine should have been sacked years ago! My teacher was convinced that I had a male sibling who was always around me but, it had only ever been my brother and I and I had confirmed with my Nanny that Mum had never lost any children.

When we first moved into our house, our actual house next to the cafe which my Mum had her ‘eye on’ for years, it was great fun. Effectively we had two houses and I would play in the new house all on my own for whole days on end. I would cook with the pots and pans and lone bottle of white wine vinegar that was left in the cupboard by our original neighbours. My Dad would tell everyone that listened that when he was decorating the front room he had removed seven layers of wall paper and on the last layer he found a newspaper cutting from the wedding of Queen Victoria’s son (or daughter, I can’t quite remember) It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that my Dad told me that all the time he had been decorating, he was aware of a figure stood behind him. It was even more surprising because my Dad was never really like that. He was very much straight forward and he certainly was never superstitious. That was surprising based on his parents background too. That house was everything to me though, I loved it and it loved me back (as any house could and showed itself to do so!) There were often times that I would hear someone walking around outside my room when everyone was in bed but, it never bothered me. I never saw anything and we always discussed that whoever or whatever was there was willing to live with us too. My Dad was adamant he had seen a dog running around too and this was before he was on large doses of morphine. Just two weeks before he died, something quite incredible happened (that will be continued)

One of the last things I cleared from that front room when my Dad had gone was our long mahogany dresser. The things I found in there meant what was thought to be a quick job took hours.I sat there on my own and took everything out of those drawers, one thing at a time. I found old dog pedigrees from when my Mum and Dad went to dog training classes (with dogs of course!) and I found umpteen letters and cards that me and my brother had made for them over the years. I even found a dried up old condom which was more than perturbing.

As I cleared the very last thing from the musty wood and moved the dresser away from the wall, a brown envelope that had been wedged in the back of the drawyer fell to the floor. In that envelope I found my Mum’s NHS card and our baby bracelets. Most bizarrely, the envelope also contained my Mum’s two maternity cards from her pregnancies with my brother and I. It wasn’t very interesting, mostly her weight and sugar levels etc.. However on her maternity card when pregnant with me there was a prominent section which stated in scrawly handwriting….’One previous full term pregnancy and one miscarriage at 11 weeks before this pregnancy’……………………