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!

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.

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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.

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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.

Bananarama

Bananarama

Bananarama

Mum was 46 when she died. Death carries so much guilt, not for the departed naturally: they don’t give a monkies! But, for all us poor bastards left behind! Life is full of so many ‘Shoulda Woulda Couldas’ no matter what the circumstances were that took them away from you. When my best friend was taken, it was instant. Boom! She was gone. I felt guilty that I was not with her as she had asked me to be (except then I would not actually be writing this) and I feel guilty for that as well. Why was I not in the car? Why was I at home in bed? Although, actually I woke up at the exact time that she left and could not get back to sleep. I have always been a bit strange like that. I get it from my Granddad don’t forget. Anyway, I digress!

Yes! Mum was 46 and I was 16. The first thing I remember feeling guilty about, apart from the whole;New Shirt, Pat Butcher incident of course was the day that I was taking the entrance exam to get into secondary school. Mum and I used to  visit a particular pet place and garden centre in these years and I would look at the guniea pigs and she would look at the Dahlias, or some such boring stuff. We would often visit ‘floral related’ places just the two of us. I expect my brother was at home counting and cleaning his Smurf collection. (If you know him, you will know this is not me attempting to be funny). Anyway, I was really nervous about the exam and Mum had promised one of these outings on the way home: with cake and a toy from the gift shop, which was usually a collectable fluffy pencil. I was so excited that I thought about it all the way in the car to my exam. We chatted about what animals we might see today and what cakes would be available. So much so that I forgot all about my Exam and just listened to my Bananarama tape on the car stereo. Mum had removed The Manhatten Transfer just this once as a treat for me!

Bananarama

The obligatory 80’s Frog wellies there!

When we arrived at what would be my new school, I happened to see a girl that was in my current class and I was so relived to see a friendly face. My Mum and hers chatted and they offered me a lift home with them via their house for a milkshake. I felt so grown up coming home with a friend and looked to my Mum for approval. She simply looked back and rather than say, ‘Don’t forget we were going somewhere’, she just said, ‘If you are sure that’s what you want to do’. It was only in the car on the way home that I remembered our planned outing and my stomach dropped. I remember it like it was yesterday. I still can’t believe it went clean out of my mind and yet I think about it now and see it played out so vividly. That was one of those times I would go back to in my time machine (as soon as I finish those plans).

Now! I am no psychologist! Again, if you know me, you may chuckle at that but, now I am a grown Woman I think that is why I was so angry with my Mum for dying and leaving me. If I was angry with her it would be all her fault. It would only be me that people felt sorry for and there was no space for me to feel guilty. I could not possibly feel guilty then for being such an utter bitch! I am not saying this was a character trait. It was all about timing. I was a hormonal teenager and I could be such a cow bag in the last months of my Mum’s life. My parents embarrassed me and they were always unfair to me by not letting me do what I wanted and buy me fags and stuff…(sense the tone) So I would repay them by behaving like the utter toilet water secreted in Satan’s bum hole. At least, I think I was. I feel like I was. When I look back I think I was.

On car journeys I would plug myself into my cassette player and stare out the window. In actual fact I was imaging that I was actually in Bananarama and wearing black tight satin pants, leather bra and a big cross necklace. My performance was always second to none. It wasn’t actually me of course, it was the mythical me: I was 25 and I was gorgeous. Good thing about fantasy, it can take you where you want to go. The years previous had not always been that easy. My Mum didn’t just get Cancer one day and die the next. She fought for 8 years and we watched. The world I escaped to was uncomplicated and made me forget, it was fun and vivacious but, more importantly, absolutely no one was dying or losing their hair.

Bananarama

Mum and Dad (and Teddy)

When it spread to my Mum’s brain, she didn’t go ‘Doolally flip’ as you may expect. In a way, it would have been much easier if she had. She simply started losing the ability to do the most basic things: swallow, smile, talk and lastly of course, breath. She was still in there and that was the hardest part. I know she was there because she wanted an Etch a Sketch type thing to write messages on. Although, now I think to myself, how did she initially ask for the Etch a Sketch type thing because she couldn’t actually talk……Hmmm! But, I digress again!

Actually, I know that my Mum didn’t really think that I was a bitch. One of the last things she wrote was that she knew I would always be ok, that I would have a good life or do my best to make one. Maybe she knew I would always be strong and that I would have to be. I am only that way because of her. I have had and do have a good life. Life is precious and you must enjoy every last bit. I wish mine so far had been a little less painful and I wish that parts of me had not gone missing but, I will always try and show my Mum that she was right in what she said. That I will make it be alright.

Bananarama

Happy and a little bit weird!

 

Dignity.....Gone!

Dignity…..Gone!

Dignity…..Gone!

Do you ever go for a late evening drive, just because you can and you think it will be a nice idea? Do you chat about your day with your partner and think about all the lovely things you can do on your weekend? Well! I hope you know how bloody lucky you are because I will never see an evening car ride in the same way again. Every single bump in the road and pot hole was jolting my nether regions into my thorax. Every time I would drive past the garden centre after that, I would remember that the last time I saw it flashing by, I felt as if someone was knitting with my uterus! Oh, and don’t forget you need to stop for petrol. ARE YOU BLOODY KIDDING ME! Do I want anything? Yes, I want you to go back in time when you believed you may be making a rush journey to a maternity unit and put some sodding petrol in!!! And breath…..I settled for a Snickers in case you were wondering.

Remember the gush I referred to previously? Well apparently I could not even do that properly and as it was only my hind waters that had dripped out and my labour didn’t seem to be moving all that fast, I would wait to be Induced as planned (behind the four other ladies that had got in before me). I will never forget their faces, it was like that scene in Friends; they wheeled me in, consultant came round and advised me it was a mistake I was here and as part of my waters had broken (24 hours earlier) it was probably not safe to wait. I felt their eyes bore into my very soul as I was wheeled out of that room past all four beds. At least, I would have done if I didn’t feel like the Titanic was making its final sail into port by way of my womb!

It is always comforting when the midwife who is about to break your waters with what looks like a crochet needle is blonde, about 23 and has a fresh application of lipstick. I felt like Bella Emberg in a Hollyoaks scene. At least, again I would have done if I wasn’t now sitting in a puddle of my own inner juices! In true reality, I could not give a monkies what I looked like; I was too scared to go to the toilet on my own and it was suggested that I should be sitting on some ginormous bouncy ball. Let me tell you, in this case, Weebles wobble and they also fall down! I was too scared to close the toilet door, too scared to sit on the toilet and just generally terrified. The pain was indescribable and to top it all off, I had really needed to go for a poo since watching Countdown earlier on.

Dignity.....Gone!

I also had not eaten for hours. Thank god I had that Snickers!!

Gas and Air! What a waste of time that was for me. I was adamant I did not want Pethadine because I was uncomfortable with feeling a bit ‘woo!’ I had not drunk for nine months and wanted to be eased into it slowly. At least I had my own room, my own midwife who incidentally was about 12 but, had no qualms in holding a kidney dish under me so that I could try and have that poo I wanted earlier (whilst standing up). Thankfully she had another kidney dish too as the culmination of that damned Snickers and Gas and Air had made me projectile vomit. So here was the 12 year old, juggling with the kidney dishes to assist me in eliminating my bodily waste and the fact I was so overdue and been in labour for so long meant I had a monitor attached to my pregnant belly and was totally restricted in how much I could move around.

4!! 4!! Can you bloody believe it! 48 hours of labour, One trickle of waters, One crappy tens machine which I may as well have just knocked myself out with, waters completely broken by Barbie with the crochet needle, Gas and Air and vomit and I had manage to dilate my cervix to 4 centimetres. And still no poo! I knew exactly what they were going to say and the only thing ringing in my head was the wise words of those ‘Induced’ Mums who were now laughing and waggling their baby established fingers at me. Well! I will do it! Should I have the Pethadine? What else was there? It was only a liquid drip, what possible effect could it have on……Sod this! I’m having the Epidural! The seven minute contraction due to over stimulation was the final straw.

I never made much noise. The 12 year old told me I was doing really well. Not like the woman that had been screaming for 5 hours in the next room but, I had to admit defeat and the moment I knew that epidural was on the way, my whole body breathed a sigh of relief. Again, until God saw fit to send me a 25 year old Anaesthetist named Tom who said I had nice legs. That was probably his Anaesthetist thing, ‘Make the vomit ridden, constipated, Bella Emberg wanabee feel better by commenting on her nice legs’. Worked though. I then forgot that no less than 5 people had examined me and turned me into a human puppet because here was Tom and his enormous needle!

The most difficult part of having a seven minute contraction, closely followed by another is that when someone (even Tom) tells you that it is imperative that you do not move, you want to punch them in the face. I managed to do it though and even though I had no idea what the result would be, all those ideas of the perfect birth and never needing an epidural simply ebbed away as I laid back in my bed in a ball of ecstatically calm relief once I felt that cold liquid drip in. I still knew I had legs, I just wasn’t sure where they were.

Dignity.....Gone!

How can you remember anything negative when you get to look at this every day.

It is hard to describe the feeling. You have absolutely no pain any more. It is gone just as quickly as it arrives but, when the midwife tells you that you need to push when you feel it tightening, you know when is the right time. By now, I am onto my second Midwife as the other has gone home and probably after about an additional four hours slightly more comfortable than before, my cervix has decided that it shall finally dilate. All I really want to do is go home and climb into my comfy bed and forget this ever happened. Well, to save you being really bored we shall merely jump on two more hours because that is pretty much how long I then pushed for to try and get her out. This was before yet another Gynaecologist came in for the puppet show and proclaimed that, this was not happening! I could have told him that. My daughter had succeeded where I couldn’t and had a poo. In her case, it was a sign that she was struggling too. No forceps, no ventouse, just sign this form in case you die and they wheel you down to theatre like the beginning scenes of casualty. As I lay flat, the only thing I could focus on was the line of lights on the ceiling; Lit up like Blackpool, only far less fun.

It was all very much a haze. My surgeon was actually talking about a dingy that he had just won on Ebay whilst he made the cut. However, I knew this to mean that actually, he had opened me up and found a huge tumour and there was absolutely no point in stitching me back up again. I did say that I was in a haze! They also don’t tell you that you will shake uncontrollably and although you feel no pain, the sensation is of tugging and pulling at your insides and that someone is doing the washing up in your intestines. They also should tell you not to keep focusing on the lights as the large stainless steel ones they use in theatres also act as a mirror and I would rather have been asked if I actually wanted to see my insides. This, coupled with the fact that this whole experience had been so utterly horrendous meant that it was possible for me to actually forget why I had arrived here in the first place. Therefore, when your baby comes out, you have absolutely no idea what this alien could possibly be. There was no instant cuddle and lovely warm feeling: she had to be taken away from me straight away to check that she wasn’t in danger. The fact that I was pushing for so long with her chin going in the opposite direction had no doubt made her a little crabby.

I do remember though that I was told they were going to put something in my bum so that I didn’t need to go to the toilet. Chance would be a fine thing!Fast forward two days later with a line of stitches and a back passage like the M1 on a bank holiday weekend and I don’t think I need to go any further with how that felt. Oh, and having a drain in for two days because the mammoth expulsion task had taken longer than expected, it is a wonder I ever had sex again, let alone that I am now awaiting the imminent birth of my third child. But, you want to know the truth? Yes, you don’t sleep and you feel like the world has turned inside out and upside down and Yes I could actually hardly move for weeks because of what happened but, if I had to put my hand on the Bible right now, I would do it all again in one heartbeat. The eight years I have had with that incredible little girl is enough to make me go through that every month if I had to: and sometimes parenthood feels like that anyway.

Just please do something for me if the opportunity arises? If a woman tells you that they had their baby via C-Section, get that little niggle in your brain that says, ‘Oh, she couldn’t be bothered to have a ‘natural’ birth. Took the easy option’ and proceed to beat it incredibly hard with a mallet.

Dignity.....Gone!

And pooof she was here…well almost!

The Godmutha

The Godmutha

Even now, I have days where in a split second, I will think of calling my Dad and asking him a question (usually about something totally useless) I would call him a lot. When we first moved to the house next door to the Café, I would call him with my breakfast order and he would bring it in to me. As a child, I would wake him up in the night for a drink and he would always happily oblige, sometimes even going into the café to get me a frothy glass of milk. Just to confirm again, the Café was next door! Spoilt wasn’t I?

I didn’t even really consider how he went above and beyond without a grumble but, yet, now in the position of having two young children, I appreciate it even more. Particularly because there are days when I am ready to tear my hair out and I wish I had my Dad to make me feel better by getting me a glass of milk.
Why is it that as soon as you go into a supermarket, your once well behaved child will turn into Chucky on a bad day and with an irritable bladder, coupled with an endless rendition of, ‘can I have this’ and ‘I’ve always wanted one of these’, even if said thing is a turnip as you couldn’t possibly leave a shop without furnishing them with something.

This is how my Dad always was, nothing was too much trouble and that is why I wish I could still bug him on a daily basis with pointless questions and useless requests. We reversed our roles at the end of his life after I became his legs and yet I still don’t think that I did him any justice in comparison to how he had cared for me. I wish I could have given him back just even an amoeba sized amount in return so he could feel just how grateful I was and just how lucky I felt.

When my brother and I were little, we spent a lot of time on our own due to the sheer amount of time that our parents worked in the Café. I got used to my own company in summer holidays and filled most of my time with learning all the words to pivotal musicals and patching up Barbie’s after the terrible accidents they suffered on a regular basis. That pink camper van must have seen more cliff dives than Red Bull. I remember when one lost an eye. It was a painstaking operation to return her from the brink of a terrible fate. Thankfully, I was an expert optical surgeon and she pulled through.

We never missed out though. We would go to Torquay every Sunday and Exeter every Thursday afternoon (when they shut the Café half day) I have so many happy memories of our days out, obviously excluding the Texas Homecare incident and the time I nearly amputated my Brother’s finger with the car cigarette lighter. But, I never felt alone. Not like I have done in later life when I have been unhappy in my personal life. I don’t really like to be alone now that I am so happy because I worry that it won’t end (the being alone), that I may be alone again through no choice of my own. I never chose to be strong, I had to be. That was very lonely though.

The Godmutha

Sybil was good company. Especially with Deely Boppers naturally!

I never really called my Mum. Mainly because there were no mobile phones then and I never really went anywhere without her. I went to Italy when I was 14 with one of my best friends and I can remember standing in the shower whilst I was there and ‘crying my eyes out’ because I missed my Mum so much. I will never forget how I felt when I was able to come home to her. Actually, when I came home I was horrible to her as she had redecorated my entire bedroom on the proviso that it was much more grown up! My lovely reassuring pink ‘Snatch’ bedroom accessories had been replaced with black, turquoise and yellow with a simple cat silhouette on my grown up duvet. Any child in the 90’s will remember the Snatch phenomenon, a duvet set that appeared like a big brown dog was in the bed with you…genius.
Ironically, I did really grow up on that Italy trip but, I was so happy to come home to my Mum. She was right though, the new version was much more grown up and I did thank her for it as soon as I had stopped being a horrid brat!

My Mum had a best friend from her teens and beyond.She was always a constant in my life when I was growing up and she still is now. She is pretty much the only constant that has remained with me from the day I was born to the (cough cough) 34 year old I am now.My Godmother Ro is amazing. Quite confusingly, she is actually called Caroline but, I call her Ro. Ro and Mo it was in their younger days and my Mum and her were most excellent friends throughout the years. She is my Godmother and subsequently, she is now my daughters Godmother too. I knew that she would remain in my daughters life in the same way and this is exactly what I wanted. So often we have Godparents that are merely that in name and quite honestly, I have always thought, what is the point in that?

When I was young, my Godmother would always send me little parcels containing pretty tins and heart shaped bath pearls with added glitter. Can you still get bath pearls? Anyway, she still sends me little parcels and thoughtful letters now but, most importantly, she is there for me in a massive way. You know sometimes you can have a friend whom you don’t talk to for a while and yet when you do talk to them, you feel like you never had any time apart? Well, that is how we are and that is how her and my Mum were. Bearing in mind that she is still in Wiltshire and we are now Devonians. My Mum loved her wholeheartedly and so do I.

The Godmutha

This photo is one of my most treasured possessions.

I love the fact that she knew my Mum and was there for her too in the same way. Judging from my Mum’s photos and naughty stories, they also had a bloody good laugh! Well, she is a laugh and in the most excellent way, she is utterly and fabulously bonkers. Everyone needs a bit of bonkers in their life and I certainly want her to know how grateful I am to her for adding a little bonkers into mine and most importantly leaving a window open to the memory of my wonderful, beautiful and massively missed Mum.

The Godmutha

I had this amazing card last week 🙂

As good as it gets…again!

As good as it gets…again!

Now! Where did we get to?

The police came to see me at work once. I told the policeman that if I found my Brother first, I was going to kill him! He nodded understandably and scribbled in his note pad but, really I expect he thought that I was an utterly heartless bitch! I wasn’t of course, I was in a place where I felt I was drowning, that I would never come up. No doubt how my Brother felt at the time.
I just kept thinking that he wasn’t at all like the Coppers from The Bill. I expect that this was his most exciting job of the day. To me, it was pretty much the end of my world.

How dare he! How dare he find that things were too much for him and so he could simply decide to run away and leave it all behind. Leave me behind. I had wished that I could run away but, I had responsibilities. He had a responsibility to be my older Brother and stick around. He didn’t run away to forget though, he ran away to disappear forever.

As good as it gets...again!

Disney baby!!!

Quite often it starts with something small. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trivialising self harm but in comparison of what was to come, it was much more preferable for me. I know that sounds selfish, I should not be talking about me here but, the self harm never seemed quite so bad as the determination to simply not be here. Perhaps that was because my Dad was still here then and emotionally and subconsciously, I was leaning on him so to speak. It is quite easy to ignore it, long jumpers and tins of razor blades hidden under sofas but, it is always there, always hanging around in the ethos.

He spoke to me about it once, we were probably drunk. As we became older and the age difference seemed less, we had a great relationship. We went clubbing together, drank together and on occasion, I was particularly enamoured of some of his male friends. He wasn’t always as particularly keen on that idea but he humoured me. The infatuation was ordinarily short lived. Most of all we would spend our time playing Trivial Pursuit, listening to music and reciting practically every line from Filthy Rich and Catflap…we still do that now. Those were happy times. We still do exactly the same when we meet up though, like we can retreat to those times when we were children and we probably need that.

As good as it gets...again!

My brother was always the intelligent one, he still is!

He said that when he bled, bled away, so did the pain and the frustration and the hurt. I could comprehend that, it made sense to me. It didn’t make sense however, that he would always have to be reminded of those times, that he would always always carry it with him, wherever he chose to go in life. Physically, that reminder would always be there. That part made no sense to me. Says she with the ongoing tattoo sleeve…I know I know!! But, I chose to have forever ink on me. He didn’t choose. No-one would choose that if they could. I respected that he had shared it with me though.

That’s exactly where we are now (but better). Since I was 18 and he told me that he would intentionally cut himself, he has never spoken about his pain. But, he does now. Those times of silence in between were dark. Very dark. Mary Celeste dark!

When he was hospitalised, I remember feeling like I did with my Dad when he was. I could not wait for my Dad to come home but, I was always worried about how our lives would be different. I wanted him to come home but, I was scared about being his carer. He could not walk and he had to be lifted into bed and into his wheelchair. Would I have to wipe his bum? Would I have to give up my life to concentrate on making the rest of his easier? Of course, I would do that and I did to some extent but, it is a scary prospect when you are just obtaining your own freedom in life. Incidentally, although I didn’t have to wipe his bum ( too much), I did have to do his washing and empty his commode which was always an experience. We would joke about whether it had been a sausages and onion gravy day. Thankfully, we learned to space those very far apart!

I never thought this may happen again. This time though it was a time when I had my own family to consider : a husband and a small child to concentrate on, I was also pregnant with another. Plus, I didn’t have my Dad anymore to lean on. Those times were times that I would really rather forget. When I talked to my brother on the phone from his hospital though, it seemed like it was just the two of us in the world. Just as we had to be before, just as we had been left and although these were the darkest times, those times are behind us now and we have a crazy relationship because of it. Crazy is our middle name. Although, technically he has a certificate to prove it :)!

As good as it gets...again!

Its not Tarby…but hey 🙂

I can honestly say that I have never been so proud of anyone. Of what he was then and now what he has become is a world so far apart that you would need a wardrobe to get there again! I know that he will never be cured. I know that my beautiful fiance will never be cured but in life there is hope and you cannot have sadness or pain without happiness and love. The world is meant to be full of opposites and I firmly believe that when you are given hardship, one day you will be given back what you gave in a positive reward. I already have now to some extent and so has my Brother: in the recovery that he has achieved. If that isn’t true however, I shall be most annoyed but i will die waiting. If I am proved wrong….hey, who cares..I’ll be dead!!!