You were supposed to live forever.
You were supposed to live forever.
Dear Elderly Couple buying lightbulbs,
It made me happysad when Mr Elderly Couple cheerily announced
“Oooh it says these new lightbulbs last 10years, just think, we will probably never have to buy lightbulbs again!”
Mrs Elderly Couple you looked a combination of faintly amused yet groaning inwardly at your husbands sense of humour, and yet also clearly slightly terrified of your future demise as you simply said “yes dear”.
I do hope you both get to experience the joys of purchasing energy saving lightbulbs again (although top tip -your electricity provider often gives them out for free) but more importantly I hope Mr Elderly Couple keeps up his sense of humour and you and Mrs Elderly Couple remain such a lovely clearly happy couple and that when your time does come that you get to shuffle off this mortal coil and towards the light (the light that takes several minutes to warm up and reach full brightness) together at the same time, so one of you never misses the other, bad mortality jokes and all.
Lots of Love
P.S You are role models for me &LordC. I want someone to write about doing something like that in 40years or so. 🙂
Dear “A Time to Grieve”,
So on the first anniversary of my Dad’s death the Times run an article on “grief blogging”
and this blog didn’t get a mention- sniff. This blog was set up mostly to help me write out my grief and I reckon some of the following posts have helped me massively:
I don’t think I am very good at grieving. I don’t often let myself cry or be sad and sometimes I feel like a pressure cooker ready to explode but I just can’t give into the grief just incase.
Incase of what I don’t know. Maybe I am scared if I start I will never stop. Instead I delay, distract and disassociate.
Sometimes there is just too much going on in real life to allow time to wallow, time to grieve.
Today I planned to grieve, properly, I honestly did, its the anniversary of losing my dad, its what I am supposed to do right? It hasn’t really happened. We have the builders in so sobbing all day wasn’t going to happen with three strange men in my loft! LordC unexpectedly and wonderfully took the day off work and we mooched into town and had lunch. In honour of my dads heart and my own heart investigations on Monday I ordered a healthy lunch and a glass of Rose he probably would have liked. We meant to go and sit in the Botanic Gardens as dad loved it there but it was raining and we ended up in Poundland instead. Dad also loved it there but that’s not quite the fitting tribute I intended!
I suppose I have blogged somethings that have helped, and right this second instead of taking some time to have a good sob I am writing this post whilst I finish off my dad’s bottle of Christmas Baileys. I suppose that is how I grieve- making new traditions and memories in honour of my dad.
although perhaps an annual poundland pilgrimage is a bit much.
The Baileys thing will always be my 31st Jan tradition from now on. Dad always used to buy me a bottle of Christmas Baileys, as he thought I liked it. I didn’t really and often it would still be around the following Christmas. Since he can no longer buy me a bottle of Baileys, I arrange for my brother to carry on the tradition of the Unwanted bottle of Baileys. We made Baileys Tiramisu on Christmas eve and there was just enough Baileys for a glass tonight.
So here’s to you Dad- A time to grieve and sip my Baileys and blog about a time to grieve without actually taking the time to grieve.
Such is life,
Dear Birthday Beano,
I am decoupaging my father in laws old trunk into a toy box for the girls covered in your fabulous comic. I bought random selection of 17 on eBay from 1981 1982 and 1983. They arrived in the post today, to my complete surprise there was one from the exact day I was born!!! Given you were only produced once a week on a Thursday, then the odds of me getting a Beano out of the 17 I received from the exact date of my birth were slim (I had no idea I was born on a Thursday or the Beano was issued on a Thursday) and to get this treat on today of all days made a very hard day (first anniversary of my fathers death) a special day. I don’t really believe in ghosts but I’m comforted by pretending it’s a sign from Dad.
Thankyou Birthday Beano. You shall occupy pride of place on my daughters’ new toy box.
Time ticks on,
Never waste a moment
Seize the day
Baby is born
Toddler turns 2
Life goes on
Daughter avoids grief
Life goes on
Baby turns one
Anniversary of fathers death.
Tomorrow about 9.30am ish
Time to pause
Time to grieve
Toddler will turn 3 next week
Life goes on.
Time goes on.
They say bereavement is a journey, one that never really ends but has easier paths and harder paths. I’d say since my dad died I stuck my roller skates on, load my backpack up with more and more stuff to keep me busy and preoccupied from grief and got my head down and tried and skate through it as fast as I can.
Except I wasn’t looking where I was going. I’ve crashed into a wall, and fallen flat on my arse, the contents of my backpack are strewn around me. I’ve realised that although it was the only strategy I felt I could adopt at the time (I had a three week old baby she took priority, then she got easier, so I took more & more on at work to keep me busy and distracted) it was not a sustainable strategy.
So I’m stopping to rest for a while and I’m taking some time to sort through my backpack, getting rid of some of the items causing the most weight and stress, working out what’s most important, before picking myself up to continue with this journey. It’s scary because I am no quitter and some of the things in the back pack being got rid of will cause difficult consequences for other people and I really really hate letting people down.
Actually admitting I’ve crashed into a wall is quite embarrassing for me too, I’m usually the perfect superskater, I don’t ever stumble or fall, I just carry on, but heck on the otherside of the wall is a giant drop. So I’m glad I’m stopping now and sorting it out with a bruised bum and pride rather than carry on hurtling on and ending up with a broken neck/brain.
Think I might stroll the next part of my bereavement journey. Allow myself to cry that I can’t see my dad over Christmas, that he can’t see or celebrate Omble’s first birthday (he never met her) or Oddlers 3rd Birthday which falls exactly a week after the anniversary of his death. I need to get through all these milestones properly, carefully and finally allow myself to grieve. Properly, with the help of my family, friends and a bereavement counsellor, not by ignoring distracting and hurtling on.
So where are you in your bereavement journey and how are you choosing to journey?
Lots of love
It’s 6months today since you died so suddenly when Omble was only three weeks old.
I have so much I want to say to you, so much you need to catch up on so I thought I would write to you a bit of an update about what has gone on in the last 6months. I really miss phoning every few days to update on my news and hear yours.
Firstly I know you would be massively proud of a new role that I recently took on which is massive and high profile for my field which is awesome and scary at same time, I hope I can do you and the role proud. Oh and you will pleased to hear I have a new job, I start next month and I can’t wait to get back into it. It’s only a day a week initially but they are desperate for me to work more than that but I want to stay at home with the kids and carry on with my freelance so this seems the right balance for now. They are also going to let me do my masters dissertation project with them so the masters should get finished this year too. I know how proud of me you were for me starting it, and although I wasn’t sure I whether I was going to take it past the PgDip I have already I have decided I want to for you. For your memory.
Also I have had two articles published recently and I am writing a third. All in national publications two of them really well known, one pretty obscure. I am loving this getting paid to write lark and I am so pleased it is thanks to blogging and twitter that I am getting paid to do something I love that I can fit around the kids. I’m hoping for a few more gigs like that and I know you would be so proud of that. I am also getting increasingly angry and activisty which is thanks to you and mum starting me out on the miners strikes.
The kids are doing brilliantly- Oddler’s language is superb for her age and nursery are always commenting how advanced she is for her age which puts to bed the worries about her start in life. She is completely toilet trained now including at night and in the end it took days not the weeks I was expecting. She does have a stroppy streak too her and mum says she is identical to how I was as a toddler- so just imagine me at that age and you will see your granddaughter.
Omble is now in a lovely little routine and I am pleased to report by some miracle she is pretty much sleeping through the night though last night she didn’t (I will write about that tomorrow). She is eating plenty and smiling and laughing at us lots. She says mama and dada and baba but not at anyone in particular she just babbles. She isn’t rolling or sitting yet but that’s mainly because after you died I didn’t put her down for a week and after that she turned into velcro baby and wouldn’t be put down so hasn’t spent much time on a mat to earn how to do these things, but at least this time around we have no worries about possible brain damage so I am just going with the flow much more. She utterly adores her big sister and the two of them are starting to play a bit together which is really lovely to see. I now know how hard you must have found it parenting me and Bro, Omble often accidentally kicks etc which upsets Oddler and I have to try and deal with it so Oddler doesn’t feel hard done by, it is such a tricky balance, and I get now why I thought my younger bro got away with so much- I don’t think he did really- just two different kids.
LordCurd is doing great, he is wonderful and amazing as ever and has been such incredible support to me and the girls these last few months. I do try and cherish him like you always told me too but I know I could always do more and I promise I will. He is very busy at work at the moment so I am trying to cook more and do more around the house. We just had a massive sort out of upstairs so now my study is in our bedroom, Oddler’s bedroom is now the former study/spare room and Omble is now in the nursery. I think we may look into that loft conversion we spoke about at some point otherwise we will grow out of this house but mum and bro are looking at the possibility of moving into it instead. Will be amazing to have them live here instead of 3 hours away. Oh and we had the garden landscaped by Olly- he did an utterly amazing job, you would be very impressed. I know how much you liked him and you will be pleased to know we are giving him all your tools if he can use them. Would be nice for them to get used up as part of your DIY legacy.
Oh and I think I have chosen a new car that you and mum were helping us out with now we need a bigger one since we are a family of four. I know you were going to sort it for me, being a dadlike thing you wanted to do for me, I am quite pleased I am sorting it myself for the first time ever, feels terribly grown up, although I am a bit scared about the automatic parking brake button the cars I want have, so I am still trying to find a better alternative. Its a toss up between a C4 Picasso or a Renault Grande Scenic. What do you think? I know you didn’t approve of the Citroen but don’t think we discussed the Scenic which I rather like. In fact I think it is currently likely to be the scenic unless I find something better. Need to sort it soon as we are giving my car to LordCurd’s sister to help her out.
Hmmm what else has happened in the last 6months, mum has done lots of work on the house, uPVC windows, new roof and the like, it needed to be done and I know how you wanted to do it but hadn’t quite got round to it (in 10 years!) it’s all very strange and not sure how you would feel about it so maybe I should shh now. She wants to be warm and comfortable in the house for the last few years before she moves here. Bro has also been much much better since you left us, he did have a bit of a wobble and we were worried but he is back to doing well again, and I am attending a siblings support group which is massively helping me to prepare to ultimately take on his care one day.
I guess alls left for me to talk about is how much I miss you. It’s funny since I was a child I spent so many years worrying what I would do when one of my parents died, I even used to cry myself to sleep with the thought of it, but now it has actually happened it actually hasn’t been as awful as I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong I miss you dreadfully and I think about you often and sometimes I am blind-sided by random things like cups of tea and the grief wells up in me like a geyser, but most of the time I am too busy to wallow or grieve thanks to work, the family, life, and you were right “life is for the living”. I do take time out to have a cry now and again. I will always miss you and never forget you, but we had 30 fairly brilliant years of you being my dad, I wish there had been many more but that’s the way it goes sometimes. The girls will always know what a great man their grandpa was.
I love you.
I miss you.
Dear Strange Baby,
Who are you? Who do you belong too? Where are you? Who’s house is that? Why is my dad holding you? He was normally a bit scared of holding babies
since he dropped me on my head as one- explains a lot! Why does he have a photo of him holding you?
We’d love to know. You intrigue us.
Dear Cup of Tea,
Just made one of you and was reminiscing over my dad’s insistence for “one teabag two cups”
which is very very different from two girls one cup, DON’T GOOGLE.
Making my mum and dad a cup of tea in the morning it always had to be one teabag per two cups of tea. My dad liked his tea weaker than my mum did, so her cup got the teabag first. It became a family tradition that whenever I was home for a weekend I would make them their “one teabag two cups” cuppas (and I always had a hot choc) and I would perch on the end of the bed drinking them and catching up. It was lovely.
If my dad came to stay with me, he would insist on the “one teabag two cups” rule even though we are a “one tea bag per cup” household. He thought we were so decadent and wasteful. He may have had a point. I have worked out the average cost of a teabag is 2p. If you consider my mum and dad probably had five “one teabag two cups” everyday during the course of their 34year marriage then that is £1241 compared to £2482 if they hadn’t done that. Mega savings!
If no-one else wanted a cup of tea when my dad did, he would put the teabag somewhere safe for later, usually in another clean cup by the kettle, and would go mad if anyone cleared it away thinking it was just mess. As he kept losing saved teabags in this manner he then took to making himself two cups of tea at a time and microwaving the cold second when he next fancied a cuppa. Now microwaved tea is just minging so I draw the line at enacting the “one teabag two cups” rule if just me having a cup of tea but I actually think it could be quite sweet (and
penny pinching money saving) if I adopted the “One teabag two cups” rule for me and LordCurd. It would be really romantic. I love him enough to share my teabag with him. Or something.
It would be a nice way to remember my Dad and his love of tea, my mum and being a miser anyhow!
So dear Cup of Tea, I must ask you this, how many teabags (or fractions thereof) do you like in an optimum cup of you?
Lot’s of Love
It would have been your birthday today, you would have been 78. You also died 11 weeks ago tomorrow. I partly started this blog to help me deal with the grief at losing you and so far you have been the focus of several letters:
This is the letter I meant to write to you all my life, the one that I never did because we always thought we had more time together, then it was the one I wanted to write to you to go into your coffin, but again there was no time. I regret that.
I’m so so sad that the day you died was the day you were supposed to be staying and helping me with Omble and Oddler as it was LordCurd’s first day back at work and Omble was getting her tongue tie snipped. It would have been the first time you met her but I had cancelled the visit as we couldn’t cope with you and bro as houseguests as we were so sleep deprived and had found it a bit of a struggle with Mum staying the week before in our tiny house. I am so sad that you never got to meet Omble but I know you doted on her and showed everyone her pictures. I’m glad that I took her to meet you in the Chapel of Rest. It helps knowing that one time you were together in the same room even though when I saw you lying there I finally realised you were gone. You didn’t look sleeping as mum said- you looked very much dead. I don’t want to remember you like that but it still has been incredibly comforting that I brought Omble to you that day. I would have still been regretting and upset about it otherwise.
One of my earliest memories is of you meeting me at the door of yours and mums bedroom and saying I couldn’t go in because mummy was sleeping. She had just had my baby brother. You were a stay at home dad so you did all the school runs (although often forgot to pick us up as your car clock would often be set to french time since you were there so often!). You were a terrible cook though- sausage and tomato ketchup sandwiches in our lunchboxes. Boak, and your M&M pancakes which were half a cm thick! Oh dear!
I remember once being incredibly embarrassed because you came to pick us up dressed head to toe in pink. You had had a washing machine disaster and your white sunhat, shirt, jeans (white jeans dad- seriously- not something I ever remember seeing but you defo had pink trousers that day!?) were all pink and you were wearing your white wellies (which were white anyway as you had discovered operating theatre/slaughterhouse wellies to be cheaper than normal wellies and you loved a bargain). We were so embarrassed. You just laughed.
I also remember the stories you used to tell us, the Mars Bar Factory to keep us going on long walks (two Mars bars hidden in a hut at the end of the walk on the moor- still not sure how you got them there!); Esmeralda and Griselda the two witches on our holidays in France who used to write us letters in the font of the church; The magic door unlocking light up yoyo (we were locked out of our hotel room til you got me to use my magic yoyo and it worked!) ; The dragon lines (motorway crash barriers) that if we spoke or made a noise at all on the motorway the dragon would come and gobble us up! (Haha cunning- I may use that one myself). You made our childhood so magical and wonderful.
You could be a meanie and a grump sometimes with quite a cruel sense of humour. I remember sitting on the edge of a water bath in a field on holiday once and you sodding well chucked me in! Unfortunately you hadn’t realised it was full of stinging nettles and I still don’t think I have forgiven you! Mum was also livid at you. I think you felt really bad after, you could just be quite childish sometimes and not think about the consequences to your actions- Tsk! Oh and the time I saw a lame duck and wanted to take it to the vets but you wouldn’t let me and then kept making duck soup jokes all the way home- humph. I was a vegetarian for a whole 24 hours after that until I forgot when you brought me a sausage roll- how you laughed.
I never ever saw you cry, because you were always the strong silent type really, although I remember two occasions when mum told me you had, once when your mum died, and once when we thought I had cancer because of the lump in my bones which turned out to be a bone infection. I never saw those emotions but knowing from mum you had them made me feel closer to you.
You most surprised me when I was going through typical teenage struggles with sexual identity. You were the one who sat me down and told me “LadyCurd- no matter what you are I will always love you”, (meanwhile my ultra liberal mother was completely freaking out). This was the best and kindest thing you ever did for me, and I was so surprised because you just weren’t really someone to talk about stuff like that too. I loved you so much for saying that too me and making me feel accepted no matter what.
You supported me so much with my education and career, encouraged me and inspired me to succeed. You also would sometimes try and control some of my academic or other life choices by financial incentives but I got wise to that and ultimately we got to a point of muddling along without you trying to interfere too much, and I know you only did it because you cared and you wanted what was best for me. You did a lot for me and I relied on you so much (as did mum and bro) so you have left a massive massive hole now you have gone- we don’t just miss you terribly but we are not entirely sure how to sort the finances, or check the coolant on the car or sort the buildings insurance etc etc. & although I am a lot more independent than my mum I have realised that I am often too dependent on LordCurd and I want to fix that so I can be as savvy as you were about things. I know you were incredibly proud of me when I independently oversaw our house renovations and were impressed with everything I had done and I think I probably have got the property bug from you so you never know I may start my own monopoly game one day. Hurrah.
I know I could wind you up with going on about my pregnancy worries and niggles (but likewise you drove me mad when I hadn’t felt Omble move in 24hours and you were staying and were going to take me to hospital but then decided to do the washing up first so LordCurd wouldn’t find the house a mess- LordCurd being slightly more worried about the baby than the washing up! ARGH!) but I also know how impressed you were with how I dealt with the immediate aftermath of Oddler being in intensive care and suspected brain damaged. I think you were amazed how calm and positive I was considering and although I had a wobble with PTSD afterwards we ultimately got through it and I know you were proud of me during that horrible time.
We used to tease you, call you Del Boy, Compo, Steptoe, Pa Larkin, Greengrass but most of all we called you Fantastic Mr Fox. It’s true you were. The best thing about you dad was that no-matter what you were always there for me, I could always count on you in a crisis. When I phoned you in tears one day from university you would have been there the next day (5hour drive) but ultimately you didn’t need to. You would do anything for anyone and we miss you so so much. You were incredibly strong throughout Bro’s long ongoing fight with schizophrenia, caring for him, holding mum together as well as shielding me from the worst of it (although I didn’t want to be shielded)
I said the other day of all my letters I have written in this blog there are only three people I want to write back. James McAvoy, Dr Who ( 😉 ) and you. But most of all you. Sadly none of you will ever write back. I miss you everyday and think of you always. Thankyou for being my dad, it’s funny I once said to mum once you’d wound me up once too often “I wish dad wasn’t my dad” and mum just said “don’t be daft if he wasn’t you wouldn’t be you”. It’s true. Thankyou for making me me.
Happy Birthday Dad
I love you.
P.S Not sure I believe in Heaven but it is comforting to think of you about somewhere with other people we’ve lost. Hope you have been reunited with your parents (Grandpa who I never got to meet) and brothers (Simon who died as a baby and Peter who died a few years ago), I hope you have seen Mum’s parents and Grandma isn’t the shell she was when she died and that Grandpa is still as wonderful as he ever was. I hope you are hanging out with Joe, your best friend and the man who was practically another grandpa to us growing up. I even kind of hope the babies that never made it get to meet you.
P.P.S In my phone the house phone is down as Mum and Dad- makes me sad whenever Mum rings but until now I haven’t been able to change it. Especially as you probably rang me more than her! I think I need to change it today. Doesn’t mean I am forgetting just that I am healing. Anyhow I bet wherever you are you have found the cheapest phone and internet deal and would phone if you could. In fact I hope you have the internet where you are so you can read this. Then again you would probably groan at my “attention seeking” blog, you being quite a private person, so maybe not! I’ll post it to you 🙂 the address is DadCurd, The Ether, SomewhereEverywhere, Always in my Heart. Right?