Tag Archives: Life

Just a thank you.

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on Sunday Jacqui turned up.  Its always a joy to see her face AND she had bought me two delicious pieces of  jewellery  which I love.

This young woman came into my life sometime in November 2006.  My husband was having radio therapy after being diagnosed with cancer in the spring and after some very severe chemotherapy which hadn’t cleaned out the tumor.  This whole period had left us both drained, in total shock and completely lost like thousands of others who have been through the experience or are now just starting the journey that is hell on earth.   Through one of those throw away remarks I’d been put in touch with an advisor who dealt with benefits.  I really had no idea what it was all about but nothing really mattered very much except my darling husband and me being strong and trying to cope with everything.  The new language that accompanies serious illness is frightening and most of the time you really don’t know what people are talking about.  ‘Well, just question’, I hear you say.  But what questions?  All you hear is cancer and its a rare one and its in his brain.  Where do you start?  You just trust the experts know the language and will do their best.  But for them its routine. For the punters however its like being shoved inside a tumble drier and thrown round and round never really understanding anything that relates to the life they understand. That is their previous life.

So here we are Colin and I clinging to each other after months of treatment.  Grateful that we could still be together.  And in comes Jacqui.

Jacqui was part of the Macmillan Benefit team or something like that.  She was neat quite small with short flicky hair and a real smiley face.  A funky dresser.  I liked her style.  I recognized or felt a breath of fresh air.  But she was carrying a huge brief case  so she was official.

From that initial meeting which was memorable because I understood the questions and she seemed quite satisfied with the answers we slowly became friends.  Everything she said she would do, with no fuss and no bother to us.  I could actually talk to her about what was happening to Colin and my role in this drama.  The word carer was now applied to me and Jacqui helped me understand what that really meant.  All day everyday forever into the unknown future.  Jacqui was always there either on the end of a demented ‘e’ mail from me or a delightful visit from her.

By March 2007 our hospital visits had finished and a new dilemma loomed.  Our business was failing seriously and bankruptcy was facing us.  I was overwhelmed with paperwork, with caring for Colin and a very frightening future.  And here is where Jacqui for all her neat frame, stood very tall and strong  and just calmly held my hand and said ‘You can do it, there is a way through”.

And she was absolutely right we hung in their and by January 2008 we had cleared the debts, sold the business and kept our home.  The part Jacqui played in all this was monumental.  When I was struggling she would come over and we’d go over the problems and find a solution,  She would take on certain difficult areas so we never got clogged up.  All the time being thoughtful, sensitive and kind and every now and then we even found time to laugh.   Jacqui was/is always smiley but never sentimental, always positive but never strident, always thoughtful but never judgmental, always caring but never controlling.

Last year February 23 2012 my beloved Colin died.  He was at home and my son and I had be able to care for him ourselves which was exhausting but incredibly rewarding.  Through all the years between 2008 and his death Jacqui was a very welcome visitor, helping me keep an open mind on life and its vagaries.  I would have lost my way so many, many times without knowing Jacqui was there to gently nudge me onwards.

And now it is Just Me floundering around in my little world.  But Colin left me very upright, full of his love and strength.  My walls are covered in his fabulous artwork and there is much for me to achieve through the inspiration of his work.  So I am lucky.  AND I have come to know and care deeply for Jacqui who has so many qualities and abilities that she shared so generously with Colin and I.  I know we are not the only ones touched by her caring work but I feel very grateful  that I can now count her as a real friend.

Jacqui picked me up and dusted me down so many times I now know what that big brief case really held – her instinct, her heart ,her humour plus a lot of intelligence  used positively.  She is person to cherish and I do.

boxing day blues…….

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I had no idea the Christmas rollercoaster had flatten me  – in fact late  last night I was feeling pretty pleased with myself – I wasn’t drunk, I didn’t feel too bloated, I’d seen some good (recorded) programmes on TV.  This was a Christmas I really struggled with and it was over. So good job done, pat on the back and off to bed.

But that was yesterday and this is today Boxing Day (please leave me in the box and close the lid).  Why? I have no idea.  Outside is a perfectly clear blue sky, underfoot the ground is still hard with frost.  In fact now I think about it the perfect Boxing Day weather.  But my spirits are tired and I can only think the reason being I was so concerned about getting ‘through’ Christmas that all my energy has been drained.

But I know someone who will drag me up and out.  The dog.  My faithful friend chosen by my husband in 2008 ‘to keep you company  after I’ve died’.  Not much of a substitute I thought miserably  but actually he is a wonderful companion.  I talk and he listens, I cry and he says not a word but carries on with his pursuits,  then he does something daft and I laugh.  I am still alive to feel and think and react and slowly, slowly my grief is finding its place in my psyche.  I will not be rollercoasted by anything or anyone.  My life has been such a joy shared with Colin.  I will not sully those memories of all our passion, fun and sorrows with the inability to cope with the ripping agony of grief.  One step at a time and gently go forward.  Do not be afraid to rest and reflect but then gently onwards.

I greatly benefit from loving close family and fantastic angelic friends and of course, a dog who believes I am IT ‘the best thing since sliced bread’!!!

And a BusPass for which I have many a plan come the new Year . As the days draw out and Spring invites us all to marvel at her new ravishing collection of colour and form I hope to be waving my little card and meeting new people and seeing new sights through eyes and ears aglow with the joy of life.

OK dog drag me out and get me going, please!

a little nostalgia and sentimentality is OK but

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too much and you end up swamped in the past. But Christmas is about memories for me and I cherish them. I have two brothers and a sister and I was the one who could never understand why everyone wasn’t awake at 2.00am on Christmas morning. The stocking was stuffed because when I pushed with my toes I could hear the crackle of paper, and almost taste the tangerine and silver wrapped chocolate Father Christmas that would be stuffed in the toe. Come on everyone its Christmas! But eventually that wonderful day would roll on full of laughter, church, singing, turkey, and FUN. It was all so magical. From gazing out of the window before bed on Christmas Eve and being convinced I could see and hear Santa gliding through the night on his reindeer drawn sleigh to the clearing up piles of wrapping paper and laughing as my poor Mum tried to make notes of who sent what to whom. We crashed to earth when it was thankyou letter writing time. But I even remember that with pleasure – on reflection – all part of the ying and yang of Christmas.

I feel very lucky that I have such wonderful memories and in fact I realise that although my Christmases over the years as an adult have been sometimes very sad and rather confused I have never lost that wonder. Christmas Day for me is never an actual day, a Monday or a Friday etc. It stands on it own Christmas Day. I do not give it religious overtones but it is a special day. It is a day when I find as the years roll on I do reflect on my life and my loves. I reflect on my mistakes and my triumphs. On my sorrows and my joys. But I also look to the future to still try and improve in every way and accept my shortcomings but push forward with my strengths. Strangely this is harder as you get older as I have so many pre-conceived concepts about everything. So 2013 is the year for questioning everything because I’m running out of time to mess around waiting for something/someone – its up to me. The only thing I am prepared to wait for is the bus!

So this is my first Christmas without a car and so far so brilliant. My bank balance agrees with me. Luckily I have lovely friends with cars who I know will help if I need them. On Monday I hope to buy my Christmas decoration which will be various pot plants. I started this idea a few years ago as my husband and I decided we really didn’t want a tree but we knew we needed something. So we decided on flowers and pot plants. And thanks to my Angelfriend I shall have no trouble getting them home.

So I am now going to knit myself some fabulous trousers which will be striped and very floppy and a sweater to match. These are for Christmas Day. All done on my knitting machine. I have always loved knitting by hand and then I started to crochet. But when my beloved husband was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago I decided, after months of thinking, to buy a second-hand knitting machine. Over the last 6 years as the cursed cancer cruelly stole my lovely loves life away – he died this year on February 23 2012 at home with my son and myself caring for him to the end – I have been learning how to use this machine. It has helped me during some very. very hard times and in fact just before and after Colin died I couldn’t use it

But I am back in the saddle and am finding it giving me new consolation (and ambition). A few years ago I decided I couldn’t wear anything I hadn’t knitted. That is why I had to design the trousers –
I love skirts but hate tights actually that is a combination I’m also working on. Now a friend said to me one day ‘Uumm you look very uumm knitted!’ an observation which still makes me laugh. Many a true word is spoken in jest – in other words I’m still working on my style!

So the parcels are sent – the cards are sent. Time to wallow in yarns and a bit of cooking – peppermint creams first I think. Delicious and very easy but they need time to dry out and this year I’m going to coat them in chocolate oooh and I must make some French Fancies as seen on The Great British Bake Off that should be festive better get the Carols on!

christmas trip

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to visit my lovely niece and family and my brother and sister who both live near by. I was a little apprehensive of getting to the airport without a car but it was very simple and everything linked up seamlessly.

I can honestly say in my position I realize now that the car was more of a pressure than a necessity. And possibly a habit (a rather expensive habit at that). So I must say as I walked the dog passed parked cars covered in ice and snow, with some of their owners busily scrapping away with the engine chugging away trying to warm everything up, I felt no pangs of regret. Although I certainly didn’t feel smug as walking on the pavements is quite scary in this seasonal weather. Maybe I should buy some crampons? There is always some little irksome problem to puzzle about!

Katie, my niece, has developed over the last few years a wonderful, cheerful business called ‘moltonwonky.co.uk’. (Look up Katie Lynn or moltonwonky just quirky and fun – I haven’t worked out linking yet and must wait for advice from my guru). Katie trained as a stainglass artist but has now developed an individual, funky style using fused glass. Every Christmas she has an AT HOME with about 4 other crafts people. This year it was Caroline who made yummy sweets, Kathie creates lovely jewelry and Hannah made charming bags. When I arrived on Wednesday afternoon they were still setting up in the downstairs rooms and it all looked quite magical. On Thursday they were open all day and didn’t stop until 9.00pm. I was part of kitchen staff and had a lovely day chatting, making tea/coffee popping more sausage rolls and nkymince pies into the Aga and my own mouth and drinking Margaretas (can’t spell it but I loved drinking them). Katie has also produced (with a little help from her husband) four lovely children. Two girls first and then two boys. And what a joy they all are – if I could bottle their hugs well, I would use one first thing in the morning and one last thing at night and maybe one inbetween when I felt the need.

But it was still great to fly home. Except it took me a little longer than anticipated as I missed my connection bus to the village because I was dreamily sipping coffee in the shopping centre and miss read the time! So I need to sharpen up my wits to TIMETABLES – more studying required.

new hobby studying timetables

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but I still manage to get it wrong. Ok, appointment for my flu jab in the local town 10.45am Tuesday morning. Gathered myself together for arrival at the bus stop with a few minutes to go. Perfect. On the bus fine. Quite full as its the Tesco run apparently. But when we turn onto the main road the bus goes right instead of left. I sit wide eyed in horror then thought well maybe it turns left further down and goes on the back roads. But no we are definitely on the road I do not want to be on. Quite alot of expletives take over my thinking at this point. Then I surreptitiously fish out the timetable (by this time I believed everyone must somehow sense I am a fool, and are chortling behind their hands – yes I am also neurotic!). I realize what I have done is catch the first bus which was the 9.50am and was a bit late instead of the second which was at 10.00am. And of course being proud and cool I didn’t check with the bus driver (who is cheery man called Alan). More expletives explode in my head. Only thing to do is find the positive.

So I end up cancelling the doctors, (had to go to the library and ask a kind librarian to find the number because of course I hadn’t my address book or my mobile phone). Then onto the bank and making an appointment to sort out some stuff that I keep putting off. Wandered round to the Highland Print Studio and luckily the friend I hoped would be there was and I was able to discuss the possibility to blow up some photos and he showed me some amazing stuff they are doing on beautiful Japanese paper using a modern version of etching. The black and white images were stunning. And they made me a cup of coffee. So I came out of there my head buzzing with new possibilities. Then a nice stroll up to Lidls – their parmesan is a good price plus some other bits and pieces including a fresh jam doughnut which I ate at the bus stop (could have had more jam). Then home again. Still feeling pretty stupid but felt I had at least nearly redeemed the situation and achieved something. I had to go back in the afternoon
and then home again on the 9.00pm bus. I have to admit I was very tired not physically but mentally my head was all over the place which meant sleep would be poor and I was back to listening to my faithful friend the radio. Wonderful programs called Up All Night, Through the Night. You are never alone with a radio. But I’d much rather sleep.

It’s still here….

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I had hoped my dear car would have been driven away yesterday but now the parting must wait for another week. And the trouble is when you make these (for me) life changing decisions you want it to happen as quick as possible. The actual decision can take a long time to make but once made – let’s do it is my attitude. But if I was really desperate I could drive to the scrap yard and have the poor thing crushed but my friend at the garage is selling it for me and so I must just hang on another week. And it is strangely pleasant to think it still has some worthy life left under the bonnet even if the bodywork is a bit iffy. But the new owner I know can sort all that out – he has the skill. So it is a win win situation. And I look forward to receiving my winnings!

I travelled on the bus last Friday. And it was just as I remember travelling on a bus – except most of my bus travel was to and from school so a nightmare for the other passengers. But there were the same draughts and bumping around and smells of other humans(but no tobacco staining the air). Mostly single travellers so not much chatter until a man got on and sat behind the driver and they chatted gently but with great interest in each others delivery and gave the whole bus an atmosphere of pleasant company. This is going to work for me all I need are some good warm boots. Back to eBay.

Which is another new world for me. The key to blogging and eBaying was opened by my lovely friend. How is it that some people have the gift to be there when you really need help. This is how I met this young woman. She came into my life when the demons of hell were about to break in. Initially she helped with getting certain allowances I had no idea about which made a huge difference to our life. And then life got really tough financially (and emotionally) and she just listened and suggested and rang people and stayed calm and thoughtful while I was able to rage and weep and nearly fall apart. She really did give me a strength I had no idea I had. And she never let me down. An Angel who came into my life at a time when it was falling apart. At a time when all directions were full of pain and despair. Very very hard 24 hour days that just went on and on. But she was always never far away even when really her involvement in our affairs was over. Now life is easier and she still flies in and opens up new possibilities and I cannot imagine my life now without her. She is the treasure we all hope to find so out of some very hard times I find a an Angel studded with diamonds. Lucky me.

But I do have a complaint about this blogging and eBaying as it is now 12.30pm and I have done nothing but blogged and eBayed. So I think I must try and set aside certain times for doing it. ( And if thats not cloud cuckoo land thinking I don’t know what is).

MOT has run out

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and I often wonder if mine has. Still the human species has not quite drifted down to being treated like a car. But maybe we are all guilty of attaching a failed MOT onto other folk and usually our diagnosis is based on a narrow-minded comparison with ourselves!!! But there maybe that is saying more about me than anyone else I regret to say.

Come, come come the day is young and I am already giving in to my ever skulking downside.

Today I cannot drive and it is the first day of a new way of thinking and planning and observing. If my beloved dog and cat became ill how would I get them to the vet(the chickens do not come into this category), if I became ill how would I get to the doctor, if I need stuff (including friends and family from the airport) how can I get it/them home? If, if, if what a silly word. Yesterday as I drove the car packed full of disgusting stuff for the skip I realised how automatic it is for me to listen for any new squeaks or rattles to worry about. Now I can concentrate on my own squeaks and rattles and know there is no dreaded enforced MOT looming up. Driving home I did get a bit tearful. I am very fond of this car. After my husband became ill and stopped driving we would often take little trips out and he would lay his hand on my thigh as we toddled along. I remember so clearly the weigh and warmth of that beautiful hand. So this new buspass life is new in so many ways mainly because I shall be on my own.