Happy New Year, Dad.

I miss my dad.
Through all the turmoil; all the moments of anger, hurt, uncomfortableness. Even through all his own pain, discomfort, the disruption of Parkinson’s disease degrading his human form and bodily organs failing.

I didn’t feel him at the end of this year.
The anniversary of his death on Christmas Eve, then a week later remembering his birthday on New Year’s Eve. A busy time of the year when it is easy to not notice many things. So I paused, left space for his memory, thinking about the present more than the past. I remembered him with a toast of his favourite drink – Cooper’s Stout “Happy Birthday Dad”. For a change, there were no tears, no heartache, no grief.

He wasn’t close to me this year. He was somewhere else, being himself, knowing I was okay at this time.

And now, a week later, with clear thoughts, I remember and miss the spirit that sparkled in a way like no other. The love that he gave for so many people, selflessly. He cared in his own way, and I thank him for expressing that as best he could.

So there are no more visits, no more chats. No more awkwardness and no more love. All I have are the memories – the feelings and moments, emotions imprinted on my heart.

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Her Voice.

I am L’s voice.

When she talks about pain, it is a level of pain that leaves most people in tears. Having dealt with constant physical pain every day of her life, she has a high pain threshold. So when she talks about being bothered by pain, listen carefully and do not dismiss a single word.

When she says the pain is preventing her from sleeping, realise that “being tired” is her way of saying she is experiencing severe sleep deprivation from nightly lack of sleep. Realise that fragmented hours of sleep are nowhere near as beneficial as a solid block of deep sleep. Realise that this has been her experience for months. Realise how difficult it is to still function under these conditions, and that running on autopilot is not a healthy situation.

The pain takes so many forms. It is frequently the sharp stabbing pain of knives. It is hot and cold throbbing, sweats and swelling. It is spasms of nerve pain that make her whole body jump, that occur all times of the day, and are particularly disruptive when asleep. There is currently no relief from the pain, only variations of extremity. Even the most pleasurable of intimate times offers no alleviation to the distressing discomfort.

When the pain brings her to tears, realise that there is nothing left, that she has reached the limit of her endurance, being pounded daily by the various attacks on her physical senses. Realise that the pain has been so severe as to frequently leave her feeling nauseous. Realise that vomiting from the pain is her body’s last resort to expel what currently cannot be removed.

When she says that she has trouble thinking, realise that the pain is so strong that her working memory is functioning at a fraction of normal, and the constant assault on her senses is an underestimated stress. Realise that what she manages to communicate is critical information. Do try to find out more with further questions, for her ability to volunteer information is somewhat limited.

Realise that her emotional struggle is as real as the physical. Realise that many of her normal coping strategies have been taken away, and that her normal physical-mental interplay has been disrupted.

When she speaks honestly about how she feels, it is a big effort, requiring much strength and focus, which is a very tiring process for her. Realise that she has experienced over 20 years of being emotionally smothered. Realise for that time she was conditioned into compliance, criticised, belittled and abused for expressing herself or having a different opinion. Realise that speaking up about herself and for herself is a huge task. Realise how tiring is it to every day push herself beyond the protective shelter of silence that she had created in order to survive most of her adult life.

When she talks about understanding the psychological effects of pain, of reduced function, of limited activity and changed behaviour, realise this is a master instructor  with nearly 30 years experience. Realise this is a teacher at the top of her game, with a professional interest in the psychology of behaviours. Realise this is an educator of the most difficult children in this city, who daily has a positive influence on the future of some of the most disadvantaged children here. When you talk about the psychosomatic influences during this time of dramatic changes in her own life, realise this person intimately understands the territory and must respond daily to assist children and adults experiencing such effects.

Realise that this woman is incredibly strong, having saved herself from an abusive relationship. Realise that this woman had the strength to prevent herself from becoming another statistic of domestic violence. Realise that right now she is coming to you for help, because she needs help. She is relying on you for the best care possible.

Too Much Like My Dad.

Looking for answers to My health issues. Trying to find anything that might resolve or improve this situation I find my body and mind struggling with.

Then my mental negativity kicked in and made some connections to my father.

I’ve turned 50 this year. I’ve been really struggling with my health for 3 to 4 months before that and again now afterwards (interrupted only by a 3 week holiday from my Wintery home to the tropics).

And I wondered what my Dad’s life was like at this age. He turned 50 a year after I left home, a year and a bit after Mum left with my siblings. So he would have felt his life was a complete mess, he would have been very angry and hurtful/hateful. I know that’s how he was in the little contact I had with him over the next few years. I know he had a new partner to help him out at home (he needed physical assistance with his own damaged body).

So he was nearly 49 when his family left him. They left because he drove them away. His brain damage and physical injuries from a motorbike accident just over 5 years prior left him in a terrible physical and mental state for which he received little support. But he became even more negatively reacting to his family, even more critical and eventually resorted to threatening and actuating physical violence against Mum who was only trying to look after 5 children.

48 (a few months short of 49) when his life crashed apart.

I finally left my marriage aged 48-and-a-bit. I walked away from another relationship aged 49-and-a-bit. I’ve turned 50 and one of the single most significant parts of my life, my job and livelihood, feels like it’s been a mess for more than the past year.

Is that coincidence, is that linked? Maybe it’s nothing and yet maybe it’s something I need to work out – somehow.

Working through this is a big hurt of realisation. It’s an exhausting trawl through dark murky emotions and scary possibilities. I want to find some brightness somewhere, I need to find some hope in all this. I need to know that somehow this will all work out for the better. I’m living off vapours and reserves now that won’t last much longer. I want to move forwards. I want to sort out work life and be excited for possibilities, instead of dreading the entanglements that I’m struggling to sort out.

I don’t know where to start or what to do. Tonight I am scared. But tomorrow I step forwards.

Perhaps us.

Perhaps my higher self chose you.

Perhaps part of me saw a need that I could fulfill and for reasons chose to be there for you.

Perhaps I’ve been doing this with many relationships in my life so far.

Perhaps this is who I am.

Perhaps I will continue this behaviour, if it is who I genuinely am.

Perhaps I will change.

Perhaps my current energy aligned with yours and bonded together.

Perhaps you are able to fully reciprocate my energy, my needs.

Perhaps you are here, now, to help me heal – just as I am for you.

Perhaps this is one way that people connect.

Perhaps this is one way people have a mutually healthy relationship.

Perhaps this is why this US feels so comfortable, so easy.

Perhaps focusing on the positives we have for each other is a great way forwards.

Perhaps right now, I believe all this to be true.

On Pets Past, and Grief.

I saw the spot this morning, where Mr.Poppy’s litter tray always sat, where he would frequently be seen sitting, or cleaning. It’s now a place for a shopping basket and garden shoes.

I felt the pain of loss immediately, just as I feel it again writing this. The pain of loss and grief.

And thinking about Nigella’s future, about palliative care for her, exacerbates the experience.

Grief will pass.
Memories are important to keep alive.

I spent a lot of time with and around Nigella this morning. More thorough cleaning up than normal. I wanted to be around her space, wanted to connect with her as I’m not often around the house any more.

Connection heightens the thoughts of mortality and endings.

And while the pain hurts, it is a good thing to remember.

Pets as family.

The time you spend with them each day, loving, caring, and connecting. Particularly when the pet is a mammal, is an intelligent personality who seeks you out at times. It’s a very human thing, to care for animals, to seek solace in their company, and in their simple child-like understanding.

And so they are remembered, as they were our children. They were who we had together. They are reminders of happy times, of life together. They are meaning and love, as we were.

All things pass, in time.

Are the most precious memories, of those we cared for, of those we held as their life slipped away? For we carried them through their life, held them at the end, and cried together. We will soon cry together again, for one more time. Only once more.

Bittersweet memories.

May we always hold onto the joy that there was, the adventure, the fun and connection. This is all that makes us human.

This Idea of Journey.

The thing is, most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.

There’s certainly no devious plotting.
There’s no following the path in front of me, because I have no idea where I am and no idea where I’m going.

Mostly I just try to get through the day with as little damage as possible.

Yes I take any opportunity to brighten someone else’s day, because I care about other people.
I know what it’s like to feel alone, unloved, and to feel like you are not worth any effort from yourself or from others.

There is a deep dark loathing black hole down there, and most days I just want to keep myself as far from its reach as possible.

Plenty of days I fail to manage that.

Eventually, I take one little step forwards each day, to build up momentum and keep moving forwards.

How much do I care about you? That depends on the day, but generally quite a lot. The love you share with me is absorbed, added to and reflected back. My creation of original love is scarce, because of the energy it requires, and because of the emotional process required.

(W)here there is Greatness.

The message sent to me

“You already possess
everything necessary
to become great.”

Yes indeed. Right now, right here, just as I am.

Then followed the thoughts of darkness.
And I saw that all is in balance. It needs to be.

The darkness is simply another energy that contrasts the light. It can be used in different ways. It must be understood differently.

And I see that harnessing and managing the darkness has been difficult for me in the past because I didn’t have the skill-set or the understanding.

These are tools and techniques that can be learnt – if we are brave enough to discuss them openly.

Difficulties arise within the pain that typically accompanies the darkness. The pain of unmet life expectations, or the pain of confusion and perceived loneliness. These brief memories spring forth for me right now. And there is no pain within these memories, within this moment. For my understanding of life, and of myself, lets gentle awareness be in charge.

This entire reveal comes with a quiet calm, of knowing that the choice is mine every step of the way. That every thought, action, every motivation and decision, can propel me forwards – into the light, and greatness.

Have You Eaten (Enough)?

Munch munch munch. Feed the hungry body that craves something passing for sustenance. Shove the food in with purpose to satisfy desire. There is no pausing to appreciate the moment, nor to savour the experience, only a need to fill. A need to fill the body to pass off the soul as satisfied. 

And it doesn’t. Hollowness and emptiness sit hand in hand during this indulgence laid bare through its lack of mindfulness.

There are lessons here. And I vaguely sense their outline. But I’m too tired to make any sense from them. Too tired of feeding this ever hungriness that sits within me. 

The Ego is never satisfied. It only ever wants the attention, wants to win, wants to be the focus and the purpose. It wants and wants and wants.

So I will acknowledge that part of me for what it is. I will calmly turn my attention away from the brash forcefulness, towards the quiet part of me. The part that will accept all that I have, will accept all that there is around me and within me right now. The way that feeds my soul in a more lasting manner.

And I may sit here in the quiet for a while. But most likely I will just fall asleep and dream of days without confusion. Dream of straight forward days where clear communication begets an inner calm to all around me.

 ∞︎∞︎∞︎∞︎∞︎

[ My diary tells me yesterday was the fifth anniversary of starting this blog. I’m unsure these days whether that date was when I setup and posted my first story/poem, or if it is the date of my first (backdated) entry. Either way, I glance back and see five years of change, of growth. I am forever greatful to my friend H.C. who encouraged me to start this, and to the incredibly creative community who have supported me the whole journey so far. ]

The Horizon of Desire.

My desires feed a deep place inside
Not dark, for this shall be revealed with those who choose to ask, those who choose the closeness

Hunger grows and searches for equally matched desire
There is no boundary between physical and mental intimacy
I simply crave the deepest sharing and connection
And the decision to partake is valid only for the space the energy occupies

While relationships constantly change, acknowledgement and respect remain the vanguard of this new reality

My responsibility is to be better than we’ve ever been before
To set an example of the best a human can be

Deciding on true equality, true out-in-the-open honesty and integrity
This is to what I give my consent.

.

[ inspired by the words of Laurie Penny. ]

Comparisons.

Feeling guilt over the validity of my pain
Comparing my childhood story with yours

Yet I know this is no competition
And we each bear our own challenges
We each learn in our own ways

Why does comparison even come into it?

How do we accept this and grow?

Wanting life to be right and just, does not make it so

All we can do is live our own integrity