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.

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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.

Silver Linings – Day 30.

“Lego Buggy”

And here we are, thirty days of silver linings. Not quite consecutive as I missed one or two nights due to tiredness, but even those days I did make a mental note of positives for the day.

Tonight was a visit to close friends for dinner. We are like family to each other. And I am a favourite uncle to their two boys, who are five and three. In fact they were bribed by my visiting to have had dinner, bathed and in their pyjamas ready for bed when we arrived.

Of course first thing was they wanted to play Lego with me, so the sheet filled with all manner of bricks and blocks was placed on the floor and the three of us settled down for 15 minutes or so of play, until dinner was served.

After dinner and their play it was definitely time for the younger one to get to bed. He asked for me to carry him to bed. This is a first! So we said goodnight to everyone and I got to tuck him into his small bed (with a little assistance from mum).

Then there was some testing of colouring pens and watercolour paper (adult colouring books and brush tip pens). So the older boy wanted to join in and did a reasonable job of staying within the lines. I grabbed his drawing book and pens and asked him to select colours for me. So colour by colour I made a little drawing and put my name on it.

I love kids. Especially love these two. They are as close to having my own as I’ll ever get. I love the innocence and openness that they have. It reminds me as an adult, a lot about living and having fun. The older one has a learning developmental difficulty. Mild Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, hope that is spelled correctly thanks google for the spell check. But the love they both show is a beautiful reminder of life in a simpler way.

Grateful for sunny pleasant weather to ride my bike in today, people who are so close as to be family, and movie fun with a friend.

What significance does Lego have in your life?

Silver Linings – Day 4.


“Demolition Crew”

Today’s pleasant surprise was when my brother called by with his kids. He asked about some spare timber to finish off the tree house he’s been making for them (courtesy of some spare pallets that I just happened to have lying around previously) and I said he can have the last of the pallet timbers.

They just needed to be pulled apart.

So cue handy Uncle getting the niece and nephew interested in swinging a heavy mallet and crowbar. With leather safety gloves on of course. They were very enthusiastic and quite good at it, with a few pointers provided along the way.

A few very persistent nails needed adult strength to loosen. Did you know timber pallets are built to not fall apart, so the nails are ridged to prevent them sliding out easily.

They were keen to keep going after the first pallet skeleton was dismantled so I let them work on the last remaining one as well. They were quite tired by the end, but pleased with their accomplishments.


“Fitness Record”

Before settling down to write tonight, I plugged in my fitness monitor wristband and received a pleasant surprise.

Double achievement!

For the first time I reached my 10,000 step goal for the day. And also reached my sleep goals three nights in a row.

It also noted a 54 minute workout this afternoon. No that wasn’t the pallet demolition, it was the lawnmowing and garden clearing I did after my brother left.

Do you monitor your fitness or sleep in any way?

My Dad.

What I saw, what I experienced, what I remember. There were other darker times, but to me they were caused by his motorbike accident induced physical battering and brain damage. Here is the true man that I recall.

Physically active, healthy and strong.
Strong energy of person, bold.
Comfortable to sit with himself.
Caring, patient, considerate.
Dedicated.
Humble.
Loving.

As I remember him being laid to rest with his parents one year ago, in this way I honour his memory and acknowledge his life within my own.

(1 January 2015)

Not A Stranger.

I’m discovering a relationship
That I didn’t really know
Because I was uncomfortable asking
It was easier to say nothing and wonder
Not that doing so was particularly easy

A relationship of understanding,
Companionship and love
Of life and dreams, sharing and enjoying
I’m learning about this relationship
Now that my Dad is gone

(25 Sept 2014)

The Great Easter Poem.

Easter is a long weekend, what are we planning?
Easter is dark chocolate egg for early breakfast having
Easter is foil crunching between your teeth (missed that bit of wrapping!)
Easter is the precious gift of giving and the humble gift of receiving
Easter is 250% wage loading, extra pay for working
Easter is managing a meal with the family even when they are working
Easter is driving for hours to participate in camping
Easter is pagan rituals still surviving

Easter is giggling and searching for the kids
Easter is family egg hunts in the garden
Easter is games with the niece and nephew

Easter is making hot cross buns with your best friend
Easter is free hot cross buns at your hardware store
Easter is deck construction, house renovations continue

Easter is dark rainy Friday morning
Easter is sunshine filled days outside
Easter is bicycle rides

Easter is eggscelent
Easter is rising to the occasion
Easter is always too close to Passover

Easter is forgetting what day of the week it is
Easter is two public holidays surrounding a weekend
Easter is a mad scramble before, but then relaxing with family
Easter is love

.

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[Easter is the Easter bunny helpers all tired out from their deliveries. With thanks to my friends who contributed input on what Easter means to them.]

Empty Shoes.

Walk in your shoes
Get to know you
They are a size big or two
Always bigger than me were you

I look up to you
Even more, now that I miss you
The stories I hear now
Tell me so much I never knew

I always knew the similarities
Matching pieces of personality
Some used to upset me
But now I hold them dearly

What you did that upset many
I understand I can see your view
Don’t agree with it
But in so much your heart was true
And this is what I remember
Of you
.

===

[This was inspired by looking through my father’s shoe collection – many old, some unworn, mostly practical work boots – more reminiscing and seeing photographs of a happy young man. (Photograph by me of a couple of the items). The poem’s structure is a bit rough, but I can’t change it without, you know, changing it. And it’s like my memories of him, good or bad, they are all I have now, so I will learn to love them all.]

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Mr.Poppy – Senior Bunny.

Sooty fawn lop eared bunny
On the carpet at my feet
One hand stroking along your back
With forefinger and thumb brushing your sides
From the back of your head
Slowly down to your tail
Head to tail

Teeth clicking in continual happiness

I want to brush away all your worries
Brush away the arthritis in your back legs
Soothe away your addled-ness
Stroke away your old-age complications
Reinforcing your family membership
For right now is companionship and love

Your love is not overshadowed by your moods
You are therapy for me

(\__/)
(=’.’=)
(“)_(“)

Abroad.

To my sister in London
I just want to say
How much I enjoyed
Your visit and stay

We talked just a little
And you slept quite a while
Just having your presence
Has given me a smile

in my heart, that lingers
Each time that I see
you pop up on Facebook
With an update or three

And photographic records
More travels abroad
Or just in your city
Always leave me awed

You are loved so much
Despite distance and time
So I send you my thoughts
In word and in rhyme

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[Just one of her recent photos “Pleasant winter day en route cycling to Richmond”]