Yesterday My Mother would have turned one hundred years old, if she had lived past 87** It was such a shock when we lost her. My father had been fragile in health for years and years, and she was always the one that walked everywhere, visited people in hospital, went to Mass every lunch time and was generally never one to let the grass grow under her feet. Along with her many duties, she also found time to practice her singing with a singing tutor. This last fact I only found out when going shopping with her, and we bumped into this lady who my mother introduced as her singing teacher** Born in 1915, her birth was not registered until 1916, so she always told me that her mother had said she was actually a year older than the authorities knew. She was married for almost 60 years to my father and despite all their ups and downs, remained in love with him until she died. When she died, my father was totally bereft, and he joined her 13 months later. His life without her was so empty, he could not wait to be with her again.
She was petite, only 4ft 11 and a half inches high, and always wore high heels. She never wore flats until she was in her eighties* She had a trim figure and such a wonderful sense of humour and laughter, she was great fun to be around. She could be strict mind you, and my children saw that side of her, much more than I did.. Our parenting skills were different I guess, and when my kids visited, she made sure they watched their p's and q's all the time.. Nonetheless, all my children adored her and attended her funeral in Crawley Sussex. My brother who lived in Belgium was there, and took my father back with him after the ceremony so he would not be alone again.
When we received the birth certificate, we noted that her real name was just Rosie.... definately NOT
Rosina as she had called her self for almost 80 years! Born into a poor working class family in London, she and her siblings had a tough early life with money being very scarce, my grandfather being the only worker in the home. With 9 children to feed, he had to keep working , when it snowed he would crawl if he had to, in traversing difficult icy road, in order to get to his job and provide money for his family. Marrying my grandmother in her teens, they had had another two children, who had died in a house fire, long before they started having my mother and her siblings. They never got over their loss, but they treated all their following children with deep love and affection, and strong discipline. Somehow with so little money, all the children thrived, except one little boy, who, when my grandmother had to go away with the newborn, to recuperate, stopped eating and fretting for his mother and so died before she returned home.. I cannot imagine how that would have affected them, after losing the first two, but they carried on as you did in those days. From her earliest moments, my mother was born to sing. Her voice was a true soprano, and was so lovely to hear. Even listening to her, I was aware of how her mouth and throat vibrated as she sang. I heard later that her mother also had had a beautiful voice. However my mother managed to get a manager, and she later worked in the war effort, entertaining troops all over the UK in the early days of the war.. Once time even carrying on singing as the road was bombed, so everyone would not stampede to get out of the theatre in a rush.*
My mother was not as educated as my father, or my brother and myself, but my goodness she still was very clever and knew her way around.. Many times she was able to tell me what to do in certain circumstances and I valued her input. Of course as a teenager I was not the best daughter and I know that I did push the limit and often broke her heart, but she forgave me, and our relationship as adults was very very close indeed. Thankfully, I might add, she never rubbed it in, the way I had treated her as a younger person.. instead she offered it up in Prayer.. that was how she dealt with problems, prayed harder... bless her..
So it would have been her birthday, but one hundred years or not, I bet she would have refused a party... because as she always said.. she was never going to be old... so she didn't allow herself to get old... she just grew wiser and a little more frail, but kept her independence to the end...
Happy Birthday Mother, I hope you are looking down on us and seeing how much we still love you and Dad..x
Thursday, 16 July 2015
I was a bit apprehensive going to visit the clinic again after my lumpectomy ten days ago. The traffic was light, parking was easy, and the instant that I got inside the clinic, my name was called!!!I really did not expect to be seen so quickly.. but we both went in to meet the specialist. She was a middle aged doctor, who had not actually done my operation, but was there to give me the results of the biopsy done on the cells that they removed. She had a huge grin on her face, when she said that all the cells had been found and collected and that there were no more inside me* I couldn't believe how relieved I felt at that moment.. a huge weight that I didn't even know I had on my shoulders, seemed to disappear and make me feel quite giddy and light!
She told me that I would be having the radiotherapy for around five to six weeks to make doubly sure that none were developing and that afterwards I would have an appointment for a mammogram every year to keep a check on me. I guess they have to tell a lot of women, news that was not as happy as mine, because they[ the nurse and the specialist] both seemed so pleased to give me this news. John sat back with a huge sigh and obviously he had been under some pressure and worry.. I have to meet up with the Oncologist on July 28th next who will give me more information about the radiotherapy and what happens when it is being done and the results they hope to achieve.
As I've said before, I deal with problems by putting them on my back burner until I have to deal with them, and I had not realised just what a strain the last few weeks had been. I keep thinking that if I had not done that Mammogram, I would still be not knowing... and how awful that might have turned out. We are so fortunate to have a National Health Scheme, but the truth is, we have all got so blase about it, we don't treat it with the respect it deserves... Of course its not perfect, but my goodness when it does work preventitavely it really is a godsend.!!
.. So all of you who were thinking about me and this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart... I have my life back and will treasure it even more than before*
I find out today how the operation last week went.. whether they need to take out more, or all is good as it is..
Today I go to meet up with the specialists at the Breast Clinic to find out if they are satisfied with their operation on me last week. I'm hoping that they have scooped out all the dangerous would be cancer cells and that I will start the radiotherapy sooner rather than later. I have been quite shaken by the fact that as always, I underestimated the impact the operation would have on me, and was quite tired for several days afterwards. I luckily had very little discomfort and so didn't need too many painkillers. I am so glad that I had my holiday with my girl, before, as it made me very relaxed and ready to deal with the situation on my return. I just hope that this afternoon's talk will be of a positive nature and that apart from the radiotherapy, nothing more will need to be done. The scar is much bigger than I thought too, and is about six inches across the top of my chest. I guess the line will fade in time, at the moment, the glue still seems attached, although flaking a bit here and there. The difficulty of taking the painkillers has made me much too constipated to feel comfortable, so lessoning them, I have been left with incontinence in my bowels which is just as nasty and uncomfortable to deal with. However, these are small considerations to the fact that my cancer possibility was caught and dealt with , with all possible speed.. Good old NHS!
Friday, 10 July 2015
The last time I visited Canada was 11 years ago when my granddaughter Caitlin was born. She joined her brother Callum with my daughter and husband in their new lives in Canada. When my daughter Gabriella first went to live in Canada, Callum was only three years old. She had arranged for the canadian part of the firm she worked for in Uk, to have a job there so she could emigrate with her family. Because her husband had his grandparents living in the Vancouver area after his aunt had married a canadian, that was the first place they settled. I was lucky enough to be able to visit them there a few times, and found that even the winter was easy to cope with, it being a much milder part of the country. However with work, Gabriella had to transfer to Toronto, and they lived in a little town called Aurora. They had a marvelous new house, and the son grew stronger every day and then to complete their happiness their daughter joined them as I said, 11 years ago. With an age gap of 6 years I think that Callum had his nose put slightly out of joint.. from being sole to sharing did not come easy to him. As he grew into his teens, they decided to move somewhere more rural and to get him away from bad influences that he had made. They settled in a place a couple of hours away from Toronto, and found a home with three acres to live on. Unfortunately this did not help to get Callum back on the straight and narrow, and his relationship with his parents is very fraught and he no longer lives at home. I realised a long time ago that my grandson was a very tense wound up personality, always close to tears, and he had been bullied at school. When he started to realise that cannabis could ease his anxiety he went for it like a ton of bricks and this has caused his rift with the family. He has also been diagnosed with Aspergers, and will not seek medical help, relying on the drugs, and doing all sorts of anti social activities to get the money to buy it. This is the household that I came to see at the end of this June. I had not seen my girl in person for a whole six years and it was marvelous to hug and hold her again, and to see Caitlin so grown up at 11* The weather at first was hot and wonderfully relaxing as I sat and read on their back deck overlooking the gardens and the fields in the distance. [It is so irritating that I am unable to put pictures into this as I keep getting error notice, so I will have to try another time]. Because I had already done all the touristy things before, I just lived the lives that my kids did there and met all their friends, visited the town and did some shopping... visited more friends to have meals with and generally had such a relaxing time that I was able to read..12 books, full length ones at that!! Never before have I had such a book fest!! The weather became rather annoying with rain and storms, interspersed with the hot sunny days, but I was there to relax and that is all that I did do... We made bread together by hand, and a wonderful reubarb crumble pie and lots of other delicious things to eat... My girl is a great cook also, but her husband being so english, he doesnt like the experiment, just preferring plain meat and two vegs!! The 2 weeks passed so fast, and I got to see Caitlin and her friends playing volley ball on the beach, saw Canada day festivities which were very lovely to see.. To know how proud the Canadians are of being canadian, unlike here in UK where we seem afraid to say we are English... so all in all I loved my visit. I would buy a house to live there in a heartbeat* I also caught up with a friend that I have been in touch with since 1963, and the last time we met was on my last visit.. So we all went out for a meal, and we didnt stop talking all night! We never run out of things to chat about, and with Gaby with me, and Joe her brother who drove my friend to our rendevous, the evening passed in a flash. I hope I get back again to see them all very soon, and not leave it another several years again... The whole trip left me so relaxed and ready to cope with the lumpectomy that I had done less than a week after my return from my holiday...
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
On my return from Canada last thursday, I managed to continue to relax until Monday when I was driven to the Breast Cancer Unit by my husband. Standing outside waiting to go in, we met another lady who was also going to have a similar procedure, but she already knew that her cells were cancerous and was very very worried. John didnt say much, but sat waiting inside the Clinic whilst I went off to be weighed and measured and tested for my pre op assessment. All in all, it took a couple of hours. Whilst he waited he noticed a young man with a tiny baby, obviously his wife had the dreaded C, and then another lady covering her head with a bright scarf went by. These observations together with waiting for me for a couple of hours really did upset and worry him. However my cells are supposed to be pre cancerous, so after my assessment I tried to reassure him that all would be well the following day when I went in for the actual operation. We had another early night as we have to leave the house around 7 in order to be there at 8 again. He already had told me that if it was him, he would not have the operation, and I must admit that previously I thought I would not let the knife go near me, but I realised that I could not live with it ticking away in me, not knowing whether they were going to develop into cancer ... so my mind was already made up. Tuesday I was at the clinic and waited until 1.30 before the wire was inserted and then I was taken to surgery another hour later.. The next thing I knew, I was back in recovery room, not breathing too brilliantly, but I already had an oxygen mask on, so gradually I began to come around and in half an hour was already feeling not too bad. I waited another couple of hours, before they called John to come and collect me. Returning to the house, I went straight to bed and slept through to this morning.. Today, although still tired my boob is not hurting as much as I expected, but I have really taken to task and not involved myself in anything to do with housework, just read and watched the computer... So, here my little tale ends... next Thursday I will go to have the results of the operation told me, and then a date to start the radiotherapy.. I am relieved that the op is over, I was thinking of my friend in Spain who had an operation on her throat and then although the operation had been successful, she died of a massive heart attack,, and of course she did not know that was her future.. so I was thinking,'' that might be me.'.. luckily it was not.. but you do get to think strange thoughts from time to time don't you**? by the way my holiday in Canada was so lovely, I shall write about it soon and put pictures up.. glad to have seen my girl again after not seeing her to cuddle for over 6 years! <
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
(author unknown) Lord, Thou knowest I am growing older Keep me from becoming talkative and possessed with the idea that I must express myself on every subject. Release me from the craving to straighten out everyone's affairs. Keep me from the recital of endless detail. Give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the years and my love to speak of them grows sweeter as time goes by. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Make me thoughtful but not nosey; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom and experience it does seem a pity not to use it all. But Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. My mom is still teaching me and making me smile
Yesterday I was in a strange mood all day..the past week I have been waiting for my friend's daughters to contact me with the latest news after their mother had taken a turn for the worst.When I had gone to see her in May, she knew that she was near the end although it was so difficult to imagine, but she said she was so tired of pretending that she was feeling better than she actually did, so as not to worry her dear ones.. and that she was ready now.. I spent an afternoon with her, just as if the years had rolled by and it was a good chat and lovely to be with her. When I left I gave her a big cuddle and told her I loved her and she loved me back.. As I drove away I was crying at the unfairness of death choosing to arrive too soon.. she surely had had a lot more years in front of her until the big C turned up. Last night on Facebook her daughters announced that their mum had left us at ten oclock that morning... so that must have been why I had felt so restless all day.. Then they put up happy pictures of their mother when she was younger and now, and it made me cry all over again. We had grown so close in our teen years, and than marriage and moving around had stopped us seeing each other, but we always kept in touch and the odd phone call.. Now she is gone, but at least I had a chance to tell her how I loved her.. In a grown woman, saying such things is not to be done lightly, but I meant with all my heart and I know she knew that. I am away now to Canada tomorrow, and do hope that I can attend a service for her when I get back, hopefully it will not be done whilst I am away. I guess, that why I am writing this, is its never to late to try and contact a person that has been out of touch for a while, even if it is years, a phone call can bring you back together again, and its such fun to know someone who knew you before you became who you are now.. Life is too short to have difficulties stopping you talking over the phone or texting.. its all so immediate now, so no excuse for not getting back in touch.. I know I was glad that I did, even to lose her so soon afterwards.
Monday, 15 June 2015
It is another Monday morning, the sun is outside shining after a whole weekend of rain and showers. I am sitting at my desk overlooking the garden and all its greenery, and waiting for the announcement that my dear friend has left this earth. On Thursday this week I am going to visit my daughter at her home in Canada, the first time I've been back to the country in eleven years. With having achieved a visit to Australia in January, I know that the journey won't be as long as that one was... but I am anxious .. With my condition being so unstable and never knowing whether my body is going to behave and let me manage it, and this past week it being stupidly difficult to manage, I am wondering if I can manage to travel the whole distance without an accident.. ~An accident would be mortifying as it happens when my bowels decide to empty without warning. I take extra Codeine tablets, because they have the affect of hardening the stools, but sometimes they stop working, and then the body goes into overdrive and I void everything I have in my intestines...[ Disgusting I know, and believe me even more disgusting in reality than reading about it..] but a burden that I have carried for over four years now, since the spinal operations left me like this. I have instructed lawyers of course, and we are going through the motions, already they have fronted up bills to almost 100,000 pounds. Luckily I am covered by insurance and a no win no deal agreement. The hospital of course deny any wrong doing and are trying to keep us delayed and waiting until we give up the suit, but that is not going to happen on my part. It is not the money, but the attitude.. they sorted the sciatica, 'so be grateful and stop trying to get us feeling responsible for the Cauda Equina Syndrome!!.' 'You knew the risks,.'.. of course it was pointed out to me that there were some risks, but would be very unlucky if it happened, and besides, if I didn't get it done quickly, then I would end up in a wheelchair when the pressure caused my legs to fail! Not much of a choice was there? I admit that I do have days when I feel very hard done by and upset that this condition will only get worse with time, and that eventually I shall have to have a permanent bag attached to me.. a horror I wish to avoid with all my heart. When I am standing in the toilet and managing myself, I get to think.. if that surgeon could see what I have to put up with several timesdaily, he would not be so cavalier in his response to my situation. It seems like once the operations were over -then goodbye and get on with it yourself.. However I am grateful that I am still alive and not otherwise dealing with mortality like my dear friend. Another school friend died last week. She had had an operation on her throat and then died of a massive heart attack. It goes to show that no one can tell when their time is ready. I feel like I would like to live at least until as old as my mother. She was 87 when she left us, and this July 18th would have reached her hundreth year. She was a fit little body, rushing around visiting people in hospital, keeping herself very involved with the Church as did my dad. Then she got a water infection and her kidneys failed, and she was gone.. A massive shock as it was my dad who had ill health his last years, and she seemed to go on forever.. walked miles every day and was really energetic.. My dad joined her in 13 months, but he didn't want to live without her, so I knew it would not be long. I must get up and sort out the day.. I have to iron clothes and prepare to pack my travel bag.... I always take too much, so going to really cut it back and buy over there ,.. so will stop right now, and wish everyone a much better day than ever before...<
Friday, 12 June 2015
As y ou may remember from a previous posting, I now have a full set of dentures. These are not the most easy thing to get used to, but they worked after a fashion.. I still have to wait six months before I can have a new pair that will fit better and be more comfortable. However, this morning, having cleaned them, I wrapped them in a cloth and laid them on my table in my bedroom. I was busying myself as you do, and saw a fly buzzing around, and the first thing I did, was grab the cloth to flick at the fly... You can guess what happened next.... the fly was fine, but as I flicked the material, both dentures flew away out of sight**! I managed to find the top row fairly easily, but hunted high and low for the bottom dentures.. no luck... felt really stupid at losing the darn things.. then went out into the hall landing, where of course I did find the missing dentures... but it was split in a complete half, and unusuable.... horror.... gosh, with my top plate in, don't look too bad, but unable to eat or even speak clearly without the bottom ones.!!!.. Mad dash to dentist in next village, where had to explain in front of a crowded reception room my dire emergency and need to see a dentist.. The receptionist calmed me down and took the dentures upstairs to the dentist and I waited for the outcome.. she came and told me to come back on MONDAY after 2 pm, when they should be back after being mended... Of course this is Friday and they do not work on saturdays, so Monday it has to be... [thank goodness I didn't have this accident on next wednesday just before leaving for Canada!!!] Apart from this major disaster first thing this morning, my day has not been too bad.. spoken to another school friend who is trying to cope with her husband who has Alzeimers and is becoming more difficult to manage.. In fact she is finding that no normal place will take him for respite.. that he probably needs to go into a Nursing Home, and the difference between the amount that subsidises him, is over 300 pounds less than needed and that the family would have to find the difference each week to keep him there on a full time basis. Its great that she can get financial help, but where do they find the difference.?.. She has been coping with him for several years, ever since he had a stroke and the decline has been so awful. She is coping all on her own, her son and his family are of course too busy to help and all her own family are gone. In August they will have been married fifty years and I was their bridesmaid, so we are planning to meet up for a lunch to celebrate with the other bridesmaid.. so sad that it all ends so awfully. They had a good and happy marriage, but the stroke took away their future.. My greatest fear is losing my mind.. I am sure that many share the same horror of it.[ When I get memory lapses that I have never had before, it makes me scared that I might go that way.]. They say now that doing crosswords does not necessarily sharpen the brain and arm it against these illnesses, but surely it must help? Having said that, I was never one for the jigsaws or puzzles or soduku so don't know how it will end for me. Unfortunately I know how it is going to end for my dear friend that I visited a few weeks ago... When I saw her, she said she was on her last weeks from the 12 she had been told... frightening to know how impossible that was to dodge, but she had got all her affairs in order and wills and burial sorted.. [actually, I wouldn't mind having the time to do it myself instead of just slipping off and leaving everyone else to sort it out...] but I knew she was scared and so upset at not being able to share more years with her husband and family.. but it does just happen that our road runs out and we are already at our destination* I guess that is why the Ancients said that' Carpe Diem,' and its so right... Seize everyday hard, and make it work the best for you and never harm anyone in doing it.. that way you achieve all that you desire and are loved by all who know you.. Wish that were easy to do, but it isn't is it? Trying to live in 'the moment' is much easier said than done, but worth trying all the same.. and.... avoiding stupid situations like my morning accident, so I would'nt have to shout out in disgust at my stupidity!!!
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
When I got the letter to go and see the Breast Unit at the Hospital, I smiled ruefully and thought, what does that mean?? I had never been asked to go again before, and my last mammo was clear when it was done three years ago. I had no symptoms, and really didn't feel unusual, so what was the point I said to myself.. However it was an early morning start which I like because then my day seems longer and I can get more done. So at 9 am I was there at the outside unit in a very large van thing. The actual process this time was very easy and quite painless... sometimes the women moving your boob around can be quite rough and ready, but this one was not, and I told her so, before I left. Thinking no more about it, I was shocked to get the letter saying I had to return.. no matter that it also said, only one in ten has got anything wrong, that I was not to worry etc etc etc. My way of dealing with worry is usually to put it at the back of my mind to deal with later.. then I can deal with it, when it is urgent. I had had a shock a couple of weeks earlier when my son told me his marriage was over and he was moving out. Whether that shock made me ill I don't know, but I quickly came down with Shingles and so I had to delay going back to the Breast Unit. Three weeks later I was able to attend the clinic. When I came into the room having covered myself with a dressing gown after disrobing.. I was shown the exray of my left breast and could see the clusters of tiny white spots under the nipple . There were quite a few of them, so they took more pictures, and then a scan and then came back to inject me with a numbing medicine so they could take the samples for the lab to see if they were bad cells. My next appointment was the following week when my husband insisted on coming with me. He was in total shock when the surgeon said it was pre cancerous and they needed to operate to be safe. I was in a funny place, knowing that I had the choice to leave any operation and wait for them to escape if, indeed they were going to.. or have the operation. My husband would have said no operation if they are not bad cells.. and might never escape, but I thought it better to have a lumpectomy.. Since that day I have read and read articles on the operation procedures and printed some of them out.. looking for side affects that might happen... all of which leads me to believe that from being on the back burner, my ideas and thoughts and fears are starting to travel to the front of my brain, where I will have to deal with them.. I still feel in a fatalistic mood, knowing that I will have the op, but so unsure of what happens afterwards when I have the radiotherapy and how it will affect me and my life for a while. We had planned to have a luncheon party to celebrate our 25th anniversary, but it would have been held in September, and with all the things I had to get done with my health, it would be left totally for John to get the house ready and the garden and he always operates best when I am helping too.. If I am out of action, he will not feel like doing much without me. Sp we have put our anniversary party to one side, he will be also turning 70 in January, and the plan is now to celebrate our birthdays and the anniversary later in the year, maybe in springtime.. I know it makes sense, but agreeing to postpone has just made me aware of how vulnerable I might be after doing the operation and radiotherapy.. I am still in a state of 'laissez faire' but really not happy knowing how it might affect me to the point of writing off the whole of July whilst I recover. LIfe happens whether you want it to, or not, so I am going to go with the flow and try and stop feeling this way. If it makes me tired, then I must be patient, which I do find hard to do, and if it doesnt affect me too much I will not be too depressed at having cancelled our celebrations. I feel in a state where time is working forwards and I am drifting towards this operation , and I feel disconnected in a way from the operation and all the following things like radiotherapy.. now that we have cancelled the party, it is acknowledging that I might be quite poorly afterwards and I hate being ill for any length of time** I guess my disconnect is how I am dealing with whatever fear I am feeling. Everyone has gone quiet when I have mentioned the lumpectomy, as if it truly is awful...hopefully they will be proved wrong, I wont lose my energy too much and I wont miss the whole of July in recovery... Wish me luck hey?
Saturday, 6 June 2015
The other day I managed to click on the tv during the morning , and saw it was a programme with Mary forgotten her surname, anyway, she had this idea for a lasagne, and I immediately wanted to do it veggie style. So it was sausage meat, as veggies dont have sausagemeat I broke up the sausages myself into small pieces and then followed what I had remembered from the programme. I laid the lasagne sheets into hot water, to make them more malleable and useable, then= mixed up the strewn sausages and added mushrooms, peppers onions and tomatoes.. when they were gently browned, I added creme fraiche to the mix then put on one side. I found a jar of tomato and placed in a jug and then diluted a little with water. getting the dish, I put a layer of sausage mix first, then the lasagne sheets then the tomatoe juice, then repeated it another time, and for the last level of mix on top I added several strips of cheddar cheese.. In the oven for half an hour at 180 and boy was it delicious.. I do find that I can adapt most recipes to veggie, and John seems a lot happy with my results.. I tell you, this recipe I just had to do immediately that morning after seeing it on the #TV ... It would be fun if you tried to do it too later.. really really tasty!!
I have not had a good month really with meeting my friend that is dying, and now is in a hospice as her days draw to a close, getting her pain managed has been a true struggle.. and then speaking to a friend in Spain just before she went in for a throat operation, only to hear after a successful operation, that she had died of a massive heart attack a couple of days later.. I was thinking ' who will be next'** Well, I got that answer on Thursday last week when I spoke to my brother in the South of France where he lives. He was very down as his best friend who had known since they married best friends almost fifty years ago, and was like his brother, had lost his fight with the cancer. I met Gerard over the years and a kinder more clever and humble person I have yet to meet. He had two children, one of whom, Pierre died of a brain cancer when he was eleven. As the same year of his birth both my brother and I had sons , they were all of the same age, so again, we suffered his loss together. It is true what they say about the good dying young.. this seems to be happening at the moment to my circle of friends. It is not the worst year of loss, that happened when I lost family and friends and included my own parents, my losses counted up to 13 in 13 months, ending with my father. I guess knowing it is coming to be the time when we should realise that three score and ten was the allotted time, and to live past this date is a plus, but not a given! Mortality is a strange word isnt it.. we sort of know what it means and know of other people dying young, but somehow it only feels like its anything close to us when we get so much older. As young people we believe that the whole world is full of opportunities and adventures and our lives seem to have no end. Now, I know that I am unlikely to see another 30 years and notice all too clearly how fast the weeks fly by! Once, a year took sooo long to get through, now it passes in a flash. My friend who is dying, is hanging on in there.. she was very poorly earlier this week and has been transferred to a Hospice for pain management and infection control. She is now very confused but stable and had a reasonable night last night.. I just spoke to her husband who is coping amazingly, but boy is he on some journey with her. She has always been the one with the funny quip but now she is trying to stay alive and not a lot of space for jokes at the moment. Outside my window the sun is shining, and I and John my husband are going to a Wedding this afternoon. The girl is from his Firm, and qualified with them as an Accountant, and will be marrying for the second time. She has been on her own a long while and her son is now 12, but its great that she is being given another chance to spend her days with a caring husband. I am so looking forward to catching up with the other Partners from his Accountancy Practice. When John founded it all of almost thirty years ago, it was just him and a few book keepers.. now it has several partners and John is retained as a consultant. He works two days a week, and finds it plenty to keep him satisfied and brain working.. He is the Tax specialist in the Firm. Weddings are so lovely because of all the hope they represent, and its a happy time to catch up with friends and families, not a sad occasion like funerals. Funerals however are becoming more and more commanplace now.. and I remember my parents saying they were going to at least four a month!! I hope I dont lose my friends that fast, and I would love to hope that one day I will meet them all again.. which is why, even if they are buried, its only Au Revoir, because we will be together all again one day.. That I do hang on to, the thought that nothing is really ended, and so goodbyes are not necessary**
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
I guess it was around their seventies that my parents started attending funeral services all over England and France for their dear friends who had died before them. I remember them saying how hard and depressing it was to see their friends leave them, and that they were all good people and should have lived longer. This evening, I picked up the phone to listen to my message on the answer machine. It was another school friend telling me that our friend had died this morning from a massive heart attack. WE had all known each other since we were ten years old. She was always the peacemaker and kind person.. never got into rows or fights and always had time to listen. She never grew taller than almost 5 ft, so we called her 'Little Mary'..She moved to live in Spain a while ago, and finally after working giving fishermen weekend holidays away, where she would give the breakfasts and her husband would take them fishing in the rivers around their house in Spain, they had retired and were starting to enjoy life... She has always had a bit of Angina, but like me, nothing really to worry about, only rarely needing the puffer... BUT over the last few months had noticed difficulty in swallowing and then eating food. Of course it was a Tumour on her throat, and she had to have an operation which took place a week ago today. Accordingly she seemed to come out of the 8 hour operation with all the signs being good, and was looking forward to coming back to their house by the end of this week. However, early this morning, she had a massive heart attack, and they were unable to save her. When I had called her house this morning, her son, over from his home in England answered the phone and to my enquiry, said he would prefer it if his dad could ring me back... Alarm signals ran through me, and I called another close schoolfriend that Jamie had been very emotional and I was worried.. She rang another friend who rang the husband and we all found out that our little mary had gone to join the Angels earlier this morning.. I knew that Jamie was upset, but never in a million years did I think it could be because she had died! Our lives when you look at them , only endure for a few years, too few to mention, it seems just as you think you have the 'hang of it' it all goes pearshaped! They were so happy in their life out there together, and were so looking forward to many more years enjoying their times together in the sunshine. Now her husband will have to arrange her funeral, what a terrible sad thing to have to do, and really now, seventy is almost expected to be younger than it ever was!! It is true, I feel she was cheated of many more years with her family. She met her husband whilst still at school and they married as soon as she reached 18, so that life time together will be hard to replace with being alone and single again. He will have the love of his son and his family, but how empty it will all feel. I am sitting here thinking who's turn will it be next? You never can tell, that is why I told my kids never to waste time, its gone so quickly and this life certainly is no rehearsal...... this is it, one chance to get it as right as you can whilst you are here and not to hurt anyone on the way... to treat everyone as you wanted to be treated... so far, so good...
Sunday, 24 May 2015
When I was carrying my first child I developed a condition called pyelitus, where the kidney under pressure is not happy and reacts with fevers and water infections. I was very ill with Daniel and then when I was carrying Rebecca I got it again.. this time I was hospitalised and treated very intensely. Outside my door had quiet notice on it.. I was drifting in and out of conciousness. I stayed there for a week, whilst my neighbour looked after Daniel whilst his dad was working. A few days after I was there and starting to get better, I awoke to find a doctor at the foot of my bed with a nurse, and he was saying to her, that I was a clear example of a woman who would die of Renal failure in my forties** I then asked him if he had any better news, but he scuttled away without saying any more! I was returned home to await the final weeks of carrying Rebecca, and as she went over 2 weeks more I was induced and had her in four hours.. During that marriage which lasted 23 years, I gave birth to another three darlings.. All of them put my kidneys under pressure, but I managed to deliver them without health problems for the babies. So, you will understand that having heard that doctor and never forgetting his words, I really did think that I had only until I was forty to live my life. It used to really wear me down thinking about the inevitability of finishing my life at forty. However, forty came and went, then fifty, then sixty and now, today seventy!!! Of course I do wish I had not had that awful prediction over my head and heart for all those years. I never thought I would be around when my kids came of age and married and had kids themselves, but how wrong I was!! Despite my health isues which have happened over the last few years, I am happier than ever before and rejoice in knowing my children are happy, in well paid job,s and happy with their own children. My grandchildren now number 9 and with John's three we share 12 grandchildren together. Christmas is when we all try and get to gether to celebrate another year ending and beginning, and this house heaves to the rafters ha ha... Thirty years is, and is not, a long time.. I have seen my family grow and produce the next generation, I have remarried, moved houses, travelled abroad and done a whole host of things, and I know that I am unlikely to see another thirty years in front of me, unless I live to a hundred... maybe then..... but I am so greatful for these last thirty years, because it proved to me that Doctors can get it wrong, and I was lucky to prove him very wrong indeed!!
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Every three years in England, the health service asks ladies of a certain age to submit to a mammogram experience.. This is usually quite an invasive and not a very nice experience as they have to squeeze your breasts to be able to xray them between pieces of glass. It means awkward angles and can be quite pinching and painful. So, when I got this invitation at the beginning of May, despite being in a close area where it was easy to park and be done, I was very very loath to go and attend, remembering all the other painful visits. However, I did go, and a week later a letter asking me for further tests arrived. I was quite surprised as I had never been asked back before, but the letter also said it was only one in ten people that there was cause for anxiety. Having been reassured by that fact, I was due to be seen the following week. However I then contracted Shingles and the thought of my breasts being manhandled and squeezed was not appealing, so I made the arrangement to go again last week when the shingles had almost gone. I was in some trepidation, but found the clinic and car parks easily and went to my meeting. I was ushered into a darkened room with a screen showing a cluster of white spots on my left breast, just under the nipple area. The took many xrays, scans and photos and then several pieces of my breast were taken for biopsy, and I left with an arrangement to return to discuss the biopsy this morning. We were together in the office with the surgeon specialist who told me that I now showed that I had pre cancerous cells, but the cluster were not at this moment active.. However there would be a time when they would break through and then invade the rest of my body and would become proper breast cancer. The option I had, was a full Mastectomy, or a cut and dive in to extract the bad cells and hopefully manage to clean up the area and prevent any spreading. I chose the cutting, which will only take about half an hour to do.. then afterwards I have to have radiotherapy for every day for three weeks to make absolutely sure that all is clear and safe. My husband is in a state of shock, because he really believed that we would be back home quickly with no worries.. Now, I have had an operation date set,.it will be after my trip to Canada, because I would not be good to fly after an operation.. and so on July 7th I will face the knife. Its a funny thing really, because I knew that something was up, despite the fact that there was no lump or discolouration, or dimpling, or anything to show that cancer was trying to rear its horrible head.. This is obviously why these Mammo tests are so important, so if any of you reading this, are in two minds about going and getting it done, please do not wait and hesitate, the main thing in my brain is that, if I had not gone, I would not be in a good position to deal with it, and it might be a completely different outcome I would be facing... So PLEASE do attend all these appointments, they may very well save your life!!!
Monday, 18 May 2015
Today early this morning, I left to drive over 160 miles to visit an old school friend. We had known each other since meeting at school aged 11. All these years we have kept up our connection, meeting at odd moments irregularly over the years. Now that facebook is so accessible, we are connected there too. I have been able to catch up seeing all her children grown, the last time I saw them they were babies when she was living in Ireland with her first husband. Now they are all grown up with children of their own* Ten years ago, she found out by chance that her fainting one day at work where she was a nurse.had been caused by her liver which had a rare condition called Polycistic Liver. She knew that it was not good, as she had already known that several people in her family back for generations had got this condition which had caused them to die early.. She was supposed to be monitored regularly, but of course it was not done, and five years ago the flipping Liver burst and sent out all its bad things all over her body. She was rushed into hospital where an 8 hour operation managed to clean up as much as they could.. then chemo, then ok for another five years, when the Cancer appeared in other places, and she had more chemo, but this time they could not contain it, even after cutting out more of her insides. Now she is at home, weak but very brave, in a house that she and her husband have carefully renovated over the 14 years they had lived there, and it looks beautiful. Like her dear husband said, they had got the house and garden just right and were looking forward to a long happy retirement when all this happens.. Life is so cruel especially to people that do not deserve it! With the last treatement failing, and the cancer growing rapidly again inside her, she is at home for these days. Tomorrow the Hospice Nurses will come by to see if they can help her with the massive pain and heat sweats that she is enduring now. She has got all her affairs in order and her will is made so her children and husband will not be disadvantaged by her leaving them. I drove all the way, setting out at 8 am in driving heavy rain all the time blasting down, and making driving hazerdous. Then the traffic jams that delayed my journey by fifty minutes, I finally got to their home around midday... Not bad I thought with all the delays. By this time, the sun had come out and was shining, so the garden looked wonderful from the room where she was sitting. I was shocked,she had reduced so much in her face, but she could still be recognised as my dear friend.. We sat and talked and talked, and her husband joined in a bit, and made us lunch and the visit passed well.. From time to time her eyes would get full as she realised how little time she knew she had left. With her calculations from when the doctor had told her the best would be 12 weeks, she is on the last two weeks, and then .... Of course her dear husband wants her to stay with him as long as she can, to try and make it to her 70th birthday in November, but she knows she said, that this is not going to happen and she worried about how he will cope later when she is not with him. He too, is being positive and upbeat as much as he can, but he knows too that the days are counting down. I know that my friend has had a reasonably good fulfilling life with lovely children that adore her, but even so, it would have been marvellous if the last meds had worked and given her more time. I said to her ' I dont like goodbyes, so I am saying Au Revoir, and see you soon'. She then got up and walked with me to her door, and then I just hugged her and told her I loved her, and she told me she loved me too.. and I left before I could start crying.. I have been crying ever since, but I am so glad I made the effort to see her, I do hope we are wrong and she lives longer, but if not, she will know that I loved her dearly and she knew that I made a special journey to see her. Its my birthday on Sunday and I am going to send her a card to tell her she is sharing it with me, so she can celebrate twice if she gets to November, and I will include a little gift... She is so Worth it..
Sunday, 17 May 2015
just back for attending church and feeling good for doing so. Next sunday is my birthday, and a big one, so maybe will attend again,.. its in the next village, and not too far to drive. This coming week is quite a busy one for me. Tomorrow I set out about 8 oclock for the long drive to Southampton. I am visiting a school friend that I have known for so long, we were about eleven when we first met at school Over the years we have kept in touch intermittently and now with Facebook, much more in recent times. When you leave school the big wide world is beckoning and so many adventures happen along the way. Meeting new people, and experiencing different styles of life that friendships from years ago take a back burner. However every one of those years didn't matter when we got back in touch, it was just like yesterday and we chatted so easily again. We were very close when we were just in our teens and studying for the GCE exams. That summer I used to catch the train and travel to her huge old house in Shepperton and we would find a spot outside in the sunshine and try to study, breaking off now and again to take a dip in the stream at the end of the garden. That summer seemed a long hot one, and we managed to study and do ok in the exams later. A few years later my parents bought a house around the corner from her, and we shared a lot of time together, then my parents went to live in France. I kept in touch with letters, but after a while that faded too.. Anyway, this dear friend of mine has never been far from my thoughts and meeting her tomorrow after many years, must be over 25*** will be a great chance to catch up and be close again. ~Her family, like mine has thrived and she is also blessed with grandchildren.. so we have a lot to talk about and I am so looking forward to the visit. I have postponed it twice before, so third time lucky!!! It will be a long drive, but well worth it I am sure! Then, Tuesday I return to find out at the Breast Clinic what they are going to offer me if the clusters were not good... then Thursday off up to Sheffield to try and see the mind doctor to see how my life changing injuries after the operations have impacted on myself and my mental state.... that should be fun eh?? .. luckily, Friday I will have to recover before my birthday weekend starts.. a birthday in fact that I did not expect to have, as when I was carrying Rebecca and only 23 I was told that I would develop kidney failure in my forties and possibly expire from it!!!!!! [they were not very schooled in being sympathetic those Doctors**]... So here's to a good week, even if it is busy!
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Apart from making the decision for our Dog Reiver to join the others at Rainbow Bridge, my week so far has been quite hard and will be until next Tuesday I think.. I had had a routine mammogram test four weeks ago and the next week was called back to have a secondary look at my breasts. However as you will have read, I had got Shingles and could not bear the thought of being moved around to be photographed, so put off the appointment until yesterday. When I arrived first in the queue I was photographed from all angles of my left breast. On screen it showed tiny white spots of calcium in a cluster and one other further back, but they then had me scanned, then back to be photographed again from all angles and this time a biopsy was decided. They injected me with a painkiller and then proceeded to take several shots of the cluster and took the results away for closer examination and for these results I have to wait until next Tuesday Normally I put big things like this on my mental back burner and gradually as the day advances, begin to deal with it at the time. This time however, I can say I am a little worried as they said it could be bad or a good cluster but won't know until looked at in my detail. Quite what I shall do if it is bad I am not sure. I have always believed that these things can be spread by cutting open and trying to extract, but now I am not sure what choice I shall make. Of course I know that our lives here have a certain length, but not sure I want mine to end as soon as this. Cancer is thought to be hugely affected by stress, and apart from Monday and Reiver's going, I have endured a very great deal of stress coping with the life changing situation that I was left in after my two spinal operations over four years ago. These clusters have come in the last three years, and I am sure that I was at my most stressed soon after returning home having to deal with myself and all that entailed. Still, it is Wednesday today and the sun is shining, so I am going to put a positive spin on things.. I am going to be with a dear friend looking at a house she is interested to buy and then take it easy all afternoon. John can go look after his grandsons after school and I will rest here and watch tv. My breast is not as sore as I expected and my dentures are becoming more easier to use so, I shall relax and place everything in the lap of the gods.. wish me luck for next tuesday?
Saturday, 9 May 2015
Almost 4 and half years ago, we adopted a rescue dog to be pals with our girl Millie. Millie was a cross staffie with collie and very energetic, and we needed a lovely calm dog, who might be able to calm her down too. We were so lucky to have a wonderful cross staffie with lurcher dog join us. We called him Reiver. He was a dark version of Milie and larger and he quickly became a beloved member of our family. Having reared five children with my first husband, we had no time to take on animals as well. So this time around,with my second husband and all the children now grown up and living away, we could have time to have a couple of fur babies. This is what they have become. Our dogs have lightened our lives and become so much a part of everything we do. This big dog we called Reiver, and he thrived. When we first had him, he was very insecure, having been really badly treated by his first owners. As a puppy he was left in a small bathroom all on his own for the first year of his life. When he was found abandoned, his back legs didnt work and he had to be carried around. He was just one year old when he came to live with us, and gradually he learned to trust and love us. He didnt like men, and it was a couple of years before he felt able to kiss or lick John my husband. He slunk away whenever he saw a broom, so one can imagine what that represented to the poor darling. At first he could not jump up on to anything, gradually easing his big body up to sit beside us. However after a couple of years, his legs became stronger and he started to be able to feel strong enough to jump , but over this last year, he has been going down hill. The repidity that this reduction has happened has been utterly awful. Now the poor darling can barely walk, his back and front legs refuse to obey him and he cannot stand well, and keeps falling over. We had originally taken h im to the vets, because he had a developing bald patch which was gradually taking over his whole back... however after a lot of tests, we were no clearer what was causing this.. Then the legs started to play up more, and in the last two weeks the front ones went. We are crying inside, because we have had to make the choice of letting our brave loving boy go to the Rainbow Bridge where he can run free again, and on Monday the Vet is coming to help us ease him into the next part of his journey. We are devastated to have to make this choice, but there is no option. The feeling is that has to have been a brain tumour that has acted this quickly and with all the tests in the world, it is not going to make him better. Whoever those Beasts were who had him first, gave him this legacy and I hope they rot in hell for what they did to my darling boy. I shall miss him so much, but his pain has to end.. He tries so hard to do normal things then just falls over and looks at me. I feel that we are right to choose for the Vet to come,but its so hard to say goodbye. He is only 6 and should have had a lot more years of loving yet to come. My boy Reiver and his sister Millie, looking out at the garden and no doubt watching the squirrels**
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Yesterday was quite traumatic,with the extraction of five teeth... but I have to say, that once last night was over, today is not too bad with pain etc etc... I cannot wait to be able to use them properly, but for the moment am taking my time. I have not managed to eat much as they are a little loose, but the dentist said she would adjust if I go back. which I will, soon... Anyway all you kind people, thank you for your best wishes, and I am ok again now... in fact I took a picture and I think you will agree they do not look so bad... when I get the new pair in six months, they will be whiter than these, but for the moment, they are going to do me well.
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
It has been my bad luck that given all the meds I am taking, my mouth is dry and the saliva glands no longer work, which in turn gave rise to decay in all my teeth, and so I have had to have them all out.. Tomorrow my last five will go and I am really feeling bad about it. The dentures that I have at the moment are not that good, as we have to wait six months before ordering a new one that will fit properly. so tomorrow when I have these ones out, the teeth are added to the main denture and I will have to wait for the six months until my jaw is settled. As I am going to Canada in 6 weeks time, and I did not want to end up with a tooth, or several breaking, I have opted to have them out tomorrow. I wanted to be under, and not aware, but because the drug would relax all my body muscles it could lead to very embarrassing situations with my bladder and bowel, so I have to have them out with ordinary injections. The dentist herself is delightful and I am sure will do her best to make it as easy as it is possible to do, but the mere act of it happening, makes me shudder. The last time I had several out, I was straight to bed and slept for a whole night, and over the next few days it worked out not too painful, so I am hoping this will be the same when the tops ones go. I know that lots of people have dentures and manage with them very well, but they do not have dry mouths and so this affects the glue stuff that I put to try and keep the dentures in place and can make the mouth feel very uncomfortable and weird... I know that eating is not going to be easy for quite a while whilst I get used to using them , and hopefully[ if I think positively], it will aid my weight loss... but I just hope it is not too painful and that I will be able to manage to eat everything that I will want to do. Since I have not had these dentures too long, I have been very careful how I eat and how to do it.. its the strangest thing relying on a row of plastic teeth... there are no feelings, just clunking against the jaw, and the old tongue has to play a much bigger part in softening the item before I can swallow it... So wish me luck, I know I am not terminally ill and that is a small price to pay for getting older... but its hard to get my head and heart around.. What has happened to you, did you manage to cope with them easily and manage like normal?
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Its now over a fortnight when I went to the Doctors to find out why I had hot spots on my chest and was burning up.. Shingles was the answer and he gave me an antiviral medicine, which I had to take five times a day, and at 80 mls, it was a high dose. Which did stop the blisters erupting and spilling their burning liquid all over my skin.. However the pain doesn't seem to be touched by taking painkillers on a regular basis, and it has been driving me mad** The pain is all over the right side, along my chest, under my arms and half way to the elbow, and all the time, the pain is like the deepest bruising and hurts nonstop. I am definately not a fan of pain, and seriously wish it would disappear soon.. if not immediately. I have had to cancel several engagements and arrangements that I had made and had looked forward to doing.. but better to be safe than sorry, and I certainly didn't want anyone else being affected by it, so kept a low profile at home. Despite being told to rest, I really was silly and didn't do so, instead carrying on as much as normal.. the result being, that now, each evening around 7 pm I am exhausted and just want to crawl into bed! However, I really feel too ashamed to allow myself this indulgence, and have struggled to finish the night around the normal times, but tonight I am going to retire with a good book and sink into my bed without a backward glance. It is a true fact that as mothers and wives we are so unsure of letting go and just taking time out for ourselves that we always put everyone else first, and our needs are left to be attended to when we have time.. which is never** I can remember with five children, I barely had time to breath, and the only 'Me' time I could grab, was when I managed to get the bathroom to myself and soak in a really hot bath... of course the kids soon worked out, that if they came in whilst I was in the bath, they could make me give them my entire attention, especially when they locked the bathroom door, and their siblings had to wait outside until it was their turn to have my attention.. Those days went in a hurried blur, and now all these years later, I realise that my mother was right, when she told me that the best days were the rearing of the children and how fast they go.. At the time, I thought she was talking through her hat, but of course she was right¬!!!As a parent you never stop worrying about your children, where they are, whether they are happy, if they are enjoying their job etc etc and when relationships fail after years of marriage, how you wish you had a wand to make it all better! My youngest is going to be 36 next month and I would love to see him settled down with a loving wife and starting a family... but even those who did marry and have children, have not had easy rides and divorce has loomed its head. Luckily my eldest is on his second marriage and seems very very happy with his wife and two little sons.. my daughter with her three grown up children has had to start again, and is enjoying life at the moment. My second daughter has had to deal with drug issues with her son and my second son is having marriage troubles which might end in divorce.. All these happenings are so sad, but life is rarely perfect and we just have to pick ourselves up and try again. Of course, being on a second marriage myself, I know how hard it can be to start again, especially with a family in tow. I was lucky and found someone to share my life with, but it was so very hard adapting after being married a long time the first time around. I was married 23 years the first time, and this September will celebrate my 25 years with this husband. It has not been easy especially where his children were concerned, but over time they have mellowed and been better towards me. Luckily they did get along with my own children, which was a blessing, but they found me harder to accept. Life is hard enough without trying to find more problems.. best to deal with what you have, try to sort out difficulties and if they cannot be sorted, then decide what to do. It took me a very very long time to leave my first husband, but we were harming ourselves and each other by staying in a toxic relationship. Now we are friends again, and it is good to know that the man I chose for my husband has a lot of good points alongside those that upset me. With age, we mellow and maybe stop trying to find the perfect life, becoming more settled and accepting. The one thing I cannot accept though, is the thought of having this shingles thing again, I have heard that you can get it more than once, and that I would find intolerable.. Once is quite enough to be shingled I can tell you!!!
Monday, 27 April 2015
This is now our front room with the colours included that I thought would lift the room. I am very pleased with it, and have been inspired to try and update my kitchen... we have had new counters, new tiles and new doors... all waiting to be painted and finished... so that is in progress and will come back to it later.. great to have projects to work on**
Thursday, 23 April 2015
I had had a run of the very worst luck the year between 02 and 03. In the twelve months up to my Father dying, I had lost 11 close friends and cousins as well as my own mother. In the thirteenth month, my Father went to join my mother. I was knocked out by all the funerals I had attended, and now my Dad dying seemed to finish the circle. Immediately after my mother dying, my brother took my father to stay with him at his home in Brussels, and then at the holiday home in the South of France. He cared for him for quite a few weeks, not wanting to leave him alone in the flat in Crawley Sussex, where he had lived for the last thirty years. My mother and he, had had a long marriage and it was mainly happy, very artistically motivated by their joint interest in music and helping others. She did hospital visiting right up until she died, and he would take communion to those who could not attend Mass because of their infirmity. Both of them found great solace in belonging to the Catholic church and their faith was unbelievable strong. The last weeks of my father's life were filled with workmen, bought in by my brother to overhaul the flat and bring up to date.. So, when I invited him to stay with us in our big house, over the Easter, he was very pleased to accept. However, he was hospitalised for a few days before I was going to collect him from his home as he was running a low fever and was out of sorts. I finally got the go ahead to pick him up on Good Friday, so drove to the hospital and collected him. He was very weak and in the year of losing my mother, he had become very frail and had no apetite, so had lost a lot of weight. The first evening home we sat around and chatted and I gave him some albums with loose photographs which I asked him to organise and place in the albums. He had a great evening, going over the pictures and remembering the holidays with my mother. The weather was lovely and warm and he seemed to be perking up. The next evening we had John's parents, who lived next door to us, eome over and we again chatted all eveing very happily. During that Saturday night he called me because he had severe pain and I asked whether to call the ambulance, but he refused, took another tablet and managed to get back to sleep. In the morning, being Easter Sunday, I took him to Mass where he renewed with the congregation, his baptismal vows and took Communion. It was lovely to be able to share in this, and I know he was happy inside himself. It was somehow completing a circle. Another lovely day just pottering around in and out of the garden. Then we had a power cut on electricity, so went next door to see if that had happened to them too. On our return, we heard my dad calling from the toilet, and rushed upstairs to find him in great distress because he could not move for pain in his body. John helped him downstairs and we waited for the ambulance. I went with him to the hospital where they decided that his anourism had burst, a thing that had been threatening for years, and that the only way was to give him more and more morphine for the pain. He knew he was dying, and I managed to get a Priest to come and sit with him and give him the last Rites of the Church. He was peaceful then and thanked me for being with him, and I was telling him that soon he would be with Mother, and it was all very sad indeed. I was also on the mobile to my brother in Belgium telling him moment by moment what was happening. At 2.15 the afternoon of 23rd April, he stopped breathing, and my father had left us. Even now, all these years later, I miss him so much and mother too.. but of course I was a daddy's girl and he had always been so special for me.. now I was an orphan like so many others. Being an orphan whatever your age is a very hard knock on your door of life. Having enjoyed their living so much longer than many of their peers, we had grown to know them as adults and as people we could relate to and to know them for themselves and not just as a parent. I think too, that having them with us for so long makes it so much harder when they do go, because they have always been around for the various stages in your growing up* So, today is another year that I have not seen him or heard his voice, and not felt my mother's love and affection, I was so lucky having them as parents, but I would give anything just to speak to them both again. The sun is shining and the weather is lovely,but I am sad inside, because this day will always be the day I lost my Dad.
Friday, 17 April 2015
On Monday as I got ready for bed, I noticed a huge red blip on my right chest side, and a few , lumps, looked like bites, so put some cream on and went to bed.. the next day it was still there, but now getting larger. The following day it was hurting and very very hot, so thought it must be an infection and took myself along to the doctors surgery before they closed for Lunch. Because there were no other patients waiting, after half an hour's wait I was seen by the Doctor. He took one look and said Shingles* Of course I have heard about it, knowing that it is a chicken pox related thingy, but never in a million years would think I would catch it** Because of my second son's marriage becoming precarious, and having his sad face at home over Easter, then a small panic attack, which I related to his news.. I have been told that stress levels can impact on the immune system and whoops, you have it visit you! I was thinking that my panic attack was because I had not taken the tablet for a night or two, just being too tired to remember... but when this turned up in all its glory and being told that stress would perhaps be at root, I began to realise just what at traumatic Easter weekend I had had. Like most people, especially mothers, I keep my own counsel and internalize my feelings. . It is when my body has had enough of coping that I get panic attacks etc in the first place. Their marriage was from the outside, very loving and strong, but over a decade and waiting until my son Qualified, put having babies on hold.. so now he is ready to develop his business and her clock is ticking.. Children became an important issue.. My son, retreats when he encounters arguments over and over again, until its all too much and he decides he's had enough. I do feel for her too, as her clock is ticking and she has waiting so long.. but their relationship is too rocky at the moment to think about anything but getting separated. They have tried counselling, but that has not worked over the last six months. As you know as parents we cannot take sides, and I spoke for many hours too on the phone to her, trying to help with her unhappiness, but in the end it is their road, not mine and they will have to work it out So that is why I think I have now got this awful Shingles. I have antiviral meds and also calamine lotion to sooth the skin.. it helps a little. Most of all I am told to rest, but that is impossible even though I am retired, I have lots to do each day, and the idea of just lying on the bed all day does not appeal at the moment. Maybe I would recover more quickly, I just dont know, I'd feel so guilty I'm sure!! If anyone has any ideas how long to rest, or what helps to cope with it, would welcome those comments.. meanwhile to all of you, have a super weekend.. J
Saturday, 4 April 2015
This is my dining room with the same grey walls and orange extras.. the table leads to the double white wooden doors that fold right back into the walls thus making the front room and dining room one vast open room.. This is what we do at Christmas times and when the family come. I have orange accents at the moment, but with the turquoise and green choice next room, I might well choose similar shades .. but the front room will have more turquoise in it, and the dining room the emphasis will be on the greener side.. what do you think? the Large mat on the floor is for the dogs to lie on in front of the fire.. they love it .. the window also lifts up into the eaves and makes another doorway into garden, just like the one in the front room.. This room is part of the original house, which was enlarged in the 1850's by the then Vicars wife, who was part of the Suchard Chocolate family and had the money to increase the house on both sides, creating a house with eight bedrooms and two bathrooms, and four toilets. Originally we had Johns parents living in the sectioned off three bedroom part. They sectioned it off in the 1940's for the curate who was the assistant to the vicar. Anyway this is another large room and comes into its own when it is all opened up..
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
I have been promising to put pictures of my house on this blog, for some time, so now I am going to try and get them up here..
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
I think |I am fairly on the ball as they say, most of the time, but then I have a lapse and it turns out to be a Senior Moment* A senior moment is when you do something so truly stupid, its laughable.. I have gone to the Dentist and say brightly, my appointment is at ... and I think I am a little early, and they say, actually, you are a day or a week late!! Monday last, I was booked in for a phsychiatric assessment, so see what impact all the issues I have to deal with since the failed operations, has had on my mental state. So, John my husband and I set off for a fairly long trip up the motor way, about ten junctions and then another motorway before reaching the destination. The weather was so lovely, warm sunshine and bright skies, so we rattled along feeling very good in ourselves .After about an hour and a half, we arrive at the treatment rooms. We are early for the appointment, but we went in anyway, only to find that the person we planned to meet, never held his clinic there on a Monday, only Wednesdays! WE can never do a wednesday because we babysit John's grandsons after school every week, so when I had received the original letter I had to call and re arrange on a different day. So Monday 23rd March was agreed and then it gets silly. I cannot remember having a letter of confirmation, but somewhere I did get the information of the new address and timing, and wrote it in my diary. However, I was still under the impression that the original consulting room letter would show the address I was needed to attend.. So, there you are, another moment of total stupidity and if he needed any confirmation of my mental memory, he could see that it was in actual fact quite awful** I have re arranged another meeting but that will not be until May now as these people are always so busy. I could kick myself for such a silly mistake, but luckily John was not annoyed at wasting the afternoon, because as he said, it was a nice ride out and he enjoyed the driving.. That was,for me, quite a relief.. With my first husband, not sure I would have got the same reaction! I have now put it up for all to see, that I wish to lose 49 lbs in weight and am going to try and attempt this over the next 6 months. I know I shall not be losing it easily, but I do aim to try harder.. Its so simple to accept how one is, but truly those pounds would make me feel so much younger and fitter in myself. So I am going to try and say what I have lost each Monday morning on my facebook page.. Lawd help me! ARE there any other tricks to achieve this. I am not able to jog any more as I have two metal knees and right hip, so walking is not easy either, but I do manage at least a mile, three times or more a week, taking my dog out.I know I shall have to keep a diary, and drink plenty of water, and be careful of portion size, but what else is there to chivvy it along? As I write this, I am 15 stones in weight, which is a lot for my height of 5 ft 5 inches. I would love to get at least a stone off by my Canada trip in June.. so it is really a serious matter to do... of course I have tried many many times over the years, and never got lower than what I am now.. I lose then put it back on , again and again.. very dispiriting as you can imagine. I dont want to be thin, just less bulky in my torso! My mother of course was tiny and petite and worried about my size after having all the children. each time I was a larger person, and that was five times I went through the pregnancy.. so wish me luck.. the buck stops here as the man said...
Saturday, 14 March 2015
Another week over and another one beginning... as I get to be older and older, I feel that the weeks are just running away hell bent for leather...weeks that are gone forever, and no way of slowing them down. When I was young, the weeks seemed to take forever to reach the weekend when we could stay at home and not go to school. Now it takes a breath of air, and we are seemingly again, at the end of another week. What have I achieved this past week? I have been deep into trying to declutter the rooms. It is a thankless task, because all the things I have accumulated were saved because they were or might be of use to me. How, is not the answer, but maybe in the future, might be** I have to be totally ruthless with myself and if I have not used the item, or clothing in the past year, then it has to go, despite any need in the future. so far I have decluttered two cupboards and taken the several black bin liner bags to the Charity shops locally. What will I do with all this extra space? I must not fill it up again, and for that reason, I have barred my self from buying any more in the Charity shops. This is a hard rule, as I have been visiting the local ones on a daily basis for all the 17 years we have lived in this area. Quite a ritual, getting out to the shops to see what new things were in, and whether I thought I could use them, and then buy them and they joined all the other things that I might have wanted in the future. Of course I had a valid reason at first for visiting these Charity shops. Moving into a much larger house, being a Georgian Rectory, I had to find furniture and decorating items for the house. It was great fun seeking them out, and I generally made a good deal of great choices. Gradually over time, filling all the spaces in the house and making it into a cosy home. Now I have got the house right, I need to declutter and make just the very best things I have, be used, and all the rest recycled back to the Charity shops or the Dumps. I never thought that I had anything of value that I had accumulated over the years. Then, looking at back stamps on china I realised that what I h ad chosen for its colour and usefulness, was generally a good well known name, and so these Items became even more precious to me. Then I discovered the amazing world of Ebay and started to sell a few bits of china, and clothing and furniture. Gradually over the years, I have been happy to see my chosen items going to newer and happier places all over the world. It is difficult to know the lines that sell the best, but I generally stick to china and teasets. These have been very useful and decorative as well as managing to give a good return on what I had spent originally. I see that I have been with Ebay now for almost 9 years, an amazing chunk of time, where did all those months go to? Now I am retired and getting rid and decluttering my house because it is highly likely that in the near future, we might consider down sizing now that we no longer use the house as our place of work. Originally we bought it so both of us would have space to have an office and work from home. Now we dont need all the space, so this is a real consideration in the future.
Tomorrow will be Mothering Sunday in the UK. It is a traditional day when everyone with a living mother, will try and do something nice for them. If the Mother is dead, then we try and visit the Graves to leave a token of love with it, say a bouquet of flowers or plant. I loved being able to choose the biggest and most sentimental card for sending to my Mother. She would love the attention and then call me, so say it had made her cry! That was not the intention, but I knew that she would value the words within the card, which is why I took a long time choosing the right card. As they lived over a hundred miles away on the South Coast of England, I was not able to visit very often during the days I was with small children, but we always kept in touch over the phone. The number of times I would ring them in despair at the state of my marriage and say I couldnt deal with it any longer.. but after talking to her and my Dad, I always felt a bit better and would carry on for another few years.. I never stopped to think what the affect these phone calls had on her. It now seems such a selfish thing to have done.. Words are so easily said but not easily taken back. I wish I had not given her more to worry about. I had five children and a husband and although my marriage was struggling with his drinking, I should never have put more burden on her. I would have left her with a very troubled heart each time I spoke of my worries. When I was a child living at home and growing up, she was always so positive and glamerous and petite. Shoe size was only 3, so she was under five foot and slim and yet a bundle of energy. She had the most beautiful singing voice which had led her to perform at 9 years old at the famous theatre in London called Drury Lane. Although she was a natural worrier, she really had a most positive outlook and loved my brother and I, utterly. My Dad was a teacher and used to collect us after school, then drive us over to Richmond where she would be working in some dress shop. She was always the most productive os sales persons there, and would each time be offered the Manager's job.. These opportunities she always declined, as her education had been quite limited, and she didn't feel she would have been able to cope with runnning a shop and staff. Eventually I left my marriage as the drinking became too much, and she was a huge support along with my father. They also were able to take to heart, my second husband and loved him as much as they had my first husband. My mother lived for almost 87years and
would have reached her hundreth year if she had been living. I miss her terribly, and not being able to chat on the phone after so many years, it is hard realising that will never ever happen again. My mother and I had a struggling relationship when I was going through my teens, but how I valued her later, and loved her company every time I saw her and was with her. She was a font of knowledge of the things that matter.. The real things, like love and relationships, how to manage a marriage, and how to love and grow your children. I miss her input every day, and tomorrow like all the Mother's days since I lost her, I will feel my heart ache again.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Today is the birthday of my eldest son and he lives far away in Australia. I tried to facetime him this evening, but he was out having a barbeque party at his in-laws, so I was unable to reach him.. however we did speak to him yesterday so he knows that I do care and have not forgotten his special day.. It IS his special day, but it also mine too.. It was the first time that I became a mother. When he was taken to be 'cot nursed' after the trauma of a foreceps delivery, I lay on my bed and thought to myself, how clever we were at having created such a darling little son together. `As I was almost 22, and starting my adult life, I had had no idea or wish to become a mother so quickly at such a young age, but here I was, married, living in a flat in outer London in the 1960's. When we had met after a two year absence [whilst I returned to live in the South of France with my parents, and he had gone to start University,] we quickly became an item again, and I moved in with him into the flat in London's PortoBello area. It was a time of sunshine and love and happiness and laughter. The whole young people of world had adopted the' Hippie' way of thinking. Peace and Love and kindness was to be aspired to.. I never really saw the heavy impact of drugs, I was drugged in Love and happy as a sandboy. To achieve my living in London, I had left home and had not told my parents where I was living. I realise now, what a terrible thing that was to do to them. They had no idea where I was, or how I was getting by, feeding and clothing myself, nor where I was able to sleep. At the time, my world, was just that, my world.. in other words ALL about ME... no one else seemed to come to be thought of at all* Looking back the sheer selfisheness makes me shudder in sadness at the pain that \I must have inflicted on my two loving parents and brother. They did finally find me, two days after my 21st birthday and tried to make me return home with them.. but of course I refused and stayed with my lover and husband- to- be. I know now that my leaving broke my parent's hearts and it was a long time before they could recover, but they never forgot the pain. It was indelible. However, that first day after my baby's birth was full of joy and hope for a happy future for all of us. At 21, my husband was of course far too young to be sensible as a father. He was at University, mixing with other students who were single and able to go out and about and socialise all the time. Consequently I spent many many evenings waiting for him to return home, sometimes after midnight and very often drunk too. However that was all in the future.. Today, having birthed a gorgeous baby boy, I was a new mother with a lot of hope in her heart. That baby boy never disappointed me in any way and continues to have a smashing relationship with me. He is still also in touch with his father, but not as close as with me. For all his faults his dad was trying to be a good dad, but was damaged terribly by the circumstances of his own growing up and was too damaged to really be able to bond with his children, [and we had five of them together during our marriage] that last twenty three years. All these years later, although my marriage broke down, he was the man that fathered my son and for that I will be forever grateful, as he turned out to be such a wonderful earnest,caring, loving and clever son.
Saturday, 28 February 2015
Tomorrow will be the first of March, and historically it is also St David's day in Wales, also the day we, as a family remember as the birthday of Chopin the Pianist and Composer, who is part of our family tree. # All those years ago, I had been told to expect my baby on February 28th and the day actually passed quite nicely although I remember I was pretty fed up with being pregnant and with a big bump* I know I had washed my hair and drawn my eyeliner carefully and went down to the town where we were living. We had rented a place outside London. My husband was a student at London University and each day he scrambled out of bed and rushed to the station to catch the early train, not coming home until the mid evening. So I had a lot of time to fill in during the day, and not knowing many people locally, I spent my days in the parks or at the shops, window shopping or doing real shopping and bringing it home in the wheeled shopper I had. Because I had no real idea of keeping house, I would ask my sister in law who sometimes visited, what to look for as I bought meat, or what meals to make that her brother might like. She was an invaluable source of knowledge to me, although she was much younger, she had had to learn how to housekeepe as her mother worked full time as did her father.. As usual, my husband returned for his meal and I was, I remember cooking bacon..boiling the leg of ham in a large pot, and with cabbage and potatoes to go with it. I remember this, because I also managed to burn my wrist in the steam, as I tested whether the joint was cooked. It was a nasty burn and hurt a lot, but I got cold water and then a cream to sooth it. We then sat quietly listening to the radio as he worked on his papers. Around midnight I noticed that my bump was one hard mass, and felt quite uncomfortable. Being first time parents, neither of us knew what this meant, so I rang the hospital and was told they would send an ambulance around to collect me. My hospital was in the centre of London, so quite a way away. They arrived at last and we both traveled to the hospital where I was booked in, and he was told to make his way home. At three in the morning, there were no buses, so poor chap had to hitch a way to get home and of course it took him many hours, but he did finally manage to get to bed. Meanwhile, I was told that I was in the very early stages of labour and not to worry and get to sleep as much as I can until the pains really would start. I lay there trying to sleep when I heard very loud screaming and then a baby cry. I thought to myself, 'oh, maybe this birth thing might be painful'** up to then I had not really thought about how and what, was going to happen. Of course I had seen the drawings and the explanations, but no real idea of what was coming! At about 7.30 I was wheeled into the labour ward and left to cope with the mounting pain.. I recall that they bought me a cup of tea which I reached out to get, then the pain started in earnest and I did not manage to drink anything at all. The pain was huge and I was very very frightened. They gave me gas and air, which I held on to for dear life, even when they disconnected the head from the tube..I started to count and count and count, and would get up to around 70 before the slowing of the pain and down the other side.. then it started again, over and over and over, and I know that I was held down by nurses as I tried to get off the bed, and I was convinced I was in a James Bond Movie and was being held prisoner by Smersh! Finally at 4.29, my baby was assisted by forecepes and was born. My first reaction, was that he looked a very funny colour, all greyey blue, but soon the pink colour returned. I know that I was asking over and over what colour was he, because I had been so worried that my colour skin would make him darker and his father's fairness would give him orange hair! However my fears were not realised and the little darling was beautiful with dark streaks of hair. He was taken away, as they did in those days, for a 'cot rest', which meant I did not see him for his first four days of life.. and no one suggested that I was taken to see him in the nursury. Since I met him for the first time that boy of mine has been a source of joy and love and not for one minute have I ever felt less than privilaged to have known him and now his darling family.. Tomorrow I will facetime him in Australia where he now lives. He has made a wonderful second family after his first marriage failed, and his son from the first marriage is comfortable with his stepmother and his brothers, so all is finally well in his life. When I was younger, 48 seemed so far away, and now its my boy who will achieve that age tomorrow, how blessed I feel.
Friday, 27 February 2015
My blog plays up and sometimes does not let me post, but this evening it has, so here goes....Of course the big thing, is what do I say, and since I dont know when I might be able to get on again, I better just leave something to read anyway.. .If any of you remember, after an operation on my spine, which three weeks later was operated on again, I was left with a condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome. Of course I was advised to see if I could sue the medics that did this to me. For the past years we have been collecting evidence and paperwork, and it is coming closer to the trial. I have had to have private consultations with experts on the Bowel and Bladder and tests done as well, which is all good if it helps.. Next month I have the final meeting for my solicitors, with a pyschiatrist, who will investigate my mind set and how I have coped with the demeaning way I have to manage my self. I was warned that it could be very intrusive, but it will be an experience I am sure.,. and then for the other side, I have still to see a neuro surgeon who will meet me to assess how it happened.. this has been dragging on now since 011 when I had the ops, so I do hope that I will be successful in outcome of this case.. It isn't that its going to change my life, but it will ease it a bit financially if I win, and also since I am going to get worse, what help in the future will I need to pay for? Its so difficult to sit and remember all the different things that happened during my stay in the hospital. I am the kind of character that just gets on with things, and frankly never been litigeous at all. I just wanted someone to realise that the outcome of that operation, was awful, life changing, and they all wanted to just push it all under the carpet and never apologised either... just, 'well we did the operation, so thats that, now go away!'** In trying to remember all the expenses that have incurred since my return home, I never kept receipts because I am not the small picture person, and never realised it might be useful in trying to quantify expenses incurred these four years. However I am sure that since I am innocent of causing this myself, the truth will out.. I certainly dont expect to win huge amounts, especially as I have to pay the solicitors and counsel for all the upfronting of costs they have had to do- -- it really is, just that I want them- the medical staff at that hospital- to be less cavalier in the future with other patients.! I was discharged and the specialist wrote to my doctor saying I had been sent home with nothing wrong with me, when the truth was, I was incontinent both ends!! Afterwards he said he had gone on the notes of the nurses, and that was why he wrote that** It came as a shock to me to learn that I had lost a litre of blood and nerves were sacrificed during the operation... so he must have known that I was not in perfect condition when I left the hospital........ Anyway, thats to be decided when the court meets, so keep a prayer that it turns out to my benefit** Just having travelled to see my son in Australia, I was sooo nervous about travelling in this condition, changing two planes, plus carrying all the medicine and equipment.. But luckily I managed to cope, and during the two weeks there I only had an accident on the day before I left to come home.. These accidents happen anytime without warning and are very mortifying to say the least. However now I have traveled that far, I will find my journey to Canada in June, quite a doddle as its a much shorter flight so happy that I am going to see my daughter and her family .. they have had the roughest year, which no one should go through. Their 16 year old son refused to give up smoking pot and drinking, so hes left home and they have no idea where he now is.. that little family is broken-hearted and lots of prayers are being said each side of the world.. The world has changed, that sixteen year olds who are so young really, can make all the major decisions in their lives and cut themselves off from their loving families.. The trouble also , is that the children have no respect for their parents and want everything on their own terms, so now that he has decided not to have anything more to do with his family ,they might never ever see him again- As a mother, my girl is going through Hell, but being HER mother, makes my heart break for her sadness that I cannot dispel ever. In the old days, kids had to knuckle down and accept the authority of their parents, but not now, and it's left a whole section of youngsters with the feelings that they have rights, and expect to be respected, but no idea that respect is earned and that treating your parents with respect, they in turn respect you and your suitable wishes. My grandson is a highly nervous child and I know that he thinks he is self medicating, but with the right medicines, his anxiety could have been lessened but he finds that doing illegal smoking is much more exciting and 'cool, so I despair of his coming home at any time soon.