Sunday, 31 March 2013

Good bye March

Thank you March for allowing me to be so special to someone at the end of their life. To plan their funeral and to carry out their wishes.

Thank you March for my beautiful husband who is always such a rock and supports me through all the things I need to do outside of the house.

Thank you March for my beautiful children who have been incredibly supportive and actually seem to like me and to some extent appreciate me. They are safe and close though I hope for their sake they are able to fly as far as they need.

Thank you March for my beautiful friends. In particular one who has held my hand through some very difficult times these past few months and has gone over and beyond. In my younger days I would never have dreamt of asking for help but I do more so now and it is amazing. Ask and ye shall receive.

Thank you March for my very kind and understanding employer. In the end she hasn't been too inconvenienced but still, she has been incredibly supportive. Enabling me to go and do what I needed without worrying and yet always a gentle pushing towards the future and being more successful. For keeping life moving forward with new training.

Thank you March for Easter! For closing on a significant number of days off work so that I am able to rest. For the clear out that this cold and sickness represents.

Here is to a glorious April with the sun shining and the new shoots of growth.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Don't forget the honey, mummy

It is holiday time with a clear run of some days with no work and how I could enjoy the sunny moments in the weather. Walk down to the allotment and till the earth. Continue to declutter my living space which we know is so liberating. Instead, none of that. I have been gripped by my son's cold and cough with sore throat. Dear Mr Doris has also succumbed too and it is all so yucky.

The thing is, I have been in so much pain from it. On Wednesday I was getting through so much fresh lemon and homey I was sure I'd have this beaten. On Thursday I asked Mr Doris to bring more lemons but I forgot to ask for more honey. I do not know what was in my tiny brain cells to suddenly use one whole lemon in a glass with barely a teaspoon of left over honey. Drinking it wasn't entirely pleasant or comforting though it went down. It was the acid reflux a short while later that had me hit the roof and I felt like the back of my throat, already sore and unpleasant was suddenly stripped and burned and still feels that way a couple of days later. So my thought for the week is to always use enough honey with your fresh lemon.

I fell off the bandwagon way back with my hydrogen peroxide therapy and am sure that if I had kept it up I might not have succumbed in the way I have. I feel so fragile I'm not sure I can do anything to get back onto things like that. The thing is, I know my body likes to pack up on occasion and have down time. Especially after the emotional roller coaster of this year so far. I try to keep reassuring myself that I was planning on taking it easy anyway and don't need this cold to make me do that.

In other news, and other important thoughts for the week, if one is planning to Ferry Cross the Mersey and you have very long hair, then leaving it down and free like some artificially remembered childhood is not a good idea. There was a huge matted mess at the nape of my neck and luckily my french pleat style enabled me to straighten out the outside layers so I still looked smart for work and despite efforts with conditioner in the shower and a bath with oils, nothing was giving. The good Mr Doris spent nearly an hour yesterday patiently unpicking the mass. I am pleased to say I am back to being knot free.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Ferry Cross The Mersey

As a child in the early seventies in a faraway country I had a teacher who used to bring his guitar to school and as we did our work he would play us tunes and sing. And if one looked up from one's work and caught his eye he would wink at you with his happy bearded smile and you'd carry on working, wanting to do your best. One of the tunes he used to sing and play was Ferry Cross The Mersey and I just knew from this lyric: "'cause this land's the place I love and here I'll stay" how much I wanted to escape where I was and that I would love England.

At the end of last year I created a bucket list on which I have "Ferry Cross the Mersey" as I have never done it. I've been to Liverpool just a few times but never quite managed the ferry. Well, today is the day!!!

Since the beginning of the year, a girlfriend and I have said we would do one outing a month to places or do things we have always wanted to do. Yes it will be cold and we will need to wrap up very well indeed. We'll do the ferry first (which she has done being a Liverpool lass) on which I believe they always play that tune, then we'll go to the statues on the beach at Crosby: Another Place which I have been to before but she has not and then we'll see what time is left and if we'll fit in a Liverpool gallery that neither of us have been to.

Whoopee a day off :-D

Saturday, 23 March 2013


Still doing it: early hours; late nights. Waking like it is time to get up when there are many more hours that could be threaded onto a night's sleep. Let me go. Let me sleep. In my dreams I am on a rope trying to climb a building with a very small child with the brisk wind blowing us off course and threatening our lives. Again and again I keep trying to climb the outside of the building in these treacherous conditions as if my life depends on it. Something is telling me not to worry about the child because the child knows how to do it. I am dangling on a rope. It is hard to let the child go. Somehow I know the child can do a better job than I but I want to protect. The building is unclimbed. The struggle continues and I awake.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Snow globe

Way back a few years on a late November day I penned a tiny ditty about driving in the snow.  Here we are in late March and the snow flakes are coming down as big as any I have seen leaving blankets on all the cars. Not enough yet to  build up on the ground as it has been previously damp though I am sure it is doing a good job on settling on the hedgerows and nooks and crannies on the sides.

In just over half an hour I am due to load the car and drive to work. Then I will be in my own personalised inverted snow globe. All toasty and warm with magical whiteness falling out of the sky.

I remember once in the seventies, living in London, we had snow in June.

Thursday, 21 March 2013


It would not be any surprise in the least that I feel like a steam roller has slowly and unhesitatingly continued to mow me down. Not that I feel crushed, more that I can feel the weight of it sitting on my shoulders.

The weight of everything lately has felt enormous and I have tried hard not to feel bowed by it. Seeing a friend through her last months and to her last breath has been quite a journey and now to help organise her funeral and then there is the meeting of all these people I do not know who are going through their own grieving processes. I have already cried much and gone through what I have. In organising the funeral one needs to hold it together and so I wonder if these people who never knew me realise that although I did not seem to cry yesterday, that perhaps I had already done much of that. That I am not cold or heartless. Anyway, that is just an incidental. A curious thought rather than anything else.

Did I say how tired I felt? I suppose it does not help for me to keep saying that or else I'll never stop being tired unless I think more energetic thoughts. I still keep up with all my work and am scraping along where I can. My darling Mr Doris and even son too, were amazing yesterday. So helpful and charming. When guests were leaving I'd hear them specifically call my son by his name and say goodbye. I was very proud of him.

The speeches all went well. Our friend did a lovely introduction, bible reading and prayer. My friend's husband gave the most unexpectedly good welcome and personal tribute. For all his aspergers it was emotive and beautiful and he became slightly emotional. My Eulogy went down well and then my friend's son stood to give his tribute before he pressed the button for the final curtain. That was so beautiful and powerful. He is such a lovely lad and I shall do what I can to be there for him. It seems that he and my son have rekindled their friendship and are planning to meet up next week and then he'll be coming over to us at Easter for a few days.

It all still feels a bit unreal. I need to rest and recover. Yet I continue to move forward. My departed friend would be so proud of some of the work related things I have been doing.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Today we say goodbye

Anyone would have thought I was excitedly looking forward to Christmas! Not that I am excited in the very least but in the way I sleep just a couple of hours at a time, wake and have to check the time then go back to sleep. All through the night. Then I'm up out of bed quite unnecessarily just after 5am. Yesterday was the same and previous nights have been versions of that. It is selfish of me but I am hoping that after today I can sleep better.

Today is the day we say our formal goodbyes in public. The ceremony carried out and a friend makes that final journey. As one of the lead people in organising the event I suppose I could be stressed by it but I am numb really. There will be no vicar and we are running it ourselves. Amazingly that wasn't my idea ... I just did not want a vicar to say a few words about someone he did not know. Turns out that our mutual friend who is a Christian has strong ideas that if anyone was to say a prayer then it was to be her and not an unknown vicar. Oh wow! Me but in Christian form.

Thankfully I had a day out from all obligations last week and wrote the Eulogy. Now there is something different. I think I once toyed with the idea of reading our own obituary whilst we are still alive. Writing one is a huge privilege but really, I didn't give anyone a choice in the matter. I wanted to do it and felt that no-one would do her justice. There is so much to say. And so much that has not been said. Whether or not I have done my friend justice, and without it being a sobbing heart rendering whitewash, I know in my heart I have gone some way to show genuine love and appreciation.

Since we are running the funeral service ourselves, apparently we get to press the buttons. I know this means the buttons for the music but does this also mean the button for the final committal? We'll find out just beforehand when we are shown the buttons.

Darling Mr Doris and son too are coming with me. My son and my friend's son were occasional playmates in their younger years. Now young men this will be their first meeting in about ten years.

Out of the blue, a very dear friend of mine gave me last night a large hamper filled with a freshly baked quiche, a savoury tart and a sticky toffee pudding, some flowers and a card. She made them all yesterday for me to take to the wake as she knew I was helping with the food too. There are angels in this world in every one of us - it is just that some let them manifest in the most amazing way. What a wonderful gesture that feels so uplifting. Of course it will be an amazing day.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Life and times

On the last day of February, a very close friend departed from this world. It seems like it was just like that and all of a sudden when actually, things had been going downhill for a while. Something seems to want this dying process not to be, and so it feels like it can not be true. Surely not, death can not be upon us. Yet it was and it did happen. Part of the processes of life we just pretend do not happen. We readily welcome birth and yet can not prepare for death.

Her breath stopped. That was all there was in the end. No breath. No final words, no fine speeches, no hand squeezes. I feel like she went without saying goodbye. Though surely what on earth had we been up to every weekend for the past two months with my four hour round trip stopping over on a Saturday night if it wasn't actually the long good bye? The is the post I wrote a week or so back and I am listening again to the beautiful music. I will ask if we can have this piece of music (The memory of trees) at her funeral. What is it that we all want if not to be remembered. She did not request any music or ceremony just to have her son scatter her ashes into the river behind her house. The rest is down to me and another friend.

The last weekend we had together was less poignant than the one I blogged about. When I arrived she was all sparkly eyed with her hair finally cut and with her breathless soft voice we caught up on news. With regards to her hair she quietly announced she would never have her hair washed again. She was right. Five days later she passed. She told me her son had just been awarded a place at university and there were other tribulations for her to be so proud. And I told her so. That last weekend she properly sorted out some technical details with me as someone who can do the web stuff and finally handed over some passwords. On Saturday night we were naughty girls and were up a lot of the night watching cop programmes until we both slept in our respective chairs.

During the sleeping bit on that last night she stirred and for once I woke in response and looked at her. I smiled at her and she smiled at me. In the morning she told me how special that moment was. She said she felt she could let go and that she was safe.

By the Tuesday things were going downhill but as she was writing lucid notes on Facebook to say she was going and she texted to specifically ask me not to text her until she contacted me. That was a horrid afternoon and evening not knowing what was happening. In the end I texted her Wednesday morning and offered to come. Her simple reply was to phone her husband. I was at work by then and arranged to finish work early and cancel all forthcoming appointments and to get over there in the afternoon. Her plan was not to go on the syringe driver until after I and another friend had arrived. By the time I arrived she was sleeping peacefully and looked like a little child at peace. She never did wake up properly and through hand squeezing communication that night the syringe driver was fitted with her agreement.

Throughout that next 24 hours I mostly held her hand. As did her son and friend, while her husband read to her, just as she had wished and envisaged.

My friend was no angel in her life and yet she was was. She was a frightened little girl who was always trying to please. She had huge capacity for brilliance with a sharp mind. You only had to mention something and she would go off and try to make it happen. I once wrote here on my blog about my childhood search for the mythical four leaf clover .... she found me one set in a glass and silver pendant on a chain and posted it to me. We fell out a couple of years back over a misunderstanding and we both needed time apart. Thank goodness I finally responded to her email last year - it was the one she wrote to me as the person and not as a business colleague.

There is so much that can still be said. I am hibernating for now, work is cancelled on Monday and then I am away with my beloved Mr Doris for a birthday present spa break that has been booked since early January. Back at work on Friday and Saturday and then driving over to my friend's house for the same old routine but this time without her. I shall do computer stuff, help sort her house for the wake and see her son. Life goes on.

Rest in peace dear friend.