I am like a square trying to connect with a circle! I often wonder at my own curious character and how I have not developed the ability to build friendships the conventional way! I do have lots of people around me who I think of as friends but there is a distinct lack of long lasting deep friendships in my life and always have been through all of its twists and turns. This used to be a problem which I dwelled on and dragged my down often into dark moods and lonely places, now I am at peace with ‘who I am’ and I focus more on the ‘why am I?’.
A thought came to me and I likened myself to a square trying to fit into circle! Bits of me fit in and in lots of different ways but fundamentally I am not able to fit completely and therefore create a link, which symbolises the bond of friendship. There are lots of circles who fit into other circles and bond to form long lasting friendships and these circles link with other circles and create friendship groups. Outside of these circles you find those of us who are squares! We want to fit into the circles but we simply cannot and some of the circles want to fit with us and try but after trying and trying and failing they gravitate back to their linking circle of friends. We are still on the periphery of the circle of friends but never actually become part of the circle.
This describes the ‘who am I’ but I want to understand the ‘why’ and I think that this journey of discovery, which is just beginning, will be a very interesting one.
Are you a circle or a square?
I have a heavy heart filled with anxiety today as my Mum and Dad are en route to their boat in France. It is long journey and for the first time Dad will be driving because Mum is no longer able to with her Vascular Dementia. I have mixed feelings about this trip. I am sad that they are going because it is likely this trip will make Mum’s condition worsen as the confusion she will experience at times will be unhelpful on the journey her life is taking her. I am also feeling a mixture of dread, anger, anxiety and a childish notion deep within of missing them. All my life when Mum and Dad have gone overseas I have felt as if something is missing! I am 46 years old and this is still the case but now it is surrounded with many other more powerful emotions.
There are so many what ifs with this trip! I understand that this will be their last time on their boat and after 28 years of enjoying times on her it will be a sad farewell to the past and the future they are walking towards is everything but bright. Life is a funny thing, a precious thing but when you can see the end closer than you want and the journey to it to be a dark and lonely place it makes it all so damn cruel! At this point I am not sure who any of this is worse for, Mum or Dad. In many ways it will be for Dad as the clarity of his mind and the agility of his body is not waning any more than it should naturally at his age, Mum however is perhaps the opposite of all those things. It is a cruel twist of fate that Dad the retired Doctor who has helped hundreds if not thousands of people get better from their illness is now looking after the one person he hoped would look after him in his old age as they ventured into their twilight side by side.
I am also feeling anxious about all that they are doing because I know that this trip to their boat is a fool hardy journey which will more than likely be cut short and will not bring forth new happy memories but stifled mutterings of times gone by. I just hope that Dad is able to take the closure he needs from the boat before packing up and coming home. Only time will tell and only Dad will know just how hard it is going to be. I worry about Mum because more and more she calls me with a shallow voice wracked with worry and one kind word from me will bring her to tears. She has so many uncontrolled emotions to cope with and no coping strategy in place. I really do hope she comes home from this trip the same as she has left but I fear the trip and stress of it all will make things worse. We will have to wait and see.
I do sense that this is going to be very hard on them both and in the moments of clarity they will laugh and reminisce together with their boating friends who are still out there.
Bon Voyage et Bon Chance!
It has been year since I last wrote about Mum and things are much the same. I have just been to see Mum and we had a fabulous day shopping, chatting, laughing and being silly together. I miss days like these with Mum and I hope to have many many more. Whilst being with Mum, Dad had the time to breath and be alone in his own company for a few hours.
Mum is in great shape. The scar on her chest shows where the major surgery took place replacing her aortic valve and bypass and her heart is in good shape. It will no doubt have the ability to beat for many more years than her brain. With this being said, Mum had many moments of absolute clarity and as far as she is concerned there is nothing wrong and as she says, she will beat this! I only wish this was true!
We are still without a diagnosis but the process to find out what is actually going on in Mum’s head is coming to its conclusion. On the 20th March 2017 Dad will take Mum back to the Consultant to discuss Mum’s MRI results and memory tests taken last month. I hope that the conclusion of this consultation will be productive in how we can all move forward into the uncertain future.
I spent 2 lovely nights and one fabulous day with Mum and Dad leaving my gorgeous kids and husband at home. The time with them gave me a real opportunity to be with my Mum and Dad! I was able to be their friend, their daughter, their listener and to just be with them. It was lovely and I left hopeful that maybe Mum has brain damage from all that has happened to her which won’t get progressively worse. I think this is a hopeless wish as I watch Mum when she is so confused. The biggest issue is she does not think she is at home still and this is not going to change. It is hard to understand how her brain computes this because she talks with great clarity about things we did years ago there at Kingfishers, yet she will say we will be going home soon. I wonder what and where home in her head actually is.
I know the journey has begun with Mum and I am sure it will have twists and turns of both complete joy and also of utter despair. As a family we will be there to support Dad as he watches the love of his life slowly drift away into ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It is such a destructive illness and so utterly horrible!
Mum I love you,
Mum I miss you.
Dad I love you,
Dad I’m here for you.
Fingers crossed for some clear clarification at the end of this month, 51 years into their marriage. The love they share together is beautiful and I saw just how gentle Dad is with Mum even when he is entirely frustrated. God bless them both.
I went to see mum yesterday who’s failing memory it seems we have chosen to turn a blind eye to, came to a point where it could no longer be ignored. My alarm bell turned to jungle drums after a call from Dad. For nearly two years there has been a noticeable change in Mum and after a month of various peculiar phone calls ranging from “hello who are you? I found your phone number in my phone” followed by a phone call from Dad asking me to explain to Mum that she’s at home I had to go and see Mum face to face to try to understand what is happening and how it is being managed.
The catalyst was Dad who telephoned to ask me to explain to Mum where she was. At the time she was sitting in her chair on the phone with her precious cat on her lap and she very emotionally said, “I just want to go home! I don’t want to stay here anymore, I miss all my things at home and John will not let me go home. Why can I not go home to Kingfishers?” In truth at this point I was completely blind-sided. I knew Mum had memory issues post operation (she has recently had open heart surgery) but now 5 months post operation, we were all optimistic that she would return to her old self again. This is clearly not the case and Dad has been quietly keeping this to himself and coping with all of it alone! I know at the time of the call that Mum is phoning me from Kingfishers as Dad has called me from their landline and it doesn’t matter how many times I tell her she is at home she can not comprehend it!! I jump into the car as soon as I have childcare sorted here to go and see her.
When I arrive it all seems normal and we chat, hug and laugh. Dad seems uneasy, perhaps because he does not want me to state the obvious and say, “Mum it is likely you have early onset Dementia” or something along those lines. Dad is protecting Mum or is he protecting them both. I am not sure. We dig out lots of old albums together in the house and pour over lots and lots of old photos laughing and remembering past holidays, laughing at our terrible 80’s clothes!! Through all of this though and regardless of how many photographs we show Mum of us all at Kingfishers and remind her of the many good times we have had there over the last 46 years she can not comprehend that Kingfishers is Kingfishers. Before going to see Mum I had telephoned the Dementia Helpline and talked about Mum’s symptoms to a wonderful nurse and she told me that Mum not knowing she is at home is not a false memory she has it is an emotion. The nurse suggested that Mum has an uneasy feeling of not being at home whilst being at home.
Dad, bless him, looks after her every single day and it’s wearing on him I can see it in his eyes very wearing on him and it must be tough because their dearest friends have long since gone taken by cancer and they seem to be very much alone. Their home, Kingfishers is 2 hours away from me and 4 hours away from my brother and this is the first time I have been to see them for a few months. To me, Mum is lucid and normal 80% of the time but the other 20% it is strikingly obvious to me that there is something wrong. I stayed at the kitchen table where we have spent hundreds if not thousands of family meals together looking at my mum who is so small now, eight stone two, and said “Mum, Dad, you need to go to the doctor, you need to go to specialist, you need to have a diagnosis! Is this (a) memory loss due to the medications you are on due to the recent heart surgery, (b) is this dementia or (c) is it Alzheimer’s. The conversation clearly was very emotional for Mum who had tears in her eyes and the only thing I can do is wrap my arms around her and hold her tight and let and know that I am here to support her and help her through this but we need to know what we are helping her with. Later Mum and I are talking alone upstairs and she recounts the conversation from the morning she had had with Dad, which sounded like it was a heated, angry discussion, but she stopped short of telling me what it was about. This concerns me because a symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s is just that anger, depression, confusion.
I had to leave soon after arriving to get back for the children here at home so I hug them both goodbye. It was tough in truth to leave them. The next day I call them to see how they are and in comes the denial! Speaking to Mum she says “I’m fine, there’s nothing wrong, everything is okay.” This is after I sent the email with information on the Symptoms of Dementia and suggest when they are at their doctors later that week, they talk to the doctor. Both Mum and Dad are in denial “Oh no everything is going to be fine!” they say! Never before have I felt so angry, upset, confused, disappointed and concerned in all my life with my father and mother because they are not prepared to face up to what is happening to them. All I want to do is offer my hand of support and yet I can see they do not want it.
I’m very worried and very concerned and I don’t know how to help. I am also frustrated that Dad is not ready for us to help and I wonder is he doing the right thing. If it were me I would want to have the proper support, medication, if there is any, and start the correct diet as all of this can make a difference in the early stages. When will we be able to step in or when we can, will it be too little too late. All of this worries me very much indeed but we have to, for now, respect our father’s wishes. He is the carer, he is her husband and as a retired Doctor surely he should know best.
This was written on 9th March 2016. Today is 2nd May 2016 and the situation is still the same!
Some days I feel suffocated by life around me and I wish for some sanctuary in solitude but this weekend I have found that solitude can get lonely. You often hear the expression, be careful what you wish for and I understand what it means.
Whilst the house has been full of kids playing and laughter resonating round the house and garden I have found that I feel very alone and am clearing up the mess left in the wake of all the others playful carnage. I guess this is the role of the mother but the mother needs more sometimes.
I am interupted all the time by those who need me and those who I love but they don’t think to ask if I want anything else other than to serve. Honestly, right now I just want a hug!
Feeling lonely in a crowd of laughter is peculiar.
Solution, write, listen to loud music and have a glass of vino. Sunday roast and family time to be served in 10 minutes so to the kitchen I shall go.
Ravens Law – If I was a bird sitting in a tree house up high looking down on everybody I too would have a different perspective on life! I’m not a raven, I used to be a ‘bird’ but now I’m a mother and as such I look at life through my children’s futures eyes. There are so many things in life to block your way to make you confused about what you want in life. Life really is simple and should seem clear, black and white but with all the blue light, computers and choices/confusion so many of us have lost our way. It is even a hot topic on the TV at the moment anxiety and peoples mental health. I find it curious that as we all travel our personal course in life ultimately we all reach the same conclusions. The simplest conclusion being that life is what we make it and if we make it great we will be happy, however, greatness does not come in the form of lots of money, greatness is achievement, love, to be loved, friendship and family. Don’t lose sight of what is important for you and don’t lose sight of your level of perspective, everybody is personal, everybody is different and yet we do seek the same – happiness, contentment, fulfillment.
This is of course just my personal opinion!
For the last few days I have been spending all my spare time making a Sharks Tail Blanket for my eldest and last night I finally finished it!! I am so pleased with the final product and want to thank the marvellous MJ’s Off the Hook Designs for the pattern. Love it!!
Someone asked me recently why do I love Crochet so much, it is simple, look at the joy on my boy’s face!! Crochet keeps me sane as it is calming, creative and cathartic all at the same time and there is a never ending source or ideas for projects to be done. What next?
I do hope this sign in the woods is intended for vehicles only as if it is for dogs as well we have broken all the rules. The dogs unending energy and enthusiasm to run, chase squirrels, leaves and each other is wonderful to watch and on slower days exhausting to behold! Yesterday once the rain had finally abated the sunshine came out and it cast a wonderful light on the trees leaving a silvery glow. It is truly beautiful when nature is left to be as natural as it has been for centuries and we are immensely lucky to be surrounded by so many places of outstanding beauty in our neck of the woods.
There is something very liberating about running with the dogs through quiet woodland. It is MOD land so is very often empty yet on occasions it is full of soldiers in training turning it into a less than tranquil woods. However for the few days they train a year it is balanced by the many days nature is left to grow. Thank you to the MOD for letting the public share your beautiful land.
Right proper work beckons. Until the next time. Have a fantastic day.
It did make me giggle this morning as I squeezed into my running kit! First time this year and as I peel the lycra running tights on I thought, I must have shrunk these in the wash last year! Of course I didn’t my mind instantly thought it would be amusing to blame the washing machine for their tightness not the over indulgence of eating over the festive season!!
So my first run of the year complete! Only 2 miles but better than surfing the sofa with another slice of Christmas cake!! I am optimistic that if it only takes 2 weeks to put on half a stone then surely I can lose it again in 2 weeks it will just not be as much fun losing it as it was gaining it! Why is alcohol fattening, that just does not seem fair and why are all the yummy foods sooooooooo bad for you! Life is a muddle in so many ways!
Right, today I must get some real work done, I must I must but oh it is just so hard to focus. I take my hat off to my husband who is straight back in the grove. Perhaps working for someone else has the effect of motivation which working at home seems to lack this week! It is finding the discipline for myself which is the hardest but to succeed I have to achieve and I have to work to get things done so onwards and upwards! Have a lovely day.
Kids and parents are dragging their feet back to school today. We wanted more time at home post Christmas to enjoy but alas the timetable of life did not allow 🙁
This morning many of us will be cleaning, drinking coffee with friends, walking the dogs at leisure and taking stock of the holidays and all the fun shared together. The gyms will be full of enthusiastic new members with new years hope of that perfect figure and the pavements are being pounded what ever the weather by dusted down trainers as many of us try to run off the Christmas paunch!
I have to admit the house does feel rather strange and quiet this morning. I have cleaned, vacuumed, mopped and am about the take the dogs out for a well waited for walk but I wanted to check in to give a shout out to all of you in the same boat today and wish you a very happy Monday.
Time marches on and life never lingers long enough for all the good stuff to soak in but take a moment today if you can and reflect on what you have and who you have and what makes you happy.