Tag Archives: Pain

Saying goodbye to 2015 with openness and honesty


Sometimes I think, I don’t know what happened. Sometimes I think, how did I get to be right here, right now, right where I am?

It’s like, I am in some kind of blurry confusion. Or like I landed on my bum with a thump. I wasn’t expecting it and I am sitting there all kind of dazed and amazed.

The hours tick by and roll into days. The days tick by and roll into weeks. And I tumble and roll with them. I keep attempting to pick myself up and stumble on but I seem to lurch from one impossible situation to the next.

Some days, standing in front of several huge piles of washing feels like enough to be classified as an impossible situation.  I look at the mixtures of red and white and black and blue, which should, technically, have all been sorted out into their appropriate baskets, according to my own rules of the house. I stare at those never-ending mixed piles and I despair.

Some days, I focus on the enormous list of things I expect myself to do that day, and I realise I am in an impossible situation. I can only disappoint myself because no earthly being can possibly tick off each of those designated tasks in just one day.

Some days, I find myself pondering over a blank piece of paper. It seems like my impossible situation is to actually find enough energy to draw up the day’s list in the first place.

Instead, I drag my lazy butt over to the sofa and distract myself with the TV, or a game or someone else’s news.

Then I leave the house at the very last minute to pick up my daughter, because even though, I feel incredibly lonely, I can’t bear to face the other mums. With their happy smiles or their problems or their invitations or their requests.

I attempt to hide in the driver’s seat of my car. And if they approach me, I feel the panic rising from the pit of my stomach.

Occasionally, there are days when the impossible situation is just to make it through the day.

On those days, I bite my lip, swing my foot, pace the floor, hug the dog, think of the kids, go back to bed in an attempt to wake up in a better mood, call my husband and just try to breathe in and out and tell myself that tomorrow is a brand new day full of brand new possibilities.

I’m still an optimist. Deep down inside.

2015 has not been my finest hour.

In all honesty, it’s been really bloody tough.

It’s been the accumulation and aftermath of: three burnouts, Crohn’s, a million doctor’s appointments, sick kids, diagnoses, arguments, a suicide, PTSD, continuous headaches, sleepless nights, stress, guilt, loss, panic and pain.

So I decided that the only way to turn things around was to go into a specialised clinic at the local hospital for a while.

It was the right decision. I talked and cried and laughed and painted and danced and beat the hell out of drums. I made friends and cried and talked some more. I listened. I hugged. I walked through the forest. I remembered things I’d ‘locked’ away. I talked about them and cried and then ‘locked’ them away again. Because it’s just not healthy to let those things consume your life.

Above all, I realised that my own driving force is low self-esteem, guilt and fear.

So all these years, I’ve needed to do my absolute utmost, to prove to myself that I am worthy, and to reduce the feelings of guilt that I carried around for things which I had always believed were my fault but actually weren’t. I needed to protect my family from all eventualities, because in my own experience bad things actually happened again and again.

I feel like I’ve been knocked down and built back up again. Albeit, loosely.

I can’t tell you that I feel ‘well’. I would more describe myself as feeling ‘fragile’. Sometimes, some days, still bring their impossible situations.

But I can tell you that I have more energy and that I am looking forward to Christmas more than I have in years.

And that I am hoping, ever the optimist, that when I look back in years to come, that I will see 2015 as a turning point in my life.

And that 2016 was a new beginning.

Wishing you all, from the bottom of my heart, a wonderful Christmas. And a 2016 full of hope, enlightenment, love and strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You and me


There’s you
and then there’s me
we stand on opposite sides
and see what we see.

There’s you
and then there’s me
we stand on opposite sides
and see what we see.

I see flowers
where you see weeds

You fear wasps
when I cherish bees

I listen to music
and you hear noise

You see rubbish
I see potential elaborate and interesting toys.

You feel anger
but I, I feel pain

I see helplessness
but you? You see shame!

You feel hatred
when I, I just feel sad

I am disappointed, lost and lonely
and you? Are you glad?

There’s you
and then there’s me
we stand on opposite sides
and see what we see.

There’s you
and then there’s me
we stand on opposite sides
and see whatever it is we see.

 

They bloody lied to me, life does not begin at forty!


So this is my present state of play. Just in case you should want to know it.

Starting from my scalp:

My scalp is somewhat tight because in an effort to keep my hair away from my neck (you’ll learn more about that later), I have bundled my crows nest fake auburn tresses upon the top of my head. My saving grace, in that department, is that I have a bright, shiny, new scrunchy, which really is something to get excited about when you have four kids and are a little more than forty years old.

I look a little like a scarecrow.

With extra straw.

Following downwards my brain is stuffed. Not with the lovely brains and wisdom of my fully spent youth. But with good old fashioned snot. Lots of it. I’ve tried blowing it out. I’ve tested setting it free with a nasal spray. I’ve attempted to shower it out with a nasal irrigation device, but at best, I only dripped. I’ve even done my utmost to pump it into oblivion with a special sinus attachment for my nebuliser; but to no avail.

So my head? It hurts. Somewhat.

My eyes are actually fine. Well, with the exception that I need to take my glasses off in order to see something that’s right there in front of my face.

I’ve discovered, on kissing my husband goodnight, that he is indeed quite a handsome fellow.

My nose is very dry. And bright red.

I have recently heard the name Rudolph being brandished about…

My skin is peeling, especially on my face. It seems to be some kind of wicked side effect to my immune suppressants. I’ve plateaued at a kind of flaky-old-lady with a chaffed look niveau.

I have attempted to replenish the skin with various lotions and potions but my now immune suppressed body reacts with a fiery, burning wrath rash when I do so. So, I’ve resolved to stay flaky and remember back to yesteryear when it seemed, somehow, like being called flaky was some kind of compliment.

My neck. Ah yes my neck.

Yesterday, it was fine. Although my shoulder was attempting to be a little troublesome…

Then this morning, it complained (a lot) that I had slept wrongly in my bed.

I gently turned it this way and that. I told it, that we were finally out of bed and that, really, it doth protest too much. I promised it a nice warm scarf and a massage.

Then I sneezed.

One almighty sneeze.

And ever since that moment, I have looked like someone shoved a plank up my back as I can now only manoeuver with my whole body when turning to my right.

Hence then my crows nest; it’s the only possible way to stand a chance of the heat patch glue actually staying glued to my neck. That and the quadruple insulation scarf I have wrapped seventeen times around it.

My shoulders are now okay. Ish.

But my lungs? Well, er, let’s keep it short and just say they are competing on the whole mucus front thing.

Glad tidings from my throat though, considering how much I’ve been coughing, my throat is feeling fine. I suspect that’s down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

A little point of interest: my boobs are south facing. South facing!! How did that happen?

Fuck!

Anyway, my hips, ah yes, my left hip twinges. You got it: Twinges.

And my stomach, well, it feels a little nauseous, but, to be honest I’m putting that down to the incredible volume of onion juice and honey I’ve been knocking back.

My lovely Crohn’s bowel? It loves immune suppressants (in stark contrast to every other body part I own) so it’s absolutely fine and dandy.

Though, (and this information I only normally give out on a need to know basis), my bottom cheeks are continuously clenched together, nowadays, in an attempt to maintain a grip on my bloody grapevine otherwise known as my piles.

My left knee is trying to convince doctors that I was some kind of heroic sportswoman, with a pretty array of meniscus tears. But I’ve told them, quite emphatically, I generally stuck to gentle walking. Albeit I did tend to cover large distances, seeing as I am a woman and not a feminist one at that. Therefore, I can freely admit that I cannot park. Not to save myself. Which in turn means that I have always had to abandon my vehicle in the largest possible space I could find. Of course, that then has always happened to be the space that is furthest away from my desired destination. And I also have a tendency to forget where I parked my car, in that good old flaky spirit of mine, so that has, on many occasions led to some gentle strolling too. Not gentle on the nerves, mind you. There was, at times, quite a lot of shouting. And some swearing too. But I doubt that either of those things would have affected my left knee.

And while I’m bearing my soul; my right knee is sympathizing.

Which I don’t need.

I’m quite capable of feeling sorry for my left knee all by myself.

Don’t be thinking that I’m body-sidist, but what on earth is going on with my left foot?

It has some strange lump on it that doctors insist on poking, with an unnecessary fury and injecting concoctions into which has not improved matters in the least.

But the good news is: we live in modern times.

I joked with my daughter, the other day, “By the time you bury me I’ll be half plastic.”

My husband, who apparently still loves me, despite my decrepit frame, retorted, “Titanium, you’ll be made of titanium, it lasts longer.”

After I recovered from his unusual interlude of romanticism, my first thought was, “Wow, I’ll be the one setting off all the alarms at the airport!”

Then I had a little premonition. I realised, long before my own death, exactly what song will play out at my funeral:

Titanium!

“I am titanium……”

People ask me how I manage it, but evidently, I don’t…


Yesterday, I sat at the table and I cried through lunch.

Not one of those snotty, bellowing, heart-wrenching cries. No. Silent tears dribbled down my face and plopped into my lap – I was tissue-less.

Yesterday, one child after another tried to console me at the dinner table and one child after another faced me with a just a little despair in their eyes. When is Mama finally going to get better?

I recognized their despair – had they have been able to see through my water-logged eyes it would have been mirrored right back at them.

Five weeks ago today, I awoke, as usual,  but it took me 45 whole minutes to be able to force my body from the bed.

I had run into a wall.

Again.

This is my third burnout in five years.

It took me every drop of willpower I’ve ever owned to throw off my quilt, push myself up and place my feet, slowly and continuously, one in front of the other and whisper, “It’s time to get up…” to an unsuspecting six-year-old who was due to go to Kindergarten.

Time was running past me and if I couldn’t motivate myself enough, she’d have to stay at home, and that would mean that I’d have to look after her.

If I could just get her out of the door, drive the short distance in the car, then I could return to my bed and sleep…

She was so good. So obedient. She dressed herself without much fuss and got her shoes on.

Which was more than I could do.

I managed to drag a scruffy pair of joggers over my nightie and shove my arms inside my winter jacket. Looking back, I think I tramped through the snow in my slippers.

No one gave my shamed, exhausted face a second look as I accompanied her from the car to the door. And I was truly grateful for that.

I have spent the last five weeks sleeping and crying and struggling to chew the food my husband cooked for me because, quite simply, it felt like so much effort. I’ve almost drowned in daytime telly. I’ve battled headaches and dizzy turns and stuffed myself with caffeine so I could keep a bleary eye on where an ADHD child and a six-year-old were bouncing to.

I’ve complained.

I’ve scolded.

And I’ve felt very, very sorry for myself.

I’ve dodged dentists. Avoided the drip, drip, drip of the anaesthetists drugs because I feared that if they put me chemically to sleep for my yearly procedure, my body might not actually bother to wake up. I’ve bypassed blood tests. And just generally avoided my usual multiple monthly visits to doctors’ waiting rooms because I couldn’t get there and anyway,  I had no intention of adding various other ailments to my wrecked body.

Except, that is, when my youngest succumbed to gastroenteritis and couldn’t even keep a splash of water down, leading to “blurry vision”. My husband raced home and I rallied myself for a brief moment, as he drove and I held a blue bucket under her nose.

Luckily, she was classed as ‘probably infectious’; so we sneakily side-stepped the germy waiting room.

I’m not a patient ill person. I hate lazing around. I am a person who constantly needs to do something.

It is starting to dawn on me that that is probably one of the reasons I landed in this situation in the first place.

It’s been five weeks, but today, at last, I felt a little different. A little less tired than yesterday. It was a little bit easier to climb out of bed this morning. I laughed instead of cried. I hope, I really, really hope that I’ve finally reached a turning point. That when the children head back to school next week and it’s all ‘action stations’ once again, I’m still laughing, still getting out of bed and not going to the Kindergarten in my bloody nightie and slippers.

The Health Notice


In recent years I’ve been diagnosed as ‘possible Crohn’s’ to ‘probable Crohn’s’ to ‘perhaps Crohn’s’ to ‘positively Crohn’s’.

It’s been a somewhat winding road and, I think, in some ways that hasn’t been a bad thing. At first, I was just relieved that I wasn’t suffering from ‘probable or positive bowel cancer’ (up there with best Christmas presents of all time). Then, quite quickly,  I shifted right over into denial, which, truth be told could have challenged the behaviour of any unruly teen (NO! I DO NOT HAVE CROHN’S! I REFUSE TO HAVE CROHN’S! SOD OFF WITH YOU!!!) Slowly, I wandered toward acceptance. OK, with the odd, ‘I think I’ve magically recovered’ moment.

Now I have a new doctor, and a full diagnosis, and although I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as delighted, I am OK with the diagnosis.

But then I started having issues with my joints. Particularly in my fingers.

It’s made typing difficult and that’s one of the reasons I’m hardly writing at the moment.

The great news is that the good doc is filling me up with medicine which should tell my immune system to take a break and stop attacking my bowel and my joints.

As you can imagine I squealed, “Yippee!” And handed over the arm that already looks like a pin cushion to test and retest and retest (many times again) my blood. Note to world: if you need an extra to play the role of a junkie in your next film/TV show/play – I’m your girl.

It will take three months or so before I’ll know if it’s working but so far I can report that: my five-year old has stopped asking if I’m pregnant (as my tummy only looks empty or full and not as if someone rammed a punch balloon in through my belly button), and the instances of a numb bum and the consequential funny walk that could impress John Cleese, have been significantly reduced by curtailed toilet sitting.

But my fingers are still rebelling against me.

I’ve informed them though: this is 2012, if the drugs don’t work, I can always resort to dictation software!

P.S. Please don’t worry about me getting bored. Immune suppressants really do what they say on the box. They wreck suppress your immune system. I am constantly being entertained. Todays new illness: a stye. (Can you hear me whooping?)

Headbanger


Kate Kresse’s comment:

Good news–i haven’t run into the coffee table in 2 days. but i did open the fridge door right into my head. (duh).

on my last post reminded me of recent events.

Remember my headache? I’ll deviate slightly here, just for information’s sake and inform you that yes, I still have it, and yes, I am demented by now.

No, it’s not as bad as it was. I’ve been having manual therapy, which does something, but nothing seems to remove it completely.

It would seem I’m stuck with it, at least for the moment. I have seen far too many doctors and therapists in the last almost four months. I’ve decided for the foreseeable future I’m going to avoid doctors and therapists completely. Save some money. And battle on through.

The good news is that there is definitely no tumour. I had a CT scan and the neurologist (that would be neurologist number two) told me that my brain is perfect.

That statement, however, made me even more sceptical toward doctors. My brain definitely does not work properly. I regularly forget my children’s names. Lose my keys. Write down a shopping list then don’t bother to take it with me. Find myself standing in the middle of a room wondering why the hell am I here? And then there’s the time I forgot to pull down my knickers before I sat on the loo…

Anyway, back to the lovely Kate’s comment.

In December, a month or so into my headache, I found myself in my kitchen, pretending I didn’t have a headache and attempting to knead dough. OK partly I was kneading, partly I was taking out my frustrations. So much so in fact, that not only my hands were working, but the rest of my body as well. A fact I realized when I lunged my head forward and smacked my forehead against the kitchen cupboard’s metal door handle.

I suspect the resulting bruise would have been nowhere near as bad, if I had not then walked over to another cupboard and opened it whacking it directly against the exact same spot on my poor forehead.

Now you have to remember that at that point I had been heard (quite loudly) complaining about my headache, at every given opportunity.

Thus people from near and far spotted me walking around with a full-on let’s-go-through-the-rainbow-spectrum-of-colours bruise right in the middle of my forehead.

“I wonder why you’ve got a headache?” they felt the need to chortle.

Finally, milk bottle white again, I proceeded with acupuncture.

Which resulted in not one but two bruises, conveniently placed above each eyebrow.

Let’s just say, I became familiar with the term, “It looks like you’ve got horns growing out of your head!”

And my evil good-humoured family launching into fits of hysterics every time they caught a glimpse of me.

I am not in denial. I repeat, I am not in denial


I am not suffering from toothache.

I am not suffering from toothache.

I am not suffering from toothache.

I must have just slept oddly on my jaw.

It is not a rumbling wisdom tooth.

I repeat. It is not a rumbling wisdom tooth.

But there may be, just may be, a very small, slight swelling around my gum area.

I’ll just buy some infection fixing mouthwash, at the chemist.

I do not need a dentist.

No. I do not need a dentist.

I really, do not need a dentist.

I absolutely do not need a dentist.

My dentist is probably on holiday.

I will not go to another dentist.

My dentist has calming music.

And a waterfall.

She is nice.

Well, considering she’s a dentist.

I should visit her sometime.

I haven’t seen her since before Christmas.

I have had quite a lot on. Lately. Really.

I’ll call her soon.

I promise.

Once this whole crazy gum thing settles down.

The first person who broke my heart


The WordPress prompter asked:

Describe the first person who broke your heart. And if you could take revenge on them now, would you? Did you ever think about it? What would you say to them now if you met them on the street?

Now my heart has been broken several times over the years, by friends, family and of course, the inevitable boyfriend or two.

I think the question probably refers to ‘partners’.

So I’ll go with that.

Sitting in a history classroom (aged a mere 17) I chatted and giggled with my best friend Faye, who had some extra special news for me that day. She’d met a guy that according to her, was perfect for me. She wanted to set me up with him on a blind date.

Shocked and indignant, I retorted that I did not want to be ‘set up’ with anyone. Despite her protestations, her descriptions of how he was the yin to my yang and all that jazz, I stuck to my guns and refused to meet him.

I can’t really remember how much time passed. Maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. But one day I bumped into Faye as she left and I entered our local shopping centre. We chatted briefly and then right after I left her, I spotted a boy.

Tall. So skinny, his clothes almost fell off him. With long, wild, curly, black hair and eyes that looked right into my soul…

And I was dumbstruck.

I excitedly told my friend Faye, in our next history class (as you do when you’re 17), all about my amazing encounter. I detailed how my heart had fluttered and my mouth had gone dry.

She asked me to describe the boy and then grinning (smug as you like) all over her face she told me:

It was him.

Euan.

The yin to my yang.

I did, of course, suitably chastise her for not having introduced us. As is correct for a 17-year-old girl who’s wishing to embark on the fullness of life.

And at some point after that we met again. Properly this time. At a rock disco. And somewhat spurred on by a few drinks, I threw myself at him caught the attention of my man.

He was funny. Kind. Passionate. Always philosophising. Clever. Artistic. Loved his ‘sounds’. Chatty. Argumentative. Liked his pint. He lived in a second-hand army jacket. And fan t-shirts. And jeans. He liked to provoke. He was romantic. Sweet. Troubled. Caring. Good.

We spent the first months of our relationship pretty much in each others pockets. But then things got in the way. Family. He went through the awful loss of losing both his father and his grandfather to cancer. Understandably, he spent a lot of time at home but then he had an opportunity to go away for three weeks. He asked me to go with him. We’d hardly seen each other in the previous weeks, but I had to decline. I had exams to sit. And so he left. Alone.

Meanwhile, my relationship with my parents went from bad to worse and at some point I walked out. Aged 17.

I had my issues and he had his, and when he didn’t turn up to my 18th birthday celebration, I went to look for him and we had an almighty row.

And we split.

There and then in the middle of the street. In front of friends and passers-by.

I could not accept the split. For me it was unnatural. Neither of us had met someone else, or even stopped liking the other one. We just had so much heartache in our own lives that it had spilled over and we were too young and too inexperienced to pull together and deal with it side by side.

For the next year and a half I catapulted around from pillar to post to wall to doorway.

And then, we were both in the same place, at the same time and our eyes met and suddenly, we were together again. I felt so happy.

But we had changed.

He had changed. He was sad. Torn. Battered and bruised. He warned me that he was not the same person that I had once known.

I had changed. I lived my life on the edge and I ached with loss and rage. I assured him that we could go back.

One evening he declined to come out. Said he didn’t feel so well and wanted a night in. I went out with friends, but while I was dancing I had an image enter my head of him kissing another girl that we both knew. It was the strangest thing and it really shook me up. I told myself I was being ridiculous. He’d never shown any interest in that girl and besides, he was at home, feeling sick.

At the end of the night my friends and I headed off to the taxi rank and there he was. And there she was. They denied any wrongdoing, and I had only an image in my head to go by. But soon after, one of his friends confirmed my suspicions and I flipped…

Years later, I bumped into him again. I was married at that point, to my first husband. It was good to see him, we talked and hugged and cleared the air. He apologised, I apologised and he was more like his old self. And me, I guess, like mine. He told me where to head with my life and I listened. The same old passionate philosopher…

I will be honest with you and tell you that in all those years not a single day had gone by, that I hadn’t thought about him.

In June 2002, a mutual friend called me and told me that Euan had died in his tenement after falling down the stairs. Aged just 30 years old.

To this day, despite attending his huge funeral, I still find it difficult to believe that there will be no little Euan’s in the world, no wife for him to be sweet and kind and romantic with and no world to hear his philosophising.

x

ADHD and the awful mummy


At this very moment I feel like throwing my dummy out of the cot.

Or crying into a rather large bucket.

Or taking an axe and chopping random things up.

Or just having a really, big, massive, enormous hug. And a schnapps.

Why? It’s homework again. And it’s not working. Despite the increase in Ritalin. Despite breaks. Despite having sat in the same room with him for more than three hours.

The table has been continually head-butted. Tears have streamed. Disturbed scratching has been observed. The throwing and hiding of work materials has taken place. Lying on the table, complaining, scribbling and continuous fidgeting have taken over the afternoon.

I have encouraged, answered questions, offered rewards, called Papa and I have really, really tried to stay calm but in an instant my patience left me and I exploded.

I told him to leave the homework, leave the table, leave the room.

To sit in his room, read a book, do whatever he wants except play on the Wii (as was the agreed reward for actually doing the work set for him).

Now any professional would no doubt tell me I’m doing it all wrong. And I probably am.

I am annoyed. Very annoyed. I am upset. Positively distressed.

If I never saw a piece of homework ever again, it would be too soon.

I hate homework more than that poor kid does.

To be honest, I would happily cut up all of the exercise books and all of the sheets and pop them into an envelope, with a little note:

Dear Teacher,
From this moment on all homework is banned!
Yours tumultuously,
Sarsm

Of course, I’m too compliant to actually do that. More’s the pity. Although, evidently not everyone thinks so. A teacher with whom I found myself in an argument with, recently informed me that my son is, “Let off with far too much!” in her opinion.

Don’t worry. I made it quite clear I don’t give two hoots about her viewpoint.

Some days I feel like I can deal with my sons ADHD reasonably well. Others I just feel like shit.

Shit motivator. Shit educator. Shit negotiator. Shit pacifier.

Today has been one of those other days. Unfortunately.

The light in the deep, dark tunnel is flickering though. He came downstairs and apologised to me. Sat back at the table for around 45 minutes, struggling to keep focus and completed the 8 remaining sums. Of course, he also looked continuously out of the window, babbled like a hyperactive Mr Chatterbox and stabbed himself with a pencil.

But by night-time, his work was complete. And of his own free will.

Well, with a little stimulation from a well-known friend.

Thank you Nintendo for the invention of the Wii.

The Ultimate Question


Lori asked a question last night, at the dinner table, of all places. It is for me the ultimate question. Although I can answer it quite easily.

Lori asked:

“What would you do if you found out you only had a few days left to live?”

Her own answer, “I’d do something for the environment, leave something good behind.”

Lori you make me proud. And I know that you will go on to make me even more proud. I trust you. I believe in you and I always will.

Here is my answer, an emotional one for me, which is why I didn’t say anything last night.

Dearest Lori,

If I discovered I only had days left to live I would cherish and organise the last days of my life.

I would spend every waking moment with those I love. My children and my husband. I would give you time individually and together. I would hug you all, stroke you and hold you close. I would breathe in your smell. Imprint your smile and your laughter. I would wipe away your tears.

I would tell you how much I love you at least a thousand times.

I would give you little tips of advice. I would brush your hair. I would ask you to sing for me, again and again, ‘Just one last time’.

I would make an all important phone call, Lori. To your dad in Scotland. I would beg him to accept my wish. That you all stay together here in Germany with Papa. Where you’ve all made your lives. And are happy and safe.

I wouldn’t let Papa go to work. I’d keep him by my side. And I’d show him how much I love him. And wish he’d have a happy rest of a life.

I’d spend times with my most loved friends. And ask them to watch over you all in my absence. And between them, do the job I should have done.

And I’d write. For you and for me.

And that’s it. There’s no where I’d want to visit. Nothing new I’d like to try to eat. No record I’d like to beat.

But your question made me think even more.

Death is a huge problem I just can’t get around. It’s something I can’t beat. No matter what I do, it looms.

Most people, Lori do not have those last days to say, “Goodbye.” Most people do not know they are about to die.

My daddy died when I was seven. It left me with a wounded heart. No one ever really talked to me about it. Someone told me not to cry in front of my mother, because I’d only upset her. So I cried alone, lest I upset anybody. My mum never really mentioned him again. It was like one day he was there and the next he was gone.

He died on March 13th 1980. So almost 31 whole years ago. But I still miss him and wonder what would have been.

As a child I often ‘imagined’ his presence. Strange things happened and I attributed those events to him. I thought he was playing with me. Perhaps I created those happenings myself, perhaps he was there. I don’t know – but it doesn’t matter because it pulled me through that awful time.

The first Christmas after he passed, I tried to send him a Christmas card. On the envelope I wrote, “To Daddy, C/o God, In Heaven”. My mother caught me trying to post it (without a stamp) and took it away and wept.

My hope and wish is that I live to see all of my children grow up. To see them enter their adult lives and be there when they have their own children. Offer support and take part in my babysitting duties. I plan to live for a long time and to enjoy my life. But sometimes plans do not go accordingly.

And your question made me think of all the ‘what ifs’ that haunt me and I thought that it is now time to put those ‘what ifs’ to rest. To let go of the panic of leaving my children behind without a goodbye. By writing my goodbye now. So it’s there. And always will be.

Dear Joni, Lori, Aden and Akasha,

It is my time
I’ve had to go
I will no longer say ‘Hello’.

In the meantime
There are a few things
You four should know

I’ve tried to teach you as well as I can
The lessons in life important for man

The first is love
Is true and real
Never be afraid
To show how you feel

The second is laughter
Heals the pain
Lightens your heart
And keeps you sane

The third is learning
Listen and read
Then apply what you’ve learned
Through all your deeds

Next comes instinct
Hone this skill
Do not just listen
To your own will

Five is adventure
Take a chance!
Life is short and will impose its stress
Take a deep breath
And enter…
The wilderness

Discover your passions
Assess your goals
Question your intentions

Run through the snow!

Naked, if it rocks your boat😉

Take a moment
Before you decide
From your decisions
You cannot hide

Failure is a test
You will not always know
What’s best –
So
Pick yourself up
Dust yourself down
Try once again
With some experience now.

Take care on your journey
Watch out for each other
Accept the sadness caused
By the death of your mother

Let the tears flow freely
Release the sadness
Inside
Until a calmness comes
Then look back on my life

All the happy moments
That we have shared
The fun
The laughter
The tips
The advice

Remember back
But look forward
To the challenges of your lives
Although I may not be with you in person
I still survive

You have my hair
And you all have my nose
Which of you has my extra long toe?
You have my humour
You my passion for food
You own my voice
You, my sense of rejoice.

I am in your heart
You carry me around
When you cut yourself
It’s my blood that runs out

And watch out:
Every once in a while
Perhaps in your children
You’ll catch a glimpse of my smile!

All of my love,
Mama