Posted by: marshy54 | April 13, 2013

Don’t ask . . . .

Yes I know, I hang my head in shame – I’ve neglected my regular readers.  However I think I did hint that this might happen.  Not a lot is happening in my life now so I’ve very little to tell you about. 

My life has changed beyond all recognition in the last few months and I’m still not sure what my role is any more – but what I do know is that very little happens.  I don’t have someone depending on me 24 hours a day;  I don’t have anyone dictating the way my day pans out;  I don’t have anyone to worry about or answer to; I don’t have carers and support workers in and out of my home 5 days of every week whether I want them or not; I don’t have to plan a trip to Morrisons like a military manoeuvre making sure everything is safe and sorted before I go; I get up when I want and go to bed when I want – and I can decide what I do and when for every minute in-between . . . . For the first time in my life I can be selfish and I can be me – but at the moment I’m still trying to work out what I am and what I want.  It’s a painful and confusing process  -  the way I am dealing with it is to take this time to heal, after all the crap life has thrown at me over the years I can’t just suddenly become a different person – I need to rest and recover – a bit like convalescence after major surgery (oh how we all laughed on here at the lack of that after Sally Stoma  -  I’ve got oodles of it now)  I don’t know if I’ll ever find me or my new role in life – maybe its too late and I’ll just tootle along with my faithful dog, getting through each day with no purpose and no real achievement.

A friend asked me this week how I fill my day and I couldn’t really tell her.  They are full of doing nothing,  I faff around, I sometimes have an afternoon nap to compensate for the hours I spend reading in the small hours of the morning when I can’t sleep.   Sometimes I get a burst of energy and sort out another file of paperwork, or full cupboard – but that’s almost done now.  I’ve even sorted out the loft – Pete’s den for over 20 years.  Thankfully I’m quite ruthless and paid a man to help me – so it was fairly pain free and I’m now left with a pile to sell, a pile to give away and a pile to think about  -  I’ll get round to them the next time I have one of those much longed for bursts of energy.

I sometimes feel sad, lonely, bored, isolated . . . . nothing new there, long time Carers are all too familiar with those emotions.   I am totally aware of all the stages of grieving and I’m not concerned about any of them – I think I’m doing well.  Maybe unlike other new Widows I have the extra emotion of mourning what might have been if I had had a ‘normal’ marriage – but I’ve been doing that for years anyway.

This has turned out to be an indulgent blog – which is fine by me, I feel I have the right to be selfish, I’ve earned it many times over.  Also, writing a blog can be very cathartic – again part of the healing process.  My blogs are often sparked by others and part of my reason for writing this today came from another phone call from a friend – as usual, they asked politely how I was, but I wonder if they really want to know the truth –  do they pick up on any ‘subtle’ hints I put into my reply that might indicate all is not well, and would I want them to?  Do they tell me about all the bad things going on in their life to try and reassure me that its not just me who is having a tough time, or is it a kind of defence – daring me to tell them my troubles because there’s are a lot worse than mine.  I kind of wish they wouldn’t bother asking, because I know they neither want nor need my problems.  Its just a ritual that we go through.

Pete told me shortly after he knew he was dying that he wasn’t worried about me – he knew I would be alright.  Obviously I will be alright, I looked after 2 people for years, whilst running the home, holding down various jobs and supporting assorted family members along the way  -  looking after myself is dead easy, but its certainly not the life I would choose . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | February 26, 2013

A taste of freedom

I’m really not good at doing my blog this time round – not only do I keep forgetting it, but I really don’t have much to talk about these days.

I can’t keep telling you all about how I’m feeling, or which drawer I’m clearing out today. It would be very boring and I seem to have lost my writing humour somewhere along the line so I couldn’t even make any of it seem funny.

Its not a reflection of how I’m feeling – because I’m doing remarkably well. Everyone keeps teling me. Of course I miss Pete virtually every waking hour, I miss his hugs – big bear hugs. Even with one arm he was a master of them. I miss his sense of humour, talking to him – I miss our secret looks and in-jokes, the kind you build up after so many years together, I miss my best friend and the only person I was able to be totally myself with. BUT I am also making the most of my new life.

I could say I miss devoting my every waking hour to him (and many of my sleeping ones) but I can’t if I’m honest. A friend of mine said a word a few weeks ago which I hadn’t thought of in terms of me before – the word was FREEDOM. But that’s exactly what I feel. I can do what I want when I want, I can have my home how I want – I’ve got rugs everywhere – I’ve never been able to have rugs before, and the TV (obviously) is mine to control. I get up when I want, go to bed when I want – I don’t have to be guided by someone elses routine.

I don’t live on eggshells any more – I don’t worry about doing or saying the wrong thing. I don’t wait for strange noises from the bathroom alerting me that something is wrong – or a crash from the den which means a fall – or a yell denoting some frustration or other.

You don’t ever get over being told someone you love wont last the night, or the journey to another hospital, or the operation, or the pneumonia and I’ve had 7 such experiences – oh yes, that was BEFORE I was told he was terminally ill . . . . You don’t ever get over being told ‘it could happen again’ and I lived with that for 24 years, and then it did. The emotional freedom from all that is impossible to describe. I no longer worry what will happen to Pete if something happens to me – its liberating.

So is it any wonder that I’m making the most of my freedom . . . . (even if I do forget to blog about it)

Posted by: marshy54 | February 19, 2013

Off on a whim

I’ve just come home from a walk with Tasha and can’t remember the last time I felt this happy!

Its such a lovely day and on a whim, I decided to take the car on our afternoon walk – had no idea where I was going but had several choices. I chose East Carlton Country Park which is on the edge of the Welland Valley and only about 2/3 miles away. The sun was shining, a few other people were walking their dogs – all shapes and sizes, young parents with a few kids were in the play area, the cafe was doing a good trade and the little heritage museum was open for business.

Tasha went into 100% Jack Russell mode and inspected every molehill (of which there are hundreds) hence it took us over an hour to get round – but it didn’t matter. Her tail never stopped wagging and she had more bounce than a little Spring lamb.

I felt very happy, relaxed and normal (that word again) – its such a long time since I was able to just up sticks and do something like that – it felt good, and like there is a light at the end of the long tunnel of winter . . . .

We will be back again very soon . . . . and will remember the camera next time!

Posted by: marshy54 | February 14, 2013

Its only a name . . . .

When my Dad died my Mum gave all of us (me and my 3 brothers) some money – I think it was about £300 which was a fair amount in 1973.  The idea was for it to benefit us somehow in the future.  There were no limits from Mum,  it was just a gesture for us to do something special with it.  So what did I do?  I just frittered it away on nothing.  It didn’t take me long to spend it – I just kept writing cheques for anything and everything I wanted.  Probably the equivalent today of a silly teenager going over the top with a credit card. 

Anyway – when it was all gone I told Pete because I didn’t know how to face Mum over it.  Not sure really how I could face him about it as we were shortly to be married – but I did.  Probably because, after my Dad he was the person I always loved and trusted most in the world and I knew he would sort it out.

The first thing he did was change my bank account – he put mine and his together and we had our first joint account.  He also took away my cheque book.   I haven’t had my own bank account since.

Well I have now and I’ve just written my first cheque from my brand spanking new cheque book.  Fortunately things changed and I grew up (kind of) so I’ve been looking after our finances for many years and have become a very skilled money manager.  Just as well really because there’s no one left to get me out of the doo doo if I get in it again is there  . . . .

Pete was rarely romantic, very loving but that’s different.  However, when he did do something romantic it was a biggy and always very thoughtful and special.  Here’s an example . . . .

The first joint account was in my maiden name and the cheques looked ridiculous . . . .

                Mr P A Marsh and Miss L Evans

I hated it – couldn’t wait to be married and be Mrs Marsh, but really didn’t like the idea of being

                Mr and Mrs P A Marsh

As ever, Pete listened to my inane prattle about this and said nothing – until we were on our honeymoon.  He gave me an envelope and inside was a cheque book.   Because of his work as an Accountant he was friendly with the bank staff and had got them to put our names on the cheques so they read

                Pete & Lynn Marsh

Even though we used cheques less and less over the years, they remained that way until last December.  When I wrote that cheque today it read

                Mrs L Marsh

. . . . and I really don’t like it

Posted by: marshy54 | February 13, 2013

Happy Anniversary

I used to work with a woman whose life revolved around various anniversaries involving family members who had died.  Not just the death of them but the funeral too, and the last time she saw/spoke to them  The anniversary she met them, went on a date with them, first time she slept with them, married them (in the case of her 2 husbands that is) their birthdays,  the day they went into hospital, came home, blah blah blah.  She was the most depressing and selfish woman I had ever met.  The rest of the work force waited with trepidation every morning to see what anniversary we all had to keep quiet for today.  It was so miserable – almost like a form of emotional workplace bullying.  We all had to be guided by her moods.   I always thought she must have kept a diary with all the details in, surely nobody could just recall all that information from memory – and who on earth would want to.

I can only remember two dates of anyone dying – obviously Petes, and the other is my Dads – nearly 40 years ago.

Now, having said all that  -   its 40 years tomorrow that I received my first Valentines Card from Pete.  We had worked together for a couple of months and had become good friends.  I fell in love with him the first time I saw him but he didn’t seem interested.  God he was absolutely gorgeous.  Anyway, I got this card at work on Valentine’s Day and hadn’t got a clue who had sent it.  I made a moron of myself by going round and checking the handwriting of all the men at work – none fitted. 

So, that evening I had a date with Geoff Betts, and he arrived to take me out when the phone rang – I answered it and it was Pete.  After a lot of faffing and laughing and cryptic clues, he eventually admitted that the card was from him and his Mum had written it.  The phone call ended after an hour and a date had been arranged.  I went into the living room where this bloke was waiting with Mum (who looked like absolute thunder) and said “that was Heather . . . . .” 

The rest, as they say, is history . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | February 7, 2013

Tomorrow’s another day

It was 10 weeks yesterday since Pete died. The very day the astonishing report was issued about the lack of care at Stafford Hospital. I was slowly starting to think less and less about the bloody awful ‘care’ Pete was given in hospital but yesterday bought it all back to the surface again.

Who needed a report and what purpose will it serve? absolutely none . . . . Many of my Carer friends have been talking about such things for years – we didn’t need an official report costing squillions of pounds to tell us about the crap way our loved ones are treated when they are out of our sight and care. AND we all know it has bugger all to do with lack of staff and other resources. Its about attitude, pure and simple. It doesn’t cost anything to care about people

For 10 weeks – amongst other piles of paperwork – I’ve been looking at a small pile that is sitting on the hatch in the kitchen – its my notes detailing all the bad things that happened in the 6 weeks Pete was in hospital. Its not emotional stuff, just facts. Its waiting for me to put it together in some sort of letter or report (at absolutely no cost) to send to the Hospital authorities. I don’t know whether I’ll do it and if I do it will just be a cathartic exercise I’m sure. I wont expect anything to come of it.

If Pete was still here I would have done it by now – would have had a plan of action and told them how I wanted it dealing with – but the motivation has gone now. So I pick the papers up every few days, rearrange them, think about shredding them, then put them back because I can’t yet make the decision about what to do with them.

Maybe tomorrow . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | February 3, 2013

Life goes on

I’ve had a good couple of days – I’ve always said it doesn’t take much to keep me happy and its true

It all started on Friday morning when I got a text. Shortly after Pete died, the local Birders planted a tree in his favourite spot down our local reservoir. The text was to tell me that it had got a load of new shoots on it. It made me feel incredibly happy –not just knowing that the precious little twig-like thing had survived the frosts and snow – but also, I love the fact that his birding friends are happy about it too. It then made me curious about two plants in our garden that friends gave me in Pete’s memory too. So I braved the cold to go and investigate, and sure enough, there were 8 new shoots on the rose, and lots of new leaves on the holly tree

Now I know that there is nothing remotely unusual about plants having their early-in-the-year growth spurt. BUT, not only are these 3 plants a kind of memorial to Pete but there’s something else a bit special about them too. On Christmas Day, around the time folks were tucking into their turkey and trimmings – I got in the car and went down to the Reservoir. I had a long walk with Tasha – then I scattered half of Pete’s ashes all-round the tree that his friends had planted. When I got home – I scattered the other half round the rose and the holly tree. And here we are, just a few weeks later, after the vilest of weather – they are all happy and healthy and growing

Life really is going on . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | January 31, 2013

Test over

Well I did hack it! I put on the mask and went. For two hours I forgot about my weird mood and came back home with it all gone

Well done me . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | January 31, 2013

Testing Testing

Today will be a test of whether I really am intent on trying to make a life for myself or whether I’m all mouth and trousers (now there’s a thought – when did I last wear anything BUT trousers?)

All I feel like doing is crawling under a duvet and crying – which is as far away from any feeling or mood that I normally have that I wonder if I’m quite well! The only thing I can liken it to is when I had mild PMT for a few months following a gynea op. I wanted to cry, shout, thump and all those alien kind of feelings that I’d heard about but never experienced. Well that’s kind of how I feel today – I think I woke up like it, I certainly walked the dog like it, my dog-walking thoughts were all about it and as I headed for home I thought ‘I must write about it’ I would do anything to get out of going to where I’ve planned to go, and if I don’t go, I know people will be disappointed in me – not least myself

But I don’t want to go. I don’t want to put my slap on and tidy myself up and then put on a happy face for others – I want to stay where I feel safest, where I can be how I like and not put on an act. I want to ignore the phone and the doorbell – I want to wallow in the privacy of my own home and company and not inflict it on other people – just like I said in a previous post

Well there’s an hour to go till I need to leave, so we’ll see if I can hack it . . . .

Posted by: marshy54 | January 29, 2013

What is normal?

I’m sure that after a very happy and normal childhood, I’ve never again been normal at all

I wasn’t a normal village girl – all my peers left school to work in the village clothes factory, married village boys, moved into village homes and had a load of village kids.  I got a car and a job outside of the village – married an older man (5/6 years made a big difference at 19) and had no kids!

Even my marriage wasn’t normal – I think it may have been for the first 6 years but I can’t really remember that time.  After that I had a disabled husband, became the breadwinner and the rest is more or less history . . . .

I’m obstinate, gobby, outspoken, blinkered – I complain with no qualms of doing so.  I don’t conform if it doesn’t fit my views/beliefs.  I’m sure that’s why I had such a great relationship with Pete – he was different in so many ways which obviously made him anything but normal – we loved being different and laughed at the normal world

Now I have a funny feeling I’m not going to be a normal Widow – for a start, I don’t have the kids to fall back on (or become a burden too)  I’m very well prepared to doing everything around the home because I’ve had to do it for years – I’m already independent.  My life will probably be a lot easier now.  Its certainly a lot less complicated – my life is much calmer and quieter – there have been times over the last few weeks when I’ve sat back, relaxed and thought ‘mmmm, I could get used to this’.  For the very first time in my life I can do what I want, when I want.  From getting up in the morning to going to bed – I only have me to please.  I can eat what I want, put the furniture where I want, buy that red rug that I’ve always wanted, watch crap TV with no fear of criticism, read at 3am without worrying who I’m disturbing (the dog doesn’t count, she can sleep through anything). 

I believe in looking at the positive in everything – my life so far has made that an absolute necessity.  I don’t feel sorry for myself and there is no way I will bore other people with needless tears and sympathy seeking.   I have dignity and self-respect, my mourning is done in private.  I can think of nothing worse than joining a ‘club’ for Widows/Widowers – but I never went to Carers Groups so maybe I’m just not a ‘joiner’

 Perhaps I’m not normal in admitting that there are some good things in my life now – the bad things will always be there, I will be lonely for Pete for the rest of my life – my broken heart will never heal, the many years of wonderful memories will always be tinged with sadness and anger at those of the last few weeks of Pete’s life – but my new and different life now certainly has some advantages and I’m going to try and embrace them instead of wallowing in the past and what could have been

Not being normal is probably why I never really fitted in anywhere and had very few real friends – I know lots of people but that’s very different in my mind.  None of my handful of true friends live what would be considered to be normal lives so that says something doesn’t it

Who decides what normal is anyway?  That’s what I want to know . . . .

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