Good Grief

Who talks to you about grief when you are growing up? When my grandfather died in 1984, my parents went into silence and I was told under no circumstances was I going to see him. Another member of my family experienced the death of a friend and again I was told not to talk to him about it. Silence was the way to deal with grief.

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It was certainly a generational thing, as it wasn’t just applicable to my family alone. You didn’t talk when someone died. It not a healthy way I have learned to start to cope with someones passing.

Jeff Brazier was in a relationship with Big Brother contestant Jade Goody. They had two sons in that time and he was given custody of them when Jade sadly passed away after suffering from cervical cancer.

I always remember that when I was a teacher, there were a lot of lads that had so many problems due to losing someone. Usually a bond between them and a grandfather and the grandfather had passed away and they have an inability to cope and deal with the grief, which in turn, causes major mental health problems.

It’s about time that people talked about grief and I am sure that Jeff Brazier, through his own experiences, will be able to guide people in how to deal with the over-whelming emotion of losing someone.

Moving on

I moved to the house I live in now 14 years ago. I was so excited about getting away from the old house I really didn’t think for a moment that I would spend the next three month after moving day being utterly miserable and regretting my decision.

I know that statistics tell us that moving house is one of the most stressful things to have to to go through and it’s up there with divorce and bereavement. Being naive to this at the time, the move was extremely stressful as the looney that was buying the house that I owed demanded all sorts of work be carried out at my expense before she moved in. She dictated the process all along. She knew I was in love with the house that I wanted to move to and kept making pretty unreasonable demands.

When moving day finally arrived I really questioned whether all the stress, time and money was worth it. I was now in a house that I hated and was desperate to have the life I had back in the in the old place. I had moved on quite literally and I felt it was unnecessary and ultimately the worst decision of my life.

Sometimes you look at the past and you are desperate to go back to what you had. You want that final conversation or just time to say goodbye and know that the person you have lost knows that you loved them. Grief can do strange things to people and I what I have learned so far is not to punish yourself. Taking each day at a time is important and making small steps at a time when you know you cannot run.

Some people try and keep themselves busy almost to shield themselves from the pain but there will be a time when that grief will manifest itself in whatever form it takes. It can creep up on you when you are least expecting it. If you are one of those people who say ‘I am not going to cry or let it affect me’ you might be doing more harm to yourself in the long term.

I know people who we all have lost wouldn’t want to see us upset with pain but sometimes we need to let go of what the person we think would want and allow ourselves to mourn. In allowing ourselves moments we are releasing the pain. It’s not that we are releasing them or loving them any less we are allowing ourselves to heal. It’s not moving from the love but moving on with our lives.

Which music has helped?

In my last blog about Music I said that I had listened to music over the past few months and it has given me comfort. Even more so in the past month in 2016. I have said before I have loved music since I was about eleven but I love it when new music comes out and really get into albums. Obviously I am a tad excited about the new Pet Shop Boys album out 1st April called “Super”.

Here are some of the songs and their videos that have helped over the past few months. I have mentioned some of the artists before, some you might have heard of and others you certainly will know.

Troye Sivan – Wild – Blue Neighbourhood

A great song about new relationships. Realising that what you had at the time was pretty crap hence ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ leaving the past behind and knowing that you are going to start on something new which for him seems pretty special.

Justin Bieber – I’ll show you – Purpose

A beautiful video shot in Iceland. It’s a confession. He knows he has fucked up in a lot of things in his life. Haven’t we all? But most of our stupid moments aren’t played out on the world’s stage as his are. Some will be publicity stunts others will be genuine moments of madness. He said he isn’t perfect. I have asked before sometimes if his management have a tighter rein on him and now he is an adult he will be rebelling. Everyone should be given grace and redemption. Makes me realise you can have everything that you want and still not be happy.

Scream – Michael Jackson (ft Janet Jackson) – HIStory : Past, Present and Future Book 1.

I hadn’t really listened to this song for along time (I cannot believe it was released over 20 years ago) but events in December 2015 brought it to mind and it fitted perfectly. You only need to watch the video to realise how stressed MJ was at the time. Partly his own fault and partly tabloid garbage. This song really helped. Helped me vent my anger.

Adele – Hello – 25

There is nothing better knowing that what pain you have gone through someone else has been through the same. I love this song as it takes me away from current things and makes me think of people from 15-30 years ago. I wonder what they are doing now? Would they like to meet? Do you ever think they think fondly of the time we spent together? These questions go through my head.

Loved me Back to Life –  Celine Dion – Loved Me Back to Life

I mentioned in 2013 that I had someone who did love me back to life. I love him to bits. It’s only when you know true love that you do find happiness. Finding a person who loves you unconditionally and you love them back is hard to find. There are so many who I thought were good friends and have turned out to be nob heads.

Stranger in Moscow – Michael Jackson – HIStory : Past, Present and Future Book 1

This is a bleak song about loneliness and despair. I am sure underneath all of Michael Jackson’s talent and craziness probably was a person who just wanted to be normal. When you are in the depths of depression and loss you don’t feel like anyone cares and you are isolated from the rest of the world. It’s an awful feeling.

Bond Meets Stacey – OST A View to a Kill 

What an odd piece of music you might think. It is take from the scene in A View to a Kill and I have listened to it over and over again. Beautiful. The reason I have included it is that mum LOVED the Bond films. When her dementia finally took over I heard this music come on my iTunes and I couldn’t stop crying at the time. It over-whelmed me. To know that she wouldn’t be able to watch and appreciate these films any more. It filled me with such sadness. It also helps me now to look over the years and decades I looked after mum putting on a DVD for her which she loved and appreciated.

 

Sunshine after the rain

Parts of the USA getting blanketed with snow. People stranded and others very sadly have lost their lives. We are at the mercy of mother nature and the ever changing weather patterns across the world. If you are in the UK you would have heard the news about the localised flooding which has caused millions of pounds of damage to peoples homes and businesses.

When you are in the middle of it all and you are seriously affected by it it seems like the pain and misery caused by the weather will never go away. People who have to literally rebuild their homes can take months and even years to put back together the life that they once new. Sometimes it cannot ever be the same again. You are left still with the mental damage that this has caused. My thoughts are certainly with the people who have lost loved ones in serious weather conditions.

This weekend has been the first time in months that I have felt ‘normal’. I was used to waking each morning full of anxiety and dread of what the day will hold. It took a few hours of that anxiety to go and somehow I would calm down. That no longer happens. I can wake in the morning and feel like normal human being.

After looking after mum and grieving for her you have to put your life back together. Things that were dismantled and put on hold will need to be restarted. The storm has passed but it’s time to get on with things and sort out that which needs to go and others things that can be salvaged. The key thing is not going too fast and making a mess of things. Progress of this sort takes time and patience.

Grieving

I have never been able to be sad for the things I haven’t had. It’s like sad that you haven’t had a sister. Well I have never had a sister and don’t know what it’s like so to me that is said. It what you have known and lost that makes sad

I didn’t even meet or know dad’s side of the family. He never told us that the had relations living in the south. I didn’t know them so not know what you haven’t had doesn’t make you upset.

Today, well to be exact this evening has been this worst. I am dreaming that she is still with me and that I am saying to her in the dream that it is impossible as you are not around. It the subconscious mind trying to patch things together in your memory and make some sort of resemblance of order in your life.

And then somehow dad appears and he has been dead over 21 year and things get very confusing and muddle because I know in the dreams that they had passed away and I am stilling coming to turns with.

Today I found a diary of mine of late 2012 which I asked: “What will it be like when she is no longer around”. It was interesting theories and emotions about mum and certain people were so true. Yes, it is scathing in some parts but I said that I have spent quality time with mum which is the main thing that mattered. Even in 2012, I knew I had done the right thing.

As I had said before losing my father happened so quickly before I started my teacher training so I really didn’t have the time to grieve which screwed me up a few years later.

The mental torture of losing a loved one cannot be cured. Emotions can be suppressed with booze and medication but there is a lot of screwed up people out there who haven’t properly grieved for a loved one. A numbed pain only goes away for a few hours while you are stoned or pissed. This is the equivalent of trying to put on a plaster on a major wound after surgery you might think it will go away and ignoring it does make things difficult in the long run.

Grieving is a natural process. At the moment I cannot be bothered with small things in life. This is a process that mentally you have to go through. Great speech Philip, but doesn’t make anything better,  different and easier to handle. It only gets easier to handle things less painful each year. Especially around mothers days and other occasions things that connect with mum and myself like Christmas’.

I have good friends and loads of people who I can fall back on and that makes a difference. I have been for them when they have needed help and when I am feeling like crap they help as well. I just take each day as it comes and not try to suppress the tears and emotion.

Mum – saying goodbye

I wanted to say thank you to those people who came to mums funeral. I think the worst aspect of it was seeing other people upset. I don’t know why? I was helped to walk into the crematorium by my cousins wife Sue. She was wonderful and held me very tight when I felt I was “welling up” again. What a marvellous person she is. I am thankful for her as it wasn’t planned that she would walk with me.

The flowers we ordered were beautiful; mum would have been overawed to have seen them. There are still roses that grow in mums garden that my grandfather planted there over thirty years ago and somehow they still flower each year. She always loved looking at them.

The service at the crematory in Birtley was just right. Although a lot of us commented that we thought we were going to lose the roof as it was really windy. Rev Liz Kent who is new to the area provided a lovely and fitting tribute to mum. She read Psalm 121 which was mums favourite piece of the Bible which I thought was very fitting for the service.

   “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121)

It was lovely to see some of mums friends that had known her since she was a child and had been life long friends. Some friends that had come from the Methodist Church. Particularly a chap called Bill who is a kind and gentle man. His wife died 2007 and he had also looked in on mum just as as his wife did for years before her passing. Always delivered the church news letter which I used to read to mum. It was lovely that even when she couldn’t leave the house that people would come to see how she was.

We had a collection for the Multiple Sclerosis society at the end and it was great as I sent them a gift of £145 for them in memory of mum. I think it was wonderful that people gave so generously.

We then met at Chester-le-Street Cricket ground which was wonderful we were treated with respect and dignity. The food was typically northern. Real slices of ham and peas pudding. The mince (meat) pies were wonderful. I think Anne enjoy her peach melba a little too much!

Thank you all for those attended and those who couldn’t attend I know you were all thinking (and some of you praying) for us all on the day.