How do you move on?

I spoke in the last blog about remembering the time when my father died and how it has affected me now that my mother is no longer with us. There are some people who stick to death and bereavement like chewing gum sticks to the cat. But how do we move on?

Firstly, do you want to move on? There seems a thread now in society that if we aren’t at the grave every week or sometimes even every day that we have forgotten the person or the person somehow doesn’t hold the same meaning to us when they were alive. I have seen and read numerous times how families are clinging on to the memory of their loved one in some vain attempt to keep them alive. Siblings forced to mourn for a brother or sister they haven’t even met.

Because you are moving on with your life that doesn’t mean you forget the person or love them less. Building shrines to someone aren’t helpful. I will talk about the person but there are times now after the stage of mourning where you have to start living your life again. Sitting around thinking about the person you have lost all day isn’t helpful or healthy.

I am not a one to shy away from bereavement and expressing the hurt and pain it causes. At my funeral, I don’t want any of this ‘celebration of life’ crap. I want crying and tears. Then when you have done the dishes and hoovered then you can raise a glass or seven and then start moving on with life. I am dead. Gone. Not coming back. No amount of bright colours or waving off balloons is going to bring me back. I might joke about this but I know that a lot of people want a celebration of life and there is nothing wrong with that either. It’s not me and not who I am.

People who post messages to a person on social media like they are looking in from another spiritual dimension can be helpful for younger people in the beginning but again I have read where people are posting messages about how the person who has died will be drinking alcohol and spending Christmas on a cloud somewhere. A bizarre way to view the afterlife and a little childish in my opinion.

Bereavement can cause a whole raft of behaviours that are strange. It’s when that behaviour is unhealthy or even dangerous that help should be given. It can cause serious mental illness and as someone who has suffered from depression for over twenty years I have had to be aware of my own health and keeping that from slipping downwards.

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The best advice I have heard in the past few months is taking a few small steps into the world again but don’t expect change over night. I am terrified of leaving my home town and going on holiday. I am racked with guilt about ‘enjoying’ life. Somehow it seems wrong to have a life outside of mum. Having been her carer for so many years. But if I was to ask what she might say about my guilt, she probably would laugh, and ask ‘What on earth have you got to feel guilty about?’.

She would then chastise me for being silly and tell me to move on. It would have been her way of dealing with things. Dismissing them and then getting on with life. If life was as easy as that I wouldn’t be writing this blog in my living room but in the south of France somewhere.

So you take small steps until you are ready. I went for bereavement counselling as part of those small steps I am not ashamed to say I got help. There is no shame in asking for help from anyone. It hasn’t been easy but I am glad I did it. It doesn’t make me any weaker or less of a man it means I am being honest about what I am feeling and willing enough to take steps to being well again.

Real fire

One of the things that I have always wanted in my house is a real fire. I know that from being at my grandparents house it always lent a cosy atmosphere to the place. Very homely. I was always put off by people say it will take a lot to clean and all that. But I have  decent central heating to the point that I don’t use the gas fire currently in my house.

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I am thinking of possibly an open fire like this or a contained fire in a stove and the technical name ‘inglenook’. There are three chimneys in my house and I know that there are fireplaces in each of the bedrooms. I might explore the possibility of opening them up again and using them on and off. Local council says that you have to use smokeless fuel and this is easily bought from firms in the north east.

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Last year my gas bill which includes the boiler for the central heating and a gas hob was approximately £800. I find this extortionate. I am being charged a fixed amount even if I don’t use the gas. What a total rip off. I know that once the fire(s) are cleaned and ready for use that I will look to see what the lowest possible tariff there is for gas. I could use it for times when the house becomes very cold. The amount solid fuel I could get for half of that amount would last beyond a few months during winter months.

 

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.

Birthday 

To be honest I have never liked birthdays. Ever since I can remember they were always a disappointment growing up. Things happened at parties which I wish hadn’t. It’s all left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

Never been a fan of big parties in fact in all I have only had two parties where a lot of people have been invited. The rest of them I have preferred to spend time on my own. A few years ago I sat in my garden and polished off a rather nice bottle of champagne. It was total bliss.

 
So it probably won’t come to as surprise to tell you I spent mostly today sitting in a second hand book shop in Alnwick.

A pleasant place where I could gather my thoughts, browse the shelves and relax. I know what EVERYONE is thinking. Where are the strippers? This is boring! I won’t make any apologies but I have had my time with strippers and that’s called my 20s. I enjoyed that but it’s now settling down. I don’t see it as boring as see it as a chance for me to get out and do the things I want to do.

I have never had a group of friends badgering me to go out to nightclubs or places I cannot stand. If I don’t want to go somewhere I tell them. If I cannot be bothered to go out they won’t get offended they just accept it.

What’s the point in doing what others want you to do? Just be happy and do what you want to. I said this is what I am and I am happy with it.

Before I left I had a nice coffee and a piece of carrot cake. Really nice. If you want to know where the place was it was Barter Books in Alnwick, England. Near where the filmed Harry Potter you know … Okay you can shut up now.

My garden June 2015 (2)

I got some of the way into the garden then the weather change. As British weather always seems to do. It went cold and rainy. That’s a good thing as there is a lot of dead dry grass that needs to be raked from this lawn to allow the new shoots to grow. If I didn’t it would just look rather poorly and unloved. The only thing about raking out the dead grass is that it leaves the lawn looking very patchy.

It’s suppose to go back to sunny days this week and hopefully I will be able to crack on and get things presentable for my birthdays next week. On my 40th I sat in the garden and enjoyed a bottle of champagne. No party or silliness. Just myself, the garden and a bottle of bubbly. This is what intend to do for birthday. Forty five! I never even thought I would get to thirty never mind this age. But I do love being this old. It means you have lived but you still potentially have a lot more to give.

Reflections

As a reformed Church of England member (I left) I still take time over Holy Week to reflect on life. I think for anyone who does or doesn’t have a religion or any for of faith that reflecting on your life is important. A lot of people will make choices to change things in their life at New Year. I don’t for the fact that it’s after a time of excesses and partying making life decisions isn’t the best time.

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Taking time. Relaxing with music and calmness. I think everyone should have a time that they can reflect on things.