Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sharing our Grief.

Another Daily Om picked at random.

This OM looks at sharing our grief and opening ourselves up.  This post isn't exactly the same, but I think I need to share it all the same.

I have a friend, Sally, she lives a long way from me but we connect quite often to share joy and sometimes pain.  Last year when I was struggling to come to terms with my brother's death my Dad got rushed into hospital.  At the time I was leaning on Sally, from time to time, she let me talk.  I needed it and I am always grateful she was there.  But then the situation with my Dad got worse and I found I just couldn't talk about it with anyone outside of the family.  I don't know if this upset Sal, I really hope it didn't, but it wasn't anything she had said or done that made me withdraw, I really just couldn't discuss it.

The situation with my Dad seemed to improve at first, he was admitted to hospital and we believed he would get home.  But then things took a really drastic turn.  His kidneys began to fail and we were told he wouldn't get any better.  Just before this episode he had been his usual self and my mother had told him that we had to have a meeting with a social worker before he could come home.  He was worried, naturally, but I didn't think it was so bad.  Then my mother sat in the meeting and all but told the social worker she didn't want my Dad to come home.  She couldn't cope with him.  I had to tell the social worker that yes he could come home and yes there was room for him to have a bed downstairs and yes care could be set up for him.  So this was to be arranged, but first they might put him in respite care.  My mother agreed and I refused.  My mother told him and he was very upset.  I told him I would never allow them to put him in a home and eventually calmed him down.

After this he seemed to rapidly go down hill.  He got an infection - a UTI - which was really bad and thus affected his kidney function.  He withdrew from the world and visiting was always an awful experience.  He wouldn't speak to any of us - well, he actually would talk to me and my husband some of the time - and he was refusing food.  He was in a room on his own, then back on the main ward, then back in his own room.  There was one day, not long after they told us his kidneys were knackered and there wasn't anything they could do and he seemed particularly chatty with me and DH.  He had tears in his eyes all of the time and this stage lasted about a week.

My family became divided.  My mother was so grief stricken over the loss of her son that she refused to really have anything to do with my Dad.  I had to force her to visit.  She wanted him out of her life.  My brother P agreed with her, as did my cousin's wife.  In fact my cousin's wife had a huge influence over my mother back then.
I could understand their feelings - he wasn't a brilliant father to my brothers, he was slightly better with me.  When I was a teenager I hated him - I guess that's the norm during the teen years though.  I was the only one who would stand up to him when he was ranting at us as kids, I never took any of his crap.  When I had my own kids he loved having them.  But by the time brother P (only me and P have kids) he was too sick to look after them and I think this narked him and his wife.
There was some genetic problem that resulted in my younger brother being severely disabled and when he died my mother blamed my Dad for this.  She switched off from him, left him to fend for himself and this is how he ended up in hospital.  At one stage I wondered if she had tried to kill him, though I know she hadn't now.

It was like nobody wanted him anymore except me, my husband and my kids.  My mother visited because I forced her to.  Brother P and brother I visited because my husband had words with them over how unfair they were being and brother A did visit, but he has schizophrenia so it wasn't always easy getting him to go.

I fought for almost 12 weeks to get him home.  I felt as if I had failed.  Then I realised that I couldn't have done anymore and that was when I became angry.  Angry at my Dad for giving up on life.  Angry at my mother and brothers for not being better with him.  Angry with the hospital who caused his nasty infection that led to his death.  Angry with my brother who had died four months earlier.  Angry that my mother only seemed to care about that and nothing else.
I wanted to grieve, but I didn't want to go through the pain.  I cried once, for a couple of minutes and then I switched off from it all.  I had almost suffocated when my Aunty had died in 2005.  The pain was so bad I had switched myself off  from that too, but my mother's grief had almost floored me.  I didn't want to feel that again so anger was my only option.

My Dad taught me how to be a fighter.  How to be tough and fight for what I believed in.  How to take on the world and win.  When he died I felt my age - I was a few days off turning 40 - and it all came flooding back to me; my own baby dying in 1996, DH's illness that almost killed him, my Gran dying around the same time, my Aunty dying in 2005 and then my brother.  I thought about another Aunty who had died just before my Dad.  She was in her 80's and died from natural causes, but this just made me more depressed about getting older.

Ever since then I have remained angry.  Then my half-cousin's wife hung herself at the end of July last year.  She was the same age as me and I felt even worse.  My brother had been 29 when he died, my baby hadn't even been born.  Life was just too cruel and I was so mad at it, at them for not fighting.  I was unable to sleep, I needed to know that everyone was still alive in my house and so began my nightly ritual of struggling to get to sleep, then after only being asleep for a couple of hours I would wake up in a blind panic and I would have to get up to check everyone was still breathing.
I have driven myself mad with this crazy ritual and this is why I am seeking help.  I need to move on from this stage, from the anger and hurt and raw pain that eats at me everyday.  From the awful experience we went through when my Dad was still alive, in hospital and feeling like his wife no longer cared for him.  I need to accept it all and move on from it.

I know this post is very disjointed and probably doesn't make an awful lot of sense.  But I wanted to share my grief with some people who have been kind enough to be there for me over the past 16 months.  I have said time and again that I didn't want to talk about "it" because "it" hurt too much.  But getting "it" out into the open has helped me enormously and that is the purpose of this post.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Anger.

I have mentioned a few times that my family have been bereaved five times since December 2010.  One death is difficult enough to deal with, but five........

I feel so angry with three of them for giving up on life and I know that this preventing me from moving onto the next stage in the grieving process.  I know I am trapped in this stage and I know that this is causing me the problems I am having with sleep and the obsession about who is going to die next.

I faced something similar when my son was born 15 years ago.  The year before - 1996 - I fell pregnant and we were over the moon.  But I lost the baby and encountered a pain I thought would engulf me whole.  Had I not had two daughters to care for I think I could very easily given in to the pain I felt.  A few months later I was pregnant again with my son, but I spent the entire pregnancy feeling terrified something would happen.  After he was born I suffered from Post Natal Depression.  One of the worst things I went through was not being able to put my son down.  I felt that if I put him down to sleep somewhere he would die, only I could save him by holding onto him all of the time.
After months of therapy and almost a year on anti depressants I discovered I was angry with my baby for dying and that I had held on to that anger so tightly that is engulfed me.  It was only when I learnt to let go of the anger that I was able to move forward and mourn my baby.

Anger is such a self destructive emotion if we don't let go of it.  Anger can be a good thing if we use it to channel our emotions in a constructive manner, but if we don't then we bottle up that anger and it eats away at us, making us miserable, making us ill, causing us problems.  We have to learn to let go of our anger and resentment, free ourselves of the negativity that these emotions fill us with, only then can we move forward with our lives.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Feeling the pain.

Today I picked another of the Daily OM emails at random and the message was about tuning in to our pain to listen for the message.  This really piqued my interest, given the amount of emotional pain I have experienced over the past 16 months and beyond.

I have to say here and now that five deaths in sixteen months have taken their toll on my emotional wellbeing.  I hate admitting that I am in need of help but I am so fed up of feeling the way I do that I have booked myself an appointment with my GP.  My problem is that I find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get enough sleep.  Now, when I say this I mean that I cannot sleep on a night, falling asleep during the day isn't so bad, I quite often get a decent sleep during the day.  This was all good and well when I was laid up in bed but it is not so good when I need to be up and about.  I started taking herbal tablets to help me sleep and they are working to a certain extent.  But they don't keep me asleep all night, well not all of the time anyway.

The pain I am experiencing relates to death.  I have become obsessed with it.  I have panic attacks over it.  I am terrified to fall asleep because I don't know who will have survived the night.  It's pretty grim feeling this way and that is why I have booked an appointment to see my GP.  But I must stress I don't want to numb everything with pills.  I am not sure what I hope to gain from an appointment with my GP, maybe I am in need of some counselling, who knows?

Anyway, this is what the message from the OM was about; our first instinct is to numb everything with medication.  It is telling us that we should listen to our bodies and minds and see if we can hear what message there is.  We don't have to rush into dosing ourselves up with medication in order to heal our pain, although if we truly do need urgent medical attention we should go for it.
I know I hurt over the deaths of five loved ones, and I know I hurt a lot.  I know that the pain is eating away at me and this is because I cannot talk about it.  I cannot talk about it to anyone because I am so damn angry with my brother and my father for giving up - and I know that sounds stupidly selfish.  I know I need to let go of the anger that I am holding on to so tightly, I know it is the anger that is making me fearful and unable to sleep, but I just don't know how to let go of that anger I have inside of me.

I have found my message and am acting upon it for the good of my health.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Daily OM

I have added a link to the Daily OM on the side of my blog.  The Daily OM is pretty cool, I get email updates/OM's all of the time and never have nearly enough time to read them through.  I'm kind of hoping this will inspire me to read them more often and act upon the advice/info contained within each message/email.

I have each OM saved in a folder in my email account and I just picked one out at random.

The one I chose to read is discussing following nature's cycles.  This is something I have now gotten into a big way.  When I first became incapacitated I was very frustrated at not being able to just do what I wanted/needed.  I soon discovered that most of the stuff I was hankering after doing was not really all that important, it was just stuff that I had began to fill my life with.  For the first few weeks I spent a lot of time sleeping, this did worry me as I thought it was due to the fibro.  Eventually I realised it was what my body needed for its own good.

The OM goes on to suggest we balance our lives with nature, making a few suggestions as to how we can do this.  I have already mentioned how I have learnt a great deal about myself whilst I was recuperating in bed.  That time I spent unable to do much has led me to a decision I made at the weekend - to learn Reiki.  Learning Reiki is just one of the many things I have adopted in my quest to live a more natural life.
When I say live a more natural life, I am not just talking about recycling and green living.  I am beginning to attune my whole being to the natural cycles around me, and I understand that can be quite a difficult undertaking, but I want to help my body be in balance with nature.  And as long winded as I have made that sound I am finding this quite an easy thing to do.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pleased with myself.

I am extremely pleased with myself, in a ridiculous fashion.  I made some black salt - you know, the witchy/hoodoo type?  I just cleaned the fire out and though, "hmm, I should keep some of this."  So I did and made black salt.  It is the first witchy thing I have physically done in what feels like forever.  Now I want to do a million things all at once, which is also pleasing as my interest is well and truly piqued once more.

Baby steps.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Choices

Being confined to bed for such a long period of time has had its good and bad points.  I've discovered a whole bee side to myself and others.  I've discovered books and TV shows I would never have discovered had I not been confined.  I have come to understand how life is a series of choices, everything we do - or don't do for that matter - is because of a choice we made.


This past week I have been getting up and about and trying to put my new ways into practice.  It hasn't verb easy, but it has been quite thrilling moving forward with new ideas, plans and so on.


I have been extremely tired however, given the amount of nothing I have been doing and then suddenly trying to be mobile again.  The blog catch ups I had promised myself didn't happen, but it doesn't matter, I know I'll get to where I want to be eventually.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel.

The problem with my neck is getting less, although I must stress it is still very much a problem.  With the help of physio and a wheat bag I am able to sit at the computer for short bursts now, rather than just every now and then.  Trying to catch up with the stuff I have neglected is proving to be a real challenge and I am mindful of pacing myself.  I am mindful that I have missed so much but I want to be well again - or as well as can be expected.  I am spending the day mulling over what blog challenges I should stay with and what I should let go and this includes the Pagan Blog Project.

I have not spoke to Rowan about this yet because it is something I am just thinking about at the moment.  If I could possibly keep this one on I would really like to.  I have had such a bad time of things lately and I have struggled to keep up with everything.  This is the first week where I have not actually produced a post for the PBP, although I have a half written one saved so I am hoping to get that finished and just post late.

With all of this in mind I do feel I have turned a corner and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The being confined to bed is getting less, albeit slowly, and I am feeling a lot more hopeful.  I have to stress that it is still early days though and sitting at a computer, or trying to pot up stuff in the garden, or even trying to be interactive in any way is still pretty difficult.  But as I said, short bursts have now been achieved and this to me is progress.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Pagan Blog Project - week 14

G is for Going with the flow.

I had planned to do a brilliant post on something, but as it is I am still struggling with my neck problem and sitting for too long at a computer is excruciating.  That was when I got to thinking how life can just catch us out and all of our best laid plans fall by the wayside.
Being witches doesn't excuse us from our mundane lives, in fact it is probably those mundane lives of ours that pay the bills and help us move forward.  When we become ill we can take as many remedies as we can, or have some friend send us reiki, or even do something else along the lines of healing; lets face it, there are no shortage of therapies about these days.   But then we get to a certain point and we hit a wall, we can go no further and we literally have to rest up.  This is very frustrating, believe me, I know, I'm there.  It is at this point when you begin to appreciate free movement, and just how much we rely on the Internet these days.

Way back when I first began struggling with my neck I vowed it would not beat me; I would still manage to get to do my blog posts and catch up with folks online and do whatever else it is I do online.  I managed for a time and felt quite smug with myself for achieving this, but then my neck problem deteriorated and I was unable to sit for more than five or ten minutes tops at my computer.  I tried using an old laptop that we have, but getting comfortable was still an issue.  There was nothing else for it, I would just have to sit it out.

I wasn't very happy about losing days on end where I got no writing done, but the pain was - is - so unbearable at times.  I resigned myself to going with the flow, just letting life happen and relinquishing control over everything. I have to admit, I was very grouchy at first, being such a control freak means I hate handing over the reigns to anyone, let alone just letting life be.  At first I felt just as tense and sore and grouchy, but then I started to see life from a different point of view.  This enforced rest has allowed me to catch up with my witchy/pagan/spiritual reading and I am discovering so much - so much more than I would if I were writing blog posts and doing other stuff online.
I have also discovered strengths I wasn't even aware of, which is really beneficial given my situation.  I have spent time meditating - something I never get round to doing as often as I would like, although I always vow I will do this regularly.
Going with the flow has opened me up to so many possibilities and has deepened my spiritual practice.  I discovered something about myself, which I believe I would never have noticed had I not been laid up one day twiddling my thumbs.  This situation has shown me a new way of dealing with stressful situations, calmly.

I have pondered about how we can get so caught up in life that we neglect to take time out for ourselves, even when we say we will.  We promise ourselves that we will do this, cast that spell, make that herb pillow/bag and so on.  Only half of what we want to do spiritually, witchily, ever gets achieved and we feel frustrated with ourselves.  Going with the flow when it comes to our craft not only opens doors that we may never have discovered, it also brings endless opportunities that we usually never have time for.  It allows us to be truly ourselves and shows us who we can be, if only we allow ourselves to believe.
Going with the flow brings us to places we might be too busy to visit - both physically and spiritually.  Going with the flow shows us the way to find those answers to those questions that we have struggled with for some time.
Going with the flow releases the stress from our lives and helps us come to terms with things we might otherwise struggle with.  It allows us to connect with our higher/inner selves and improve our lives, however we may need to.
Going with the flow isn't just about taking time out from the hectic schedules we found ourselves in, it isn't just about giving ourselves over to something unseen.  It's about making a conscious decision to let the Universe - or whatever you believe guides us - show us the way.  Going with the flow is about letting go of negative thoughts and actions and harmful practices and having faith in what we are doing.  Going with the flow is a subtle shift in our consciousness that can lead us to being in the right place at the right time.

It's all about possibilities and opening up to what is on offer, out there in the world.  So much opportunity and wisdom and potential that we might well miss out on, if we don't just go with the flow.

Let go, relax, trust in yourself and truly start living.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Long time since posting.

I seem to have fallen off the blogging bandwagon of late.  This is down to the fact my neck is so sore I cannot bear to sit for too long.  I have some stuff I want to blog about but I'm still struggling.  The enforced rest has been enlightening, to say the least, you learn lots about yourself - and others - when you are forced to rest up.

Hopefully now the physio has started I will be able to get a post cobbled together and continue.