Allowing my pain to become my power – A personal story
Author: Michelle Denness
Wife, mother to three incredible kids and aspiring writer/poet.
I am passionate about sharing personal stories to empower others and this space is for me to be open and free with my thoughts.
This is my journey...
Mr Benn, a man wearing a black suit and bowler hat, leaves his house at 52 Festive Road London, and visits a fancy-dress costume shop where he is invited by the shopkeeper to try on a particular outfit. He walks through a magic door at the back of the changing room and enters a world appropriate to his costume, where he has a adventure. There is always a moral to be learned from the story, before the shopkeeper reappears to lead him back to the changing room.
Mr Benn returns to his normal life, but is left with a small souvenir of his magical adventure.
As a child, Mr Benn was my favourite cartoon that aired on television from 1971 until 2005.
I just loved the idea that Mr Benn could be whomever he wanted to be depending on what outfit he chose to wear on that particular day.
Who would you be if you could choose any outfit right now?
I thought sooner or later The lights up above Will come down in circles and guide me to love But I don’t know what’s right for me I cannot see straight I’ve been here too long and I don’t want to wait for it
Fly like a cannonball Straight to my soul Tear me to pieces and make me feel whole I’m willing to fight for it and carry this weight But with every step I keep questioning what is true
Fall on me With open arms Fall on me From where you are Fall on me With all your light With all your light With all your light With all your light
Soon you will find what your heart wants to know Don’t give up hope for I know you are close And all you have ever dreamed, wished you could ever be Is waiting to find you wherever you go Believe in yourself, ever step that you take Know I am smiling with pride everyday My love will forever be, stronger than stone Don’t be afraid you are never alone
Andrea Bocelli – Fall On Me
The words resonate.
It’s damp outside and even though the land needs watering, it feels miserable.
So much has changed and there’s even more that hasn’t.
I’m not sure that I’ve begun to grieve yet, or have I grieved for so many years that now, I’m able to manage this process feeling balanced and present, without being engulfed in sadness?
Is that what we do?
Manage our feelings?
Sounds so text book!
And of course, I’ve managed my feelings for many years, until it got to a point where managing wasn’t an option.
This writing process shall remain my saviour and isn’t it strange how we are able to share with complete strangers the essence of our soul. The high’s and low’s, the authentically raw material of our mind. The innocence, betrayal, the love and honor, our most intimate misgivings.
I am grateful for this space and I am grateful to you, for playing such a fundamental role throughout my healing journey, even though you may not be aware of that fact. I write, people read and to me, someone is listening, someone can hear me.
Everyday there is something new to wade through and I’m doing okay even though I can’t quite get my head around Bro not being here. It seems that maybe he’s just gone away for a while. His coats still hang in the hallway and his glasses sit on the side table, ready for him to read the weekly paper. His chair is softly indented and still raised up slightly, so that it’s easier for him to stand when ready. Shoes are sat in the exact same position of when he wore them last and pajamas folded neatly on his bed. The old crocheted blanket lays unused, an extra to keep him warm at night and Mum placed his clean and washed vest in the middle of the blanket, just in case he needs it.
I wonder if he has actually gone anywhere, I wonder what the hell has just happened, I wonder if I’ll wake up in a minute and it’s all been a terrible dream.
Aah… there they are, my tears of release, a little at a time. I wondered where they were too and now are falling freely and uninterrupted.
Oh Bro, if only you knew how much you were loved-are loved and the empty space you have left behind is huge.
Your presence is missed greatly.
You may never really know how much you love someone until they aren’t here anymore and the sheer impact that they have on your life.
I truly know that now Bro and I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you enough when you were here.
I’m sorry that I wasted time feeling hurt, angry and so damn stubborn.
Stubborn-and suitably matched.
Checkmate-only we both lose.
My advice to you all is this;
don’t leave things until it’s too late.
Don’t allow grievances to go on for a long period of time.
Don’t waste time with insignificance.
Try your very best to come from a loving place.
See things for what they are, not worse than they are.
We don’t often talk about the beauty of death because pain and finality takes precedence.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve felt drained, emotionally and physically. Each day rolls into the next bringing fourth such an array of difficult emotions and to lose someone that I love dearly and in such a short amount of time is just devastating.
No time at all.
Making every day count is essential; oh… how I get that now! Experience all that you want to experience and truly know the absolute joy of being alive.
The hospice nurse explained that we would notice changes in his breathing, reminding us that he could hear us and that it was all okay, as she softly touched Bro on his shoulder.
It was okay-dying was okay-do not be afraid.
We asked if more morphine could be administered due to him appearing agitated as one arm would lift and drop to the bed, then the other, he would moan and slightly move his head. This happened several times.
Was he trying to communicate with us?
What did I miss?
Why didn’t I know and understand more after everything I had learn’t and read over the years?
Realizing now, the level of high expectation I always put on myself.
My mind constantly chatted to him, telling him things that I felt, he needed to hear and things that needed to be said between us.
A mutual forgiveness!
It was surreal, like a movie scene playing with us in it, but not of it-if that makes any sense?
Nothing seems to make much sense right now as the words fall from my mind and my fingers tap each letter on the keyboard.
I’ll just keep typing.
We wanted him to feel calm, pain free and safe.
Can you even feel safe when you are dying?
Was God with him?
At some point Mum laid his over sized silver and blue crucifix under his right hand and the Reverend said that God was near by, calling him home.
Morphine was given three times throughout the night, which I think I instigated, by sharing my thoughts with the others. I’m proud of the way we remained courteous to each other with regards to Bro on those occasions when making the decision to call the administering nurse, back into the room.
It was a time to tune into my internal all knowing, in order to do the right thing for Bro and I guess it’s something that could weigh heavily on my mind, if I allowed it to.
Mum broke down at one point and felt like she was murdering him by asking them to feed the driver with a stronger dosage and I had to reassure her several times that it was the best thing for him in order for to feel comfortable.
Just heartbreaking for her and for us too-poor Bro bless him, he probably wanted us all to bugger off and stop being so dam miserable.
His son, slept in the recliner for a couple of hours in the early part of the morning and that’s something I struggled with! Wouldn’t you want to spend every lasting second with the man that raised you knowing you’d never see him again?
My step father for 27 years.
A judgement on my behalf I know and I choose to keep that judgement right now as for the past two years, his son had written him out of his life and wasn’t interested at all.
The judgement will pass in time.
I knew that I couldn’t close my eyes and wouldn’t, no matter how exhausted I was. I had to honor his last breath and acknowledge this man as he returned to a place where he believed was home.
A return to love.
The nurse had told us that once we hear the rasp in his breathing, then it wouldn’t be long before he would pass and waiting for that rasp, was both unbearable and necessary.
How I wanted to hear that rasp, so he would finally be free and selfishly, the waiting was taking it’s toll.
Bro was diagnosed on the 29th of July, without his family to support him, sunk into a lonely depression.
He was so very afraid and COVID rules mean’t no visiting.
Day by day, Bro struggled to pay for the hospital television and phone system with his debit card with not being tech savvy at all. His calls were in short bursts with lots of tears, cutting off quickly mid sentence.
We couldn’t make head nor tail of what he was trying to say but tried hard to reassure him. It was an impossible situation which was horrendous for him and for us too, hearing his sobs, pleading with us to get him out of there.
I called his hospital bed phone daily-over and over again and couldn’t get through.
I called the ward several times and no one picked up the phone.
I called the elderly social work team several times desperate for help, complaining about the lack of communication. The first social worker who mum and I met, was only on call that weekend and when I tried to get through to her, she had gone on leave. The new one, promised she would call me back that afternoon after a meeting with regards to Bro.
She didn’t call back.
And so on… there’s so much more to say about the lack of, but right now in this very moment, there isn’t much point so maybe another day and another post.
The early morning came and I could see the distinct changes in his face and to me, he looked beautiful almost angelic. His skin was so very soft to touch as I gently stroked his hair across his forehead in the same way that I’d done for hours on and off.
As he breathed, his cheeks sucked in almost like a fish in the open air and it wasn’t labored like I imagined, it was gentle and quiet-just a small rasping sound, seemingly like he would stop at any moment and then another breath would come.
His son and wife stood up now and came close to the left of Bro, as if ready for a standing ovation, without the clapping part of course and Mum sat quietly weeping, holding his hand on his right side. My position was near his head side and his face was tilted our way. I felt it important to give his son the choice of changing places with me.
He declined, for which I am so grateful.
I kissed Bro’s hand and told him that the sun was shining, that I would meet him in his beautiful garden.
I told him that that he was free now, no more pain, struggle, crutches, hospitals nothing-just a free man to feel joy like he had never felt before.
I told him Banjo, his much loved dog who passed some time ago, was waiting for him and oh… what an amazing time they were going to have together.
I spoke to him in my mind and asked him;
“What are you holding on for Bro?”
and then it just came to me, as clear as day-as if he answered straight away!
“He’s telling me it’s too noisy!”
Bro had complained several times about the noise on the hospital ward and his inability to sleep.
The radio had been playing since he arrived at the hospice and the nurses must have put it on because it wasn’t something we had requested or did ourselves. It played quietly in the background. The oxygen machine was loud and as the nurse had said earlier in the evening that it wasn’t really helping him at this stage, so we agreed to have it turned off.
The space became instantly quiet and so very peaceful.
We opened the doors and with the early morning sun, Bro took his last breath.
It was five minutes from turning all the noise off.
There were no tears for me just a feeling of absolute peace and such a deep connection to his spirit. Bro taught me so many lessons right up until he passed and left his body. And that is exactly what he did… he left his heavy weighted, shell of a body behind and walked free. This has been my belief for as long as I was able to understand about life and death but now I have seen it with my own eyes and finally, I understand the lesson in all it’s entirety-it really is just a body and his body was an extremely painful body, a vessel to experience all the things that Bro needed to experience on his journey of life.
It happened the way it was always going to happen, the way it was mean’t to be.
We experienced forgiveness together at the highest level on both our parts.
We experienced love and a profound connection.
We experienced healing together and for that I will always be grateful.
Death can be beautiful if we allow the fear to fall away and remain present to all that is happening around us.
Death can be beautiful and allow you to see things more clearly when they seem so confusing.
Together, they have shared 27 years of living in sin (as my mother would say) and if I am to remain authentic and honest, for the past few months, I have just about tolerated him.
The most frustrating, stubborn and controlling man I know and also a man that has been in my life longer than my father was and who gave me so much love.
His words often do so much damage to my mother’s mental health well being and then in turn, her acid tongue would throw as much back and in more recent months, the idea of moving abroad felt like an escape from their unhealthy yet somehow committed relationship.
For months, I’ve been plagued with my own guilt at the thought of leaving them both.
My brother’s have never really liked him that much and in some way, he is just another version of my father only his addiction was food not drugs.
A massive man who weighed 28 stone at one point.
As a child, he was born into poverty, the kind of life where beds were shared with siblings, food was not plentiful and shoes were full of holes. His mother was abusive and life was extremely hard.
She ran off with another man without saying any goodbyes.
The youngest of four and a promising footballer who played for the England boys team as a teenager, his dream was to make it at a professional level. At age 19, whilst working a summer job with his brother on a farm, there was a terrible accident and he was trapped under a tractor.
The accident robbed him of his young healthy body and in turn gave him a life full of immense pain and disability and food filled the hole of where his dream once lived, self hatred ravaged his mind and he was told that he would never walk again.
He defied the odds, even walking into the ambulance two weeks ago, at the age of 77 with a semi smile on his face and telling both Mum and I that he loved us.
I now understand how desperately he tried to be a father figure to me and I wouldn’t let him in, I couldn’t-there was too much about his nature that I despised at times and on the other side of that, I have always known how much he loves me and has always been there when I needed help along the way, telling me often;
“It will come right in the end.”
Funny how you forget those times when you are so wrapped up in anger.
I hope he will forgive me…
Why did I leave it too long to tell him that I am so grateful for everything and that I am so sorry for the times that I chose not to forgive him-for the times that I too, was so incredibly stubborn.
After much back and fourth with his medical team, ranting and raving at the lack of communication, lack of support and lack of updated information, I finally arrived at his hospital bedside unannounced.
What I found was heartbreaking.
He was incoherent, rambling, soiled, unable to reach his drink as his table was too far away. His mouth was dry and sticky and he was semi lying on his back which is impossible for the pain in his spine. I tried to talk to someone but they were all too busy. I desperately needed answers and eventually the nurse who has been ‘dealing’ with him, arrived at his bedside and still, unable to answer my questions, told me that I needed to talk to the doctor.
After 50 minutes of waiting and nursing him myself, the Doctor finally came and told me that his kidneys are now failing too.
Within two weeks, I am now watching a yellow man die in front of me. His body is struggling with a large mass on his liver which has spread to his lungs. The fluid which is bypassing his damaged kidneys and liver, is now filling up his stomach.
He is so weak and sick.
I literally can not bare him being so frightened and disorientated.
He pleads with me to take him home over and over again.
The pain from all directions is absolutely suffocating.
I pray that he will fall asleep and gently pass and that his suffering will end.
Life throws us many curve balls and although the tears still flow momentarily, I feel incredibly peaceful.
For that I am grateful.
In a seemingly overwhelming situation, I am positioned in the middle and need to navigate and direct my family network with trusting the process and allowing, rather than resisting.
Over the last few days and having an intense internal dialogue, I am reminded of the sheer depth of possibilities that can happen when you ask for something that you so desperately need.
Like asking to be relieved of terrible physical and emotional pain.
The pain that you have endured for so long.
Ask and you shall receive.
I feel like I have come full circle and it’s quite profound!
I prayed a very long time ago and what a powerful prayer that was.
My prayer was answered.
Now I shall pray to lessen the fear of what lies ahead because fear is all consuming.
Pain, has been the message, a loud and powerful message.
The message was ignored and the pain got worse.
Pain is an indicator of something that needs to be addressed and to the extent you don’t pay attention, you pay with pain so never ignore pain, emotional or physical-it’s trying to tell you something important.
We can not escape what is mean’t for us on this journey called life and I believe that wherever you are right now, you are exactly where you are mean’t to be.
So take this precious moment, whatever the challenge may be and embrace it with the love and compassion that it deserves and hold on tight to the knowledge that you will make it through, whatever that means for you.
We too will make it through, whatever that means for us.
There is another side to it all, somewhere out there, somewhere different, some place beautiful, something new.
There is always a way through and it may not look like what you hoped it would be and know that there is something greater waiting for you.
Years ago I interviewed a grieving Mother whose adult son had died after a long illness. You could have heard a pin drop in the studio when she so beautifully told the story of their final moment together. The mother had climbed into bed with her son. She could barely hear him, but her head was on his chest. As he took his last breath, he whispered,” Oh Mom, it is all so simple. It’s so simple Mom.” He then closed his eyes and died.
I got chills when I heard that. I realised then, just as it resonates with me now: We allow life to get so complicated-when it’s really so very simple.
From this day forward I resolved to continuously ask myself, How am I making things more difficult than they need to be?
Your answer to that same question is the next step in your path. It’s that simple. Imagine what lies just around the bend.-
The Path Made Clear – Oprah Winfrey
Such a profound and beautiful message for us all.
We allow life to get so complicated at times when really, we are just a moment away from a completely different experience.
Recently, I have taken a much needed break from social media and thought that I would concentrate on my writing and sadly, that didn’t work out as I planned.
I look at the screen and all the wonderful things that are racing around in my mind, seem unable to work their way through to my fingers and on to the page.
It’s happened before and no doubt, it will happen again.
So today I am just touching base with myself, my screen and of course anyone out there who may be reading my blog.
There is a new and overwhelming challenge that my family and I must face together. My hope is that I can use this space to let out the feelings that need to be contained right now, in order to keep a clear head… just for a while.
We are born and at some stage we die and it’s a journey that we all will take.
I wonder now, how difficult the final stage must be or can we allow ourselves to gently relax, just for a while… into the whole magnificent process of a Soul returning home.
Life can be beautifully simple.
I choose to see the beauty within a seemingly dark situation and will honor the lesson for me which I now know is, forgiveness.
Forgiveness on so many levels.
Keep it simple and don’t leave anything unsaid because when we share our truths, healing can happen in such a profound way.
Early this morning, I commented on an Instagram post of a complete stranger.
Normally, I sit back and watch how a conversation goes, reading all the different posts and only write something if I feel moved enough to give an opinion.
The post began with the words-ALL White people are racist not some, not just White supremacists, ALL. The White people who think they aren’t racist, or have done enough work to not be racist are actually the MOST racist because they are the most entitled.
The lady who wrote the post was a life coach.
The words stopped me in my tracks.
Am I seen to be the most racist?
Am I seen to be themost entitled?
I see people, ALL PEOPLE for who they are not what color their skin is and I am struggling with accepting the above statement.
My life’s work has been about helping people move out of the dark into their light. It’s been about helping people overcome pain and resistance in order to live a more enriched life. I’ve taught about equality and brought my children up to embrace all people and to come from a place of kindness and acceptance.
I responded to the post with loving words and having the freedom to speak and was met with hostility, judgement and anger.
Am I being ignorant?
Forgive me if I am… that is not my intention.
I support Black Lives Matter and I also support the fact that All Lives Matter.
I support diversity.
And… in no way do I think that my having white skin gives me any right to feel sorry for myself.
I can see and feel that the world is struggling and that people are struggling and that their struggle has gone on for decades.
For that I am sorry.
Hate breeds hate.
I am sorry that there are ignorant people on this earth-the earth that we all share, who believe that they have more of a right to be here than another.
When the outside world all becomes too much, there is a space inside where I seem to escape to.
Very deep within.
This authentically raw place allows me time to wallow, to reconnect, to embrace myself for a while.
Yes it can be terribly painful and also, strangely enough a resting place for my soul.
Mental health wellness is such a massive subject to talk about. There are many diverse twists and turns still to be discovered about how our mind works and different depths to an individuals own experience.
A subject so close to my heart and with my own personal experience in life, something I was previously afraid to share about me, myself and my own mental health struggles.
And the depth of them.
As a tiny person, I was immersed in the whole depression experience. I literally lived and breathed a depressed existence, daily.
I believe for me, that I learn’t how to do it and it’s not a chemical imbalance-not in the slightest.
My father showed me the way.
He would withdraw from the world and lie in bed for days.
His radio would be playing at his bedside and he didn’t seem to hear the music.
My mother lived her life in denial.
She would eat too much, that was her drug of use.
Stuffing down what needed to come up and out.
I retreat when necessary, mentally going inside to that place.
I wear my large earphones and listen to evocative music, allowing my mind to wander where ever it needs to go to feel deeply connected, just for a while.
Does this mean I feel depressed?
Yes sometimes and there have been noticeably longer periods of time when I have struggled to haul my mind and my body out of that place.
It can feel much safer to withdraw, than to move to a place of purpose.
I use food as my drug of use too.
We learn from our early caregivers how to be in this world and if you look at your own struggles, addictions and emotional traits a little closer, then you may notice the significance.
You will see that their difficulties are your difficulties, quite possibly dressed up differently but there will be obvious similarities.
They didn’t know any better and now that you know, you can always do so much better.
I have never been medically treated for depression.
Many years ago I entered into a counselling relationship where my mentor suggested that I struggled with mental illness. In that very moment, my mind flipped out for a few seconds-shocked and not accepting of her words, (remembering what my job role was) she went on to explain that it’s no different to when our bodies are poorly and may need to be treated with medicine-our mind can become ill too and needs treatment to get back on track.
Simple statement and may seem obvious, but it was the way she said it that made all the difference to how I thought about mental illness.
So today, I am no longer afraid to share that I struggle at times with a poorly mind that chooses to go deep within itself, to touch base, in order to come back out again and hear the music.
It seems to deepen me in to life.
Don’t be afraid to be proud of who you are and to speak your truth because sharing your story, your vulnerability, allows others to feel free to share theirs.
And… it allows your Soul to take a rest for a moment or two.
You and I are on a journey and who knows where we are going!
Your life is always speaking to you. It speaks in whispers, guiding you to your next right step. And in many situations, the whisper is also the first warning. It’s a quiet nudge from deep within saying, Hmm, something feels off. A small voice that tells you, This is no longer your place of belonging. It’s the pit in your stomach, or the pause before you speak, the goose bumps that raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Whatever form the whisper takes, it’s not a coincidence. Your life is trying to tell you something. Heeding these signs can open the doors to your personal evolution, pushing you toward your life’s purpose. Ignoring them-sleepwalking through your life is an invitation to chaos.
What have you settled for in life?
What dreams have you let go of in order to accept mediocre?
What is life trying to tell you?
I’ve spent years living in chaosand now I’m beginning to listen.
Are you ready-ready to hear the whispers?
Bembridge Downs-Isle Of Wight 2020
May the sun rise in your heart each waking morning and you know fully, what it means, to be alive.
Today is my Mothers 85th birthday and she is still as fierce with her words as she was many years ago.
We had one of our pretty much usual determined conversations yesterday and by determined I really mean that Mother accuse’s, passes judgement and then dismisses any chance of a re-trial and all determined by her imagination.
I know only too well how difficult it’s been for her over the past few lock down months, it’s been tough for everyone.
For as long as I can remember, my Mother has perfected playing the role of the victim.
It is always about her and how someone has mistreated her, misleading her, lying to her, not including her and so on.
It is such a shame because she is an incredibly strong lady, with unbelievable resilience, a great sense of humor (on a good day, well a very good day, that is) and can be the most loving Mother anyone could wish for.
There is a saying that we have said for many years about her and that is;
She will give you the shirt off of her back if she thought that it would help you.
And, there is a part of me that will tell you, its comes at a cost-a reminder of how much she has done for you, if it wasn’t for her… how she has been a “Dam good Mother” and the ultimate statement that I just have to write in capitals;
IF IT WASN’T FOR ME YOU WOULDN’T BE ALIVE
Um! What can I say accept;
Thanks Mum for my life.
I am so glad I survived, even though the odds were set against me.
Please don’t get me wrong I love my Mother so very much and on the other side of that statement, I have spent my life making up for, as she believes, loving my Father more.
So yesterday, I found myself at age 51 and 3/4 justifying my not spending time at friends houses and spending time at hers, when I’m supposedly isolating (keeping her safe) from her and others.
I’m not even sure what I just wrote made any sense (laughing out loud).
So I shall try again; that heated conversation came about because she read or saw something on Facebook, (yes Mother has face book and commonly refers toit as the Huddle, which is the name of the device she first had, in order to use the internet-argh!! My brain aches just trying to explain it) then made up a story in her head about what she thought she saw.
We often make up stories about situations that actually, we know nothing about or are the very least are missing the facts.
I wasn’t anywhere I wasn’t supposed to be.
When I called to say that I would like to make lunch for her today and we would have to sit in the garden due to social distancing, she went straight into the victim role and stated that I have been very distant over the past few months.
No mention of a Pandemic…
Mother also claimed that she knew that I had spent so much more time with other people than with her and yet, I am telling her that she has to sit in the garden-“Your own Mother!”
We are the product of our life experiences and they do not and will never define who we are and there is always room for change.
There is so much hurt, rejection, loss, frustration, bitterness, jealousy and pain that Mother still holds within her and no amount of my trying, desperately at times to lead her towards thinking differently about her life, is going to change that.
This is her journey and of course I am a huge part of that journey and my love for her is insurmountable.
Will I always feel frustrated when we rub each other up the wrong way… of course I will, because until I heal the part of me that is my Mother, she will always present to me the lessons that I need to learn.
Ultimately, we all want to be loved and my Mother is no different.
Happy birthday to you on this 10th day of June.
Patricia June Maltby Thompson Sinclair
May you find that acceptance within you that I believe you are searching for.
May you forgive yourself for the role that you didn’t play.
May you know, that we your children, love you and always will.
I feel a little detached today and I’m gently reminding myself that its okay tonotbe okay.
Another early morning visit to the hospital for more blood tests to see if the doctor can make headway with what my body is struggling with and of course… I have my own answers (remembering the mind/body connection) yet will still go down this route first to keep my husband and doctor happy.
The majority of hospital staff who passed me in the corridors were withoutgloves or masks to protect themselves (and us) so I find myself still questioning, what an earth is going on?
Whilst sat in the waiting room, I scrolled through some of the blogs that I follow and read some interesting comments on many different subjects.
Something I read caught my eye and I followed the comment to a blog that I have’t seen before and found myself feeling very sad, about what I was reading.
I am very aware that reading my writing, must have been difficult at times for some people too.
It saddens me to my absolute core when I read sentences like;
I will always have to live with this, it will always be this way, I will have to get used to living like this for the rest of my life and I can never have the things in life that I can only dream about.
I question why I was lead to this particular blog and how can I help people change their suffocating beliefs to more empowering ones-beliefs that will ignite within them, a passion to want to live free of the chains, that they have bound themselves with.
I question why a doctor will often prescribe drugs to a patient before taking the time to look further into their personal history- yes you are probably all screaming at me that doctors don’t have the time and of course I get that!
Surely the patient could be referred on to someone who is able to take a deeper look into what is happening underneath those symptoms, what’s really going on?
I am not medically trained and don’t ever claim to be either, but people need to know that there is an insurmountable amount of medical practitioners in the world that have worked tirelessly with researching this subject matter. Dr Lissa Rankin is just one of many doctors who are thinking outside of the box, so to speak.
“Spontaneous” Remission 101: 9 Fundamentals of Whole Health That Conventional Medicine Usually Ignores
Radical cures don’t usually just happen. Most patients and providers who tell awe-inspiring stories of seemingly miraculous cures have been very proactive about confronting illness not with a disease-management approach, but with the intention to restore balance, harmony, and wholeness. Let us come together as a village committed to healing ourselves and transforming how we practice medicine so we can ramp up the rates of “spontaneous” remissions from diseases we once believed were “incurable.” – Dr Lissa Rankin
My belief is that there is always another way and if you have experienced some kind of past trauma and your living with dis-ease in your body then please don’t settle for the diagnosis without at least checking out alternative routes to healing your body and your mind.
I am not suggesting in any way that you should not seek medical advice or stop taking medication at all, so let me make myself clear-ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE WHEN YOU NEED IT; just don’t limit yourself to one school of thought.
Research alternative viewpoints from medical doctors whom specialize in the particular illness or diagnosis that you are living with at present-doctors who are open to thinking differently about illness and the possibility that unprocessed emotional trauma may play a heavy part in preventing a body to heal.
The sky is grey this evening and vastly different from the hot summers day that graced us yesterday.
Wildlife is bountiful, although seemingly hiding a little today.
A rat, rather a handsome fellow (or maybe a lady) braves the garden early in the evening, running at speed from one side to the other, stopping briefly for cover in a small hedge.
I wonder where he’s going?
Last evening, I spotted him on what may have been his first attempt of the day to run the gauntlet and having spooked him, he turned back around super fast and scurried back the same way he came.
A few minutes later and on his second attempt, he made haste across the grass only to be spooked yet again by my husband walking out of the back door.
He promptly turned around and darted for the safety of the hedgerow.
Third time lucky and another few minutes later, he set off again with gust and determination, bypassing the safety place, running directly to his destination.
I smiled inside and sent him a virtual high five, for not giving up.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve attempted to do something many times and even though there may have been difficulties along the way, you pushed through and made it to the other side?
If you have, then acknowledge yourself for doing a great job because you now have an internal pattern for success. Your mind knows how to do it, how to push through adversity, how to achieve the very thing that you desire.
You’ve just got to keep going, keep moving forward and you can apply this strategy to any area of your life, no matter how big or small the situation is!
I’ve fallen by the wayside many times in the past having used the self sabotage pattern to undermine my own success, as success (the kind of level that I believe I can achieve) means giving so much more of myself and that still scares me somewhat…
I have never ever let go of my dreams, just pushed them to the back of somewhere and I’m okay with that because it has enabled me to walk a necessary path.
Let’s face it… I don’t actually know how many attempts the rat made to get to where he wanted to be and what I know for sure is, that he made it to the other side.
Let’s meet each other on the other side of the hedgerow with gust and determination, bypassing that safety ‘comfort zone’ place arriving at our destination.
(and of course, I’m not suggesting that you are anything like a rat )
Day 73 of this way of living in a different space and as we welcome the arrival of the month of June, let’s remind ourselves that this day marks a brand new beginning, full of opportunity, possibility and even deeper connection.
It’s been a long and interesting journey for me both personally and also for my clients who have not only had the courage to honor themselves with their commitment to change but also to embrace the whole online process.
I am truly grateful.
For me personally, it’s been a time to re-charge, reflect, trust and just allow life to unfold naturally without limitations.
What about you?
Have you had any life shifts, wake up calls, learning’s?
So much has changed, on so many levels and I wonder if you have noticed the profound underlying messages that you have been called to respond to within your life, in light of the recent events?
I sat in the garden with my dear friend yesterday (socially distancing) and we found ourselves deep in discussion about us as women, why we are here, how we have prevented ourselves from reaching our potential and how we have both self sabotaged for years.
Our conversations always go that extra mile, a little deeper each time, leaning into the power of now and an all knowing powerful force that surrounds us, offering the opportunity to grow and evolve.
So often we have blatantly ignored the message even though we accept that its there, right for the taking and we’ve run in the opposite direction, afraid of our own success.
Fear will eat you alive if you allow it.
I have always been fascinated by the mind-body connection and how we show up in this world at any given time. I don’t ever see black and white, I see an array of color that maybe you are unable to see right now, when it comes to who you are and what’s possible for you.
I believe in you, what ever your past looks like, how ever you show up right now in life. You are so important and maybe nobody has told you that lately but you are.
You have a purpose just like me and every other living thing on this planet.
We are here to improve the state of the world and to have the courage to move through fear and ask for what we want.
Did you hear that?
What you want… not what other people want for you, or think of you or expect of you.
Fight for yourself you are worth it.
You are alive.
You are beautiful.
Don’t conform… be you.
So start now, right where you are.
Acknowledge your past-yes it happened, it really did and there is no denying that, but understand this, it happened for you, not to you. You may be reading that statement and think what a crock of shit… and yes, it took time for me to really understand that concept and embrace the idea. I now understand it and know so very deeply that the pain I went through as a child happened for me to grow to learn, to love more deeply and for me to be able to show others the way out of that sometimes overwhelming and dark place.
I’ve been there… this isn’t text book stuff this is real life.
I also know that I have written this somewhere before in my blog and this is what came up for me to write this morning. I’m trusting my gut that someone out there who reads this today, needs to hear it so if I am sounding like a broken record, then so be it.
YOU CAN CHANGE AND LIFE CAN BE WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE – but you have to take action, do something about it.
If you want something, then step aside from all of that painful past and surrender to new ideas and new beliefs about what is always and in all ways… ready and waiting for you
Pay attention to the signs all around because you will only learn, when you pay attention.
Draw that line _____________________________________
Its a new day and I am so grateful that you and I are both here to Grace this world with us being who we are, just as we are, a delight, an expression, a gift to be unravelled one day at a time.
We’ve had a run of beautiful sunny days and today the wind has shown up to blow away our yesterdays.
I am struggling to write something that’s worth reading and seemingly, I’m all in or nothing at all.
It frustrates the hell out of me.
Its been an unusual week with mixed emotions.
My husband has moved into worry land, panicking about our future, where as I am doing my very best to let life unfold and see where it takes us.
Worrying is not for me anymore I choose to trust over worry.
If you are spending too much in the world of worry then maybe it’s time to change your narrative because whatever story you are making up in your mind, about something that hasn’t even happened yet in your future, will deplete your emotional well being store.
The knock on effect can be damaging for your body and reek havoc on your immune system.
64 days of lock down or should I say that we are now loosely locked down!
The roads seem to be busy again and the people are moving around as normal.
Although, it’s anything but normal!
The UK’s death toll has now risen to nearly 37,ooo and on our small Island, the numbers are rising too.
It seems to be okay for the masses to sunbath on the beach though. I’m sure my son would love to lay on a beach rather than work from home in the middle of London, recruiting care workers to take the place of the poor key workers whom have sadly died whilst putting themselves and their family’s at risk?
I just don’t get it.
Am I the one that is being dramatic or over the top?
The problem that I have with the people so openly abusing the Government recommendations, is that when once person goes against the grain, then others follow and that equals lives at risk.
I fully understand that people want to move on and reach for some sort of normality in their lives but at what cost?
After all, we are still in the devastating 300 plus bracket of people dying on a daily basis.
My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of families that have been devastated by the Corona Virus.
As my elderly Mother said to me yesterday, “Everybody else is going out and getting on with normal life so it must be okay now.” And you see, that statement right there, is the problem.
Others will always follow whether its right or wrong and especially, if they are confused about what the government has requested them to do.
Lets face it… our politicians haven’t exactly been clear with their message.
You can’t wait for the world to be equal to start feeling seen, you have to find the tools within to find your voice – Michelle Obama
I am a real warrior in the fight for equality.
My belief is that we all have a right to be here and by that I mean, however you show up in this world, what ever race, religious belief, disability or sexual orientation, you belong.
We all matter.
I was born into a family full of conflict and almost suffocated by the religious beliefs of my parents, which in their entirety, were incredibly mismatched.
My Father was baptized a Methodist-a good Christian man. He hated the whole of the Japanese race, believing that they should be wiped out from the earth completely. Thankfully, his attempts to instill the same belief’s into us, his children, didn’t work.
It isn’t something that any one of us could even hold within our hearts.
Yet he was a good Christian man, wasn’t he?
My Mother who follows the Catholic religion, taught us to believe that if you aren’t christened and when it’s your time to depart this world, you won’t be allowed into Heaven.
I can not even fathom that statement out?
Like it’s a special club for special people?
Am I not special?
Are you not special?
Are we not made in the likeness of God?
Is God not love?
None of my children are christened.
What does that actually mean?
Well what it mean’s for me is, that we didn’t pay out heaps of money to have a christening party that was laden with special gifts from special people who probably never really had any kind of understanding in the whole concept of being christened.
Does that mean that I am a non believer?
Absolutely not and what I will say is that my beliefs have no conditions attached to them and that’s my choice too.
I was christened on a hospital ward when I was born because my mother thought that I was going to die and as she told me years later, she was terrified that if the priest wasn’t called to perform the ceremony, I wouldn’t get my special place with God.
Please forgive me if I offend you in anyway because it isn’t my intention and I really don’t believe that God would banish any child at all or for any reason.
Can you see how confusing it may be for a child to establish his or her own sense of self?
We all have a right to voice our own opinions, beliefs and question the world around us. There are times, during a session, I gently push boundaries with my client in order to allow them to open up to the possibility of new and other ways of thinking.
Not forcibly, just gently-an offering to look a little deeper into themselves and especially the young people who all too often seem to be afraid to step into their own power through fear of rejection.
We have no right to condition our children and they have a right to feel free to express themselves, be themselves, live life on their terms.
You may think it’s easier to keep quiet, reserved or even accept the things that you no longer want to accept through fear of judgement.
It really isn’t-it dulls your empowerment.
Have courage, become who you want to be, who you already are… and always have been deep within you.
At the end of the day, my hope is that we all want our children to be seen, feel worthy, know that they matter and I want that for you and for me too.
You matter and you are so worthy of free choice, the values that you hold and the right to feel equal to your fellow human beings.
And of course, you are not equal at all… you are all UNIQUE.
It’s day 55 of lock down and I wonder how people are doing?
I mean, really doing?
It seems to be the new way of living now and for me, acceptance was key.
I no longer resist in any way and I’m allowing life to unfold graciously.
I am so very grateful for this present moment-all is okay.
Even though I have no idea what’s next for us as a family and what our future looks like, it feels so good and exciting, because its such a new feeling for me and something that I’ve been teaching others, how to do for years-I just didn’t walk my talk.
I’m not worried at all.
I feel alive and so accepting of myself.
So today I encourage you all where ever you may be right now in this bizarre and beautiful world;
to stop and remind yourself that you have a purpose
a right to belong
a story to tell
a love to be shared
and most of all I want you to know that it’s okay to love and accept yourself
just as you are
what ever happened in your past
all the mistakes that you think, you’ve made
the wrong paths that you think, you may have taken
anything that you berate and punish yourself for…
NONE OF IT MATTERS NOW
don’t drag all of that stuff forward in life with you, it makes no sense at all
let it go
honor yourself with love and nourishment, acceptance and forgiveness.
YOU are perfect just the way you are and don’t be afraid to allow yourself to dream because dreaming is a wonderful thing and can bring fourth all that youdesire if;
YOU JUST GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
Much love to you all and thank you so much for reading The boy in the chip shop because everyone of you, are a part of my healing journey.
I’ve been lying in bed, mulling over a telephone call that I had with my elderly Mother yesterday when checking in with her to make sure all is okay.
“I’ve been reading your writing on the huddle”– she always refers to the internet, as the name of the tablet that she uses and the writing she is referring to are the memes or quotes that I post on Facebook.
“I’m proud of you girl.”
“Thanks Mum that means a lot to me.”
She caught sight of the link that I posted a few weeks back, to this blog and my heart sank when she told me that she had managed to get on to my writing where there was a picture of someones feet… “I don’t know how I found it but it was ever so good and I didn’t know you could write like that!”
I was relieved to know that she didn’t get any further than the introduction and know that she would be pretty devastated if she read anymore.
My big brother idolized his mum, our mum and when he was little he used to try and protect her from my father and his aggressive bouts, by standing in front of her and standing up to him.
He took the brunt of the beatings for her.
There were times when my father would take my mothers most precious possessions and swap them for prescription drugs from the man that lived opposite our house. My brother would earn money from either bottle digging or picking winkles from the beach and buy her jewellery back.
I’ve probably written this somewhere before in my previous posts.
There is still a part of me that struggles to forgive her for not putting my brother first and I also know that he needs to be acknowledged for what happened to him as a child.
It’s the younger child part of him that needs this to be acknowledged.
Nobody has said sorry.
I know that we make choices to the best of our ability at any given time and the choices that my mother would have made back then, were driven by intense fear.
Forgiveness is so very powerful and by choosing pain, anger or even hate over forgiving, we are hurting ourselves so much more than the other person/people involved in our personal story.
Have I forgiven my mother for not protecting my brother and putting him first?
I would be lying if I said that I totally had and for the most part, of course, I have. Maybe I have learn’t so much over the years about the why’s and the how’s and the many reasons why we do the things that we do.
It is never black and white and there is always so much more.
There is still a part of me that seems unable to forgive my parents for the hurt that they both caused my brother and I also know that forgiveness needs to happen in order to really live freely without that past dragging me or him down.
They carried so much pain of their own.
In time I know we will and in part, that’s why I started writing.
If my mother read my blog I think that she would be shocked and very hurt. I also think that acknowledging the part that she played in all of this, would devastate her.
What I do resent is a statement she had said so many times over the years and it’s this-
“If anyone ever touched a hair of one of my kids… I’d kill them!”
(and that goes for grandchildren too)
Some where within her there is a dark, dark place that carries shame, guilt, loss and so much pain and I really don’t want that for her or for my brother or I.
Forgiveness can be tough and I so want it to be easier. I love my mum with all my heart and she has been a wonderful mum in so many ways. I feel that there’s a part of her emotionally that cut off and became cold a very long time ago and that may of happened way before she married my father.
Maybe it happened when her own mother rejected her and that’s terribly sad.
I guess the question is, would my mother still be very proud of me if she read my blog?
It took some time for me to pick up Leora’s Letters and read it because I knew that the story would evoke some painful emotions within me which are attached to the loss of my Father and what he went through as a child in the same war.
Although he didn’t die, my family lost my Father when he was 7 years old and I don’t really think that he ever stood a chance of returning emotionally, from the atrocities that he experienced in the prison camp.
I can only ever imagine what kind of woman and Mother Leora was, from Joy’s description of her Grandmother and in particular the letter’s that she so lovingly wrote to her family and her five son’s.
My tears flowed generously as I read each letter and what a gift to the world this book is, to be able to have such a personal, historical insight of WWII that will always be available for people to read and for students to study in schools.
Thank you Leora, what a wonderful Mother you were and I am so sorry that you had to lose your beautiful boy’s, in order for others to live.
Thank you Joy for your wonderful book and the gift that you have given to me of love, connection and friendship.
Known as the father of motivation, Wayne Dyer was a man who impacted my life greatly and I spent many years yearning to attend one of his seminars.
The Christmas before he passed away, my dear friend Katie surprised me with a ticket to see him in London, the following September.
He died two weeks before his event.
Are there things in your life that you’ve spent years wanting to do and haven’t done them yet, because there is always some sort of reason why you can’t?
Are there people in your life that you no longer see, yet wish you were still connected?
Do you have dreams that you have put on hold because of one reason or another?
I can answer yes to all of the above.
The seminar went a head, only now it was a dedication to his life rather than hearing this wonderful man speak and as I sat in the audience, I can remember asking myself what the lesson was in this situation, that I needed to learn?
I felt desperately sad that I had not made it in time, to see Wayne Dyer and that I’d wasted so many years of my life making excuses–
When I have enough money, when the kids are older, when I’m slimmer, when I’m successful, when this and when that and so on…
How many excuses have you made over the years when it comes to your hopes, desires, your future dreams?
I recognize the beautiful part of my being, that was a serial excuse maker and she learn’t from the very best.
Don’t be like me and waste time with vacant excuses because this present time is all that matters, right HERE AND NOW.
Write that list, make plans for your future-dream… and dream BIG.
The teachings of Wayne Dyer will always be available to whom ever shall seek them and in his own words;
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Here is the Excuses Begone audio book which is not the best quality but still a brilliant listen.
It’s a new month and I wonder what May will bring?
Each day seems to roll into the next, not that I am complaining at all.
It’s kind of nice-learning to let go of self imposed restrictions and walk this road in new and different ways. There are still lots of twists and turns to self navigate which I now welcome, rather than attempt to walk around.
The world has changed
and its the difference, that makes the difference.
Part of me, wants this new way of living to carry on because going back to the way it was, for me, is not an option.
There were times when I felt suffocated under the weight of the pain that I was carrying and now feel different-like being very little and beginning to crawl, and taking my first steps.
The steps I quite possibly, missed out on taking a very, very long time ago.
Only, which direction shall I go in?
What if I lose my way again?
What if I get lost?
And then I remember.
So today I will choose the path of least resistance and see where it takes me.
Today I shall remain present and acknowledge my dear old familiar friend called fear, who really, has only ever had my most highest and best interests at heart, which is to keep me safe.
41 days of being locked down and today is my official moving to France day.
Only we won’t be going anywhere.
Strangely enough, I don’t feel gutted or upset, worried or even the slightest bit stressed out about it! I am pretty much chilled, calm and collected.
It will happen when the time is right.
So much has changed for me on a personal level over the past few weeks and all of the previous and incessant worry that plagued me on a daily basis, seems to have dissipated.
I feel blessed and extremely grateful.
I really appreciate everyone who have taken the time to read my blog and some of you have gone on to follow it too. Feeling acknowledged, when in a healing process, is incredible.
The death toll in the UK has now risen to over 26,000-just devastating.
I will continually send my love and prayers to a struggling world and the families who have lost so much.
Often, people tend to focus on the terribly sad news and may miss the opportunity to hear some uplifting stories amidst this crisis.
One such story that has had the nation overwhelmed with gratitude and love is that of Captain Thomas Moore whom at aged 99, walked laps around his garden to raise money for our NHS service.
Currently, he has raised more than 30 million pounds.
Today is his birthday.
Just stop and think about that for a moment;
What a wonderful man.
What an amazing story of determination.
What an inspiration.
Against all odds, this man made a powerful decision to do something that would make a difference to the lives of many people, then he stepped up to the challenge with utter determination and achieved an unbelievable outcome.
A powerful reminder for us all.
Captain Moore is a perfect example of how you can achieve anything that you desire if you put the required amount of effort into achieving, whatever it is that you truly want for your life. No matter what age, race or gender you are.
Raise your standards.
It’s all there for the taking.
Happy birthday Captain Thomas Moore we thank you greatly for standing up and showing us the way.
When all is quiet in the morning, I love to hear the gentleness of the falling rain.
When I was a child my Dad wouldn’t allow me to play outside in the rain and I remember, often sitting at my bedroom window watching the other kids on the street, playing freely.
I never crossed him intentionally-the consequences were too high.
(well on the odd occasion when I felt exceedingly brave)
It was another restless night, last night and when that happens, my mind begins to wander, travelling to the most distant memories of my past experiences.
The poem that I wrote for my last daily challenge task which was called Fear, was about an experience I had when I was about 12.
There used to be a cafe in town, a popular hang out for teenagers after school and on Saturday afternoons. Six or seven of us girls, would squeeze ourselves around a table and share plates of chips, covered in heaps of tomato sauce.
Dad wouldn’t allow me to go into town at aged 12 and his over bearing fear of me being taken away, clouded his thinking and increased his control. The pressure from friends about never being allowed to do stuff, wore me down in the end and I took the risk and joined them on the odd occasion.
Joining in, created an intense, internal worry that Dad would somehow, find out and so my teenage adventure was always marred with anxiety and quite stressful.
This particular Saturday, a man came into the cafe and sat at the table next to us. He seemed nice and instigated a conversation, offering us chips and cups of hot chocolate at his expense. He wore a light beige mackintosh coat and had short brown hair. I can remember him smiling and appearing very friendly.
What I didn’t realize in my immaturity, was that he was in the early stages of grooming.
He made us laugh and looking back now, his charisma and flirtatious character was appealing to a group of overly hormonal, teenage girls.
When we left the cafe to walk home, he asked what direction we were walking in and low and behold, he just happened to be going the same way and tagged on to our group.
I can’t remember what we talked about but I do remember that I seemed much more fascinated by him than anyone else did!
I knew better, I’d had it drummed into me from an early age about not talking to strangers. In fact, my Dad was obsessed with the idea of me being taken, which lead to his strict and often overwhelming control of me.
One by one, my friends said their goodbyes and went home until I was the last girl, alone with the stranger.
None of them appeared to be worried about me being on my own with him and just left me.
It was at that point, I realised something was wrong and decided to walk back, the way we came to be sure of more people being around.
Almighty fear set in and I knew that I had to get away. I also knew, that I had to keep walking and talking until I arrived at a safe place in order to make my exit.
One specific thing I do recall him telling me whilst walking back, was that he had to go to the police station everyday at 6 pm to check in and if he didn’t go, he would be in a lot of trouble.
I didn’t understand why?
Alarms bell went off and I felt like I couldn’t breathe-the intensity was overwhelming. I knew that I could’t run yet as he might grab me, so I just kept walking, whilst figuring out what to do.
There was a red telephone box at the end of the main road that leads into town and I decided that the box, would be my queue, to part company.
I can still feel the feeling of fear inside my gut as I write this now and also, have had another aha moment with regards to my running pattern.
In the past, when I have felt so suffocated with my life situation, I’ve wanted to run as far away as humanly possible, to escape the fear of what was happening and this situation, stacked up with all of my other ‘running away’ experiences, has allowed the fear to grow and my running pattern to increase too.
No wonder I’ve always felt like running away…
I felt suffocated in that situation back then, my lungs unable to expand fully restricted with fear and I said politely;
“It was nice meeting you, I have to go home now”-
his tone of voice was stern and he slightly protested my leaving saying that we could talk some more, as that he really liked me.
I started to walk in the direction of home and he was quickly behind me so I picked up my pace and started to run which is when he shouted out;
“Come back you bitch” and began the chase after me.
I literally ran for my life, never stopping until I made it home and praying a gazillion times on route, eventually losing him.
Wet with perspiration and lungs about to burst, I locked the front door behind me and told Mum what had happened (not the whole story of course) just that I had left my friends and had been followed home.
I don’t really recall a reaction and felt like what I had told her, had fallen on deaf ears. I took myself off to my bedroom and waited at the window, hiding behind my net curtain on active surveillance for, I don’t know how long.
Just in case he followed me home.
As a part of my NLP practitioner training some 21 years ago, we learn’t how to use hypnosis as a tool to enable our clients to experience a deeper therapeutic process and during my Master practitioner, my practice strengthened.
It was phenomenal.
I was fascinated about this incredible tool and wanted to learn more in depth skills so on my return from the USA, I attended further training in London.
My colleagues and I lodged in a guest house local to the training centre and the whole experience at the house, was bizarre from start to finish.
On arrival, the owner of the house greeted us in such a welcoming and uplifting manner, almost completely over the top, like we were her long lost family.
She wore a navy blue jumper which appeared to have food stains down the front and a long denim skirt. As it was late in the evening, she showed us to our rooms and retired to her private dwellings.
My colleagues, who were also a couple, stayed in the downstairs double room occupancy which had a conservatory attached to it. I had a small room on the first floor, upstairs.
There were four male constructions workers staying in the two rooms adjacent to my room and we shared a bathroom, situated on the landing outside.
I had no lock on my door and the fear once again, felt almost unbearable so I propped a chair up against the door, jamming the handle so that nobody could enter my room.
I was now 30.
My bed was unclean, covered in hair and it was obvious that it had been slept in. I was too afraid to leave my room to complain and ask for clean bedding, so spread my towel out over the pillows and the top part of the sheet and attempted to go to sleep.
I hardly slept at all.
The next morning I went downstairs for breakfast and was greeted by my colleagues in the dining room. The owner appeared to take our order for breakfast and was dressed in the exact same clothes with what looked like an extra egg stain on her jumper.
During breakfast I mentioned to the others about the state of my bed and in a round about way they suggested that I was going over the top and it was only for a few days so to let it go and not make a fuss.
I didn’t mention the chair.
Everyday was the same. The lady would open the door for us when we arrived back after our day’s training, wearing the exact same dirty clothes and then every morning when we came down for breakfast.
It was the same for the entirety of our stay.
She appeared to be in some sort of stranded animation.
On the very last morning of the training, whilst waiting for the others to get ready to leave, I sat in the conservatory with my ear phones in, listening to music. When I closed my eyes and almost immediately, I had the most vividvisual experience of being chased by a man. My body felt heavy, stuck to the chair that I was sitting in and the film played out in my mind.
I was terrified, running through the woods near my childhood home and was being chased by a man.
He was catching up with me very quickly and I just couldn’t out run him.
The man grabbed my left shoulder and I stopped.
For what seemed like forever I couldn’t turn around and look at him because I was so friegthened.
And then I turned…
Staring back at me was my Dad, having grown a beard, looking fresh and healthy with bright blue eyes. He was wearing a burgundy scarf and smart grey heavy overcoat.
He threw is arms around me and held me.
In that moment I stopped running, just for a while, for at least the time I had with him, in my minds eye, for him to love me and hold me, to let me know that he was with me and I needn’t be afraid anymore.
Sometimes in life we let fear lead us down a path of terrible self sacrifice andemotional punishment that really messes with our whole being. We choose situations in life, unconsciously, to get in touch with that same pain, to remind us in some sort of way, that we aren’t good enough, or not strong enough, not worthy enough and so on…
But you know what?-it really doesn’t have to be that way, you can do things differently and choose a different path. My guess is for me, that there have been a million and one times over the years where my Dad has reached out to me or been very near and my grief has closed me down.
I believe that life goes on, maybe in a different form but I can not and will not accept that we end, when our body dies.
For me that’s an impossible concept.
For me our Soul never dies we just change form.
I know that Dad would have learn’t lessons from his experience here in this life time and I also believe that he would be so very sorry for his actions. My hope is that us, his siblings will learn our necessary lessons too.
After all… all of the pain on all levels, has to mean something surely?
i thought the man was friendly
gentle smile with big bright eyes
he nodded in conversation
simple offerings to keep us keen
we found him very interesting
so many stories he had to tell
he talked for what seemed hours
one by one they said goodbye
and then it came to my turn
friends gone just him and me
don't leave me now i like you
we can always talk some more
i thanked him so politely
with urgency picked up my pace
he was unrelenting
and his tone of voice had changed
the fear took hold with filthy hands
i realized what i had done
he shouted loudly - come back bitch
now his pace changed he began to run
my lungs restricted consumed afraid
i can not stop i must not stop
he was old and i was young
and youth thank God saved my life
i made it home unscathed and safe
they did not believe my truth
the stranger hunted for his prey
and the silly girl got away (she was 12)
Both Kate and I enjoy our daily lockdown challenge.
We are similar in may ways and often find it difficult to create something freely without a whole load of critical self judgement and for that, I am really proud of our joint effort and commitment.
It has enabled us both to have an escape route out of our comfort zone.
Why don’t you, try it with a friend or two or even (Kate might holler at me for this) join in with us – eek!!!!
It could be – The Collective Covid Lock Down Daily Challenge.
Think of a word, poem or idea for each other and then send it by text, messenger or email, the night before or early on the morning of the challenge. There is absolutely no pressure to get it done in a day and we don’t move on until we have both completed the immediate task.
Its just for fun and keep’s our mental health wealthy with ideas and motivation.
Yesterday, we came up with the exact same words for task 7 which was interesting-great minds think alike.
I am the light
that lights the day
the melodic song
of the morning
the cooling breath
of a gentle breeze
the essence of
I am the darkness
in the night
the silence and
the hero in
I am the space
between each thought
the whisper in
I am my light
I light my way
my truth is
my joy, my love
shall greet you
I hope that you are enjoying your day best you can.
They say with time things change
such perfect presence
he was not
his expression of life was impenetrable
and yet was
the loveliest Soul
a mind so perilous, tormented by evil
condemned with silent movies
a prisoner before
a prisoner once more
trapped within his own distortion
then meaning became marred
through altered reality
impossible to hide
I can not carry that heaviness
anymore or harness
for it spills from my heart
making me weak
He laid down in quiet demeanor
closed his eyes
knowing it was his last time
He prayed to his God
At what point in your life did you start putting limitations on yourself?
Can you remember?
My first memory of limiting myself was around the age of four, believing that I couldn’t dance as well as another child and I remember having a bad feeling in my tummy.
Four years old.
How did I even know or understand how to feel that kind of emotion?
In the first years of our lives, our mind is like a sponge and it soaks up tall of the beliefs and values of our main caregivers who begin to sculpt us in one way or another.
If you are telling yourself stories that limit you in any kind of way then you might be interested to know that those stories, might not even belong to you!
Think about that for a minute!
What stories have you told yourself over and over again throughout your life?
Do they limit you or expand you?
The stories that I’ve told myself continuously, have held me back from living life fully and have caused a great deal of sadness for a long time;
I am ashamed of myself, I’m not good enough, I hate myself, I should know better, why didn’t I do better, I could have been, I should have been. I don’t deserve…
And I am reminded of the stories that both of my parents quite possibly told themselves –
I am ashamed of myself, I am not worthy enough, I hate myself, I don’t deserve to be loved, I don’t deserve to live…
I am so ashamed of myself, I am not lovable, I am not good enough, I deserve this, I can’t leave, I can’t change it, I have to accept it…
Do you see any underlying familiar patterns?
See how it works?
My expectations for my own life were embellished with my parents self sabotaging stories and beliefs.
They knew no better.
They did their best.
It doesn’t have to be that way and when you wake up to the idea that you have the choice to change your story, no matter where you are currently in your life, then you will know and understand fully that your story will either hold you back or propel you forward.
Embrace who you are and from this moment onward’s, change your story if it doesn’t serve you any longer.
How empowering for you to know that maybe you’ve been living your life from somebody else’s perspective and now you can CHANGE it to what ever you desire.
Neither here or there-can’t quite put my finger on it!
We’ve been making the effort to walk daily and today was such a beautiful morning, it felt good to be out of the house.
I find it incredible to think that we have lived on this Island pretty much our entire life and have never walked these routes before.
New pathways can lead you to new places.
We forget to live, really live in the moment and the beauty of this horrendous situation that surrounds us, is that we are beginning to remember what’s really important and take notice of the simple things in life.
The path that we walked along used to be the old railway line and in every direction you are surrounded by the beauty of nature and it feels easy to breathe again.
As we walked, we came a cross a drawing on the dirt path in front of us which amused us both and I’m guessing that the artist, is of the much younger generation (apologies if anyone is offended) or quite possibly taking part in a daily anatomy lesson?
It seems unfair to think that the male organ is often the brunt of wild graffiti sessions, or penned on the back of many a public toilet door and I wonder why the female organs aren’t given such an honorable display?
I don’t normally write poems that rhyme so I’m not too pleased with this one, but a challenge is a challenge so here goes…
who would I be?
why, me of course
I'd be me
I am You
and You are me
together, are we
I can not live
nor can I breathe
nothing to give
My heart is full
and yours is too
a love so strong
a bond so true
I am not whole
and with you
one beautiful Soul
“Your real job is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are mean’t to be and begin to honor your calling in the best possible way.” – Oprah Winfrey
Monday’s always signify to me that I can start again.
A new week, a new beginning.
So how do we know and understand what our purpose in this life is and are you really even interested in finding out?
I have asked this question to myself for many, many years and ended up sending myself around on this massive wheel of believing, I didn’t know…
“Why can’t someone just tell me?.”
“Why isn’t is obvious?”
“Why don’t I know what it is?”
Then come the should’s!
“I should know!”
“I should do better at knowing!”
“I should be better!”
I am sure you can all figure out the rest.
Often times, the very thing that you want or need to know most about yourself, is staring you in the face, you just can’t seem to see it!
Or can you?
Does fear stop you from knowing, what you already know?
Maybe, if you just sat back and stopped trying so hard, then the very question that you want to be answered, will be answered-all the wisdom, insights and inspirational message’s will come flooding through and then, you can choose to align with your purpose (or not).
My son is 25 and lives in London which currently, is the epicenter for the virus spread in the UK.
My daughter is 21 and lives about ten minutes away which feels like a million miles right now.
I would love for us to be sitting around the dining table together, enjoying our Sunday roast, hearing them laugh and joke with there little sister.
As a teenager my Mother often said;
“Don’t try and grow up too fast because when you are an adult, you’ll wish you were a kid again.”
Do I miss being a kid? Yes, at times I do and if I could go back and rewrite our history, I would make it all so very different for my brothers and I.
And… I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without my childhood being as it was, but still, sometimes it just sucks!!!
What I miss most are the times when my big kids were little and we were altogether in one place.
My youngest is 12 and desperately misses her siblings. I found this note hidden in one of my note books from when she used to role play being a secretary.
Sometimes growing up can be hard especially for the child that feels left behind and of course as we all know, its a natural process.
I was that child too.
I am so very proud of these three beautiful humans, and feel blessed to call them my children. Yes, there are times when I wish I could go back to number 10, as number 10 was where we were all rooted together, it was our family home. I realise now, I wasn’t as grateful as I could have been for that house-our home.
I am gently reminded that it was just a house… the love of my family, the very soul of those memories will remain in my heart forever and that’s what counts most.
Yesterday, the world seemed different
and yet it was the same
it really was
People walked among each other
unaware, deeply disconnected
Yesterday, there was poverty, war, death
society overwhelmed with mental illness
People lived with one another
unnoticed, deeply, disconnected
Then the world came to a halt
Today feels very different
and yet it's the same world
it really is
we move quietly among each other
having reconnected deeply
Today is better than yesterday was
and this same world, is different
I hope it is
Everybody moves together
and yesterday, is no more
I know that there is still a part of me that holds back from saying what I really want to say, on that particular platform and I think that it’s a much younger part, working super hard to believe in herself.
At the beginning of this new way of living and in a moment of fearlessness, I posted the link to this blog and then sat back and sunk for a while after pressing the button.
Well of course I did!!!!
I originally made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t share my personal story with people that I knew, until I had written at least one hundred posts, not knowing how long it would take me to write a mere forty posts!
I guess things change.
My passion for people and helping them to live their best version of themselves is insurmountable. I really do believe that you can change your life around, no matter what you are faced with and at any given time.
Make the decision, take the necessary action and add in a whole lot of consistency. Most importantly, the key factor being, that if you WANT TO CHANGE enough, then you will follow through.
Since posting the link, I have felt a little naked-anyone reading it will see me in a different light and I wonder what judgement’s (if any) have been made?
I am reminded of a well known quote by Dr Wayne Dyer who said; “Be independent of the good opinions of others”
It’s time to rise up for me and for any other person that has allowed fear to screw them over because, to have courage when faced with adversity of any kind, simply means you showed up.
If telling my truth allows others to feel brave enough to show up too, then I can rest easy at night knowing that I have done my best to help another.
Good people of the world, I hope that you are having the best day that you can have whilst living through a lock down day. If not, change your state RIGHT NOW and dance the crazy dance.
I’ve been to bed, completed my Wim Hoff breathing exercise, got out of bed, meditated, peed three times, face booked, commented on blogs, listened to the cat snore for the past hour and now the hamster is running it’s wheel…
It’s 2.34 am and I’m going to attempt my next writing challenge which has been set as the title of this post.
alone he roamed no place no home an eternal wanderer
clothes were rags his life in bags carrying a heavy heart
stench was bad the jeers so sad yet perfectly polite
people did stare so ugly no care misunderstood by many
a broken story such loss no glory of an English poet
spirit so free in peace I see the most beautiful man
I thought that I would share something different today.
My friend Katie, a local artist, came up with the idea of a daily challenge for us both. She chooses something for me and I do the same for her which may be a word, picture or anything to be get creative with.
Something fun to focus on.
So yesterday I gave Kate the word Logophile (you will have to look it up) and this is her creation.
I love the way that she has taken the words from two beautiful and powerful poems. One by Maya Angelou, the other, Robert Frost and then created a tree.
Katie gave me the poem A Poison Apple by William Blake, to work with and I played around with the concept to create my own version.
A Poison Apple
I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears, Night & morning with my tears: And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night. Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine.
And into my garden stole, When the night had veiled the pole; In the morning glad I see; My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
Death to Love
He knew such love some time ago
a woven pattern of belonging
in all essence the enviable bond
but broken with dishonest approach
He could not see through mighty rage
a mind sickened with discoloured thinking
Love shed its skin and greeted his new ally
with such welcomed revenge
The devious plan and rage grew, rising up
to slaughter with swallowing evil
Such darkened dreams a restless night
the new day dawns, shadowed with grief
As rage retreats and sorrow prevails
For a life once loved, now lost
Its great for your mental health and well being, to enjoy a challenge whilst on this lock down journey and here is something for you too, if you are at all interested?
A brilliant watch, especially in this current climate.
On a sadder note, today I have struggled with a sore head due to having a few glasses of wine last night as we toasted the life of an old friend Russ. We grew up on the same housing estate as kids and he sadly passed away yesterday morning due to contracting the Coronavirus.
Russ was a great and funny man and will be missed by many.
We must not become complacent with life and remain strong in our belief that this is a temporary situation.
‘Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet‘ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Such a beautiful quote.
I am so grateful to be able to go out and walk, which we did early this morning and at last it seems that the land has become quieter.
People are finally listening and staying at home.
No buses, cars or bicycles passed by-an eerie silence.
During a 45 minute walk around the block, we saw maybe five people and all but one of them, smiled with a simple recognition of our mutually shared and present reality.
Bless them all.
For the past few days, I have coughed on and off and yesterday my throat was sore and I had a mild headache. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little anxious about the obvious and dealing with a husband that worries as a past time, added a little more unnecessary pressure to manage my feelings.
We must remember that we all do the best we can, with the skills that we have.
I retreated, listened to my body, covered up with a blanket and Netflix won the day.
It’s really okay, to not be okay and there are times when you just need to let go.
If you are trying super hard to be emotionally supportive to everyone in your family then maybe its time to STOP, BREATHE and just be…
You can not give to others what you don’t have yourself.
The garden is full of welcomed guests and morning joy.
Birds are flitting here and there and primroses are on parade in their clusters, proudly showing off their beauty.
The sun in all its glory, dances with nature and warms this coming day with its offering of hope and rebirth.
Hope-a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.
Rebirth-a period of new life, growth, or activity, a revival.
With a new beginning somewhere in the Universe there has to be an ending.
Its the Yin and Yang of life, the ebb and flow, the Karmic law.
Sadly, I heard on the radio yesterday of an 11 year old boy losing his life to the unseen and silent killer and an overwhelming ton of emotion hit me me like a steam train.
There is a place deep within me where I feel connected to this child and want to reach out to him, hold him and love him just a little bit more… to let him know that he is and always will be loved by millions of others around the world and that his life had meaning.
All lives have meaning.
We are all in this together.
Collectively, we feel the pain his family feels.
I will never know
or see your
can imagine you now
bounding with life-
by your side
the part of you
that is me
that You lived.
May you all have a wonderful day and know how important each and every one ofyou are . I am thankful for us being on this journey together.
On waking, just for a second or two, I forgot what kind of world I was waking up to…
I live on a tiny Island that sits right at the bottom of the Uk with a last recorded population in 2018 of 141,538.
From an early age I have wanted to leave this place and move as far away as I could and now, being fully aware of my running away strategy, it’s the safest place I could possibly be.
For the first time in my life, I’ve stopped running and it’s quite remarkable. I’ve let go of all expectations and am immersed in trusting this whole magnificent process.
After all… there’s nowhere to run.
The challenge of lock down can offer you so many beautiful things if you just stop pushing yourselves to do more, be more, give more and of course, have more.
I know that I am enough.
I know that you are enough.
Everything that you have experienced within your life up until this very moment, had to happen for you. Yes, even the shittiest, most painful, destructive experiences etc… it was all mean’t to happen in order for you to grow, evolve and learn.
Life has and always will be, happening for you, not to you.
During my early morning walk, I felt such an overwhelming privilege and joy to be alive. My years of using food to numb out the unbearable pain that I was carrying, has taken its toll on my physical body and each step brings a certain amount of discomfort. I am now strong in the knowledge of knowing that I am choosing health over punishment.
I am, my own work in progress and it feels good.
When you name it… you can move through it.
You see, its much easier to stay in pain and discomfort than it is to do the necessary work and change-comfortably uncomfortable.
I’ve been in that place for many years and now I choose to make one small daily change towards healing.
I laid in the bath last night and finished off a book that I started reading about six months ago. I had about twenty pages to read in order to complete it and that which I needed to learn most, was within those last few pages.
The lessons come to you, when you least expect it.
Are you ready to commit to changing something that no longer serves you?
I can’t help but believe that this current world pandemic had to happen in order for the world collectively, to learn so many lessons.
Saying that, does not in any way dismiss the pain that hundreds and thousands offamilies are going through right now. That is never my intention.
My heart goes out to all of the victims of this terrible virus.
If I take my own personal life situation as it was two and a half weeks ago, before we went into lock down, it pretty much was a mess.
From the outside, I may have portrayed that everything was okay, planning my new life in France, seemingly getting excited at the prospect of what was to come, yet on the inside, it was all so very different. The truth of the matter is, I’ve been playing out my age old pattern of running and this time, to my brother in France.
He will always offer me a safe place.
I was completely overwhelmed.
I had pushed myself mentally to the brink of very nearly no return.
Physically, my body was in pain.
Financially, I was being squeezed in every direction.
My poor husband, bless him, was so unhappy having to go away every week to work in a physically demanding construction job, just to make ends meet.
At 54, its a young mans job.
I felt like my world was falling apart around me and I was holding on for dear life.
Today… none of that matters in fact, we are at an incredible turning point in our lives and are so very grateful for our ‘mess’ to be able to wake up to what’s important.
I couldn’t see it clearly before lock down, even though I knew it, on some deep level of my being and now, we both feel incredibly peaceful and it’s quite bizarre.
Both of us have spent years punishing ourselves for the financial situation we created and dragging our kids through it too. We bought and sold a few houses when our children were young, trying to climb the ladder of ‘you always want more’ until one day it all went bang-the recession hit and we were offered a financial way out-we took it.
It was the wrong way (or was it?). If only we’d gone in another direction, life could have been so very different!
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
There is always choice.
There will always been lessons.
We have spent years trudging through our own self developed shit storm and lived and breathed failure.
And… I had the skills to change our situation right?
We all have the resources inside of ourselves to make the necessary changes that we desire. We really do and yet somehow we chose a difficult path for lessons that still needed to be learn’t.
I can remember times when I would empty my purse out on the table and with the meager amount of coins in front of me, I would have to make a decision whether to buy bread or milk because I didn’t have enough for both.
And yet I would see clients and charge them a small fee or nothing at all if they really couldn’t afford to pay me because they needed my help and that was the right thing to do?
I rescue people.
My close friends knew we were struggling and I’m sure became fed up with the same old excuses that I would give;
”Sorry we won’t be able make it tonight, I can’t really justify spending money when we are trying to be careful.”
”I don’t feel too great so I’m going to give it a miss tonight, maybe next time..”
”You won’t even miss me being there, have fun”
”I don’t do going out anymore, its really not my thing!”
”I can’t afford it.”
and eventually, they stopped asking us out!!
I have lived with feeling ashamed for as far back as I can remember in one way or another and I wonder now, whose shame I learn’t to carry from a very early age?
You are all capable of change.
Where ever you are in your life right now this Covid-19 experience has actually opened a space in your time, to take time to re-evaluate;
What’s really important for you?
What does life look like for you right now?
Are you living the kind of life that you want to be living?
Are you happy?
Do you feel fulfilled?
Are you healthy?
What do you desire most?
What changes can you make right now that will change the direction of your life?
I will repeat this statement again;
YOU ARE A GIFT TO THIS WORLD so stop looking on the outside for self validation.
Everything you need is already within you.
I’ve spent years waiting for that Oprah Winfrey ‘aha moment’ which is a moment of sudden inspiration, insight, recognition or comprehension. It’s when things happen to make you look at life in a completely different way.
I think I got my ‘aha‘!
I believe that Covid-19 is a world ‘aha moment’ from which we all need to make significant changes to heal our planet and ourselves.
I am truly grateful for my own life story for it happened for me to allow personal growth.
Right now today, we are worse off financially that we have ever been because we have been madeSTOP and stay home and yet we both feel so very blessed to be alive, feel peaceful and are trusting that some how… its all going to be okay.
Another great day to be alive albeit a challenging one to say the very least.
A message came through in the early hours of the morning only we didn’t hear phone ting.
My husband’s step father had a stroke at around midnight last night and was taken to hospital-the very place we all need to stay away from right now.
Totally unexpected and such a shock.
Thankfully, as far we know, 80% of his movement has returned which is brilliant and now I am more concerned about the week’s stay in hospital that is ahead of him.
He is 83.
We are unable to visit him.
We are unable to comfort my Mother in-law in person.
As a family, we must pull together, adjust and do things differently.
I am reminded of a well know Dr Wayne Dyer quote;
”If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change”
My Mother in-law acted with haste.
He was given the medication that he needed quickly.
He is alive.
For that… I am truly grateful.
Whatever life throws at you, there is always a choice in how you respond.
Wherever you are in your life right now, today, this very moment… know that you have real choice in how you respond to your current situation and to the world at large. If its all getting too much then change your channel, shift it up a notch, remember who you are and whatrole you play in this present moment.
Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything
Maybe its about unbecoming everything that isn’t you
We are all living in extremely challenging times right now and change is occurring daily.
I wrote a long post last week which needed editing a little and has been waiting patiently in my draft section to be brought to life-only what I wrote, seems terribly insignificant now.
What do we write about in such uncertain times?
I know that their are millions of people feeling overwhelming panic and fear right now and I believe that we can also find ways to uplift and inspire others to learn new ways of getting through this experience that we are being presented with?
For me personally, I can honestly say that I feel like I have beenwoken up from along and arduous sleep.
My beliefs and values are going to be different from yours and that’s great because the world would be an incredibly uninteresting place to be living in if we all thought exactly the same way.
I love that we have a space like this to be free with our expression of life.
Covid-19 is waking us up as a human race.
Look what’s happening around you…
If you look at the spaces in-between suffering and pain you will notice so many beautiful things;
The list goes on…
Our planet was in a terrible, unhealthy place three weeks ago and dying at an increasing rate. Scientists have recorded insurmountable healing growth because of LOCK-DOWN.
All the arguing over Brexit is old news and seemingly insignificant.
There is no division between race.
We are all equal.- especially in our time of collective need.
Money has no value, not in the grand scheme of things.
And so on…
I send love out to the world for all of the loss that families are experiencing.
I send strength, support and eternal gratitude out to our medical staff who are at the forefront of this turmoil.
I want you to know that this is your time to be free with who you are and welcome the extraordinary opportunity that is being presented to you now.
Wake up and live…
If your life is not working the way you want it to work then utilise this time to change it.
Learn something new online, there are so many free courses.
An elderly couple that live just a few houses away, have opened up part of their home as a bird sanctuary.
The daily rhapsody of birdsong is loud and varied.
The seagulls sing the loudest and they fly many to their colony, arriving early morning for feeding time.
Wood Pigeons, Black birds, Robins, Blue Tits, Starlings, Magpies and on the odd occasion a vibrant Woodpecker have all stopped by on their way to somewhere else.
I wonder where?
To the left of the garden near the window, leans an old broken fence. Early one morning, last summer, I opened the blinds and caught sight of the most stunning and regal looking creature, resting momentarily on the leaning stand.
I believe it was a Sparrow Hawk and what an honour to be in his presence.
A moment of Grace.
Our eyes met for a second and then he was gone, his wings so powerful lifting him, high into the morning sky.
The grass is rich in colour having enjoyed the endless rainfall and the bush in the corner has bloomed with pink flowers.
I close my eyes and feel the strength of this incredibly powerful piece of music which exudes emotion.
It is an essential human need to feel and be safe. Each and every person alive has the right to live without fear and yet so many of our fellow men, women and children do not experience this.
The internet has recently been overwhelmed with the ‘Be Kind’ saying and isn’t it really that simple? To be kind to one another to whomever we meet along the way. A simple act of kindness can change a person’s life in an insurmountable way, so why is it so very difficult for some?
I don’t always get it right in fact there have been times in my life where I have been unkind, maybe not intentionally but still I have acted out of fear and frustration which has caused another to feel sad or some kind of pain.
For that behaviour, I am truly sorry.
I do believe that behaviour is learnt and whatever we are subjected to when we are young children can have a profound effect on our ability to make healthy choices,when we are adults. That being said, laying blame on our past won’t get us very far. It just keeps us in that state of difficulty and quite possibly distress.
My life is where it is today because of the choices that I have made over the years. I can not and will not blame my present dysfunction on the trauma that I experienced as a child. Yes the experience shaped me in so many incredible ways and then I had a choice to take charge of my being, my strengths and my weaknesses-to harness the suffering and difficulty and run full speed ahead with it to create a safe, healthy and joyful life. The drain on my mental health has at times, nearly sent me over the edge and I am not afraid to sat that anymore…
To feel fragile and alone is not joyful for anyone.
When I listen to beautiful emotive music I am able to lose myself and step into a world of creative imagination. Although I still feel sad I am also free withoutrestraint and just for a moment my mind goes some place else. I can feel my body change and express itself in such a gentle way.
In a gentle way, non aggressive, not frustrated, no anger just letting go and all in a few minutes, I can feel the space in between the music and me.
I long to feel gentle and yes I know how strange that may sound but for my entire adult life I have been a fighter, a survivor, the aggressor, the controller everything but gentle. I feel lost behind this huge armour that I wear, ready to do battle to protect myself and the people I care about.
I know that I would allow myself the risk of death in order to save another’s life.
It is who I have become.
I am completely burn’t out and long for the gentleness and warmth my body has to offer me.
The love of self that awaits me, when I choose to be it, will heal the self and offer me a healthy, energetic heart that is full of joy.
Not sure where I am going with this today and just enjoying the expression.
So here I am, the other side of that painful story.
It has taken almost a year to write so very little and yet such a massive part of my personal history and now I need a break from the deep and painfully bleak writing.
IT’S NOT WHO I AM.
MY STORY DOES NOT DEFINE ME.
I AM SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.
And, there is so much more to the story.
So who am I?
I have a name, but that’s not who I am.
I have a beating heart, but that’s not who I am either.
I wear many hats-wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and so on…
I have often questioned myself about why I am here?
What is my purpose?
What is life all about?
I feel so deeply and am forever questioning the world around me. I don’t see life as black and white and I believe that we are all connected on some level.
In 1986 having just turned 18, I qualified as a Nursery Nurse (NNEB) and then travelled to Chicago to become a live in Nanny which only lasted 4 months. That’s a story for another day!
I worked as a Nanny for several different families whilst starting out on my career path and then progressed to supporting young single Mother’s with children and often times, children at risk.
Over the years, I have worked within a specific needs capacity, intensive behaviour support and learning support.
I have also run three small businesses part time whilst being a stay at home mum and not forgetting all the extra jobs to earn money whilst caring for my young family-working in a shop, taking in foreign students, cleaning, care in the community and ‘out work’ which consisted of putting screws in to tiny plastic bags.
I have certainly have had a ‘varied’ working life.
Continuous personal development has always been a fundamental part of my growing and evolving and for many year’s I have continued to attend training courses and study many different schools of thought.
In 1999, I was so blessed to have been given the opportunity to travel to the USA and complete my Practitioner training in Humanistic Neuro-Linguistic Programming (HNLP) and then the following year, my Master Practitioner.
What I learned blew my mind away and challenged my core beliefs and values.
I literally felt like I had woken up and my thinking changed phenomenally. I began to see everyone and everything around me, from a completely different view point and this led to my ability to have a greater understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do.
The difficulty for me was that I had made such a significant change and was ready to take onthe world but the world (the tiny Island I live on) wasn’t ready for me and I was often met with hostility and sometimes humour when in conversation with others about this modern and new way of thinking.
When I look back now, it was never really a modern way at all… I believe that the world just needed to catchup and wake up.
Over the past 20 year’s I have worked independently 1-1 with adults and young people in a therapeutic, support and mentoring role. Awareness about the possibilities for change for each and everyone of us is crucial if we are going to thrive and maintain a happy, healthy life.
My passion for my work is insurmountable.
My commitment to lead my client to a greater resolve has always been and will always be a humbling and profound experience.
I am full of gratitude to be able to serve.
My commitment to myself remains to be chaotic and I don’t use that word lightly. I am fully aware of the difficult path that I am choosing right now.
There are many lessons that I still have to learn…
Everyday is a new day which is met with new learning curves for me and that’s okay. I know that when I fully commit to myself, allowing my life to unfold gently without my pushing my past in front of me, then I will serve an even greater purpose to others.
For that… I am excited.
With studies of human potential and the mind body connection, we are beginning to reawaken and remember what we have always known…
Moving back home after my Father died, was extremely difficult for me.
I lived in fear before he died and now I was afraid he would appear as a ghost and having worked with children for many years, I now know and understand, that it really wasn’t necessary to be told that he died in my bed.
Some details are better left unsaid until a vulnerable mind is able to process it.
I was unable to enter the bedroom alone and refused to sleep in there too, so continued to share my Mother’s room for a further year.
Feelings of anxiety was rife and I can not say that anybody really understood how I felt-how could they? We are all individuals and make sense of our world differently and all those years ago, access to grief counselling or therapeutic help, wasn’t readily available.
There are three things in particular (apart from the obvious) that stand out for me that happened over the weeks that passed after his death.
At night my Mother would take me up to bed and say goodnight. She would then go downstairs to watch television. I’m sure, it was a much needed escape from the situation she found herself in and from a grieving teenager. I laid in what would have been my father’s bed and for as long as I possible, I managed the overwhelming fear that engulfed me.
All of a sudden the panic would take over and I’d rush down the stairs sobbing.
It felt impossible to contain the fear and anxiety.
My brothers were never really home at this point and my mother was trying to bring some normality back into our live’s. Bedtime for me, mean’t time out forher etc… I know that I would have felt safe, if the boys were upstairs nearby but instead I was alone in a room that was jammed packed with trauma, next to a room that felt full of loss and ultimately death.
My running downstairs went on for sometime and in the end my mother lost her patients with me and began to offer punishments as a threat if I didn’t stay in bed.
I just couldn’t do it.
She just couldn’t handle it… or me.
I remember clearly getting to the point where I would grab my bed pillow, creep down the staircase quietly and sit on the bottom step of the stairwell. I sat awkwardly on the step so that I could continuously turn my head upwards, in the direction of the landing, where my father may show himself.
I felt sure he would.
I was consumed with fear.
Eventually as I recall, one of my brothers found me sat upright, with my head in my lap on my pillow, asleep. On waking me, I cried telling him how afraid I was and that I was being told off for not staying in bed to which he reprimanded our Mother for not understanding.
Put simply, she didn’t have the energy or emotional understanding and was wrapped up in her own grief.
The second memory that is poignant, is when my big brother surprised me with a kitten one evening. Something of my own to love and nurture. He was living and working at a holiday camp at the time and a stray cat had given birth to a litter of kittens. My brother and his then girlfriend whose nickname was Tiggy, placed this tiny little tabby bundle of joy, into my arms whilst I was laying in bed, unable to sleep. My Mother knew nothing about it but my brother knew only too well, that she wouldn’t have the heart to take the kitten away from me.
I fell in love instantly and named the kitten Tiggy too.
My brother knew and understood how much I was struggling and I wanted so badly to go and live with him.
I hated it every time he left me.
At some stage I had to return to school and this is where the third most significant memory comes from. The day I went back, I remember walking up the main school pathway with my friend and people were staring at me. There was one particular group of girls stood to the side and one said very loudly;
“That’s the girl whose Dad just hung himself on the gas pipe out side of her house!”
The story that was spreading quickly around the school was that my father had hung himself on the gas pipe that lead from above the back door, to the shed, as a result of my mother failing to pay the bills.
A gentle and courteous re-awakening for the coming day.
It is quite possible that the very last person to see my Father alive was my school friend Allie, whom had returned my roller boots home after borrowing them. They were also the last gift that my father had given me for my 13th birthday, 3 months previous to his passing.
Allie told me sometime after he died, that she was worried about me because I hadn’t been attending school and decided to take my roller boots back to my house to see where I was. After several attempts of knocking on the door and as she turned around to leave, my father opened the door only very slightly and she asked;
“Is Michelle in please?” and my father told her I wasn’t there.
Allie passed the boots to him and he quickly shut the door without another word.
She said he looked unshaven and terrible.
As I have said before in my previous posts, I can not be exact about the timings of what happened but I do know that the boots were taken back, the day before my father died.
So right now I find myself back at the evening when I prayed for God to take him back to Heaven…
and the prayer was answered…
My Mother’s belief is that my father would have been cold because she left the house that Sunday morning, without lighting the fire. For years, the guilt about leaving him like that, has eaten away at her.
A neighbour had felt concerned because she hadn’t seen him for some time and as the gossip had hit the street so effortlessly, she contacted the police.
And she was right to do so because my father was found dead, lying on my bed wearing his Snorkel Parka coat zipped all the way up to the top, as if to keep warm.
What I ImagineHis mind weary
wretched and confused
He laid down
Covered in a shroud of grief
cold and alone
to live no more
Once a handsome young boy
with jet black
A melancholy heart
His eyes fell closed
his prayer unheard
He gently whispered
A thwarted Soul
A Ruptured life
A weeping childLet this be his Deliverance
My eldest brother was asked to identify his body as my Mother was unable to do it and he told me many years later that he wanted to make sure that,
“The old man was definitely dead.”
He was only 21 years old.
My father was only 47 when he died.
There was no money to pay for a funeral and it must have been a nightmare for my Mother to arrange. I know that my Grandmother sent money from Australia to help with the costs and I believe my mother sold my father’s car too. My Godparents were a great help, organising the wake at there house.
The day of his cremation, seemed surreal and a bit of a blur really. I recall us having one black car for my Mother, my two brothers and myself. The neighbours were standing out in the street watching on, as we drove off down the road and I also remember my brothers laughing in the car at some point.
I felt terribly sad about that and the sadness turned into numbness.
At this point, I still hadn’t cried at all.
I don’t remember the service but I do remember sitting on the stairs of my Godmothers house during the wake, feeling angry at all the people who had come to eat and drink when my father had just left this world.
It felt very wrong…
A few years back, when having a conversation with my mother about my father, I asked her why she would allow my father’s coffin to be left open at the front of the Crematorium for people to pay their last respects? I told her that I felt it was a terrible thing to do, to allow a 13 year old child to see her father dead and that it had caused nightmares for several years. My Mother was mortified to say the very least, telling me that she didn’t know what I was talking about-that it had never happened.
Up until that point, I completely believed that my father’s coffin was left open during the service and he was wearing a blue hospital gown. His arms were crossed, resting upon his chest and he had a blue complexion. I had even shared this with friends during conversations about loss and grief etc…
My 13 year old mind made that part up.
I never got to say goodbye.
The trauma that settled in that day, had such an lasting impact that went on to effect my whole entire adult life.
The Post-Mortem determined that the cause of death was Ventricular Heart Failure.
My Father was born in 1934 in Malaya. He was the youngest of three children and I believe they lived a fairly wealthy life. Somewhere, in the boxes that are still piled high in my garage is a photo of the house that they lived in and I will add it here when I find it. It is an amazing property and a huge contrast to where I lived during my childhood.
There is a child missing in the family photo above. My father had another older sister who passed away from contracting TB. I was told that the house keepers, who lived in a small cottage on my grandparent’s land, had a daughter who was taken ill. My young aunt had gone to visit her and take some fresh fruit to the little girl. Sadly, she too caught the infectious disease and died soon after.
My father had already experienced an horrendous trauma at such a very young age.
As I write this now I have had the realisation that my father must have been older than 4 years old when he was detained in the POW camp because Singapore was taken in February 1942. Having a January birthday, would make him 8 years old.
He remained in the camp for 3 years.
My Grandfather was born in Scotland and was an engineer in the either the Navy or Merchant Navy and I believe his parents were tea planters. I have no idea where my Grandmother actually originated from but do know that she was a school teacher and had two brothers and two sisters whom were all very well educated. I was told that my family owned a small town in Malaya but I really don’t know how accurate this is!
They were living in Ipoh when Singapore fell.
I wonder now, if there are any descendants of my family still living in that area of the world?
I was blessed with having the chance to meet my Aunt Joan in 1996. I travelled with my husband and my 23 month old son for a four week holiday. It was an incredible journey being able to meet and spend time with my family on my father’s side. Joan was able to share some stories with me about their childhood and in particular, fragmented parts of their POW experience. I am sure that there was so much more information that my Aunt could have given me and I feel that she only scratched the surface with what she did share.
It was just too painful to revisit.
That was the only one time I met Joan and she passed away about 9 years ago.
I never met my Grandmother.
This is is Joan’s story;
My grandparents, Joan and my father were living in Malaya when the war broke and along with many other people, were evacuated by ship from Singapore. The ship came under attack and was bombed. forcing my family into life boats fighting for their survival. Joan shares in part, the scene of horror and devastation that her and my young father had witnessed. Surrounding them in the water were dead bodies, burning people, screaming cry’s for help-just utter chaos etc…
Joan recalls one memory of seeing a burning baby and how terribly that had affected my father after the event.
Some of the evacuee’s survived and made it to a near by island where they were taken care of by the local people for a few weeks. The Islanders took a huge risk in hiding my family, knowing that if they were caught harbouring them, they would be killed instantly. Eventually, they had to hand the evacuees’s over to the Japanese soldiers in order to save themselves and my grandparents, Joan and my father were taken to the prison camps.
I just can’t imagine how frightened they all must have been…
On arrival at the camps and during the separation period of men and women, my grandfather lied about my father’s age in order for him to be allowed to stay with his mother and sister.
The family were separated.
My father never saw his father again.
My Aunt didn’t really say much about the camps but what she did share, was enough for me to understand the mental and emotional damage that was inflicted on my father at such a young age.
My grandmother Alice used to grind banana skins down into powder and give it to my Father for the nutritional benefit as food was not of the plenty and he was the youngest. Joan tells of women being raped openly and that the children would watch. Men were beaten daily and left for dead, some actually not surviving the beatings. If the children disobeyed, a swift punch to the stomach was a familiar punishment, especially the boys.
These were the experiences that were shaping my father as a young boy and his view of the world and also later as he became a man.
Whilst in the camp, my father learn’t to trade items to get different things that they needed. Joan told me how at times he would take risks trading with particular guards and through doing so, he learnt to speak some Japanese.
As a child, he taught me how to say the rhyme ‘Hickory Dickory Dock’ in Japanese.
I guess you can come to your own conclusion about how a traumatic past can effect a person’s mind. I know that for my father, he went on to repeat the patterns of behaviour that he had learned from such a young age, inflicting it on his own children.
He used aggression and violence to control when he felt so out of control.
He used punching my eldest brother in the stomach as a form of punishment, seemingly for no reason but to apply force when he couldn’t contain his own demons.
He stole my Mothers jewellery and traded it for other people’s medication to feed his own habit.
He would pull my trousers down, hold my hands behind my back and slap my legs until it would sting as a reminder, not do do the very thing I was being punished for, again.
He would force us to eat every scrap on our dinner plate, telling us how lucky we were to have food because so many others didn’t.
And… my Mother told me years ago that when he wanted another child he enforced it.
Saying no to him wasn’t really an option.
The prospect of going home again scared them. They couldn’t imagine how they could ever settle to it. How they could just walk around the streets and pretend to be normal, look women in the eye again after what they had done and seen, ride on trams, sit at a table with a white cloth, and control their hands and just slowly eat. It was the little things that scared them. The big things you could hide in. It was little ones that gave a man away.” ― David Malouf
I have no recollection of what happened and it was sometime later that I found out my Father was at my Godmothers house when he made the call to us.
I wonder what they talked about?
I wonder if Aunty Barbara was able to console him?
I wonder if she held him just for a moment so that he knew he was loved?
I wonder what was going through his haggard mind?
He had lost everything, his wife, his children, his self respect-his mind…
At some stage, either that day or the next, my brothers went home to collect some belonging’s for us.
This is their account of what happened;
They awoke the sleeping Giant when going upstairs and his rage was tenfold. My father tried to stop my brother Ashley taking clothes from my bedroom and demanded to know where we were. He refused his fathers enforcing and all hell broke out.
The dog was going crazy once again, confused as to whom he should protect and somehow during the eruption, the younger of my two brothers, who was only 17, had his head jammed in-between my wardrobe sliding door by our father.
A scene of commotion.
My brothers have said that he would have killed them to get to us.
They escaped the house and took the dog with them.
Everything that he had ever loved was gone and now his home was not his home, it was his external prison too.
An unbearable prison.
During a conversation with my Mother not so long ago, she added another layer to the story that was kept from me for many years. On entering the house, my brothers were hit with the stench of gas. My father had opened the oven door, left the gas on and gone upstairs to lay down.
I have no words to describe the pain that is inside of me now that must have been inside of him at that very moment, to arrive at a place in his life where he believed he could no longer live.
I felt that feeling for a split second some time ago when driving home one day in floods of angry tears. The thought crossed my mind at how easy it would be to drive the car at speed off of the downs and end all of the overwhelming inner turmoil that had been plaguing my life for so long.
Just for a split second…
and I reached out for help.
Depression, drugs, trauma, loss, grief, devastation, abuse, loneliness, self disgust and anything else you can throw into his dark pot, had WON the emotional and personal battle that he was fighting.
It didn’t take much for my Father to find out where we were staying and I am surprised that he didn’t come to the house and smash the front door down.
He wasn’t the kind of man to follows rules and I think he had finally broken.
Going to school that Monday morning wasn’t really an option because of the severity of our situation and I remember quite distinctly, what I was given for breakfast;
Scrambled egg with ketchup.
“Go on eat it up, it’ll do you good to get something in your stomach and stop all that worrying, worrying won’t get you anywhere.”
Said the friend!
I had never tasted it before and I really didn’t like it-so I didn’t eat it.
The phone rang. It was my Father asking to speak to my Mother and that look upon her face returned… the one that she momentarily, had a reprieve from.
I can see clearly in my minds eye, her standing there holding the phone up to her ear. Words are coming out of her mouth and I can not hear what she is saying… but I do know that she denied his begging for us to go home.
He asked to speak to me and she handed the phone over and this time, was the very last time I heard his voice.
Hello darling, it’s me Dad.
Please come home I can’t live without you and Mum.
Please Shellie, please… it won’t happen again!
I’ll get help.
I don’t want to hurt you or Mum, she won’t listen to me just come home.
He was sobbing.
I was sobbing.
I didn’t know what to say, I had no words, just tears, uncontrollable tears, I could have drowned in them.
I couldn’t breathe… my father was pleading with me to come home and I could hear his desperation.
I could feel it…
His words were clear,
he was coherent,
he was present.
I told him that I was scared and sorry but I couldn’t come home.
There was silence-even though we were crying together and then he told me that he loved me and followed with, “I will always love you, you are my everything.”
I hear her sleeping, gasping at the air and check her several times through the night; mouth wide open, face matured, skin anemic.
My Mother is 84 and desperately wants to stay alive and for someone who has such a strong Catholic faith, she is also so afraid to die.
Four weeks ago she had a hip replacement and what a trial it was/is and I have been caring for her in my home, whilst she is convalescing-hence no time to write.
I pick up the pieces of other people’s lives so well normally, but right now I want to run a mile (yet again) and I know that must sound very selfish of me!
After all, how many years was she at my beck and call during my childhood.
It is my duty.
I haven’t really introduced my Mother properly throughout my writing and I wonder why? It just feels difficult to write about her, like I’m pushing against something rather than allowing the words to flow so this is going to be a very short post and maybe in time my words with regards to her, will become easier to write.
Our relationship has always been somewhat tumultuous and as a teenager, I longed for the day that I could leave home at 18 and be free of her parental constraints and pretty much feel the same way now as life has become overwhelming.
She would be devastated if she knew that I felt this way.
For me, there has always been an under current feeling of resentment that I felt, she had for me with regards to the love I shared with my Father. Once, during my teenage years and after his passing, I was trying hard to defend him in an argument and she told me that he was ‘obsessed’ with me and that I really didn’t know what kind of man he truly was…
The hurling of angry remarks about him were both painful and confusing.
My mother was born in Bedford and is the eldest of three siblings whom she practically raised until she turned 16 and life was very hard for them all. The relationship she had with my Grandmother was flawed to say the very least and I can only ever remember meeting her twice before her death in 1995/96 (can’t actually remember the year to be precise). What I do remember though, is seeing her lifeless body in the Chapel of Rest on the morning of her funeral. My Grandmother was a tiny lady and her skin looked very orange due to the fact it was late to view the body and also the undertakers, trying their best to make my Grandmother look more presentable for my Mother and I.
I looked very closely, trying to feel some emotion for a lady that I knew I should feel something for, but there was nothing-just compassion for a woman that once had lived.
My Mother cried.
There have been many recollections that she has shared with me over the years that have painted a childhood full of anguish, shame and poverty.
Mum still washes her whites by hand today having been humiliated at school by the Nuns for bringing in a dirty, grey looking hand towel for cookery.
How our past experiences effect our present life?
My parents met on a blind date in Somerset arranged by a mutual friend. At the end of the evening my father declared that he would marry my mother to which she replied, ‘Your mad!’ and sure enough, 6 months later, they were married.
I stare at this wall with crumbling stone the hard texture stares back at me I can not see a way through it seems impossible A crack appears a tiny space of light and if I pull each side the stone may fall or at least loosen It seems a mammoth task albeit the strength I think I have my arms are weak my body is tired my mind consumed I close my eyes and imagine a mighty gust a powerful force rising up from the earth and with one fair bash the wall is loosened if I dare to dream the wall may fall
I don’t recall the small moments of time that Sunday morning but I do remember that something finally snapped mentally for my Mother as she couldn’t take it anymore.
It was time to leave...
Years of her life had been spent nursing a mentally ill husband and saving him from the brink of life, time and time again.
Years of aggression, physical abuse and living in fear had ruptured her ownheart and mind and she was at the point of no return.
I can’t say exactly what happened during the course of the morning, I just remember my Mother’s friend arriving at some stage, to take us away.
I so want to tell you that I went into my sleeping father and kissed him once more, whispered I love you in his ear, told him I was sorry for leaving him like that but I don’t think I did!
I can’t remember…
I want to remember…
I just recall feeling sick and frightened, with my stomach in knots as we drove away.
She left our dog behind.
The lady that came to rescue us seemed to be quite harsh in her approach towards us fleeing without looking back. I never warmed to her coldness throughout my younger years and I remember her disliking my father. She too had broken away from an abusive marriage and her response to my mothers anxious and somewhat guilt ridden demeanour for leaving him, was both matter of fact and resolute.
She was a survivor and layer upon layer of personal pain was striving her forward to get us out whilst the sick man was drugged.
She called the police.
The safe house was about a ten minute car drive away from where we lived and I felt completely out of sorts being there. It was uncomfortable and felt awkward.
After all it was her house not mine.
I wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed.
I wanted it all to stop and not to feel afraid anymore.
I wanted my Dad to be okay and not be sick.
I wanted my brothers to come and be with me.
I felt so afraid and so alone.
The police came and my mother gave her statement, her friend, driving home the fact that my father was dangerous.
I am beginning to realise now, how angry I still feel about ‘the friend’ and the role she played. I know she came to my mother’s rescue and yes, it was the right thing to do.
Of course it was…
I am grateful even if you think I’m not, they just never protected me from hearing their cruel yet honest words.
I was taking it all in deeply and damagingly.
My father was served notice of an injunction, restraining him from coming anywhere near us.
I have been running from this sadness for so long now and have felt too paralysed to work on my writing this past week. Some days I just wander in my mind looking for a safe place to rest but seemingly, it’s proving more difficult
I have to keep writing through it.
On the anniversary of my fathers passing I desperately want to acknowledge him and give meaning to his life as no other person ever does.
Nobody… and I feel very sad about that.
Was he that insignificant? Did he really matter to anyone? Was his life that unimportant?
If you were to ask my brothers to tell you the date of their father’s death, they wouldn’t have a clue and my Mother always needs reminding.
The date goes unnoticed.
Most years I remember him in silence but this year I wrote a Facebook status which came completely out of the blue.
If there was a direct telephone line that could reach him now, I would choose to hear him speaking softly to me and listen carefully to the sound of his voice, savouring every moment. I would ask him how his day has been and tell him about mine. I would spend the time laughing with him and sharing the simple things I know he’d love to hear… and I’d love him just that little bit more.
We must never underestimate the power of un-resolved grief. Its a burden to carry for sure and one that is so heavy for me to this very day.
Even though I was very afraid of my father, my love for him is evident.
“The prisoner, having reached the depth of his depression, gradually reawakens to the life around him. He licks himself and his wounded pride, opens his eyes, and finds that far away on the horizon there is still a ray of sunlight left.” – P. H. Newman
There was no ray of sunshine left for my father, in-fact his mind was far, far away and damaged beyond all comprehensibility.
I stood staring at the door.
Fight or flight at its finest…
I looked towards my Mother for some sort of reassurance, but she had none to give. How could she? She was going out of her mind with fear. Those few seconds felt like pandemonium in my frightened little mind, not knowing what to do next. It was the ultimate of dilemas;
Open the door and she might die?
Stay where I was, relatively safe and he might die!
There was still no sound at all from the outside of our room and it was eerily quiet. With every ounce of courage I could muster up, I pulled the door open.
My father was lying naked and completely out of it, having collapsed on the bathroom floor.
I don’t know why he was naked!
I thought he was dead and my mother’s natural nursing instincts kicked in ready to save his life and she checked for his breathing.
Not this time.
He was still breathing.
It was my first experience of seeing the male anatomy and I had no time to feel shock or embarrassment.
It seemed insignificant.
And yet it was significant for the 13 year old, who was too young to witness that.
The drugs were taking there toll on my fathers body and he was an absolute mess. His head was floppy and rolling from one side to the other and his face looked blown up with being so swollen. His hair was grey and looked frantic and his belly was solid with bloated-ness.
This was my Dad.
This was the poor, fractured little boy with his ravaged mind living in the sick body of a grown up man.
All these things and yet none of them too.
He never ever left the prison camp.
His mind became his own prison.
My mother said his name loudly several times trying to rouse him into standing up and together we hauled his massive body upwards and he would slump back down again.
He was a big, heavy man.
Eventually he began muttering a slurry of nonsense words in his heavily confused state and we managed to get him up on his feet. He was able to take some of his own weight and we walked him to my bedroom.
My Father laid down on my bed and my Mother covered him up.
I kissed his cheek and left him to sleep.
That was the last time I saw him alive.
How I wish with all my heart that I held him tight that early Sunday morning and whispered ‘I love you Dad’ in his ear.
To love a person is to see all of their magic and to remind them of it when they have forgotten.
there is a space in between
a quiet place
the stillness is laden with sorrow
the sadness of
what could have been
and the reality of
who am I now
is a question that I ask
on this merry go round of
a fragmented life
am I lost in the stillness
can the sorrow be released
am I bold enough to own my beauty
and serve the sorrow
oh how my playing with words
can free this weary mind
for a while
and breathe life
on to my plain paper
A tenacious Spirit
A joyous moment
I could hear him banging around in the kitchen preparing his next available powerful supressant, those tiny little pills that took him some place else.
I don’t remember if he made his sandwich that night!
My mother was shaking, colour drained from her face, terrified he was going to come back into the room and finish what he started. She literally didn’t know what to do with herself and must have felt like a trapped animal.
I know I did.
The front door to the street was closer to us than him and we could have made a run for it but we didn’t.
I realise now how strong and brave the 13 year old part of me was.
At that point there was no question of leaving him. My mother had always taken her vows seriously;
In sickness and in health.
He was a sick man, she was a trained nurse and you never leave a sick patient.
My father took himself off up stairs and I can’t seem to recall exactly what happened next but I do remember him telling me that he would sleep in my bed and I was to sleep in with Mum. It would safer for us.
He looked directly into my eyes and said;
“Lock the door and keep it locked. Barricade it if you have to because if you don’t I will kill your Mother.”
He must have passed out because it went quiet for a short while.
My Mother and I were in seperate beds in my parents bedroom. I just remember feeling sick in my stomach absolutely terrified and I know its a word that I have used consistently throughout my writing but its true, I was terrified. We couldn’t sleep through fear of him breaking down the door to get to her and it felt like there was no way out. We were trapped and waiting once again for the onslaught.
As the night went on there was movement outside of the bedroom door, I think he was in and out of the bathroom and his drugged up condition created his drunken-like stupor.
We didn’t sleep.
I don’t remember us talking much either.
I wonder now, where my dog was?
Again, I wanted to run to get help, get out of there but I couldn’t.
I couldn’t go through that door.
Remember the door–the metaphor for my life.
I have been stuck behind that Door for 38 fucking years.
The hours seemed endless, waiting for the sun to rise and for him to be less agitated. My hope was that things would look different in the morning and that he would be different too. Maybe sorry for his actions and willing to get some help for his addiction.
We all needed so much help but no one was coming to help us.
In the early hours of the morning a mighty loud crash came from the other side of the wall where the bathroom was.
I sat bolt upright and got out of bed. Creeping quietly towards the wall, I pressed my ear gently against it fearful of him knowing that we were awake.
I couldn’t hear anything.
Neither of us knew what had happened and I remember distinctly that my bladder needed emptying.
I feel compelled to write about a little girl I know who lost her Daddy suddenly, nearly a year ago.
This morning, she is unable to access the outside world because grief is her opponent and grief is winning.
She sits on the sofa with her pet dog, wrapped in soft blankets. To the left of her, close by are her Dad’s ashes – which, she says with slight confusion, are much smaller than the ashes of Fidget! Her recently deceased, much loved pussy cat.
She is 12 years old.
Her strength has the capacity to withstand the mightiest of storms. Her wit can enthrall an audience of listeners and her smile lights up the darkest of rooms and yet…
her heart is fractured.
Over the years, her survival techniques have pushed the closet of people away, often hurting them to release some of the burden that she carried. At times she unacceptably played the role of scapegoat when other children could do no wrong.
Trying to find a way back from the self destruction was so terribly difficult for her and although she longed to be accepted and forgiven, the path was somewhat difficult.
She really didn’t want to hurt others… just to show them how much she was hurting.
The pattern became familiar until it was a safe pattern of knowing and by that I mean she knew how to fill up other people’s convincer strategies of who she was and what she was about.
It really wasn’t true.
This child with her fractured heart is hurting and there aren’t enough words to describe the pain that she is in.
I feel the depth of an unforgiving, relentless and unbearable grief that she is carrying and trying to make sense of. I know that there are questions that she will be asking internally that can not be answered now, but still she carries them. There are days when the world forgets about this little girl and her struggles and I guess that is just a part of life.
Life carries on.
Grief carries on.
When a child loses a parent their whole experience of the world changes. When the death is sudden, no time to say goodbye, no time for a last hug, cuddle, giggle, sharing of stories, anything.
Just left with an ocean of overwhelming loss.
To the education system who lack the knowledge of how to help these children emotionally, day to day within their school life, please take the time to train your staff appropriately. Give them the tools that are so desperately needed to assist these kids.
To the education system who refuses to understand that there are days when these children cannot and will not be able to access the school day because grief will take over.
Let them be children who need time to grieve not an attendance statistic.
To all you Mums and Dads out there that are struggling with loss, please please know that you are doing an amazing job and ask for help if you need it. The earlier the intervention, the more a child can begin to work through and begin to process the trauma.
I am so very proud to know you and I am grateful to be able to walk alongside you and your Mum throughout your journey. Thank you for re-connecting with me and allowing a certain trust to begin to build between us. You are the most resilient child that I know and one day you too will rise up and show the world who you truly are.
With taking his evening medication, my father would sprinkle salt on two slices of bread and butter and then make them into a sandwich.
Who does that?
His days were spent in terrible physical pain and his night’s were plagued with horrendous nightmares – the kind that forced his body into a soaking wet sweat. That’s where the drugs came in and did their job of knocking him out into an unconcious state, often appearing dead with a cold and bluish complexion.
I wonder where he travelled in his sleep?
I wonder if he ever was able to access peace beyond the realms of being awake?
I hope so.
I have painted such a bad picture of the man I called my father and that’s not really the truth of it all. He was a good man and a very sick man, that’s the paradox. There is so much to write about him and the pain he must have endured as a child, also the rejection he sufferred from trying to tell his story and having it ignored.
Maybe that’s why it is so important for me to tell mine!
The atrocities he experienced from the age of 4 until 7 in a prisoner of war camp scarred his young mind and was enough to damage his life and the lives of the peoplehe loved. There have been many times when I have felt so desperate to see him again – to hold him close and tell him that I understand, tell him that I love him so much and tell him its okay.
I don’t know if he is resting?
He deserves to rest…
You see, we all have the power to judge another as my father was judged by his family, doctors, neighbours etc… everyone had something to say but never really gave him the time to begin to wonder why he behaved the way he did or even to try and unravel his pain.
I give people time to unravel.
I guess in that day and age it was just easier to shut him up with medication and send him on his way which ultimately, killed his body.
I can never justify his actions but I can always choose love over hate and ignorance.
The doctor that plied my father with drugs was stuck off some years later. He was well known for over prescribing medications for his patients.
It’s 1.54am in the morning and I have been lying here for the past two hours unable to sleep and thought I would write about my eventful day yesterday.
I was booked in for a Hysteroscopy and arrived at the day surgery ward at 11.10am feeling fairly relaxed and ready to get it over with. The booking in clerk told me that I was last on the list and added that it was going to be a long afternoon’s wait.
Armed with 3 second hand Hellomagazines and an iphone, I was directed to my designated cubicle for the duration.
And what a long day it was…
Three nurses along with a healthcare assistant ran the show absolutely rushed off their feet all day long. Different uniformed people flowed in and out of the ward but the nurses (and their voices) were the faces that became familiar throughout the day.
The first check I had was the normal blood pressure, temperature, questions etc and of course the‘tagging’ to make sure they operate on the right person and the right bit of my body!
This nurse started her shift at 6.45am.
An hour or so later and 3 magazines done (I only like the pictures) the Anesthetist came and had a chat. Throughout the conversation and the legal warnings that have to be said, he constantly held the cheekiest smile upon his face. It seems that any given moment he could have burst out laughing which in turn made me smile and banter along with him.
I signed his consent form.
Next came the Gynecologist who wasn’t the consultant named on my admittance form and with him two trainee doctors. He was tall and slim with a wispy grey moustache wearing all beige. My friend katie and I have a long standing joke between us that whilst she chooses vibrant exciting colours, I go for, and in her very own words ‘beige dear‘ time and time again. It always makes us laugh so I figured that was a good sign.
I signed his consent form too.
It wasn’t too long after the beige man’s visit that the young trainee doctor returned with a request. He asked if it would be okay to examine me?
“What right now?”
His face coloured a little red and he replied with a;
“No! I mean when you are in the operating theatre.”
I asked him why and he explained that after the Gynecologist had completed his task, he would like to take a look too and that it would help him to learn. The young man looked around the age of 19 I’m not kidding and I proceeded to ask him what year of learning he was currently in and he replied year 4.
Anything in the form of education is a must from my belief so I agreed and signed yet another consent form.
One by one the patients on the list were taken away. It used to be that you would undress in your cubicle, put your theatre gown on and hop up on to the wheeled bed.
Oh how things have changed…
With an aching back and numb bum through all of the sitting around, my time finally came.
Yet again, more of the same questions just to treble check and then a lovey nurse led me down to the theatre by foot; porter and trolley in hot persuit behind us.
After stripping off and gowning up I was then allowed to get on to my bed and was pushed in to see the happy anesthetist.
At this point, I stop smiling and so did he – things aren’t so funny anymore!
I look away as he attempts his first cannula in my right hand;
“Sharp scratch” he says, “nothing to worry about” and then, “oh no its ruptured.”
The anesthetist has another go in my right arm and the flow of fluid is incorrect, so it has to be taken out. His third attempt is in my left hand and after much banging and squeezing and the use of a tourniquet, fails.
At this point my legs had started to shake uncontrolably and I was freezing cold.
The not so smiley anesthetist begins his fourth attempt when the theatre nurse politely reminds him that he is not allowed to try again as he fumbles at my arm suggesting it will be fine and we all need to calm down.
Protocol is three attempts and then call for a consultant anesthetist.
Another one is called and my whole body is now shaking.
I started to breathe deeply trying desperately to calm myself down because at this point I was super anxious about what was happening. My body seemed to be disconnected from my mind for a period of time as I struggled to control the shaking even though I knew that it was totally possible to get myself in to a relaxed state.
I just couldn’t calm down. My old familiar friend fear, took over…
Two more people arrived in the tiny room so that made six altogether. They were talking amoungst themselves about the problem and how they were going to manage me.
“Her veins are very weak,” was one comment, we could try…. and at that point the shaking at risen to my whole face with my teeth unable to keep up with the rythym of the rest of my body. They tried to keep me warm by laying a warm blanket over my feet.
Just my feet if I may add and it appeared heavy and uncomfortable so I asked them to remove it.
Did they forget about the rest of my body?
The Consultant Anesthetist spoke very calmly and whilst rubbing my right arm. He stated that everybody in the room needed to calm down especially me and at that it was all fine, he will get the cannula in no problem.
At this point I was ready to run.
Remember! I am a runner it’s my normal pattern of trying to escape – I couldn’t run anywhere I just had to stay and face to onset of massive fear. I prayed silently in my head yet again and hoped that someone was on call to help me and I attempted to surrender the fear over to anyone who was willing to take it from me; God, Dad even Alan.
Was anybody on call that day?
This smooth dark skinned, soft speaking anesthetist had three goes and this time in my left arm twice, with his last attempt in my left foot (the nurse told me that this one would sting a little more than the others).
Really!!! Do you think?
And what a surprise, none of the cannula’s were successful.
This man suggested that the ONLY other way of getting the cannula is was to insert it into my NECK to which I told him directly NO WAY you are not touching my neck.
At this point my vocal chords had kicked in. I told them all that I believed that everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason was that I wasn’t mean’t to have this operation at this point in time. The anesthetist replied with; “that’s a great way at looking at things,” – Oh please…
I also told them that I was freezing and that fact wasn’t helping me as my whole boy shook in front of them.
A few suggestions were made with a few other’s in disagreement and I said loudly that if they can’t do it the normal way then I was leaving and they could wheel me back to the ward.
So in comes the number 3 consultant anesthetist (not sure whether his title should have capital letter’s or not?) because at this stage I was losing the will to live… get me outta here! He brought with him another Dr, male nurse or even another ANESTHETIST – who bloody knows who the extra male person is at this point because I didn’t, he wasn’t introduced.
That makes 8 medical’s in the room now.
This man was stockier than the others and had a bald head. He said in a competent loud foreign accent; “Hello there, whats all this fuss about then?”
I politely told him that this was the last attempt (number 7) that any one of them was going to have, as they clearly can not sort the problem out and I’d had enough. He agreed with me and asked if it was okay to try just one more time?
Holding back the tears, I agreed.
The man who came in with him, held my right arm very tightly in a downward direction whilst the anesthetist put his glasses on. I gasped a sigh of relief due to the fact that he was the only one wearing glasses and told the the audience of medical staff and they all laughed.
Glad I could oblige.
He used an Ultra Scan machine to try and find an appropriate vein.
“Ahh!” he said, “a big beautiful vein” and the man who came in with him tied a tournaquet around the arm and the bald headed anesthetist pushed the cannula in with success.
You see! (literally) It was all about the glasses…
I was in that little room for about 45 minutes before they were able to sedate me and after the operation, my eyes were already in tears before I opened them in recovery.
Bless the male nurse who looked after me in the recovery room who confirmed that I’d had a rough time in there… and that it was all over now. He gave me a sip of water and a mouthful of Oramorph.
After what seemed about only ten minutes, I was wheeled back to where my day had begun and given two bits of dry toast on a plate with some butter and a knife.
Looking back now, I am sure that if they had just placed the warm blanket on my arm for a while a nice vein would have been ready for the impending cannula. When my father in-law was going through his chemo treatment the nurse always warmed his arm first because she found it difficult to get the cannula in so the warming up process served a great purpose.
I wonder if any lessons weren’t learn’t that day by the medical staff?
Maybe they all need to get there eyes tested might be one of them?
The nurse that booked me in, in the morning was the same nurse that signed me out in the evening and at that point her shift was 13.5 hours long.
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live – Norman Cousins
Its cold outside today.
The weather has changed considerably.
The house that nobody wanted became our family home.
Unlucky for some – unlucky for us.
Its not a case of luck really! The truth is that the families that lived within it’s walls, experienced such loss and sadness.
I’m not sure why my parents chose to move across the road and my guess is that the house was semi detached instead of mid-terraced. It was still a two bedroom property and we were a family of five (well seven if you include the dog and cat).
The previous tennants were a couple with two teenage boys and tragically one of the boys aged 17 died of suffocation in the upstairs airing cupboard. I have no idea how the tragedy happened and I didn’t find out about it until I was a young adult.
Knowing about the poor boy, escalated my fears of being alone in the house.
Number 13 stood empty for a while and it seemed that no other council tennants were remotely interested in making it their home accept for my parents of course!
And why not? You couldn’t get more of a religious, complete hypocrite of an un-Christian like father such as ours who would override any decision that wasn’t his.
But preach he did…
And listen we didn’t!
My father and Godfather separated the larger of the two bedrooms by erecting a false wall with a sliding door. I had the first small room which my brothers had to walk through to get to their room where the airing cupboard was housed. I remember them having bunk beds, a wardbrobe and an old dark wooden chest of drawers. The room was small, especially for two boys. When they were teenagers, my mother found a box full of condoms (un-opened packets) under the bottom bunk when she was doing the housework and I recall her being mortified to think that they may actually be having sex with their girlfriends. Feeling embarrassed, she never mentioned it. Well not to them anyway and personally, I think that it was incredibly responsible of them both.
My bedroom was small too – it seems we were cheated of space. I had a single wardbrobe, a small bed and a scruffy wooden toy box full of old jumble sale toys. The wall between the rooms was so thin that it was like being in the same space together and I often heard my brothers whispering to one another. I wondered what they were saying…
Little did I know how significant my bedroom would become in years to follow.
There are many difficult memories attached to living in the house that nobody wanted and I have often remarked that I couldn’t careless if it burnt down just as long as no one was harmed.
Writing all things difficult can take its toll and in particular this week, I have struggled and edited this post several times. So I’d like to share a fond childhood memory that warms my heart.
My brothers and I played a game of Mr & Mrs, talking through the wall whilst laying in our beds late one evening. The game show was popular on the television in the 70’s and our parents used to watch it and we copied the idea, asking each other silly questions. We were supposed to be going to sleep and I must have been quite young possibly, under the age of 10 but old enough to remember that we had to speak quietly in order not to wake the sleeping dragon. I remember the laughter we shared that night and the feeling that my brothers had included me in a game. That’s quite significant because of the age gap between us – it wasn’t a normal thing that we did. Something tells me that it had been a difficult evening in the house with our father and they were trying to alleviate my being scared as I was unable to sleep.
I am so grateful for my brothers.
I understand who they are 💙
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
The force that stormed through the door was untamed.
He was a mad man.
The man I loved unconditionally and yet feared unlike any other human being alive, arrived with the big black case in hand.
Remember the case?
I froze – engulfed in terror, my mother a couple of feet behind me and to be specific, she stood in the right hand corner at the back of the front room.
I was her shield.
Like it was okay?
The dog was going crazy, barking in a frenzy of confusion running in all directions. He was my father’s dog and very much loved.
The mad man – hair messed, face contorted, eyes wide with RAGE started bellowing at my mother and the only thing I remember is;
“I’m going to kill you.”
and he hurled the big black hard sided case with such force, across the room at Her and as she threw herself out of the way, her screams of begging and pleading went un-noticed by any person outside.
It was a near miss.
Smashing against the wall.
The dreadful volume of noise – shouting – screaming – crying – barking – it was utter chaos.
I can still hear the hysterical cries from her and the fury filled shouting from him – I began pleading with him, begging him to stop, telling him I was scared, using his love for me to try and persuade him to calm down;
“If you love me Dad then please, please stop!”
I was in my very own nightmare and needed help. I couldn’t get him to stop and physically I didn’t have the strength to hold on for much longer. The situation escalated as he kicked the dog out the way and started to push me back and walk in her direction so I threw my arms around him, hugging him, telling him I loved him, sobbing; my feet slipping on the carpet as I pushed back as much as I could.
I tried I really tried hard; I pushed back
and prayed frantically, with speed, in my head to a God that I believed was there.
He was there, wasn’t he?
Then something changed – slowly, he began to calm down and as I held on to him for dear life, he demanded to know where his drugs were. My mother told him as he prized my arms from around him and walked out of the room.
I prayed every day as a child.
For my father –
What is this love this powerful force This energy of love Can strip the volatile naked to reveal a truth not often seen Rage can hide behind love and fear behind the rage Fear is the truth that rage will not speak Love is the gentle dance to heal a broken heart
I read on another blog that people aren’t really interested in reading your story unless you are giving them something back and I have been throwing myself the ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ line – (that’s an old pattern)
I’ve given back my entire life.
It has taken me years, literally years to do this and yes, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking for any feedback, acknowledgement, healing – of course I am. Isn’t everyone who chooses to open themselves up when writing a personal blog? I have also read numerous times that there is a book in everyone and yes, I want to write a book. Will this be the content? Who know’s… but for me it’s a start in my writing something down even if this get’s lost in a sea of a million other personal, painful life experiences.
I can offer so much.
I can and will teach other’s how to change their live’s through writing and speaking – it’s my life’s work my purpose for being and right now I am allowing my inner children to speak freely without judgement (from me) for they have been suffocating slowly, for many years.
Blogging is very new to me and I find WordPress quite difficult. I am still learning about tags and categories and some would say that it should be self explanatory but it’s not for me! I know that I also need to learn about copyrights and quoting others – what I can and can’t do.
This is my journey.
I am grateful for this space and I am grateful for anyone who read’s my story so I will ride the waves of not feeling good enough and see where it takes me…
To be more childlike, you don't have to give up being an adult. The fully integrated person is capable of being both an adult and a child simultaneously. Recapture the childlike feelings of wide-eyed excitement, spontaneous appreciation, cutting loose, and being full of awe and wonder at this magnificent universe. - Dr Wayne Dyer
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
We lived at number 26 Jellicoe Road until I was 4 years old.
My recollections of that house are small in comparison to what I remember of number 13 which was situated opposite.
26, had a large front room which housed an old gas fire. The kind with the off yellow tiled herth and brass coloured, extendable fire screen. In later years, I would use that screen along with an old sheet and pillows to make a house.
The kitchen sink was white and seemed huge. Nowadays, a sink that people would pay good money for. The significance of it being huge could be connected to a memory of my eldest brother having his mouth washed out with soap by my father. I have a movie in motion – in my mind of Paul being dragged kicking and screaming towards that huge sink by a huge and scary Daddy.
Paul is 7 years older than me.
Poor, poor little boy. What pain he must have endured.
In the hallway by the kitchen was an understairs cupboard and Paul told me some years back that the old man used to lock him in there after a beating.
Mum said she knew nothing about it!
A REJECTION on both counts – parents are supposed to love and protect you.
Upstairs, the floor boards were dark in colour with a few rugs scattered here and there and I remember at some point a large train set being laid out on my brothers floor.
Another vivid memory of living in number 26 is of me having a bath with another little girl who was wailing loudly in utter protest. Our Mother’s were the best of friends and we attended ballet lessons together. The girl had an adopted brother who lived, detatched from their house in a kind of shed-like room and as I grew older when we visited, I knew that was very wrong. He was left out in the cold (literally) and always presented with ill health. Both mother and daughter communicated abruptly to the boy and his obvious exclusion was heartbreaking to watch. I felt sad about the boy who lived outside and I remember asking my Mother why?
There was never a definitive answer.
Even at such a young age, I felt a deep connection for other’s and the natural desire to help them.
Maybe our parents belonged to the, ‘it’s acceptable to abuse children club’ or even, ‘it’s okay to turn a blind eye club’- maybe it was fashionable in the 70’s?
I am choosing to be human in this present moment as I write using sarcasim and a certain defiance. As a therapist I have the skills to look beyond their collective behaviour and begin to understand the reasons why so much abuse was delivered. Of course there is always more to a story and every person that I write about here has their own past that shaped who they became and how they behaved.
For now – just for now, I am tired of being the one that understands, the one that justify’s the one that clarify’s…
It was moving day. I was riding my blue and yellow, hard wheeled little bicycle along the pavement dinging my Magic Roundabout bell. I remember my father hollering at me to STOP because I was heading straight for the road.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
My daughter was invited last minute, to a sleepover last night.
Driving home after drop off, I could feel the anxiety slowly building inside. Just the thought of staying on my own in the house all night long was enough to set an old, out of date, pattern off – Full swing.
I pulled the blinds and shut the curtains in the whole house; the evening was still so bright.
I shut the doors to the bedrooms, dining room and kitchen leaving a space that felt enclosed and safe.
I live in a bungalow.
I turned the light’s on in the hallway, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, lounge and my bedroom.
They remained on all night.
Unable to open the windows for air, the heat from the summer evening was unbearable so I stripped off naked and stayed that way until 2.55 am having watched 6 parts of “Thirteen Reasons Why.”
Sleep was not an option until I could no longer keep my eyes open.
When I was a child I can remember going through a stage of being very frightened to go to sleep in the dark. My father was strict and there was a ‘no nonsense‘ rule at bedtime“or else!” – after saying our prayers I would wrap myself up in my thick yellow eiderdown, leaving a tiny whole to breathe.
Then I would pray some more.
please forgive me for the sins that I have committed please keep Mummy Daddy Paul and Ashley safe don't let anything happen to them please take this itching down below away thank you
I had the most horrendous internal irritation when I was small. It seems like I endured it for a very long time. I tried with every effort to describe it to my Mother and the Doctor and being so little, neither seemed to understand it or me.
That prayer was recited for many years, well into adulthood. I literally could not; not say it, just incase!
My Mother worked at a local factory five nights a week for 10 years.
I was 3 years old when she started.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
My mother and I were sat watching the televison when there was a loud hammering on the door.
As a small child, Saturday was my favourite day of the week . After doing the weekly shop, we would go to Woolworths and buy a big bag of sweets to devour whilst watching tv. I can remember so clearly, standing on tip toes to reach up to the carousel of pick a mix, foraging for the toffees with the curly white centre’s and throwing back the ones that didn’t fit the necessary criteria.
Mum was oblivious to the fact that I was stealing and I would pop them in my pocket for later. Lord only knows (a term she often used) what my father would have done if he had caught me stealing!
Years later, Saturday’s were no longer my favourite days.
The hammering came from our neighbour who so graciously accepted the role of emergency contact. She relayed an urgent message from the hospital.
And boy!! Was it an emergency?(well for us it was.)
The nurse on duty had called to warn my mother that my father had discharged himself and was on his way home and said that he was in an highly agitated state.
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) teaches us about states.
The drugs had created a ‘come down’ reaction and his addiction was pushing his body for more.
There was more at home…
He walked the nearby streets in his dressing gown and slippers, carrying a large old black rectangle suitcase-the kind where if you pushed the side in causing a slight dent, then the dent could easily be pushed back out from the inside. I’m not quite sure the relevance of writing that part-maybe the case with a story attached, may have found its way into someone’s vintage collection by now.
I remember his dressing gown, burgundy and grey checked with a tassled ended belt and I wonder now, what passers by would have possibly thought?
We were absolutely terrified, waiting for the grenade to go off and feeling paralysed, unable to run.
UNABLE TO RUN… I’ve always been a runner!
The fear was so intense that there isn’t a word in my vocabulary to describe what I was feeling.
My mother hid his drugs and we waited.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
In 1981 we didn’t have a home telephone. My mother used to walk to the nearest telephone box if ever she needed to make a call and quite often on a Sunday evening, she would call her younger brother who lived in Bedford.
Uncle Kevin (christened Kavin) will always hold a very special place in my heart. I only got to see him twice a year; once when we would travel up to Bedford for a week and then the other was in the Summer when he would bring my two cousins down to the Island for a holiday.
Those times were some of my happiest of childhood memories.
Kevin was virtually blind in one eye, walked with a limp and always smelled of the most delicious, expensive aftershave. Bedtime, was just the most fun with him telling us silly stories and ryhmes. He seemed to have an abundance of material to use and improvised effortlessly.
I can still hear him now, singing one in particular that always made my cousins and I giggle collectively and knowing full well that ‘wetted’ should have been a rude word, made it all the more fun.
Oh the black cat wetted on the white cats eye the white cat said Cor blimey
Oh I'm sorry my dear the black cat said You shouldn't have sat behind me
I remember so clearly that often times I had wished Uncle Kevin was my father and feeling so, so sad when it was time for them all to leave to go home.
Ryde Carnival is one of the oldest and biggest carnival’s in the UK and when I was a child, the parade used to walk right past the old hospital so that the patients could watch it too. I have always loved that idea and even more so, the children’s ward was situated in the round building with the big windows, right at the front of the hospital. As the parade walked past, the sick children along with the nurses would wave and the carnival participants would wave back. Such a lovely sharing of joy.
The hospital isn’t there anymore. It was knocked down in order to provide more housing for more people moving to the Island.
Mum and I had been warned about what we would see on entering the ward and told not to worry as it would look kind of scary buy it was okay. He was okay…
Of course he wasn’t okay.
My father laid there in his hospital bed covered in what seemed like a hundred wires stuck to his hairy, grey chest. I remember staring at his massive, bloated stomach. He looked like a mad man, with his hair all wild and stuck up and knowing how particular he was about combing his hair back neatly with brylcream every day, he would have hated me seeing him like that.
I think it was Old Spice! Can you get Old Spice brylcreem?
He was furious with Mum for letting me see him in the hospital and the aggression, in front of another male patient, was evident.
His stomach had been pumped.
I felt scared of what I saw. I couldn’t hug him. I couldn’t comfort him, I couldn’t do anything but endure this situation that we were in, seemingly alone without any support from anyone.
I don’t know where my older brothers were and I desperately needed them.
Why didn’t anybody pick up on the dysfunction of our family?
An elderly gentleman in the bed opposite my fathers, beckoned me over towards him, wanting to show me a trick. He took a cirgarette paper out of it’s packet and wripped two tiny pieces off. Then licking his index and middle fingers, he stuck a piece of paper on each one. Next came his rendition of the rhyme ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’, with the cigarette paper disappearing as Peter and Paul flew away and miraculously reappearing on their return.
I am grateful for the magic in that moment and the gift he brought to me during a very difficult situation.
My father wanted to leave with us and come home and he was told that it was safer for him to stay another night. So we left, believing he was in safe hands and thinking we could rest easy, just for one night.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
I fear the dark the dark fears me we fight at night won’t set me free. Shadows creep they terror my eyes slow to sleep how hard I try.
I’ve been struggling to write the next part of my story. Its been weeks since I have managed to even get this far, deleting my words over and over again. I guess I didn’t realise the magnitude of the emotional backlash I would feel just by revisiting my past in such detail, hence my breaking the story down in to manageable excerpts.
“Hey! I’m a therapist… I can sort my own shit out…”
It was the morning after the disco and Saturday morning’s were devoted to gymnastics, a place where he never came to watch me, a place where I found respite from my ‘torrid’ home life, a place of freedom (momentarily).
He remained in such a drugged up state that my mother couldn’t wake him and she had no choice but to call an ambulance. My father was slipping into a dangerous place of not-living, close to leaving his body, close to death. He hated hospitals and any form of institution after being contained as a child in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
I remember walking home from gym feeling that sense of dread in the pit of my stomach yet again, what would I find when I got there? Taking the familiar short cut through the garages, from a distance I could see an ambulance parked outside my gate and I started running…
I ran so fast with absolute urgency as if I was being chased and the desperation to get to my father, my dad-before it was too late, was heartbreaking.
I thought that I had lost him, that he had gone, that he was dead.
Not this time.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
“If you don’t transform your suffering, I will always say, with 100 percent certitude, you will transmit your suffering to your family, your neighbours, even to your country”
Father Richard Rohr
My children have suffered.
Its a long chain reaction that is passed on down through the generations until the pattern is broken. Will my children pass on to their children the pain that they may have learn’t to carry from me? At times I wish for silence in my thinking this way, as an abundance of knowledge has lead to punishing thoughts/feelings and I really can’t deny my truth in all of this.
I have created suffering too.
Growing up in such an aggressive, volatile environment gives way to certain learn’t behaviour’s that often show up in my life. Different parts of my being are still angry, frustrated and sad-I struggle to accept these parts and also know and understand that the unaccepted self, can create even more of an unbalanced life.
The truth is I can change as we all can, choice exists for you and for me. So with knowing that… what stops us changing?
Returning to a place that is so uncomfortable… is comfortable. Its a place that we know, a place to reconnect with ourselves, a safe place, uncomfortably safe. It can be painful, yet in the midst of that pain, a deeper sense of knowing our truth, can reveal itself if we allow it. It is when that line is crossed and the need to control takes over that more suffering can occur.
I have crossed this line many times and the truth is, I have inflicted my own overwhelming pain on to my beautiful babies.
I have tried to control just as my parents tried to control me.
My children have rebelled against my inability to let go of the repetetive patterns that I so brutally learn’t and have stood up for their rights to be independent of my wrath. They, as their own people truly deserve better from me as their teacher, confidente, Mother.
What I know for sure as Oprah would say –
I would give my life in exchange to save my children.
The Love for my children is insurmountable, they are my absolute everything.
I am honoured and so very grateful to have been given the chance to share in their journey in this life as their Mother.
I am sorry for the pain that I have inflicted and… I am still learning.
This was my victory and my battle. All my demons, all my monsters that I’d been carrying around forever, the light came through and I realised; Oh, your not demons. They’re not monsters. They’re not dragons. I’ve been making them more grandiose than they are. They’re just the orphaned parts of me. They’re just the fearful-est, most terrified parts of me. They are scared to death. And they are throwing temper tantrums because of their fear. And now I have to tell them that it’s going to be okay. And they will all go to sleep. I am the mother of all of these parts of me. At one point I remember in my ascending above them all and saying,
I love you, fear and now go to sleep. I love you anger, you’re part of me. Go to sleep. you’re safe. I love you. I’m not leaving you. You’re part of me, you’re part of the family. You’re never going to be away from me. I love you failure. Come into my heart. Rest. You’re so tired. You’re so scared. You’re just children. You don’t know how the world works. I love you all. I have space for all of you. And together, we’re going to go forward now. – Elizabeth Gilbert
It was Friday the 15th of October 1981. My Father had attended his hospital appointment for a Myelogram; a diagnostic imaging test to look for any problems in the spinal cord, nerve roots and other tissues. A coloured dye is injected into the spinal column before the procedure and then an xray is taken which enables the radiologist to see more clearly, if there is any damage. When the dye is injected directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which also surrounds the brain, there can be side effects – risk of a seizure, severe headaches, risk of infection, short term numbness in the legs and a risk of bleeding in the spinal colum.
In the 37 years since his death, I have never researched what a Myelogram is, only now in order to write this.
I just remember the coloured dye bit of the story and the violent aggression.
The local Community Centre held a kids disco every Friday evening and it was a great place to hang out. My Father used to drop me off and pick me up every week, much to the amusement of my friends who were allowed to walk home. He was very strict and often told me that I may be taken away by a stranger, if he didn’t keep me safe.
This Friday felt different…
My father was subdued to begin with after his treatment and I remember him complaining of a headache that was getting worse. I can picture him now, standing in the hallway by the front door. He gave me £1.50 for the disco, put his arms around me and squeezed me tight, told me he loved me and let me walk with my friends.
I can still feel the intense feeling of worry just by thinking about that evening.
The disco came and went and the entire time I was there, the anxiety was growing within me; what I would find on my return home?
He was in bed having taken as many drugs as he could take without killing himself, just to relieve the pain and was in and out of a drugged up state. I sat next to him, feeling so heavy, strained and tired. Why couldn’t he be normal like my friend’s Dad’s. I HATED him being like this, it scared me… The smell of Old Holborn soaked the atmosphere and I swear he could have burnt the house down on many occasion, leaving his rolled up cigarettes smoldering in the ashtray. His wedding ring was on his bedside table and I picked it up and held it in front of him. In a slow and slurred manner he said;
“Your Mother doesn’t love me anymore, you have it – take it!”
Closing his eyes, my father passed out and was snoring in seconds.
That was the beginning of the end.
All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip shop 2019
It can be difficult for a child to find the words to describe what it feels like to lose a parent and for me, there was such a sense of nothingness, not really understanding what happened, not believing, confusion – just strange and surreal. When a traumatic event precedes the loss of a loved one it can exacerbate the emotions and personally, I can liken it to having a pile of breeze blocks lying on my chest, squeezing the breath out of my lungs and then being thrown into an abyss of anxiety…
I didn’t share my grief, I wasn’t able to as the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth and I shed no tears for some weeks afterwards. What I know and understand now is that I was in shock and a part of my sweet 13 year old self, shut down and went into survival mode.
She began using food to stuff down the pain.
I don’t remember being consoled by my Mother… I really don’t but I guess I must have been, thats what Mum’s do right? What I do remember is that everything changed about my whole exisitance within a few seconds of being told about my father’s death. I would never ever be the same again…
“I do not believe that grief changes who you are, if you let it… it will reveal who you are” – HRH Prince William
My Parents passport photo (approximately 1960) taken for their passage to Australia on the Ten Pound Ticket Scheme - I wish I knew them then, before all of the difficulties that consumed their lives.
Some years back a story broke in the national news headlines about a little girl that had gone missing. At first it was thought that she may have wandered off with friends when playing outside of her house on her bicycle but after some time it was clear that she had been abducted and murdered. Heartbreakingly, the child knew her abductor and it is believed that she may have gone willingly with him. So very sad…
I awoke early on the morning after the child had been found, heartbroken for the unknown family and mourning on mass with millions… I felt compelled to write a poem.
In a second gone all alone place unknown that moment in time tracks changed moved on. Unrest despair not here nor there no trace no trail the toil recoil. Exhausted confusion depleted emotions shattered withdrawal immersion in sorrow. Crowds praying hearts pleading a nation united same nation weeping searching, searching. Precious child returns to her ‘Source’ arms embracing gentle dancing. In a second gone now spirit reunited. A mother weeps her life torn a soul reborn.
What does it mean to live authentically? What does it really mean?
Recently I joined the world of Instagram after my eldest suggested several times that its the place to be if I want to progress with my online presence. I’ve sluggishly tried to begin re-branding myself; its not working and my posts don’t feel authentic yet what you see is what you get with me and there is no hidden agenda. I feel lacking in what I know I am capable of and if I was really being honest and authentic I would tell people that I struggle on a daily basis with pulling the failure card. I post motivational quotes and pictures on social media about taking action, changing your life, taking responsibility blah de blah de blah… its all bullshit (not the information, the walking my talk part) – whats that all about?
I was reminded that I was 50 today, whilst reading the profile of a young beautiful American life coach who has youth on her side. She oozes confidence, beauty and has an incredible Yogic body that delivered a baby 6 months ago and my self talk went off on a tangent about how stupid I have been over the years with the choices that I made with regards to my health, my career and life in general – the “if only’s” reared their ugly heads again, compiling an internal list of painful self beration.
I don’t think that I have ever been enough, for me.
My internal dialogue works overtime constantly and I often joke with my friend and confidant, that if only she could get inside my mind and hear the crazy self-talk that goes on and on… she laughs and says; “I couldn’t live your life, I’d end up having a mental breakdown.” I am authentic when I spend time with her and feel a deep connection between us as if we have ALWAYS known each other. If there is any truth in the idea of past lives then I believe that we met way before we entered into this life time. There have been many times over the years when I have dropped down into a place of immense pain, no holes barred, just me in my misery and she is the only person who actually understands my madness, really gets me and totally, undeniably accepts me and my authentic self. I am not sure that she will ever truly know or understand her own greatness and her significant place in this world as she too has her own internal battles that allow struggle to prevail at times and she holds herself back. What I know for sure is that she is the most ‘giving’ person that I know, never ever asking for anything in return, especially from me… it doesn’t always serve her as she forgets to give to herself too. I am eternally grateful for her love and acceptence of me just the way I am and want her to know that she brings such joy into my crazy life.
I have this vivid memory of me dressed as a pirate standing outside of my parents house just in front of the cast iron black gate. Covering my head is a bright red bandana and I am wearing a little black waistcoat, black trousers tucked into my long white socks and little black school shoes. I think that I was about the age of 6 or 7 years old and it was the day of the local village carnival.
I started dancing lessons at the age of 4.
In between working three jobs at once, my mother made all of the outfits for my ballet shows. She spent hours lovingly hand sewing the little costumes and I still have three of them to this day; a blue Angel costume, a little Dutch girls outfit and a pink tutu. Over the years both of my girls have worn them when playing dressing up and as I think about it now, I’m not sure if I have ever told her how grateful I am for all of the time that she spent making things for me as a child. Dollies clothes, knitted blankets and cardigans, a soft clown with orange hair, cotton sewn purses and a bib and brace dungeree outfit all made by hand.
My mother always worked extremely hard and somehow I feel like I missed out on having her as a wholesome, healthy mum for the majority of my younger days. She lived under a cloud of my fathers depression and illness which prevented her from following her own dreams and passions. As he never worked in the latter years, my mother had to work even harder to make sure she could provide for us all. I wonder how he felt about this and what it did for his own self worth, esteem and beliefs about himself as a man, husband and father? I remember her being so exhausted at times and no matter what was thrown at her, she would soldier on, mustering up the strength, managing, coping, surviving. I think that’s a trait of hers that I’ve learn’t from a very young age; you just have to keep going no matter what… When I look back now it must have been unbearable at times for her living in such an emotionally draining situation. If ever we talk about the past now, she always states quite clearly that leaving my father was never an option and that you made your bed and you lied in it.
My eldest brother refuses to accept the fact that our mother choosing to stay was the right thing to do. He believes that she had a choice and by her staying in such a volatile relationship, my brother suffered the most horrendous abuse and in his words now;
“Because of the old man, my life is fucked.”
I don’t know if she was ever truly happy within her marriage or her life in general and wonder if she just stayed out of fear because she too was terrified of her husband.
My father had threatened suicide several times and my mother picked up the pieces of his desperation time and time again.
There doesn’t seem to be a beginning for me, just a mixture of memories, some more powerful than others and in no particular order, allowing them to rise and fall .
My Father died when I was aged of 13.
My belief is that he had to die, in order for meto live and somewhere within his soul, he knew that. Its a struggle to remember him without the overwhelming feelings of fear and pain. Everything about him seems tainted with those two powerful emotions and I feel sad that I can’t find a single memory that is full of laughter or joy. Sorry Dad… My hope is that by writing my story down, it may evoke some happy memories that are stored somewhere within me.
It wasn’t until I discovered NLP and whilst on my training in the USA, that I realised I had emotional ‘stuff’ that needed dealing with. I have to add, that a NLP practitioner training is not the place for personal therapy in any event. During learning the processes, I experienced some emotional releases that were extraordinary and quite profound and my passion for helping others to do the same began. That was over 21 years ago.
The events leading up to my father’s death were extremely traumatic.
I remember one day when he was lying in bed in a drugged up stupor, slurring his words, telling me to write down his life story. In more coherent days he would say that the world needs to know the truth about his traumatic experience of being a child prisoner of war. He suffered mentally and physically for the entire 13 years of having him in my life and as a family, my mother and two older brothers, were marred by his suffering too. Even as a little girl I could feel the intense sorrow that seeped out from him and it was confusing. I’ve in turn carried his pain deep within me maybe to acknowledge him in some way. I loved my father so much but was terrified of him too. The double edge sword.
On the night before my father was found dead, I knelt down, sobbing, resting my elbows on the bed, placed my hands together and I prayed;
Dear Lord Please forgive me for the sins that I have committed. Please make my Dad die and take him to Heaven to be with you because if you don’t he will kill my Mum. Please Lord keep us safe, I’m so scared. Please forgive me. Amen
I started writing this blog so many times over the past few years (in my head) and now I am finally getting down to putting my thoughts out there into the Universe, albeit it being much slower than I had anticipated. I have allowed FEAR to suffocate many opportunities that have been presented to me throughout my life and the sad thing for me is, that I have dedicated my entire career to helping and supporting people through their own life challenges of trauma, pain, grief etc… and didn’t feel worthy enough to heal my own immense pain that I carried.
I made a decision last year when I turned 50 that I would start living my life on purpose and do all the things that I long to do. I decided that I would live my life coming from a place of being true to myself, being more creative with my writing and poetry, begin public speaking and in general work towards a healthier mind and body.
7 months on and here I am just beginning with the writing bit…
I am writing this blog for me.
I am giving myself a space to be free of the critical restraints that I have so beautifully bound myself up with.
I am giving myself a gift, of loving myself enough, to be okay with being who I am, just as I am and being alive because I am worth it.
So my journey begins with me being as open and authentic as I can be right now. This is the start of something new for me and I am excited and a little nervous too but I know thats okay.
On a summers evening many years ago, I was standing in a queue at the local fish and chip shop waiting for my turn to be served. In front of me was a little boy who was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that looked like it had the reminants of a weeks worth of wearing on it. He was crying and pulling at the arm of his young Mother who was talking on her mobile phone. The child appeared to be no more than 4 or 5 years old and his knee was bleeding. As he cried and tugged at her arm, she pushed him away and the blood continued to trickle down his leg. The little boy with his arms stretched up to reach his mother, pounded on her stomach trying to get her attention and the Mother pushed harder at him to stop. The smell of alcohol from the young lady was so strong and she was slurred and staggering. After several attempts to bring her attention to his knee and being met with her aggression, he finally gave up.
The boy in the chip shop stood with one side of his face buried into his Mothers thighs, staring at me and periodically looking down at his wound. Tears rolled down his filthy, beautiful little face.
In that very moment I felt a whole wave of different emotions from anger, frustration and fear, to pity and a deep sense of sadness. The Mother part of me wanted to scoop this child up and wipe away his tears. I wanted him to know that he was loved and that he would be okay. I wanted to shout at the Mother to put the phone down and acknowledge her son and his needs as she seemed oblivious to the discomfort that he was in. Instead I stood by and did nothing and felt ashamed for not intervening with at the very least a tissue for his knee and also ashamed for judging a young person who was clearly not much more than a child herself. You see, I let fear ride over me once again, because she was drunk. I was afraid of the repercussions for the child and myself. If I brought the fact that she was ignoring him, to her drunk attention, I didn’t know how she would react. I remember being frightened as a child. I remember trying to get my fathers attention when he was so drugged up. I remember…
I made a promise to myself all those years ago that I would acknowledge that little boy by dedicating my first piece of public writing to him because he touched my heart that evening and I will always remember him.