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.
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.
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.
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.
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.