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Breast cancer poem

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Found this poem and stunning picture on Pinterest.com while browsing.
Absolutely love it!!

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I’m back….with my happy pills!!

I haven’t put pen to paper/fingers to the keyboard to post a blog in a loooooong time; I genuinely haven’t had the time or motivation to share.

Today however my thoughts and feelings and general outlook has altered immensely. My life, my Husband’s life and my children’s lives have been turned inside out and upside down.

Me – I am back on my “happy pills” and have been for the last few months. Yes the need for the antidepressants came back to bite me in a HUGE way. For a long time, maybe longer than I care to admit I had been suffering with depression. Hiding behind the mask, putting on a front and not being honest with myself.

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I hit rock bottom earlier this year; I have never been quite so bad. It was as if I had been in a trance. I found myself sitting on a bench looking out to sea, contemplating very morbid, upsetting and sad things. Things that to this day still make me shudder. Depression can make you feel extraordinarily alone, disposable, invisible, weak and broken all at the same time. You can’t simply snap out of it. You can’t just smile and feel the joy. And usually you do not recognise the symptoms until you are at your worst. You are haunted daily by the dread you feel the nanosecond you open your eyes, the enthusiasm you once had becomes so false and so meaningless, but it also becomes a way of life. You live in a constant denial that “you’re fine“, that you’re “just tired“, “nothing is wrong, honestly“…..

Like anything you have to come down, sometimes a long way down before you come back up. I realised I was ill again, but I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t want to say anything to anyone, my Husband, My mum, anyone, for fear of being thought of as an attention-seeker, someone who is overreacting. I carried on, playing the game, keeping my mask securely up, working in auto-pilot. It was exhausting. Get up, get kids to school, avoid those who made me feel invisible, do housework, pick kids up, do dinner, go to bed.

The penny must have dropped with my Husband, he must have realised, because I remember him saying to the me “Please go to the Doctors“. I cannot however, remember much more than that. Everything seems muffled and jumbled up when I look back.

I know I sat in my car on the phone to my Mum in tears, worried that the Doctor would not believe me and wouldn’t help. (He did by the way)

I know I sat in the Doctors room feeling like a little child with no voice. Speaking a language that was complete gibberish. I know I felt immeasurable relief when the Doctor listened, gave me tissues and talked to me, not at me but to me. We talked about what causes depression, coping techniques, how the medication works. He gave me the tool to help me be me again.

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Long story cut short; a few months down the line, I am ME once more. The ME I used to like, the ME who enjoys socialising, the ME who likes people and who doesn’t shy away. I am no longer the person who backs away from others, scared to look people in the eye, scared to be in a crowd.

I can very happily say that the dark cloud, the rainstorm, the shadow which clouded my mind and the dread I carried with me have now been replaced with sunshine, love, smiles, laughing and all thanks to some wonderful man-made drugs.

Depression is not a laughing matter. I may refer to my medication as “happy pills”, but they are still medication prescribed to me to help me deal with and live a mental illness. It is a medication which allows/helps me to be live as myself again. A medication which has stopped my children loosing their mum and has stopped my Husband’s marital status being changed to Widower.

Mental illness is a disease. A disease which is very lonely, debilitating, and carries such a stigma, because it is widely misunderstood. I guarantee that there are many many people who live with it, suffer because of it, who receive treatment for it and who hide it, and you wouldn’t even know it.

I am not here writing this for sympathy or to lecture. I use this blog as a tool, as a coping mechanism. If I can help others while I am doing it, that is epic.

If you know someone who is suffering with/living with depression; I implore you just listen if they want to talk, just offer a shoulder to lean on, sometimes just having company and not being on their own will be all they need.

Please don’t lecture. Don’t brush off their feelings. Don’t put words in their mouth.

Offer support and listen.

And to all those amazing people out there who like me deal with/live with/suffer from depression or a mental illness; remember you are absolutely not alone. You are amazing and I send you a hug from behind my computer screen.

 

Big love

S xx

One year on……

 Dear Granddad,

The days get ticked off the calendar each day, the seasons have passed. So here we are it’s been a year. So much has happened since you slipped away; the children are growing up so quickly.

Can you believe that G is 2 years old today! We’re taking him to the Zoo for a special day out. I may even let him have his face painted. He is the image of you; many others agree. He’s got your forehead, your colouring; he’s pigheaded and relentless in his moaning. Remind you of anyone? But despite these traits he is a very loving little boy. His favourite past-time is still eating; give a piece of meat and he is at his happiest.

T is 4 in September; 4 going on 14! Little Miss Chatterbox with a very large helping of attitude and sassiness. But she is very intelligent. She loves counting, writing and reading. A bit of a scaredy-cat when it comes to insects – just like her mother. She has got one more year before she starts infant school, and by the time next year comes round she will be more than ready.

L is 9 and a half now and only has two more years left at primary school. Hard to believe isn’t it! I love the fact that you both very nearly almost shared a birthday. I did try. I hope you got the balloon we sent up for you on your birthday. She is does Jujitsu now. It’s a martial art which teaches defence. She is very good at it, and is being graded in 3 weeks for her next belt. She really is growing into such a beautiful girl.

You would be proud of all 3. Although I know they would bewilder you, as they always did. But they would make you smile and chuckle. God I miss hearing that!

All three, yes even G, remembers you. We say “Goodnight” to you each night before bed, and often talk about you. T remembers eating you out of grapes each time we came round . L has a few treasured photos on her bedroom walls, two of which are of you. You’re honoured actually, to share some wall space with all the posters of 1Direction (her favourite pop group) and Tom Daley.

I think of you every day. I have conversations with you quite regularly, I always win the argument though! But I hate not being able to talk to you.

I won’t lie the past year has been immensely hard on all of us, but in some ways your absence brought us all together a bit more, and made everyone realise that life is short. I suppose we thought you were tough as old boots and would always be here.

I saw a poem which helps me express how I feel about losing you. It’s not mine, and I’m unsure of who wrote it. But I’m grateful to whoever they may be.

The moment that you died

my heart was torn in two,

One side filled with heartache

the other died with you.

I often lie awake at night

when the world is fast asleep

and take a walk down memory lane

with tears upon my cheeks.

Remembering you is easy

I do it everyday

But missing you is heartache

that never goes away.

I hold you tightly within my heart

and there you will remain

Until my life on earth is done

when we meet again.

There we go Granddad, a very brief update on the children for you. It has been hard writing this; lump in throat, tears in my eyes, the usual. Hopefully it will get easier with each year.

Buenas Noches

xx

Explaining funerals to a child

I was asked today for my advice on how to explain about death and cremations to a 6 year old.

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Explaining death to a child is always hard, whether you’re referring to a pet, a person on television or a relative. But to a child, death is death. The meaning of death is something they will learn and experience the older they grow.

I am in no way an expert on this subject; I do however have recent personal experience.

My lovely Granddad passed away last year and my eldest daughter L was in the room with me when I received the phone call. I cannot comment on how anyone else would have reacted, but upon receiving the news, I broke down. I couldn’t control it. It was probably quite scary from her point of view. One minute I was happily putting make up on, the next I’m crying my eyes out crouched on the floor; the newly applied mascara running down my face.

I had to explain to L that her Great-Granddad was so very old and had been poorly for a while, and that he had died. I didn’t use the term “passed away” or “gone to heaven”.  I’m not sure why, and thinking back now, I am not even sure that I explained what dying was. I must have assumed that she would know. I feel awful now typing that, but dealing with your own grief kind of takes over I suppose.

L  had experienced the death of a various pets previously (rabbits mostly), and so was aware that the body had always been buried on the garden.

But with Granddad, there was a funeral  and he was being cremated, not buried. So now I had some more explaining to do.

The only way I could think to explain a funeral was to compare it to a wedding. Everyone in the family would get together at a special place similar to a church to say “goodbye”. There would not be any cake, or dancing, no bridemaids, no photographer. There would be a car though, a black one which would carry the coffin.  Once we had said goodbye and talked about Granddad, his body would be cremated, not buried. I explained that his coffin would pass into a massive oven with fire and be burned until all that was left was ash. Then the ash of Granddad’s body would be put into a jar and given to Nanny to bring home.  I think I said something along the lines of “Great-Granddads body is too big to bury in the garden, and at least if he is in the jar he can always be with us.”

I didn’t find it difficult explaining the processes involved. L  sat and seemed very grown-up all of a sudden, and asked me sensible questions. And I like to think that I gave her the answers she wanted without scaring or lying to her.

I would like to say now that L did not attend the funeral/cremation. She was 8 years old at the time, and in my opinion it would have been too much for her.

We didn’t talk about heaven or God. I didn’t want to make it any more complicated. I am aware that those questions will arise one day. But instead I told her that he would always be with us. Whenever we see sun shining through the clouds, L says that Great Granddad is looking down on us and asks me to take a photo. This is something she has come up with herself. This makes me very happy and proud that she seems to have such a mature outlook on this.

Taken during walk to school along the seafront

They were like two peas in a pod. They laughed together, talked about school, The age gap of 80 years did not seem to matter, they kind of met in the middle, and enjoyed talking to each other.

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So, here is how I believe death, funerals and cremations should be explained to a child:

  • Be honest – Don’t lie or make it out to be something it isn’t. There will come a time when they find out for themselves.
  • Try comparing it to an occasion they can relate to. In my experience it was a wedding.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate the matter with information which is irrelevant to their age.
  • Always answer any question they have. Don’t be afraid to talk to a child. Sometimes, they will knock you off your feet with how their innocence and maturity can help your grief.

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I would point out that I am NOT a childcare expert. I am NOT a counsellor specialising in loss/grief.

I am quite simply a Mum.