Sunday, 29 April 2012

Weather Forecast

I predict a bumpy road ahead with heavy and persistent showers, chances of any sunny spells or rainbows are negligible…

Youngest son didn’t want to go to church with me this morning which makes me feel like the world’s worst parent even if logically I know he has as much free will as I do.

Then we sang a song that we sang at our wedding almost 18 years ago, when life was a shiny new adventure and not a long hard slog through treacle.

The weather outside really is BLEAK and very wet.

Apparently the weather tomorrow is supposed to be sunny so I should get my walk with friends, but I’m not counting my chickens or holding my breath.

Tigger has well and truly bounced off and I am left with holding Eeyore.

My mood swings are getting me down and I wonder how much longer my friends will put up with me and my tears. One friend has already run out of tissues and we are now working through her supply of Burger King napkins!

I know there no sense or rhyme or reason to what I’ve written but it’s how I feel right now this minute, so I'm sharing.

On the bright side, there is a tiny sliver of one, I am going out with the boys for lunch with an old friend, the day has to get better…

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Unlikely Pilgrim

I have just finished reading the first book on my Kindle.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce.

I first found out about the book from a review on a blog I came across one day, a few weeks later it was the bookclub choice on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime on Radio 2.

It is the story of a man who sets out to post a letter to an old friend who is dying. After walking past a couple of post boxes without dropping the letter in he decides instead to walk to his destination, 600 miles away.

Harold is ill prepared for such a long journey but along the way he meets many people who encourage him to continue. They also share their stories with him but as Harold thinks back over the joys and the pain of his own life he deals with much of his own sadness alone.

“It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The superhuman effort it took to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.” 

Often I still think my own burdens should be easier now, maybe people don’t want to hear my woes any more, perhaps I should be like Harold and not share my story so readily. 

Then a few weeks ago, when I met someone for the first time, right in the middle of our discussion I told them my husband had died, I didn’t have to, I could have let the moment pass, pretended I was “normal”. I felt bad afterwards for dropping such a bombshell on the conversation but sometimes just like the people Harold meets we are compelled to open up and have a deep need to share. 

In the novel Harold’s wife Maureen is left at home, angry and bitter at first she wonders if she should have left him years ago.

“She had stayed because however lonely she was with Harold, the world without him would be even more desolate.”

When they are finally reunited I found it touching, a portrait of a long marriage, something that I can no longer share in and it made me cry but that’s my loneliness and my own sad story.

This week youngest son decided we should watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy AGAIN.

Once more we have plunged into Middle Earth and another unlikely pilgrimage, that of Frodo the Hobbit determined to get to Mount Doom and destroy the ring of power.

Frodo is just as ill prepared as Harold when he sets off, having no idea of the enormity of the task before him.

Both Frodo and Harold keep walking; destroying a ring and delivering a letter are of paramount importance. 

Maybe they are lucky they have an actual task to keep them focused. Grief is sometime said to be like a journey.  I am travelling a hard road but I don’t know where I am heading or what tasks lay ahead of me.

Frodo says to Gandalf (in the film – slightly different in the book for those who are pedantic about such things although Gandalf’s reply remains constant.)
“I wish the ring had never come to me.”

“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

The last time we got the LOTR DVDs out was not long after Andrew had died, I was so tired I slept on the sofa through half of the films while the battles raged, while the boys avidly watched the action, but those wise words of Gandalf struck me then as they do again now.

I wish this path was not the one set before me, I feel as ill prepared as Frodo and Harold. Weary and wondering if my dreams of being a writer will ever come to fruition, because that is what I would like to do with the time given to me.

But to paraphrase someone Harold meets on his journey.

“Maybe what the world needs is a little less sense and a little more FAITH.”

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Rainy Day Records

You know those jobs you promise yourself you will tackle on a rainy day well today was such a day, wet and miserable outside yet clear inside with no appointments or commitments.

So I decided to forgo the filing, leave the laundry and head up to the loft to sort out Andrew’s Den.

When we moved here the first task was to extend upwards into the loft. This house used to belong to the ironstone mine owner and the loft was used as the mine’s offices so there was space up there for three extra rooms, plus storage.

Andrew wanted a train room and a den to play his records. Depending on his mood he could pretend to be a train driver or a DJ.

Over the past seventeen months (is it really that long?) I have left the den to its own devices. Occasionally I have ventured up there and the boys have had the scalextric out but I confess there were still crisp crumbs on the mixing desk!

It is bin day tomorrow so I was ruthless in my throwing out and removed a thick layer of dust from all the surfaces. There’s an unusual aroma of pledge up there now that Andrew wouldn’t approve of.

I wouldn’t say it’s spotless, the carpet still needs a good hoover but with half the scalextric track out I am leaving that for another rainy day.

What I really wanted to sort out today was Andrew’s record collection. He had over a thousand singles and several albums.

I started with the albums, keeping what were mine to start with, adding a few of Andrew’s that took my fancy.

The singles were much more fun to go through. We would sometimes find records to play to each other seeing if the other person could guess the artist, the song, the year. I wish we had played that game more often.

Music was the passion we had most in common, Andrew asked me out at a radio station, getting rid of the record collection is a huge step but I can’t take 5 boxes of records everywhere I go. I have to leave some things behind to build a new life.

I have kept the ones that mean the most to me, songs I really like, some from before I knew Andrew existed.

See You by Depeche Mode always reminds me of youth club.

I remember exactly where I was when True by Spandau Ballet got to number one.

Stars on 45 reminds me of the fair, it seemed to be playing for every ride I went on.

I Will Always Love You comes from The Bodyguard, the first film Andrew took me to see.

Andrew talked in his sleep so Crystal Gayle singing Talking in Your Sleep became a favourite often quoted song.

Number 777 in his collection (yes everything was catalogued) Don’t Leave Me This Way by the Communards, one of my favourite songs to dance to that I would make Andrew play at every disco. Sadly I missed most of the disco years; it was only after he died I discovered the best DJ trophy he won!

Fool if you Think it’s Over by Elkie Brooks was a suggestions Andrew made for his own funeral although we never played it.

And Gilbert O'Sullivan, Alone Again (Naturally) … well just because!

While sorting out I played some records and sang along, belting out the Bonnie Tyler hits and trilling along with Tiffany, so glad this house is detached!

I shed a few tears and shouted at Andrew for leaving such a mess of broken stuff behind.

By the end I’d condensed my happy memories into two small boxes that I will keep with me.

A few records I shall give away. 

As for the rest…

…I’m not entirely sure. I want to find somewhere deserving for them or to sell them and give the money to charity, maybe the heart foundation as Andrew died from a heart attack.

If you can help in any way or have a suggestion please get in touch and if there’s an old 45 you would like for your collection just ask me, if I have it I will send it on to you…

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

I didn’t mean it…honest!

Some thoughts following on from yesterday post about selling my house…

A friend of mine is always telling me not to say negative things, eventually you believe them and these spoken words can almost become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Last night I went out to pick my son up from tennis, I’d like to move within walking distance of the tennis courts so I don’t have to play taxi service so often. It would be more convenient for us both.

But the thought that entered my head while I was driving was…

“By the time we move he’ll have his own driving license!”

I suddenly realised what I was thinking and decided to make a concerted effort to stop the negativity.

I’m going to stop saying IF we move and make sure I always say WHEN. At the moment the words I use are dependent on my mood and the more fed up I am the more I grudgingly say “if”.

My estate agent might have lost hope, at least he is not giving me very much at present, and today’s news is that we are officially in a double dip recession. The odds are highly stacked against me selling for the foreseeable future.

BUT I am going to keep plodding on getting “stuff” sorted, getting rid of clutter to make moving easier WHEN it happens!

I do have FAITH that God has a plan and I need to live like I believe it.

A while ago I wrote about grumpy old Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh.  I had a copy of “Eeyore’s Little Book of Gloom” and “Pooh’s Little Book of Wisdom” but I wanted Tigger’s little book of bounce to complete the set. 

Well a couple of weeks ago youngest son found a copy on the bookshelf – we had it all along!

To be honest most quotes make little sense out of context but here’s one that does.

“Can Tiggers swim?
“Of course they can. Tiggers can do everything.”

I think perhaps the time has come to be a Tigger and believe that everything is possible.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Dreaded Questions

When Andrew first died my most hated question was...

“how are you doing?”

…or any variation on that theme.

When I really couldn’t cope with answering I eventually settled on the replying...

      “can you ask a different question today?”

The truth was I didn’t know the answer myself most of the time. Or I was trying to carry on regardless of the answer, one foot in front of the other because sometimes that’s all you can do.

People asked out of politeness but I wondered if they wanted the REAL reply? The brutally honest one that showed the depth of my despair.

So often I replied I was "OK" when I was far from it.

Maybe I am being unkind and ungrateful. I have plenty of friends who have helped me through but close friends don’t always ask they just know. They just hand you a tissue and give you a hug with perfect timing.

Now I am faced with a new dreaded question...

“Any news about your house?”

(I’ve just been on the phone to my brother and it was the first thing he asked.)

The house has been on the market for almost a year now and in that time I have only had 2 viewings. You will know how despondent I am about the situation as I even advertised it on here the other week!

What really gets me about the “anything happening with your house?” question is if SOMETHING was happening everyone would know about it - I would be shouting from the rooftops and I would tell you before you had a chance to even ask!

When I first put the house on the market I prayed God it’s all up to you, I shall leave it in your capable hands.

But the waiting is torture! Like Sarah in the Bible I wonder if there’s more I can do to move things forward when the situation seems impossible. Read yesterday’s blog.

I still trust God; that his timing will be perfect and he has the best house for me and the boys but maybe I should be praying instead of whinging?

I’m whinging a lot – huffing and puffing often convinced I will still be here in my dotage.

I’m praying very little.

Yesterday I read Anita’s blog and she wrote about asking God for the things we want. After all He is our heavenly father and loves to give us good gifts.

I don’t think God’s forgotten about me, although I often think I am in some far off pending pile, to be dealt with later. 

He knows what I want, the desires of my heart but he also teaches us to pray continually and persistently.

So here’s my prayer today...

     God forgive me for my stubbornness, the little piece of me that won’t pray, the me that digs her heels in and prefers to moan instead talk to you. Forgive me when my doubt outweighs my faith. 
     You know the desires of my heart and know how eager I am to start a new life in a new home. Help this come to fruition, please bring me a buyer and give me a new home that is better than I can even imagine.