Saturday, 9 April 2016

One of those Days

So woke up this morning and the sun was shining and a beautiful spring day.  On Saturday my daughter and usually take a walk to the library and get some new books and then let our day unfold from there.

I bought my daughter a second hand bicycle the other day and thought it was about time I do because she is now 5 and I learnt to ride a bicycle without training wheels on when I was six.  I remember the day clearly when my Dad took my wheels off and I had to learn to balance. 

Anyway, so after going to the library my daughter asks if she can go and ride her bicycle to which I respond maybe.  I saw our neighbour on the way back and asked her if she knew of anywhere where I could take her to ride her bicycle.  She gave me a list of a few places and so I decided that we would go out and I would let my daughter ride her bike.

Immediately after I see where I was going to be going the thought pops into my head, I so wish my hubby was with us and could come with.  I then feel an immense sadness come over me and think of how much nicer it would be to go out as a family.  It one of those feelings that just eats a person's heart up.

With my brave face on I take my daughter bicycle out of the house and walk to the car with it.  Just as I go to open up the boot of the car I see a feather.  My mine immediately points put to me that my hubby is here with us and will be with us but not physically and rather just spiritually.  It eased the pain a little but still emotional.

While walking around there were a ton of couples and families walking around and the sadness just took over again but I tried to stay as upbeat as possible for my daughters sake.  She had fun and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  Another day done and another day missing my dearest husband.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Spring Clean

So the kids have been off of school now for just over a week here in England and last week we kept ourselves pretty occupied, we managed to go to a farm, did some soft play and odd things here and there.  Yesterday we even attended a birthday party where my daughter got to burn off a ton of energy.

This morning I woke up and for some unknown reason I got a bee in my bonnet. I get these urges sometimes where I open a drawer or cupboard and go urggggg and start to randomly sort through and get rid of everything. Today was one of those days and my daughters room got the brunt of my get rid of splurge.  Of course now I'm on one of my random cleans and now I want to tackle my drawers and cupboard in my bedroom and also the kitchen.  It does funnily enough make me feel much lighter and better once I've managed to chuck a whole load of rubbish out the door.

I did also manage to sort through my dreaded paperwork,  paperwork that was from when my husband was still alive and it felt good to finally say goodbye to most of it.  I guess it's another chapter that is being closed, no point holding onto random bills etc.

So today I feel lighter, I kind of hope I wake up in the same frame of mind tomorrow and I can tackle more, let us see. :-)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Going Quiet

So I have gone quiet and have not written anything for a while.  I have times where I withdraw, withdraw from people and the world because it's the way that I find I can cope with what is going on inside of me.

So my cousin has been having a hard time since January and I have tried to be there for her as much as I possibly can.  Meanwhile I have been dealing with my own demons by myself, not once letting her or anyone else know what was really going on.  In fact last month a few days before my wedding anniversary I ended up in A&E thinking that I might be dying.  The staff at the hospital were so good with me and I was lucky enough to have a really good friend by my side during the whole ordeal.  It turns out that it is my mind again and my body reacting to what is going on in the inside.  My heart rate was above 120, I was shaking, I felt sore all over my body and I couldn't catch my breath properly.  Anyone who has had panic attacks will understand these symptoms and this was exactly what was happening to me.  I'm not new to panic attacks but I have medication to take when I feel one coming on except this time the medication didn't touch the panic and so I landed up at A&E.

After this ordeal I felt exhausted, physically and mentally just exhausted.  I did not end up going to my CBT appointment and I have not been back since.  To be honest I just feel like it is causing me more harm than good, perhaps it's just the timing but then when is the best time. 

Holidays again now and it is just my daughter and I.  I have tried my very best to make Easter fun for her but at the back of my mind I feel so lonely that my husband is not here experiencing this with us.  Today I get a phone call from my cousin to go over for dinner, she is one of those people that think I should get over my shit and be in a different relationship already.  I so wish it was that easy and I pray that she is never put under the circumstances that I find myself in.  So I will get my daughter and I dressed and merrily go over there for dinner and act like nothing is wrong, like all is good and when I come home tonight I feel exhausted from having to fake smile and pretend to be happy when inside my heart is torn in half.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Throwing in the Towel

Yesterday was an awful day for me, my Wednesday started like it normally did with a yoga session which I love doing.  However after my session I felt this heavy burden and dread of what day lay ahead of me.

I had my CBT appointment at 13:30 and I did not want to go.  My homework was to write down the exact events that took place when my husband passed away and amazingly I had actually completed this homework on Monday.  The minute I put my pen to paper my hands began shaking and I felt physically sick so I immediately stopped.  I am a touch typist so I got my laptop out and started to write the events down but I was still shaking and feeling sick the entire time, it was that exact same feeling at the pit of my stomach when I had just lost my husband.

I felt proud that I had written it all down and printed it off but felt like absolute rubbish physically and emotionally.  My next task was to read what I had actually written.  Did I do it? Not a chance! I think it was good enough that I had actually written it down, I did not need to be subjected to reading it over and over again and reliving the whole event every single time.  Apparently this is part of the therapy and it becomes easier.

My therapist said I had a skill of avoidance.  I could not have agreed more.  She read what I had written and immediately just sat there and went okay wow, you did extremely well writing all this down followed by have you been reading it like I asked.  I laughed at her and said I have written it, you have read it and I think you're lucky you got that considering how I felt when I wrote it.  Okay she said but for the next 3 weeks I want you to read this every day, I just stared at her with no expression.  She then said it will get easier I promise like I was meant to believe her.

I walked out of the session feeling like someone had run over me with a bus.  I was exhausted and felt like every piece of happiness that remained in me had been taken away.  At that point I felt like throwing in the towel and saying that's it I'm done.  I went home and just lay down on my bed staring into space, I thought this is supposed to make me feel better and I just feel worse. 

So tomorrow is Friday and I haven't read that paper yet.  Am I going to do it? Well if I said no then I may be cutting my nose off to spite my face so yes I am but for now I will avoid it, afterall it's a skill of mine!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Photos

I used to be one of those people that had photos everywhere in my home.  I had them in my living area, my hallways, in the bedrooms, I literally had them everywhere.  These photos were always ones of loved ones, family members that lived near and far.  There were photos of my husband and I, there were photos of us as a family with our daughter.  Then one day I decided enough is enough, I have had enough of these photos staring me in the face when I get out of bed in the morning, when I eat my breakfast, when I go out and come home, I look too happy and I do not feel this way now.

So one by one I took each photo out of their frame and stored them away.  My issue was and still is, is that I would get all these mixed feelings when staring at these photos.  I would feel the love that I had felt when that exact photo was taken, I would feel how happy we all were, and then I would feel angry and want to throw something across the room in rage because all of it has been taken away. Why should I look at these photos any longer, they are no longer a reflection of how I feel inside.

My home now has only 2 photos that I can visibly see and even one of these photos bothers me.  It is a photo of my husband and I on our honeymoon, whenever I look at it I feel sad, sad because he is no longer here with us and then I get angry.  I loved my husband so much and to see a photo of us both standing there looking so happy is just wrong.  It is just a painful reminder that he is gone but I cannot take this one photograph down because then I am afraid, afraid that he will think I don't love him anymore even though I know that is not true.  So I still face this photograph day after day.

In my hallway I have a picture frame with the word "Love" written in the middle still on my wall which stands empty.  I decided that I was slowly going to fill these frames with new pictures, pictures of our memories now.  Over a year later and this frame still sits on the wall empty.  I just cannot push myself to find photos to fill it with that will bring me joy and happiness.  If you've had a similar experience or are experiencing the same thing then I would love to hear what you have done.

CBT Time and Tears

I have my appointment with the therapist in an hour and for some reason I am dreading this session. There is no particular reason why I feel this way, I just do not feel open to it today.  I have been debating with myself back and forth for the last 2 weeks whether or not I want to continue with this form of therapy because it is going to be opening a can of worms that I have worked so hard to keep closed.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know we have a problem and we know that the problem needs to be solved but we are scared to face the problem to solved it even though we know that once we've faced it then it will begin to get better.  Somehow hiding and keeping it within seems to much easier but it really isn't in the long run.

I have found out that my every day life has become affected by what I hold in on the inside.  I will take on and take on and keep taking on and when I do let go I do it alone in my time and behind closed door.  I find it very hard to express my emotions to others, in fact I find it hard to cry in front of others and this alone can be a problem for me because if I don't show tears then people think I don't have emotions which is far from the truth.  I remember when I had just lost my husband, I would be sitting having a cigarette and I'd start to feel tears at the side of my eyes because I was thinking of him, I then remember that people instantly started coming towards me to give me a hug and comfort me and as soon as they'd done this one gesture I had frozen and my tears had dried up.

I fear that I will go to the therapist and show a lack of emotions and she will then see me as having no feelings towards this situation.  In England they have a group of young widows and widowers that come together at a weekend and do a workshop somewhere in the countryside, it's basically a group of people of like mindedness coming together and sharing their experiences and things like that, I desperately wanted to go on this workshop because I felt it would be good for me to meet other people who are in a similar situation but I have stopped myself from going.  The number one reason is that I cannot cry in front of others and I fear that I will be frowned upon for having a lack of emotion even though I am crying deeply on the inside and will release the physical tears later when I am in private.

If you experience this or are experiencing this then I'd love to hear about it.  I would like to know that I am not alone. It does seem odd to me especially when I see other release their tears so easily.



Thursday, 21 January 2016

Messages from Above

I have tried to find the correct way to write this blog post and no matter which way I put it, it makes me sound like a crazy person that needs to be committed to a mental institution.  So let us get to it then and you can tell the men in white to come and collect me.  I have always been a believer that there is an afterlife when our life on earth is complete, of course like so many of us I have read books, watched programs and have had discussions with others about this topic at great length. 

During my life I have had very strange things happen to me which I just find no explanation for and if I was to go into details then this post would become very long and you would probably lose interest, perhaps you wouldn't but I will spare you all the details.  My main focus here in discussing what I have experienced since my husband passed over to the other side.  

One of the first things that happened to me which I didn't really pay much attention to at the beginning was a pure white moth that I found on my bed.  I had never really seen a pure white moth before so I was actually fascinated by this and stared at it for quite some time.  Later that day I saw this moth still on my bed and when I went to touch it, it was dead.  It got me thinking and thought I'd just google white moth with no intention on the search and as I began typing the words white moth I saw symbolic meaning so I clicked on that for the search.  What I saw next was just confirmation that this was perhaps a message, perhaps it was just random, who knows, I told you that you were going to think of me as crazy.  So there it was written, "In superstition: A white moth is said to embody the soul of a loved one.  White being the symbolic color of purity of the soul, and the embodiment comes from an ancient idea that the night (realm of the moth) is a dwelling place for souls (in terms of the Underworld or Otherworld).   My immediate reaction was that my husband had visited me in moth form.  

After this event I started to come across many moths of all different shapes and sizes and while we did get a lot of moths where I was living I could never remember seeing so many in so many different shapes and forms.  It kind of became a hobby for me and instantly thought of my husband when seeing a moth. 

I later decided to get a tattoo to remember my husband by and could not think of what to get but it had to be something to symbolise our feelings and love for one another.  As I was searching Pinterest I came across 2 hearts intertwined together into an infinity sign.  I immediately knew that this was the tattoo I wanted to get, to me this meant that one heart was my husbands and the other mine and we would be intertwined together for infinity.  One day I pulled out a ring to show someone that my husband had given to me on a balloon ride we had taken before getting married.  I explained to this person that my husband had given it to me as a promise ring.  As I started to look at the ring a bit closer I than twigged that this ring was exactly the same as the tattoo I had got done of my back.  It was 2 hearts on either side of a diamond and he had explained at the time that one heart was him and the other heart was me and that one day we would come together as one which was represented by the diamond in the middle.  I had never noticed the infinity shape in this ring before so when I did I was literally shocked.  As I was thinking of writing this blog I was looking at this ring and just counted the diamonds in it, there are 7.  

Just before Christmas I texted my good friend and told her that I had to find out what the number 7 symbolised because I am surrounded in 7s which I hadn't really realised before but for whatever reason on this day I just thought, why am I forever seeing the number 7.  When I started to look at this more closely I realised that my house number was 7, my registration plate has the number 7 in it, my national insurance number has many 7's in it, my phone number has 7's, and the ring I was given by my husband has 7 diamonds in it.  If you look at what Doreen Virtue writes, she says, "You're on the right path, keep going forward in the direction you're heading."   I am forever questioning my decisions and whether they are the right ones and this was kind of a confirmation to me that I was on the right path and that I must keep going as much as I want to give up sometimes.

This has been my experiences.  I would love to hear if you have had any experiences or if you know anyone that has had things happen that they just cannot explain.  Sometimes these things can just be accidents but sometimes I do believe that these things are sent to us for a reason.  You'll have to find the number for the white coats yourself. :o)



Friday, 15 January 2016

Throwing Away

When my husband passed away we had only just moved into our first rented house, before this we had been living in apartments and we were excited to finally have a bigger place and a garden.  22 days later he was gone and I was left to make big decisions.
My biggest decision was to move countries to go and live with family members, it seemed like the best solution at the time because I could not imagine living in the same house where I had witnessed such a heartbreaking event, it made me physically sick.

Our boxes of possessions still sat in the garage for us to unpack, I had only managed to really unpack the things for the kitchen and our bedroom.  We had only moved countries 4 months previously and had sold all our old furniture to keep shipping costs at a minimum.

There I sat with this decision to move countries and with it came the sorting of what I wanted to keep and what I wanted to sell or donate.  How could I have made rational decisions in such a state?!  However I plough through our possessions, a lot of baby things I had kept for when we had our second child, I put all that aside because that dream was now shattered.  I donated most of my husbands clothes, all his work shirts, t-shirts, trousers, shoes, etc, now I wish I had kept these because later on I found that some people had made beautiful blankets or pillow cases from these items.
I slowly got through each room in the house and each box in the garage.  The emotions that I went through were excruciating, I remember sorting through the boxes and silently crying, tears were literally pouring out my eyes but I kept going, I kept sorting and I kept throwing away our past and our future.

Today I sit with only a few possessions that were my husbands and I keep them in a keepsake box, this box will eventually become my daughters when she is older.  The biggest thing I have of ours is our photos and videos, I am so afraid of losing these files and have backed them up about 3 times on different devices.  I read somewhere some years later which made me feel better about only having a few items left that were my husbands, it said it's not about how many possessions you have, it's about the memories and they are more important than any possessions,  this is so very true and this has comforted me somewhat.   Keep your memories close, they are more valuable that you realize.


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Homework Again

I managed to complete that page that I was dreading to fill in and only did it 2 hours before my actual appointment with the therapist.  In all fairness I went to yoga this morning and knew that after a yoga session I would be more focused and relaxed in order to complete the dreaded task that lay ahead of me.  So off to therapy I went with this one piece of paper that had been taunting me for 3 weeks only to be given another two pieces of paper to fill out and return for my next session in 2 weeks.  :o(

During today's session we discussed the body and the brains reaction to trauma and it made me realize how much of what I had to witness has messed with my body and brain.  I have always struggled with anxiety and depression but I have always somehow dug myself out of the holes I found myself in.  More recently I have got to a position where I am at a loss on how to continue going forward, it has almost become too much for me and I am just exhausted with continually fighting.  This is what made me seek help because I know myself and I know I need it.

One word that stuck out strongly for me today was the word "bleak."  Funnily enough this is not a word I use often and I can never recall using this word before to describe something.  My therapist asked me how I saw my future now and the word that popped into my head without any hesitation was bleak.  She immediately looked up and said that she heard that word a lot from people and was a very common word to describe their future.

So now I sit with 2 pieces of paper that need to be completed before I see her in 2 weeks.  That one little piece of paper taunted me so much and already these 2 are.  Part of my homework is to keep an ACE log.  Every day I need to write done something for each of those letters which is, achievement, closeness and enjoyment.  Today I have probably made 2 achievement which are completing my homework and writing this blog, let's see how I get on with the rest of the homework.  Wish me luck again. :o)


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Awkward

Losing someone we love and very close to us is in itself a very difficult thing to come to terms with, another thing that is difficult is dealing with the awkwardness that comes from people when we speak to them.

Slowly but surely the people that I had spoken to previously with ease have somehow become awkward around me and avoid me at all costs.  I can totally understand this as I have had people around me that had lost loved ones and you know you get that feeling like, what must I say, what if I say the wrong thing, I wonder how they are coping, should I ask them?!

As someone who has lost their husband, it would be nice for people to know that they should just keep being themselves to their friends and loved ones after they have suffered such a lose.  We almost feel like we have had to deal with such a massive loss already and then to deal with losing friends and family due to awkwardness it becomes all too much to bear.

It still happens to me three and a half years down the road.  As soon as people find out that I have lost my husband they almost shut down and don't know what to say to me, even if I am the one to start the conversation and I am bubbly towards them.  I now find myself hiding the fact that I am a widow.  Of course having a child instantly brings up questions about my partner and I am not about to lie.

I remember going to get Chinese take away one evening with my daughter, as we place our order we sat down to a very young friendly lady who was waiting for her order.  She started to talk to me and my daughter and we engaged like people do until eventually the words popped out of her mouth to my daughter......."I bet you're a real little Daddy's girl, I know I was when I was your age." How do you respond to this, luckily my daughter ignored her and didn't engage in her question and we moved swiftly from it.  I also still wear my engagement and wedding rings because I have not felt ready to take them off.

I guess what I am trying to get from this post is, is that if you or someone you know loses someone close to them, the best thing you can do is be yourself.  Talk about the things you previously talked about, if the person who has lost someone wants to talk to you about their loss then they will let you know and believe it or not, sometimes they don't want answers or solutions, they just want a pair of ears that will listen, we just want to be treated like we were before the loss, as a friend!

Homework CBT

Today I sit and stare at a page given to me by my CBT therapist.  I am supposed to fill the page in and then take it back to her as part of my treatment however I am avoiding this one tiny piece of paper like the plague.  I've had this piece of paper in my possession for 3 weeks and I need to return it tomorrow at my appointment, if that isn't avoidance then I don't know what is. 

So the next question you may be asking is why am I having CBT and for you who don't know what CBT is, it is short for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  I have been referred to this treatment for PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  How did I get PTSD and how do I know I have it you may ask?  The way the therapist explained it is very interesting and basic.  I witnessed something traumatic and my brain has gone into overdrive and does not know how to file away these traumatic memories so instead they are still floating around in my brain and causing me PTSD symptoms which are nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behaviours, mood swings and anxiety.  CBT is basically a type of therapy where we are going to go through the trauma step by step and try and get my brain to file away some of these files and at the same time give me coping mechanisms when and if my brain decides it wants to have a flashback etc.

I witnessed my husband die which was an extremely traumatic event in my life.  The circumstances surrounding his death and how he died has made it very difficult to come to terms with.  I don't want to go into too many details yet as that is when I tend to breakdown. 
So back to that little piece of paper I go.  My homework needs to be done if I am going to tackle this, wish me luck. :-)



Sunday, 10 January 2016

How to Continue

Today I find myself questioning how to continue with this blog I have created.  This is not the first time I have found myself in this position.  I am sure we all have so much to say but struggle to know where to begin.  So perhaps let me begin with who I am and what has got me here to write.
I am a widowed single mother trying to raise a daughter by myself.  I lost my husband three and a half years ago and I have been to hell and back with having to come to terms with such a massive loss in my life.  The way my husband passed away was very unexpected and traumatising, I physically watched him die and to this day I question whether I should have known, could I have saved him if I had seen the signs sooner?!  I have emotionally beat myself up over it and I am still beating myself up.  He was a fit and healthy 31 year old, we had our whole lives still to live together and in a blink of an eye it was all gone.  He was gone, my family was destroyed and things would never be the same again.

However through all this I have kept my head held high, I have got out of bed every single day to take care of our daughter and kept things as normal as possible for her.  I think I have done pretty damn well considering the circumstances. 
I have turned to my faith a lot through all this and I have found it comforting.  I believe that God and his angels watch over me as well as my husband who I now believe is an angel himself.  So that is just the beginning of who I am.  I hope that you'll join me on this journey that I continue. :-)

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Cherub Angel Cards for Children

My daughter lost her Daddy when she was only 18 months of age.  She obviously cannot remember losing him and also cannot remember him at all.  Over the last 3 and a half years I have made the most effort to keep his spirit alive and I always tell her that her Daddy is here with us, we may not see him but he can see us and that he loves us very much.  Whenever I have seen a feather while walking with my daughter I have said it was a message sent from heaven by the Angels and as a result, whenever she sees a feather she points it out and says it's from her Daddy.  Once my daughter got a bit older she started to question where Daddy was more and then question where heaven was which can be a very difficult question to answer. 

Today I received a book that a friend of mine had recommended and this book was fantastic.  My faith is in God and the Angels and I have tried to explain the best I could to my young daughter.  If anyone is in the same situation as I am or even just discussing God and the Angels with your young ones and they begin asking questions then I can highly recommend the book, "Thank you, Angel by Doreen Virtue with Kristin Tracy."

I have also found that keeping a photo of my late husband next to her bed and telling her to talk to her Daddy was a good idea, this has let her know that her Daddy is here with us all the time and that she can talk to him anytime.

My friend also suggested another little gem and this gem is the Cherub Angel Cards for Children by Doreen Virtue.  I have many of Doreens pack of cards myself but I was totally taken back at how adorable, sweet and gentle these cards are.  Tonight my 5 year old daughter chose a card and the card she chose was just so amazing.  The card she chose was, "Listen Closely and You'll Hear Messages." Like the adult cards it comes with a little guidebook on each card.  I had previously used the "Angel Cards for Children by Diana Cooper" however these cards are a little large for tiny hands and will perhaps serve my daughter better when she gets a bit older.
So I highly recommend both the book and the cards by Doreen Virtue, we shall be choosing a card every night before my daughter goes to sleep.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Acceptance

Today I pulled a card from the book and card pack called "Meditation Healing, Energize Your Mind and Restore Your Body by Christopher Titus." I pulled this same card yesterday and when I viewed it more closely today, it could not be more accurate in my current situation.  How many of us have low self esteem.  How many of us walk through life each day questioning ourselves and our abilities.  I am the most critical person to myself and I need to stop pulling myself down.  Today I applied for a job that I know I could probably do with my eyes closed however the self doubt and the anxiety is so overwhelming that I automatically feel like I can't do the job when in fact I can.  My current quest is to be more positive, not so much positive with my every day life but more positive onto myself.  If I start to feel like I accept my abilities and have faith in myself then I will accomplish more and the more I accomplish the easier it will become.  So today I will accept that in fact I am not stupid and I do have abilities and I can do anything I set my heart to.