As is often the case, I’ve turned to a song to say all the things I can’t find the words for. I love writing letters & blogging, and I’m a fairly slow deep thinker. Yet, when it comes to emotions, I’m suddenly voiceless.
It’s the same for many addicts. Saying what’s in the deepest recesses of our hearts and minds is too hard, too scary, and makes us too vulnerable. On the flipside, that vulnerability is very healing. Through counselling, a lot of effort, and patient friends, I’ve healed a lot in the last year or so; healing that will help me maintain a healthy weight as I get further and further post weight loss surgery.
This page uses the lyrics from P!nk’s song ‘Beam me up’ and refers to my angel babies, and also to missing Mum and Dad.
I love recording life’s wee details in my Dylusions dyary. I’ve never kept a ‘proper’ diary but this format suits me; a bit of art, a couple of photos, and whatever I want to record. Sometimes it’s day by day, sometimes one event needs the whole page; this week, it’s all about family, love and loss. Hug the people you love…
Dad died when I was in my mid-20s, way nearer to 30 years ago than 20! I missed him terribly for a long time, then time eased the loss, as it does. I think him of often, but with love, not a sense of loss.
Right now though, I feel the loss again. There’s some hard stuff we’re dealing with and I want my Dad. He wouldn’t have said a lot; he’d have given me a bear hug, some sage advice and then just been here for us.
Yesterday I did this page using the lyrics of P!nk’s song, Circle Game, where she says “And I start looking for my Dad…”. Artists like P!nk provide me all the words I can’t find.
All supplies are Dylusions unless otherwise stated. Paints: Lemon zest, Funky fuchsia, Polished jade. Stencils: Teardrops, Diamonds in the rough (small), Star struck. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other: Distress ink, Archival ink, Pitt Big Brush pen, white gel pen, Distress collage medium.
Many people know that in my 20s I lost a lot of babies to miscarriage. Because of the medical issues it’s hard to know exactly, but likely more than 12 angel babies came our way. A conversation with Sandra, my best friend of 45 or so years, last night reminded me of them. Not in a sad way, more a sense of heightened awareness.
When all that was happening I was living in Auckland and Wellington. I’d ring Mum often to tell her what was happening — Mum the nurse thinks I’m pregnant. Mum the baby has gone. Mum the pregnancy test was neutral, so they think I might be pregnant. Mum the baby is gone. Mum the Dr is suggesting we try this…
Mum listened patiently, without offering too much sympathy as she knew I had to hold myself together. She and Dad only had my sister Ailsa and I, and there’s more than a decade between us. I know she wanted more children but it never happened, and Dad loved all kids. I wonder how hard it was for them listening to me?
It always looked to me like Mum was a great Grandma to Ailsa’s children. They were lucky to have Mum in their lives and she loved them. There’s an ending to this that I am not going to write because it involves someone else’s child, and I have cried a little for my babies this morning but know, as always, that love remains.
As many of you know, until May of this year my Mum was being cared for at home by Tony and I, and had been for 14 years. She had a stroke and decided to go into a rest-home as she no longer felt safe alone when we were at work. In the months since her health has got progressively worse, despite the wonderful care she has been receiving. Her kidney and heart problems were reaching end stage.
Mum spent 3 weeks in hospital recently and we decided, along with medical staff, that Mum would return to the rest-home and never go back to hospital. If she got sick we would use comfort care only, and if she got an infection such as pneumonia we would not treat it. Mum had simply got too sick.
Friday last week her health deteriorated rapidly overnight and the palliative care nurse was called in. We got to the home at 10am and basically never left again. We had a quite rough afternoon and evening but by midnight Friday she was comfortable. I went home for 3 hours sleep, and Ailsa went for off for a bit when I got back.
Ailsa and her family were down because we had already planned an early family Christmas, so both Ailsa and I and our husbands, and most of her grandchildren were able to spend time with her. The rest-home manager, Judy, sat with Mum for an hour while we had Christmas lunch – Judy said Mum would be proud of us for doing the family thing for her.
Mum slept all afternoon with us stroking her hands and hair, and talking to her. She passed away peacefully late afternoon Saturday with Ailsa, Tony and I right with her.
I am glad she found the peace she needed to be able to let go and join Dad. I will miss her terribly but I am grateful she is no longer in pain.
I want to share some of the things I wrote to say at the funeral: I ended up only saying part of it, for various reasons, so here it is:
In the 14 years ago Tony and I looked after Mum the Hawera ED staff got to know us on a first name basis… We’ve had amazing care from medical and ambulance staff over the years. On Mum’s behalf, I have to say a special thanks to Dr Bok and ICU Nurse Simon – she remembered you both right to the end.
My sister Ailsa has provided endless support, coming down from Auckland most months. She’s been the patient recipient of many “hey, we’re just off to ED” phone calls, providing support, and a sounding board. In turn, she could not have done it without the endless support of Jim and their children.
Finally my husband Tony. We’d only been married 3 years when Mum got sick; for most of the years we have been together we’ve been caring for Mum. You haven’t just used your ambulance skills with Mum, you’ve been patient and kind; you made her laugh and taught her to do the fingers! You’ve supported me when I had to make difficult choices and never once suggested a particular path just to make life easier for yourself. Those things are part of the reason I love you; thank you for having taken this journey with me.
I have worked full-time throughout the years Mum’s been sick. Sometimes, particularly when Mum was very sick and I was truly nursing her – feeding her, dressing her, tucking her into bed at night –people have asked if I was tired or whatever. Yes, I was; tired as all hell sometimes. But few daughters get to spend the quality time with their ageing mother that I have had, and, as I have written on her coffin, the journey with Mum was worth every second.