Blog, Reflection, Sharing

New Years Epiphany

This next year, alcohol consumption is going to be limited per month to 8 drinks or something. Maybe even less. I can’t deal with feeling so rubbish all of the time, or the hangover stopping me from doing things I want/need to do. The tablets I take all say to avoid alcohol where possible and I haven’t been doing it. I don’t want that to hinder my recovery.

2017 has been a difficult year.

I bought my house in January for my Dad to live in, because he can’t get a mortgage. He’s still not moved in because the house hasn’t been finished. The most frustrating thing in my life is that it’s not finished and I’ve been paying the mortgage and bills for the house for one whole year now. Next month I will take a few days off work and have a solid week at the house and finish it. My dad can get the same week off and together we can get it sorted.

My Nan died in March after a sudden deterioration in her health, and that shook the family heavily. My Nan and Grandad are the head of our family and definitely are the centre of everything, especially for my mum and dad, sisters, brother and I. Still I struggle to process the news and it makes me feel awful that my grieving for her still hasn’t happened.

On the 2nd July our family found out that my brother was expecting a baby boy.  The first grandchild of the family. The pregnancy had been kept from us (as far as I’m aware) because of family issues on his girlfriend’s side and partially because they had only just become an item and so were nervous about us not loving the news. Of course they were wrong! It turns out they had their first scan the day after my Nan’s funeral. My poor brother, having that the day before such a special experience.

On 7th July my aunt passed away. Two deaths in the second family, a mother and daughter. My Grandad was broken and my mum found it so hard. For the last few weeks of her life, my aunt had been in hospital – her cancer had spread and she wasn’t in a good way. At the time I didn’t know the extent of it, but it turns out the disease was not only in her spine, but her pelvis, kidneys, hips, lungs, heart, neck and brain. News that I couldn’t process. Again, news that I still haven’t managed to deal with. I helped care for my aunt for the last 2 years of her life and in that time she became part of my life in a big way. The gap she left is like a hole in the head.

There have been ups and downs in my relationship. Mostly up, I’m happy to report. My depression has definitely impacted the relationship and so getting around that and trying to get better for the sake of us is very important to me.

Having gone though so much this year and living so far from my family has highlighted how much I need them in my life. Perhaps in the next two years it’s going to mean a move back up north somewhere. When it comes to owning a house and having more money to enjoy life, it certainly makes sense.

Counselling is going well and although I have a long way to go, it’s definitely been a leaving curve.  I have thought more about events in my life that have affected me, and also about how I feel.

The road to recovery is still stretched out long before me, but I know that I’ll tread that path this year, getting closer each week to the finishing line.

Blog, Sharing, Uncategorized

Life Lost

In July, 3 days after I turned 27, my aunt died. Aged only 58.

I’d been helping her with bits and bobs through the last 2 years of her time struggling with terminal cancer; attending hospital appointments and treatment as well as staying over at hers just to keep her company.

Right now I wish I’d done so much more.

Before being diagnosed with terminal secondary breast cancer, I didn’t really know my aunt at all. I’d not spent time with her (other than when I’ve been a young child and can’t remember it) and had never visited her house. Now living in London, the opportunity presented itself for me to volunteer as a carer of some sort, which I did.

Not being the easiest of people to read, it was taught trying to get to know my aunt. Where other family members would be loving and openly giving as many hugs and kisses as possible, she was very to the point and methodical. Everything she did was for a specific reason and the way she did things was decided by her previous trial and errors, so if you tried to do anything your own way she was quick to question your motivations for deciding on that specific action. I often felt awkward and unsettled by the fact I couldn’t openly be totally ‘me’, always watching my grammar and pronunciation as well as always double checking her opinion on how I was stacking the dishwasher or making her bed.

It was my aunt who taught me how to do ‘hospital corners’. I remember her being pretty shocked that I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about until she showed me. That is one lesson I will never forget.

Over the course of months and months it turned out that she actually enjoyed my company. Although she never said those words and definitely didn’t laugh at my (obviously) hilarious jokes, she was amused by what came out of my large gob, always challenged my thoughts (in a good way) and always always had time for me. It became a companionship of necessity but I loved knowing that I was keeping her company when perhaps nobody else would have been there.

At this point it’s maybe worth mentioning that my aunt had been single for approximately the last 20 years and so was single, also had no children, lived in north London when most of the wider family lived 200 miles north, and (as far as we know) had many friends, but only a small handful that saw her often. Although they were there when she was sick, they obviously had their own lives and families and so not only did they not have all the time to spend with her but also my aunt didn’t want to feel like she was imposing on them.

I wish she hadn’t felt like she was imposing.

My company was not requested enough, considering how much I could have been there. I didn’t want to push myself on her but reminded her constantly that I’d be there in a heartbeat if she needed me. Or just wanted me to be there. The thought of anybody being lonely is horrific, especially knowing she was suffering physically. Never mind emotionally. How on earth do you go through that without having someone right there with you?!

Bereavement hasn’t yet begun for my aunt or the void she left in my life, but I think about her often. I saved an orchid from her house after she passed which I’m trying my best to care for, and that reminds me of how she loved her plants and growing beautiful flowers, inside her home and in the garden.

Diamond-Feather-Inclusions

Hopefully this blog will act as my therapy in talking about my aunt, and hopefully I am able to talk about all of the things I remember her for and love about her. Nobody will ever replace her, and nobody will come close. She was absolutely one in a million – a clever, independent, focussed, caring and beautiful human being.

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