Monday, 5 October 2015

my explanation

"ROY, do you want a cup of tea love, ROY?" There is no answer. I call again. "ROY........ ROY........ ROY." There is still no answer. But then there will be no answer. Roy is dead. He died by his own hand through hanging, his neck broken like the pigeon. I need to hear his name. My calling still goes on. Two years is how long the grieving process takes, so the many books I have read say, but I am afraid that I disagree. I do not want to be the harbinger of doom, but for people like me who turn to books in their worst times, when this statement is made we tend to cling to it in desperation, in the hope that the turmoil that surrounds us has a time limit, that miraculously disappears once this period is up. It is all very well to apply statistics to a book written by somebody qualified academically, but only someone who has been there can follow the true route of grief. I know that there are many books written by academics who have suffered grief, and many written by lay people, but of the books that I have read, all have left me wanting to know more, be reassured more. I could not find that book, so am attempting to write it myself in the hope that some sort of catharsis occurs that will enable me to move on at a faster pace, as at this moment a lot of my life in the present is passing whilst I remain locked in the past. I feel my qualifications fit the criteria for a book about grief, and it’s many disguises. My academic qualifications are few, but as long as I can reach one person who can identify with me, and gain some sort of insight, and reassurance from knowing that they are normal, then that is enough. If I can reassure someone who has lost a child to cot death, or the family who have looked after, and lost a severely handicapped child. If I can reach the person stuck in mental turmoil, or the wife of a schizophrenic, who has endured the terrifying course of this illness, and the eventual suicide of her partner, and tell them I know how they feel through my own experience, and bring to them some ease, then that would be my aim achieved. I have tried undergoing counselling on a number of occasions. I once, reluctantly, put my name down for bereavement counselling, but never heard anything; after all who wants a ‘know all’ at one of their groups? I was one person who could identify with so many other individuals. I was a woman who had her identity taken away, who did not know who she was, but still had a child to care for, alone, who tried hard to go on but was breaking apart inside. This woman was so very scared of the future, and kept a lot of her emotions in, not realising the harm that could do. I am still finding it hard in knowing who I am, and knowing what I want. What I want most of all, I suppose, is just to be normal, content with what I have become, and what I have achieved. But, there is something there that I cannot control, that controls me, and by writing it all down I hope to be able to sort myself out. It all started so long ago, almost, when thinking about it , in another life that was never my own, but it was me, and facing that is so very hard, even now. I try to go back to my childhood, which is where most counsellors say our problems are rooted, but I cannot bring many memories back. There are the odd few that remain in my mind. I never seemed to get on with my mother, and felt that I could not love her as I know a mother should be loved, and I knew the feeling was reciprocal. I am sure that what I felt for her was not love, but pity. I felt sorry that she could not see what she had lost. Although she had seven children, of which I am the eldest, I do not recall that she showed love to us, and cannot to this day ever remember being hugged by her at any time, or being told that she loved me. I am not saying that it was only me that she found it hard to love, for she did not show much love to my siblings either, but I do feel that I was treated more harshly for whatever reason. Perhaps I would have to delve back into my mother’s childhood and the traumas of her past. Possibly traumas associated with war years as such an event must leave its mark upon individuals, and she probably had very painful memories, which had moulded her. I was quite an argumentative child, always having to have the last word, and was perhaps more difficult than my brothers and sister, and this may have created a rift between us. She was never there to console me during my difficult times, as I believe a mother should. She was a very hard person, but, as I have said, we would have to look to her upbringing to find out the reasons why. This book is not about her, it is about me. It is too late to look for reasons why. This book is, firstly, a way for me to explore myself, to sit and face what has moulded me, not to apportion blame for that can only make matters worse. The person I am now has roots in my childhood, I know, but that is the past. I can do nothing about that, but maybe try to understand, and view it differently. Mainly what I am now is because of a series of very tragic events that have taken place since my marriage in 1965, and maybe rather than face the reality of the pain I still suffer, I look for reasons in my childhood to blame. What I have to do is take a look again at the suffering I have endured, and have put to the back of my mind; I must bring it back and face it so that I may understand it, and then finally put it away. Until I do that, I cannot get on with my life because of the overwhelming feelings of pain, bitterness, and loss. I have very fond memories of my dad, who is no longer with us. He would always be the one to pick up the phone and reassure me that he was there. He would be the one who came to stay at times when life was bad. His arm was the one around me at my children and my husband’s graves. These things I will never forget. I wish now that I had taken more time to get to know the man who was my father, the boy that he once was and the young man who fought in a war, but there were never any lengthy conversations. I know that my mother missed him, although his years spent with her never seemed to be that happy. She was a very domineering wife, who would put him down at the slightest thing. There were many times he seemed very depressed at the way their lives had become. He would just say that you could never change my mother, that was her way, and that was that. My father believed in the power of healing from within and I am sure that is what sustained him at many different times in his life. He once said to me “you don’t need doctors, Francine, the mind can heal the body.” I do not remember him visiting doctors in all of his eighty years and the only time I remember him being in hospital was at the end of his life. I just wish that I had spoken to him about his thoughts on this subject as it is something that is now very close to my heart. I have found solace in meditation and feel that it is capable of healing. Because of my belief I have taken two attunements in Reiki, which is a form of healing. My father was eleven years older than my Belgian mother was. He had met her in Belgium during the war. He was already married to someone back in England, but as I understand it, his wife had relationships with other men. This, I assume, led to my mother and father getting together, and eventually she came to England. They married in a Registry Office in February 1947. Nine months later, in the November, I came into this world, born at 1.00 pm on a Saturday afternoon in a South London Hospital. My life has been a jigsaw, made up of so many parts. At times, I have wondered how the puzzle would turn out, but as there was no box showing the finished picture, I had to go on with blind faith. I have gathered the pieces, and tried to make them fit. I have turned them around and around, and tried all ways. Some pieces took longer than others to sort out, but the final piece is now in place, and I feel hopeful.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Who I am

I am the person that you may pass in the street, and not notice, or the person in the same queue as you at the checkout.  I may be the person you wish you were when you see me laughing, when you are feeling sad.  But, you cannot see what has happened in my life, that is something held in my heart.

My first step along the path of grief was taken in 1971 when my daughter died, at 5 months and 3 weeks of age, through cot death.

Another daughter died in 1987, through the loving cuddle of a Down's Syndrome boy.  She had been severely physically, and mentally handicapped, and was almost 14 years old when she died.

My husband suffered from schizophrenia, which may have been chemically induced, and he committed suicide by hanging himself 11 months after our handicapped daughters death.

I will try to take the reader with me, on a journey through my life.  I will open my heart, and innermost emotions to you.  I know that I will have to expose things about myself, that other people would prefer to keep hidden, but feel it is necessary if you are to understand the deep feelings that accompany such tragedy, and recovery.

I know that where I am, at this moment, is where I am destined to be.  It is the path that I am meant to travel, whether I understand it or not.  I am moving forward, and hope that my book will be published

The reason for my title

The two pigeons would sit there, on the fence, preening each other.
They had been busy collecting twigs, and building their nest.
Over the days I had been watching them, and listened to their noisy antics in the branches of the tree.
But, this morning I found a lifeless pigeon laying there, with its neck broken.
A lone pigeon now sits on the fence, pecking at itself, and calling for its mate.
I feel a sorrow for it, but you can't explain death to a pigeon.
My book will try to explain it to you.