Thursday, 30 April 2009

To Sleep Perchance to Dream

Something I've been a little obsessed about for a few years now is sleep, or rather my lack of it. It started while pregnant with Lucy, I had SPD and along with the heartburn and nausea sleep became very difficult. Then Lucy came along and she's never been a good sleeper, she wakes at least once per night, sometimes staying awake for a couple of hours but mostly going back to sleep within minutes. She also talks in her sleep and sometimes even shouts. She's always waking me up. To top it off she's an early riser, it used to be 5 to 5.30am but lately it's increased to 6am.... whoopidoo!

Then I got pregnant again and in between being woken by Lucy I was unable to get back to sleep because of the wonderful symptoms of being with child. Then there is Leila who has never in the 21 months of her life slept all the way through the night. She wakes two to four times a night and will only settle if I take her into my bed and cuddle her. For a while I just gave up and let her sleep with me (it's bloody cold at 2am in the middle of winter ya know) but she's now been re-introduced to her cot and spends half the night there, the other half with me.

Following my bereavements at Christmas sleep just completely evaded me. I could lie awake for hours and hours just thinking and crying. It was this time that I found the waking kids most comforting, I would actually will them awake because they eased my pain.

Now the past couple of weeks I've noticed changes. Leila still spends half the night in bed with me, but she only wakes once and is back to sleep pretty quick. Lucy still talks in her sleep but it's becoming rare that she actually wakes up now, and with the later waking time of 6am I'm finding I'm actually getting some sleep.

It makes a big difference. I find I can focus better, remember more, I get loads more done and I feel healthier and happier. Sleep really is good for you. I was getting on average 4-5 hours interrupted sleep before, feeling elated if I slept for more than 2 hours at a time. For the past few nights I've had 6-7 hours sleep and managed 4 hours uninterrupted.

And with sleep comes dreams. I didn't realise how much I'd missed dreaming. I know I probably still dreamt before but I didn't remember them. Now I'm having more lucid dreams and remembering lots. If I'm honest I've been having rather strange dreams, I blogged about the angel one but there have been more. Last night I was dragging a dead body up the back stairs of a hotel...analyse that!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Angel from the storm

I had a really strange dream last night. It started with my looking at a really huge dark storm cloud, then there was a flash of lightening and the cloud turned into an angel, not your normal white angel with wings, but I can't remember exactly what she looked like apart from white hair with a black strip at the front and blood red lips. She was huge but as she came towards me she became normal size. She spoke in a language I didn't understand but I knew she was asking me to fetch her something and that she would be back later. I have no idea what she wanted and I woke up as she turned to leave. I don't think I've ever dreamt anything like this before.

I did some research today to try and interpret the dream and although I didn't come up with anything specific this is what I found out.

Storm: To see a storm in your dream, signifies overwhelming struggle, shock, devastating loss and catastrophe in your personal affairs. The storm also represents unexpressed fears or emotions, such as anger, rage, turmoil, etc. On a more positive note, the storm signifies your rising spirituality. It could signal rapid changes ahead for you.

Angel: To see angels in your dream, symbolize goodness, purity, protection, comfort and consolation. Pay careful attention to the message that the angels are trying to convey. These messages serve as a guide toward greater fulfillment and happiness. Alternatively, it signifies an unusual disturbance in your soul.?

Now as an amateur dream interpreter this is what I'm thinking; First the storm cloud was to signal my 'devastating loss' and my unexpressed emotions. Trust me, you might think I've revealed all my emotions recently but I haven't even begun that task yet. 'It could also signal rapid changes ahead for you' this line could also be relevent as it is changes that I seek at the moment. The angel was to symbolise the comfort and protection that I am seeking. I know that I was a carer for my mum, but even when the roles change when you lose the person who cared for you throughout your childhood to do feel like a lost soul, unprotected and in need of comfort. I don't think the angel was to represent mum, more of a guide to help me through to the next stage of my life. Now, as for message she was trying to convey, well it was in a language I didn't understand, maybe it's something I have to work out, and I also have to work out what it is she wanted from me, that is the key to my future, my 'fulfillment and happiness.'

Or maybe it was just a plain simple crazy dream from my disturbed mind :-)

Thursday, 23 April 2009


I've been in a good mood all week. At first I thought it was a strange euphoria that was going to skip away as quickly as it came, but no I'm still feeling ok. There have been dark moments, but I've kept them to myself and managed to keep smiling for everyone else. I've even been able to go through some more boxes of stuff that I brought from mum's house. I think that's the last now.

Perhaps it's the change of weather that's helped my mood. Strange as I'm not usually a 'sun' person, but I have enjoyed spending more time outside with the girls. Also, Gray has made good progress on the garden. It's looking heaps better already but he's still got a couple of days more work. I can't wait to start planting now. I'm planning a small herb garden too, I love growing my own herbs.

I've also been getting a bit more sleep, Leila is still not sleeping through but she is getting better and spending loads more time in her cot. I want to stop nursing her before her 2nd birthday in July. I didn't really intend to nurse her this long but it just sort of happened. She does tend to use it more for comfort than anything else, which is probably where I have gone wrong, because I find it comforting too. I've tried to cut down but that's not working, so it looks like it's going to have to be cold turkey....not nice for either of us!

Just one more thing before I go. Weird things keep turning up on the grave. It's a family plot with mum, dad, nan and my brother in there so there should be no shortage of visitors, but I can't think who would put toys, ornaments, teddies, wooden crosses and tons of fake flowers on there. It's never happened before (this plot is 35 years old) so why now. My aunt called me today to ask if I knew who had been down there, but I really don't know. Maybe I should set up a surveillance system???

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Blue Skies

For the first time in ages I can actually feel the dark cloud lifting. Today I have had many positive thoughts, so different from the negative ones that I've been accomodating in my mind for so long. Finally, I can honestly say that I believe that life is for living.
I made a post back in February Can't See the Point Anymore and to be honest I've been feeling much the same ever since. Now, even though I feel I've been changed forever by my experiences I have begun to regain my positivity. Ok, we are only here for a short time, and yes that short time can be complete crap, but you have to make of it what you can. There is no time for regrets, if you want something badly enough then you have to go for it, if you don't then there is no point in complaining.
If I think about where I was 10 years ago I can see that some of my life is stagnant and there has been no improvement, but in other ways I have acheived loads. 10 years ago I would never have imagined having two more children and now I have my lovely little girls. It took me more than two years before I fell pregnant with Lucy, that was a stressful time and I really thought it just wasn't going to happen, but it did and I still remember the joy I felt when I found out. Then I had a bonus surprise when I got pregnant with Leila as I wasn't even trying at the time. I feel truly blessed and lucky to have all four of my children.
So today I have been thinking about the future, something I couldn't contemplate a couple of months ago (or even a couple of weeks ago). I believe small changes are the way to go, and that's what I'm going to do, change everything I'm not happy, but not all in one go, just one step at time. Each step will be an acheivement I can be proud of, each step something else to make life worth living again.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

In the news

After my brother's inquest last Thursday there was a piece in the local evening newspaper on Saturday. It seemed strange reading it in the paper, like it was something that happened to someone else.

I've been thinking about my grief a lot lately, about how different I feel about mum's death compared to Sim's. As I have said before, I hadn't even spoken to Sim for 10 years, right up until the point when we were in the hospital and they gave us mum's prognosis. There was no avoiding each other after that as we both wanted to spend as much time as possible with mum before we lost her. Then afterwards I did feel as though I had to offer what support I could to him. I knew how devastated he was and that he was threatening to take his own life. When he killed himself I felt shock and dismay, he was so young, he had a whole life ahead of him. He could have done so much, he had done so little. There was also the element of guilt, could I have done more to stop him? I stopped thinking of the bad things he had done, all I could think of was my baby brother that I grew up with was now gone, and gone in such a dreadful way. I lie in bed at night agonising over how desperate he must have felt, how sad his life was, how he was let down and never given the proper help he needed, how he was always despised by those he'd upset. Did he deserve it, some would say yes, some would say good riddance. I probably would have felt the same had he not been my little brother.

With mum my feelings are completely different. I feel loss like I've never experienced before. I miss her so much, I think about her all the time. I can hear her voice in my head telling me things. I long to just pick up the phone and call her, talk to her, I want to talk to her so badly. Every day, no matter what I'm doing, there are always moments when I just think of her and how much I miss her, and it hurts, it's still raw.

When she was alive I would call her every day for a chat. I would see her twice a week. Midweek, if she wasn't feeling too bad, we would go out somewhere, shopping, for a meal, or take the kids to a soft play centre. On Friday's we would go to her house for tea, generally a take out. Before we went I would do her shopping for her.

It had only been like that for about 8 months though. She'd been hospitalized last year with her emphysema and it had been touch and go for a while. I went to the hospital every day and after she came home I decided that I wanted to see much more of her. Before then we'd only seen each other a few times in a couple of years and I'd call around once a fortnight. We had been out of touch from the beginning of 2000 right up until early 2005. Then she wrote me a letter and we resumed contact. The first time I saw her was in August 2005, just before Lucy was born.
I feel sad that we lost those 5 years, but grateful for those last 8 months because I have memories to hold dear. My sister-in-law said it would have been easier for me if I hadn't grown close to my mum again, but I don't see it that way. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard now but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. If we hadn't been so close then I would probably harbour so many regrets and I'm sure that would be worse.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Simeon's Inquest

It was Saturday 3rd January 2009, the day after mum's birthday, 2 days before her funeral and 8 days after she passed away. Sim broke the little window above his bedroom door. He made a noose from the purpose bought tow rope and through it through the hole. He stood on a chair, put the noose around his neck and then kicked the chair away. It took 20 to 30 seconds for him to die.
He had taken no drugs, he had drank no alcohol, he was just depressed and determined to end his own life.
He had friends and family that were willing to support him through such a difficult time, he had people who cared. The people he worked with thought very highly of him and showed every concern. Yet he couldn't see a way forward, he couldn't see a future for himself.

It's hard to understand but even though I'd not had much to do with Sim for the last 10 years I do feel that I knew him better than most. He had problems that were often hidden from others, or if observed most certainly misunderstood. His problems were never acknowledged properly, they were not spoken about. I know that he relied only on mum, she was the only one he could trust. It's all very complicated and I carry the old family tradition by refusing to talk freely about it all, but I did try to convince them that he needed professional help years ago. Then things happened and I was pushed out of the family for a long time. When I was re-united I never felt it was my place to mention the problems again. To be honest, I couldn't talk about them. Just as I can't talk about them now.

Simeon took his own life because he couldn't live without mum, he believed she was the only person who understood him, who could help him live with his problems. In his mixed up mind he had to do what he did, he had no choice.

When someone dies like this you have all these thoughts in your mind. My nephew was hoping that he was inebriated in some way. He was the one who had found him and cut him down and he had been so traumatized he just wanted to know that it had been relatively painless. He had even convinced himself that death had been instant and that the fall had broken his neck. In my mind I was hoping he was right, so it does come as a shock when you find out that he was not drugged or drunk, he felt everything for the whole 20-30 seconds.

20-30 seconds is not a long time is it? Or is it? I've been punishing my mind by thinking in terms of 20-30 seconds all day. It can feel like an incredibly long time.

Just before his death Sim confessed to me that he believed he may have cancer, maybe it was something he feared. He did not have cancer, he was quite healthy apart from a slight thickening of the arteries from his occasional smoking and poor diet.

They time his death around 10-11am. That was a relief to me because I worried that I may have been able to help if I'd done something sooner. But I didn't realise there was something wrong until at least 5 hours later, so my delay in raising the alarm would not have made any difference. I can scrub that guilt.

Sim's last text to me was the night before he died: I've ordered a curry but I still miss mum.

He never ate that curry.

My last text to Sim: Where are you? Why won't you answer your phone?

Answer: because he was swinging from his bedroom door frame

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Learning Curve

Ok, there was an incident yesterday which made me realise that I am on a learning curve. At first I thought it was just a case of foot in mouth disease, but after a restless night, and a few tears, I realised what was really going on.
It is so true that we are learning all our life, when you hit your 40's you think you have life sussed, especially the emotional side, but there is always something new just around the corner.
I'm not going to mention said incident, I don't think it's relevent.

Recently I've found myself drawn to other people who are down, depressed, miserable, fighting their own battles. I thought it was because I needed to be in touch with people who felt the same, or at least something similar to how I am feeling. I thought that it would bring us all strength in some silent uniting of sorrow. A nice idea, but I haven't been very aultrustic. I have been selfish and I haven't given much to anyone.

So that is my aim now. Even though I feel I am still suffering I need to learn that I am but only one person in a world of suffering. Maybe I'm not in a position to offer to support to others just yet, I need to grow stronger. But in the meantime I'm going to keep my foot firmly out of my mouth.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Oh Crap!

I thought I was turning a corner. I thought things were improving. The other day I even thought about mum without wanting to cry. Time was doing it's healing thing.
Then, knocked back by feeling poorly, yesterday I felt myself sinking again. Chatting with Graham he pointed out that he thought I needed help. No shit.
I do need to talk, but I don't know who too. I have friends, some close, some not so close as they are internet friends but I've known them for years and they've offered to listen. I have an abundance of telephone numbers to call but I don't know where to start, I don't know what to say. I have family, but because of the past it makes it difficult to talk to them. I can't talk to Graham because he just worries. And I don't want to talk to a stranger. So WHO do I talk to?

Then last night, just to tip the balance, hey Anne's feeling down lets give her another lapful of stress to deal with, I get a call of my brother.
Apparently he's been sent a letter demanding payment for a debt of mum's. I told him mum didn't have any debts. She had nothing at all on credit and her bills were paid by direct debit, apart from a couple which I paid for her when I picked up her pension. But then he said, 'well, everything was left to you so I'm not paying it!' AAARRRRRRGGGHHH Why do death's bring out the worst in people? Yes, everything was left to me, but not until said brother had been in and taken everything of any value. (ok I managed to get the pc and the car back!) BUT he had control over mum's bank account. He doesn't realise I know exactly how much was in that bank account, how much was spent on the funeral and how much was left over. And it was a goddam site more than I got for the sale of anything left in the house. I can still see mum in her hospital bed showing me her latest statement and telling me exactly what she wanted doing with the money. I told her then that it would be down to 'him' in the end and if she wanted anything else she'd have to write it down. I dont' know if she did, she went downhill incredibly fast after that. I really don't care about the money but it makes me sad it wasn't spent in the way she wanted.

Ok, back to the present. I called said 'debt collector' this morning on behalf of my brother and they immediately started apologising, the letter should not have been sent, the debt was non-existant. I KNEW that, but it didn't stop me worrying about it all night long.

And now it's drawn another rift between me and my brother. I love him, but he's an ass when it comes to anything money related.