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Depression Grief Other

5 years

I wish I could go back in time 5 years. There are so many things that I wish I could have a second chance with. So many things I could’ve done better or prevented.

Helping Dad more while he was ill. Spending more time with him. Making sure things were sorted properly before he died. Getting James to visit.

Potentially finding better jobs than the ones I ended up with. Jobs that energized me and developed me.

Making an effort to have a decent social life instead of wallowing and waiting for others.

Dealing with Pop’s alzheimer’s better. Starting reminiscence therapy sooner. Spending more time with them. Keeping him active for longer.

Looking after the horses better. Making sure I knew what to do, rather than just guessing based on the bits of knowledge I had. Asking for help when I needed it.

Protecting the dogs. Tying them up at the farm or not taking them at all. Getting GPS trackers for them. Hell, even just not being careless or looking harder for them that day.

Less than 12 months ago, 14 lives depended on me. Now only 7 lives do. I need to learn from my mistakes. I need to take things seriously and act, rather than just thinking and procrastinating.

Other

In the British Summertime

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In the Summertime.”

If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

Summer officially started 9 days ago, and for the UK, it hasn’t been too bad so far. I’m typing this while sat outside in warm but only partly sunny weather. That said, I have already been sunburnt at least twice this year.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Manchester on a gloriously sunny day, and I wish I’d been planning to stay there longer to enjoy the evening in the city and maybe have a cocktail or two while sitting outside. This last Sunday I spent the whole day outside, firstly at a horse competition, then walking the dogs on the beach with ex-colleagues, then back to the horse competition. It was a really lovely day apart from the sunburnt neck and scratches from impatient dogs wanting me to throw their balls!

But my highlight so far was going to Black Rock Sands (Morfa Bychan, nr Porthmadog) with my grandparents to meet my aunt and uncle. It was the best weather of the summer so far, and we had a lovely picnic and chatted all afternoon. I took the dogs so they had a run on the beach and a paddle in the sea. There are two campsites right nearby, so I plan to visit again (maybe a few times) over the summer.

I’ve still got a busy summer ahead: I have something on every weekend from now until half way through September. I have 10 horse shows, a birthday party, two hen parties and two weddings, and maybe some other stuff. It would be nice if the weeks were busy too, but hopefully a job isn’t too far off.

(I know it’s a bit like blasphemy in the UK, but I wouldn’t mind a bit of rain: the ground is as dry as a bone and I’m worried about my horses having enough to eat!)

Horses

Burdens

It’s been a hard morning. I had a message which set me off in a bad mood and on a bit of a rant about Dad and the mess he left me with. Because why be angry with situations that can actually be changed, when you can be angry with someone who’s dead?!

Oh, and it’s his 60th birthday, or would have been. So, angry with him for leaving this shit behind. Upset because it’s his birthday and a reminder he’s not here. And guilty because I’m angry with him on his birthday, and he’s not here.

The days when things go right are great, or fine at least. But today I was thinking about all the things that go wrong, and I was so angry with him for leaving jobs undone or half done. So I come along with less experience and less knowledge, and have to learn how to deal with this stuff, as well as trying to deal with the estate, earn a living, and have a life.

I just wish he’d left it all a bit tidier. But he never was a tidy person. And neither am I, so maybe I’ll do the same?!

There are things that need to be done, and I am making some headway slowly. I’ve had help from people with various things, but I refrain from asking for too much help because I don’t want to be a burden. I’m quite happy to pay for help, so I’m finally getting round to having some fences built. I’m just so fed up of a tractor that doesn’t work properly (that he deliberately wanted that way!), a half-done water supply, and a ‘tenant’ I don’t like. And why couldn’t he just get his arse into gear and get a proper shed built? Instead I have the remains of a mobile field shelter that blew over the hedge in high winds, so it’s just added to the general mess.

I feel so alone in this. No matter how many people are willing to help or do help, I am alone. I will always try to be strong and to not be a burden, so I will only let people help with a certain amount. And as much as I might be angry with him at times, no one else is allowed to be. That hurts in a different way, and is likely to make me bottle up even more.

I’ve been very aware of my blogger’s block lately and thinking about why I wasn’t writing anything. This isn’t really the tone/subject I was hoping to start up with, but hopefully the block is gone.

Other

Parenting

I’m not a parent and have absolutely no intention to be, so I know I can’t really judge other people on their parenting skills. But I worry about my brother’s relationship with my nephew.

James provides everything Marcus needs: shelter, food, clothes, school, glasses; some things we wants: books, toys, lots of ice cream; and some things he comes round to, like his bike. He works hard to be able to pay for all these things, because his mother does sod all, except buy him something every now again for his affection (like a tablet).

But I worry that James gives Marcus a hard time: he gets so wrapped up in trying to raise a well-educated, well-behaved son that he forgets about the fun. Not just that Marcus needs to have fun, but that he does too: that it’s good for adults to behave like kids sometimes.

After I visited in January, James told Mum that I was great with Marcus. And it’s basically because I like the fact that I have an excuse to behave like a child: play, run, dance, skip… basically burn off loads of energy and laugh and smile while doing so.

And every now and again, James does join in (at least when I’m there). But he doesn’t instigate, and is generally quite stoic. And that makes me sad: it’s like he’s forgotten what it’s like to be a child. I hope that with time, some of my young-at-heartedness rubs off on him. He needs to loosen up.

Other

Discretion

I visited Dad today while having his first chemotherapy session. He seems OK.

The most annoying thing is that people have found out who we haven’t told. And rather than keep it to themselves, they have phoned people close to us to find out if it’s true.

Now I appreciate that blogging about this where I am not anonymous makes it look as though this is not a private matter. But I want to be clear that, among other things, this blog is my way of getting stuff off my chest that I feel I can’t talk to people about.

I appreciate that I can’t stop people I know from reading my blog, and I’m not saying I want to. But I would hope that people could use their discretion about what they do and do not share with others. If I wanted it to be public knowledge, I would’ve used facebook to share it.

So if you know me and you read the post about Dad, please keep it to yourself. It is not idle gossip. If we know you and we want you to know our business, we’ll tell you in person.

Other

Cancer

So to continue the tradition of shit things happening around my birthday, today I found out that my Dad has lung cancer. Only the early stages and not really a surprise (he has smoked since he was 10), but still sucky news. Hopefully this will be a bit of a wake up call for him, as nagging him hadn’t been working.

Both of my grandparents had cancer and were operated in the same year. They are both fine and dandy, and the whole thing was quite easy to deal with.

It’s going to be a bit different with Dad because he has to have chemotherapy, and I’m not really sure what to expect.

I’m not nervous about him dying because all the medical people involved are quite optimistic. But I am worried about how he’ll be affected by the treatment. And that he keeps living the same way.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Post Falls to Missoula

This morning Iona took us for brunch with Catrin and Brad at their house. We found out that Ben and Tyler are in university in Boise and Moscow, so we could well have passed them on the street and not even known! JJ stayed in bed almost the entire time we were at the house, but we said hi as we left.

It was a really lovely day. Having not really seen them in my adult life, I never really knew that much about them.

We went back to Iona’s and spent a bit more time there, eventually leaving around 3pm. We had a quick stop at an internet cafe to check weather forecasts in Yellowstone, and drove to Missoula.

We arrived around 8pm, checked into a motel and went for dinner at the Cracker Barrel. There was also a store already bedecked with Christmas gifts and decorations. I bought Mum the most awesome decoration: a singing snowman who grows and then shrinks, saying “I’m melting!”.

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It has been a good break at Iona’s: took the strain off it being just me and Dad. Cabin fever! Don’t know how long it’ll last but definitely needed it. 

Decided I should do a family tree because there’s so many people on this side and I have no idea who they are!