Monday, 30 January 2012

End of Year Report

There’s something about the end of January that makes me take stock of how things have been going throughout the first month of the new year.

Maybe it’s because my birthday falls in the first week of February giving the end of January almost an end of year feel.

This time last year I wrote about my propensity for starting things but not always completing them. (I’ve started so I’ll finish….maybe tomorrow

Today I have already written a post on re-ravelling about making a valiant start at filing my overflowing paperwork (Frogs for Breakfast – you will have to read it to understand that one!)

Something I got finished last year was a love heart which I  sent to my cousin for her birthday.  I had a lovely thank you note in return. I use the photo of the heart as my current profile picture, it is “a reminder of what I can achieve”, or so I wrote last year.

Well last Friday was January’s meeting of the Last Friday Knit and Stitch group at church and we were once again making hearts, this year filled with lavender. We will be selling them just before Valentine's Day at the official opening of our church hall.

I have actually been making hearts and Christmas decorations all through the year for similar sales. I tend to get inspired and carried away.

I thought you might like to see this year’s crop before I send them on their way. Some are earmarked as birthday gifts and others "just because..." presents.

Maybe this year they are a sign that my accomplishments are steadily growing and I am now in a place to give more to those who have generously given to me.

That's a pretty good end of year report!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wednesday revisited

If you follow re-ravelling as well you will know how I have been feeling slightly out of sorts, like a wave of grief has once more crashed around about me.  I am trying hard to rise above the latest storm and eliminate the negative thoughts that can so easily spiral out of control.

I suddenly remembered a post I'd written last year.  Some things can change dramatically in the space of a year while other thoughts and moods come round time and again to haunt us. Anyway after reading this I am convinced the my present mood is more determined by time of year and day of the week. This too will pass and soon my sparkle will be re-instated!

I'm in a "Wednesday Mood"!

(originally posted 5th Jan 2011)

I don’t know what it is about Wednesdays but my flatmates at uni (poly – whatever!) used to know to steer clear of me if I was in a “Wednesday mood”.

I put it down to it being the day slap bang in the middle of the week, the furthest point from the weekend.  Although maybe it was the lasting ill effects of double PE at school on a Wednesday afternoon.  Not my favourite subject, all that trauma of being picked last because I couldn’t throw or catch a ball!  Or the reasons could go even further back.  I was born on a Wednesday and it somehow made me feel unsettled.  Why couldn’t I have been “fair of face” or “full of grace” instead?

I’m biting my nails as I type, something I rarely do these days but some of them have started to split and I’m neatly nibbling them to the same length – a definite sign of a” Wednesday mood”!  Slightly self-destructive, slightly quirky or maybe just plain odd!

Wednesday, in my married life, was changeover day.  The day Andrew would leave or return from off shore.  I was either relieved he had gone and I had a chance to get the house in order – i.e. do things all my way!  Or I was euphoric he was back home safely.

It’s a funny time after Christmas and I was originally going to call this blog entry “Post Christmas Blues” but it didn’t seem to fit everything I wanted to say.

Like most people I’ve been putting away the tree and taking down the cards.  Only my cards are a mixture of Christmas, boy’s birthday and sympathy cards.   It was the sympathy cards that adorned my walls this year.  The Christmas cards barely got a look in, just a few stood up where I’d opened them and left them haphazzardly.  The sympathy cards well and truly outnumber all the rest, although I haven’t made a final tally.  I really need to sit down and go through every one properly.

Then there are the Christmas letters.  I don’t know if it’s because of the disrupted postal service or because of my personal circumstance but I haven’t received as many as usual.  Maybe people don’t think I want to hear their “happy” news - but I do.  I read of 3 deaths on Facebook today, only one person I knew, the others were friends of friends.  Then I heard of a birth – I was elated at some good news for a change.

I was never one for writing Christmas letters.  December is far too busy a month.  I would instead wait until the New Year and write a New Year one.  I remember last year sitting in the kitchen with my laptop, shutting myself away from the plasterer and decorator who were working on the hall, stairs and landing.  The house was a total mess, Andrew was away and then there was a day it all got too much I wanted my house back to myself.  I broke down in tears on the phone to Andrew telling him I couldn't cope – it was probably a Wednesday!!

I was looking forward to writing this year’s letter.  We had done so much to the house and had some special days out.  Memorable times that I hope will last a lifetime for the boys.  2010 had been a good one and I was eager to share the simple things that made us smile.

The fact is I’m still going to write a letter, there’s too much I want to say to let this one pass.  Next year’s will be so different.

I’ve got the old calendar and last year’s diary to help me remember what I have to write.

That’s the other job you have to do with a new year, hang up the new calendar and write your important dates down for the coming twelve months.

Andrew would have been 50 this November.

“Shall we still have a party?”  I asked youngest son who wandered into the kitchen as I was working.

“Yes!”  Was his very definite reply.

I NEED to plan some special dates, I NEED to think of how we celebrate and mark the inevitable anniversaries.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve but wonder if I have the courage to carry them out!

What’s missing on the 2011 calendar is the lines I drew they lasted for two weeks, from a Wednesday to a Wednesday.  They were the fortnights when Andrew was away.   Letting me know I was on my own with the boys for those two weeks.  My way of telling if he was home or away and the pattern to which I planned everything.

Today is a Wednesday.  It’s the day the line should end and it should read “ANDREW HOME”.  Oh what a homecoming after being away for both Christmas and New Year
No - not really - he’d probably have been straight on the computer to check his emails!

So am I in a “Wednesday mood” today?   It would be so easy to finish this entry off by saying yes and leaving it at that…

…but I still feel numb and like there are still so many emotions bottled up inside which will burst out at unexpected moments.  Today I’ve been busy and tomorrow I’m busy, with new things, different things, a fresh start.

I have had very little time to myself to stop and think until I started typing but this morning I had half an hour on my own where I was dancing round the kitchen, tidying up with the music turned up really loud.  BLISS!

So I will end as I often do with the song lyrics that jumped out at me today.  The song is Joy Ride by The Killers.  Maybe it sums up those twelve fresh pages on the 2011 calendar?

There’s something in the distance
A glorious existence
A simple celebration
A place we’ve never been before. 

Or maybe it means... who knows, maybe we all have to figure that out!

I’m off to find my nail file now and try and salvage my ragged nails.

                                                       Happy Wednesday everyone!
At least this year I have good strong nails, filed not bitten.  But the New Year letter has been given a miss in favour of up dating the blogs.
Anniversaries have been celebrated and have gone and we now look forward to the things 2012 has in store.

Thanks for your continued encouragement.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Thirteen again

One year and two months to the day since Andrew died.  I’m not usually so precise these days.  In fact I have entered a strange period where I can no longer legitimately say it happened “last year”.  That fateful day is drifting further into the distance and I’ve now been a widow for a very imprecise “just over a year”.

Today is the thirteenth and you can read all about what I think of the number here from what I wrote last year. 13 is just a number.

Today, an ordinary day by all accounts and yet…

Both my mum and my aunt have suffered with breast cancer and several months ago I filled out a form to have my genetic history looked into.  Last month I had an appointment where I was told my likelihood of also developing cancer is moderately higher than average.

Today I had an appointment at the breast clinic.  I thought I might finally be getting the expected mammogram and I can’t say that filled me with joy – I’ve been told your boobs get squashed and it hurts!

I went to the appointment by myself – some things have to be faced and I’m not unduly frightened by the process.

I did however deliberately wear the chain with Andrew’s wedding ring on – I knew whatever happened I wasn’t truly alone.

In the end I only received an examination and was told everything felt fine – I have “nice soft tissue” apparently.

An appointment for a mammogram will be sent soon and then I will get one every year until I am 50 and picked up by the usual screening programme.

More waiting, more hanging around and uncertainty.  It would be so easy to work myself up into a state but with each step that unfolds I become calmer.  If there was any real concern they would investigate immediately.

I heard some wisdom on the radio the other day from Chris Evans and I jotted it down,

“If Fear knocks on your door get Faith to answer and they’ll be nobody there.”

I also read today that there are 365 “fear not”s in the Bible, one for every day of the year  (I hope one more is found  - 2012 is a leap year!) 

So on this Friday the thirteenth remember not to be afraid.

I may have quoted it before, but it’s worth repeating what God has to say in Jeremiah chapter 29.

“For I know the plans I have for you … they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

first snowdrop

I’m sitting listening to the wind and rain.  Typical 3 p.m. and the heavens open just in time for the children coming out of school.  But I’m not on picking up duty today so have the luxury of sitting snug and dry typing my blog.

On New Year’s Day I discovered my first snowdrop of 2012 and I wish I’d found my camera there and then for a photo to add.

I remembered finding the first one last year but not until much later in January.  It must have been sometime around the 20th when I saw the first glimpse of spring in my garden because about a week later I mentioned it on the blog - revives sunkissed highlights.

Everything was beginning to feel hopeful again and I thought I had turned a huge corner.  Little did I know just how many times things would seem better only for them to come crashing down again.  It’s only now I realise just what a long, painful journey grief takes.    

I’m glad I didn’t know then how many bumps in the road there were up ahead.  We get through the hard times by focusing on the positive.

So this year along with the joy of the snowdrop comes a hint of caution.  We may still get snow.  Winter is nowhere near over.

This tiny flower is just a hopeful sign that seasons will always change.  The sad days will pass.

As does the rain eventually – yipppeeee the dark cloud has blown away - I’m off to find my camera – everyone deserves to see my own little piece of spring!