A child friendly memorial

The kids have various toys, but one thing they all have a few of is funko pop vinyl figures. I too have a few I’ve started collecting now. I found some groups for these on Facebook which I joined. It was here I found out about custom pops and that people can make them to order. It got me thinking. Aside from pictures and a few other things, there isn’t a massive choice of things that children can relate to as a memorial for a loved one.

Thinking of this, I messaged someone who was recommended to me. A company on Facebook called F.P.D. Funko POP Displays. After agreeing to do this difficult task, a lot of information was discussed to make sure he could do the pop justice. Pictures were sent, changes and additions were made. But we got there in the end.

Then a package turned up. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. It sat for 2 days as I looked at the box, knowing what was inside. I then managed to open it. Wow! The pictures didn’t do it justice. Amazing attention to detail and captures what I wanted.

I showed the kids when they came home from school. They took it in turns holding the statue, touching it and finding the small details. They were silent.

Expecting the worst, I prepared for their reaction. I was wrong. Suddenly, they smiled. They talked. They laughed. It was lovely. Something small like this they could relate to. It had the power to make them ask questions and talk about Mummy freely, without tears for once. We talked about Mummy for ages and they enjoyed remembering the good times with her. Then they all asked could I get each of them done too, I think it went down really well.

A massive thank you to Chris at F.P.D. for turning an idea into something special. It doesn’t change the reality of our lives, but it definitely gives the children something to relate to. F.P.D. Funko Pop Displays

Just being there….

I have found there are a few different types of people when it comes to talking or dealing with this taboo subject.

There are the ones that will talk to you about anything and everything, these people are good. They don’t judge, will listen and won’t react no matter what you say or do. No matter how good or bad. Then there are those that won’t or don’t talk to you, simply because they don’t know what to say. But they smile, nod, wave or similar, at least acknowledging you are exist. This is OK too, completely understandable. Then there are those that stare, point and whisper between each other. No need for it at all. All of this unfortunately is true for most people, whatever their situation.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, just ask. You’d be surprised how open we are about things and that we can actually hold a conversation about other things too. We have to carry on with our lives, raise children, move forward etc. As people we might change a bit, but that’s only us adapting to our ‘new normal’ lives.

Yes, we are dealing with something traumatic, and yes, it is difficult. But, there is no need to make us feel worse by pointing and staring like we have an incurable contagious disease.

Life is not a competition. Everyone goes through good and bad times. We all have thoughts and feelings. We are all only human after all.

Horrendous times

Struggling with this one, but it needs to be done. One of the worst months I’ve encountered so far. And still having to do it alone. I feel completely useless. The loneliness is harrowing and the silence is deafening. Doesn’t make sense to me either.

I keep getting told I’m and amazing dad, to still be this strong after all this time, no one knows how I cope, that they couldn’t do it if it was them. I haven’t chosen to do this, I have to do this. Big difference.

I am merely existing. I’m on auto pilot. I don’t know what I’m doing from one day to the next. I haven’t experienced headaches like this for years. Or ones that have lasted this long. The stress of everything is unbearable, painful and never ending. I struggle to get to the end of each day, when I do the loneliness hits with a vengeance once again. Then it all repeats itself.

Suddenly, this amazing person isn’t so amazing after all.

My ‘new normal’ life

This ‘new normal’ life sucks. Being a solo parent sucks. There, I said it.

Not having someone to talk to whenever you want a chat is horrible. No one to help or share problems with. No one to share the burden and responsibilies of daily life. Having to do everything, all day and every day yourself is hard.

With 4 children, it’s not easy under ‘normal’ circumstances. The added strain of my own grief and their grief, while supporting and raising them makes it a lot harder.

Unfortunately, this is the way it is now. I keep getting told I need to live for us now. I know I need to, but it’s not always that easy.

This article describes grief and all the feelings that come with it really well. Not something you can explain easily either.

12 things I wish I’d known about grief

Filling a void

This is quite a difficult one to write about. Not in the sense of subject matter, more the effect it has had on me. When Lyanda was in too much pain to get out of bed, which was most days, she would watch TV, listen to music, watch her tablet and shop online. A lot of shopping. Daily, parcels would arrive. This went on for months. I spoke to her about it one night and she said there’s not much else she can do. Browsing online and buying things filled a gap of the ‘normal’ things she wanted to do, but couldn’t. I didn’t fully get it, but understood what she meant. Now I completely understand it.

Over the past few months I have had no motivation to do anything. Being indoors constantly I begun doing the same. It begun at what was probably the most difficult time so far, but has also lasted the longest. From the beginning of June to the end of July. The same period last year that everything happened. The last few weeks of Lyanda’s life, her sad and sudden passing, the funeral and coming to terms with it all at the beginning. It hit me harder than I could have imagined. I was not a pleasant person to be around. I did what I needed to during this time, nothing more.

I found myself looking at shops online and ordering things. Parcels started arriving at the house. Not necessarily stuff we needed either. But nice things. As they turned up day after day I excitedly opened everything. Some things were a mystery which made it all even more exciting. I didn’t know why I was doing this, but I felt I needed to. I had to. It was a compulsion. An addiction.

Realisation hit me the other night. The reason I did all this? Trying not to relive it all again. Trying not to think about it. A distraction. Trying to be happy again. Not an excuse, just the truth. I sat there and looked at everything. I started to question myself, thinking I’d gone mad. I stared blankly at everything I had ordered, thinking why? Then I remembered the conversation I’d had with Lyanda and what she said. I too was trying to fill a gap. An emptiness, this massive void.

I felt really upset. I was annoyed, angry and ashamed. I cried. Just sat there, looking at everything, crying. Nothing has changed, everything is still the same. The emptiness remains and we’re all still missing someone important in our lives.

The next day I was thinking a bit clearer about it all. I wasn’t trying to replace Lyanda with stuff I’d bought, just trying to fill the void I feel inside. Putting myself in debt in the process. I thought back to these past couple of months. In my mind I believed that all this stuff would make things a bit better. A bit more bearable possibly. Maybe even a bit happier. I was wrong. If anything I feel more miserable now. I know I could have easily become a drug addict, an alcoholic, or worse. I could have lost all the kids because of it too, but I haven’t. We are all still here, together, in our home. Knowing this is a great feeling, and one thing I cherish. But I also feel like I’ve failed everyone.

Everyone has been great with their help in all ways and I appreciate it all. Now I feel like I have betrayed them and let them all down. I know I probably haven’t, but can’t help the way I feel. I’ve been very hesitant about publishing this post, as a lot of close and important people will read it. Some of these people have been a massive help, who I should have spoken to about it all, but didn’t. I am sorry.

I know I have to sort out this mess I’m in, somehow. I’m worried about it, scared even. I shouldn’t have started, but I did. In a way its good I realised what I was doing this early on and put a stop to it. Things could be a lot worse. At the time I thought it was helping, but it hasn’t. Buying things cannot fill an emptiness or a void in life. It might seem like it does at the time, but it won’t when the dust settles.

And a year has gone by….

A lot has happened over the past year, too much to write about. It’s been tough. Emotionally, mentally and physically tough. A few things have been found out too, good and bad. Unfortunately I can’t get the answers to questions I have running around in my head. Something else to deal with and try to understand, somehow.

I hardly slept last night. Today’s events constantly repeating themselves in my mind. Sat reading my blog until 04:00 this morning. Couldn’t stop crying. I’ve been mentally preparing myself for today and now it’s here. One year to the day my life changed forever. Never dreamt this would happen, not a life I wished for.

Time for another poem. But I don’t write poems. Never have before. Its amazing the effect emotions have. It just happens. It’s quite a long one, longer than the one I wrote shortly after Lyanda passed away, but i think it sums up quite a lot.

Also this song. Don’t think i need to say much about it. It’s a lovely song with beautiful words.

For those that have followed me and those that have read my posts, thankyou. I still hope my story helps you in your journey, whatever it may be. I will continue to update my blog and hope you continue to read it.

The last of the ‘firsts’

Apart from some family birthdays, the last of the firsts for us in our house is done. The one year anniversary is now looming around the corner. It’s been a tough year and one I didn’t think I would get through. Somehow I am getting there. The kids are too.

I saw this poem on widowed and young, written by a young widow for all other people in the same situation. It describes everything pretty much perfectly. It’s too nice not to share.

Widow to Widow

I can see your sadness,
the way you blink back tears,
the way you smile and wave,
the way you hide your fears

I can see your sadness,
though others say you’re strong,
I know you’re feeling numbness
and not sure where you belong

I can see your sadness
the love of your life is gone,
everything is changing
and everything feels wrong

I can see your sadness
when you look in your chid’s eyes,
and say my darling I love you, and
how I wish daddy hadn’t died

I can see your sadness
your eyes puffed and rimmed with red,
you only do your crying
once the children are in bed

I can see your sadness
not knowing where to start,
how to make a new life
when you’re missing half your heart

I can see your sadness
as people move away,
your pain is so enormous
and they don’t know what to say

I can see your sadness
your exhaustion, and your fear,
because suddenly you realise
that death is always near

I can see your sadness
I feel so sad for you,
you see, I can see your sadness
because it’s my sadness too