Memories

I am in the middle of going through and sorting the thousands of photos we have taken over the past 12 years or so. As nice as it is looking back and remembering, it still hurts so much to do so. Each photo is filled with happy times and wonderful memories, really struggling to live with the fact I won’t have any more memories or photos with Lyanda.

One very early morning while looking at the photos, as usual I had music on in the background. A song came on which I can only describe as beautiful. It sums up everything I think and feel everyday. I miss Lyanda so much. As do the kids.

https://youtu.be/6WZS3Lt9FTA

A very tough month

I haven’t posted anything for a while, it has been a really tough month. The first of the firsts have started. Our little ones first day at nursery in the mornings, the first birthday, oldest started his gcse years, and a few other things too.

Every morning has been taken up with counselling for the kids, doctors appointments, opticians appointments etc. While it’s been good to keep busy and have things to do, it hasn’t helped my mental state at all. No time to reflect, no time to think, no time to grieve. This past week was the last of the run of appointments, so hopefully will get the odd day to do what I need to do, in between their now sporadic appointments.

I know i need some time for me. I have to stay strong and keep us all safe and well. I still fear crumbling under the stress and pressure of it all. If I can get through each day then that is an achievement in itself. Most days I just want to hide in a corner somewhere out of the way of the world. Everything seems OK on the outside, that’s what I have to do for the kids sakes and pretty much everyone I see. Inside is completely different.

I hate being like this, even though I am told it is ‘normal’ to feel this way. Each night I look up to the stars, if I can see them or not, and wish things were as they were. Unfortunately I know this cannot happen. And that is one of the hardest things to deal with. Knowing our lives will never be the same again. There will always be a void in our lives. And in my heart.

How can I keep doing this?

Struggling to handle everyday life. Things we would normally do together I now have to do by myself. It is hard. Everything seems to be falling apart. But that might be just me. I keep losing it and it’s not fair on the kids. Hugs one minute, tears the next. The kids are suffering and I can’t stop, I have tried. They shouldn’t have to put up with me being like this all the time.

Unfortunately distractions are just that, distractions. They paper over the cracks temporarily, but once they finish everything is straight back to how it is. I have no way of letting off steam, i can’t do anything, I am always needed by somebody. I know that is my role, but I need to be able to function as Dad too.

I don’t resent the kids at all, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. I love them all to bits. But I need some time to process all this myself before I implode and become even more of a nightmare than I am now.

1 week until school starts. 1 week. That’s all I need to do, get through one more week. Then normality will return, for them at least. I might have some time then. Time to remember. Time to reflect. Time to try and answer the questions going round in circles in this mushed up brain of mine.

I am stuck on an emotional roller-coaster. A roller-coaster I can’t stop. One I can’t get off. I hope one day I can apply the brakes and slow it down. Just a bit. Just enough.

https://youtu.be/60ItHLz5WEA

I have made a connection with this song since Lyanda’s sad passing. I listen to it daily, several times usually. This seems to have a calming effect as well as an emotional connection.

A really tough week

I honestly don’t know how i have survived this past week. A week of rain here in Carmarthen. Good old Welsh weather. Haven’t been able to take the kids anywhere or do anything with them. A real struggle.

Also had some news. Not the best of news, which sent me over the edge. I hadn’t had many suicidal thoughts before. I certainly have the past few days. But they will stay as thoughts. They have to, i have a family to raise.

I promised Lyanda all the way through her struggles I would look after them. I also promised her at the Chapel of Rest I would. I intend to keep that promise, no matter how hard. I have already lost the love of my life, I don’t want to lose my family too. And they need me. I can only do my best.

The visits from friends and family have subsided over the past few weeks. I still have regular phone contact with family, and visits from a group of friends. They have all supported me throughout all this. They all give me hope. But lots of things upcoming that I am not looking forward to. I know i should, but the void in my heart is too great.

Her eldest just turned 18. A week to go until school starts again. First morning at school for the little one. Our daughter starts year 1. Our middle one turns 10 next week. Then the oldest at home starts his GCSE year. All these things, and more, Lyanda was really looking forward to.

A lot to deal with, and extremely mixed emotions about all of it. Happy times are unfortunately overshadowed with great sadness.

Please help stop my 5 year old crying.

A lot has happened that I haven’t updated yet but this is extremely important to me and my daughter.

Our 5 year old daughter was given a snow globe 2 weeks ago to help with her grieving process by a friend. Our 3 year old wanted to have a look, and dropped it by accident as it was too heavy. Now she won’t stop crying.

I have asked where they got it from, but they had it years ago and couldn’t remember. She saw it at their house and it has a star on the tree and she took a liking to it. She said it reminds her of Mummy. I have said we can look for another one together but she wants that one.

Can anyone help find an exact replacement please? It is a wind up musical globe, white Xmas tree with star on top and white glitter. Pic below. Quite happy for this to be shared everywhere.

Thanks (a very hopeful thanks)

Distractions

As the time was coming for the car to go, and the holidays had begun, i decided to try my best to take the kids out. I had to force myself to do this. All I wanted to do was hide away from everyone and everything. But my priority now are the kids. But I had to distract myself from what had happened and I couldn’t stay confined to the house permanently.

We went to a nice place called Mountain View Lodge near Cardiff. Us 5, 2 friends and their children. It was a nice day. It was really nice to see the kids being kids again. Running around, climbing trees and getting covered in mud. I was doing ok until lunchtime. I sorted the kids out their food, then turned to offer Lyanda something to eat. No one saw this. I took myself off for a bit while the kids ate with the others. After that it was difficult, but my friends must have noticed something was wrong. They were brilliant, and still are.

Then met a forum member one day in Pembrey Country Park. The kids running round on the beach with his dog, then he spent most of the afternoon untangling the kite strings the kids somehow mangled. He didn’t seem to mind that it had happened. The kids ran around the park for the rest of the day, then we went to the playground for an hour before heading home. Really nice and peaceful day.

We went to an indoor play area in Llanelli too. Really busy, but again, the kids enjoyed it. And had some local trips out. Just to treat the kids to food out or whatever I could at the time.

The car was picked up as planned on the 30th July at 9:30am. It was sad to see the car go. For the first time ever we had a decent car, one that didn’t break down or give us any problems. The reason for having a mobility car was unfortunate. The reason for losing the car was devastating.

The plans we made

With the little one starting nursery in September, and full time after Easter next year we had made plans together. Until Easter, not much as there would only be a couple of hours. But after Easter, plenty.

I had started looking into activities that she would be able manage. Even things like pottery, while being tactile would be beneficial to help strengthen her grip. Or day trips out to wherever. Just to have coffee and cake and to visit places she wanted to go. Maybe swimming. Or floating as would probably be the case.

Maybe even watch a film at the cinema, a grown up film for a change. Lyanda, not a massive film fan, meant the choice would be limited. Unless it had Johnny Depp, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Vin Diesel in it. Then the film would always be good and worth watching.

Doing things together, as a couple. As husband and wife rather than mum and dad. That’s all that what was important.

I still have fond memories of our discussions and the plans we made. She always wanted to go to America to see the Statue of Liberty. I always wanted to go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights. We both wanted to be able to take the kids to Disneyworld. We managed Butlins a few times. Now unfortunately, the plans are meaningless, in a practical sense.

I hope one day at some point I will be able to do something by myself and with the kids. Money and time permitting obviously. As I have found out the hardest way possible, life is way too short.

Human kindness from “strangers”

Between Lyanda’s devastating passing and the funeral I was an emotional wreck. It was the emotional roller coaster from hell, and i couldn’t get off it. I couldn’t make it stop, no matter how hard I tried. Amongst all this, things were happening beyond my control. Some good, some bad. I was updating the mountain bike forum as and when I could. This is when certain things started happening.

One forum member picked up on what my daughter said, “the brightest star in the sky” and it stuck. This became her legacy almost instantly. It was repeatedly used when anyone was talking about Lyanda.

Then one day I received a book in the post, from a forum member titled Always With Me by Tamsin Wood. A lovely book, which brought me to tears just reading the cover. Took me ages to read it, i couldn’t stop crying.

I had a message through the forum from another member. He had already purchased a gift for me and the kids and he asked if he could have my address to send it to us. I gave him our address thinking he might have got the kids some chocolates and some flowers or something for me. What turned up I was not expecting. I couldn’t stop crying when I saw it. But in a good way.

He read what my daughter had said and purchased an extra bright star in Lyanda’s name. I told anyone I could, i was extremely proud of this. I still am. Lyanda, now, was literally the brightest star in the sky.

The forum members have gone above and beyond with their support and generosity. We might be a bunch of strangers with one common interest, but it doesn’t end there. I have helped people in need before and will continue to do so. As they have done for me. I have had the privilege to have met a handful of them and to thank them personally. I hope they all know and understand how much they have helped me throughout the past few years. And how much they mean to me.

We all know about stranger danger and we teach our kids this. But sometimes, as adults, strangers can be wonderful.

The funeral

Leading up to the funeral was unbearable. My emotions were running wild. I was not ready to say goodbye. I didn’t want to say goodbye. I wanted Lyanda by my side for years to come. This, unfortunately was no longer a possibility. On one extremely emotional morning, I wrote a poem.

This summed up pretty much everything. I wrote from the heart, but hadn’t realised what i had written until I read it later that night. I visited Lyanda 4 times in total at the Chapel of Rest. I wanted to, i needed to. I didn’t want my last memory of her to be as I found her that morning. My last memory of her now is one where she sleeps peacefully.

I was designing the order of service. I had help designing the cover, it turned out exactly as I wanted it to. The poem was included inside the back cover. It was also read out at the service. Apparently, from what I was told afterwards, there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere.

Lyanda’s favourite colour is purple. I wore the brightest purple tie I could find. I told others I was wearing a purple tie. Most of the people there wore something purple too. I am sure she was liking the spattering of her favourite colour across the room.

For all the years we had been together, i always wore shorts, whatever the weather. I can count on two hands how many times I wore trousers or jeans. This was a bug bearer of hers, but became a long standing joke. There was speculation whether or not I would wear shorts to the funeral. This is after all how she knew me. I decided to wear trousers, for her, one last time. It’s a shame she wasn’t there to see it. I can only hope she was up there, looking down on me, laughing her head off at the sight of me in trousers.

The practical steps

Then came the dreadful task of having to concentrate on the practicalities. Not something I wanted to do, but it needed to be done. I still had to keep the roof over our heads and support the children. To my horror this was not as straight forward as I thought.

All our income was stopped at the beginning of July. Lyanda was claiming child benefit in her name since before we got together. Our children got added onto the claim, which was never a problem. Until now. Everything else was in joint names. I now had to reclaim everything solely in my name. Until child benefit was processed, nothing else could be claimed so a long waiting game began.

I rang mobility care and informed them, i knew the car would need to be returned. The lady I spoke to was lovely. Ordinarily the car would need to be returned immediately, but she extended the pick up date as long as she could. The car would be picked up first thing on the 29th July. She said she wished she could extend it to the end of the summer holidays so I could take the kids out more. I was grateful for what she had already done, but that would have been nice.

I also rang the occupational therapist. I asked them to pick up the bed which they loaned us 2 years previous. That was difficult to deal with. I didn’t want it to go as it was there she lived for the past couple of years. But it’s also there I found her and I didn’t want or need that memory.

We have all decided we would like to stay in this house. Our family home. The landlord has been good and given us extra time to pay July’s rent due to our now financial difficulties. But we can stay as long as we want, which is a huge weight off my mind. The only thing that is uncertain is whether I will be able to afford to stay here. Only time will tell. But I hope so.