My Journey

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

Now all the kids are in school full time….

The first week of a new routine is done. A tough week, made easier with some friends helping me through it.

For the first time in around 18 years I have no children at home during school time. It is completely surreal. Long days of peace, long days of silence. Long days of being on my own when it shouldn’t be this way.

Lack of desire and motivation to do anything, but plenty that needs doing. I still can’t bear the thought of going out, i sit at home listening to music and wait. For something but i don’t know what.

Can things get any worse?

In the grand scheme of things and with everything that’s happened, probably not. But it is constant. A constant battle of everything that shouldn’t be. A constant battle that has lasted 10 months so far and doesn’t seem anywhere near ending.

The first year cycle is nearing, how I’ve got this far I do not know. All I can see at the moment is a lifetime of battles and struggles. I don’t see how I can carry on, but i know i have to. Everything is taking its toll on me, mentally more than physically, but all is clear to see if you look hard enough.

Yes, there are better days, sporadically mixed in with the bad days. And I look forward to these days, not knowing when they will be. But I relish the thought of a good day. One day, sooner rather than later, hopefully.

Lyanda’s birthday

Today would have been Lyanda’s birthday.
Another special day in our year of firsts, another special day in our ‘new’ life without her. These days make our loss more poignant, but each and every day hurts and is tough. Together we will get through it.

Our daughter found this plaque outside in our garden this morning. It is really lovely and a sweet sentiment. Our 10 year old is convinced Mummy has sent it to them on this special day, her birthday.

Keep shining bright Lyanda,
The brightest star in the sky.

A tough few days

The past few days have been incredibly tough. Nothing in particular has caused it, unfortunately just the way things are. Still up and down. This emotional roller-coaster is horrible. I have had a migraine for over 5 weeks now which isn’t helping. Yet still plenty to do.

There always will be plenty to do especially when I can’t bring myself to do anything. Day after day I sit here ignoring everything that needs doing. It takes all my effort and concentration to get through each day, that’s without having the ability to do anything else. But the kids are still clothed, fed and going to school.

I read this article, it summarises and sort of answers a lot that is going on.

Just wish there was a way of coping and dealing with this quicker so I have the chance of trying to be ‘me’ again. I was told I am nothing like i used to be, a shadow of my former self. I see this too, but struggling to do anything about it.

Mothers Day

I’ve been dreading this day for ages. A happy occasion, dedicated to all the mothers and a celebration of all that they bring to their children. Much the same as every year I can remember.

Until now. This year is different, and it will be every time from now on. I wasn’t sure how the kids would be. The first, of many, Mothers Days without their Mum. No longer is it a celebration with Mum, now it is a remembrance for Mum. Memories and pictures. It’s all they have now.

On every special occasion, they would make cards. These are what we both would treasure. A simple gift they had made means so much more than a gift purchased from any shop. Although Lyanda would always have a box of Ferrero Rocher from the kids. A token gift, her favourite chocolates. I would usually have a chocolate orange. Of course, the chocolates weren’t ours. They would all stand next to us waiting for us to open the chocolates so they could have some too. Over the years it became a standing joke that we would have to buy 2 lots. One for us and one for the kids to share, it’s the only way we would get a look in.

The morning came and the kids were all excited to show me the cards they had made. The school let them decide what they wanted to do. They made a card for Mummy but also made a card for me. I wasn’t expecting that, it was a really nice surprise. Unknowing to them, I had bought some Ferrero Rocher too. I shared them out as normal, they seemed to appreciate it.

Their cards sit proudly on the unit dedicated to Mummy. Along with a card a friend found in the shape of a star that says “Mum, you’re the brightest star” on it.

In the afternoon, another friend took us out. We went to a lake and fed some swans, ducks and other birds flying around. Before we moved to Carmarthen, that is something we all used to enjoy doing. Something simple yet meaningful. It was very peaceful there and gave a lot of time to reflect and think. We all had ice cream too. Time ran on so we had some food there before coming home.

The day went better than expected. Luckily it was really quiet, no one to spoil the calm. I think we all needed that. Seeing the swans gliding along the lake, the ducks swimming and all the birds flying around all trying to get some food from us was an amazing sight. Therapeutic in a way.