Tag Archives: my life

Resuming Normal Life

Taking time to rest

Taking time to rest

Hello my Lovelies,

I am sorry I have been absent for a whole month.  What started as a bit of a staycation became a full-blown nightmare, when Husband’s mother became seriously ill and nearly died.  We have spent the best part of the last month travelling between home and Oxford, juggling doctors and carers, fighting needless battles, emotionally stretched to the limit.  I have to tell you that this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, trying to help not one but two old ladies who refuse to admit they need help, and who have lost the capacity for reasoned argument.  Anyone who has had to deal with Alzheimers disease will understand what I mean.  On the other hand, I was able to find reserves of compassion and care that I never thought I had.

Last week, we finally managed to have some time alone together, something of a holiday, although we stayed at home.  Husband is desperately exhausted, a situation not helped by the stress, and his diabetes.  He has gone back to work today, but I think we had a little respite that did him good.

And so today I resume my own life, my writing life.

This afternoon I am going to sit down with my diary and journal and work out what I want to achieve this Autumn, where I want my writing to go after all this upheaval.  I am grounding myself once more in my life, in my creativity, because I know that the only way to cope with this ongoing situation (and lets face it, it could go on for years more) and stay sane, is to have a life of my own, work of my own, something to distract myself from the worry, something to sink into and forget.

This is why we need creativity.

(Or at least, this is why I need creativity.)

Because Creativity rescues us when nothing else can, gives us a distraction, a reason to keep exploring, keep hoping, keep going.  And there are times in our lives when our art, our creativity, is the only thing that can save us.

I hope that where ever you are in your life, whatever challenges you face, that your creativity will provide you with a lifeboat to carry you to safety.

And I also want to thank you for being here with me.  Its really great to be back!

Happy Creating,

EF

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Shattered Glass

InstagramCapture  snowy sky

Its Monday, and I would usually write a blog post today about Inspiration.

I would like to write you something sparkling.  Something that will give your creative wings a thermal on which to soar.  Something that is glitter and unicorns and rainbows.  Something to make your heart sing and your pen skitter across the page, leaving a trail of light.

But I have nothing to give you.

I have no light to offer you.  No light in my heart.  My soul is drained, empty and echoing.  I am in the middle of a sandstorm of hormones the like of which I have never experienced in my life before.  I now understand why women in the 19th century were incarcerated in insane asylums for the symptoms of severe Premenstrual Syndrome, Perimenopause and Menopause.  I am blind and deaf, walking in the dark, knowing only this:

THIS ISN’T ME.

THIS ISN’T WHO I AM.

THIS ISN’T WHAT I AM FEELING.

I feel like a marionette, a puppet whose strings are being pulled by someone else, a someone who has not told me the rules of the game they are playing with my heart and soul.  Pieces of me are shattering off.  I am a cracked mirror.

People are telling me that I have to let go, that I must allow myself to feel, so that this rage, this hate, this pain, this self-destruction, will pass.

I can’t.

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Just allow yourself to be angry.  Just punch a few pillows and it will all be better.

It won’t.

There will never be enough pillows to punch. The only way to satisfy this rage would be to rip the head off the world.

(And I am too exhausted to do that.  Night after night of racing thoughts, heart palpitations and hot flushes have seen to that.  I can barely lift my hand up to hold a toothbrush, never mind thump a pillow.)

There will never be enough tears, so I cannot cry even one.

And I must go on like this, day after day, night after night, until my hormones reach their pinnacle and my body collapses into blood.  Only then (I hope), will I become myself again.

I hope.  Most vociferously.

The line between who I am, and who my hormones make me, is frightening me very deeply.  I understand how easy it would be for a woman with postpartum depression to kill the baby she loves most in all the world.  For a girl with premenstrual psychosis to knife a beloved parent. I am not a person who would hurt others, but I can see how easy it would be, because I can see how my hormones are making me into someone I am not, right now.  It begs the question:

Who am I, really?

Our hormones make us who we are, but what if they are out of balance?  I don’t know.  When I bleed, I will remember who I am. Until then, I am the human equivalent of a honey badger.

Thats not a nice thing to be.

But let me tell you this.

This distance between sanity and insanity is the width of a pen nib.

When I write, the pain is eased.  Writing heals.  So while I rage, I will write.  While my hormones slice my heart into slinnocks, I will write.  While I writhe with the stampede of fear and despair, I will write.  When I have nothing else to give, I will still write.  It may not be unicorns and rainbows, but it is Truth.

So for today, if I had to offer you a piece of inspiration, it would be this:

WRITE YOUR TRUTH

(Even if it isn’t very pretty.)

Thank you for listening,

EF

What to do when Life interrupts (again)

I have to go travelling once more.  My mother is ill and I am needed to go down there to look after her.  My brother and his partner have been doing a sterling job, but its really hard and they could do with a bit of respite.

This is what you do when you have to.  You go and pick up your shovel.   And you get to work.

I need to remember to look after myself, as well as her, whilst I am there.  It is so easy to forget that you can’t care for someone else if you are exhausted and sick yourself.  And I can get that way very easily.

(Witness two hours spent in a freezing bathroom in the early hours of this morning with a poorly tummy.  Trust me to choose the coldest night of the year so far to have a stomach upset/nervous meltdown!)

I’m taking my creativity with me, though.

I’m going to have to be creative about how I get her to eat and drink enough (and drinking enough is a real issue with old ladies.)  I’m going to have to be creative about how I keep her entertained and lift her spirits. (Hello Scrabble, crosswords, endless episodes of Miss Marple.) And I’m going to have to appear to be relentlessly optimistic (even though a part of me inside is a gibbering toddler afraid of losing her mummy.)

I’m tired just thinking about it, and thats without the fact that I only had three hours sleep last night.

But there are thousands of people out there right now who are doing exactly the same thing.  Caring for their elderly relatives.  Coping with looking after those with chronic illness or dementia.  Wrestling with the health care system.  Trying to face inevitable grief.  People like you and me.  A silent army of carers that is only going to get bigger.

In the face of this upheaval, I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to post again for a while.  I ask you to bear with me. I’ll be back soon, I promise.  The nib of the pen doesn’t stop moving, after all, and neither does the Muse,

Happy Creating,

EF

 

Tales from my Weekend

Capture the moment.

Capture the moment.

Dear friends,

I’m sorry you didn’t get a post from me yesterday.   I was doing my elder-care weekend.  Once a month, or sometimes twice a month, depending on circumstances, we trek across the country to care for Husband’s mother and aunt (who live together). This time I made a few notes in my writers notebook, thinking they might be useful starters for writing exercises:

  • A weekend of fabulous sunsets and endlessly varied cloudscapes.
  • A red kite swooped down into the garden to scavenge the chicken bones left over from Sunday dinner, as I perched on the back step a few feet away, reading the newspaper.
  • Learning to manoevre a wheelchair –  its a lot more difficult than you think, especially inside supposedly  ‘disabled’ toilets.  And garden centres.  Note to self – the aisles are always narrower than you think.  Especially round the orchids.  Perhaps they just want to capture you there, so you’ll spend more money, I don’t know.
  • I lost my mother-in-law in Sainsburys.  She walked off.  She has dementia.  Now I can imagine  just how terrifying it is to lose a child in a supermarket. (We found her again in the end.)  Note to self: find a way to attach mother-in-law to aunt-in-law’s wheelchair at all times.
  • A wheelchair is a heavy thing:  discuss.
  • A kind lady came up to us and said hello.  Just because.  People can be friendly just for the sake of it.  The world is not such a scary place as we think.
  • Old ladies want to feel pretty too.  Aunt-in-law asked me to spray her with scent from an old bottle of Guy LaRoche that she had tucked away, so she would feel confident when she saw the doctor.
  • A friend’s dog escaped and she snapped her achilles tendon whilst chasing after it.  Just before her impending annual holiday and her daughter’s graduation.
  • My niece’s husband teaches Wittgenstein to his year 12 students.  I think he is brave.
  • Coming home, the sky was full of a just-past-full moon, an orange disc slashed with shards of inky night cloud.
  • Bacon.  No, you don’t need to know anymore.  Bacon is all you need to think about.
  • Hugs.  Hugs make everything better.  Even if you’ve heard the story about the man walking into the plate glass window 18 times in the last ten minutes, hugs always help.

My thanks to Phoebe and Sam Grassby, Mike and Debbie Bracken, Betsy, Maria, Dr Finnegan and the unknown lady who came up to us in Sainsburys, Kidlington, for making the world a better place.

Happy creating,

EF