Hello, It’s Me..

Everybody remembers the last conversation they had with a loved one before that person died.. It doesn’t matter if the conversation was in person or via the phone. It was those words, spoken or unspoken, that stay with you.

Princes William and Harry were holidaying in Scotland with their father when they last spoke to their mother. Diana was in Paris but she always found time to speak to the two boys who were her life. On the 30th of August she phoned her sons. William and Harry remember this last conversation as being too brief because they were eager to be doing other stuff. They were behaving as young boys do. They were not to know that in a few hours time the mother that they loved so much would be dead. That last phone call haunts them and I understand it because I too am haunted by my last phone call with my mother.

Death.

Death is tricky. Sometimes you get prior notice that he’s coming for a loved one. If death is inevitable, then surely this is the best scenario because nothing is left unsaid? The living can carry on comforted that they got to say goodbye and the dying can let go knowing that there is nothing left to say. That’s the kind of death I want. To leave on my terms. However, Death so often takes our loved ones without warning. There is no opportunity to tell them one last time how much you love them. They are simply – gone.

Death gave no warning about my mother.

The last time I spoke to Mum was the night before she died. I’d been in hospital having a procedure done under general anesthetic and I’d not been home long before she phoned to see how I was. I was woozy from the anesthetic and I just wanted to sleep so I fobbed her off and told her I’d speak to her the following morning. That was the last time I ever spoke to her. How could I know that she would be dead before I woke up the next morning?

Mum hadn’t been ill, except for a “bit of a tummy bug” which she’d mentioned in passing that week. The ‘bug’ turned out to be Bronchial Pneumonia. If she was suffering, nobody knew, because she didn’t say anything. She didn’t ‘do’ illness. Illness was an inconvenience which interfered with hair appointments. She couldn’t be done with it and in the end her stubbornness was her undoing.

What happens in these circumstances is that you replay that conversation over and over in your mind. You don’t remember the other conversations you’ve had with that person. You just remember those last words. You rewrite the script or at least you try to because you feel cheated or guilty or both. You feel like you are the worst person in the world because of that last conversation. You’d give anything to be able to go back in time and do it differently. To this day, I don’t remember if I told her I loved her. Normally, I would have, as I had ended every other phone call, but I was semi-sedated. I most probably did because I ended every conversation the same way. The problem is that it was often like reciting the Lords Prayer, as in, something that you say without actually thinking about it. You know?

My mother was no longer at the end of the phone but that didn’t stop me dialing her number. I needed to hear her voice and I knew where I could find her, for a little while longer, at least..

Hi, it’s me, I’m not here at the moment but leave a message and I’ll get back to you.

I lost count of how many times I rang number Mum’s number to listen to this message. Even though I knew that the phone was ringing out into a house which was no longer a home, it didn’t matter because it was still her voice and it comforted me.

Given the chance, our last conversation would have been very different. Then again, there is a belief that things happen for a reason. What if I was to go back and hear something in my mother’s voice which alerted me to the fact that something was wrong? What then if I was to intervene only for the outcome to be that for the rest of her life she was frail and dependent on others? If you knew my mother you’d understand how much she’d have hated that. As hard as it is to lose someone, if we look hard enough, we will see a blessing in some form. Sometimes we just need to look at things from their perspective instead of our own.

It’s unrealistic to treat every conversation as if it’s the last you will ever have. Life gets in the way and with the best will in the world there are always going to be occasions where we have to cut conversations short. However, no matter how brief a conversation may be, there is always time enough to say the only thing that really matters.

“The news of life is carried via telephone. A baby’s birth, a couple engaged, a tragic car accident on a late night highway – most milestones of the human journey, good or bad, are foreshadowed by the sound of a ringing.” Mitch Albom ~ The First Phone Call From Heaven

mumturnedmom

Somewhere Only I Know

I wake up with a racing heart..

‘Fer f**ks saaaaake!’, I whine, a bit pathetically.

This time it’s different though because I don’t fear the sensation. It’s unpleasant but it will pass. I’ve been here a hundred times before.

‘Don’t you DARE look at the clock!’, I warn myself, though I imagine it’s around four. I elbow OH in the ribs because he’s snoring like a bastard, then I make myself comfortable.

I close my eyes..

I breathe in for four seconds.

I hold my breath for four seconds.

I breathe out for four seconds.

I reach into the certifiable mess that is my mind and retrieve a happy memory of a sunny day on a beach in Wales. I remove the people from the memory so there is just me. No stressed-out parents, no screaming kids and no Mr Whippy van with his highly irritating mechanical chimes..

I change the weather from hot to warm, because I can.

Editing done, I start to walk along the beach, seeing myself in first person perspective, just as in life. Though it has to be said that my feet are hideous..

There are sand dunes to the left of me, cliffs behind me and the golden Welsh sands stretch out before me. I walk for a while then turn to face the ocean..

I love the sea. It has the ability to take my life within minutes, yet can soothe my frazzled mind. The only snag is I can’t swim.

I watch as the waves roll in and out, synchronizing them to my breathing. Then I become aware of my bare feet sinking into the cool sand and a catastrophic thought creeps into my mind. I see myself being dragged under by deadly quicksand. This is because Mum, bless her, nearly ended herself on a beach in Bournemouth. Thankfully, all she lost was a flip-flop and her dignity.

The seagulls fly above me but there’s no danger of them crapping on my head. Nor are there any Carling cans and fag-ends jammed into the sand ruining my view because this is my special, no shit allowed, place.

Suddenly I feel something cold on my leg and look down to see a beautiful Lurcher with his nose pressed against my leg. He has golden fur, the kind that’s comfortingly rough. His eyes are caramel brown with more love inside them than you could ever imagine..

He starts to dance around me, nudging my leg and woofing like a mad thing.

He wants to play..

A piece of driftwood appears, as if by magic, and I hurl it into the sea with all the finesse of a shot-putter, not that he cares. Off he bounds into the waves, barking excitedly. He finds the driftwood and brings it back to me. ‘Again?’ his eyes implore me..

So I indulge him, again and again until I have to tell him to sod off because my arthritis is giving me gyp.

He hurdles the waves, like Usain Bolt, only with fur. He is uninhibited and for a moment I envy him because he isn’t scared of anything..

After a while he tires himself out and makes his way towards me. I crouch down to his level and stroke his face. He makes this noise, like he’s singing, only it’s more of a howl. It’s dog-speak for ‘I’m happy’.

Miraculously, his fur has dried out. How did that happen? Because it can, that’s why.

I put my face to his and breathe him in. He smells like sunshine. His aroma comforts me and I can feel my heart rate slowing right down. This moment lasts as long as I need it to, then he gives me one last look with those beautiful eyes before he ambles off towards the dunes..

I gaze down to see two sets of prints in the sand, one of hideous size 4 feet, the other of paws.

My four-legged friend is nowhere to be seen. No doubt he is lying in the shade somewhere chasing rabbits in his dreams..

A gentle breeze stirs up so I walk some more, watching as the clouds pass along the blue sky like big balls of cotton wool. If heaven exists, I want this to be mine.

My heart rate has returned to a steady beat and my breathing to normal. I am calm.

I stare at the ocean one last time then make my way towards the dunes where there are a set of steps. In reality, those steps lead to some public bogs that reek of piss but I edit that bit out because, well, it’s a bit shit.

As I climb the steps, I congratulate myself because Fear didn’t win this time. I showed that little shit who’s boss, i.e. me.

By the time I reach the last step, I am opening my eyes and blinking in the sunlight, or dinge, whichever is applicable. Back to life, back to reality..

The brain is a powerful thing. Thoughts can destroy and heal you in equal measure. My brain frustrates me on a daily basis with it’s catastrophic thoughts yet the memory of a much loved friend, who died over ten years ago, has the power to heal me.

The memory is real and it’s a privilege to have, just as it was a privilege to share part of my life with such a loving creature.

The first time I saw him in my guided relaxation, he simply appeared without me having thought of him. Did my subconscious bring him to me? Or did he find me?

Either way, I am grateful because each time I wake up panicking, I go to my special place and there he is, waiting for me.

Friend and Healer.

Footprints CC Image via Pixabay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Is…

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*WARNING* This post contains the word ‘fart’.

Since I’ve been on the decaf I’ve not been a morning person. In fact there’s only a 30 minute period in the entire day when I’m actually firing on all cylinders and then my brain disengages again. I’m also functioning on depleted supplies of oestrogen and this could explain why my inner grumpy went orbital the morning I walked in to find OH’s dirty undies casually draped over the chair.

Two words.

Skid marks.

OH assures me it’s due to having a ‘hairy bottom’ though I think it’s also to do with the numerous ‘rump rippers’ he fires into his ‘drawers’ throughout the day.

Truth be told – I’ve yet to come across a male who hasn’t left varying degrees of skiddery in his underpants. Having been married twice and birthed three sons- I’ve seen more skidmarks than Brands Hatch but apparently I can still be caught off guard and so I found myself faced with a dilemma –  did I wash them, toss them, or set fire to them?

After conducting a brief risk assessment (see what I did there?) I reluctantly chose to violate my washer with the offending skivvies. So I shoved them inside the machine (via the end of my mop) and slammed the door before they could escape. Then I threw in a box of Daz and left them slapping against the door on a hot wash while I staggered off to dry-heave over the kitchen sink.

It got me to thinking about how long into a relationship bad habits creep in and according to an article in The Telegraph – it’s three years and six months after tying the knot. It’s what is known as ‘the comfort zone’. OH and myself married last year but we’ve lived with each other for nine years so I’d say we’re well into the comfort zone!

Early on in relationships people stifle burps and politely leave the room to fart break wind. They take time over their appearance and are considerate to their partners. OH even let me have the TV remote in the early days – imagine that?

Muffling farts with a strategic loo flush?

*sticks hand up*

However, it was OH who took our relationship to another level the night he fired off three consecutive trumps farts into the sofa while watching Top Gun just at the moment that GOOSE DIES!

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This is real life and real life is..

Morning breath that could strip the paint off a barn door.

Watching the light of your life floss his undercarriage WITH HIS UNDERPANTS.

Sniffing what’s left of the crotch of your leggings (with elastic bits pinging out) to see if you can get another day out of them.

Women shuffling around the house in tea-stained dressing gowns or worse – onesies.

Men strolling round the house in saggy man pants or worse – onesies.

Leaving your ‘trimmings’ in the bath – eh ladies?

Toenail clippings on the floor…

The first time OH clipped his toenails off onto the carpet, I had to hold myself back from grievously bodily harming him. One of the talons pinged it’s way into my wine glass, although OH was oblivious to it as he was deep in concentration tackling his big toe at the time.

Folks, if my Dad had given himself a pedicure over my Ma’s Axminster carpet – he’d have needed those clippers surgically removed. Truth.

Clipping your hoofs in front of your OH is most definitely NOT bringing sexy back. Do it over the bath or the bog, eh?

Nose-picking?

Everybody does it but the female of the species generally do it in private whereas the males can spotted knuckles deep anytime, anyplace and anywhere.

I blame TV’s portrayals of so called ‘perfect relationships because it gives people unrealistic expectations of what relationships should be. Humans aren’t perfect, therefore life isn’t perfect and neither are relationships. Richard Gere strutting into a dusty old factory wearing a uniform and slinging Debra Winger over his shoulder?

Only in Hollywood.

Whereas Jim Royle picking his nose, farting and announcing to ‘Baaaaaaarb’ that he’s off for a “Tom-Tit” is entirely believable.

Snoring is another thing we tolerate in the early days because our brains are releasing happy-go-lucky neurotransmitters into the bloodstream. However, once the happy juice wears off you could quite happily beat the living shit out of them with a shovel in order to get some sleep! Am I wrong?

Having said that, I woke myself up snoring not so long ago, so, er, moving on….

After the infatuation dies down is when the real love begins.

Love is commitment.

Love is knowing that your partner is flawed but loving them anyway.

Love isn’t a bunch of roses or a box of chocolates (or a cactus) it’s a feeling in the heart which no amount of money can buy. When someone loves you despite your faults, you have something really special.

That’s what love is.

OH loves me despite the fact I’m a bit very strange.

He’s not fazed when I turn psycho due to lack of hormones. You know, the hormones that make us bearable?

So I tolerate the skidundies, the TV remote hoggery and general man habits because he tolerates me.

I even forgive him for ruining Goose’s emotional exit from Top Gun.

Because that’s what love is.

*OH sportingly approved this post but wishes it to be known that he picks his clippings up afterwards.

This is true except for the ones which shoot under the sofa. *snorts*

Image Credit J D Hancock via CC