The importance of just being there

I have always been of the belief that when words fail (and in some circumstances not even words can help) then just being there is enough.
Unfortunately it took the events of the past two weeks to reinforce this belief but I am glad that it did.
So many people have difficulty in expressing what they feel.
They believe that they just don’t have the words or the situation makes them feel uncomfortable so they just pull back and don’t communicate at all. Continue reading

Is it terrible to have forgotten something?

I ponder that question this morning.
In life, many things happen to us. These events shape us. They mold us and change us.
They make us the person that we are now.
Some events we will never forget.
We don’t forget the feelings of love, loss, hatred, anguish … or any other number of emotions that course through us with the memories of those times.
We don’t forget those who journeyed with us or the events surrounding what occurred.
But sometimes as we begin to live the ordinary of the every day, the little things begin to fade. Continue reading

P is for Pause, Ponder and Pray

Yesterday was one of those days I won’t forget in a while. It gave me reason to do every one of the above things.
The day started like any other day in my life (and town). Apart from my cat having a major stress out about the change of her kitty litter, all was as it should be (one day I might even blog about THAT little episode).
Continue reading

Fellow Blogger – Jill from Jill’s Experiences

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Actually the full name of Jill’s blog is Jill’s Experiences with Mental Health, Stigma, Alzheimer’s Disease, Grief & Grieving & Serenade2Seniors but it was a little long for the title of this post. As you can see by the title, Jill writes a lot of amazing articles about these issues. Jill’s posts are a combination of factual articles and memoirs of her life experiences. Her son suffered from Schizophrenia and in her own words this “ripped her family apart”. Jill’s husband later developed Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly she has lost both of these men in her life. On January 3rd, 2012 Jill received an award known as the Ministry of Health’s Shield in honour of her voluntary work in the field of mental health. She was awarded this within the Knesset (Parliament) in Jerusalem. You can read more of Jill’s story on her ‘about‘ page.
She shares wonderful memories of her husband in the post Being with you is like opening a can of Springtime. (How could you not smile reading a title like that)? and shared her anguish of her son’s illness in What we found in our late son’s notebook. In all of my dealings with Jill, I have found her to be an intelligent and lively lady with a beautiful and caring nature.

Welcome to my couch tonight Jill. I am truly blessed to have you here. I want to ask you what prompted you to begin blogging?

After my son developed paranoid schizophrenia and suffered for 16 years as he was medication resistant, he gave up and took his life. Some years later, my husband developed Alzheimer’s disease and passed away four years ago.

I know they are only words, but I am very sorry for your losses. I have found you to be a strong and brave woman. So you began blogging to write about his. How long have you been blogging Jill?

For two years.

And does your blog have a theme?

Yes, I blog about the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination accorded people      with a mental illness, Alzheimer’s or other brain illnesses and other handicaps. I also blog about the coping process and grief and grieving.

I’m sure that you have a wealth of knowledge in these areas. It is so good of you to wish to share this knowledge with others through your blog posts. Have you, yourself gained anything from blogging?

Yes, I have met dozens of people online who mail me and we have conversations.

I count myself as one of those lucky people. 🙂 Has blogging been a way of helping you deal with the challenges in your life?

I dealt with all my challenges before I was able to blog about it all as I wrote two books and many articles and short stories that were published.

So although blogging was not a way of dealing with challenges, writing about them definitely was. (A list of Jill’s books and articles can be found here).
How often are you able to blog Jill?

Every single day.

And where do you find inspiration for your daily posts?

All from personal experience and as I am turning 75 in February, I have had a lot of difficult times, as well as wonderful times as I was fortunate enough to have a husband who knew how to give me unconditional love. We were married in  1959.

How lucky you were Jill to have known true love for such a long time. And you have a birthday coming up! I will have to remember that so that I can wish my ‘blogging grandma’ friend Happy Birthday. You’ll have to let me know the date 😉
Do you have a particular quote or mantra that you believe fits your life?

Yes, and it was my husband’s favorite. Here it is:    

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I believe the Serenity Prayer is definitely a favourite of a lot of people. Thank you for the reminder to us all.
Whilst you write each day, I am sure that you visit other blogs. What draws you to these blogs?

I find the varied subjects that people blog about fascinating. I am also impressed and a bit jealous of their superior knowledge of computers and the way their blogs are set out compared to mine!

I don’t think there is any need to be jealous. Each person has stamped their individual style on their blogs and you have managed to do the same with your own blog. I have enjoyed chatting with you tonight Jill. Before we go, do you have anything else that you wish to share?

Just thank you for the trouble taken to draw up these questions and distribute them.

Jill, you are so very welcome. Have a beautiful day 🙂

Remembering our Losses

ImageWhen we lose those we love, many of us wish to honour their memory in some way. It’s not enough to grieve and remember, sometimes we need to have a tangible reminder that those we have lost were once a part of our lives. As I write this, I look to the top of my computer desk and see photos of my brothers who are no longer with us. David (my younger brother)  left us over 20 years ago but I still remember saying goodbye to him as if it were yesterday. Damien (my stepbrother) who was taken by Leukaemia. In the photo I have of him, he is in his hospital bed beside a smiling Alfie Langer (an Australian football legend). Then there is my little bro in the frame I made of buttons smiling at me wearing his glasses and false teeth (both of which he hated wearing). Behind these photos are dried flowers from the corsage that adorned his coffin. Sadly we lost Peter after he contracted Swine Flu. His defenses were already weakened from his battle with Leukaemia and GVH (graft versus host) and he stood no chance.

I have lost more than siblings. I have lost my beloved grandmother and other loved ones including babies. The graphic above is a digital scrapbook layout created on the second anniversary of our first loss.

“Today marks the second anniversary of the day you left my body. I know your spirit had gone in the days before but today is the anniversary of the day we had to say goodbye to the baby we had begun to love. The jasmine bush that the Scrap Heap Inspiration Team gave me is in bloom once again and I smell its sweet fragrance and remember the feeling of you growing inside me. Today, I not only remember you my angel but the four other angels that we never met as well. I always wanted a large family but I guess not all of you were meant to be here with me. We don’t love any of you any less than if we were able to meet you and hold you in our arms. Take care my butterflies”

When we moved home, we had to leave the jasmine bush behind. It is still growing beside the front door of the house we left behind and it no doubt still flowers and sends its beautiful fragrance wafting through the door each October.

I keep other physical reminders of those I love as well. Each year when we put up our Christmas Tree, I place ornaments representing those I have lost on the top of the tree right near the angel. In my mind, it is important to remember those we have lost. It is just as important to move through our grief and live our lives once more. All the what ifs and longing in the world won’t bring back those who have left us. Each day, we put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

We need to stop with the blame game as well. If only I’d done this…. or that…. I wish I’d called more often… I never told him/her that I loved them…. None of this is doing anyone any good. Channel some love back toward yourself. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. Wake up each day and breathe. That is all that anyone can ask of you.

Grief is a process. It takes time to heal from it. Sometimes years. I still cry for my lost babies and it has been almost 10 years. For those of you grieving (and I know there are many of you amongst my readers), I am sending you a virtual hug. Take care of yourselves and above all be kind to yourself.

Have a blessed day :P)