Acknowledgement​

July is always a horrid month for me and mine.

Too many anniversaries bring feelings full of loss and despair for most of the month.

This month, in the midst of sadness, I have moved out of my shared accommodation and into my own place.

This month is bringing with it a reminder of what being free is, of what it feels like to be a strong and independent woman and an acknowledgement of who I am.

I am allowing myself to be sad but trying to pull myself out of wallowing. To see this month as something other than awful.

It is with this thought in mind that I wonder what next July will bring.

Perhaps, it is time to move past sadness and look for a way to celebrate…

One Day

You always told me, “One day…”
Trying in vain to prepare me for these days.

In the early days, I notice your hat is still there – I make a mental note to ask if I can keep it,
But then in the blink of an eye – it is gone.

I take your collection of ties without waiting for a better time,
Folding them up neatly in a bag.

I think of the sadness in your eyes whenever you spoke of a family who was long since gone,
Always preparing me for, “One day…”

I never expected ‘one day’ would feel like this,
Never imagined I would understand so accurately that sadness I saw within you.

Weeks later, we are standing outside our house,
We are all here, waiting.

Liz announces the arrival of the hearse with a deafening, “He’s here.”
Nic and I lose composure, eyes dropping immediately to our feet.

I sit in the funeral car, with your daughters – the magnitude of that moment hits hard,
I am the only grandchild in the car and I wonder, does that not speak volumes?

The house is empty,
I am showing prospective buyers around.

They want to change everything – strip it bare and start anew,
I want to drag them out but instead, I just remove myself.

“One day, I won’t be here anymore. You’ll be telling your grandchildren about me like I am telling you about mine.”

 

I Survived

“I wake up every morning, get dressed and carry on with the day. Even when I don’t feel like it, it’s just what you do.” – Grandad

I was raised strong. I was always a child that held fire in her eyes and I loved it. I challenged people. I questioned life. You get up in the morning and you start anew, you continue on and work through each day.

I have had panic disorder, anxiety, agoraphobia, depression and PTSD but I ALWAYS got up in a morning – even if that was all I did. I had moments of not eating, months of being mute, years of being bullied and belittled. That fire within me dimmed significantly, but it still existed. I still kept hold of that strength, it got me through. Every day was a new day.

I lost my mind somewhere around 2004, so many weeks and months that I have no recollection of. But I got myself out of bed. Always. Made sure to look after my body, if not my mind. Sleep. Eat. Wash. Dress. Read. Repeat.

Never in my life have I been broken.

Until 12:30pm on January 11th 2018. It was a Thursday.

Everything stopped.

There was no more getting out of bed. Eating was something I held zero interest in doing. In bed, I stayed, for 4 days.

But then, Monday came around and I was expected in University. So, up I got and off I went.

I survived. Unwillingly.

I went from stiff upper lip, ‘I’ve never cried in public’ to “Oh, I’m crying on the bus.”

Falling apart in public became a frequent occurrence. Crying in public bathrooms, on buses, in the street and in the shop was no longer something within my control. It just happened.

I survived.

Unintentionally.

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Breathe

Moving does not solve all problems – I was aware of this. I had reminded myself of this everytime I saw a film where the protagonist’s past followed them into their present.

Moving felt like breathing. Almost like for the first time in my whole goddamn life, I could breathe easy. No more elephants sitting on my chest, no more gasping and no more struggle.

And then…

I visited. I went back, albeit briefly. The journey was no problem, it was very straightforward, however, walking back into my mum’s house felt like walking into someone else’s house. It no longer felt like mine, my room no longer felt familiar.

By the second day, I felt it. Sadness.

There was a shadow. I instinctively thought it was my cat, my boy. My cat that is no longer physically here. My boy, the life that ended because of my decision, because of my love for him. My heart not being able to live with the knowledge he was hurting, dying. He no longer waits for me at that doorway, it was not him.

Sadness.

3 days of hiding, of “Quick, cross the road. Cross the road. Quick.” to avoid not having to see people, of not wanting to socialise.

And then back again, home. The journey delayed by an hour did not phase me, my iPod dying did not phase me, I was numb.

And then finally

Breathe. Again.

New Year

I am sad a lot. I get asked if I am okay, several times a day. Each time my response is the same, “Yeah, just tired.”

There is no one thing, there is nothing. No main reason for such sadness, it just is.

This year – 2018 – will be the year that I write down one positive thing each day. So that by the end of the year I can look back at all the wonderful things that have happened to me and feel grateful for them.

This year I will try to be my best self, even on the worst days.