A Child Substitute

DSC_0334I never thought that when it happened, he would fill so many of the gaps in my life…

These were gaps that I didn’t even know I had, but somehow my partner did. He knew that I wanted so badly to be a mother to something and that I had so much love to give. I would make a good mother he said. After the loss of a child in my younger years, a hysterectomy and many further childless years, we had always said that one day we would get a dog. In my mind, the time wasn’t right at all, there was way too much going on and I was working around 50 hours a week in a stressful job.

So a little over five years ago, we were told that our friends Alaskan Malamutes were expecting puppies and that when they arrived, I would have to go and choose one. He felt that the time was right and when I saw them, I knew that it was.
I visited the puppies whenever I could and although they were all lovely, I thought that I couldn’t make up my mind, so I just kept visiting. One in particular would not leave my side, he was not interested in eating with the others when I was there and when I talked to them all, he listened, paying extra attention. He snuggled in tighter and gave wonderful puppy kisses and when I felt that I really should make a decision despite thinking that I would go for a grey and white, I chose him.

I asked the question you see, “Are you going to be my Kato and am I going to be your Mummy?” He placed a small paw upon my knee, instant ownership and gazed into my eyes. I actually caught the moment on camera too and it remains one of my all time favourites in a sea of photographs spanning his short life, all of which I cherish. But I knew that from that moment, there was no other. I had found my baby and he had found me. He was the best gift that I could ever have had.

The thing about having a living, breathing member of your family as a child substitute…

Is that one day, they are suddenly not there and your little comfortable part of life as you know it is suddenly ripped wide open. Laid bare for people to dissect, they say harmful things at their will and whilst you deal with that on top of your grief, you are just expected to get over it.

If you are part of a family then it is not just your own feelings which are left raw and damaged, with your own life with a huge gaping hole, but also that of your loved ones.
The thing about being parents is that there are two lots of grief to understand and deal with. You must try to understand what goes through another broken mind whilst you both try to fix it and figure out how to heal, being careful not to break each other with a misplaced word or emotion is so tough and we often get it wrong.

You cannot wrap yourself up in your own grief, since you are shutting the other one out, so grief is handled in an entirely different way to how you would normally. This is alien to you and you find it hard to deal with.
New, raw emotions appear and you hope that you are both able to peek out of the wreckage together and rebuild after the tornado has hit.

I think that I am getting better, but I still have not stopped talking to him, looking around before I move the chair, so that I don’t catch him, he was almost always at my side. His remains have come home, it makes it a little bit easier since it feels like he is here with us, although I do not yet often feel his spirit although there have been signs of him.

I have dreams which he is sometimes in, some good, some bad but he is somehow different in them slightly. In the last one I was saying that I want to see my son, who I haven’t seen in ages. I am in a hospital awaiting an operation and I am explaining this to the nurse. I hear him run up the stairs and drop his ball outside the door and I open the door, but he is coming in another door, greeting everyone there first as I say, where is my Kato and he is suddenly there. With my Hero’s welcome, my face and hands buried in his wonderful translucent fur again, being smothered in kisses.
Oh how I wish for that welcome again, but I am so very grateful for those five short years that I was his Mummy, I am sure that they made me a better person than before.

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Normality, who needs it?

I don’t want you to grow up normal. I don’t want you to think that the only way to relieve a broken heart is a prescription for a bottle of pills. I want you to feel that hurt, to remember it… and if it was your fault too, I want you to fix that, and […]

via Why I don’t want my kid growing up normal — larinnachandler

 

This Post, is absolutely fantastic! I had to share it, I  wish that my parents had taken the opportunity to put that permission to be different out there, instead of us trying to conform, and failing miserably…

Some people are meant to be different, we should celebrate the differences.

 

The Wedding Speech, that hasn’t quite happened.

I was watching the tail end of a film last night. It got me thinking and also a bit tearful. There was a wedding scene. I know it’s OK to cry at a wedding, if you are happy for people. I wouldn’t want to be crying out of sadness after all.

In the last few days I have been thinking about the wedding dress and bridesmaid’s dresses safely stored up in the loft. I have often thought of getting it out and looking at it, my own dress. I think about the fact that we came so close to it, becoming husband and wife before my partner became ill and we chose to postpone it. We haven’t rebooked the date. There have been several opinions as to how we should have our wedding. Having booked the church years ago we planned it around places which held some sentimental attachment to me and it all having gone rather wrong we thought about having an extreme opposite to the Church Wedding and thought about a Beach wedding somewhere hot. A friend of ours recently suggested that she and her husband could meet us a Gretna Green on the way up to our house and they could be our witnesses, then we could have a party. I also favour a wild Scottish beach, with our wonderful dog as ring bearer and our friend the laird to take the ceremony with a small celebration in a country house afterwards. But my partner is not so keen.

But, it got me thinking watching that wedding scene, of a chap who had been rather out of the picture in his daughter’s life, her parents were divorced and the Mother had remarried. It would have been rather nice to see the whole film, but we had been watching Saturday Night Dross instead and didn’t know it was on, however since it was TV, it is bound to be on next week or again soon.

It was time for the speeches at the reception and the groom handed over to her step-father as her father to speak. Suddenly, her birth father stood up and asked that since he was her Father, he might speak. He said some beautiful things, like how proud of his daughter he was how beautiful she looked there in front of her family and friends and then handed over to her step father to also speak, it was very civilised. It was lovely to hear and I started to bawl. Somehow it was like flicking a switch to me.

The last wedding that I attended, the bride’s father’s speech had me weeping like a child, it was many years ago and before we got engaged. I had no idea that my own love would ever ask me at the time. Her father took us on a real journey through her growing up and what a wonderful person he thought that she had turned into. Unfortunately we saw a very different side of her later that evening when she wasn’t getting her own way and was screeching at him, but he could see no wrong, totally blindsided. The poor man, but it must be nice to have someone that can see no wrong and I hoped for him that it was just the emotions of the day which had her overwrought.

What got me thinking last night though as I wondered if we ever get married, was whether my own father would be there, what he would say about me if he got up to speak. If we had the beach wedding somewhere, then he might not even attend. But I genuinely do not know whether he has any wish to make a speech, or even be there if or when it finally happens. I would not want him to be there out of duty alone, I only want the people who are happy for us and want to be there, at our wedding.  I am reminded, by my conscience that I promised my partner’s Mother when we got engaged that she would see us married, she wanted to speak, she was very pleased for us and knew that we loved each other so much. It pains me that she didn’t get her wish, she loved a party and was looking forward to it, before Alzheimers’ took her from us. She will be there though, in spirit at least when it happens and we will drink a toast to her. Unfortunately, I will not get to wear her beautiful necklace that she wanted me to on the day, she had wanted to me to wear it and intended to bequest it to me when she had gone. Alas someone else got there first and it disappeared.

The bridesmaid dresses in the loft may have become outdated, they would suit the beach wedding idea perfectly though, with the backdrop of a bright blue sea behind them. But despite me buying an extra one in case they outgrew them, ten years have gone by since and I think the ladies for whom they are intended may want to choose something a bit different now. Like mine their figures have changed in that time. Hmm, maybe I should try on the dress again too, but since there is no date planned at the moment there’s no rush.

As for my own Dad, well I guess that only time will tell and I hope that when we finally get married, if he wants to be there, he will find something nice to say.

Her Memory of Tennis in the Sunshine.

Initially there were several reasons as to why I began writing this blog. It started out in my head as an outlet for deeper feelings and how I would deal with them as they sprung up, like loose floorboards in an old house and hit me squarely between the eyes, often catching me unawares. I think that over time it will grow into far much more than that, as it has already shown signs of doing.

Today I am feeling as though another reason for writing this will be to remind my partner and I years from now, what was going through our heads, the memories we have made and the ones that we have cherished.

Since Alzheimers is a genetic disorder, there is some concern on our part, that it may follow down the line over the course of time and this may serve to remind us of some of the wonderful times we have had and how loved we both are. I would love to write his own story, and share his memories which seem far more interesting than my own, but he is not inclined to allow me at this point. It would make interesting reading though but he remains a very private person.

Last year we finally lost his mother to a lengthy fight with Alzheimers Disease, she lived a life which had been both tragic and wonderful at times. She lived to what is considered a good age, but unfortunately she could not remember most of it. In latter years, when I visited her sometimes her eyes would glisten and a flash of a memory would return, along with the excitement of being able to share it with someone. On the occasions whilst she could still tell me, snippets of stories would come back to her and she would recount them, although sometimes they would be all intermingled. To me it didn’t matter how she remembered them, whether they were entirely factual or not, it just proved that her brain was still working, despite some short circuits and that she was in there somewhere. She was a good friend to me and I have been thinking fondly again about her today, as I often do. It was devastating when she could no longer speak to share her thoughts, my last conversation with her was in October 2014 and after that her silence was awful, which the chatter of others around her was deafening, she passed away in March 2015.

She often told me about the Grand old house in Kent where they used to live as children, it was where she had grown up with her two brothers before the loss of her beloved mother in her teens, it was very clear that she was happiest there. They had a large house with Tennis courts out the back and she was playing tennis in the sunshine, they backed onto woodland behind the house and the trees offered dappled light across the house and shade when out on the court. She often spoke of the tennis courts, she must have enjoyed the game. I think it was due to it being a bright sunny day today that, it reminded me of this.  It would be a wonderful day to play tennis, I would have loved to have played the game with her.

Moving On

Time went on and she hoped for reprieve,
Now was the time she had to believe.
She gathered momentum, all set to go
The strength that took he’d never know.
He thought she’d get right on track,
That she would come crawling back.
But things had changed for her and you,
Life’s too short, the years too few
To sacrifice ones happiness,
staying together under duress.
Don’t think to hurt or shame was meant,
Just a chance to live, without lament.
Some respite from the drudge of life,
Meant to be much more than a wife.
She craved to be cherished like no other,
Much more to her, than just our Mother.
Set apart from the rest, she has such talent,
She should use the gifts that she’s been sent.
She’d raised the family, the time was right,
Had grown tired of the fuss and fight.
She packed her bags, set off, departed,
Now for her, her life’s just started.
Could not hope that you’d understand,
A different life for her was planned.
The freedom for her to do as she pleased,
The burden of her thoughts had eased.

He never thought that they would part,
And would take with her, his heart.
She caught him somewhat by surprise,
Grew fed up living with the lies.
And on it, suddenly the light shone.
When he could see the love had gone.
Sometimes resentment would start when,
He’d think of her fondly now and then.
Although he felt she’d broken his trust,
Time marches on and forgive her he must.
Didn’t figure on such loneliness,
The effect on him of such distress.
Feeling as though a downward spiral,
Going through periods of denial.
But as years go by, I think it’s shown
That he can enjoy a life of his own.
Had never thought with emotions he’d toy,
But a new way of life he’d come to enjoy.
A place where he can enjoy the limelight,
Return to peace and quiet at night.
One where he has freedom to roam,
Do as he pleases, no one at home.