Tuesday, May 30, 2006


My bodyclock is totally gone! I woke at 3am here, bright as a button, while Matt snored peacefully. Our time here is gentle and relaxed, wandering in Central Park while watching sparrows peck at our feet, with museums and sights intersperesed at a gentle pace.
And manga- Matt found a bookshop stuffed full and is determined to fill his case.
Every now and then we speak of Tom.
I had not realised how much Matt felt pressurised by him, how much he hated being always at Tom's beck and call. How much, deep down, I felt that way too. We sat, the first night, opposite each other, sharing thoughts and feelings about it and looking for ways to go forward, so that we all have more space to breathe in a house that at times feels like a fortress inside, with people barricading themselves away to protect their fragile hearts. We sit, Matt in his room, me in mine, dad downstairs, hiding from the whirlwind that Tom can become, from the hours of unrelentless barrage of words and anger.
There has to be a better way...
I promised Matt to look with him, while realising one thing that we cannot do
Change Tom..

Would I have him any other way?

I would not ask that question, it is an impossibility, so best not considered. I love him, however wearing he can be and I want what is best for us all...

So time to think as we continue here and time to go and wake Matt up, ready for the day!

Friday, May 26, 2006

All my bags are packed...

...just got to get through today in work, then it's off to Heathrow tonight and nyc tomorrow.
Really nervous now, taking Matt so far away.
Usual separation anxiety!
But at least Tom's skin is a little better, although they've referred him to a specialist for his face, which is terrible still...
And when I return, it's another long hard slog till the next break, in August.
I feel I'm leaping from break to break at the moment and it helps...
Mustn't leave such a long gap next time.

So nyc- during a public holiday
Not my most inspired decision!
Let's hope all goes better than my last two trips.......

See you soon!

Monday, May 22, 2006

When I am an old woman..

..I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go and doesn't suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves..."
(Warning by Jenny Joseph.)

I have an awful feeling I'm already at this stage.
Or maybe I have always been an old woman.
My dress sense would have made Michael Foot look positively elegant
My eye for colour strange in the extreme and my ability to do my hair reflected in the fact that I can never let it grow beyond an inch or so.
So here I am, short, fat and scatty, losing my glasses and watch and passport
And vague in the extreme...
("What time are we flying?"- "Um...sometime Saturday morning..)

I wonder Mikey has hung on to me as long as he has, he certainly has a well worn look of a man whose patience has been sorely tried.
Even moreso now I have performed this ultimate betrayal of losing the thing that once pulled us so close together...
I still regret it on many levels, especially on this human relationship one.

He still just smiles sweetly at me and tells me I will get my faith back, of that he has no doubt.
My protestations that I am equally sure of where I am now are met with typical Mikey stubborness...
But life goes on. Matt has failed once more in cookery to produce anything edible and the dog rejoiced as it meant she had a whole load of salmon. The cat seemed content too. Tom's skin has improved with all the hard work of creams four times daily and hopefully we'll continue to keep it clear. And job share partner has her interview tomorrow and I suspect will get the job, which will leave me up the creek without a paddle...
So as well as a watch, my glasses and the passport, I'll be looking for a paddle too...
And the happenings at CF continue to entertain, stimulate and produce deep sorrow. I am trying so hard just to let the feelings ebb and flow, take them as inevitable parts of the loss of my place in the society I once inhabited.
And with each rush of feelings, my ability to let myself feel the pain is growing. Instead of fighting it or distracting, I sit and hurt until it goes.
Which it does.
And feel for those whose hurt does not go and whose pain remains.
Shadows in the past become more ghostly and less in their ability to torment and frighten...
Out of every difficult situation, a chance to grow occurs.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I like to stand back sometimes and be an outside observer on the innermost turmoil that rushes round inside.
And I'm trying to do this now, hence the post.
I'm hurting, hurting so badly at this moment.
Tears are falling and it's all incredibly stupid and pathetic and juvenile.
But sometimes the trivial things in life awake paths that travel deep inside, to hidden areas, where only I can go and where only I see.
Things I cannot and will not share with anyone.
Memories from the past echo into the present and taunt and torture.
But I take a step back and look from a distance and realise I must allow myself to hurt.
Like a boil once more, it grows and then it bursts.
And in that painful eruption, the poison comes out and the hurt goes away.

And after the storm, the eruption, the shedding of the poison, the quiet and the peace returns.

To be part of a group is a wonderful thing, to feel a member, to belong
But I cannot be that any longer, I have to face the fact that it has gone.
And stand here alone on my own two feet...

And face reality, not a virtual world of intrigue and conspiracies
and veiled insults and contempt

So let the hurt grow and burst and let the poison out
Then let the goodness in to take its place
See and feel the goodness that is there
That is reality
Even in a virtual world

Then you can face the future, bloodied but unbowed....

The life that I have is all that I have,
The life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have,
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have,
A rest I shall have,
Yet death will be but a pause,
For the peace of my years in the long green grass,
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Chitting and chatting and planning and sighing...

Insomnia has reared its head again over the last few days. Probably due to the pain and soreness of the tomgue! I've had night after night of waking every hour and Tom too bad with his skin, making things difficult...
So I'm up at night chitting chatting away and planning the nyc trip and from time to time sighing deeply as I read yet another post that reminds me of how far away I have moved from where I once was.
I'm not distressed by it now, in fact I am more at peace and content than I've been for a long time.
It is just that the attacks and the venom directed against those who do not believe is such a sad and sorrowful example compared to the many who believe and love and give of their all.
And of those too who do not believe but show their warm compassionate side too.
There is no way to tell them apart...

So here's to a night with some sleep and a little less chitting and chatting...

Though it is fun!

Alice Meynell
I must not think of thee; and, tired yet strong,
I shun the love that lurks in all delight—
The love of thee—and in the blue heaven's height,
And in the dearest passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the sweetest thoughts that throng
This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away,—
With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather'd to thy heart.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Poor Tom...

I could have cried several times today. Tom late last night showed me his skin which was worse than I'd ever seen it and I knew I couldn't wait, I'd have to get him to the doctors.
Which we did.
The patches on his elbow had gone down to his wrists and up to his shoulders.
His eyelids were cracked and sore and his face excoriated.
They confirmed it was definitely eczema and gave us a host of potions to take away.
Now, at this stage previosly, I usually would ask "Why?" and look to the sky for an answer.
But there isn't an answer, a reason, a purpose in this latest twist in poor old Tom's life. Just a situation to be dealt with.
And having bitten back the tears and concentrated on the work in hand, both he and I have had such fun tonight working out a schedule for these creams! He rang Mgu to tell her, delighting in getting them all in the right order...
And there is no reason why it shouldn't all get better. I just secretly wish it hadn't happened.

Elsewise, I have to start thinking about nyc. Only 10 days and counting, so Matt and I need to get organised. I bought some sandals, got my scarecrow hair cut and tried to sort out some clothes. Matt meanwhile is having problems of the heart, as his ex gf takes her anger out on him by alienating all his friends. I caught him in his room, last night listening to the "Sound of Silence" in tears...
Once more, wisdom comes in knowing what to say and what not to say. I just let him talk and swear (a little) and he went off to sleep, if not happy, at least not crying anymore.

Being a mother is a tremendous thing!

Let us have a poem...
One I read today and felt it stir feelings inside me...

Christina Georgina Rossetti

The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:—
Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
Thou too aloof, bound with the flawless band
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart?
What hand thy hand?
And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of old
When fellowship seem'd not so far to seek,
And all the world and I seem'd much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong, and life itself not weak.

I do miss those old days..and though there is no going back, I miss being at one with those I love- my parents, family, hubbie...
Tis a great loss...

Monday, May 15, 2006


My Lilac in bloom..

Robert Burns
O were my Love yon Lilac fair
O WERE my Love yon lilac fair,
Wi' purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.

I love Lilac!


W.E. Henley (1849-1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Being Captain of my soul is a funny thing. For so long, all that I did was looking to the captain that was God, who set the rules and guided me. But now it is me on my own, no outside forces to assist or advise, no book to turn to in trouble to look for inspiration and life plans.
Just me and the collective wisdom of others, that I can take or reject as I see fit.
A scary responsibility, far more challenging than anything else I have faced.
Yet liberating...
Because I am master of my fate. I no longer have a divine practical joker, as sometimes god appeared to me to be, "stirring" the pot. "It's God's pudding, and he's doing the stirring" someone once said to me, when I was in the darkness of despair about why god would not answer me.
But now it is different.
I no longer see a future in which my fate is decided by a god, who at times had appeared unkind, unloving, harsh and punishing. The emptiness of the sky is a loss to me still, but it is a loss of things that are negative as well as positive.
So I face the future, that I know one day will end, in the knowledge that it is up to me to mould it, to face it, to live it, to experience it and if it is not good, then I have no one to blame but myself.
And that is very liberating.

For those who believe, that must sound like blasphemy..and I'm sorry if that is how it seems. But I can only speak what is in my heart and hope that you realise that it is still me here, the friend you once made, and I hope in reading what I have written, you will not judge but try to understand where I am and where I am going.
*hugs* to you my friends...who have tried so hard with me to no avail.
I wish I could please you by believing again and it would be so easy to pretend.
But that I cannot.

So here I am, the captain of my soul, facing the world bloody but unbowed. Whatever the future may bring, I accept that it is my task to go with it, to ride the storms out, to run and laugh in the rain and to embrace the life that I have with all of my being.

So that when I face my death, I can truly say:
"Because I have loved life
I shall have no sorrow to die."

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Ok, because I think you may see this elsewhere, I'll put it here too.
One thing I hate about this is hurting people I love, so if this hurts anyone, I'm very very sorry, but I can only speak the truth.

I was a Catholic Christian and just a year ago I was devout and my life revolved around God. I prayed when I woke till when I went to bed and my social circle, my family, friends were all from a similar background. God was the centre of my life and the thing that kept me going. Life had not been easy- too long to go into here, but my son had a serious psychotic episode at the age of 12 onwards and I had spent many hours holding and comforting him as the voices in his head taunted him and threatened to destroy him. That had severely tested my faith but I had passed through it, finally placing my hope and trust in a God I thought was one of love, all benevolent, who would not let me down.
As part of my search for something to help me through the difficult times, I used the internet and found a Christian forum. In the evenings, in the gaps between looking after son1, I was able to read and take part in conversations about God and to find support and fellowship there. I ended up a mod and spent time moderating the apologetic forum.
Now there I was faced with a lot of the questions I had previously asked myself together with new information and thoughts I’d never had before. It set me off on a bit of a quest to search for truth, reasoning that the God I believed in would not let me down.
But instead of certainty, I found more and more doubt, more and more holes in my faith.
Until finally, one day in the beginning of December, while driving to work, I looked in the sky and realised there was no God.
My world sort of crumbled for a while and I thought I was going to fall apart.
But I didn’t.
I tried so hard to get my faith back with no success, until I realised it wasn’t going to come and I would have to accept life as it was.
And through that, I have finally found peace and contentment, strangely more so than I had before.
Maybe because I was always searching and asking for God to solve my problems, relying on something outside myself.
I still have days when I yearn for my faith and my social situation is anything but sorted, but the days on which I am glad this has happened are increasing and my angst about it all far less. So thank you to those who have helped me in this difficult time, appreciated beyond words. And here’s to the future, for all of us, whether we are Christian or not, that our friendship might remain and we still see in each other the people that we are....

Friday, May 12, 2006

Helicobacter day 3

/self pity mode on
I feel awful. I have no energy, having not slept well last night, my tongue is black with an ulcer on one side and white bits on the other and my tummy is misbehaving at all the wrong moments. The meeting this morning was so, so sad and I cannot face anymore conflict.
/self pity mode off

Feel better now!
Nothing like a moan.
I'll hopefully sleep tonight and with any luck will be refreshed and happy in the morning. Tom will be more relaxed, Matt will actually talk to me without calling me short stuff and I'll visit the family without getting into awkward conversations with anyone.
Always look on the bright side of life!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Helicobacter on its way out

So I went to the doctors after my usual Wed am routine...
Waited half an hour and finally got in to see her.
As I already knew, my helicobacter test came back positive, so she prescribed me eradictaion therapy, telling me that it has loads of side effects.
"Sorry!" she added, brightly.
She didn't look very sorry to me.
I told her about my ulnar neuritis and she agreed that was what it was but didn't know what to do, so she was going to ask round and let me know.
I left with a script for a whole load of tablets, which I took tonight for the first time.
Accidentally took double one of the doses, but what the heck, it'll balance out.
And now my tummy is gripping like anything, but a cup of hot coffee and a hot water bottle are getting rid of most of it.

And Tom came home from school telling me we'll have to move to a bigger house, because three of his friends are going to come and live with him.
I did question whether their parents would be OK with this, but he didn't seem to think it'd be a pronblem.
I'll just have to work harder to earn more money and he's drawn up an elaborate timetable for them which includes
12noon: Thomas's mum and dad to make lunch
and it also schedules visits by the other parents to "help out"!

At least he's a little happier at the moment.

I've got him to draw up shorter term goals, which start off with one of the boys coming round for tea on Saturday...

And I got my outfit for the wedding!
Now just got to get shoes of some description...

So a good day, all in all. My hand may still be numb and my tummy growling like a dog that's had its bone stolen by a smaller canine creature, but things are moving in the right direction...and Tom is happy- see photo....
The best thing of all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back to reality

Back in work this morning with a bang. Narrowly avoided an assault and discretion being the better part, finally left the ward by the back door to avoid further incidents. Also narrowly avoided a kiss from a delighted person, who had got me to agree to something against my better judgement...
So off to see J and co this pm, who are still targeting me with offers to come and work with them ("Just what would you like? Name it!")
I avoided asking for absurd and tried to focus on the reality of what the job is now compared to when I left the service 3 years ago...
It has improved for the better, but I'm not stupid, and it would have huge challenges and issues.
But I'm unlikely to face quite as much in the way of threats to kill, assaults etc. and unwanted kisses and hugs!!
But I'd leave the team, who despite all the ups and downs, I like and appreciate, and oh so many clients who have had such a raw deal prior to our arrival (13 different workers in 2 years.)

Difficult things to balance.

On the home front, Matt has done his first SAT and Tom is bouncy, probably because he knows he has Friday as a day off this week. He's chuckling away to himself in the bath as I type, over some little joke he has running round his head.
No doubt I'll be let in on it later.
And M is watching TV downstairs with the dog and cat to keep him company.

He liked his poem I printed out. He's going to keep it with the notes I've written him over the years...
21 years

If he was here, he'd look at me with that wicked grin and say
"You get less for murder..."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

For M

"Violette's poem" by Leo Marks

The life that I have is all that I have
The life that I have is yours.

The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
But death will be just a pause

For the peace of my years
in the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours...

You can take a photo if you want...

T hates having his photo taken.
It's a major chore if we need one for a serious reason.
He skips out of them, grimaces, does everything that he shouldn't.
And he hates going places which might be interpreted as museums...

So our attempt today to visit the industrial ruins at Aberdulais falls was doomed, in our minds, but it was so nice, and the bluebells would be out.

But he surprised us, once more, by first agreeing to walk round, and then, out of the blue, as I was stalking his father and brother with the camera, to ask me to take his photo "by the big wheel."
He was fascinated with it and wanted a memento...
Then a photo by the big tower...
And then a photo, first with his brother and dad, and then with me and Mw.

I never know why he'll suddenly change like this, but to be honest, I couldn't really care.
He enjoyed himself, I have some lovely photos of him where he's not running off or grimacing or unaware of me taking him, and we had a lovely trip out. He blew a fuse on the way home and is waiting now impatiently for me to finish typing so we can chat again, about his game, but hey, that's life and I wouldn't miss a minute...

A Song of Living
Amelia Josephine Burr

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings,
to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leapt with the rain,
I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child
to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young Love on the lips,
I have heard his song to the end.
I have struck my hand like a seal
in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven,
the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness
and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I give a share of my soul
to the world where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task
I must leave undone.
I know that no flower,
nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window
through life I have looked on God.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Of pictures and sculptures

So despite the absence of underwear and kettles and dried fruit and all those little essentials that J needs to keep going, we ventured on.

Tuesday was Musee D'Orsay & Rodin, Wed the Louvre, Thursday Notre Dame and more piccies elsewhere...

Art overload once again. But certain things leapt out at me; the gentle hands of Rodin's Cathedral (above), the sheer eroticism of "The Kiss", the horror of his "Gates of Hell." The wonder of iron age amulets in the Cluny, the mirth that some of the reliqueries produced in both J and myself and the silence of the worship at Notre Dame, that I no longer could be part of.

So despite the continued chatter that J kept up, her everlasting worries and my occasional lapses of patience with her endless questioning (Are you sure that's the right door? Could you be wrong? Shall we ask the man?) we got on well and I apologised for my tetchiness and she tolerated it all in good part.

Her life otherwise being limited to my father and mother.

In a week, other than us, that is all she sees, all she knows. No friends, no workmates, no where to go, no one to talk to. But for one week, the horizon so much broader and with 302 pictures to dwell on, may it be something to carry her through to our next trip.

Wherever that may be...

And I so need to work on my patience! Perfect is one thing I am far from!!

Always look on the bright side of life...

So we'd got to Paris successfully, no hitches and were waiting for the cases.
Which were not appearing.
Gradually, every one of the 15 people who had been on our flight departed, leaving just an increasingly wound up J and me.
With some misgivings, I drew out my baggage tag to speak to the staff present and stared in understandable heartsink fashion at the tag.
It said, quite clearly, Zurich.
I hadn't looked at it when we booked in...

So several minutes later and staying very calm, J and I left the hall, our baggage undetectable (maybe Zurich, maybe back in Bristol) and set off for the hotel.
It was raining...

I outlined the plans to J- the bags would be delivered when they were found and flown out, in the meantime, we had our medication (J never goes anywhere without hers- she'll start fitting within 12 hours without it) and money and could buy thr bare essentials for overnight.
J remained relatively calm.
We set out for a walk and ended up on one of those awful bus type tour things- but at least we were dry and could get our bearings.
We ended up (via the Madeline) going to Sacre Coeur, where Vespers was going on.
We sat, listening to the nuns singing the psalms, as around us people walked in silence around the church.
In front of us, a family sat and the man knelt and made the sign of the cross.
It took me back to all my past trips with J, where we would always enter hundreds of churches.
And in each one, I would kneel and pray, light candles, go to adoration, mass....

Different now.

We finished our visit and went on to eat- my first omlette of many...

Bought toothbrushes and T shirts for the night and settled down to sleep
In a strangely empty hotel room, populated only by J and me and some ants...