Saturday, July 28, 2007

I can't be with him...

"I can't be with him..."
Son2 whispered frantically to me.
We had driven to Ogmore, a rocky and sandy beach, where the wind was blowing and children were running and screaming up and down the beach and on the rocks, waving their arms, pretending they were planes, birds, butterflies, monsters. Dogs bounced through the water, spraying the salty scent wherever they bounded, shaking their wet coats on the children, who doubled their shouts. And son1 viewed the scene and joined in, in his usual style, bouncing, waving his arms, shouting and shrieking, louder than any toddler could.

But he is not physically a child of 5, in whom this behaviour would be tolerated and expected. He is a tall 18 year old.
And son2 looked on aghast...

"You don't have to stay here with him" I spoke the words and with a look, he flew himself, over the rocks, as far and as fast as he could into the distance. Until just a little stick figure could be seen, running along the horizon, looking in the pools as he got to them, inhaling the clear air and the sheer joy of the day.

It didn't take son1 to notice the absent party and he started off running into the distance. It soon became a game, son2 leaping from rock to rock, son1 in hot pursuit. And while they amused themselves, I sat (in a puddle, but that wasn't intentional) and thought of how hard sometimes living with son1 can be.

Later, son2 tried to explain why he wants him to stop "if he lives with someone else they won't put up with it" he argued and I tried to reassure him that some of the purpose of his brother going to college was to help him learn what can and cannot be done. Right at this moment, I told son2, I didn't see why he shouldn't seem to be a little different every now and then......

But in talking about it all, my worries about the future returned. We hadn't heard from the college and will have to wait for September to see if he even has a chance of going there.....

But at least this morning the cobwebs were blasted away.
From all of us, one way or another.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Breaking bad news

You can go on courses now, to learn how to break bad news to people. Websites exist dedicated to it, managers learn how to do it, doctors practise in role playing to ensure they can do it well. But human to human, bad news doesn't break, it falls and spreads, rapidly transmitting through the population. As we found this morning, with the news that our colleague's son had died in Greece after a tragic accident. She has started work with us all Friday morning, to be called home by an urgent phone call from her husband. Two of the team took her, packed her bags as she and her husband sped off to Greece, to where their 19 year old lay critically ill.

So this morning, talking to the team from the ward, I heard that the previous evening, his life support machine had been switched off and he was dead. We shared the news then amongst us, the sorrow and grief of this extroverted wonderful nurse, much loved in the team, cast a shadow over the business meeting. From time to time one or other would sigh as something, a word, an image, a memory would bring us back to a hot Greek day where tears were surely falling.

Then my turn to break bad news.
And I wondered after, as I walked back to my car, shaking from the fallout, whether I had managed it as best as I could. Could I have looked more sympathetic? Used different words? Followed the planned "script" more carefully? Our ever supportive psychologist, who had been privvy to the before discussions, listened attentively as I poured it out and felt that yes, I'd done OK and that sometimes, however it is broken, bad news cannot be dressed up in anything other than it is.

Then home again to son2, now trusted to look after the house alone while his big but less responsible brother goes elsewhere. I look at him and think of the boy whose life has been ended far too soon in Greece and want to hug him, hold him tight, stop him growing and walking out into a world where boys ride bikes with no helmets, and jump into seas from rocks, and drive high powered jet skis and drink and take drugs and risks and think they will live forever.
But I don't.
I just smile and eat grapes as I continue to sort over running work things out, and go upstairs and put this computer on and play my music.
And as Kate Rusby sings about who will sing her a lullaby, I weep inwardly for the boy who now will not be singing anymore, and for the mother in Greece with a heart that will never be whole again.

Sleep in peace.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thoughts and feelings

Having one of those watery days.
Comes of a far from perfect week at work, (bed crisis? What bed crisis!) the onset of six weeks of horror aka summer holidays and pain in my right arm which has settled in for the duration. Or so it has appeared. Plus that time of the month all ladies love...

So when a minor thing happened elsewhere (though not ~elsewhere~) it opened the flood gates. And as the tears flowed and the misery sat heavily on me, I tried my best to turn those negative thoughts that were piling on me to positive ones:-"Now, what evidence do you have for believing that?" I asked myself while sobbing into my coffee.
But in the throes of an emotional flood, nothing will hold back the irrationality.
Especially when it is the most vulnerable point that has been hit.

But I have to take much of the blame myself. I am like Achilles, who in my view should have shown a bit more common sense in the type of armour he wore. Some sort of clever anti poisoned arrow heel device, for instance...

My lack of common sense in exposing myself to things that only prick and wound has been round for a long time, my persistence at CF, for example when I would nightly leave the forum and cry myself to sleep. Now the exposure is in a different place and a slightly different way, but the same principals apply. And still I cannot let go, cannot stop, keep setting myself up for the put downs.

Maybe there is something in me that wants to expose that vulnerable spot, to test it, to risk a wound. To hear the insults, be they truthful or not, to listen to all the views that others have of me, be they good or bad. Maybe I need it to grow, to allow limited damage and hurt to occur, to understand how painful it is, in order for me to see how I can sometimes pain others. And experience what so many others feel, day in, day out.

So as long as I don't end up in the same place as Achilles, perhaps it is not lack of common sense at all, but tolerance of hurt I am learning, so that I base my views on who and how I am on me, not on other's views of me....

And now, I've even stopped crying.
And look, the sun is put and there's a rainbow!

Ok, no sun, no rainbow, but at least a new way to think next time it happens.

Friday, July 20, 2007

End of another week

Another Friday comes and goes.
This one goes and brings with it those long school holidays.
Good for you teachers out there, but torture for us poor parents.
Starts off well, with Son2 ordering the family taxi service for first 6pm, then 6.30, then 7 then 9pm.
Problem was hubbie had left to provide the pick up so I was busy relaying messages to him via the mobile, until he returned, exasperated at 7pm. Well, he was not that exasperated, he just popped to see Grandma instead and used their time productively, talking of church and church gossip.
Son1 meantime was already fed up, as one of the grand schemes he had thought of didn't work out.
And it is not really even Day 1 of the holidays....

The rain continues to fall and while taking out our excellent junior staff to say thank you and good luck, I left my raincoat in the hotel. So as I walked out to the car in the one bit of dry weather all day, I didn't notice, till it was time to leave the base and I looked out at the water cascading out of the sky and remembered.

But otherwise much achieved in terms of paperwork and seeking out other opinions about things we are pondering, even though the opinions I received were not what I wanted....

So this weekend will be a chill one. Nothing booked, no grand schemes, just time and space and freedom to rest and think and muse on the way my life has gone over the past two years and where it could possibly go next, given the frenzy of activity I am facing.

Or maybe I'll just be a cat stretching out on the bed, hoping for some sun to warm my weary limbs.
While listening to music and dreaming of less frenetic times than these....

Friday, July 13, 2007

To go gentle or not....

Do not go gentle...
Words that echo in me.
I do not plan to go gently, I plan to rage against the dying of the light.
But now, before the light dies, there are other calls on me.
To lie underneath the stars and to gaze into the awesome cavern of space and wonder if what I plan to do will be the making of me or the undoing...
And wonder if indeed the risk I plan on taking is worth the heartache it could produce if all goes wrong.
But life lived without risk is dry, dust like, empty and without joy and I want the stars to grab me and fill me with the spirit that day in day out I do not have.

And I am doing this of my own free will
Go gently, as Kate Rusby says...

"Underneath the stars I'll meet you
Underneath the stars I'll greet you
And there beneath the stars I'll leave you
Before you go of your own free will
Go gently"

Or am I just pretending?
Wait and see.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Something very strange happened today.
It stopped raining and got a bit warm.
There was blue stuff in the sky, and people were out of doors.... smiling!
Very odd.
And son2 or Mw as he is otherwise called, was busy learning Welsh.
It's an odd thing, him learning this Welsh, as I have to listen to it and ask him the questions while being totally unable to undertsand what I am saying or hearing. He mutters things about my pronounciation but is slowly but surely working his way through the passage he will need to know to sit his GCSE oral module in less than a week.
And elsewhere, on CF, the forum I once posted on freely before I was banished to the edges for not believing, plans are afoot to allow people to post where they will.....

Very strange but welcome at last.
So I popped in and said hi.......and was saddened by how many people expressed fear that these atheists will descend and try to stop them believing in God. I just want to chat with my friends, wish them happy birthday, laugh with their jokes, commiserate with their sorrows.....

I hope his plan will come to fruition.
Maybe, if it had back then, things would have been oh so different........